Saturday, June 27, 2009

and so

i'm still in nevers. it's a very cute town, but also kind of a drag. people's primary activities here are buying things and drinking. not really my style.

and i feel more objectified by men here than i do in the u.s. it's really ridiculous. i expected france to be way more ahead of the game. but in many ways it's more backwards than the u.s. some basic trends that never seem to have caught on in france:

1. cigarettes are bad for you. women still smoke while pregnant here and most people i've met smoke.

2. you should clean up after your dog if it craps on the sidewalk.

3. if women wear tiny high heeled shoes all the time, they won't be able to do much except sit and look helpless.

4. not all women like to be stared at. did the feminist revolution somehow miss france? i thought it was international, but perhaps i was wrong.

very basic things. somehow these tidbits of wisdom never reached france. i've been going through a lot here, intellectually speaking. i expected things i have not found and have found things i never expected. men oggle me on the street and i hate it. i hate it in the states but it's way worse here. women definitely are expected to fulfill a particular social function here- namely, to look good when standing next to a man. it's very 1950s and disgusts me. it makes me realize how great my community of friends in tucson is. most of the men i know there are very aware of how messed up it is that women are perpetually seen as objects of attraction. i have many male friends who deliberately try to resist the patriarchal and dominating upbringing boys face in our society and they are very conscious of these aspects of masculine culture. in the same way, i know many women who, like me, strive to overcome what we've always been told we should be- submissive weak little things who look good on some big man's arm.

in france- not so. men still seem to be under the impression that i will be complemented if they stare at my breasts while they talk to me about this or that. not that this sort of thing doesn't exist in the states- it happens to me all the time, actually. the difference is that in the u.s. there are some people who are trying to do things differently, like my aforementioned comrades in tuscon. i have yet to find anyone like that here. i'm sick of constantly feeling like my body is an object of either attraction or rejection (here and in the states). i hate that i worry about men finding me attractive. i wish i could just not care and live totally for myself. i'm trying, anyway. i suppose it's one of those lifelong struggle sorts of things.

one exciting thing happened earlier this week, greenpeace volunteers came to nevers. they weren't from here- i could tell that right away. nothing activist related happens here, except for very specific, top-down union organized labor protests. cool when compared to the absence of such things in the u.s. but not at all radical. they aren't working toward anything really different. not that greenpeace is all that revolutionary or anything, but they do some good work and people involved are usually pretty cool and at least trying to bring some progressive change into the world. i took it as a hopeful development. i talked to a couple of the greenpeace folks and asked them where the anarchists were at. they agreed with me that there were none in nevers and i should look elsewhere. one kid said he was from grenoble where "there are beautiful mountains and beautiful anarchsits." so i think i'll head that way soon. monday i'm going to try my luck with the trains again. i have some destinations in mind, all to the south. we'll see how it goes. grenoble, lyon, montpellier, toulouse. this time i'm not worrying about booking a hotel first. bonjour, adventure!

sorry this is so ranting. i've been learning a lot, but like most things worth having in life, it's been a bit of a struggle.

been reading tons. highlights so far-

bakunin, god and the state (in french! it's slow going but i'm getting it)
hunter s. thompson, the rum diary
ayn rand, the fountainhead (actually i read this before i left az but i loved it)
raymond carver, short stories
harry potter (it's a perennial vacation favorite of mine)
oscar wilde, the picture of dorian gray
emma goldman, various essays on anarchy

while i'm on the topic of my perpetual struggle to be myself in the face of this dominating emasculated world- i love emma goldman a lot and am very thankful for her existance.

i gotta go... but lest you think i'm having a terrible time- i'm not. it's everything i hoped for- i'm being educated. i'd rather undergo the painful process of learning how troubling the world really is than live a blissfully ignorant lie. and really, i can't complain too much. i sleep in everyday, wander around town from coffee shop to park to coffee shop again, reading, studying french, and taking pictures. and there is an adorable little kitten to love on. i have even met a couple people of interest. of course my inability to communicate significantly limits my interactions. but that was also what i wanted when i went on this trip. i wanted to be lost and alone in a world i don't understand.

i've been taking pictures. lots and lots. maybe next time i'll post some more.


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