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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

161

[Dear Internet]

"So. The world hates you. You are considered the worst thing to be compared to. Throw like a girl. Talk like a girl. Cry like a girl. God forbid we ever be girls. ... So what can we do, dear daughter? When you get a little older, I will be honest with you and tell you — fuck ‘em. You will not change their mind by arguing, by telling them they are wrong. You change their mind by showing them how being a girl is awesome. You show them by not hiding, by not being demure."
—Mur Lafferty, "Dear Daughter."

161 Comments / Post A Comment

leastimportantperson

What about the Mancession though?

Alixana

@leastimportantperson WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE MEN.

KatPruska

Oh, sheesh. Right in the gut.

noodge

NAILED IT. can i print this and pass it out to everyone i meet? or is that too obnoxious.

beanie

@teenie make it a chain e-mail. My mother's book club looooves sending those.

saul "the bear" berenson

A gay male friend of mine explained that the worst part of his bullying experiences in school was the feeling that being gay was the worst thing you can be, and what that did to his concept of his identity as a gay male. It's really interesting to consider that concept applied to what it means to be "like a girl," and how much that might be f*cking us all up.

wee_ramekin

@Moxie An interesting thing about homophobia, at least as it relates to men, is that gay men are 'bad' because they are perceived as girly, effeminate queens with high voices and mincing, feminine gestures.

So in a way, it homophobia is revulsion at the thought of being "like a girl", with an added dose of hatred because your gay men should/could "be acting like a MAN".

BoozinSusan

@wee_ramekin Exactly. Which is why it will be a very happy day when "so gay" stops being used as an insult.

MmeLibrarian

@Moxie Scratch a homophobe and you will always find a misogynist. Always.

saul "the bear" berenson

@wee_ramekin and @MmeLibrarian Right you are, exactly right. But I was trying to say that while we can observe bullying and its effects when it's in the form of direct homophobia, it's harder and trickier to track the results of this massive concept that being "like a girl" equals something very negative. Maybe where that gets us is a world in which girls (and the women they become) intrinsically and subconsciously count themselves as lesser, smaller, weaker, worse.

sp8ce

@Moxie MOST men dont want to be thought of as girly just like MOST women dont want to be manly. Wouldnt you be offended is someone said you saounded like a man on the phone? Its not because you hate men, I assume, but because youre a woman and want to be identified as such.

iceberg

@sp8ce return of the spates!!!

Lily Rowan

@sp8ce #ohspates

wee_ramekin

@sp8ce

#OHSPATES!

BoozinSusan

@sp8ce Racking my brain for equivalent insults... Nope, got nothin'.

The only arena where it *can* be insulting to compare a girl to a man would be describing her physical appearance ("a manly chin?"). To do something "like a boy/man" is never an insult, as far as I can tell.

themegnapkin

@sp8ce I don't entirely agree with this. When I'm interacting with people at my job, I intentionally pitch my voice lower. Not because I want people to think I'm a man, but because it sounds more "man-like" - deeper voices tend to command more attention than do high-pitched, "feminine" voices.

alannaofdoom

@BoozinSusan Exactly! Just as replacing "black" with "white" and vice versa when you're discussing race isn't a valid comparison. There are centuries/millennia/eons of privilege behind "like a man" and you can't wipe that away in a hypothetical.

iceberg

@themegnapkin just ask margaret thatcher.

lalaland

@sp8ce That's a great point; however, as BoozinSusan says, to do something "like a boy/man" really isn't an insult the way it is to do something "like a girl."

I work in finance and the majority of my coworkers are male. I've been told, "you're cool, like one of the guys," and I take that as a compliment - except, wait - why are girls "not cool?" Why is that even a compliment (and I believe it is meant as such)?

I don't know, I'm not a huge "life is so hard for women" kind of person, because you know, you deal with the hand you were dealt in life, and everyone has problems, even Mitt Romney, but I think in this case, it is hard for a guy (I am assuming you are male) to fully grasp the points brought up in this piece.

rararuby

@Moxie For an example of this, check out imposter syndrome

Danzig!

@wee_ramekin From what I can recall of my undergrad coursework, violence and aggression against MTF transgendered people is also more pronounced (though when it comes to these things, it's really a matter of degree) as such things are measured. There's a fundamental hostility toward "giving up" masculinity for femininity.

saul "the bear" berenson

@rararuby Oh. My. God. Thank you for sharing that. Imposter Syndrome. Yup. Whoaaaaa.

Porn Peddler

@Moxie Homophobia: a straight man's (usually a misogynist) fear that gay men will treat him the way he treats women.

joeks

"You are considered the worst thing to be compared to."

Whoa, easy there. That would be, I dunno, a pedophile or serial killer, or New Jersey resident or something. The examples given obviously illustrate the problem, but nobody walks around thinking girls are the worst thing, come on.

cuminafterall

@joeks The point, it went right over your big ol round head!

yeah-elle

@joeks Sure, but do we hear that on a daily basis? "You throw like a pedophile," "Ew, stop being such a serial killer," so on and so forth? Do little boys live in fear of being compared to murderers? Of course not.

Also, there's the obvious difference that pedophiles and serial killers are legitimately awful people who deserve to be treated with revulsion. Girls? Not so much.

EpWs

@yeah-elle Yes, this, thank you.

atipofthehat

@joeks

You're not saying it's a tad overwrought, are you?!

lalaland

@yeah-elle Pedophiles are notoriously poor throwers.

laurel

"Jeez, you're so sensitive!"

teebs

Oh brother!

ejcsanfran

@lalaland: But excellent drivers - those Econoline vans won't drive themselves...

RK Fire

Hey, joeks is just responding rationally, amirite??

bangs
bangs

@yeah-elle People get compared to nazis a lot. Sometimes just for correcting grammar.

wharrgarbl

@ejcsanfran This is actually just a harmful stereotype! If you look through the records, you'll find plenty of pedophiles (and mass murderers, too!) who were caught because of their poor driving.

atipofthehat

What horribly written horseshit. Daughter deserves better, mom.

wharrgarbl

@atipofthehat ...you might wanna sit this one out, duder.

atipofthehat

@wharrgarbl

Sentimentality and awful writing?
YOU GO GIRL!

There are a lot of things little girls need to navigate with skill and without fear, and (however well-intentioned it may be) this kind of self-congratulatory soup is one of them.

noodge

@atipofthehat echoing what wharrgarbl said, this "sentimentality" hits a nerve with a lot of women because of our experiences. without having the same background, criticizing this piece like that is... just dickish.

