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Category Archives: Disappointment

In a rare, antihistamine-induced lapse of judgment I made the following statement to a person I am not super close with when we were talking about The Last Name Change Debacle: “I die a little inside when one of my friends gets married and changes her name.” What followed is entirely my fault because 1) the person I said it to changed her last name when she got married, albeit she’s of another generation; 2) she doesn’t *quite* appreciate my sarcastic and hyperbolic sense of humor; and 3) I did not say exactly what I meant (it makes me sad that in this day and age it is still socially expected and many women find it easier to just go with the flow than to do something unconventional), but merely summarized it in what I thought was a witty soundbite. Fine. She, naturally, went on the defensive and retorted with, “Well, I don’t judge the personal decisions of others.” Yikes. That escalated quickly.

So there we were, silently sitting with that little nugget hanging in the air like a stale fart. Because I didn’t want to stir the pot further, I bit my tongue when my initial reaction was: “Um, your little passive-aggressive tongue lashing is a judgment of me for being judgmental, but I guess good for you. Don’t strain your arm patting yourself on the back, princess.” The antihistamines saved the day and made me so sleepy I just called it a night before doing any more damage.

When I woke up the next morning I was still pretty pissed, and that surprised me because I can sleep off just about any outrage. Clearly this woman hit a nerve. I know I’m judgmental. I don’t dispute that or deny it or even try to work on it because I think it’s helpful to be judgmental–when I find myself sitting in smug judgment of someone, I use it as an opportunity to look inward and figure out why I think/feel that. I have learned a metric fuck ton of things about myself thanks to being a judgmental bitch. So that wasn’t what bugged me.

What was bugging me, it turns out, is the use of that admonishment in general. I see it a lot in online feminist discourse–women are quick to call each other out in the comment sections of op-eds and articles for judging the choices of others. After all, feminism is about choice and they just made a different choice. No harm, no foul right? Not exactly. I find the “judgment card” generally gets trotted out when women get butthurt about their own personal choices. No matter what an article is about, many dissenting opinions are dismissed as being “judgmental” instead of being addressed for what they usually are: constructive criticism or thoughtful analysis. This defense mechanism typically halts all meaningful conversation in its tracks.

This is not the first time I’ve been accused of being judgmental where the last name thing is concerned, and I think this is because of two things. First, I think many of the women who call me judgmental in this arena are in some way uncomfortable with their decision to take their spouse’s name. I’ve had all kinds of insults lobbed at me for not taking my husband’s last name. Do you know what my response always is? Silence. Maybe a shoulder shrug if I’m feeling feisty. I don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks about my choice. If you get all worked up about what someone thinks about your decision, maybe you’re not totally on board yourself and you don’t want to be confronted with that. It’s the same thing with me not wanting kids. I no longer get offended when people say stupid shit to me about how I’ll change my mind or I’ll never know what true love is. I’m at peace with my decision, and your judgment is for you to deal with (see my previous bit about using my judgments to figure out what’s really going on in my brain).

Second, I think it’s a play on female insecurities, not unlike calling a woman a bitch or a slut when you don’t like what she’s doing. Instead of engaging in intelligent discourse, you call her a name with the hope it’ll shut her up. Unfortunately in my situation: it worked and I shut up–but only because I didn’t want the conversation to devolve any further.

I need to just learn my lesson and not discuss The Last Name Change Debacle with people. It rarely ends well for me. The mere fact that I didn’t change mine seems to encourage other women to justify why they did change theirs to me (that’s not an exaggeration; I have had women give me an unprompted laundry list of “reasons” after noticing my name was not the same as my husband’s in a social setting). I don’t give a shit why you changed your name. I really don’t. The bottom line is: I do think a little bit less of you for it, but that’s okay. I’m sure you think a little bit less of me for myriad things I do. We all walk on different paths and it’s cool. You can judge me right back and we can talk about it like educated adults instead of lobbing random labels at each other, hoping the other will forfeit.

I’m going to cut right to the chase on this one: Your pet causes are not other people’s pet causes. Period. Stop trying to badger people into caring about shit that has nothing to do with them just because you think it’s important. Everyone is entitled to care about whatever they care about–for whatever reasons. You need to respect that.

I say this because I’m personally fucking tired of people buying me shit with pink ribbons on it. I have a relative (let’s call him/her Sam) who lost a relative to breast cancer and now Sam does the Komen every year and will buy anything pink. This is perfectly fine to me. Sam is absolutely free to mourn the death of Sam’s relative and do something about the disease that killed her–in the form of raising funds and buying things that give proceeds to breast cancer charities and whatever else Sam wants to do to feel helpful. This is normal and healthy and I have no problem with it because I’m not a monster.

What I HAVE a problem with is now Sam insists on buying me (and others) shit with pink ribbons plastered all over it (along with other items I’ll never use with a little printout about how X percent of the proceeds from Sam’s purchase went toward breast cancer charities). Breast cancer is not my cause. I don’t *not* care about it, but the only money I ever donate toward it is what I give to Sam during Sam’s Komen walk every year. I do that to support Sam; I could give a fuck which charity it goes toward. Obviously, because I personally think Komen grossly misappropriates its funds. I am not going to prance around town with pink ribbon jewelry or shirts because it’s not my cause (and if it were, I wouldn’t lord it over everyone with my apparel, but I digress). I don’t know anyone with breast cancer (yet, not to be morbid but the odds aren’t good) and it seems really poser-ish for me to climb onto the bandwagon. I know it’s not required to have a personal tie to a cause to support it, but the long and short of it is: There are other things I care about much more.

This isn’t the first time someone has gotten me something in support of a cause I have no affinity for. I once got potholders and jewelry made by poor women in Africa. Again, I’m so glad you have something you feel passionate about, but now I have to give this shit to Goodwill and make up a lie the next time the gift-giver visits me.

One of the worst parts of these gifts, though, is that some of them don’t even give proceeds to worthy charities. People will buy almost anything with a pink ribbon on it without much thought because it’s an easy dose of feel-good. I once got a bracelet of pink ribbon bangles (oh, God, it was hideous) and a portion of its proceeds went to support “breast awareness.” What. The. Fuck. Aren’t most of us aware of breasts? I have a hard time believing any of that money went toward something worthwhile.

So by now you’re probably like, “What the shit, Rampaige? Are you so greedy and materialistic that you want people to just buy you stuff you want?” Well, A) Do I want people to buy me things I want as presents? Yes. Yes I do. Isn’t that the point of presents? But, more importantly, B) If people want to be charitable in my honor: They should donate to a charity I actually fucking care about! All these people are doing is donating to their pet charities instead of buying me a gift. Then I’m the asshole for not admiring them for their generosity. Yeah, way to be generous with money that was earmarked for me–giving it to a charity you already give to instead of forking it over to something I care about.