I know, I know. “Why didn’t you post anything different last week? Was it something I said? Are we on a break?”
(In reponse to the last question, no, we were not on a break. Don’t go sleeping around with other blogs, now!)
There were two very good reasons that I have taken this long to post something. The first one is that I had two exams back to back this week and was cramming my cranium with every ounce of organic chemistry and anatomy and physiology possible. If you have any questions on the respiratory system or enantiomers, I totally have you covered.
The second slightly more relevant reason is that I had a topic of discussion about which I had no words. Well, that’s actually a lie. I had many words, but none of them were altogether coherent or appropriate for normal conversation. I think I have moved past the seething-with-frustration and now am sitting comfortably in active-discussion mode.
A man by the name of Matt Forney posted an article on his eponymous blog site entitled “The Case Against Female Self-Esteem”. Among many, many, many other things, Mr. Forney makes many bold statements about women and their “disillusioned belief” that they need self-esteem, and that the world would be a better place if women accepted their place in society as beings that want to be dominated and want to have their self-esteem wounded by men.
The response article is not much better. Basically, he claims that the responses he has received from the online community have proved his point because “confident and self-assured people don’t get rattled by blog posts”. All of the people that disagreed with him so violently are merely showing that nearly all women are clinical narcissists.
My response to this is simply No. No, Mr. Forney, we have not proven your point. You have simply proven mine. And I thank you for your efforts to move American thought forward, or backwards, or whatever direction you were intending when you published this digital gem.
The key here is that Mr. Forney and his perspective of women, their bodies, and how they perceive themselves places all of the blame and expectation on women. Apparently our egos are inflated from “propaganda that artificially boosts [our] self-esteem”. Just which types of “propaganda” do you find out there, Mr. Forney? The completely realistic fashion models and perfect bodies of media fame? I know I feel so much better about my self-esteem when the media is glorifying body types that are unrealistic or unhealthy.
Nothing that the majority of women have accomplished counts, in his book — a college degree, a career, nothing is a worthy achievement in this, the man’s world. He neglects to realize that his original argument lies in the environment that women are exposed to their whole lives. Ignoring the hot, steaming pile of double standards, his central argument lies in the concept of women returning to a sense of “natural femininity”.
“Insecurity is the natural state of woman”. WHAT? There is a very distinct reason that explains why this is assumed by men like Mr. Forney. And that reason happens to be that it is influenced heavily by dominant social beliefs, specifically male dominant social beliefs. I would hazard a guess and say that Mr. Forney would agree with this, seeing as he expects women to fit into his aforementioned “man’s world”. That is precisely why it is considered natural — because the people who are making the claims at all fit into this dominant category of thinking. Frankly, I can’t understand how anyone tries to define natural femininity, especially someone who does not have the credentials for such a venture.
Mr. Forney finished his reply blog post saying that nothing is going to stop him from speaking “the truth.” While I have established that one’s definition of truth is very different from another’s, in a way he is right. The “truth”, however, is that what he writes and supports is exactly what makes female self-esteem so improbable. The ideology that he presents, while it may sound extreme, casts a shadow over many areas of society. It is extreme in its delivery and concentration, but ultimately this is a return to a philosophy that we thought was far behind us.
So I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one, Mr. Forney. Have a good day.