Science Made Me a Feminist

Well, actually, my mom inadvertently made me a feminist.  It was during the church picnic and I was four.  The boys all had their jeans on and I was wearing one of those sun dresses with the scrunchy elastic top that matched what she was wearing.  This totally sucked, because it meant that I had to "keep my dress nice" instead of running all over and kicking up dust and acting like a wild yahoo.  I argued that it wasn’t fair if the boys got to wear jeans and I didn’t.  I cried.  I refused to come out of my room until someone showed up with a bunch of dilly bars from Dairy Queen.  But all to no avail.  I had to wear the dress and behave myself.  Fie on that crap.

But that just seemed like church stupidity to me.  I had no idea how widespread the problem was until I was in third grade and a man came in to talk to us about science and he was telling us about some delicate electronic procedure where they needed a single eyelash to do something.  And then he said, "And we never use women’s eyelashes.  Can you guess why?"

None of us could.  And he said, "Because women wear mascara and the mascara can irreparably damage the equipment."

I raised my hand.  I said, "But what if I never wear mascara.  Can you use my eyelashes then?"

And he said, "No.  Women look pretty.  That’s their job.  You’ll wear mascara."

God, I should hunt that dude down and punch him in the arm.  Then I should ask him to kindly shove his heteronormative head up his sexist pig ass.

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8 thoughts on “Science Made Me a Feminist

  1. I’ve met plenty of assholes like that. They just pat you on the head and say "oh how cute" like you’re supposed to be flattered.It had been quite a while, but I encountered another one not long ago. He’s older and so could be considered old school, but I think he’s just an asshole. He just doesn’t hear what women say, he’s always patronizing and puts you down when you do say something relevant or ignores it all together until a man repeats it. Ahhhhh! He was going around talking to several people trying to start a conversation about hockey. Everyone should know by now that I love hockey and I never get to talk about it, golden opportunity! I commented and quoted some statistics and he said to me, "Women don’t know about hockey" and walked away. Mo–ther–fucker(I like to draw it out).I told the Other Half about it and he said, "Well it’s his loss. You do too know hockey. What an idiot." The Other Half has since then pointed the old guy out and repeated this story to other people with the addition of "Sara doesn’t like him he’s a pig." Score one for the Other Half.I have always worked in non-traditional, male dominated jobs. I have been told at various times that women just can’t do something or that ladies don’t do that. But for everytime someone told me that, someone else has stood up for me and given me a chance. Here is my motto–If you can’t deal with the fact that I am female, then you lose the advantage of my intelligence, skills and all my other assets that could have helped you. Fuck off, I’m going to your competitor.OK, I’m done with my rant now. Thank you.

  2. I think I left the Church and became a feminist all at once (unless this story indicates that I already was a feminist, and thus had to leave the Church once the incompatibly became known). I think I was about 8 years old when I told my father than I wanted to be a priest. He was very proud and very happy at the thought, yet he also corrected me and explained that I could be a nun. Why would I want to be a nun? What do they do? I wanted to wear the cool robes and stand behind the altar raising the food. I wanted to be the one everyone listened to during mass and talked to on their way out of the church after mass. I wanted to be just like my dad’s cousin, John (who is now a rather well-known priest in Chicago and in young adult ministry groups) – he lived a good life. When my father could provide no good reason (the only reason he probably even attempted to provide was that "men are priests, women are nuns") and no good explanation for the unfair division of religious duties, I no longer felt welcome in church.I know some men who wear mascara.

  3. Not often. I’m a big fan of eyeliner, but not mascara… Hmm. You may be on to something, Lee.Professor, I know. And it’s not like I was in third grade in the 1920s. Men were wearing mascara. I guess people who liked Ziggy Startdust weren’t allowed to be scientists either.Saraclark, rant all you want.

  4. 8th grade. My Introduction to Physical Science teacher handed out a black box and asked us if anyone could figure out what was in it. No one did except for me. He then proceeded to tell the class that I had to have gotten the answer from D— (my male lab partner) because "there is no way a girl could solve the problem."I was pissed; so was D–.Next day, D— put mercury in Mr. B’s water. Yes, I know. That was really bad. BUT, it was so great to have a guy be such a feminist, too. I have never forgotten how that felt and prove Mr. B wrong every day. Bastard. Motherfucker (sara, I like to say it in syllables, too).

  5. See, and that’s what I try to impart to the yahoos that hang out here. Being a feminist is fun and gratifying and you get to stick it to a lot of insufferable fucktards. Who wouldn’t want in on that?

  6. Wow. I normally associate heteronormativity with society’s general expectation that straight people should get married and have kids. But, women’s purpose in life is to be pretty? That’s heteronormativity on crack.

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