Hollye

@atipofthehat- It's written in the context of being a letter from a mother to a daughter. Of course it's "sentimental" and "congratulatory." I think when most parents are offering words of encouragement to their children you could use those adjectives to describe the things that they say. And what is wrong with being sentimental?

Regardless of what you think of the writing, I think the content is worth discussing. And yeah, it definitely hit a nerve in me.

atipofthehat

@teenie

If it's important stuff, even more important that it be done well, without cheating or faking. The sentimentality is in the writing, not in the experience.

And I will let my daughter know that she can criticize whatever she may please to, if she can back it up. I will do the same, thanks.

wharrgarbl

@atipofthehat Or I guess you could assume that this is resonating with a lot of female commenters because we're stupidly mawkish sops and keep right on trucking, because there couldn't possibly be anything you're missing on one level or another. That's also an option you could pick. But. I would recommend maybe listening for a while before deciding.

noodge

@Hollye what's wrong with being sentimental? sentimentality is a load of feminine pish posh!!!

TheDragon

@teenie I'm with you, teenie!
atipofthehat, I usually really like your comments, but you're gonna make a lot of us girls stabby today.
Sure, it's a bit cheerleader-y and self-congratulatory, and the writing isn't perfect by any means.

It still made me choke up. It made me feel like I can handle being a wildlife major and an outdoors woman as well as a girl who loves makeup and dresses.
It's been a long time since either of those things have happened.

atipofthehat

@Hollye

If the content weren't so important, I wouldn't care.

Hollye

@atipofthehat Do you disagree with the things she says, or are you reading it as a piece of art that you don't care for?

leastimportantperson

@atipofthehat Oh so wonderful. Because this message is so important for you ladies to hear about respecting yourself in a world that hates you, I hate this piece. Truly. Bravo, more please.

wharrgarbl

@atipofthehat Because the important thing to remember here is that you have a duty, as a lady, to do Very Important Things, but never, ever fucking dare get it less than 100% Perfect when you do those Very Important Things, particularly as judged by a dude, and extra particularly on account of stupid girl things like being too sappy or self-congratulatory or sentimental.

Fuck it, I guess you're right. It's too horribly important to even try unless we're absolutely sure it's going to be unassailable and perfect. Think of the consequences if it weren't. It would come off as womanly or something.

charlottecat

@wharrgarbl And heaven forbid it be -sentimental- because that sounds like -feelings- and feelings are for -girls-.

wharrgarbl

@charlottecat God, I know, right? Ugh. Why don't we just go get our periods and cry in public about it while braiding each other's hair and talking approvingly about ponies and fashion?

iceberg

@Hollye can't thumbs up this enough. I thought the tone was entirely appropriate for what it is, and I liked it!

atipofthehat

@The Kendragon @et al

My respect for all of you and what you say is deep. And I respect especially the experiences discussed here, some of which been painful, and formative, and have been long undiscussed or even repressed.

And it's true, sometimes one needs to hear a little pure cheerleading just to stumble on in life.

But I hope one of the excellent writers who contributes or comments here will one day write something that treats these same subjects in a way that brings out these same powerful emotions and responses in the very people who need to change their culture and behavior. That's something I would love to read.

leastimportantperson

@atipofthehat It's true this is the only thing we have ever read :(

veryanonymous

@atipofthehat Sorry to pile on, because I do think it's valuable to hear other perspectives, but I'm curious as to what in this piece, exactly, struck you as cheating, or faking? Since the experiences she describes are not your experiences, how would you even know what is being cheated, or faked? Perhaps this rang false to you because it described a world that is not the one you experience, or one that you imagine girls and women experience. If so, this might be a good opportunity for you to see the world another way.

As for your charge of sentimentality, I'm not sure how you can write a letter to your child expressing love, support and encouragement without it.

With regard to your final comment-- the degree to which this kind of work resonates with or convinces its skeptics and critics has little to do with its merit, and everything to do with the open-mindedness of the skeptic or critic.

julia

@atipofthehat I feel for you in this thread, and I'm glad for this explanation of your position. That's the problem of culture change, isn't it?

FWIW, I didn't care for the piece that much. I get the point, and I think the point is important, and god help me if I ever have a daughter, but I didn't feel a rush of validation or encouragement from reading it.

Onymous

@atipofthehat
> in the very people who need to change their culture and behavior.

I'm not really sure there are any Republican members of congress reading The Hairpin.

Hooplehead

@atipofthehat The point, you completely missed it. But thanks for the mansplanation.

Heat Signature

@wharrgarbl "...you have a duty, as a lady, to do Very Important Things, but never, ever fucking dare get it less than 100% Perfect when you do those Very Important Things, particularly as judged by a dude.."
I'm only able to click once, but I am actually giving you all of the thumbs up.

queenofbithynia

@atipofthehat You know what is tragic? I found your comment irritating for the reasons already laid out by many others, but I still assumed you were right. I mean, before clicking and reading it, I trusted that it was a piece with its heart and politics in the right place, but probably of eye-rolling sentimentality and mediocre style.

Then I read it and it was completely fine and pretty good! But if you want to level some more very vague but completely confident criticisms at the writing of any other woman whose work I don't yet know well, I'll probably believe them, too. because, I mean, sexist cliches sure sound plausible.

Jinxie

@leastimportantperson "It's true this is the only thing we have ever read :( "
I'm not even reading these comments here!

SuperGogo

I agree with @atip and @julia that it's an important message, but written in a mawkish way and not particularly to my taste...and I'm surprised (and disappointed) that @atip is being shouted down so harshly for having that opinion simply because he's not a Vagina-American.

MoonBat

@atipofthehat You could take a look at Susan Schorn's work if sentimentality annoys you....

noodge

@SuperGogo to be fair, you're not saying what he said... neither is Julia. if he'd said "great message, but the writing wasn't to my taste" then it wouldn't have been met with nearly as much lash-back as stuff like "What horribly written horseshit. Daughter deserves better, mom."

I mean... really? that's some pretty pretty intense feedback, and coming from a dude about a feminist piece is (sorry, it just is) dickish.

wharrgarbl

@atipofthehat "But I hope one of the excellent writers who contributes or comments here will one day write something that treats these same subjects in a way that brings out these same powerful emotions and responses in the very people who need to change their culture and behavior."

The problem here is that those people? Tend not to listen to women. Which is kind of the problem. There is no magic way you can express a concept to someone who is automatically dismissing anything that comes out of your mouth because of what's between your legs which will compel them to stop doing that. If someone is categorically opposed to taking anything you say on the subject of your experiences and the injustice thereof seriously, you cannot talk them out of it.

