I’m a sexist

http://www.flickr.com/photos/girlzoot/4601845036/

When my mom watches Angela Merkel on television, she always says something like “She is absolutely brilliant to come so far- as a woman!” or “Look, how great she’s dealing with all these guys! She’s a woman, and still, they all seem to bend over with respectfulness!”

I always found it kind of amusing how she points out Merkel’s femaleness all the time. Kind of backwards, eh? I was always like “My generation doesn’t even think in those dimensions anymore! Why would a woman not become chancellor of Germany?? What do you mean, how else should they treat her?”, trying to make her feel silly.

Well, mom, this along with when you pointed out that I did not understand The Unbearable Lightness of Being when I first read it at age 14, are the two times in my life you were right and I was not 😉

I admit it: My rejection of feminism as redundant and at times even counterproductive was very immature.

Studying critical psychology nudges the perspective you take on your life into a new angle. At the moment, I ask myself often how societal factors influenced my life path and my personality, so essentially my whole identity. One of those societal factors that I frequently stumble across is sexism.

Sexism is clearly present in my family, my education, my peers and the media that I consume: My dad thinks being emotional and caring are weaknesses, and my mom can’t truly forgive herself for not acquiring the same academic achievements as he did (disregarding her role as the glue that holds our family together); my (female!) maths teacher called me a “girl” as an insult, when I made it clear that I found relationships more important than academic achievements; having an opinion about politics made me stand out more among my peers than having an eating disorder; and don’t even get me started on the media.

So, no wonder I turned out to be a terrible sexist:

I look at a girl with straightened hair and elaborate make-up, and I naturally assume that she’s less intelligent than a fuzzy haired chick with ugly glasses.

It confuses me big time when a guy seems to know that decency is more than holding a door open for a girl. And if he even acts according to my understanding of decency, I secretly wonder if he’s gay.

I feel like I’m wasting time by using body lotion. Yes. Body lotion. Waste of time. I should be reading.

I can’t admit to my love for the color pink. While the publicly visible part of my closet is gender-neutral colored, my socks, pjs and underwear are all pink- so everything you don’t see. Some of them even have cupcakes on them. C u p c a k e s.

I can open a beer bottle in at least three different ways that don’t involve a bottle opener, and I have the sense of humor of a teenage boy, who can’t help laughing when someone’s name sounds remotely like his primary sexual organ. That is much easier for me to admit than the fact that tea cup pigs make me squeal with delight and I can braid my hair into a French braid without any help.

And all that is, because I was raised to believe that femininity is weak. Which is, clearly, bullshit and why feminism still makes sense. 

Of course we’ve left the bra burning times behind us. I really appreciate a good bra, I couldn’t even run without one. And if it wasn’t for mascara, I wouldn’t know that I have eyelashes. I like having eyelashes. And, bitch, please- how much fun are dresses and shoes??

But I also suffered from bulimia nearly half of my life, because I thought I couldn’t be happy without fitting into a certain body outline.  That was truly unemancipated.

I wanted to study something that involves natural sciences, because I thought my- quite typically female- qualities of being empathetic, nurturing and eloquent wouldn’t be enough to prove that I’m a clever girl.

And I still make weird excuses when I say that I don’t want to be a mom, because I secretly think that being a mom would distract me from the “important things in life”. How messed up is that?! That’s like sexism 2.0, right?

As long as there’s girls like me out there that think they can only be taken seriously if they deny their femininity, feminism is still necessary.  I promise to be a better feminist in the future and will decorate my first office with flower prints in all shades of pink out of principle. 

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Running

Marvel at my amazingness. I run. I’m a runner. I’m this close to actually buying one of those really tight running pants- not because I think I’ll look good in them (I  d r e a d  seeing my behind in those), but because I actually need them. Loose pants give you carpet burn between the thighs. Did you know that?? I always thought those tight panted runners were only showing off their amazing runner butts, but there seems to be a point to sports gear! I’m humbled by the realization of my own ignorance.

However, if you’re a total, complete, perfect couch potato like I was four months ago, and you feel like changing that, I highly recommend following this running podcast. It got me safely to running 6k four times a week and I’m still going and loving it! Yes that’s right. I’ve become one of those people, that you – if you’re not a runner – consider hypocrites, because they state that they love running. Not the outcome of it, nor the gear, but the running part of running. I swear, I do, though.

This is how I start…
running1

And this is how I end…running2

The trick is to stop, when you start looking like this. If you stop early enough, your brain never realizes, that putting on your running shoes is a threat of exhaustion and pain. Heehee. Totally tricked my brain. I’m smarter than my brain. Brain, you’re a loser. Mnaaaahaaaa!

My private parts are leaving facebook

I won’t share my blog posts on facebook anymore. To get notice when I post new things, you can make use of the “follow me- weee!” button on the right side of this page (is it the right? I suffer from left-right-confusion. Yes. That’s a thing!!!). Then, you will get annoying e-mails e v e r y single time I barf up a new piece of nuisance (self-depricating much? Mnaaaw, must be those days of the month…).

Why, you might ask. I don’t really have an answer to that. I just feel weird about my blog posts piling up on my facebook profile.

However, you are very welcome to share posts that you like on fb, or just like the shit out of me. Every share and like makes my winning of the Nobel prize for literature much more probable (or for peace. I’d take peace, too.). Which will make me rich and famous, which will make me buy you a drink, when we meet and you’re like “Hey, I shared your blog once!”. So, everybody wins (eventually).

