Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Misogyny

I have a problem. In the last eighteen months I have added quite a few male friends and workmates to my life. In those twelve months three of those males have brought tremendous misogyny into my life. Unfortunately for me, I tried to tolerate this misogyny for the sake of good working relations and the potential I saw in each male. Unfortunately for me, also, this willingness to tolerate their ancient ideas for the sake of their excellent ideas meant that they thought they could escalate their misogyny towards me.

Today was the third unprovoked misogynist action from one of these males, and I am tired of forgiving someone who takes forgiveness as a sign of consent.

It all started last year when my sister was sent this story by a ... male.

Once upon a time, a pilot asked a beautiful princess "Will you marry me?" The princess said, "No!"

And the pilot lived happily ever after and flew jets all over the world and drove hot cars and chased skinny long-legged big-breasted flight attendants and hunted and fished and went to topless bars and dated women half his age and drank Weihenstephaner German beer and Captain Morgan and never heard bitching and never paid child support or alimony and kept his house and guns and ate cold leftover meals, potato chips and beans and blew enormous farts and never got cheated on while he was at work and all his friends and family thought he was frickin' cool as hell and he had tons of money in the bank and left the toilet seat up.

Recently I saw the image below, which is similar enough that I presume it is the same meme.



This bizarre little meme proves to me that there really is nothing like the micro aggression of a victimized majority!

I think the logic of a man asking a woman to marry him, and then aggressively enunciating all the things he was free to do because she said no - and such shallow things too for that matter - is completely weird.

Firstly, the male (Pilot/Prince) is clearly very stupid. Despite actually wishing to indulge in the activities listed, he asked a woman (Princess) to marry him, clearly presuming that she would curtail such activities. I grow tired of the modern idea of the hapless male, unable to control his penis or his childish urges, unable to be an adult, unable to take responsibility for his actions. This stupid male (Prince/Pilot) then follows up an insincere marriage proposal with a lifetime of speed, blood sports, alcoholism, hedonism, materialism and, well, a whole lot of misogyny.

- fucked with cute skinny girls
- naked bars
(I'm presuming naked cute skinny girls in those bars)
- dated women (?) half his age
(I think this is a typo, right? It's supposed to be little girls, because until you are sixty, someone half your age is somewhat ... immature)
- never heard bitching
- never paid child support or alimony
(I hope this means he didn't have children, not that he abandoned any children he had)
- never got cheated on while working

He really was very stupid to propose marriage to one woman. Thank god he saved himself from stupidity and opted for dangerous hyper-masculinity, rampant misogyny and tragic mid-life crises! He also wisely steered clear of women who did not meet his taste in female bodies, were clothed, were his equal in maturity, who talked or who expected to be treated equally in a relationship.

Because those kind of women are awful. You want to stay away from them.

I actually wrote a rebuttal to the Pilot story and sent it to my sister, because the ridiculous logic of the story needed a reply.

And the Princess went on to keep dating younger men her whole life because being a Princess is always cool. She never had to cook because she got taken out to dinner all the time, and when she wasn't at a restaurant she was at a party. She never had to drive because she got driven and flown everywhere. She never had to marry or have children so she kept her figure and got to wear the best clothes for free. She was able to spend lots of time with her friends and she took her friend’s kids on cool holidays, and when they were old enough, to the cool parties. She was the most sought after conversationalist and guest at the parties of her friends and family and she knew all the gossip and the heartaches of her friends. She had seen or heard it all and was able to be the one whom everyone turned to when things got rough. When she died they named a street after her, because she was a Princess.

Looking at it now my rebuttal starts off equally shallow, materialistic, hedonistic and full of the exploitation of youth. Are we ALL obsessed with dating younger than us? But I hope the ending of mine is more indicative of what I believe is the key reasons for living; friends and family, getting to know the new generations (not dating them) and not conforming to gender stereotypes if they are not your thing.



Then, a year later, I found a hack of the original meme and posted it to my sister's Facebook Wall. This hack had the Princess traveling, learning, not making sandwiches for people unless she wanted to and living independently with her own footwear and income.