It's like trying to talk a racist out of the belief that black people who get fucked with by the cops weren't really doing anything to deserve it. They don't believe it, and moreover they don't want to believe it, so trying to reason them out of their firmly cherished belief is not going to work. So if that's your measuring stick, you might want to rethink that. Or start writing those very important essays yourself, because sexists will (occasionally) listen to a dude who's patiently explaining why they should be less sexist.

leastimportantperson

@teenie Totally. Plus, I am enjoying how all the men on this thread have felt the need to say how much they didn't like the piece and/or that the issue under discussion is actually fake/not a big deal. Aaaaa refreshing like a steaming hot glass of water on a hot day!

@Jinxie I actually can't even read. Or write.

themegnapkin

@queenofbithynia Word.

atipofthehat

@MoonBat

She's good!

iceberg

@teenie Yeah. For me, that comment wasn't "this was poorly written" (which his later comments seem to clarify that is what was meant), it came off as "Lies!" (horseshit - sounds like bullshit?) and "You idiot, you've FAILED your child" ("daughter deserves better" which is probably one of the harshest things you can say to a parent - super, super harsh and extra pointy coming from a dude when talking about how dude-views are prioritized over lady-views.

Jinxie

@teenie THIS RIGHT HERE, YES! I was actually having a hard time putting into words why comments along those lines were bugging me (maybe because I'm just a sentimental lady and I let my silly emotions get in the way all the time?) but this really gets at the heart of it all. In addition, I think things (books, tv shows, music, etc.) women create are often held to a MUCH higher standard than that which is made by men. It's like...it's not enough for women to just do something, or to even do it well; instead we have to be the Best [Fill in the Blank] for men to even notice the work we're doing, and it's an especially strong blow to hear that confirmed from someone who is supposed to be an ally.

atipofthehat

@wharrgarbl

Just because it's extremely difficult doesn't mean it can't be done. And I think it will take both men and women, and boys and girls, to get there. But, as the website says, Ladies first.

I like your analysis of the situation much better than the "You should know that you are hated" approach—which gets our attention, and is a deliberate overstatement, but isn't accurate enough. I would rather to say to my own little girl: They don't hate you, they don't even know you. They can't even see the qualities you have that don't fit their template. They may not even believe you can exist. They will acknowledge only the parts of you that seem to fit (but may not fit at all) the stereotype they've invented for you—which is in places parody, in places very much against your interest. But what seems to be personal, what is almost inescapably felt as personal, isn't really personal at all. They have to be able to see and hear and understand who you are before they can be personal. They only know what you are, they don't know who you are—and their ideas of "what" are so extremely limited as to be a bad joke.

That's just what I would say, or how I would start. And I apologize to everyone for not being more specific about what I meant by "sentimental." I don't associate sentimental with girls or girliness, or equate it with sentiment (in the sense of feeling), but rather go along with the definition that it is "unearned emotion" at best and "a superstructure covering brutality" at worst. In this case, and as a writer, I meant that Mur Lafferty's tactic of overstating a case that hardly needs overstating worked against her argument and not for it. For me it was like doing something cheap and easy when something more serious and focused was called for. That was disappointing to me, but I wish I'd been more specific, so at least people could disagree with what I was actually attempting to say. But that's my fault.

Just as an example, to me the following passage touches on deep sentiment without being at all sentimental, uses rhetoric forcefully but without cheap effect, and speaks to the people who most need to hear it in spite of their being unwilling, even fiercely determined, not to hear it. Not every blog post needs to be a "Letter from Birmingham Jail," of course, but it's worth rereading:

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

leastimportantperson

@atipofthehat I lied before when I said I couldn't read. I actually can. I'm sorry for telling an untruth. But like, dude, I've mothereffing read a whole bunch of things before. Whole chapter books, even. Without pictures! I'm readily familiar with the definition of sentimentality, would you believe. I don't think it's necessary to inform us that there are better-written things than an open-letter-style blog post. We're aware. This comes off as condescending to me, and I'm not thrilled either to see MLK used as a way to show us what kind of superior person you are.

wharrgarbl

@julia I don't feel terribly encouraged by the piece. Truth be told, the thought of another several generations of girls having to be ten times better than dudes at [occupation or task] just to get acknowledged at all makes me want to go slam my head in a door until Friends plays like Shakespeare. That it's presented as "being so awesome at things you love that they can't ignore it" instead of "you're going to have to settle for half the credit for doing twice the work and you're going to have to fight for every crumb, suck it up, buttercup, at least you get to have your own bank account" is an improvement of sorts, but I can't muster much more than a "hooray"> over it.

But what I do see when I read it is a parent openly acknowledging that yes, this is a fucking problem, and yes, this is fucking bullshit, and yes, this is what her daughter's staring down, and yes, this is going to affect her. A parent firmly committing with open eyes to being a fierce advocate for her child, her child's future, and her child's opportunities. A parent believing in her daughter's awesomeness at anything she wants to do, no matter where they fall on the girly/not-girly scale.

And that's a big fucking deal. It probably shouldn't be. But in a world where a lot of parents' response is still to take the toy truck away from their little girls and the baby dolls away from their little boys and say things like "What could you change about yourself to make people like you more/take you more seriously?" and "You can be anything you want to be, and systemic injustice or unfairness doesn't exist because I don't want to think about you having to fight it every step of the way!" and even "Well, you know, they're right, you really are more 'naturally suited' to this other thing, maybe you should leave what you want to do to people who are better at it.", it is.

pointy

@atipofthehat I don't see the 'you should know you are hated' part as unearned at all. The fact that it's not personal - that, as you rightly point out, on some level it can't be personal - doesn't change the truth of it.

The piece of this that I do see as sentimental and problematic is the piece Edith quoted - "You change their mind by showing them how being a girl is awesome." Putting the burden on ourselves as ladies to reshape gender constructions through the power of our sheer awesomeness is a setup.

joie

@atipofthehat I applaud your humility in admitting that you could have initially framed your criticism of the piece a little differently...more constructively.

