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The fandom misogyny thing... - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The fandom misogyny thing...
Okay, I'm going to rant.

lasultrix did a post about misogyny in slash, and I've been reading the comments, and just... a lot of things I want to say and I may as well say them here as litter up someone else's journal with only vaguely related comments.

"But just being a woman doesn't mean you can write women!"
Yes, this comment exists, though I didn't look for it a second time to confirm its wording. I will allow that I may have misinterpreted the poster's comment, but the point here is less to respond to that comment than to just seethe about a phenomenon which bothers me. A lot. The comment--even if I misconstrued it--got me thinking about the issue, because I've run into it very frequently since roughly 1988, and it ticks me off a little more every single time.

Why does this bother me? After all, I'm always saying that the physical form isn't the be-all, end-all of identity, and we shouldn't assume that writers of such-and-such a type should naturally write characters of the same type. But this comment got under my skin, because the assumption that went with it was that women who aren't written the way the commenter thought they should be weren't "real women," even if a real woman writer created them and doesn't think they're false.

Summarized: If you don't agree with x premise, you're not qualified to say you write "real women."

I'm not entirely sure what x premise was in this case, but it doesn't matter. There is no principle that a woman can espouse that will disqualify her to speak as a woman. And yes, that includes talking about why she really thinks it's a grand idea to wear white gloves and pearls while vacuuming. These are positions held by real women, and they are therefore real and genuine feminine positions. I can't begin to express how much I loathe the idea that women are meant to chant the party line unless they want to be written off as sell-outs or male wannabes or whatever. Is that what we've been looking for the freedom to do? To use an example, I'm no friend of the burqa. And I would certainly protest any woman being forced to wear one. But I would equally protest being forbidden to do so if it happens to be in accord with her own beliefs. The same is true of headscarves worn for religious reasons. Personally, I find the belief that I should hide my hair so that only my husband could see it (post-marriage, obviously) to be fairly offensive, as my hair is not someone else's property to be enjoyed by him. It's my own to enjoy as I please. But other women have very different opinions on the subject, and I respect their right to hold those opinions. I'm not going to be pulling anyone's scarf off, or saying she's less of a woman or has been brainwashed by the patriarchy because she believes in a standard of dress that doesn't happen to be one to which I subscribe.

By the same token, little as I may have in common with women who really enjoy fashion and cosmetics, I do not suggest that they aren't every bit as "real" as I am. Nor do my socially conservative views make me less "real" a woman than Gloria Steinham.

Ah, but professional women clearly are operating in a male milieu, in which women have to compete and knock other women and...

Excuse me, but please. Television and movies have not created intra-feminine sniping, nor does it always come from some mythical patriarchy (witness the above bullying about who is and is not allowed to be counted as a "real woman"... I can't imagine a more aggressively argumentative stance). Women compete because women are people, and people compete. Women, who were for generations upon generations in a separate social milieu, tend to compete with one another. Men, oddly enough, also compete with one another. And now that we're mixing more, there's plenty of inter-gender competition happening, and it's only going to become more prevalent.

:deep breath:

Sorry, I didn't mean to rant quite that rantily, but this is sort of my "home rant." Being told that women's thought has to be straitjacketed in order to be properly feminine is a stereotype that should have been left behind in the Victorian era, and if it had to be resurrected, it shoudn't have been by feminists.

Slash and misogyny
Is slash misogynistic? Probably some of it is. And I am a little disturbed by the "Ew, het," thing, which I ranted about a few months ago.

But on the whole, no... misogyny isn't what bugs me about slash. I'm not sure I can totally put a finger on what bugs me about slash, except for my generalized dislike of ignoring canon characterizations in fanfic. Of course, it could be my competitive instinct... like it's not bad enough to be jealous of half the human race! ;) (Or my insecurity... "Oh, great. Even in my fantasies he wouldn't be interested in me. Figures. That's just life.")

There are misogynist responses to canon women who "get in the way" of slash pairings, but honestly, I suspect the pairing came first and the hostility to the female character who interferes came later. This is most obvious with some of the Wolfstar shippers' dislike of Tonks (and no, I don't mean all of you folks). Here's a viable ship for Remus that a lot of fen (rather alarmingly, many of devoted genficcers who aren't otherwise into ships at all and have no developed skills for seeking obscure ones) looked at and said, "Huh--that's a viable ship for Remus." And straight!Remus can really through a wrench into Remus/Sirius. So the emotional response is to hate the interloper, much as a friend of a married couple would hate the personal trainer with whom the wife had an affair, breaking up the marriage and messing up the shared friendships. But the preferred pairing came before the dislike of other pairings. It's a liking of the men before a disliking of the woman.

