Saturday, March 20, 2010

In which Xtin drops in the ocean

Well, crap. It seems like gender-political rage is biting me on the ass every time I dare to turn around and think of something else, like polar bears. Or whether the terminal amateurishness with which English-language bars in Berlin are infected is a mannered we're-English-so-we're-adorably-shit thing, or just ... amateurishness.

Yesterday afternoon a guy with a pair of red-handled gardening shears trimmed the green roof of the Altbau-sized garden shed in the Hof opposite. ~shnick shnick shnick~ All by hand. This morning I drank my coffee out of the hilarious mug and watched the rain fall onto the bleary, winter-bleached, wiry shorn green stuff and you know, that is when you're supposed to have idle thoughts about ... well god, I don't know. Idle weekend thoughts about random stuff that is no doubt lousy with gender political dubiousness (eg: the laundry) and disgustingly informed by the Industrial Capitalist Complex (eg: I think I'd like a new cushion for the armchair) but it's the weekend, heaven help us. Let us pretend that there is nothing to be said about the fact that the world has conditioned me to plan absent-mindedly to shave my legs on Sunday night. And maybe my armpits, although this is Germany and ZOMG they have different standards for hotness in women's hairlessness and oh noes! *head explodes*

Yes, well. I wondered what was with the constant feminist chokehold. The awful banality. The repetitiveness. The fact that you know that brilliant, superbly educated and nuanced people have expressed your rage, subtly and punctiliously detailed the ethical and empirical atrocities again and again and again, and it doesn't matter, except insofar as it means that sexist pricks get to claim you're boring by saying it again.

So today, ladies and germs, the YES, AGAIN target is "that's for girls". As in, multi-purpose rationale for dude not doing/owning/valuing something-or-other. Here's my tip.

Don't say that. Don't. Say. That.

Don't say that as though it might have humour or irony value or demonstrates that you have a wittily retro take on gender. Don't talk as if you define your masculinity by being nothing that women are. Don't speak as if you own badassery, a love of duct tape and powertools, cars, technology, big dogs, risk-taking, extremes-seeking, firearms, co-ax cable, millions of orgasms, emotional repression and shame about tears. Don't engage the nauseating pseudo-backpedals about how women are too sensible or level-headed to fetishize any of that, yet again planting the over-entitled flag marked Y-CHROMOSOMES on stuff that isn't yours to claim.

Don't speak as if it is natural for you to aim for a broad and flinty-minded competence but quite unusual for anyone who has a vagina to do so -- because they don't care about that stuff, don't you know. Women care about the stuff that is for girls, which you just noted is whatever you couldn't possibly aspire to. Just spend a single second thinking about that. Ignore the head-desking vacuity of asserting someting about an entire gender. If it's the kind of thing that I, a woman, would do, then it is a thing that you, a man, not just would not, but ought not. You should --- my god, the butt-clenching paranoia! --- concentrate hard on making sure you never do. Because your masculinity depends on it! No kidding, take a minute to imagine someone systematically invoking your identity to explain why something isn't worth countenancing. Are you feeling it? Are you bathing in the overpowering woman-hating steam rising from this? Do you hear the rhetoric making sure that the only way a man might dare to aspire to something a woman does is if she is doing something which by repellent white-male lights is already something a man does? Are you really excited about what it's like to be a woman yet? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Watch your speech implicitly informed by a respectful understanding that there are many men out there who kick your butt in their mastery of both the everyday and the specialist, but heaven fucking forfend that there might be women who do so. And not just the vaunted "some" women ("Oh, yes! There are some truly exceptional women BASE-jumpers!") but thousands and thousands of the damn things. God, how embarrassing. How humiliating. Let us all speak as if that isn't really a possibility, while carefully burnishing our bullshit politico-social skills on such a point if ever challenged explicitly on the existence of Women Who Kick Your Sorry Sexist Ass into Next Bloody Tuesday. ("Oh yes! There are some amazing ...") Of course, no barrier on me aspiring to do the things that are for boys, since anything that boys aspire to is ex hypothesis a good thing for anyone to aspire to. Bonus points if I do it in a cute jumpsuit and/or with adorable incompetence.

And, continuting my stellar, sledge-hammer-inspired Saturday-morning attempts at grappling massive and complex issues with a few ungrammatical words: Everything I just said, ditto-goes-double for "that's gay".

I'm kind of appalled at myself that I'm not overly concerned whether or not anyone buys this or the planet-sized corpus of vastly more perspicuous expressions of same. Just everyone please fucking learn not to say these things. Please. I'm being interrupted in my imagining that I cannot live a fulfilled life while my four different kinds of glassware are in storage.

No comments: