Let’s put this shit to bed right now: Women don’t lose their minds when they have period-related irritability. It doesn’t lower their ability to reason; it lowers their patience and, hence, tolerance for bullshit. If an issue comes up a lot during “that time of the month,” that doesn’t mean she only cares about it once a month; it means she’s bothered by it all the time and lacks the capacity, once a month, to shove it down and bury it beneath six gulps of wilful silence.
Men are there to provide and discipline; women are there to care. This lie is the foundation for every damnable binary about sex and emotion in our culture—men are rational; woman are emotional—and it is on what we’ve based our pernicious refusal to regard the most destructive versions of emotions like anger, jealousy, possessiveness, vengeance, apathy, and selfishness as not emotions at all, but merely biological evidence of strength, as long as they emanate from men.
Pursuant to yesterday’s letter regarding the cessation of your use of the terms “man’s man” and “ladies’ man,” I would also like to request that you jettison the following from your vocabularies: “He’s all boy” and “She’s all girl.”
These terms are used to refer to children, anywhere from infancy to about 10 years of age, who are regarded as conforming nicely to the sex- and gender stereotypes prescribed by The PatriarchyTM. Sometimes, their use is only as pernicious as reinforcing an exclusionary narrative like all male humans like sports or all female humans like fashion.
I had no reason at all to assume PatC was a woman, and I’m frankly not sure why I did; I’ve had female and male friends called Pat, and my email correspondents collectively skew slightly more male. So big wev to me: lol my gender assumptions.
What was more interesting to me was my reaction to PatC’s email: I was surprised, relieved, and grateful that he wasn’t insulted by having been presumed a woman.
And it was sad to me that I found it notable when his response wasn’t aggrieved.
Originally posted on Shakesville by Melissa McEwan on February 28, 2008 (Shakesville’s change to a new comments database means that the original comments no longer are shown on that link) Also see: Circular Firing Squad. This oft-wielded cudgel to silence feminists who cry foul at sexism expressed by political allies is wrong for the following […]
cross-posted by Melissa McEwan , originally posted at Shakesville on November 20, 2007 [Important Note to Feminist Noobs: This is a long post. It contains lots of different, though related, Feminist 101 kind of ideas about misogynist language. Please carefully read the whole post before commenting. If you don't understand one of the points that […]
So: Toss out the idea that there must be unanimous consent, or even majority agreement, that something is sexist for it to be determined as such. In fact, toss out the idea that sexism is determined by subjective opinion altogether.