Alas, she also felt the need to remind us that she would have sex with whomsoever she chose, and refused to be judged as a 'slut'. Because we are still operating within Rape Culture, with its logical fallacies of Slut Shaming and Victim Blaming, as is evidenced from the Pilot/Prince story.

But it is a roughly equal hack, and I thought my sister would get a laugh out of it.



And then, despite the fact it had nothing to do with him, it wasn't on his Facebook Wall, nor was he tagged in the post, one of my pet misogynists decided that my sister and I needed to know his thoughts. And he wrote two perfectly poisonous sentences that encapsulated the misogynist culture he was brought up in and the paucity of his engagement with any ideas besides his own.



The first line was simple, but effective.

Firstly, he decided the hack was silly. I'll grant it wasn't presented in context for a reader other than my sister, i.e. next to the male version. But I am struck by the idea that alone it is not funny. Because trust me little misogynist, it's funny, in context or out of context. It's just not funny to anyone who identifies as someone oppressed by any relationship with a woman.

Secondly, he decided to make specific mention of my exact age as being old, and an age that the Prince was wise to avoid in a wife. I'm just not sure if that also means the Prince should always get a new, younger wife once they get past 31? And, simultaneously, if I am now ineligible to be considered marriageable by the misogynists of the world?

So there I was, forwarding on a personal joke to my sister and suddenly my sense of humour sucks and I am too old to be ... whatever. This little misogynist's two other strikes were both personal attacks on Facebook using my age and his opinions on my attractiveness to men in completely unfunny and vicious attempts at humour. But both also included similar attacks on a mutual friend and my sister, both of whom he wrongly presumed were his to date whenever he wished. And this time was no exception. My poor sister bore the brunt of his sense of entitlement, backed up by all the weight of the primacy of the male gaze.

Despite my sister being in a relationship, and never having knowingly expressed a wish to get married to my little misogynist or anyone else for that matter, she was assured he would marry her. Well now, that is a weight (not felt before, but clearly there) off her shoulders!

AND, even better, he would marry her when he decided to ... in six and a half years time! Lordy, she is a lucky girl, to be able to be squeezed into his busy schedule.

AND, there would be a house with two toilets. I'm sure he would find her speechless with delight at his wealth and generosity!

AND, he will do it because of her bones (sic) white girl arse. I think he meant bony. Still, thank goodness for misogynist, racist and just plain incorrect backhand compliments that are only about him, and not about her!

What a catch. What a friend. Keep your enemies real close girls, you never know when one of your friends or family needs to be attacked on Facebook.

I think I kept a tight reign on my words in my reply, I was trying to be the woman I swore to be the moment I started reading Mary Wollstonecraft, a woman that fought injustice with well-argued humour. I succeeded, I think.

Ah, but there was no apology. No, just a sad attempt at placation and backpedaling that blamed other males for being shallow and not himself.

If there was ever a time to unfriend someone on Facebook, I feel that being compelled to write a piece of nigh on 1,500 words about his repeated misogyny is that point. But, enemies must be kept close. Enemies are inspirational when they cannot even hope to argue one sentence effectively with you, for they remind you of the existence of venomous ideas and attitudes in the people closest to you.

And they remind me that my positive feminism and hopefully well-argued humour is utterly essential to combat the badly spelled, badly argued, badly justified and just plain bad thinking of the misogynist males we tolerate.

I must admit that I keep misogynist males around because I secretly feel sorry for them. They have chosen the route of the hapless oppressed majority who scream like stuck pigs when they see their rights being applied to everyone. They have everything to lose. And I, my sister and my friends have everything to gain, because we have something to fight for.

Some light reading on some of the concepts I mentioned, all links from Rabid Feminist (the best kind):

What Facebook Continues To Tell Us About Violence Against Women

What Men Can Do To Stop Rape Culture

The Vatican, Iran, Russia, Egypt and Syria - the Unholy Alliance in the War on Women

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