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24 September, 2012

Stop Defining Me By My Vag

I'm tired of all the attention my vagina is getting. It does not define me, make me who I am or give me any merit over anyone else. I'm defined by my actions and choices, and if those actions and choices are bad, I don't get a pass just because I have a vagina.

What is with the pseudoscience move to link a woman's entire mental health and well-being to the treatment of her vagina? This "magic vagina" bullshit, peddled as feminism, is as damaging as "stay at home and be pregnant" bullshit from conservatives. Naomi Wolf has written a book that, according to reviews I've read, is a perfect example of this oppressive "Super Woman" garbage that has created a backlash against real, equality-seeking feminism. (If my local library gets a copy, I'll take some antacid and try to stomach this bullshit so you don't think I'm unfair attacking a book I haven't read, but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for that shit).

What is a Super Woman? It's the idea that a woman must have a career, be powerful, and still do all those womanly things that her "role" requires of her in order to be a strong woman. It's apparent in the copy/pasta posts on facebook that list characteristics that normal people would find either unsubstantial or downright rude. ("My house is messy, so what? I'm not afraid to speak my mind, even if I'll be called a bitch" erm, that's great, but do you have any tact?).

This idea that women have to be in-your-face, tough and overweight in order to be happy doesn't help to retire the problems that women face, such as unrealistic beauty in media, the prohibiting of women on the front lines, the pervasive notion of women's weakness, etc. It just makes them look like they're trying too hard to be superior. What does it say to women who are naturally skinny? What does it say to women who like to be fit and exercise or who are staying healthy to avoid a family history of diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol? ? What does it say to women who like to dress up once in awhile and use those magazines for ideas rather than to project some false ideal onto themselves? (I'm not sold that magazines cause poor body images, but that the poor body image is already there and the magazines reflect what women themselves are looking for).

What I would like to see is a world where a woman can have a career, but no one applauds her for doing it just because she has a vagina. Her choices and actions should be judged on merit alone. Meg Whitman, when running for governor of California, was constantly introduced as a female CEO, because this is a rarity and so there's this automatic association with greatness because she acquired this position as a woman. In the end, some of her work was good and some of it was bad. Whether or not she'd be a good governor has nothing to do with her career as a CEO or her having a vag. In the end, she lost the election to a man who has actually done a pretty good job -- not because he's a man, but because his decisions and actions have brought about change.

My vagina is not magic. I do not possess some goddess-like quality that I can lord over simple males just because I can bear children and go to college. If I see a picture of a woman who is prettier, taller and skinnier than me (and photoshopped), I shouldn't feel pressured to pass judgement on my own self image or on her. If I end up having children and deciding to stay at home, I shouldn't be looked down on nor revered for not advancing my career. If I live with a husband and children and my house is clean or messy, it should be a reflection on the decisions of my family unit, not a credit to my own strengths or weaknesses.

In my household, my husband and I split housework to help each other reach our own personal goals and levels of comfort. For example, right now I'm working more hours and making more money than he is. When I get home at 5:45 in the evening, he cooks dinner. If the situation were reversed, I'd be glad to cook for him.

I am not my vagina. Feminists who try to glorify it are doing nothing for me or for equal rights.

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