A Message to Myself: Your Feelings Are Valid
By Whitney Kippes
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]L[/dropcap]ast week, walking down the street, I had a conversation with my husband. We weren’t arguing, but trying to explain our feelings on a particular issue clearly. And just like that, the nagging voice in the back of my head tried to undermine me again. Out of nowhere, I started questioning my own perspective.
“Is that true? Or do I just feel that way because it’s that time of the month?”
What an incredibly stupid thing to say! I immediately got angry with myself for such a self-defeating perspective. Before I’d even presented my feelings, I’d undermined myself and my thoughts. How could I expect to make a cohesive argument with that nagging in the back of my head?
The reality is, that’s exactly what the voice of patriarchy sounds like.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
From a very young age, society has repeatedly and persistently attempted to inform me that my feelings and experiences are not valid.
Whether it’s the persistence of the media in denying the experiences of rape survivors, or arguing against all logic that hormones make women poor leaders, or any number of cases, the overriding cultural paradigm is one where the experiences and feelings of those in power are explicitly strengthened, while the experiences and feelings of others are weakened.
Those stupid, ridiculous perspectives crop up in the most insidious and everyday ways too. They are the words that call women hormonal, tell people they are being too sensitive, and call people ‘crazy’ for expressing their opinions and sharing their experiences.
It’s taken me a long time to realize how pervasive this phenomenon is, and how much it crops up in my day to day life. I’m committed to calling out that kind of language when others use it, and I need to be stronger in calling it out when I try to minimize my own perspectives within my own head.