Here's the thing about Women Should Be Waving The Ra-Ra-Ra You Can Do It Girl Power etc Banner More Articulately. It is not the primary responsibility of the oppressed, the unprivileged, those pushing back against thousands of years of systemic patriarchy/racism to unpack their oppressor's privilege for them. That weight falls on those who carry the privilege. So to say that this could have been written better because it won't convince some misogynistic juicebox that this is the lived experience of women? Just, ugh. There's plenty of room in womanist discussions for articulate, thoughtful, passionate unpacking of how patriarchal systems have and continue to effect women's (and men's, for that matter) lives. But there's also room for something like this. And THERE SHOULD BE. Because every woman has a voice. And if something like this resonates with a woman and gives her strength to push back against the weight of patriarchy that can drag so heavily, then that's totally fucking ok.

wharrgarbl

@heyits Not only that, but a lot of times the intended audience is actually not misogynist juiceboxes the author is hoping to persuade. It might not even be dudes at all! Shocking, I know. But there are a lot of things that are actually meant as a conversation between women who are mothers and women who are daughters and women who may go on to be mothers of daughters or women who may care for other women's daughters about how we can be there, and how we can make it better, and what we can do for each other. And if dudes want to listen in, fine! Great! Awesome! But maybe think about the possibility that not all writing is a persuasive essay pitched at a male audience.

kierkegaardsbro

i saw this posted on boingboing and although i couldn't get to the site where the letter was hosted last night because of a 403 error (just like the internet denying a woman her right to read blogs!) i read the comments there and it was a bunch of 'this letter is crap' vs. 'of course you don't like the letter, you're a MAN' and i immediately wished the comment thread was on the hairpin instead...but it seems we're falling into a similar trap.

for the record - @atipofthehat's original comments in this thread are pretty shitty in that they are directly disparaging of the author...but, i am also rather disappointed in the letter...there are some problems i find in the letter that i want to discuss not because i want to put anyone down, but because the topic is so important to me.

to start, why is that book of mormon song lyric in there? isn't there a difference between humorously calling out an example of misogyny (ha, jesus wouldn't cry like a girl, get it - these people love jesus but actually hate girls, what maroons!) a good thing? was it too subtle for the letter author or am i just giving the song writers too much credit?

and are we reveling in typically girl-associated traits (princess dresses, thoughtfulness) or saying that traits shouldn't be associated with gender to begin with (boys cry too)? both i guess? i think both...

when i come across any kind of rally cry for girls/women to call out the misogyny in the world and overcome it, i have super high expectations because i want to steal it and use it myself. i think this letter does a pretty good job of it, but there are some odd examples and platitudes i don't fully understand or agree with. but i don't know exactly how i would do better.

@atipofthehat - how would you write it?

Hollye

@heyits This is such a wonderful point! Thanks for making it!

H.E. Ladypants

@heyits Thank you, exactly. That's the thing. This wasn't written to convince anyone of anything, it was written to speak to the feelings of women and girls. To give a buck up. To let girls know we're behind them. It's to say, "here's an experience, it's real, but it's not TRUE. And I'm here for you while you deal with this."

As for the whole "they hate you" thing, it may seem cheap or easy but that's what it FEELS like. And while no boy may mean that he hates the girl standing across from him when he tells his friend, "you throw like a GIRL" she's may feel it like that. She's still a girl. What she is, down to her bones, has just been made an insult. And it feels personal. No matter how faceless, how entrenched, how little the whole thing may be about the individual IT FEELS PERSONAL.

So yes, there should be polemics about how to overcome this, how to change the structure and how to enlighten the individual. But there are also little encouragements that have to be given along the way. Moments where we can communicate to each other how we think and feel and experience things. Moments that are given to ourselves, to each other, with no reason other than to say, "ah, yes, we are in this soup together."

Every group and every movement needs moments this. (Even if they don't speak to every member of the group!) Because things are hard. And we are human.

And that is all.

PistolPackinMama

@Onymous Yeah, thing is, oftentimes, it gets a little frustrating when you realize that the people who need to hear it most? They tend not to listen.

Which is why, sometimes you have to talk to the people who the problem affects. Because at least telling them things will actually have an impact, and make it feel like it's worth opening your mouth.

Also, of course, no one who ever talks to daughters about things ever tells broader cultural actors they need to get their acts together. I certainly don't.

One of the things I like best about what I do, is that in my field we are allowed to talk about how things are important even when they aren't particularly virtuosic or even skillful.

joie

@wharrgarbl Yes, definitely. I think that's why I was a little surprised to see atipofthehat's original comment, because this corner of the Internet feels like a safe space an overwhelming amount of the time...I mean, people disagree about stuff, but it doesn't normally go to the level of calling something like this "total horseshit". It was off-putting. And you're right - not everything written about the woman experience (that sounds like a band name, but I'm hitting my wall of articulateness) is written for the intended audience of men. Or rather, for anyone other than who it is directed towards, in this instance daughters.

This whole thread is interesting, but also making me feel emotional and sad (there I go! being a girl!) that women have to fight so fucking hard to just make our voice heard, and then when we DO put it out there, watch it be ripped to shreds by those who think it wasn't conveying the message appropriately or accurately or eloquently enough. I can't just do it to the level of a man. I have to do it 10x better.

And now I'm going to get off the computer and go outside and move my womanly body on a womanly run while listening to my girly music and not give a flying fuck about the patriarchy, because you know what? FUCK. THAT.

PistolPackinMama

@queenofbithynia Oh my god. You? Amazing. Just perfect.

@therestofy'all- <33333

joie

@PistolPackinMama <3 I so greatly enjoy the pithy dialogue on the Hairpin, and on days like this, extra enjoy it. Pinners are amazing, y'all.

PistolPackinMama

@heyits I know, right?

Sometimes, sincerity and depth of feeling makes up for literary shortcomings. I like that people are out there, writing, just... writing. Lots of it. It doesn't always have to be good, or my cup of tea. I just like that any old person can put out there that they feel this way or that way, that they want these things or those things matter. Having a voice and using it matters.

Also, I think this writer? Has probably had her lifetime's share of "Motherhood... Ur Doin' It Rong." It's an familiar hymn sung from a well-worn songbook.

wharrgarbl

@kierkegaardsbro "i read the comments there and it was a bunch of 'this letter is crap' vs. 'of course you don't like the letter, you're a MAN' and i immediately wished the comment thread was on the hairpin instead...but it seems we're falling into a similar trap."

I'd like you to take a second--well, maybe a full minute--and, just as a thought exercise, mind, I would like you to do something.

I would like you to really just try to believe, for one minute, that if a woman writes something about the experience of girlhood, and motherhood, and motherhood with a daughter, and a bunch of dudes say it's bullshit while a bunch of women say it's very accurate, that the women might actually be correct. Just for one minute, believe that women are right about their own lives.

Just for one. fucking. minute.

leastimportantperson

@wharrgarbl Yeah can we look at the fucking mountain of comments required just to re-assert that it's fair for us to want to talk about this piece? That the piece itself shouldn't just be dismissed immediately? That the issue is real and potent to us? I mean. I just. Look at this. This is how many times we have to say it so that our reasons for wanting to speak might be heard.

ETA: Also that we have to give REASONS in the first place I mean MY GOD.

kierkegaardsbro

@wharrgarbl i already WELL fucking know women are right about their own lives. and yet, i still don't like people being told that they can't have opinions because of their gender. nor do i enjoy certain assholes dismissing the real misogyny that exists in the world that the letter wrote about. and, on top of all that, i wanted to discuss the content of the letter on its own merits. THERE IS NOTHING INCOMPATIBLE THERE. WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME TO CONDUCT EXPERIMENTS????

PistolPackinMama

@kierkegaardsbro I think she is telling you... those back and forth comments? Not ladies falling into a trap. Whatever it is, it's not a trap.

As for tip having some trouble with the way he phrased what he wanted to say, and his gender... well. Unfortunately, he appears to have had an unusual swerve over into the mainsplain lane. Which means his credibility is on thin ice in this matter because he is.., a man who is 'splaining. That is what mansplaining is. Thems is, alas, the breaks.

I think the gentle suggestion to sit it out was more a warning that he was going to walk into some strenuous dissent, rather than an assertion he doesn't have the right to mansplain on the internet. Because of course he does. And apparently, what he said was important enough and of enough merit to be addressed seriously. People want him to hear and process (and you too) because generally, they value you your opinion.

I could be wrong about this, but that is my guess.

Also, high standards and wanting to steal it to employ in cases where you might need to say something? I think that... might be some of the IT MUST BE PERFECT TO MY STANDARDS that was getting flak around here. If it's not useful to you... there is a whole field of study and cultural critique that is more rigorous and often more elegant. Use that. Or script your own reply. Not everything that is meaningful to someone has to be meaningful to you or speak to you.

atipofthehat

So it’s come to this, has it?

1. You’re a male, so mind your own business for your own good

2. You can’t criticize a piece about women unless you’re a jerk
3. [Thank you, yes, you’re right]

4. If you don’t like it, it’s because you’re missing the direct personal experience you need to evaluate it
5. [Even though the preponderance of sentimentality in this world is likely due to men] calling something sentimental as a slur against women
6. [Thank you, good point]

7. [Interesting question. Not as a piece of art, but as a construction of language that seems to me to have some serious problems that undermine its message]
8. Was that sarcasm?
9. If you say one lady wrote in a way you found egregious and false, you are actually saying that all work by women must be 100% perfect or else
10. The word sentimental, etc.
11. Better sarcasm, but not 100% perfect!
12. [You may well be right! At least we seem to be talking about the same piece]

13. Not sure what you mean, but I don't understand what it has to do with anything I wrote
14. [Some of what you say may be true, of course, thank you] but if I’m right about rhetorical cheating and faking and sentimental posturing, those add up to lies. A humble, badly told truth has value, of course. A lie of any kind may do harm
15. [Thanks! It’s because I do have a daughter that I reacted (overreacted? Anyone disagree?) the way I did to this piece, and faulted the ways in which, to me, it was (and remains) horribly off]
16. If only congress didn’t represent actual people in certain ways, they would be so badly outnumbered
17. …and you who could enlighten all who have misunderstood choose silent to remain
18. Judgment and perfection again
19. [You make a serious point] but there are also the clichés that sound good because they fit one’s beliefs
20. [Funny, thanks]
21. [Thank you!]
22. [Thank you! — especially for the Susan Schorn on Rumblestrutting!]
23. Men have no business having strong opinions about writing if it’s by women and on a feminist issue? I stand by what I said, EXCEPT that I wish I had been more specific and less obviously annoyed. But I WAS annoyed. And for, I think, good reason.
24. [Thanks. I tried to answer you in the comments with a specific example I thought met your objections]
25. Who actually said any of those things?
26. [That was a scary point she made! Though I wonder if it has more to do with an authoritative voice than a male one? (Judith Miller must have been right about the Iraqi WMDs, etc.)]

27. I believe some kinds of bad writing are bad because they are manipulative and in fact do tell lies, or evade truths, or skew things in ways that are harmful. I do think kids deserve better, sorry if you don’t (see, I was just being manipulative! It's unfair!). I was only intending to criticize the writing, the meaning of the writing, and the failure (as I saw it) of the writing to do what it obviously was intended to do
28. Where are you even getting this? Are men supposed to not call bullshit when they think they see it? If you want to make this argument, please don’t associate it with me, I don’t believe what you want your straw man to believe


29. The long quote was to answer some points made above [24] by showing how rhetoric can be used honestly, sentiment can be unsentimental, and one can do more than preach to the already converted, and actually effect change. There is also in that passage a wonderful, tender moment about the effect on a young girl’s psyche of the cruelty and unfairness of her era, and the helplessness of a parent to do something about it. As for what you say you think of my motives for posting it, such assumptions must come from those with whom one is most familiar.
30. [Wonderful comment. When I was a boy I used to fashion tiny coathangers from paperclips, and here I am because no one took them away!]
31. [Great point, agree]
32. [YES! Every woman has a voice. And most should be heard.] And some voices will occasionally lie or distort and when they do other voices may say so. And some will be cheered on by nonsense from Sarah Palin instead of hard-ass poems by the late Adrienne Rich. So maybe just being cheery is not enough sometimes, as a general principle? And, with regard to who has the responsibility to unpack—what does it matter? Do you really think that the person who put you in the hole is going to get you out of the hole? Come on, get real, we need to win this fight
33. We’ve already taken our ball and gone home. Why won’t you leave us alone, you weren’t even invited! [Seriously, OF COURSE you’re right about the difference in aims. But preaching to the choir and to the converted is notoriously easy, and is often done in a slipshod way, whereas trying to convince people who may not be sympathetic is extremely difficult, and has to be done with thought and care. When the words and attitude are meant to arm a child being sent out into a hostile world, which approach is better? I’m not sure myself, but I guess I would want to be extremely specific and careful in what I said, because children are often skeptics and will disregard the true 95% if they find that 5% is nonsense]
34. [I didn’t directly disparage the person who wrote the piece. I don’t know anything about her or her other writing, only this piece. I was only commenting on the writing and its success or failure to achieve its stated purpose of providing information and strength to her daughter. And I certainly didn’t mean to disparage the daughter, who appears from her picture to be equal to anything this world can throw her, letter or not] Not sure how I would write it, but I do think it needs to be written, or communicated in some way, most likely in a constant, ongoing fashion
35. Said it above @32
36. [Well said!]
37. [True!] But my point is not about skill so much as falseness, which is another subject
38. Okay, but the “take your ball and go home” thing was not meant literally
39. [-]
40. [-]
41. [-]

