First things first: no, I do not hate the holidays. In fact, I love them. Halloween is somehow even more fun as an adult, Thanksgiving is literally an entire day dedicated to eating tons of food with the people you love, and winter holidays like Christmas and New Years are sometimes the only thing that brightens up the freezing cold darkness of December and January. Hell, even Valentine's Day can be fun. But you know what isn't fun? Having to listen to people say all the dumb, sexist, body-shaming things that feminists hate hearing during the holidays.
The holiday season is supposed to be a time when everyone gets to feel a little bit more hopeful, joyful, and cozy — but it seems like, even during this time of merriment, women are conditioned by society and pop culture to feel bad about themselves. We're shamed for eating too many holiday goodies, we're made to feel "less than" if we don't have a partner to celebrate with, we're pressured to look flawless, to bring the perfect gift and/or dish to every holiday gathering we attend. It's stupid, and I think all women get tired of it.
What's even worse than having to listen to society say dumb things to women over the holidays, though, is listening to women say really dumb things to themselves over the holidays. Of course, I'm not saying we haven't all been guilty of shaming ourselves for one thing or another during the holidays, but let's try to avoid that nonsense this holiday season, shall we? Here are five things feminists hate hearing during the holidays.
1. "The Holidays Suck When You're Single"
As a feminist, I hate hearing this one perhaps more than any other item on this list. I mean, I completely understand how the holiday season can make a person feel lonely — I'm about to celebrate my first holiday season as a single woman since 2010, and I'm sure it's going to be a little bit weird. But, guys, there is so much to enjoy about the holidays with or without a partner. If the seasonal food, music, events, booze, and fashion opportunities aren't enough to perk you up, just think about the fact that you're definitely going to get some presents out of this whole ordeal. Plus, snow is downright magical.
Being single doesn't equal being alone. If you get lonely during the holiday season, spend time with your friends and family. If you're down about not having someone to cuddle, buy a body pillow. Or just ask your BFF for some quality cuddle time. They'll probably understand. Oh, and always call people on this comment. That should help too.
2. "All This Food Is Going To Make Me Fat"
I'm sure I'm not the only feminist who cringes at this one. I hear this what seems like dozens of times during the holidays, and it always makes me feel that horrible combination of sad and pissed off. (What's worse is, I'm sure I've said this one to myself before.)
Women should get to eat as much holiday food as they want without feeling guilty about it, but after years of watching advertisements and reading articles about the potential of holiday weight gain, a lot of us can't even enjoy our holiday feasts for fear of gaining a few pounds. It's punishing, really.
3. "I'm Going On A Cleanse As Soon As The Holidays Are Over"
OK, so dieting isn't inherently bad or anti-feminist. We should all try to take good care of our bodies and be mindful of what we're using to fuel them. That said, I feel like most women make the choice to diet post-holiday season because they've spent the holidays body shaming, fat shaming, and food shaming themselves. So, when I hear women going on about how it's going to be all juice cleanses and no carbs come January first, it makes my feminist heart break — and I'm guessing it has the same affect on my fellow body positive feminists reading this.
4. "Do You Think You'll Get A Ring For Christmas?"
I've heard this during the holidays more than once, and I'm sure I'm not the only feminist who hates hearing it. We all know the pressure our culture (and sometimes our loved ones) put on us as women to go ahead and get ourselves hitched ASAP is ridiculous — but regardless of the sexism behind this inquiry, the last thing most feminists want to hear around the holidays is personal questions about the status of our relationships.
Don't get me wrong — I'm not saying it isn't OK to hope you'll get an engagement ring from your partner this holiday season, and I'm not saying it's horrible for your doting family and friends to be curious about it, either. It's just the kind of super personal information that should be volunteered, not demanded. Plus, it makes the horrible assumption that you wouldn't rather get a panini press instead.
5. "Do You Have A Special Someone To Buy For This Holiday?"
Admittedly, sometimes this question is asked out of innocent curiosity, and that's not a big deal. Also, as a former retail employee, I realize that sometimes it's literally part of a sales person's job to ask you what kind of gift you're planning to get your partner. That said, feminists like me still hate this question for a couple of good reasons.
First of all, I've never actually heard this question directed at a man. I mean, I'm sure men get asked this question during the holidays, too, and they have my sympathy — but men simply aren't shamed for being single in the way that women are, and no one should be made to feel bad for not having a partner during the holidays. Period. Additionally, women are conditioned to believe that we are not enough 365 days a year from childhood, and the pressure to find a partner is ever-present pretty much from high school on. So, call me sensitive, but this just isn't a great thing to ask a feminist around the holidays.
Oh, and fyi, the answer to this question is always yes. We have ourselves to buy for.