So why all the men and not as much het or femmeslash, despite being written by women?
I hate to ruin a frothing rant by ending on a dull note, but I really think that the issue is less about dislike of women or being pro-gay or even being devoted to a pairing than is about being interested in what's different from the self and exploring it. Why do so many women write men, slash or otherwise? Because the appeal is peeking out through those other eyes and seeing how the world might look through them. I'm less surprised by how many women write male characters than by how few men write female ones. It's just imagination.

For myself, I don't approach the two any differently anymore. Remus is the POV for Shifts because I like Remus and he has a voice that comes naturally to me. "The Doll Army" and "Your Very Own Dora" are from Tonks's, because her voice suited those stories. I didn't approach McGonagall's Sorting differently from how I approached Dumbledore's, and while I did approach Tom's differently, it was because Tom is creepy to write and I had to go to a mental place I don't like, not because he was a boy. But when I first started writing boys, back in high school, I was very curious. What did it feel like to have one's voice change? Did the difference in physical form make the experience of attraction different? And how could my band teacher cheerfully walk around the halls while sporting a small pup tent--didn't it embarrass him that we all knew and commented? (I never did figure out the last. Dude... jeez!)


I just don't think we need ot fish that far for base motives or theorize about sexual kinks. The fascination of the other explains quite a lot.
77 comments or Leave a comment
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author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: January 28th, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think slash has become sort of a "daring" thing, more than a serious shipping device. Ooh, you write slash? Cool!

What happened to just thinking two people who happen to be the same gender could be a good couple?

As for writing different genders - a lot of the time, it works out fine. For instance, Bones to Bones (a story about Susan Bones during OoTP) was written by Ashtur, who is a guy. And Mind's Eye, Soul's Reflection (OoTP from Luna's PoV) was written by a guy as well.

I think it's more of a voice issue than a gender one. I've found Bill Weasley's voice, but I'm still trying to uncover one for Remus. And I don't really have Sirius down at all.

ashtur From: ashtur Date: January 28th, 2005 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, but you see, I didn't really write a girl/woman because she wasn't "into" boys yet...

Or, so it would be answered (though I admit, I've had people read shipping in that wasn't there, I've not had anyone attack me because it ended up shipless).

Honestly, one of the things in the background of that story is that it was about Susan's personal growth, that for various reasions, she'd been socially straightjacketed before... so her emotional development wasn't up to boys, not quite yet (other than one rather monumental crush)...

rj_anderson From: rj_anderson Date: January 28th, 2005 06:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
[quote]Being told that women's thought has to be straitjacketed in order to be properly feminine is a stereotype that should have been left behind in the Victorian era, and if it had to be resurrected, it shoudn't have been by feminists.[/quote]

*loud and sustained applause*

Hooray for this and the whole essay.

Since joining LJ one of the things that has struck me and surprised me most is how many supposedly "liberated", "modern", "feminist" women appear to be disgusted by their own gender. Being an INTJ woman and therefore a bit of an oddity, I don't always understand how women of other types think, and sometimes I find it easier to reason and get along with men; but gosh, I'm still proud of being a woman, and I wouldn't change my gender even if I could (though I could really do without this crappy pregnancy sickness at the moment).

I find women not only interesting but genuinely attractive (and I say that as a straight woman -- I don't mean it in the "wanna sleep with" sense, I mean it in the aesthetic sense), and the various relationships possible between men and women still fascinate me as an observer and as an author. Thoughts like "ew, girl parts" or "but women are so boring to write" have just never crossed my mind. I've written stories which centred around male characters and male conversations/interactions, but only because the particular story I wanted to write seemed to require it. I've done the opposite as well -- written stories where all the main characters are women -- for the same reason: I wasn't trying to make a point about gender, it was just what that particular story required.