PS
In view of today's events, I hereby withdraw my candidacy for Hairpin Student Council Vice Presidency, effective immediately.

queenofbithynia

@atipofthehat Dude, oh my god. There was this one time on one of the interminable "Ask a..." comment threads, the ones that exist only to let everybody get their aggression out, when I said something that was confrontational and completely correct and a bunch of people decided I was some kind of humorless sex-negative sea-hag, and said so, even though that is two-thirds false, and I forget if they went on and on high-fiving one another and textually smirking for hours and hours, but in my mind they did, and you may believe I thought about writing an irritated yet earnest point-by-point refutation of their dickish misunderstandings just like this. But I didn't because just LOOK at what it LOOKS LIKE, jeez. Jeez!

There are plenty of lady-oriented internet places where all the women commenters talk a good feminist game but in practice make pets of the rare male visitors and fawn over them, and give them plenty of conversational slack they don't give each other, and frankly the Hairpin teeters on that precipice from time to time, but everybody yelling at you is fundamentally a sign of respect. Everybody ganging up on you because they think you are wrong happens to women here all the time and just get that OH IT'S BECAUSE A MAN CANT HAVE OPINIONS out of your brain before it festers. Come on. Come on! Let it go or argue more but don't do that thing.

iceberg

@wharrgarbl just can't believe that what you just said about the intended audience not being dudes came as a fucking revelation to me. Sad face forever. <3 u, wharrgarblie!!!

Minx Whatmore

@iceberg my god guys, I just have to say my 2c.

atipofthehat, fair enough to have your opinion but I have to agree with some of the others: it was a harsh comment and a bit dismissive of others' experience. sure you found it too sentimental, I just read it, I didn't. and I found the other quote you posted to be pretty overwrought. YMMV. no it's not perfect but jesus what is.

runner in the garden

@atipofthehat holy jesus, dude.

I was going to say your comments are eerily close to some Joanna Russ How to Suppress Women's Writing shit. And that was even before you got all Nixon's Enemies List on us. Did you have a shitty day or something?

PistolPackinMama

@queenofbithynia Soooo... you're a sea-hag? Do you have a hard time finding good foundation and concealer? Because I am totally a banshee and can't find a foundation that doesn't make my winding sheet look all flaky and dry.

(Also, I got the "bitchy bitch at the school lunch table determining who is cool at Hairpin High" comparison recently. To which I say... if only I had that much power. In high school, or anywhere else. But alas, I am pretty much anybody, just like everyone else, and that doesn't get me very far.)

Craftastrophies

@H.E. Ladypants Yeah, I am totally not finishing reading this thread, because it's making me soooo anxious. And frankly, I didn't super love the original piece - I've never been a great fan or Mur, I think her work is fine but it just doesn't do it for me. But there were two things that really struck home for me.

One was the moment where she described an older man talking to her daughter about how pretty she was. I feel like I have been that kid, looking at some guy (or woman... WAY too often an older woman) who ought to know better, wondering what in the heck I was supposed to say now, what did they want from me?

The second was the 'you are hated'. I actually had this explicit thought the other day - I play an online game, and chat is text based and my username is non gendered. So I see a lot of crap but don't experience much of it directed at me. I reported some particularly egregious behaviour, and also made a comment that maybe they could please consider having some female characters who aren't all boobs all the time? Support person pointed me to the forums. I thought 'hmm, usually I avoid forums for my mental health, but most people who play this game are ok!'. Two panic attacks later and I'm lying on my bed thinking 'but... why do they hate me so much?' It's astonishing, coming across that much heartfelt hate and vitriol, from people who have never even met you but OH BOY do they already hate you, yes they do! So yeah. That line wasn't just trolling, it was truth, and as much as the tone and style of that piece is not my jam, I recognise it as a truth that speaks to my own experience of being a girl and a woman.

PistolPackinMama

@Craftastrophies hearing the things some men-presenting-people will say about women when there are none around to hear it (or they don't care you are listening) can be a real blow to the worldview. I hear you so hard on that. :(

iceberg

@atipofthehat I know this is late but also, I feel like so many of us were upset by what you said BECAUSE you seem like a Dude Who Gets It. Like, I have never see you not get it once before in my whole time reading the 'Pin. I feel like you got called out (by those of us who disagreed with you) because we like you and want you to understand this time too.

D.@twitter

@Craftastrophies One of the earliest things my mother ever told me was that women are frequently the object of much hatred, both by men and by self-loathing women. Nothing I've seen has disproved that so far.
@atipofthehat...I think people are mostly surprised and disappointed. When I saw your comment, I was shocked at its vehemence, and also a bit like, Hooooooh boy, b/c seriously, who posts something like that in a forum like this, w/o the idea that he's just asking for trouble?
This is why I usually stay out of most discussions of race/white privilege b/c you know what? I actually have no idea what it's like to be a minority in the West (I have been one in southern Africa, but the power dynamics are still different, b/c, you know, colonialism, and even then it was far from pleasant. But I digress), and really, I've learned that when the topic comes up, the best thing I can do in that situation is to just. shut. up. STFU.
Why? B/c even though I know that I have white privilege, I don't know what it's like /not/ to have it. I'm not an objective observer, not b/c I wouldn't like to be, but b/c I CAN'T be. All I can do is listen, and TRY to imagine. But generally I can't really meaningfully contribute (that DOES NOT mean I don't get anything meaningful out of it, it just means I have a different, more passive role) to the conversation, b/c everyone ALREADY KNOWS what white people think. It's not a perspective lacking representation. So I try to listen; I try to learn something. MY opinion? It doesn't really matter. Not here, not now.

noodge

@D.@twitter i feel like i lost my words when i was commenting. i feel like you found them. really well said.

beeline96

It's definitely just the allergies getting to me today, yep...

