tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
I've been reading Carolyn Heilbrun's _Reinventing Womanhood_. I have the seeds of a post or an essay germinating in my head about geek-as-third-gender[*], genderqueerness (especially in female-assigned people), and how that does or doesn't relate to the idea of successful women aspiring to be "honorary men" as Heilbrun argues against, and to feminism and/or the rejection thereof. It still all comes down to the need to make gender both matter and not matter at the same time. To the apparent contradiction between saying, "fuck it, your labels don't apply to me, and I refuse to attach any of them to myself" and the idea of accepting the label of "woman" and living your life as an example of what being a woman can mean. To do either of those seems to be giving more credence to the concepts of "man" and "woman" than they deserve -- but that's what it means to live in a man's world. So, sometime, I will write something better-thought-out on this point.

[*] is worth noting because it's an essay that I and many other people in my circle have enjoyed, yet it seems somehow quite revealing that it's titled "The Anti-Girl Manifesto" -- why is it so frequent that when somebody writes something rejecting gender, it's always the trappings of the female gender that get attacked far more harshly? The author writes, "I'm not a woman, I'm a geek;" yet why does it seem so natural for a woman to write that when it would seem almost unnecessary for a man to declare, "I'm not a man, I'm a geek"? It's not that no one would ever say such a thing, but there doesn't seem to be anything contradictory in our discourse about being a man and a geek. I mean, duh. So when you say, "I'm not a woman, I'm a geek," is this a daring statement of individuality, or does it just reveal you've bought into the same poisonous stereotypes we all have, that you've bought the idea that you can't be a woman and a geek? When I say that I don't identify as a woman or a man because I don't feel like either one, am I just buying into the idea that man is default and woman is special-case? If I were exactly the same as I am now, with the same mind except with convex instead of concave bits (ignoring that I'd have lived a different life if I'd been born with them), would I feel the same need to repudiate my assigned gender? Or would I just take it as a given that I was a person first and a man later, because all men grow up with the privilege of being able to take it for granted that they are a person first, whereas a woman has to spend her life proving it?

To put it another way, there's something really quite broken about the fact that if you call a man a "lady", you're cruising for a bruising (unless he's gay or has an unusually good sense of humor), but if you call a woman a "gentleman", she's supposed to take it as a compliment.
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tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

October 2017

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