And this is how I imagine myself winning the Nobel prize:

nobel prize

Friendship

friends

One thing I discovered over the last year, was that I have friends. Not just people that look good next to me on pictures or that occasionally like my facebook status. Real friends.

My friends are the awesome kind. They taught me that it is always possible to laugh, no matter how fucked up the world is.  They find the patience in them to tell me the same things over and over and over again, because they know that I need to hear them, even when I claim that I absolutely don’t  want to hear them. Which tells you that they know me very, very well. Knowing me very well gives you access to a whole lot of eloquent bullshitting. If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t even realize that.

My friends provoke me to express my true feelings, and help me define what I believe in, and where I want to go. They don’t alter their judgement,  when they know they’re right, even if it means that I’ll be angry at them for a while. They trust that I will eventually profit more from hearing the truth than from being pampered.

To have friends like this – and in plural! – is probably the thing that I’m most grateful for in life (obviously, apart from my amazing rack and dad’s BMW). I don’t quite know, how I found them, but I know they will stick with me. That wasn’t always the case. Throughout my teenage years, I never quite believed that people would actually like me, if they really knew me. When I left to travel or live in other countries, I always felt like a liar , when I said that I was going to miss everyone. Really, I felt mostly relieved when the wheels of the airplane took off the ground. When it’s always you who leaves, nobody can ever leave you, right?

As some of you might know, I did a special little excursion to a mental hospital last year, because that is such a cool thing to do for my generation. In all honesty: it wasn’t that much fun. However, when I think back to that time, and the stretch of  scary, dark, and suffocatingly sad preceding months, these little islands of happy memories light up right in the middle of all the crap that happened. And those islands prove that my friends were there the entire time, no matter how grumpy, antisocial, bitter, exhausted, needy and aggressive I became. Now I don’t have to fear that one day, they’ll find out what a terrible person I am, and turn their back on me. I was a terrible person and they’re still with me. And really: when I left for New Zealand, I didn’t feel relieved at all. I was close to tears throughout the entire 32 hour flight. Never felt so right in the head in my life!

(Having coffee and cigarettes in front of my favorite café on a crisp spring day. Stirring in a pot of risotto in a kitchen of a flat I don’t live in. Heated discussions over some awful wine we would later eat backwards. Sitting on a sunny spot in Munich, laughing over a joke we’ve invented when we were about 12. Talking about boys and eating twizzlers in a Third Reich museum. Walking through frosty Weimar, fighting over Thomas Mann once more. Having banana pancakes in a village near Barcelona. Spending an hour searching for a video of an idiotic laugh, laughing idiotically about it at the same time. Spontaneously driving to Munich in the middle of the night. Having the way a molecule is transported into a glass fibre by lasers explained to me over Apfelschorle. Driving through a snowstorm to buy a pregnancy test in the middle of the night. Imitating a whale in a black lake somewhere in the Black Forest. Smoking on a Dutch rooftop. I could go one forever. Was this really the worst year of my life??)

While sitting, eating, drinking, talking, laughing, walking, dancing, cooking, biking, and sleeping alongside these people I was genuinely happy, no matter how hard it had been to get out of my bed earlier in the morning. And at some point, I knew I needed to go to a hospital, because I couldn’t make myself get up at all anymore, not even to spend time with them. I don’t know where I’d be today if it wasn’t for my friends, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be as good.

This is no ode to friendship. I really hope I’ll find better ways to thank my friends in the future. This is rather an acknowledgement of how limited I am as an individual and how much of my happiness depends on other people. So, if you don’t have friends like that, you better go look for some. Every minute you spend with people that aren’t as great, is a minute lost of the best times of your life.

Things I miss about Germany

forest

On Monday one of my friends from Germany, who was staying with us for 2 weeks, left to have a look at the rest of gorgeous New Zealand. This calls for a summary of all the things I miss and will keep on missing about my home country:

– Pretzels. They are yummy.

– My wardrobe. Yes. I admit it. Wearing the same 3 sweaters over and over and over (and over and OVER AND OOOOOVER) again bores me. Still not a validation for shopping excessively, but I admit that having a bit of a selection accumulating over the years was nice.

– The Luit. That’s the flat containing the highest density of my friends (living there and dropping by) in my hometown. I miss having reciprocal therapy sessions at the kitchen table, huuuuge breakfasts with fresh Brötchen, watching movies while being piled up with all my friends on the enormous couch (though a certain cough of a certain someone tends to ruin the best movie moments), desperately trying to smoke out of the window without falling out of the window, and so on… *sigh*

– Decent beer. I’m becoming a wine person here. Never thought that could happen.

– The forest. I love the indigenous trees of New Zealand and  there isn’t much that can beat the mountains-and-sea-landscapes of this country, but nothing makes me feel more at peace with myself and more at home than walking through German fairytale forests with my dog yelping somewhere in the undergrowth and native birds chirping over my head.

If this blog post was titled “People I miss in Germany”, I’d have a lot more to say. But it isn’t, and to be painfully honest, I can’t think of many things I miss about Germany. That’s a bit weird, eh? What do you guys miss when you go abroad? Don’t say bread, though, because I keep on finding the most amazing sour dough or pumpkin seed wholemeal bread in the dumpster. Full points for New Zealand on that one.