Once upon a time in a faraway land, humans were humans and binaries were not the focal point of our entire existence.
No seriously. If you look at any standard Cosmo, Seventeen, or [insert the name of basically any other magazine that has ever been dedicated to a female audience], you will find quizzes that lead you to some grand revolutionary discovery about your desirability, whether or not your bf is cheating on you or how to know if you should make the first move. All it takes is checking a couple of boxes and viola!
Our entire formal existence is structured through these either/or relationships – our minds have been trained to push out all grey areas, creating an uncomfortable anxiety when something cannot be easily placed into black or white. Try filling out a form with a gendered identity that is not male or female. Or if you can't tell if person x is a guy or a girl at the gym so you casually stalk them until you can figure it out. What about a thought you might have, an opinion on something – if you can’t shout out OMG YES I LOVE BIEBER’S “LOVE YOURSELF” on impulse, people are like, “It’s simple Bob, do you like the fucking song or not?” But what if Bob isn’t sure? What if he needs to listen to it a few times more? What if he hasn’t figured out where on the spectrum between OMG TRUE LOVE and THIS SOUNDS LIKE WHINING CATS his personal investment in this song is yet?
I’m getting off track here because seriously, what if you can’t stand everything Bieber stands for but like, that song is mad dope….
So binaries: about a billion years ago, single cell organisms starting banging into each other and discovered they could make new miniature single cell babies. Cool stuff. Nine hundred and seventy-five million years later, sexual dimorphism erupted among the primates. Essentially, the term infers the physiological differences between male and female species. Like roosters versus hens – one has the giant red comb thing on their heads to compensate for their inability to pop out eggs. All species have different variations of sexual dimorphism, usually growing more noticeable as the creature reaches puberty. Here is where the right-wing conservative screams “See a man is a man and a woman is a woman – there’s nothing in between” but I’m going to shove a gag in said individual’s mouth and put that item back in its box, cause that’s not the point of this rant. Essentially, this time period is the originating moment when things started getting boxed off into categories.
Fast forward to around two hundred thousand years ago – living in roaming bands traversing across Africa, nomadic groups consisted of under fifty individuals who all ate, hunted, fucked, slept, raised kids and traveled as one unit. Polygamy wasn’t a thing, only because that word circumferences another invention, the constitution of marriage [which in turn was invented to align with another lovely invention, religion. My, what brilliant inventors we are]. What I mean is it wasn't a big deal - it was completely natural to fuck a whole bunch of different people at once. Over the next bunch of thousands of years, homo sapiens evolved to allow for environmental shifts. As I mentioned in my last post [angsty humans], land grew to be exceedingly valuable as humanity discovered they could grow shit if the conditions were right. So, people started killing each other in an effort to claim or defend the lands, which allowed their village the most successful chance of survival. In the way that evolution does, dudes grew stronger and fiercer to fill the warrior roles. In addition, the agriculture industry was booming and, unfortunately, most women did not have the strength to wrestle giant tools and oxen all day. Chicks were still super badass, but based on this strength variance and the strong chance they were preggos or nursing babies, women’s economic contribution kind of flat-lined in the eyes of society.
This is the millennia in which the majority of biological foundations regarding gender and sexual behavior developed, as well as the beginning of the class based systems, socio-economic diversity, xenophobia, racism, class-ism, elitism, narcissism – basically all the “isms.” One miserable day sometime during this thousand-year window, some dude discovered that if he shoved around his 90-pound girlfriend, she couldn’t really do much about it and told his friends. They tried it on their girlfriends and only one of the gang was stabbed. The odds looked good, and thus the institutionalized repression of women’s autonomy took off. Towards the latter end of this thousand-year chunk, monotheic religions were all the rage. Considering the blatantly sexist, racist and repressive content forged deep within pretty much every rule, lesson or story in religious texts, I imagine the dude who beat up his girlfriend is a good place to look for the source of these tales. It also happened to be a neat little tactic to make everyone do what they are told, cause essentially they were terrified of an imaginary ghost who ran around threatening to burn you and all your children forever and ever. Oh, and sex. If chicks had sex they were disgusting and ruined – they'd probably give you horrific STDs or follow you around desperately for the rest of your life. Dudes were lucky, they had magical dicks that needed practice before they could settle down and relax a bit with one vag [or, at least, less vag’s].
To continue our history lesson - around 2,000 BCE – accumulating wealth and land had been of the utmost importance for quite some time. To pass on this wealth, men needed to guarantee paternity of their kids. Therefore, female chastity and obedience grew vitally important. Chicks had to possess these qualities to have any marketable skills on Tinder. At this point, fertility is basically, the only valuable asset a woman possesses. If a woman couldn’t get pregnant, there were quite literally laws allowing the husband to get rid of her, for she obviously manipulated him into the trappings of a miserable marriage without informing him she was unable to have children. Naturally [since all women are sly and manipulative] she must have known she was infertile before they married [even though she had no way of knowing considering her chastity was like, that one valuable thing about her] so poor infertile Lucy gets banished from the community. More shit happens, time goes on, Jesus shows up and tells people that orgies are weird and bad, that Eve realized how disgusting the human body was when she ate an apple talking to a snake, and that men can be forgiven for cheating on their bitches but the world will never forgive a woman for the same act even if Jesus can.
I’m growing tired of this lengthy explanation, but there are a couple of serious and important details left. There is a point to all this, and not like the whole “I promise this story gets good but never does” kind.
