I try so hard to be all, "RRRAAAAWR SMASH TEH PATRIARCHY" and not give in to all those "ideals" that get hurled around. I really do. I mean, if I were really that worried about it, I'd probably do a lot of things differently-lose weight, dye my hair back to a "normal" colour, dress more "normally"...a lot of things. But in spite of my best efforts to proudly wave my freak flag, every now and then something just gets to me.
This weekend, I had ample opportunity to observe the non-freakish, sense-of-humor-having female of the species, and I couldn't help feeling like I fell horribly short somehow. It wasn't just one thing, either-I can easily find fault with pretty much everything about myself, especially when compared to a room full of "pretty girls," which I am decidedly not. (Note: I'm not saying I'm not beautiful. I know I totally am. But I'm Not A Pretty Girl in the Ani DiFranco sense.)
Let's look first at what's been the biggest hurdle for me-size. When I was all cute and tiny, I somehow felt like I "fit" better in the world, in a very literal sense; I didn't take up too much space. Now, I take up way more than I ever thought was possible. It was painfully evident to me this weekend, dancing with my adorably petite female friends-I felt like a fucking hippo. I felt awkward and excessively fleshy, like parts of my body were just spilling out of my designated compartment and into space that I had no right to occupy. I know that this is an issue that gets addressed repeatedly in both feminist and FA circles-the right to occupy the space that you do, rather than the space that you "should." And I've found it so easy to get on board with that in the bigger picture-I will fight for other women's rights to occupy their space. That doesn't mean that I've completely come to terms with the amount of space I'm taking up.
Even looking at the other women in the room who took up just as much (or even more) space, I felt inadequate. Those other women, while they may have occupied the same area I did, at least had the "decency" to not advertise their occupancy. They had "tasteful" outfits, subtle makeup and quiet hairstyles. They were quiet and tasteful-worlds away from everything I am. My voice is loud, my dancing is stompy and outlandish, my conversation topics are frequently controversial. I don't look or act anything like I "should." Even when someone who is otherwise "ladylike" acts a little like me in some small way, they seem so much more able to pass it off as an isolated quirk. When I do the same thing, it's just one more item on the long list of reasons I'm not "right."
My insecurity about this stuff is, thankfully, no longer overwhelming enough to make me actually want to try to fit in. I'll do what I want, and it's your loss if you don't like it. And I know that part of my insecurity is honestly just my own, caused by previous experiences and other factors that don't necessarily include the way other people actually respond to me. But another part of it is based on how people respond to me. I'm lucky to have some completely non-judgmental friends, and I appreciate them more than I can say. But then there are other people who fall along a whole spectrum from "trying to be supportive but still falling prey to a few societal expectations of appropriate femininity" to "unashamedly judging anyone who doesn't fit into their personal ideals," and that's incredibly frustrating. This is just more venting on my part-I doubt there's actually anything I can do at this point beyond just ignoring people who say or do hurtful things. I just wish people would give me some damn credit once in a while. I'm loud, unashamed of my unconventional opinions, and a little strange-looking, but I'm also one of the smartest, most caring and overall fantastic fucking people I know. It's just too damn bad that so many people will never realize that because they can't see past the fact that I'm not a "hot chick" or a "lady."