Peter is a gay man I slept with once. When he did come home with me and we were naked in my bed, he kissed my neck, and I moaned, high-pitched and breathy. He stopped, looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t do that. It’s faggy.”
bell hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love.
On my Facebook page, I posted a status in the wake of this morning’s school shooting in Newtown:
“Violent masculinity has got to go… for real…”
Several people ‘liked’ it, and one person (male) posted this comment:
To which I replied:
“No, violent masculinity. Look at who commits violence: men. Why don’t we ever question gender socialization as a cause of not only shootings, but all types of violence? Most all violence is committed by men. This is not to say that women cannot be violent, but violence is socialized as a masculine trait, and quite frankly, that is insulting to me as a man.”
“Although violence is often attributed to some forms of masculinity, theres no doubt that women can commit violent acts. That’s my point: all forms of violence are bad, not just “violent masculinity.”I get it: men are bad, women are good. Ok.”
This is a response often demonstrated by men - immediately feeling accused of being “bad,” when in fact, what I’m saying is that most men are NOT violent. But society socializes us to think of violence as an acceptable form of conflict resolution for men, and when taken to extremes, it can result in shootings such as the one we witnessed today. I went on to say:
“Yeah, except that is NOT what I’m saying AT ALL.
What I’m saying is that men and boys are socialized to be violent. When acts of violence such as the shooting in Connecticut happen, we look at a myriad of issues - gun control, mental health, access to affordable mental health care, violent video games, violent movies but the ONE THING that is rarely, if ever, mentioned is the gender of the shooters. Which is almost ALWAYS male. In fact, in the cases of these mass murders / school shootings, I do not think one shooter has EVER been female.
Why is that?
Yet when women commit acts of violence, gender is almost ALWAYS the first thing brought up - this implies that violence is inherently masculine. When men DO commit acts of violence - perhaps not as extreme as this one today, but bullying, sexual harassment / assault we often dismiss it as “boys being boys,” which again, is insulting to all men as it implies we cannot control our behaviors. As if we are hardwired for violence.
If you’re taking my comment as anti-male it’s quite the opposite - I love men and think we can do SO much better than we are doing now, and we need to model a new form of non-violent, healthy masculinity soon - or at least start a discussion around this topic as we do with the issues I listed in my first paragraph - otherwise things will continue the way they are, or get worse.
Additionally: how many of these mass shooting come about as a result of sexism? Almost all of these school shootings can be traced back to shooters and their misogyny and past instances of violence against women… another way men are taught to be socialized: view women as objects, as things, rather than people.”
How many women, children, and other men for that matter - have to die before we begin to have a serious discussion in this country about the role men’s socialization plays in these acts of violence? When will we stop simply “praying for the victims” and debating over gun control and address one of, if not THE, root cause of all of this violence - our definition of manhood?
Hi there. I’m going to talk really super briefly about gamer girls (hint: it won’t be that brief, but it’s cool, I have pictures).
People say girly girls can’t play games. They make fun of this girl, for wearing make-up and dressing nicely and posing with a controller:
Y’all need to sit the fuck down.
What is going on here, is girls are trying to participate in a male-dominated activity. But we’re fucked if we can do so while retaining our femininity. So we’re fed bullshit like this:
The problem with this, is that it affirms all the things that should not be affirmed:
- Girls are shitty gamers
- Girls are not welcome in gaming
- Unless they eschew all traces of femininity
- Girls who want to feel beautiful and/or confident are sluts
- Girls who want to feel attractive to the opposite sex are sluts
- Girls who wear make-up, do their hair and take selfies are stupid/fake/sluts
- Girls are less welcome in the gaming world if they embrace their femininity (as they are abused/constantly hit on - because men think that the well-dressed women are there for attention/the male gaze).
What the actual fuck to all of these. I have a serious problem with asking a women to eschew/put aside/ignore/suppress her femininity just to be accepted in a pass time that should be open to all genders.
I’ve done a little experiment just to prove my point.
Here is the “Femme Gamer” with facial hair:
Obviously still quite feminine (although she is rocking that facial hair).
NOW U GUISE THIS IS THE BEST BIT! Here is the “TRUE GAMER GURL~” with facial hair:
Looks waaaaaay more masculine.
All of a sudden, the bottom image becomes a twenty-something dude, who doesn’t look after his personal hygiene. NOT SO CUTE NOW, HUH?!
Now, there is nothing wrong with being a lady and looking masculine, or having a vagina and werqing the facial hair. Whatever, both the people in the cartoon are hot, beard or no. There is also nothing wrong with being a girl and wanting to play video games in your food-stained clothes, with your greasy hair tied up - I know, because I look like that more often than not.
BUT. There is also nothing wrong with wanting to play your games with your hair did, looking like a hella fine woman.
BOTH OF THE GIRLS IN THE CARTOON ARE GAMER GIRLS IF THEY SAY THEY ARE.
The Bottom Line:
Don’t you dare shame other women who want to embrace their sexuality and femininity while gaming. Don’t you dare make women put aside their femininity to play with you. Don’t you dare tell another women that her interests are invalid or false because she likes to feel feminine while doing them (possibly because you are internalizing misogyny and think you should behave that way, or because they make you feel insecure, or a whole number of other, silly reasons).
Because that is the biggest bunch of bullshit I’ve ever heard.
We are women, and we will do what we want, looking however we like, and there is absolutely nothing you can say or do to make our existence invalid, feminine or not.
Look at this beautiful gamer lady. She is kicking ass. Work it, gurl.
Gwen Sharp in Policing Masculinity in Slim Jim’s “Spice Loss” Ads (via biraciallyinsensitive)
It’s not the feminine stuff that is the problem. The problem is the expectation that anybody who is perceived as a woman dress a certain way, wear a certain kind of clothes, behave a certain way, whatever.
The problem is that feminine things are only for people with vaginas and boobs.
The problem is that feminine things are seen as less valuable than masculine things.
The problem is the enforcement and the shaming when you’re not feminine.
Rejecting the feminine can be an important critique of oppressive gender roles so long as that critique doesn’t turn into actual hatred of femininity."
“The more research we do, the more it seems like the only behavior consistently considered normal is the tendency to be way too strict about what normal behavior actually is — and then being really shitty to the people who don’t conform. So next time you hear someone criticized for not being “manly” or “feminine” enough, remember that, for the most part, the only things keeping it from being 180 degrees different are the numbers on the calendar.”
This basically sums up my feelings on gender.
Sexism hurts everybody, guys.