Right, so, somebody linked this article on Twitter:
Dogs and Smurfs; Why women writers and stories about women are taken less seriously, by Max Barry
Male is default. That’s what you learn from a world of boy dogs and Smurf stories. ... I have been told that this is a good thing for girls. “That makes girls more special,” said this person, who I wanted to punch in the face. That’s the problem. Being female should not be special. It should be normal. It is normal, in the real world. There are all kinds of girls. There are all kinds of women. You just wouldn’t think so, if you only paid attention to dogs and Smurfs.It's longish, which is why I'm only quoting part of it, but go read it. I'll wait.
Here's what I wrote in my reblog of said article:
Fantastic article and absolutely correct. It’s also sort of funny just how recently I’ve started noticing this stuff—like, rape culture is definitely a feminist concept and I latched onto that academically more than a year ago, but I don’t think I started considering myself a feminist too until like…really recently. The last few months, maybe. Realizing I agree with a lot of this stuff when I’m also a Christian and pretty conservative (I don’t think anything’s going to change my mind on the abortion debate at this point, for instance) was kind of awkward, since there aren’t that many other people who seem to hang out in that particular cross-section of beliefs, and it’s doubly weird because I was raised very conservative and “feminist” was practically a dirty word in my family (although I think the more derogatory phrase my dad used was “women’s libbers”). Most of that, I think, was because the movement in general seemed to support values that we didn’t rather than because my dad actually thought women were inferior or something, but it was still weird to realize that hey, I actually do agree with most of this stuff, because these patterns exist and they mean something, and it’s not just people looking for things to whine about or reasons to be offended or whatever. Talking rather animatedly about some of this stuff to my dad recently was kind of fun, actually, because he agrees with the rape-culture stuff (in the context of my Tess paper and my Twilight paper, but also from what he knows about the court system, mostly from being a prosecutor) but started backpedaling as soon as I used the actual word “feminism,” so then I got to deconstruct some male and white privilege for him (“I see ads for a group for ‘young Asian professionals,’ and to be honest it makes me feel kind of left out”. Yes, straight white upper-middle-class male lawyer, you are so marginalized.), and HE WAS FORCED TO AGREE WITH ME, because that’s kind of what happens when you confront somebody with stuff that they have to have noticed but haven’t thought about critically. That’s what’s so great about just pointing out patterns, really—I’m not saying “this happens and it means that ALL MEN ARE EVIL AND SHOULD DIE” or whatever, or even “these things happen and that means men/whites/etc. are deliberately oppressing women/other races/etc.,” so I don’t have to deal with the burden of proof for this massive argument. Instead it’s more like, well…these patterns exist. Here they are. You’ve seen them too even if you haven’t had a reason to see them as patterns—and most importantly, these patterns mean something. I’m not demanding agreement with any conclusions, not really—just saying look, this is real, and it’s important. Which is pretty hard to argue with, really.
So yeah, that was fun, especially because it’s basically impossible to change his mind about things and I’ve rarely been able to make him see another side of any debate—I don’t know if he loves playing devil’s advocate in general or it’s ingrained from being a lawyer or what, but having an actual debate about something is usually really difficult, and I’m used to giving up because trying to convince him of something he’s not already convinced of (or that he actually disagrees with) is usually pointless. And either I actually did (because, again: you can’t really argue with it when you’re confronted with reality) or I was animated enough about it that he gave up, so either way it was kind of nice.
Especially since, uh, he’s actually a large part of the reason I’m a feminist now—it was this neat little coincidence over the past year or so of getting into gaming, expanding my academic knowledge, and my own personal daddy issues that finally made me realize oh hey, I’ve been agreeing with some of this for a while, and taking more pride in my identity as a gamer girl (male privilege is even more blatant in the gaming fandom and industry than in the world at large, so that’s partly how I came at a lot of this) and then as a woman in general, and also taking pride in not needing a man to do stuff for me (even little things like climbing up on a chair to change the lightbulbs above the dining-room table, or filling up my oil tank, or replacing the screens in the windows, at least the last of which we were waiting for my dad to do until I said screw it, I can do this, we don’t need a man, and I did), and actually I agree with even more of it than I thought I did (hello, male privilege!), and seeing very close-to-home examples like how my mom is getting totally screwed over with this divorce business since she had no reason to think she’d need a career until just a couple years ago and now she’s getting dumped by the successful male lawyer who previously provided all the family’s income, and…hm, feminist thought is an accurate representation of the reality in which I live, and I guess that means I’m a feminist. Funny how that works.
Of course, some of this seems to be a function of delayed-onset adolescent rebellion, or something—for whatever reason (partly my desperate need to please people and not cause conflict, I’m sure), I didn’t feel a need to engage in much of that when I was a teenager or define myself in opposition to my parents, and now my academic studies, introduction to gaming, and the anger and heartache of a former daddy’s girl have combined with a sudden desire to say to my dad, I am not you: I do not define myself by you and your supposed values, I no longer get my ideas of right and wrong from you, I do not believe things just because you raised me to assume those ideas were right, I am not the person you think you raised, and in fact I am beginning to define myself by the ways in which I am not like you, because you are no longer someone I automatically want to emulate.