December 02, 2015

Retire From the Chase. Return to the Thrown.

What (we) feminists need to learn about love.



I hate dating rules. Hate them.

The rules of dating say that I am like a newborn puppy in a basket rolling around with my siblings, and I will remain in said basket until I catch someone's eye.

The rules encourage me to be eye catching.

The rules say that if I should happen to be walking past a shop window housing a basket of male puppies, that I need not even glance inside because at the end of the day, I have no purchasing power. It isn't just the full grown owners with credit cards that are off limits to me. EVERYONE is off limits to me. Even as I walk the streets with my rights, my job, my car and my credit limit, I am still merchandise. Always the merchandise, never the consumer.

The rules say that if I so happen to be plucked from this basket, that the only guarantee that I shall not return to it is by contract. But of course, such a contract can only be initiated by the one who plucks me. Because as much as I lack the authority to initiate a partnership that may inspire a contract, I have even less authority to propose the contract itself, and any attempts to gain authority will portray me as, rather than powerful - weak, and frankly, desperate.

Yes, I am a feminist. And so yes, I hate these rules.

We feminist women, we working women, we ambitious women want to participate and simply live in the world, without glancing over from time to time at our male counterparts and wondering why we don't have the same options, choices, etc.

But in love, this is impossible. Dating, sex, marriage, romance, love, remains as unbalanced and gender biased as ever. Here, gender roles are more than accepted. They are whole heartedly embraced and followed with a dogmatic obedience. 

And yet...life is all about perspective. And while conversations concerning gender inequality usually feature a man sitting pretty at the top of the mountain while a woman is clawing her way up the side, with "meninists" trying to cut her bungee chord, and traditional ladies warning her not to break a nail, love may be the one, surprising exception. 

Leaving anything to luck seems offensive and abhorrent to the Katniss Everdeen generation, but a simple shift in perspective reveals that, in love, the odds are ever in our favor. 

We women are so used to being faced with can't and don't and trying to prove that we not only can but will, that we've forgotten to recognize when we just don't have to. We women approach dating the same way we approach the workplace, longing to participate exactly as men do as though we'd previously been denied some kind of privilege. When in fact, our predicament in love is not a disadvantage, but a luxury. 

Sure, it can seem disempowering. If you think of yourself as an orphan puppy. Sitting in the window, batting your puppy lashes, hoping some plastic wielding potential owner will approach lest you die in this pet shop.

But what if you're not sitting in a basket, but in a chair? A high, velvet lined, golden seat. And what if, while you sit, you wear a tremendous, gorgeous, slightly heavy but bearable with the right amount of champagne, headband. And what if, as you sit in your fancy chair, wearing your "headband" there are scores and scores of men approaching the castle you peer out from. But they can't get to you. Because you haven't given the signal to release the drawbridge.

Amazing what a little perspective can do.

I may hate the game, hell I may even hate some of the players, but I can't deny that when a woman refuses to play by the dating rules the only one who loses is her. If you've never been there I feel like I should warn you now - as "equal" as we might think we want to feel when we get motivated to violate these silly rules, there is nothing empowering about chasing a man.

So don't. But that doesn't make you a puppy. And it doesn't make you powerless.

It's okay to wait. You have good reason. You wait back and allow him to initiate to affirm his interest. To rule out unsavory intentions. To avoid any wasting of your precious time. But it doesn't mean that you are a passive participant in dating because you still get the final say - accept or reject. You get the veto. Consider yourself the president. (Or queen? Whatever you prefer.) You get involved in only the most important, elevated situations that work their way up to your desk.

Modern women have spent so much time fighting for the liberties our predecessors didn't have that we sometimes forget where they had it right! 

You think there's glory in the work because in so many other situations women have been denied the right to work, earn money, own land, sustain their livelihood, be powerful. So you think being aggressive in dating elevates you from a previously oppressed position and allows you your equality...

But no. 

Men are the worker...bees. And you? You are the queen. You sit on your cushy fucking thrown and you wait.

Why?

Because you can.

Don't get up. Why not?

Because you don't have to.

And what if he doesn't come buzzing over to express his interest in becoming your king and ruling the hive with you? Then he isn't the right bee for you.

But with or without a king, you're still a queen. Not an orphan puppy.

So enjoy your hive. Maybe use the honey to get a spa pedicure while you remain seated. Especially if you've been breaking the rules for a while and chasing those silly bees.

You may be in need of some well deserved R&R. 




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