Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Reporter Shocked That Women Can Be Vulgar

Just as a refresher, it's currently the year 2013.  It's a year in which, when I was a kid, I was sure we would have shoes that tied themselves, hoverboards, and holographic movie theaters.

But alas, dudes are still getting paid to write articles like this in major publications.  In it, entitled "For second time, woman gives Chicago athlete one-finger salute," John Kass falls ass-over-heels onto his fainting couch because a woman's been photographed flipping off a man. In public.

His piece seems.... like he's half-joking? It's hard to tell, really, as this sort of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" stuff is so mainstream and bought-into that I never take for granted that people who don't think or write about gender regularly are joking when they start to opine about gender.

For, he writes:
"Like many American men, I've been trained — with the rat cage on my head and without — to believe with all my heart that women are better than men.

What's disturbing to me is that East Coast females may be sinking into a new public idealized vulgarity, sort of like those shrieking fishwives of the 18th century."
In addition to the use of "females" as a noun, often a telling word choice that, what I'm most struck by is Kass' apparent ignorance of women, as he admits that he unthinkingly thinks of women as being monolithically, categorically "better than men."  Better at what he doesn't specify, but the context suggests that he means morally rather than say, intellectually or athletically. It's a play on the notion that women are the tamers of society, existing to keep male wildebeests in line.

It also further entitles men to engage in aggression and vulgarity because, after all, women are just "better" than men so whuddaryagunnado about hockey players getting in actual fights during games and whatnot? I mean, does Kass ever get his boxers in a bunch over the many vulgar displays and, I don't know, sexual assaults that male athletes engage in, or is this - a woman flipping someone off - his big battle in life?

I'm currently reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novel Herland, about three men who stumble upon an all-female society. These men are indoctrinated with sexist teachings from their 1915 American society and, thus, have quite the culture clash in their every interaction with these women who are not defined by mainstream sexist tropes.

The readers see how, in fact, these men not only don't hold women in as high regard as they insist, but that these men actually don't know very much about women at all.

I guess that point is still relevant 100 years later.

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