How can I talk about femininity and murdered women in the same breath?
It appears — due, no doubt, to some fault in my blaming skills — that some readers don’t know what I mean by “femininity.” Apparently it is assumed that I’m just talking about rhinestone lipstick and pink hairdos. However, the concept of femininity extends to the full set of unique behaviors performed by the sex class to appease its oppressor, where failure to appease has unfavorable repercussions. Among these behaviors is the tendency of women to marry men, and particularly, as in the case of the murdered Pakistani women to whom I allude in yesterday’s post, that women should be so submissive as to willingly become receptacles for whatever husband their fathers select.
My position is that the construct recognized as “femininity” represents the dominant social order’s successful attempt to otherize an entire class of people for the purpose of oppressing them. Because feminization is among the first steps taken to socialize children, and because it is so readily accepted, deeply internalized, and staunchly defended, it is the primary foundation of patriarchy.
Unlike the murdered Pakistani women, many Western women have privilege enough to repudiate femininity without suffering life-threatening consequences. My crazy idea is that they should if they can, because women cannot be liberated from men’s oppression until we are de-otherized.