Seriously - I am a massively sheltered person. By dint of my white, upper-middle class upbringing and privilege, I am able to cocoon myself from a lot of the rougher aspects of what it means to be female right now, in this culture. I don't have to put up with anyone telling me to my face that I'm not as smart as men, or deal with animosity for my progressive views. My interaction with the outside world is carefully controlled, and I can choose to ignore most things that do not please me, assuming I wish to be that disassociated from the issues that too many people deal with every moment of every day.
Heck, even my little corner here is pretty safe - I only get a few assholes every now and then.
Which is why I read. I need to know what's happening in the fight for all humans' rights, large and small. I want to know who the assholes are, and I want to know who's fighting them. I surf and surf, bouncing from a wonderful beginner's community like racism_101 (moderated; posting for members only, but I encourage anyone dipping a toe into discussions of race to check it out), and dive through links upon links, coming across incredibly fun, serious, insightful, heart-breaking, and enlightening sites and blogs that I did not know about before. And all of them increase my vocabulary in the fight against people who want to maintain the status quo, no matter how it disadvantages everyone but them. This delights me.
The thing about fighting for anything that has staunch opponents is that you need answers and facts to come back against the false accusations and hate that gets flung at people who want change (change is scary - we get that, but we're bringing it anyway). Take feminism - I'm very fond of feminism, personally, but there are some people out there who consider it responsible for the decline of civilization. This makes me sad.
(Actually, it makes me grind my teeth down to powder in a rage.)
But then, I find great blogs like Crimitism, and I'm in heaven. Smart, sane people who can laugh at the assholes! And so many great links - I want to know about these people. I end up reading for hours, and my language for protest grows again and again - there's no joy like finding the words to articulate the anger that you couldn't explain to someone in a way that they might understand (assuming they're reachable - some people are the equivalent of dinosaurs, and will never understand).
For an explanation about why it's so annoying when the group in power says "but we're oppressed, too!", check out The Shrub's Privilege in Action series - completely awesome. The PIA series covers all kinds of privilege, and gives words to the wordless frustration we feel when someone tries to take over our space - all other spaces are yours, why do you have to take this one, too? It's like a child grabbing all the cupcakes, even though they already have more than they could ever eat on their plate, because they're incensed that any other child might get one to themselves.
(I use cupcakes as a metaphor so much, I need to make a tag for them.)
I think this is part of the frustration and disgust I feel over sexism in advertising - on one level, it's just stupid, but on a second level, it's so fucking insulting. Like the Burger King mini-burgers ad - on one level, it's a silly ad about dumb pathetic guys getting chicks to look at them because chicks dig tiny cute stuff, but on another level, it's an insulting sexist ad about how women are so easily manipulated they'll fall for a guy, even if he does have tiny testicles, because tiny testicles are sooooo cute!.
If the really amazingly cute girls were only fawning over the burgers, I might let it go, but they're not. By the end of the ad, they're stroking the guy, staring admiringly at him, rubbing up against him, and generally behaving like they're going to kneel down and perform fellatio right there.
This is demeaning to both men and women - pretty much like those Axe body wash/cologne ads (by the way, is there any woman out there who actually thinks that stuff smells good? It produces an instant migraine in me, and I haven't met a person of the female persuasion yet who doesn't think all the scents Axe produces reek). It says men are so stupid, they'll actually buy a sack of mini-burgers in the hope that they'll be able to pick up women, and women are so stupid, they'll associate the cuteness of a burger with the guy holding it, and use that as a basis for fucking him.
I hate you so much, Burger King. Which is sad, because some of your previous ads amused me, and I kind of like that chemical lighter-fluid taste of your burgers (because I am very, very strange). I actually got why the "King" ads were amusing, and the creepy was slightly funny. But this crap is just off-putting.
Look, I know guys go through an insecure phase where they obsess over and at the same time hate, girls. Most guys get over it after their teenage years, but a significant minority seem to contract a virulent strain of misogyny that stays with them their whole life (and they all hang out on the internet). I just wish we didn't think enshrining this phase as "normal" guy behaviour was such a good idea. It leads to terrible things like a sex therapist advocating women submitting to sex with their husbands, whether they want to or not, and the idea that women's bodies are public property, to be condemned or felt up as the men around them see fit.
And if anyone wants to tell me that doesn't happen, I would like to point out that, as sheltered as I am, I have been felt up (back, breasts, buttocks, legs, arms) by numerous men who felt that they had the right to lay their hands on my body without my permission (I didn't even know half of them, and the other half were not close friends with touching rights). And what I've gone through is nothing - nothing! - compared to what other women have had to endure.
So I read - the more ammunition I have to pull out against people who insist that women just need to "deal" with having no say in how their bodies are treated, the happier I am. And if someone wants to call me a dirty man-hating feminist, well, saying it doesn't make it so. I will point out that I have a delightful husband who gets where I'm coming from, even if he does get mini-burgers from BK and wave them at me, saying "go on, squeal".
(He was amused by my expression, and was wise enough to stop before he ended up wearing the rest of that burger.)
And guys, if you want sex so badly you're willing to have it with a woman who doesn't want to fuck you, may I suggest that the answer to all your problems is in the palm of your hand?
Aaaaaah. There's nothing like starting the day with a good masturbation joke.