Of all the proud feminists out there, I’m not the one to call when the ladies need defending. I’m the ungraceful gender defender. Any eloquence of language that might come through now and again completely leaves the room when somebody, male or female, starts saying dumb shit. (See, I can’t even think of a better, more intellectual term to use than “dumb shit” and we haven’t even left the first paragraph yet.)
The speaker doesn’t need to be putting ladies down to be offensive. The person could be trying to give a misguided compliment.
A man once said to me that women are more artistically inclined than men. At first I gave my standard response: What!?! Are you fucking kidding me?
Because this was someone that I’d previously had a bit more respect for, I spent the next several minutes trying to get him to admit that he was joking. He wasn’t. He was convinced this was a deep truth of the universe.
In hindsight I wish I’d challenged his statement with questions such as, “Then why are there so many male artists displayed in museums?” “Why aren’t their more women inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?” “Why aren’t there more women on the best sellers list or directing movies or holding high-earning positions in the many artistic careers out there? Surely if we have that natural, God-given inclination to be artists, our culture’s artwork would reflect that.”
Just for all those dumbass readers thinking to themselves, yeah, there are a lot of successful men in the arts, that must mean men are more artistically inclined than women — Nope, it doesn’t mean that. It means you hear about the artists who make money and since men usually hold the power and the purse strings in a society, we usually end up hearing about their art.
And, oh yeah, something like artistic ability isn’t linked to gender, it’s up to the individual.
More recently someone told me I was just like a guy because I like music, beer and dive bars. This isn’t the first time that a guy has called me out like this, basically saying that I’m cool because I’m more like a guy than a girl. And I feel genuinely sorry for guys who think that way because they must know a bunch of lame girls.
I know a bunch of cool girls. Because girls are awesome. And that’s all I have to say about that because, again I’m the ungraceful gender defender. So fuck you.
Sometimes other people pull out their megaphones to reiterate these things, with better language. Think of the recent (possibly copyright infringing) video by GoldieBlox. When I see commercials like that I think those are the chicks I’d be friends with, not the princess patrol, not the trophy wives in training. And there’s nothing shocking about seeing girls as engineers, because I see them in real life, too.
The GoldieBlox video hit YouTube around the same time as Lily Allen’s video for “Hard Out Here.” Lily’s from my generation, and she’s got a way with words.
The chorus puts it bluntly. “Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to say. I’ll go ahead and say them anyway. Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits. It’s hard out here for a bitch.”
Well said, lady.