I am the kind of person who despite a generally sardonic demeanour and occasionally… decisive manner of speech actually believes in the best in people. When I meet people, I assume they are not assholes. Perhaps this is a sign of my extreme naiveté. I do tend to prefer the printed word to human interaction (this is why the internet has been such a balm for my wounded soul), and maybe I have just not been meeting the right people. But there are days my faith flags.
Let’s put it this way: dudes* have not been working very hard to disprove what we feminists say about them lately.
Let’s start off with the abortion “debate.” First off, nothing entertains me more than that the two most-listened to, reblogged, endlessly-internet-discussed commentators on abortion right now among center-left bloggers are two DUDES: William Saletan and Ross Douthat. (Oh the jokes I could make with that name if I were not averse to ladyhatin’ words!) And you know, I realize that Saletan, unlike Douthat, is not totally against abortion. He just wants us to admit that we find abortions icky and to not be so bloodily enthusiastic about digging these embryos out of ourselves. And therein lies the rub, because that very appeal shows that Saletan has never bothered to speak to any women about abortion, because he would realize how completely clueless he sounds to anyone for whom the question is other than an abstract one. But hey, why you know, hire a woman to write about abortion when you can make a name for yourself opining on it! When you are a dude, you can self-appoint as Emperor of All Knowledge!
Then, over in the tumblrsphere – which Sady from Tiger Breakdown aptly describes as “Livejournal, but for sexy people” – a bunch of feminists, including awesome Harpy friend Kat O’Leary, got into a fight with a bunch of dudes who felt the need to defend the “jokey misogyny” of a charming site called bonerparty, which you should only read if you’re wanting some cathartic anger to wash over you. See, bonerparty (and yes, I don’t bother capitalizing that shit) wants to be able to call women “crazy” in the name of “humour,” and other people think we should all just get the joke and shut up about it because we’re just reinforcing their bad stereotypes about feminists.
I am trying hard to be generous, ladies. But I’m failing on these guys’ count.
* I like the word dude a lot, and use it a lot, even in my work, as in, “Dude, I don’t care what the Americans say, demeanour has a ‘u’ in it.” I had this friend in college who claimed “dude” was a philosophical term. So it’s been a struggle for me in the feminist blogging realm to drop it when I don’t mean it pejoratively. Of course, I do sort of mean it pejoratively here, so dropping this footnote is kind of unnecessary, but I like it, so I’m keeping it.