I Torment Myself When I’m Bored

15 03 2010

My roommate has a cough right now- a really loud, hacking cough, and I am an insomniac. So tonight, I opted to take my sleeping pills and let the two impulses battle things out. I needed to find some way to amuse myself while waiting for the drugs to take effect. All of this is a long explanation of why I found myself browsing through bumper stickers on Facebook tonight.

I used to love the Bumper Sticker application. Really, really love it. And then I had my feminist awakening, and a lot of those stickers started to bug me (more than the usual conservative/sappy/Twilight-obsessed ones). So I have not looked through bumper stickers in a very long time. I know the few funny ones are usually not worth the constant irritation of the others, like having sand in your bathing suit. But tonight, I’m tired and not wholly in my right mind (thank you, pills!) so I thought it might be amusing.

Yeah, right.

Yes, yes, I know, it’s a very sweet little thing, isn’t it? Rhetorical question. Correct answer is: NO. There are a couple things that irritate me about this.

I really don’t like putting “others” below “Jesus.” This is just way too close, in my mind, to putting religion (the organized, bureaucratic kind) above service to others, which is what religion is all about. This is too reminiscent of putting the “Jesus” that condemns abortion above the pregnant woman who can’t afford another baby, and the “Jesus” who requires MAN+WOMAN above the loving, happy gay couple who just want an official marriage- intolerant, hateful, and unkind.

And the Y- oh, the Y. You last. Aside from my inner grammatician cringing (You last for days? My goodness. You, last unicorn! Come over here!), this worries me because men and women experience this message so differently. The bumper sticker was uploaded by a man- presumably: the name given was Michael- and I can well understand why so many men might need to hear this. Put yourself and your privilege last. Give others priority, at least some of the time. Accept that there is something out there more important than you and your needs. I know that these are valuable messages, ones which I wish I could hammer into the skull of some of the men I know.

But for women, this is precisely what’s been beaten into our heads all our life. Serve everyone else at the table first before you sit down and eat. Help your family members before you do something you want to do. Put the wants of your boyfriend, your husband, your children before your own needs. For the love of all that’s holy, this is one bit of the patriarchy so freaking ubiquitous, even those glossy bugaboos, the women’s magazines, fight against it. You do not have to be last all the time. You are an important person, never mind what the powers that be believe.

Why does there have to be a hierarchical relationship between those three things? If you read the New Testament, Jesus says- is saying throughout- that service to others is service to him. Why must it be a vertical line? Couldn’t it be a horizontal line, putting everything into balance- serve your god, yourself, and others equally? Or a triangle- service to yourself and others equally supporting service towards your god?

Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s just an acronym on a little slice of cyberspace. I bet you, though, that you could find plenty of acronyms in cyberspace that don’t uphold oppressive norms of religion and gender. Look! Some about cars!

ATV- Automatic Trespassing Vehicle

FORD- Fix or Repair Daily

SAAB- Sad Attempt At Beauty

AUDI- Always Unsatisfied Driving It

CHEVY- Cannot Have Expensive Vehicle Yet

HYUNDAI- How Your Usual Nerd Drives An Import

SATURN- Seems Almost Tolerable, Unfortunately Really Not

And because my roommate has stopped coughing, I am having way too much fun with this, and I just misspelled ‘coughing’ three times while typing, it is now high time I should go to bed.

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