Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A rant about dudes, language, & stereotypes

I've had a craptastic day filled with those really obnoxious bureaucratic problems that no one doesn't hate, like calling 12 different automated systems and hearing things from untrained support staff that don't make any sense, getting hung up on by the phone company who really doesn't want to help you, and sent to various voicemails of various people I'd actually like to speak with.  So, now, I'm just an angry little ball of pre-menstral irritability and automated-system-induced fury.

The day started like any other, where I roll over in bed, grab my phone, and immediately check my email, Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, blog comments, and anything else I possibly can, before I go right back to sleep and forget all about what I just read, leaving myself with a nagging sense of anxiety over responding to said electronic communication that I don't remember the contents of very well.

But I was stopped on Twitter, seeing all the International Women's Day Tweets, and then this one from Jezebel:

The article is whatever.  It's a Jezebel article about some dumbass advice columnist, and like the majority of their other shit, it's essentially just a pseudo-feminist piece of filler garbage intended to make you click ads.  The irritating part:
It's not like we haven't ripped into Santos before. But he's about due again, after his most recent column, "Why Men Prefer Innocent Girls to Bad Girls." Some of the reasons he gives? Because men don't like overly confident women—apparently the characteristic of a bad girl—and men "don't necessarily want to be in bed with a girl who knows more than they do." Here's the thing, though: I think he's sort of right here. He should stay away from women who are confident and experienced—mostly because they wouldn't want him to touch them with a ten-inch pole, even if said pole was his peen. Chicks like that don't like insecure pussies who don't know how to properly go down on a woman. (emphasis mine)
GAH!  Motherfucking WHAT?!  Why?  Why the fuck was that necessary?  I thought it was common knowledge that if you are going to try to sell everyone on your fucking "feminist cred," you make it a point to not use female genitalia as a fucking insult to men.

Whatever.  Like I said, it's fucking Jezebel.  Like anyone expects (or should expect) any better.  Fuck 'em.

Now, onto the next order of business:

DUDES!  Specifically, DUDES WHO ARE DECENT AND OTHERWISE COOL AND RESPECTFUL THAT I CALL MY FRIENDS!  Will you PLEASE for the love of whoeverthefuck, STOP CALLING WOMEN BITCHES!  And hoes!  And whores!  And broads!  And GIRLS*!  For fuck's sake!  

I know, I get it.  We vote similarly and all hate Michele Bachmann and you're properly liberal and respectful enough that I should totally get that you're just being ironical, L-O-FUCKING-L.  And sometimes (sometimes) using irony can be a funny way to address fucked up stereotypes.  Sometimes.  When isn't it funny?  When it's constant.  Do you, dudes to whom I address this post, think you are the first and only dude with the wit to think of ironic sexism?  I assure you, you aren't.  And it's starting to get really boring to keep hearing about how we should make sandwiches and be barefoot and pregnant in kitchens, even though we know you're just trying to make fun of the idiots who really feel that way.  And I will totally pick on one friend in particular who I just had this Gchat conversation with, who we will call Guy.  I flipped around a couple of the responses so that they flowed logically, because you know how it works with chat logs.  (The conversation started about this article):

Guy: that dude is wrong
 me: What dude?
 Guy: "split the bill"
  me and my bitch do that, but with a big group? No way
  you get that server to break up the checks
3:45 PM it ain't that hard
 Guy: and I'll usually throw a little tip on top if they can pull that off without whining.me: Your bitch? Gross, Guy.
 me: But yeah. It's not hard.
 Guy: heh. It's just a word.
  I don't like the way "girlfriend" sounds
 me: Hahaha, "bitch" is better than "girlfriend"?
 Guy: yeah, sounds more respectful to my ears
  She's not a girlmeLike the choices are between "girl" and "bitch"Guy: "partner" makes it sound like I'm gay"bitch" is the regional term in my neighborhood ;)
3:46 PM me: I won't give you shit as soon as I hear you use sililarly offensive terms to refer to your male friends
 Guy: well, just listen to me sometime
  I call them "bro," "douche," etc
3:47 PM me: "bro" isn't anymore offensive than "sis." Which isn't offensive. "douche," used a pejoritve, is perfectly appropriate, considering how completely awful they are for vaginas
  Just sayin', yo.
 Guy: mdh
  If I didn't like her and respect her, I wouldn't be in a relationship with her.
 me: Don't be all dudebro about it. I'm giving you shit.
 Guy: I just like the way "mah bitch" sounds.
3:48 PM me: Yeah, it's kind of funny, depending on who's saying it. But it's still dumb and makes many people cringe and makes other people take you seriously and go on calling women bitches unironically

I know, PC language is such a drag.  Bah, whatever.  It's important.  Little, insidious things we say every day have an impact on who we are and how we see ourselves, and how we see and treat other people.  If you think I'm overreacting or that it's a stupid thing to care about, please imagine that you go your entire life hearing people make daily comments that rely on the assumption that, because of your gender, you are weak, stupid, insecure, annoying, weak, wimpy, slutty, worthless, and a sexual object, to name a few.  And I get it, a lot of people call men dicks.  I don't.  And I'm not talking about that right now.  

Stop saying "pussy" when you mean to say "gutless."  Stop saying "bitch" when you mean to say "girlfriend," "wife," "partner," or "significant other."  Stop saying "girl" when the female in question is an adult.  Stop saying "man" when you mean "human" or "people."  Don't address a letter to "sirs" unless you know that only men are going to read it.

It is not that fucking hard!  

I stopped saying "retarded" and "lame," and I don't remember if I ever used "gay" as an insult, but I sure as hell don't say it now.  And I promise, I have yet to run out of creative and effective ways to tell people that they suck.

Another male friend of mine updated his status to say that, in celebration of International Women's Day, he was going to get lost driving around downtown.  Because I get lost nearly every time I drive downtown, I admit, I chuckled.  But refrained from "liking" said status update on principle.  And while we're on the topic, here's the thing about the tired "women are bad drivers" jokes:

I am a perfectly reasonable driver, and the only accident I've ever been in in my 11 years of licensed driving was the fault of the asshole who T-boned me at a notoriously hazardous 4-way stop, several years ago.  Yes, I drive slowly because I'm a cautious (read: paranoid) person.  Yes, I remember landmarks better than street names, but christ, I live in the suburbs, where street names don't make sense.  But everything else?  Parking tickets.  The end.  I'm a fine driver!

You wouldn't know this by being my passenger, though, especially if you're a dude.  Because after years of hearing about how I am such a distracted, slow, inattentive, whatever else driver by dudes with several DWIs, speeding tickets and accidents on their records who text and update their Facebook status while driving, I'm an anxious wreck every time I drive a dude anywhere.  See, insidious.

So, to summarize: ironic sexism can be funny, but due to overuse by entitled hipster dudes, it's increasingly rare that it is.  

And it's your fault that I'm a bad driver.

*I don't see how "girlfriend" is any more offensive than "boyfriend."  Juvenile-sounding, sure; offensive?  Meh.