Friday, June 02, 2006

Does this picture make my text look patriarchal?

This is me, on a cruise ship a while back, getting all fangirl on my awesome husband who has just won the so-called talent show with his heartfelt and entertaining "Blues in A for Borrowed Electric Guitar".

(it's not like he had any competition...He was definitely competent and entertaining and expressive - but he's not exactly the next Eddie van Anything. That said, I feel it's only fair to report that everyone else kind of sucked.)

Anyway, c'est moi, in all my tubby and frizztacular glory, as femmed-up as I can get without lapsing into a dissociative fugue state, just in case anyone was interested. I had just been to the shipboard groomer's, so my coat was quite shiny and my claws had been freshly painted...I was waiting for them to give me that dumb little bow...

I hate to say it, but this particular post is nothing more than a reaction to the ubiquitous Pony calling me a man on someone else's comments. That hurts in a way I just wasn't prepared for. I got all watery-eyed and lost sleep over it. I flirted with renouncing my vow of civility. I damn near lost my religion, as my former stepdaughter might say.

The depth and breadth of my distress really surprised me. It had the effect of turning my emotional clock back to 1977. I'm more embarrassed about my own reaction, really, than by what Pony actually said. I mean, it's just the intarweb, after all. I thought I was immune now to that sort of schoolyard taunting. I thought I had grown a tough exoskeleton, like a cockroach or a crab. I may have done, but I'm still squishy inside.

She could easily come back and declare "it was just a joke! god! you have no sense of humor! you should lighten up!" Bullies often do that.

But here it is: It was the absolute worst insult she could come up with, worse than "asshole" or "fraud" or "antifeminist" (though she played with that one too). It's equivalent in impact to calling a man a "pussy". It others me, turns me into an object on which other people can safely hurl ridicule. If I'm really a man, the injunction against criticizing a sister is lifted. If I'm really a man, I don't belong in the world of women. I'f I'm really a man, I am the easiest of easy targets. And it's all okay because I'm a man and embody patriarchy and deserve it.

I guess I should thank Pony for getting me angry enough to really examine my points of view. That's never a bad thing, though my points of view have never been changed through bullying. I'd like to think I'm not so weak that mere intimidation and threat of humiliation could be enough to change my mind.

But it has got me wondering - assume I do appear masculine online. In what ways do I accomplish that? What signals are sent out by online commenters and bloggers that identify the participant as masculine? as feminine? I mean, without visual cues, how do you know?

Do I need to femme up some, textually speaking? talk about more womanly things, with a more womanly voice, somehow? and what would constitute a more womanly voice?

or is it simply that Pony can't imagine a woman, a feminist, disagreeing with her, so the disagreeing party must be made male in order to fit in her worldview? Do I just need to have some sort of conversion experience, to see the radfem light and come to Goddess, to be acceptably feminine?

Pony, I'm not going to march in your army no matter what names you call me. Someday I may change my position on many concepts, sure - but you're not going to shame me into agreeing with you.

That said, I would love to know what part of me looks male to you.

I've been identified as male-identified on Teh Internets, and, ya know, so be it. I've figured out exactly why I've been called as much (I'm also antifeminist and an apologist for Men, of course, which would surprise a lot of men that I've taken to task for their sublte but definite misogyny, but that was IRL, so...who knows?). Here's my thing: as soon as a person decides that a certain 'tone' or certain 'topics' or whatever are masculine or feminine, I can no longer differentiate that person from the former male co-worker of mine who did not believe that I had a girlfriend as anything other than a 'stage' or a 'fling' because I was too girly. I don't see how the underlying presumptions are any different. I stop listening either way. Bah... shame's a hideous thing, no matter what the purpose.

P.S.--OT: Husband plays the gee-tar? What kind of gear?
Okay - NO F**N WAY ought you change your voice in order for others to accept you. You are just as important in the blog world as pony is (well - pony doesn't even have a blog, so..) You are putting yourself out there anti-p and taking a risk and yes, I cringed and was horrified when your gender was in question ESPECIALLY since you identify as a woman.

This seriously pissed me off and was a clear bullying tactic to silence and discredit YOUR voice. Don't let people like that under your skin.

That behaviour is the same as the patriarchal BS pony is supposedly trying to dismantle.

I certainly didn't take pony's comments to be "a joke." When you joke good-heartedly with someone they understand the reference and can laugh because past behaviour has indicated a SAFE place. It is meant to include the subject of the joke and pony's comments did none of that - obviously since it upset you.

This is a good lesson for me - I will delete any comments that are outright inflammatory / racist / abusive from my blog and reinforce an intention that I choose my words carefully before I post any comments on others' blogs.

Keep on keepin on anti-p.

This is a journey not a destination!
jean - yes, he's a musician. The guitar he used on that trip was an Ibanez Destroyer (modified slightly - we called it the Ibanez Destroyed) which he loved...unfortunately when the band he was in broke up he had to return it to its rightful owner.

He generally is a Strat guy, but at the moment we are electric-less. Guitars come and guitars go - he's had some gorgeous instruments and some real boat paddles. at the moment, we have an Epiphone acoustic - not real rawknroll but it serves his purpose for the time being.

the big bad lotto-winner dream is a Parker Fly.
thanks, dykotomy.

I am way too sensitive as a general rule. I better toughen up.
anti-p, it's not you that needs to change, it's those around you that can't value the power of opinion without trying to sabotage someone to forsake themselves.

stand up grrl, you rock! and you have a sea of women behind you supporting you.
What they all said.

and uh how exactly is it that we're supposed to know that Pony isn't really a fourteen-year-old Mormon boy playing games from Mom's basement?

"on the Internets, no one knows you're a ___."

Well, with one exception: it *is* pretty clear whether or not you're an ignorant asshat.

and antip, wrt these fuckwits, I give you this as a mantra, as quoted by a friend in a different context:

"The burden of your yoke of disapproval is light."
and btw: cute pic!!

so uh wat r u waring n0w?

(besides the mantle of patriarchal apologetics, I mean)

whatever it is I'm sure it's much more flattering that the hairshirt so many seem to have mistaken as anything that might, like, actually help anybody.
>or is it simply that Pony can't imagine a woman, a feminist, disagreeing with her, so the disagreeing party must be made male in order to fit in her worldview?>

o now I'm sure that can't be it. certainly a Real feminist (tm) would not be so insecure that she'd have to resort to invalidating a self-identified woman's experience/persona simply because she didn't agree with her.

that would be wrong.

and if you have the One True Way, as Pony clearly does, you *can't* be wrong about something so important.

so, it must be something else.

really, i'm sure of it.
dude, I couldn't identify as male with a kielbasa down my pants.

damn those chromosomes.
I really AM a man, and I think you're lovely. Great smile.
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