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Nevermind History; Shave Your Legs!

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Message Vivian Taylor
By V. Gina Mawnawlog

After listening to the Occupation Radio (formerly known as Occupy Tampa Radio) interview with Occupy Women of Tampa facilitator, Vivian Taylor, and reading some responses to it, I feel compelled to respond (found here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/occupytampa/2011/12/03/ladies-night-with-vivian ). I want to start by thanking Atticus, that hunk of man who can sop up my gravy with his biscuit any day. Sure, he made repeated references to her appearance and sexuality, thereby degrading her to object status. What was he supposed to do, reference her PhD? Her activism? I'm already bored. These feminist killjoys need to realize that they're lucky to even be able to speak in an open forum. Women in Saudi Arabia and North Korea would be grateful.

Regarding OWT, I don't need to band together with a group of man-hating, non-shaving, sexless females and "female-bodied" individuals to feel like my voice is heard. I'm a guys' girl. For the record, I know what Taylor and Co. would say about women over 18 being referred to as "girls." They'd say is the relentless infantilization of women in our society negates their views, thereby stripping them of any political power. Lighten up! What are the consequences of infantalizing women? Does it encourage sexual predators to victimize children because the line between women and children is blurred? Does it make them rape women because infantalization makes them appear helpless and innocent? Does it make men take women less seriously? Of course not, silly girls.

It's true that the Occupy Tampa General Assembly is predominantly facilitated by white, heterosexual men. Female under-representation in the GA is perfectly normal; it mirrors the rest of American society. We don't have many female leaders in the political sphere or in GA because women don't want the extra pressure. We're already pressured enough with culturally-constructed unrealistic ideals of beauty; balancing work, family, and domestic life; and the lifelong pursuit of the perfect pair of shoes. It has nothing at all to do with the historical devaluing of women's ideas and "women's work" that has resulted in the suppression of female voices in history, politics, and culture. It has nothing to do with the self-loathing instilled in women by the media's unrealistic portrayal of us. It has nothing to do with women being oppressed by other subtle societal constraints and norms. Straight, white men facilitate the GA because they're better at it and because they have more free time. If you're too busy, get a sitter!

At a company meeting last week, my managers assured me that everyone is afforded the same consideration when promotions are made. They insisted that the whole management team is male because male applicants were more qualified than female ones. It has absolutely nothing to do with women being traditionally ignored in the classroom, and therefore learning passively versus their active male counterparts, leading to passive behavior in other spheres. It has nothing to do with society's devaluing of domestic labor, resulting in bias against women with children. Plus Dick, Bob, Steve, and Brandon would look ridiculous in these Hooters outfits. Who would serve the customers if women were promoted? Our customers rely on our ability to serve their chicken with a side of sex. Don't look at me like that. It's not degrading if you consciously choose to do it. I am liberated from deeply ingrained cultural tropes that locate my value in my (hetero)sexuality. I am liberated every day by looking sexy and serving men for money. Occasionally, I work as a prostitute on weekends to further empower myself. How else will I make up for the unequal gender pay gap? According to the Census Bureau, in 2009 in Florida, women lost $16 billion to unequal pay. I, for one, am working hard to get men to tip me more, take me to dinner, and buy me things to make up for it. Work out. Get a boob job. Shoot some Botox. If you spend the time and money to actually appeal to a man, then who cares if there's a wage gap? He'll be buying you everything anyway.

Women can't be so sensitive. If you're paid less, then compensate in other ways. Try shaving your legs. Wear lipstick and heels. Take those drinks you're offered in bars even though he's going to follow you around for at least an hour afterward. Go to dinner with that gross guy from accounting. Take responsibility for your own destiny instead of letting a thousand years of cultural development determine how you're perceived and treated.

 

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I'm a vegan, a feminist, and a writer.
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Nevermind History; Shave Your Legs!

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