Thursday, May 29, 2014

Quote of the Day

I'm reading Joanna Russ' How to Suppress Women's Writing.  Here she is, writing on white male fauxbjectivity (my term):
"...[M]en and women, whites and people of color do have very different experiences of life and one would expect such differences to be reflected in their art. I wish to emphasize here that I am not talking (vis a vis sex) about the relatively small area of biology - about this kind of difference in experience, men are often curious and genuinely interested - but about socially-enforced differences.  The trick in the double standard of content is to label one set of experiences as more valuable and important than the other. Thus [to the list of ways women's writing is denigrated] we have added.... She [wrote it], but look what she wrote about."
And so we have terms like "chick lit," "pink" science fiction, "mommy blogs" special segregated sections magazines that are for female interests while the entire rest of the "general" articles are for the regular humans, female characters who are purported "Mary Sues"and more - all standing in contrast to white-male-authored works and characters which are generally classified as more serious, non-gendered, color blind, profound, important, and universal to the human experience.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Misogyny and Nice Guys

Over at Cyborgology, Jenny Davis makes an important point about violent misogyny in the age of Internet:
"["Elliot Rodger's] parents saw the digitally mediated rants and contacted his therapist and a social worker, who contacted a mental health hotline. These were the proper steps. But those who interviewed Rodger found him to be a 'perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.' They deemed his involuntary holding unnecessary and a search of his apartment unwarranted. That is, authorities defined Rodger and assessed his intentions based upon face-to-face interaction, privileging this interaction over and above a 'vast digital trail.' This is digital dualism taken to its worst imaginable conclusion."
Many feminists and the Southern Poverty Law Center rightly note that the-called "manosphere" is devoted almost entirely to woman- and feminist-hating.

From time to time, mainstream (often male) journalists "discover" the manosphere, imbue it with much more good faith than it is deserving of, often with a pretense that the men who comprise the manosphere are "just" loser extremists who aren't taken seriously by anyone and, say, who would also be readily identifiable as woman-haters "in the real world" by, I don't know, their steepled fingers, pointy eyebrows, and general aura of creepiness permeating from them.

One of the manosphere's most prominent voices, Paul Elam, has said that today's women are "shallow, self-serving wastes of human existence—parasites—semi-human black holes that suck resources and goodwill out of men and squander them on the mindless pursuit of vanity."  And, thousands of men agree with him.

Elam and his fans, like the gay-hating Phelps clan, are probably all nice people sometimes in some contexts.

They also live in a culture in which they teach and/or are taught - by the media, by culture, by the manosphere - that women aren't full human beings like how men are full human beings and that they're entitled to sex from these sub-human creatures known as women.

The biggest lies the mainstream tells us that there are good guys and there are bad guys, that most guys are good guys, and that therefore the good guys have no introspection to do in how they contribute to our woman-hating culture.

For men to point out how awful they think it is that yet another man went on a shooting spree is not all that helpful to the national discourse. Not killing people because you hate women is, like, the lowest fucking bar of civility ever.  And it seems such an obvious wrong that to point out how awful it is seems to beg the question of its wrongness at all.

What seems more helpful to society's overall misogyny problem is for men to do the things that are harder to do, things that would maybe cost the man something - some bro points, some cool points, some ego, some dent in the aura of assume intellectual superiority, whatever.

Things like: listening to women when we talk about our lived experiences in a misogynistic society; dropping the assumption that you have lots to teach women about gender, stuff, and life in general because you're the man in the conversation; recognizing that you probably don't notice men doing problematic things in the way that women often notice them because you haven't spent a lifetime being on the defensive about these things;
and calling other men out when they're awful and even when they're just engaging in the everyday microaggression-level bullshit.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Ellen Squared and Friday Lesbian Stuff

I think back to my life growing up as a lesbian and, specifically, my feelings of isolation in the world, and, well, this video of Ellen Page on Ellen DeGeneres' show makes me really happy.

The video is as adorkable as it sounds.

I have to admit I had no inkling at all that Ellen Page might be a lesbian before she came out. Sure, with attractive famous women, I sometimes engage in a fair amount of wishful thinking that they maybe just maybe might possibly be bisexual or lesbian, even though I'm civil union'ed and would have absolutely no chance with them anyway.  My point, I guess, is that my "gaydar" is quite awful.

And, on a much smaller scale, I can relate to the panic-attack-like feelings of that moment right before coming out, that Page refers to.  In my case, the first time I said out loud that I was gay was to another young woman I had a hunch might also be gay. We were sitting in my car and, after 20 minutes of silent courage-building, I blurted, "I'mgayandIthinkyouaretoo, soareyou?"

So, that's wasn't at all awkward. It turns out she was gay, too, but didn't admit it that night. So my gaydar isn't that horrible, I guess.

In other queer lady news, I watched the movie Fingersmith again for the first time in like 6 years.  Have you seen this - (or read the novel by the brilliant Sarah Waters)?  Anyway, maybe I'm just at a different point in my life now, but I don't remember the movie being so campy the first time I watched it.  I think it's a great movie, but also kind of hilarious, perhaps unintentionally.

The two female main characters show a lot of lesbian feelings. The "Gentleman" character was so very villainous, and we knew this from the menacing music and his leering looks that accompanied his every scene. When I got to this part, featuring all three of them, I could not stop laughing (note: For context, if you haven't see the movie, the two up against the tree are pretending to be in love and meanwhile the two women actually are in love, so the scene isn't as sinister at it looks). It was the culmination of all the campiness, and I loved every second of it.

Lastly, I've been noticing that movies and TV shows with strong lesbian themes are consistently among the most popular on Netflix, including Blue is the Warmest Color.  

Now, mathematically speaking, the people who are making these films and shows so popular must surely be more than just LGBT people.  Which of course makes me wonder how many bigots and opponents of LGBT equality are closet-watchers of LGBT media, leering at what they abhor and oppose, from the safety of their own living rooms.

Basically, I picture them as being like Gentleman, in the clip, above.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Welp, That Sounds Fantastic

Earlier this week, a Fox News host blamed feminism for boys purportedly doing worse than girls in school these days:
"On the Fox News show Outnumbered — where four female hosts “outnumber” one male guest host — host Sandra Smith pointed to the fact that most teachers were female as a possible reason that boys could be falling behind."
I was initially going to write once again about that common anti-feminist talking point but, what?, Fox has a show called "Outnumbered - where four female hosts 'outnumber' one male guest host.'"

Let me guess.

Does the poor guy do a lot of "ducking" after he says things?  Is he gonna precede his statements with a joking, "I'm gonna get clobbered for saying this, but"?  Are we going to get lots of yukking it up about "he said, she said," bullshit pop culture "Mars/Venus" divides, and hilarious pretend male fear that's an exaggerated reversal of many women's authentic fear in male-dominated spaces?

And, what do we call the show where all or most of the commentators are men: "Business As Usual"?