Posted by: hellonhairylegs | December 22, 2008

I Call Bullshit.

I have no doubt Eleanor Roosevelt was an amazing woman, but I can’t agree with her most famous quote “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Yes they can.

They create a climate where women are never good enough. We have to remind ourselves everyday that, in the words of Naomi Wolf, “we as women are trained to see ourselves as cheap imitations of fashion photographs, rather than seeing fashion photographs as cheap imitations of women.”

Add into this the constant harassment that results from being female, rape, the wage gap and the very language we use. Intellectually I know that women are not inferior to men, but there is a hell of a lot of emotional baggage that I have to deal with to really believe it.

This holds true for LGBT folk, people of colour and all the oppressed groups I can think of. We grew up in a world that seems bent on making us feel inferior and it takes real action on the part of the oppressed to deconstruct and refute that.

(And don’t even get me started on the “equal but different” crap that could be renamed as “we think you’re better at inferiority than we are, and we’re better at being dicks, so we’re just gonna call that equal.”)

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Responses

  1. Our Eleanor may not have been 100% spot on with that quote, so here is one that rings home with me

    “We Women are Alot Like teabags,
    You don’t know how strong we are
    until you put us in Hot water”

  2. I agree with Hellon. That quote always seemed like a nice sentiment a first glance, but it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Its corollary, “if someone else ever makes you feel inferior, you must have consented to it”, is pretty horrific. Lots of people can succeed in making you feel like shit for being unfortunate enough to be born a woman – the tough work of building your sense of self back should not be so easily dismissed.

  3. It’s also a really odd and unhelpful use of the word consent. Considering how much abuse of women, and other groups, is justified by the idea that they ‘consented’ to it, this makes me really uncomfortable.


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