Welcome back to WWDTAOL, my new series on What We Don’t Talk About Out Loud. This is my series in which I can explore all the things that don’t get said in polite society and how we would be lost without the unwritten standards our society holds up. In this post, I’ll be springing off the last post and my example of it being vastly women who asked me about my reproductive choices. When we talk about the patriarchy and how the man keeps us down, well, there’s an unspoken addendum that there will always be women who are desperate to hold up the patriarchy as well.
Before I get too deep into the weeds, I want to mention that I won’t be talking about nonbinary and/or genderfluid folks because the recognition that they exist is fairly new and I don’t know how they fit into the patriarchy. My instinct would be to say they don’t, but I know people. I am sure there are some NB/genderfluid people who also hold up the patriarchy in some way or other. Anyway, I’m limiting myself to men and women for the purpose of this post on gender determinism and sexism.
In reading my advice columns, I run across certain responses from women towards other women that are sexist in nature and depressingly common. One. The whole children thing I mentioned above. Almost everyone who questioned me when I was in my twenties was a woman, which surprised me at the time. Another big area is looks. Women are mean to other women about how they dress, how much makeup they do/don’t wear, how much they weigh, etc.
Again, I’d like to stress that I know guys do this as well. The point of this post is to note how many women buy into those same toxic beliefs. With the kids thing, I had hoped it was a relic of an older time (nineties/aughts). Sadly, women who are currently in their twenties report that they still get the same pressure. Doing a quick Google, I see that there 15.4% of women age 45 to 50 (my age) do not have children. Honestly, that’s higher than I thought because of how constant the child beat is smashed into my face in popular culture.
One of the reason I find this issue interesting is because I’ve felt very much not like a women all my life. I’ve never been interested in traditionally girly things. Here’s a long list of things that I eschew. Cooking, sewing, makeup, fashion, shopping, weddings, and children. I don’t like rom-coms, romantic movies, or basically romance in general. I did play with dolls, but mostly to make them have sex with each other. I much preferred stuffed animals. I hate pink and other pastels, and black is my favorite color.