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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Feminist FTW! (For The Win)

So my daughter and I are World Of Warcraft players.  (Yes, we're gamer nerds, don't judge us.)  One of our favorite mother-daughter moments is to go into a "battle ground" where she's in charge of doing some serious damage and I'm in charge of healing people and we fight other players for honor points and bragging rights (oh, and to win or... something).  But we've been having trouble with the wireless connection lately, and it has affected her computer's ability to process the game fast enough and on multiple occasions disconnected.  I'm no computer guru, I can't explain what goes on with these things, but I do know that this didn't used to be a problem and it was brought to my attention that maybe some idiot around decided to tap into my wi-fi and get a little free internet for himself.  So, like most people would do, I decided that I may need to change the password.  The problem was, because I am no computer guru I have all too often relied on guru's around me (more specifically, dudes that know how to set up and fix computers), and when I first hooked up Hope with her own computer and wireless connection it was sometime in 2009 and I had help.  Since then I have lost that help so I'm sure you can imagine how frustrated I became when something as simple as going into one's wireless network to change the password somehow resulted in me successfully screwing up the entire setup.

Now, I don't know how to describe what happens to me in moments like these, but I go into some sort of world where I start ranting and raving out loud, and expletives are leaving my mouth without a second thought of who may be listening (Hope, most likely), and I'm going off about all kinds of craziness that gets on my nerves.  And it wasn't just that computers frustrate me because they somehow remind me of Math and send me into some sort of PTSD moment, it was that this should be a problem that is easily fixed and because I was not the one to install the thing, because I was not the one that regularly worked on the stupid thing whenever it went wrong, and because I no longer had the manual or any way to navigate through the unknown, I went off on my need to liberate myself from this bull shit and I need to fix this shit myself because "...who fucking needs a man?!  All they do is mess up my life anyway so... fuck this!  I'm going to replace this stupid shit with one I can install myself and know how the thing works and I won't have to call anyone to help me with the stupid thing!"  And at some point Hope shouted from the other room, "Maybe you need to call the Geek Squad?"  To which I'm sure she heard me reply something along the lines of, "I don't need to call the stupid Geek Squad!  I need get off my ass and do this myself!  I need to make sure that I don't need to call any of those idiots up in here because I live alone, damn it!  And if I'm going to be a woman living alone in this stupid world then I need to learn to do this my fucking self!"  And I got up and I grabbed my purse and I went to the door and as I was walking out Hope shouted: "Feminist For The Win!!!!"

It probably took me ranting to myself all the way to Best Buy, all the way back from Best Buy, and all the way until my new router and my new "network" was set up before I truly realized what she said right before I walked out the door.  "For The Win," or FTW, is something we often say in Battleground chat online.  Generally, when I play online with her, I use my priest character and I heal everyone.  There has been a few times where Hope has shouted, "Priest FTW!!!" as a compliment to me and my ability to keep the team alive, thereby allowing us The Win.  So I had to laugh knowing that she'd been sitting in the living room listening to my fiery diatribe about my independence and my need to do something as silly as install a new wireless router on my own to prove a point to myself -- I don't need a man.

Hope has no experience with "feminism" as we know it in the academic world.  And for those of you that haven't journeyed down that academic road either, your experience with "feminism" is probably limited to whatever the media has portrayed it as -- ugly women in combat boots that hate flowers and candy and anything romantic and may have a shed full of Craftsman tools from Sears.  And personally, even as one who has studied feminist theory at great length, I have never claimed to be a "feminist."  I am, however, a woman who is well aware that I am on my own here and well aware that I have been pegged by more than one person as "feminist."

I have been raising my child alone for 12 years, no man here.  I have trained in the Martial Arts and often jumped in the sparring ring with men just so I could learn how to destroy my attackers because, let's face it, 9 times out of 10 it's going to be a man.  I have fought my way into a solid business career in a world where I am often the one woman sitting at a conference table of men.  I have paid my own way, fixed my own toilets, snaked my own drains, taken out my own trash, opened my own stubborn jars, and learned to kill scary bugs all by myself because I have no man around to do it for me.  And I will tell you that in every single one of those times in my life where I had to "learn" to do that, at some point in the process I still had to have that conversation or diatribe with myself about my personal independence and that I don't need a man.  Why?  Not because I'm a man hater, not because I wouldn't have liked to have one around, but because life didn't seem to see a purpose in giving me one that knew how to be a good solid partner so I had to learn not to need one.  The fact that I am a woman, the fact that I am feminine, and I do these things to survive has somehow equated me to "feminist," not just in my daughter's mind, but in the minds of some others around me I'm sure.  I prefer to think of myself as a strong independent woman, you may even call me "liberated," if you like, but feminist... I will let it go as, like I said, the average individual hasn't truly studied feminism enough to know what that really means, but for the record I would like to say this:

If "feminist" in my daughter's mind means that I am a woman strong enough to do the job of both man and woman in one shot, then so be it.  I have no idea what her life has in store for her, but if it's anything like mine, then I hope she's a feminist by my her own standard too.  Feminist FTW!!!!

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