Arguing with conservative relatives is all fun and games until a party guest is crying into their velvet and oops looks like you ruined Christmas lunch again. Unless you’re some sort of rare unobserved phenomenon, you’re probs not spending the holidays with thoroughly flawless humans who understand intersectional gender theory. We can’t have everything.
So when your random homophobic aunt rocks up to tea, you have to weigh up your options: suck it up, or fight it out? The eternal question.
Fighting It Out
I’m pretty sure people who come to family Christmas with a willingness to learn are urban feminist legend. Prepare for the worst. Stubborn, possibly drunk opponents. Miscellaneous family power dynamics. Arguments not won on logic alone.
Potential risk factors include:
- Asshole uncles looking to rile you up. Har Har oppression. “Please explain all feminism to me in three minutes oh you can’t well whatever then LONG LIVE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.”
- Dudes who won’t take you seriously unless you give statistics for, like, everything.
- People who don’t come to the conversation already accepting the premise that gender inequality is a thing (???)
- “So gender studies…does this mean you’re a FEMINIST?”
You’re basically PR for the feminist cause. You’ll probs be held accountable for everything Germaine Greer has ever said. NO PRESSURE. So if you’re gonna fight it out, know your shit.
Study up. Practice your defiant scowl. Get yo feminist backup on speed-dial. Charge your phone for on-the-go fuck off tweeting.
Do you want to make constructive progress or just yell at people for catharsis? Both are totally valid. Make a choice, figure out how palatable you need to make your politics to make a point. We’re talking strategy here. You can do it, I believe in you.
But success is relative. If you can make it through the confrontation without a complete emotional breakdown, go you. That’s against serious odds.
People suck, but luckily for us one day we’ll all live happily together in a Woolf Woolf utopia where no-one ever leers or asks for statistics.
Sucking It Up
This year I’m going for the “silently seethe” approach. It isn’t everyone’s lesser of two evils, but as someone who’ll be sitting down to turkey with Tony Abbott‘s East Coast Fan Club, it’s definitely mine. There aren’t enough glasses of wine in a bottle to argue all that out. Shutting the fuck up is a Christmas present to myself.
If you think the pain of arguing with your relatives might outweigh the pain of not arguing with them, it’s a pretty solid self-care option. Staying silent is way excruciating, but at least you’re not crying hysterically on the kerb. Silver linings, my friend.
It’s rough when people you care about don’t share the values that are your lifeblood. But look after yourself first. Stay out of the fire, maybe take some superfluous bathroom trips. Read some feminist media, feel less alone. This too shall pass.
This bitch will be relinquishing her role as Feminism’s Official Ambassador for Christmas 2013. I have a game plan. It involves physical separation from elderly men, clenched teeth, and rad femmes on the line for solidarity text talk. I’m not going to argue with brick walls. I’m relying on major self-control, plus a mental “fuck off” mantra that I’m trying not to actually verbalise.
Got a holiday plan of action? Do share.
PS Christmas can suck for a whole lot of other reasons too. Check out the Feministing Resource List for more holiday advice, it’s really great.