Over the past few days a couple of commenters at The Standard have taken a few swings at me.
They’ve pretended to be “surprised” that I’m commenting on a Saturday afternoon -
Thought you would be playing Saturday soccer or softball now anyway.
Actually you would probably make a good prop in rugby, they need to be heavy.
They’ve estimated my shoe size -
Not QoT’s this, is it? Or she’ll jump on me with her size 15 Doc Martins, and flatten me but good.
And, in comments tragically lost to the internet (but not my inbox) have referred to me as being “in man mode”.
It’s one of the great ironies of being a feminist blogger. People will furiously insist that there’s no such thing as sexism in our society, women are equal, the pay gap’s a lie …
And then just to tear you down they’ll make it clear that the very worst thing you can tell a woman is that she’s not a real woman. Because she likes softball and wears Doc Martens. (Oh, and also is fat, but for now I’ll just refer that to this previous post of mine.)
Upshot? I’m a big hairy masculine lesbian, that’s what I am!
The obvious problem is that if you’re not a pathetically insecure bigot, there’s actually nothing wrong with a person being a big hairy masculine lesbian if that’s what floats their boat. There’s nothing wrong with women playing soccer. There’s nothing wrong with women wearing Doc Martens.
But to these kinds of people – the people who will spend all day telling you you’re wrong about sexism – that kind of thing is literally the worst thing they can think to call you. You’re meant to be ashamed, upset, torn down, booted into a spiral of self-doubt, because you’re failing to match up properly to the Magical Femininity Scale.
And thus, they make your point for you. Clearly, there are still people who think women and men have innate, defined gender roles – because they do. Clearly, there are still people who look down on women who don’t conform to those gender roles – because they do. Clearly, there are still instinctive responses to shame women acting outside those gender roles, to bully them back into “appropriate” behaviour – because that’s what they try to do.
The only real problem is to try and quash your own reflex to try to educate them. They don’t want to be educated. They just want to shut you up. So don’t let them. And enjoy the belly-laughs when they just do not comprehend why their incredibly-cutting “lol ur gay” insults aren’t doing the job.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a feminist in the company of non-feminists must be in want of yet another argument about the word “females”.
Because inevitably some jackass is going to make their smarmy justification of the pay gap, etc, even worse by saying something like “It’s not employers’ fault if females want to have babies” or some allegedly-there-to-produce-safer-communities wanker will encourage “females” to get back in the kitchen.
While one can always point to the fact that it’s fairly widely accepted these days that, at the very least, writers and speakers should be aware of the possible demeaning implications of using “female” as a noun …
I just like to point out that it makes you sound like a Ferengi. And that’s not a good thing.
Besides, even the Ferengi eventually saw the error of their ways …