Something struck me this morning. Something obvious but grand. It started with an email from my high school best friend. She told me that our shared first boyfriend published a sci-fi trilogy. Remembering his Henry Miller inspired, heavily misspelled scribbles from the time when we were dating (“she smiled and lifted her skirt all the way up” etc. etc.), I was intrigued.
I found his masterpiece online, and, wow, it was an actual book! Thee books, in fact! Granted, a self-respecting Russian intellectual would be obliged to roll her eyes much higher than that skirt (because, cheesy)…but still. It was a proper book, with chiseled main characters on the cover and a whole lot of juicy adjectives.
The fact that he published a trilogy made me feel surprisingly warm and fuzzy, given how long I have not spoken to him and how we parted. The guy has achieved something sweet, good for him, good for the world I live in!
But it’s not what shocked me.
Since I carry a vivid memory of that upskirt woman from his early writing and since he tried, after all, to fuck me and my best friend at the same time–no, he didn’t succeed, but he installed some unfortunate and unnecessary Buddhism into our adolescent minds, and it lingered for a while–I couldn’t help but pay special attention to how he drew his female characters. Yep, they were two-dimensional objects seen through the eyes of a superstud.
I started reasoning with myself: “Listen, he can only see the world from his subjective perspective, real or imaginary. EVERYBODY is like that.”
But the thought stuck in my mind, and I went down the memory lane.
And then I realized that my school curriculum didn’t have one serious book written by a woman. Only some Adele-vibed poetry about forsaken damsels.
Every single important book on my school curriculum was written by a man, and implicitly, that put a filter on my mind that instructed me to evaluate myself, every other woman, my behavior, and my entire existence, through a male bias. I am not talking about timid vs. outspoken, or marriage vs. career, I am talking about something bigger. A system of values. A pair of glasses through which you label everything as worthy or not.
The feeling that something was wrong bugged me for years, like the Matrix. And then it dawned on me. I uninstalled the cunning filter a couple of years ago. Viewing yourself and society through the eyes of a tiny male living in your head is a trap.