It really fascinates me to realize that when it comes to affirming the worth and value and interest and potential of women, I seem to be ahead of a lot of people more "enlightened" and "liberal" in their views than I am. Many female LJ'ers would probably look at my views and my lifestyle and declare me a mindless victim of the patriarchy: but I sure don't feel victimized, or limited, or insecure about my femininity in the least, whereas I haven't met a lot of other women online who can say the same.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 28th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think we INTJs of any sex or ethnicity or interest set or anything of the sort tend to be a little baffled by people of other personality types. ;) Heaven knows, there are plenty of dark-haired WASPy librarians in the northeast who make me scratch me head sometimes!

I'm still proud of being a woman, and I wouldn't change my gender even if I could

Exactly. I don't ever recall wanting to be anything other than what I am, at least as far as that issue goes. I like having the option to dress prettily or wear business clothes or go glam or go lumberjack--men really are a lot more constrained when it comes to what they're allowed to get away with. I like girl's names better than boy's names. I love my long hair and I feel extremely powerful in low-cut tops. (I know, Bad!LiberatedWoman!) Other than those physical and social things, I don't really think there are other valid gender markers. I can be whatever I want the way I am.

I find women not only interesting but genuinely attractive (and I say that as a straight woman -- I don't mean it in the "wanna sleep with" sense, I mean it in the aesthetic sense),

Totally. I mean, not every single woman, any more than it would be true of every single man, but definitely--I find feminine form as pleasing as the masculine one, artistically speaking. Kind of the way I find trees and waterfalls beautiful. (That's my approach to actors and celebs and such. I think Natalie Portman is an absolutely beautiful human being, but I have no desire whatsoever to actually talk to her or meet her or see most of her movies. I just think she's lovely in more or less the same way I think pictures of Mt. Everest are lovely. It doesn't make me want to climb either one.)
dreamcoat_mom From: dreamcoat_mom Date: January 28th, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was a very sensible essay - and an interesting analysis of the slash/het debate. (I've never fully understood why a debate of any kind should exist, really - isn't it all make-believe?) I think you're right - it's not so much a case of misogyny (though there is that whole "ewwww het!" thing you mentioned)as it is a defense of fans' favorite pairings. People hate having the parameters of their comfort zone challenged, and those who have latched onto S/R are not so very different in their reactions to R/T than the foaming-at-the-mouth R/Hr vs. H/Hr bunch are about each others' offerings.

As for your "home rant," I could kiss you. I remember being in college at the age of 30 in the early '90s, espousing the very same opinion you have about feminine roles in society - that feminism is about freedom of choice, the right of a woman to assume any role she wishes. I was shot down in a spectacular ball of fire, since I had used the argument within the context of defending my role as a stay-at-home mom. What the harpies who were arguing with me failed to notice, was that I was back in school to forge a career path. Duh! Must we be pigeon-holed? I'll probably wear quite a few hats before my life is up - but the bottom line is that it was my choice. Yes, I answer to a spouse, just as he answers to me. Sounds more like a partnership than subjugation.

As for gender-related voicing, I think you're right on track. I am currently writing a R/T fic with alternating POVs - ironically, I find it much easier to write Lupin than Tonks. I have more in common with him - we're the same age, of the same temperament, both teachers/scholars, and I'm easily able to predict how he will act/react in a given situation. Tonks, on the other hand, is my complete opposite, except for her slapstick sense of humor, which I share. To me, that makes her more fun to write, even if it's not easier.

Thanks for the food for thought! I've been meaning to respond to any number of your thought-provoking posts, but never seemed to get to it. I'm glad I added you to the flist!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 28th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remember being in college at the age of 30 in the early '90s, espousing the very same opinion you have about feminine roles in society - that feminism is about freedom of choice, the right of a woman to assume any role she wishes. I was shot down in a spectacular ball of fire

I was in college (standard-age student) from 1988 until 1992, and I relate to this totally. It was the campus feminists by themselves who drove me from peace-sign wearing hippie-wannabe liberal to snarking neocon reading the National Review. I kid you not; it ticked me off that much. I wanted to distance myself as much as was humanly possible, and my first article for the conservative magazine was a rant rather like this one. I wish I could find it. I do remember I was speculating on why I might not be a proper little feminist, and I jokingly brought up the idea that I was a masochist. I wrote, "Oh, yes. Whip me, beat me, tie me up with licorice." Ultimately, I got a little more serious, but there were some "explanations" of my aberrant behavior that I didn't think deserved a respectful response. (Later on, other things convinced me to stay to the right, particularly Israel issues and educational questions, but the campus feminists needed no assistance whatsoever in shoving me bodily to the right.)
slytherincesss From: slytherincesss Date: January 28th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think your essay is very sensible and I agree mostly with all of it.

