Aug. 7th, 2013

On Misogyny

Aug. 7th, 2013 02:31 pm
mayamaia: (Exercise)
There's an essay I really don't want to write which is mostly in defense of Steven Moffat over the recent batch of misogyny accusations. The fact is, he's clearly begun to give up on clearing his name - he's been fighting that one bad interview for about 10 or 15 years now and resorts more and more to lame humor as a shield. He can't win, he knows it, and refuses to try or listen anymore.

There's this long long list I could compile of vaguely misogynist things said by various men I admire. Sometimes they're only problematic out of context, other times there's no saving the comments in any context. The worst of them are often things that I have thought myself, without external impetus.

Because when I was in fourth grade, my best friend had moved away and I missed her and she sent me a letter saying she loved me. And I spent an afternoon very seriously and carefully thinking about whether I wanted to like girls or like boys, finally deciding on boys not really due to any physical preference (I actually thought boy anatomy was gross, but then I didn't like breasts and such at first either and am beginning to think that I'm happier as an asexual) but because girls were boring. They gossiped and didn't like science and liked the color pink and didn't do sports. Boys were just more fun to be around, so I decided to like them. And then in high school and college it turned out I had no friends who were girls, which was fine with me, except that once in a while I did find a girl who fit my criteria. Suddenly I would become all of my own complaints about females in their presence. By virtue of their not doing the things I saw as stupid and boring, it was safe for me to do those things around them. It took me years to stop despising traditionally feminine things, and for the most part those things still mystify me.

I don't understand women. I'm trying to, I am making an effort to be friendly with women who like womanly things in a typically womanly way, but I know very well that I am different from them. I don't have anything like a normal womanly experience in public. Between my height and my education, and a lot of lessons from my father in the posture of confidence, men treat me with intimidated respect whenever I want them to, and as a sort of alien equal the rest of the time. I only get ignored by my family, and even that less and less. Bridging the gap of experience with most women is something I have to actively maintain.

I can't imagine what it would be like to attempt to do that without having the physical illusion of being one of them. I can relate, in memory, to all those men I admire who said men are happier without women than women are without men, because girls confused and frustrated me for most of my life. But my god how good it feels to have women around when I'm not focusing on how different they are from me. Because I don't have to treat my feminine qualities as quirks of my personality, any more than I have to treat my masculine ones as the way I am different from other girls.

I've always comfortably identified as a woman, but for years I imagined myself aiming to be some sort of ideal model, unhampered by all the silliness. Life's better now, without that vanity. I still don't think people should limit themselves, but I've started to notice the other limits, the unmentioned ones, my father yelling at my sisters for putting makeup on his lonely son. Alex is amazingly alright, considering.



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