800 CE this dude named Charlemagne gets crowned by some pope and together they develop this master plan in cahoots with Jesus, claiming he’d forgotten a couple of rules in the bible and he was just going to add them now. These included: no polygamy, no divorce, kids born out of wedlock are illegitimate heirs, no incest, etc. Suddenly, the girl versus boy game had transformed into a breeder’s paradise: the genetic, economic, and social standing of a woman defined her worth. With one mighty hand, Charlemagne virtually guaranteed that his enemies would not be able to build a mighty kingdom to overthrow him, for all the kids born to random villagers he would plow from time to time would have no social or economic legitimacy. Basically, they wouldn’t be taken seriously. Insert concept of shame that bleeds through our histories to this very day.
So chicks, once again, are traded like cattle by whoever’s father could pay the highest price and be of acceptable social standing. The fascinating thing is, the whole concept of winning your hand in marriage boils down to this point. The only way to bypass the socioeconomic line that splits “acceptable” and “unacceptable” suitor into two categories was through a heroic feat. Think of every story you’ve ever heard of. This sums it up nicely:
"So, logically, our orphan-prince-loser-type guy has to save the hot girl, and usually does it by beating up the bad guy. He solves the super secret conspiracy to overthrow the government, or destroys the evil space ship, or has a sword fight to the death where his ear gets hacked off and he barely lives. Shit blows up. People die. The bad guy ultimately loses. The crowd goes wild. And our former orphan-prince-loser guy is now a capital-H Hero. And what do heroes get as their reward for saving the universe? Duh. The hot girl. What I just described to you is loosely the plot of practically every story you’ve ever been told — from Star Wars to Iron Man to Good Will Hunting to Super Mario Bros". [source here]
This political, backward concept is still deeply ingrained into the root of our society today.
When I was a little girl, my parents made sure to tell me how wonderful and amazing and pretty and funny I was. The first time a boy took me on a date, I expected him to pay. The first time I dated someone, I made him wait for months to "claim his prize" – mostly because I was scared he would think I was easy and lose interest in me if he didn’t invest enough time first -instead of going with it when I felt like it like the horny angsty teens we all were. On Valentine's day I always expected flowers. The first time a boy hurt me, my Mother screamed bloody murder about how he was a “Useless piece of shit who doesn’t deserve you, never bought you things, never adored you with everything he has and clearly wouldn’t have traded the whole world for me. You are better than that, you deserve someone who idolizes you.” I continued judging the health of my future relationships by this measure for a long, long time. We must be good, he bought me that [insert inanimate object here] a few weeks ago. Women, myself included, take satisfaction out of “how hard they made him work”. Think about it, how many times do you hear an endearing story of some happy couple where somewhere along the lines she says, “I thought he was super weird/douchey/whatever else, but he worked so hard for so long, I couldn’t help but fall for him”.
Yes, I think girls should be treated well. Yes, I want my future partner(s) to adore and value me. Yes women have lots to worry about such as whether or not walking home instead of taking an uber will result in a horrific abduction involving rape and murder - BUT HELLO PEOPLE, SHOULDN'T DUDES BE TREATED THE SAME? What makes us women so fucking entitled?
[actually, I just basically explained why so asking the question is just a reminder that we're all idiots]
My parents and grandparents grew up in an age where men always paid on dates, where women [mostly] were stay-at-home moms for at least a part of their life, men were in charge and women needed protection because they were delicate, fragile little flowers blah blah. As a collective society, working towards this idea that all humans are equal [**gasp, whaaaaaat**] we constantly hear radical feminism enraged by the audacity of men who don't treat them like goddesses, but when I watch my friends with their boyfriends, many of them treat "their men" like property.
It's like, being nice to the person you care about is unfathomable. There's all this banter and sass and mind control to make sure you don't get fucked over. I've done it. All my friends have done it. That whole "have him wrapped around my pinky finger" claim -there's a sense of pride, a misconstrued notion that having your partner whipped is actually a sign of their devotion to you. Um, what? You fell in love with them because of who they are as a person, and now you want to turn them into a shell of a person who's only point in life is to wait on you hand and foot? It's that chick you knew in high school who posted a selfie of her glamorous ring on Instagram with the insufferable caption "He liked it so he put a ring on it". Do you know how utterly self-absorbed and insulting that sounds? Like, no big deal guys but I'm fucking awesome and my partner is so lucky I put up with him. I'm getting outrageously riled up right now even thinking about it.
May I suggest having a genuine conversation with your partner? What's wrong with gushing out all the gooey, mushy unicorn and rainbow sparkled adoration you have for your dude, instead of pretending you are indifferent or that it's a fucking honour to allow him into your presence. Everyone is so terrified of being rejected or appearing weak that we've turned into a generation of fuck boys and basic bitches, wearing less and going out more, tryna' get lit. Bae is arm candy and that's about it. How exhausting.
Fam, if we want to be treated as equals, we need to stop looking at ourselves like prizes. It's simple. We're so focused on the differences that these binary categories divide us into, we stop looking at the things we have in common. Like being humans, and having feet and shit. Or god forbid, having feelings. Next time you go on a date and he doesn't offer to pay right away, do me a favor: stop that voice that whines "wow he expected me to pay for myself? He must be a total dick" and try to comprehend why on earth he should [and dudes, I am NOT condoning being dickheads and using this sentiment to justify being cheap or manipulative]. Stop lamenting that chivalry is dead. Being nice to people is different. Chivalry belongs in the 16th century next to prince charming who murdered 100 soldiers to win fair maiden's heart & virginity.
Just be nice to your dude. Maybe he wants flowers too.