Feminism really is about choices, and some women's choices include traditional, what some would call patriarchal, roles. I chose to leave my job when I had children; I wanted to be the one to raise them, to mother them, when they were very young. Six and a half years later, I am back at work again.

But on the whole, no... misogyny isn't what bugs me about slash. I'm not sure I can totally put a finger on what bugs me about slash, except for my generalized dislike of ignoring canon characterizations in fanfic.

This is my main beef with slash per se. I am unable to see any overt gayness in canon -- male or female. Thus, slashy OTPs and Twoo Wub stories fall flat for me. I have a difficulty attaining the proper suspension of belief when it comes to slash to begin with, and then butchered characterizations within a slash story usually cinch things up rather nicely for me: this story sucks, I think to myself.

There are misogynist responses to canon women who "get in the way" of slash pairings, but honestly, I suspect the pairing came first and the hostility to the female character who interferes came later.

I'd agree with this. I ship Draco/Pansy. Pansy is utterly villified by fandom and fanfic. While it is true that Pansy is a real little bitch in canon, it's equally true that Draco is just as bad, if not worse. Yet writers find depth and meaning beyond Draco's crappy behavior, and write Draco accordingly, while being seemingly completely unable to extend Pansy the same benefit of the doubt. Pansy interferes mightily with all Draco ships: D/Hr, D/G, H/D, etc. It's clear in canon that they are friends, enjoy each others' company, and are housemates. So you see most fic handle Pansy by making her 1) a whore who Draco only uses to have sex with, while secretly dreaming of Harry, 2) betrothed to Draco, and he loathes her mere existence (what about Pansy loathing Draco for once, hmm? Maybe she's not too keen on not having a choice in a betrothal fic), or 3) Draco is the misunderstood Slytherin (while it's pretty clear in canon that he LIKES being a Slytherin) and secretly hates all his housemates, and is very dismissive and cruel to Pansy in particular. Very few writers handle Draco/Pansy well, regardless of what ship Draco is involved in.

I don't really read a lot into other peoples' kinks (in general; some kinks are abusive to others, IMO), slash included. I read slash myself, and I enjoy it if it's well-written and IC. But, yeah. I do have a problem when it extends to include females making disparaging comments about female anatomy and heterosexual sex.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 28th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yet writers find depth and meaning beyond Draco's crappy behavior, and write Draco accordingly, while being seemingly completely unable to extend Pansy the same benefit of the doubt

Ah, yes... the question of unequal treatment. That's the topic I meant to get into.

I think part of this is the Other vs. Self thing. When a woman sees Pansy acting the way Pansy acts, we know how it goes in girl-culture and make a whole lot of assumptions. But if you're making the assumption that boys are little aliens, all of it could mean something different.

I actually find Draco/Pansy kind of interesting. It's a long-standing relationship which they both seem to get something out of, and when Draco gets hurt, Pansy seems to be genuinely concerned. But then she turns around and does things like leading the "Weasley Is Our King" chorus, taunting the heroes, and generally being a little bitch. Which really should have exactly the same appeal as Draco, who's involved in the same reasonably solid relationship, then not only is an ass to Harry, but also is to his other friends (or Ron and Harry while he believes they're his other friends). But if you think that boys are inherently really different from girls, it's possible that Draco has a complex explanation while Pansy is just an ambitious little freak who acts like the cheerleader you most hated in high school.
From: ex_olivehorn645 Date: January 28th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm... you make some great points. I read the whole "But just being a woman doesn't mean you can write women!" more to mean that being female didn't mean you could make well-rounded, realistic female characters. Just like being male doesn't mean you can make well-rounded, realistic male characters. I didn't read through the whole thread(s), but the impression I got was that being something didn't qualify you to write it well.

You're absolutely right about defining "real women", though. Narrowly defining any character, female or male, based on gender, is just lazy, shallow writing that makes for dull characters. One of the great things about Harry Potter is how gender isn't all that important in canon and most of the characters are multi-dimensional, but that's often not the case in HP fanfiction.