Das Rad

On the bright side, little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. And we thank heaven for them. So it ain't all bad.

mustelid

@Das Rad Except for when they don't feel like being nice. And legitimate anger is received with a scolding of, "that's not very ladylike!"

wharrgarbl

@mustelid Ha. Or when that girliness is inconvenient, or maybe you seem to take a little too much pride in it. Then the behavior that was earning praise ("So dainty/pretty/careful/neat!") suddenly gets sneered at because it's girly.

wee_ramekin

@Das Rad Moreover, the song Thank Heaven for Little Girls is one of the most squicky, pedophile-friendly songs I've ever heard.

wharrgarbl

@wee_ramekin What, just because it's openly salivating about the point at which the little girls in question will be old enough to fuck?

Das Rad

@wharrgarbl @mustelid I like to pretend those legitimate gripes are dealt with musically in the later verses of the album version, and the public just knows the radio edit.

cuminafterall

@wee_ramekin It's from a musical that's based on a Colette novella about a girl whose grandmother is grooming her to be a prostitute, so, well, yeah.

BoozinSusan

@cuminafterall Wait, really? Information, please!

cuminafterall

@BoozinSusan Start here, then click on the word "Gigi."

The really funny part is, Gigi was the light, escapist book she wrote during the war!

angelan

@wee_ramekin It's playing over a yoghurt advert at the moment, which had the misfortune to be played during an episode of Law and Order:SVU, about a paedophile who preyed on, well, little girls. ...Bravo, schedulers, bravo.

ohnoohno

I love Mur forever. She is a genius of scifi and the well-placed verbal smackdown.

CrescentMelissa

Quietly tearing up at my desk. I am so lucky to have a daughter, we are in this together little one!

frigwiggin

Ahhhhhh, yes, I DID feel like getting incoherently mad again about the world again today.

Calm, me, calm. Just do what you've been doing, which is to be yourself without worrying about whether your actions are too girly or not girly enough. If you cry, it's not because you're a girl, it's because you're the kind of person who cries. If you don't like wearing high heels, it's not because you're not womanly enough, it's because you're the kind of person whose feet can't handle it. Be yourself, me, and the kind of woman who you are will follow.

atipofthehat

@frigwiggin

Don't forget that you're one of the most stylish people around! Very few have the magic, you have it.

bangs
bangs

Yeah, I throw like a girl, I'll never compete with male super-athletes, but I can throw well enough to get my camping food hung in the trees to keep the bears away. All you need really!

whizz_dumb

@bangs The "you throw like a girl" is a doozie. It's been repeated so much that it's almost sports jargon, which sucks. That said, there are definitely dudes on my baseball team who throw like a wuss, awkwardly, poorly(???), and there are ladies on the team who throw like a badass, gracefully, really well(???). Not like there's much misogyny going on, but I think I'll correct any future "throw like a girl" said in my presence.

bangs
bangs

@whizz_dumb It's silly. I don't throw particularly far, but I am pretty accurate. More so with golf. I don't get the distance the guys get, but I also don't spend half the time in the woods (I seem to prefer water hazards actually).

joie

@bangs teach me all your ways. I'm a terrible thrower. Terrible.

bangs
bangs

@heyits Just keep throwing things at other things. A little heavy lifting can't hurt for power.

joie

@bangs so...practice? I should do that. It seems like when I throw it goes approximately five feet and then does this disappointing downward plop. My 5 year old son can throw better than me.

bangs
bangs

@heyits Practice with him!

TheDragon

I've spent my entire life trying to run with the boys. I broke 5 bones in my foot because I refused to slow down.
I wish I could have read this sooner. I am sitting in the school library, trying not to cry

H.E. Ladypants

@The Kendragon Yeah, me too. I didn't break five bones in my foot because of it but I spent most of my childhood desperately trying to fit in with boys and to prove myself boy-like enough because I thought it gave me more value.

Then when I was 19 I read the Second Sex and cried and cried.

TheDragon

@H.E. Ladypants
I am in a major at school, that while I love, is almost exclusively male dominated. The few girls who are in my major view wearing makeup or girly clothes as a major weakness.

I'm doing my hair and makeup, putting on heels and a dress, and waltzing into class tomorrow.
Just cause I look like a girl, doesn't mean I can't hike, hunt, and fish.

RK Fire

@The Kendragon: Awww shit. The most trouble I've ever gotten into was trying to drink like the boys, with the boys.. and I'm 5'2" with medium build. Nothing terrible happened, but usually my worst drunk mistakes happened that way.

I hear you. By the by, I'm not in wildlife mgmt but I work in a org that works with folks so often, and I just want to say--keep your head up!

TheDragon

@RK Fire
...I may have done that too... I'm 5'6" and built like a rail, so I can relate!
Oh and thanks, so much.

H.E. Ladypants

@The Kendragon I used to be able to do that! (I am tall and swarthy.)

You know what it got me? Nothing.

MilesofMountains

@The Kendragon Awww, I'm a girly fish biologist, so I totally sympathize with that. Strangely, getting side-eyed for dressing "girly" only seemed to be an issue in school. Although the women I know working in wildlife are maybe a bit more on the sporty/tomboyish side, girlyness is rampant among the fish ladies. One of our subcontractors has the most fantastic pair of pink waders, and the rest of us just complain that we have field-hair and unflattering clothing on in every photo of us doing awesome field things. And there are a lot of us, too. A client once asked me if we hired any men at our company because they had had 5 field crews on site previously, all of them entirely women.

TheBourneApproximation

@MilesofMountains Yes, I've seen the same thing in my dude-centric part of the natural sciences. When I was an undergraduate, I couldn't wear a skirt to class without a classmate asking if I "had a job interview later that day or something?" Now that I'm out of school and post-PhD, most of the postdocs and professors I work with have no problem "girling it up." My favorite moment like this was when one of the women on my research project gave a talk at a workshop while wearing leopard print stiletto heels.

The best part? SHE HAD A MATCHING LEOPARD PRINT POWERPOINT THEME.

wharrgarbl

@TheBourneApproximation hi5 to that lady. No, really, go find that lady at work tomorrow and hi5 her for me. Tell her it's from the internet, because she is awesome.

TheDragon

@MilesofMountains & all
I have a hot pink zebra hardhat I use for forestry, and I think some of my male coworkers have wanted to steal it. However, when ever I go home, I am careful not to let my boss see me in makeup or fancy clothes, because she would NOT hire me again if she saw me all dolled up. Unfair, yes, but my job's worth it!
It's good to know that it gets better!

bangs
bangs

I kind of hate pink hard hats... But I've worked places where the colour of hard hat you wear is dependent on what do you do (yellow for the union guys, white for management, and welders always get the cool ones, etc). So to me it kind of feels like creating a category for oneself, like the girlworkers category. I just want to be in the worker category (though nowadays I'm more of a whitehat).

