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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

dtaylor on institutionalized sexism against men.

I agree with just about everything she has to say there. And I have to add, it's a pleasure an a relief to find out that I'm not the only woman who thinks ridiculous gender assumptions about men are, well, ridiculous.

It may be that when women try to act like human beings, they are accused of trying to act like men. But the half of human response that men are encouraged and assumed to inhabit isn't complete, either, and when they try to act like human beings, they stand at risk of being accused of effeminacy.

Aren't we a little old for that? As a society and as individuals, I mean.

I've actually been asked how I, a woman, manage to write convincing male characters. The answer is, I don't. I write human beings. The gender takes care of itself.

via yendi

In other news, I just saw a fawnequin natural-eared Great Dane in a trailer for silly movie "Scavenger Hunt."

Yay! Why yes. Dog people are silly.


As a male who meets almost none of the stereotypes for my gender, I'm glad somebody else has noticed this. One of my personal recent pet peeves in this area is whenever we're shopping at Wal-Mart we'll hear them come over the intercom: "We need a male associate to furniture for customer assistance." Or to the bikes. Or to the front of the store for cart return. Or wherever there's something heavy that needs lifting. Because that's what men are good for, according to Wal-Mart. They can't run a front register. They can run a register in electronics or sporting goods, but there's something magical about the front registers that they don't work if you have a Y chromosome.
...which is extra interesting, considering the class-action lawsuit for discrimination being brought against Wal-Mart currently by its female employees, who apparently can't get promoted to management for love or money.

*g* I just don't shop there. They're evil.
I think this relates in some perhaps indirect way to the research that supergee posted about the other day: 'Baby boys who are taught to be tough are less confident and more aggressive'. That there's something really weird and problematic about 'masculinity' (if this is about public perceptions of what men are or ought to be like) that's damaging to men. Even men who don't manifest it themselves, or manage to find different versions from the more toxic culturally hegemonic ones, do tend to think of 'men' as a collectivity as all the things mentioned in the post you linked to.
I tend to agree. And it's kind of a textbook example of the problems with generalization/stereotyping, I think--considering any group of people as a category, or a class, rather than as individuals.
In fairness, I have an equally low opinion of men AND women, and humanity generally.

The upside is I am pleasantly surprised by people more often, and more rarely disappointed.

A PERSON can be wise, intelligent, charming, and helpful. PEOPLE are a mess.
Things generally are a mess. And I'm something of a pessimist myself. But I think it's important to treat as many things as possible as individual cases rather than categories.

A mindfullness thing, maybe?
Have you watched "Adam's Rib?" It's a Hepburn/Tracy picture that makes the point -- oh, just beautifully -- that if women are given traditional "men's weapons," men have to be given traditional "women's weapons," too.

My grandfather totally doesn't get this point. He thinks feminism is so that my mom and I can read and enjoy Kipling and London, so that I could get my degree in physics, but he sees no reason why he'd read "girl books" or do "girl stuff." To his mind, girls used to be banned from the sucky stuff and now we aren't, and that's a good thing.

To my mind, we'll have equality when men's tears mean as much as women's. And, occasionally, as little.
Agree, categorically.

It's not safe, though. And it's not comfortable.

Of course, I find I want to be Katharine Hepburn when I grow up.
Testify, sisters and brothers — testify.

The worst thing is, every time I insist the men I know aren't like that, the fact gets dismissed, and I'm told the men I know are just unusual.

What makes everyone so sure the men who are jerks aren't the unusual ones?
Because we have this stereotype, see--
I agree, the "men are incompetent pigs who all love sports" thing makes me grind my teeth. It makes me want to throw my monitor through the window when somebody sends me a "humorous" email about how dumb guys are, and I've been sorely tempted to try to organize boycotts of companies that use this crap in advertising.

I'm really glad to see I'm not the only one. Now, how does the message get more widespread?

On a tangent, I'm not sure that the guys saying "you have to understand, guys are pigs" thing is a case of low self-esteem. I've met or read many folks who criticize modern society because men aren't allowed to be like men--why? Well, supposedly feminine behavior is valued, and guys who act "like guys" are told they're being pigs. "But, see," I hear, "guys are different. Guys are supposed to be pigs! It's good to be a pig, because it proves you're really a guy, and not some feminized wimp like those girls are trying to force you to be!" I see "Us guys are pigs" as being a sort of twisted, self-affirming attempt to re-establish and strengthen gender stereotypes. It's not low self-esteem, it's defiance in the face of continuing attack on those stereotypes.

that's the way I see it, anyway.

Gender and Writing

Thanks for the topic. (Hmmm, sounds very much like a recent rant from, uh, someone else.)

I once submitted a novel to a workshop that was written in the first person viewpoint of a woman. The men just shrugged, but most of the women in the workshop said you can't do that. When asked why, it was clear that it was felt I couldn't presume to know what a woman would think. The character was very troubled, and her inner dialog seemed to be the source of the complaints.

Only one woman in the workshop stood up for me, saying, "If you didn't know the author is a man you'd love this story."

The woman with the strongest complaints told me I couldn't write a female viewpoint, first-person story because women are too complex for a man to fathom. When I gave examples of famous female authors who often wrote in first-person male viewpoint, she said, "That's different. Men are simple."

I think things have improved in the past decade or so, perhaps. And some of that change probably has a lot to do with the influx of gay role models and gay viewpoints into pop culture, particularly with so many openly gay men in published fiction and on television. This has made it a little more acceptable for straight men to be more openly sensitive. Sometimes. Yes, some shows with gay characters are openly exploitive, but still -- can you imagine a show like Queer Eye making it to the tube 10 years ago, a show that encourages straight men to be more sensitive, better groomed, and develop friendships with gay men?

Re: Gender and Writing

...and relies on gay men to explain to straight men what women want from their boyfriends?


I love it.
As the only woman in a household of men, I second that essay. I get a lot of flack from my "PBS-Nazi" friends who can't believe that my husband and I can raise thinking, intelligent, compassionate boys by letting them act like, well, boys. I don't want to train them to be women, I want to teach them to see people as *people* with different strengths and weaknesses, and take on life's responsiblities accordingly. Yes, there are differences between the genders. But they're not the be-all and end-all of who we become as people. Gender is part of the equation, not the entire sum.
My mother raised a thinking, intelligent, compassionate woman by letting me act like a boy.

I don't see why it should work any different on men...
What grinds my teeth is the gendering of young children, before they have any chance to make unweighted choices of their own.

Babies under a year are babies, not boys or girls. They don't need Minnie Mouse or Bob the Builder on their vests because vests are there to vomit on and no more.

My sister-in-law has three girls and a boy, and her son bullies the girls (older and younger), hits his mother and breaks his toys. His mother tells me, indulgently, that boys are different from girls because his sisters don't behave as badly.

Umm, I wonder if it's anything to do with the fact that he's encouraged to act out, and his sisters encouraged to 'mother' him when he does so.

Parents must take responsibility for indoctrinating young children in gender roles. Yes, my husband loves sports, but it's my elder daughter he takes with him when he goes.
I am offended by your petist stereotyping of dog people.
And as I was posting comments, a song came on my Blues Traveler CD, and it said, "Girls need flowers and candy and monogamy from someone who makes them feel worthwhile. Boys need food and five minutes with his [sic] right hand free, but only the girl gonna make him smile."

Yeah. That encapsulates that pretty neatly. Bleh. Well, I like candy....