It's interesting that so much of the talk about misogyny in fanfiction has focused on slash. I find a lot of het and even gen to be more sexist than slash... every time I see Hermione or Ginny treated like a walking, talking baby machine that just wants to be luved and has to be teh pretty I cringe and hit the back button. In slash, the women aren't the focus of the story, but in many stories where women are the focus, they are raped, debased, impregnated, infantilized, demonized, and madeover ad nauseam.

I don't entirely agree with your comment about how women write men to view through other eyes... in the Harry Potter fandom we have an enormous world full of diverse characters, male and female. A witch is just as exotic as a wizard regardless of anatomy unless you are specifically writing about a gender issue (though I've yet to see a single fic that does this, and OMGletsmakeHarryaGIRL!!!11 fics don't count). I think it has more to do with the ratio of male to female characters in canon and the continued marginalization of women's stories and issues in our society. People would rather read and write about men because, well, that's all they've ever read; it's what they know and can relate to because the male perspective is the one that our society has historically valued and promoted more.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 28th, 2005 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
A witch is just as exotic as a wizard regardless of anatomy unless you are specifically writing about a gender issue

Oh, I actually agree with you. I'm talking about people who seem to think that the gender issue matters. I don't. Heck, the person across the street from me is as exotic as any witch. They're all other eyes.
sabrinanymph From: sabrinanymph Date: January 28th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
There is no principle that a woman can espouse that will disqualify her to speak as a woman. And yes, that includes talking about why she really thinks it's a grand idea to wear white gloves and pearls while vacuuming. These are positions held by real women, and they are therefore real and genuine feminine positions.

Thank you. It's so nice to know I'm not alone on feeling that way. I've got my education and my degrees and I'll have experience but at some point I may want to be a stay-at-home Mom and I get furious with people who assume that because you are doing that you've been stepped on or are somehow less than a woman who chooses to work full time. If I do stay-at-home it will be because I want to. I want to be there when my children take their first steps and speak their first words and read their first book. I don't want to hand it over to someone else to take care of and it would be my choice because I'd never marry someone who wouldn't let me make that choice!

It's great for women to have the option of being full time career women and for those who do I think they should have the opportunity to do anything that they are good at doing whether it be teaching or construction! But don't look down on another woman because she's chosen not too. True equality between the sexes means that women have the rights to hold property, to choose their own destinies, whatever that destiny may be. But modern feminism sometimes seems to demand that you only choose to 'compete' with men. If you have no choice, if you must do something, we've only escaped one cage to build ourselves a different one. And that's just not cool.

Anyway, I liked a lot of this, and it made sense to me, but your views on women really struck home.
sreya From: sreya Date: January 28th, 2005 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
What I find interesting about the career!women )who look down on other women who choose to stay at home or follow a more domestic career) is that these women who DO have children then need to find someone else to care for their children, usually a paid caretaker... and the vast majority of the time, that caretaker is going to be a woman.

So, if being domestic is being subjugated, those career women are subjugating other women. Right? Isn't that the follow through?

*rolling eyes*

I'll agree with the sentiment of "feminists" pushing people to the right. I still can't even bring myself to say that I'm at all feminist, even though I'm in law school and plan to push my way into international law which is an extremely male-dominated field. Liberal feminists have just gotten so extreme that the very term carries all sorts of liberal connotations and crazy ideas that I can't stand. Makes me want to distance myself as much as I can.
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: January 28th, 2005 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
But when I first started writing boys, back in high school, I was very curious.

A boy once told me that women just don't understand shaving and I raised my eyebrows. He explained, "No, no! I mean, you guys shave your legs and all, but shaving your face is different, you don't even know!"

Once I got beyond the fact that he called women "guys" (it cracked me up, but I know what he was saying. "Gals"? Not so much), I asked him what he meant. He'd shaved his legs for swimming, so he said that you can shave your legs with just water, but your face is different, and cuts are more noticable, and you need to have a mirror, and it was just more difficult all-around. I confess, I had never thought about it before, and I was humbled by what the poor clean-shaven males have to go through. ;P (;P means I'm ending this on a joking note.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 28th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, yeah.

On the "guys" thing, where was he from? At home in Western New York, "you guys" was definitely a unisex term and no one thought twice about it, but when a friend moved down south, it caused great hilarity.
lannamichaels From: lannamichaels Date: January 28th, 2005 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
re: slash and misogyny: I've seen that reason a few times why people don't like slash. Wondering what you'd think of a fandom such as Buffy, where there's canon femslash?

re: writing men instead of women: telesilla, I believe, made an interesting point about this a bit ago. Most slash is written by straight women, and straight women want to write about people they find attractive, so it's about men. I write men because the canon relationships between them make me wonder about what's behind them. It's interesting to note that fandoms like Velvet Goldmine, where there's blatant and canon Kurt/Brian, have tiny fandoms, compared to LOTR, where there's nothing blatant and is huge.