TheDragon

@bangs My opions were either buying one for myself or wearing one that I thought was probably older than I was. I also have a green zebra one, but I don't wear it as often cause green = hard to see in the forest.

LeafySeaDragon

had to restrain myself from slapping a mom near me in the disney store who made her son put back a doll because dolls are for girls and told him to find a boy toy. RAGERAGE my 8 yr old son told me he was 'humiliated' to be standing near me when i was looking at dolls because someone might think HE wanted a doll. society, i hate you.

in school we're reading stuart little and we are at the part where stuart meets margalo the wren and says she is beautiful and he loves her. the boys were being awful. i shut them up by saying that i love my cat, but that doesn't mean i want to marry it. so wrong to love, boys? /ranty [i lead a 3rd grade reading group 3x a week]

wharrgarbl

@LeafySeaDragon "so wrong to love, boys?" So wrong to have non-anger feelings in general! I mean, how much better off would boys (and society at large) be if it was commonly accepted that it's a good thing to acknowledge and deal appropriately with feelings like sadness and loneliness and love and pain and disappointment and fear and anxiety and discomfort? Is a human being ever better off for concealing them and foregoing social support for dealing with them out of fear of being thought weak?

stormageddon

@LeafySeaDragon I nearly strangled a Target employee who tried to convince my three year old son to put back the pink ladybug nightlight he had chosen in favor of a brown truck. Thanks for your worthless opinion that no one asked for, lady. Heaven forfend my toddler own a pink nightlight, someone might think he was a queer.

Xanthophyllippa

@stormageddon I hope you complained to management. (But maybe they wouldn't care, since I think I read somewhere that Target isn't really all too supportive of non-heterosexuality.)

iceberg

"i shut them up by saying that i love my cat, but that doesn't mean i want to marry it" haha, perfect!

sovereignann@twitter

Thank you...just thank you. Somedays I can make it through the day without noticing how often the whole "like a girl" or "bitch" thing comes up but then other times I can't get away from it and the rage builds up. Especially since intimidating and agressive and too capable (yeah, I don't know either) are words that have been used to try and make me feel bad about myself. Sometimes it isn't so obvious, it's like low self-esteem by a thousand cuts.

alannaofdoom

@sovereignann@twitter Oh, thank you for mentioning the casual use of "bitch." Someday when I have infinite patience I will count the number of times I hear that in a day. (Also: "female" is an adjective, not a noun. Argh.)

iceberg

@alannaofdoom YES I hate being called a "female" ughughugh

sovereignann@twitter

@alannaofdoom That is a word I refuse to use. It is, to me, a word which is used to make me feel bad about being a woman and everything it represents. There are certainly other words that can be used to describe someone you are upset with. I know some people use it to reclaim it and to each her own, but I just don't use it.

BoozinSusan

@sovereignann@twitter Reading comprehension fail: I read that as "low self-esteem by a thousand cats." I thought two things: a) Would that really be low self-esteem? and b) My allergies are already flaring up.

D.@twitter

@sovereignann@twitter Or PUSSY. I feel like I am constantly complaining about that one. I also try and get people to modulate their use of the word "rape." I'm like, "Okay, is that REALLY an appropriate metaphor for losing a squash match?"

sovereignann@twitter

@BoozinSusan That's hilarious! I'm not even allergic to cats but I think a thousand of them would cause me some problems too. Also, as a horrible, horrible speller I was actually quite worried that maybe I did spell it cats and then read it as cuts. Whew!

sovereignann@twitter

@D.@twitter Oh yeah. That one. As a daughter of a coach who finds herself in a lot of male dominated sports situations that word is used a lot, a lot. I tend to then use the word DICK! in a very derisive way with my upper lip curled a bit while looking down my nose. Granted, not very fair and sexist of me too, but when I'm there it works.

I think too, that for me, the thing that winds up getting me isn't a specific word (most of the time) but the attitude that pops up. Like the characterization of woman as being harpies or harridans on shows or commercials. I think too one of my "favorite" ones was when Hilary was running for president and some talking head said, "Would you really want to listen to that voice giving the State of the Union? I mean, all you would hear in your mind was, 'take out the trash!'" Ummm...no.

Heat Signature

If the baby I'm carrying in my uterus is a girl, I would hope to write something for her as awesome and inspirational as this.

Oh, squiggles

"Hey, you throw like a girl". False. You throw like a Guryl, as in Reginald T. Guryl, the worst known thrower in the history of sports games where objects are thrown. Reg (as he was known to his loved ones) became famous shortly after managing to knock himself unconscious with a ball that was intended to be thrown in completely the opposite direction.

This footnote in history only became important when it was used to support societal misogyny, due to the common mispronunciation of the surname Guryl.

Xanthophyllippa

@Awesomely Nonfunctional He was best friends with the former mayor of Indianapolis, one Harry Baals.

TheDragon

A baseball landed at my feet today on my run. I threw it back to the guys who were playing and one of them said "NICE gun!"
I wanted to hug him. Way to give a compliment without bringing gender into it at all, random baseball player!
(It was a pretty throw.)

TheDragon

@The Kendragon
I used to be no good at the throwing, and then I dated a state champ pitcher for two years in hs and he taught me to throw. Then he cheated on me. At least I learned something

redheaded&crazy

@The Kendragon i totally wanna bang that dude

eta: uhhh not your ex - that's clear right? ehehehaahahaha "NICE gun!"

TheDragon

@redheaded&crazie
For just a second I was confused. I was like... I think if you asked nicely, he'd teach you to throw even if you didn't bang him...

I know! He was cute too! I hope I see him around again.

Xanthophyllippa

@The Kendragon My dad was a semi-pro ballplayer (really good Southpaw), and he taught me to throw as soon as I could hold the ball. Unfortunately a separated shoulder and rotator cuff damage have ended my own ball-playing days, but for a long time I was the only one on the team who could actually make the throw from center field to home.

TheDragon

@Xanthophyllippa Yeah, my dad can't throw to save his life, so I really had never learned.

bookbike

I read the headline + all these comments first, and then began reading the letter with a groan and an eye roll. Now at my desk in the library sopping up tears. Shit's real.

PistolPackinMama

@heyad I know, right? Emotions don't have great literary taste sometimes. But they sure have a bead on the things that reduce us to quivering wrecks. Not that great literature doesn't also do that. It does. But it's not the only thing that does.

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