A sleepy person wonders

4 04 2010

If she’ll be moving to a feminist city soon.

Earlier this afternoon, I was having a veggie dog on the porch of this local lunch spot with the dude when the restaurant’s music became that old favorite of my mother’s that I so rarely hear … “if you’re going to San Francisco…”

There was sunshine, a slight warm breeze and he was looking damn handsome as we listened to the song.

Could it be?

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The upside

25 03 2010

Recently, I had an email exchange with an old friend about that British study published this month which claims that we (society) are still sexist in our writing.

I wanted to share it with her not only because she is a close friend but also because she is intelligent and she is, at times, interested in feminist perspectives.

I got a quick response from her and was not surprised to see that it was a long one but was surprised at how defensive she seemed. I read her words with a quickening heartbeat – my old friend was bristling at a somewhat tame study. When I initially decided to send it to her, I had considered it something we could both relate to and recognize easily – the wording “he or she” is so common in english language. In verbal situations, the female is almost always listed second. It’s a subtle way to maintain females as second-class citizens. Or worse: invisible in the instances of ‘guys’ being used to describe a group of people of varied genders. “Hey guys”, “those guys”, “what are you guys up to”, etc. Can you imagine someone approaching a mixed gender group and saying, totally seriously, ‘hey gals, how’s it goin?’*

After a few back-and-forths, none of which consisted of personal criticisms rather just discussions of language, we closed it on the agreement that talking openly is essential to exposing oppression – though she ultimately said that this in particular is not a very important issue.

In a way, ‘masculine first’ language isn’t the most damaging thing in the world if you measure it as a single blow at a time but if you zoom out and view the effect it has on all of us – its subtle influence individually expands to widespread unnatural male privilege which extends the power of men and maintains the oppression of women.

Language is important.

I was definitely glad to find a common agreement between us – very glad to know that she values discussions as well but I’ve been bothered that she felt defensive, especially considering I wasn’t challenging her, or at least, I didn’t think I was. I’ve been wondering – what is so threatening about feminism?

Let me wind it back a little:
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Pink Hair

12 03 2010

“So my relative at Thanksgiving mentioned that it was weird – that I have rainbow-colored hair”

“Oh really?” – I said – “I didn’t hear that”

“Yeah, so I told her that when I was growing up in the 80’s – all sorts of people loved bright colors – it wasn’t segregated by gender …”

“Awesome!”

And then we high-5’d. Well – maybe not but if we didn’t, we should have.