There's also the point that there aren't very many strong female characters, or, if there are, there's usually only one. Who to pair Princess Leia with?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 28th, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure I'd think of as "slash," since I think of that as a term (like "het") applied to non-canonical ships. I don't know that I'd really think of an established show-ship as something that needed to be pointed out, except inasmuch as pointing out when in the series the thing was taking place. If it's season 5 and you're writing Willow/Tara, then you don't really need to point that out--Willow and Tara a couple in Season 5 BtVS, and if your summary is, "While Glory is sidetracked by something shiny, Willow and Tara discover some truths about themselves in the deserted remains of the Initiative," then you know it's involving their relationship somehow, and that relationship is romantic. If, however, Willow is going down there with Spike and they end up smooching, then you'd have to identify the ship and point out that it's het. Same with any of Buffy's boyfriends. A borderline case would be a Tara backstory, since we don't have canon on it, but Willow strongly implies (the "street cred" scene) that Tara has had previous and exclusively lesbian relationships. My inclination in that case would just be to say, "Tara/OC," and the assumption would be that it's lesbian because it's Tara and if it weren't, it would be stated. When the character is canonically gay, then the same ideas that apply to slash with straight characters would apply to het. When the character is canonically bi, like Willow, then it tends to be purely a question of writing the specific relationship.

The problem in most slash pairings is that the characters in question are, as often as not, shown in an asexual light in canon (which requires careful character development to get to any sexual behavior), or shown as having pronounced het attractions (which has obvious repercussions). The stories can be done, but the work is a lot harder.
story645 From: story645 Date: January 28th, 2005 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just had to agree with your real life comments. I can't count anymore the number of times I've had people think I was nuts for choosing to dress according to my religion, (you don't wear pants? What?) or how many times I've had to hear that my religions is basically evil. I agree with your fandom ones too, but that's what struck me.
leeflower From: leeflower Date: January 28th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
people who "write women" or "write men" sorta baffle me. It doesn't work. That's true of writing any group or archeatype-- writing a gay person, or a woman, or a black person, or a muslim, or a 'tomboy'-- is going to be flat and two-dimensional. Maybe I'm weird, but I write characters. If they happen to be gay, or female, or african-american, or muslim, or into sports, than that gets incorperated into their character, but it's not all they are. Some authors-- even published ones, heaven knows-- don't seem to get that.

And speaking as a peace-sign waving hippie, the feminazis bother me, too. Especially when they insist on spelling 'women' with a 'y.' First of all it makes them look illiterate, and second, if they'd look it up, they'd find out that the etymology of the word is not 'man with a womb.' The suffix indicated that you were speaking about a human, so really, taking 'man' out of it takes 'human' out of it, not 'male.'
Someone gave me a keychain that reads "a woman who seeks to be equal to a man lacks ambition." Maybe I just have no sense of humor, but how is that funny? If jokes about women are offensive, shouldn't it follow in an equal society that jokes about men are, too?

I think that's part of the problem with them really. Just like any hate group, they've let their cultural bindings become everything that they are, and their insecurity has led them to trash people who don't share them.

The song 'Just a Housewife' from Working really says a lot about this subject, I think, and about how women who make the choice to assume traditional roles are looked down upon as 'unliberated.' It's written from the perspective of a housewife talking about how people trash her for the choice she's made ('what I do -what I choose to do- may be dumb to you, but it's not to me...')

The "ew, het" thing: wow does that ever make me want to smack people. There are parts of the gay population that act as biggoted towards straight people as some straight people act towards them, and it's really bothersome. They're the same people who trash bisexuals for being 'too straight' or 'polluting the gay community.' Well, those of us who don't hate heterosexuals might be polluting the gay community, but at least we're not polluting the human race. Heavens, way to be hypocrites.
out_fox From: out_fox Date: January 29th, 2005 10:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Laughs and applauds re: women who spell women wimmin, woymn & other versions that make no actual sense re: the etymology. I'm a slash lovin' feminist, & I'm sorry that your experinces with feminists have been so negative. None of the many feminists I know share the views you mention, they are all a passe even within feminism where I live ( Australia. But yeah, they DO still use womyn spelling and it's just WRONG!

