Monday, June 16, 2008

My non-feminist moment of the weekend

While on my way to my grandparent's house to visit my grandpa for Father's Day, my sister and I were talking in the car, wondering if my uncle was going to be there.

My sister: I wonder of [uncle] still eats all of his meals at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
Me: Hah, does [longtime live-in girlfriend] not know how to cook?
(pause)
My sister: You mean does [uncle] not know how to cook?

There it is. I assumed that my uncle's girlfriend does all of the cooking and that my uncle does not, also, I implied that he isn't responsible for his own well-being when he is an adult and clearly should be able to cook a meal for himself.

As egregious as my assumption was, my sister did the right thing and called me out on it. She reminded me that although sexism invades our daily lives, casting shadows over even the most well-intentioned, informed, and even self-identifying feminists, we can acknowledge the sexism that escapes our own mouths and minds and work against it. To let it go unchecked would have allowed that bit of sexism to stay alive and grow, as opposed to calling it out and squashing it right away.

We have to hold ourselves accountable for our participation in the systematic and cultural patriarchy that exists in the world. If we can't even live up to our mistakes and cultural biases, how can we expect others to do the same?

So here's to my sister, who pointed out my own assumptions and didn't allow that sexism to exist in our midst.

6 comments:

Amelia said...

Cheers to your sister.

I had several non-feminist moments last week. I had two British soccer coaches stay with me while they did a soccer camp that my mom set up.

We took them to Hooters, and I went along with it when my sister explained it as being a "very American thing" that they had to experience. I failed to disagree, or voice my displeasure with the idea of the place.

Shame. I kept thinking feminist thoughts just couldn't bring myself to say anything about them to these guys that I had just met.

Grrr.

Kari said...

Yay for me!

Lindsay said...

And they could have been just as uncomfortable and didn't want to say anything to offend their American hosts.

Amelia said...

hahaha, Actually, Lindsay, I'm pretty sure they were really excited about it...unless they were just really good actors. They kept talking about it for hours after we left. And they asked to go back several times.

Lindsay said...

Well then. I guess that's not the case. There's a similar restaurant in my hometown called The Tilted Kilt. The billboards show drawings of women in belly-bearing white shirts and short plaid kilts. My brother and my sister-in-law went there for a drink once to see what it was like, and when my sister-in-law made it through the first set of doors and saw that the hostess and waitresses were dressed exactly like the billboard, she turned straight around and tried to leave, but my brother said they saw her walk in and turn around, so they might as well go in and have one drink to be polite.

Renee said...

Good for you sister. Challenging sexism is hard work and even the most dedicated of us slip up from time to time.