Ok so I like to consider myself all enlightened and worldly and a totally independent woman, akin to my soul sister Beyonce. But lately I’ve realized that I’m kind of none of those things when it comes to standing on a bus. Or a train. Or really doing anything that requires extra physical exertion during my daily commute while a man sits down and reads his paper all bragg-y and non-chivalrously. And I'm really starting to get on my nerves.
You see, I was raised knowing that, being a girl, I could pretty much do anything a guy could do, plus some. Like alright, a guy can probably, in general, lift heavier things than me. Unless it’s one of those hipster guys who has a moustache and wears ironic shirts around Brooklyn, in which case I can definitely lift heavier things than him and also not get on everyone’s nerves every waking moment of the day. Plus, I can totally have babies, theoretically, even though I haven’t proven that yet and everywhere I go people try to remind me that my clock is ticking and so I really should get on with it already.
So anyway, I already know that I’ve got this woman thing handled, and because of people like Gloria Steinem and Madonna, I can go both bra-less OR sport the cone bra and it doesn’t make me lesser than or better than or pretty much anything other than incredibly uncomfortable in both scenarios. So when I find myself getting irrationally annoyed with man strangers on a bus, I have very conflicted feelings about my frustration and then I get all confused, tired, hungry, and basically just take it out on some male co-worker for no reason at some point during the day.
See? Told you I was a woman.
But answer me this: is it possible to be both a feminist, without all of the weird, negative connotations attached to it, and also really want the 25 year old guy in a suit more expensive than everything I own to get up and offer me his seat on a crowded train?
No? Yes? I need answers, people!
Perhaps it’s the years of realizing that I (or some other woman) am usually the one who offers my seat to the elderly person or pregnant woman on public transportation. And then the guilty guy next to me does the half get-up that he feels obligated to charade for all to see once he realizes that he was a complete a-hole for not doing this in the first place.
So then obviously I do the polite thing and decline while secretly judging him for the rest of the ride and feeling superior for my selflessness. I mean, duh.
But if I was truly playing the equal-but-equal card, I should be no less inclined to get up off my keister than Gordon Gekko over there and not think twice about it, right? Is it possible to demand equality but also want the guy to sometimes hold the door for me and offer his seat to the ladies?
Is it insulting? Am I over-thinking this? Is it lunchtime yet? I’m exhausted.
Help me out here, what do you think?