Re the "ew het" thing..maybe I'm misreading but are you implying that it's gay people making this comment in fandom??? I get the major impression that it's actually straight women who ship gay pairs with OTP devotion who say it?? As a gay person whose been into gay writing much longer than slash, slash seems more fantasy lit than queer lit, and slashers may analyse the gay - but I've never heard of a similar level of interest in slash from gay communities.
From: roseblue Date: January 28th, 2005 09:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I haven't heard people saying that if I didn't hold to a certain idea, that meant I wasn't a real woman. But if I did, I would have been furious. I can accept that a majority of women think x, but a woman can still think differently and be a woman. So I agree with you. My experience with sexism though, has ben mostly on-line.

I have seen the atitude in HP that something is wrong with Molly for being a stay-at-home mom and things like that. Or the comment that Hermion can't be interested in staying at home, she is too smart. That made me want to punch somebody. I was a teenager recently and remember what being a kid was like. I find it insulting that idea that raising children is bad, or only for "inferior" people. I do considere this sexism because there is no problem with males staying home. If one gender can do something and another can't, would be my definition of sexism.

Before being online, I never though about gender with regards to character. They were just the way they were. I never thought I was sexist, I loved science and did well in math a lot. My mom was a doctor and I never saw a problem with that. She was also had a minor in math in college. I never thought of one sex being better then another. Then I get online and hear people say that Tolkien was sexist. OR JKR. Basicaaly, it seemed to me that if women were not portrayed in a certain way, (non-girly, you were sexist. This has made me nervous with regards to my characters now. I think about gender with my characters and think that I have to make sure that both male and females have a certain personality. I try to ignore it but it does bother me when I see people saying they hate a character because she acts too girly. Heck, I don't even have a clue of what that means. I keep thinking what would they think if they read my story, if I did manage to write one. I know I shouldn't care, but sexist is an insult and implies that you have bad character.

So I think there is reverse sexism going on. Females have to act in certain ways, they can't just be the way they are. When girly is not a term of insult, then I say we reach sexual equality.

As for pairing Princess Leia, thought she was paired up with Han. So who can she be paired up with:). I don't have much experience with that, never had a boyfriend, but maybe they should be paired up with people they like? If you can show that they like each other, I wouldn't have a problem with that in the story.
akashasheiress From: akashasheiress Date: January 28th, 2005 10:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Big Fat Word!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 28th, 2005 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)


I totally agree with you on the subject of "real women." Personally, I think that the party-line feminists have done more to hurt women as a whole than help us. They are trying to force women into their own feminine ideal, just as much a any other group ever has and because of the way they camoflague it, too many people can't see it. My personal gripe is the fact that so many people (men and women) look down on traditionally female activities, hobbies, roles, etc. and marginalize the women who enjoy them, by saying they are oppressed, unenlightened, downtrodden, uneducated, etc. For the example of stay-at-home moms, I remember a time in high school where someone was spouting off on how any woman who did not have paid employment was oppressed. A friend of mine and I both had mothers who were not members of the paid labor market and our thoughts on the matter were that our mothers lived in nice houses, drove nice cars, had the same access to cash, credit cards, and check books as their husbands, and had all of their children in school for eight hours a day. Oppression never sounded so good.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 29th, 2005 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it's all very fine and dandy to talk about the freedom to be a stay-at-home mom and the liberation and the choice and the yadda-yadda-yadda. But you see, it isn't really a choice, yet.

There's that niggling, twisty, nasty, obligation tripe that comes down the sluice with pregnancy. "Oh, you'll have a lovely time with the baby."

Uhm. Yeah. I loathe babies and I'm giving it up, thank you very much.

"What kind of woman are you!? You're heartless," yadda-yadda.

When society decides that women can actually admit in public that they don't like children, without being harrassed, denigrated or treated like they have a psychological disorder, then we can discuss "feminism" being the choice to conform to societal expectations. 'Cause I'm tired of the baggage being thrown at my head.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 29th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah. Because that's so common compared to, "What do you mean, you can't do it all? How dare you disagree with me?" Or my own personal favorite, when I dared to suggest that someone accusing a man of date rape had to provide proof: "I hope you get raped."
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