Sometimes I think the biggest thing that puts people, especially women, off of feminism is — it requires constant critical engagement with the world, it requires that we unlearn that suspension of disbelief we are all taught since childhood. And once someone critically engages with their world all the time, once someone refuses to suspend their disbelief, that someone is branded a cynic.
And women are not supposed to be cynical, or in fact critically engaged with anything: we are supposed to be eternally sparkly-eyed and new, our arms open to the world. When we aren’t, it comes across as ANGER!! and BITTERNESS! and OMG WHO HURT YOU?!
My roommate was recently telling me how great her new boy toy is, and she knows he’s so great because, duh! He works with kids! … and my first thought was, “So did Jerry Sandusky.” Which of course I could not say aloud, because she would have then replied, “We can’t talk to you about anything! You’re such a cynic!”
I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact, I think cynicism can be good, that it can keep people informed and keep people safe.
Take this instance: the boy toy was, in fact, a creep (although not necessarily with kids; I don’t know for sure, and I hope not, but he did treat my roommate like shit).
On the other hand, with my new and improved high standards and super rigorous screening processes, I have not personally dated a creep in over two years.
I have also been known for having terrible luck and a self-destructive bent, so if I can avoid creeps by screening everyone through a very fine filter, there is promise for all women in that field of research.
(The fact that I have dated only one person in those two years, and she was also a woman, is hopefully irrelevant … although I often fear it isn’t.)