I have this incredible anxiety that lurks over me whenever I have to write a paper. Not a blog, a paper. As most of you may know, since I’m sure you’re all huge Lefron fans and stalk the living daylight out of my Facebook page, I’m finishing up my final quarter of my Undergrad. Because the majority of my NYU credits (by majority I mean all, including that class I dropped taught by the Russian hottie who’s adam’s apple was the size of the Stanislavsky book I never read) were theater credits, I have zero prerequisites to take any of the upper level courses I’m required to take to complete my degree. Except, of course, for Women’s History courses, which ironically you don’t need pre-existing knowledge for, which I find a little counter-intuitive to everything I’ve learned in my Women’s History course.
I’m actually really enjoying my classes, and to my boyfriend’s delight I’ve developed a slightly less domesticated view of womanhood than I already had, which essentially means I’m now anti-sandwich and pro-make-it-yourself-you-lazy-bastard. Just kidding, Josh cooks for me, I couldn’t make a sandwich pre-anti-domesticity. But really, I have developed a huge understanding for a misunderstanding that I think permeates our culture, which is that the women’s movement was filled with lesbian, feminist penis-bashers, and that if you’re a feminist today you must be gay and take showers in quinoa. Well, I was wrong, and so are you. The women’s movement did not develop a feminist ideology until its second wave in the 1960s (oh here she goes, showin’ off her new-found knowledge, whoopdie doo I went to college too), and being a feminist did not mean you were a lesbian. In fact, many lesbians chose not to identify themselves as feminists and vice versa, as so many false media injections on both groups imposed ludicrous stigmas that neither one wanted to be associated with. Unfortunately, what goes down in history from the last fifty years or so is a direct result of media coverage, which is generally if not always framed to target a certain fearful or impressionable audience. This audience (us! the youth and their malleable brains!) has been trained over time to enjoy headlines that generate fear or the unlikeness of “others.” As a result, the media is concerned with attracting our wandering eyes, which latch on to the most horrific and disgusting stories we see.
So, historically speaking, feminists are bra-burning lesbians who hate men and anything to do with traditional roles of gender, including heterosexual marriages and subservient female roles. This is how history (and I’m referring to a wide, general informative structure called society) depicts the women’s movement. The same way I’m sure that Lindsay Lohan really is a sweet girl who didn’t mean to get such botched plastic surgery. Just kidding. You can’t fake La Lohan’s botched youth. I’m not a newfound feminist, and I’m not a lesbian (yet). But I think many people choose to use the label of feminist to brand independent women, and er-go impose upon them an idea of feminism that suggests something negative because of the bullshit we’ve read.
I truly used to think feminists were crazy. I believed that they hated men and all things phallic, and that their main goal in life was to berate girls like me who enjoy curling their hair (even though it takes so god damn long and no matter how much hairspray I use it falls flat within an hour). I felt this way to a point of anti-feminism, where I would outrightly announce my distaste for feminist thought. What I’ve learned, however, is that while there are those radical feminists whose goal it was in the 60s and 70s to rid society of a gender based hierarchy, without them I would not be sitting here struggling to write my college essay. Passionate, ruthless feminists who I claimed to find repulsive and personally attacking me for being feminine are the reason I’m considered an equal in my daily life. Truth be told, I still feel that there are opportunities presented to men that aren’t presented to me, and that its easier for men to get jobs than for a woman. Nevertheless, the world I live in today is of undeniable difference.
I suppose my trail of thought ties in to my original thought: Self-doubt. When I have to do a project, write a paper, or any other academic or professional endeavor, I experience overwhelming anxiety. There is a fear that I won’t be able to do it, I won’t know how to complete it or even where to start, and that I’ll fail somehow in the process. I feel like I’m not capable of doing the work, even though I’ve done every assignment and finished all the reading. There is no reason I should feel incapable, and yet my mind is telling me I can’t do it. My mom said she has the same problem, but for some reason my dad and my brother have no doubt in their mind they can do a task, and do it well.
There still, like I said, lingers this notion that as a woman I can’t automatically succeed without extra effort. I don’t care if you call this my own insecurity, because I’m sure that I share it with other women, and I can guarantee that the majority of you that will call my self-doubt a Rachel problem, not a woman problem, are men. I think, emphasis on the I, that there is still a consciousness that permeates female culture of not being as capable as men. We are constantly surrounded by successful, male authority, so why wouldn’t our brains develop the thought that its because of something inherent to gender?
So I sat down and wrote my paper. I tried my very Rachel-hardest not to think about doing it right or doing it well, I just wrote the damn thing. I have less anxiety now that there’s something on the page for me to work with, as I’m excellent at self-editing and re-working my thoughts. But generating self-assurance doesn’t happen in a couple hours, the same way sex-based society roles wouldn’t change overnight. My self-doubting mind block makes it harder for me to get my thoughts out on a blank page; it makes me afraid to speak my opinion, it makes me fearful of judgement, and I feel like I lack credible knowledge. So for those of you who feel like telling me I’m being a wuss, you’re shutting me down, and you’re wrong, because the previous is me not being a wuss. (I’m not using “pussy” to describe beeing “wussy” because its the female la la place and shouldn’t be associated with wussiness, the same way I won’t call you a dick for rolling your eyes, because its the male la la place and shouldn’t be associated with being a total turd bag. You’re welcome.)
So, istead of being a turd bag, you can rave about how great this blog post is, and share it with all your friends. You too boys.