Funny, but true … free ‘dictionary’ …

Jane Smith’s Translation Dictionary of Everyday Lies, Insults, Manipulations, and Clueless Comments

NOW AVAILABLE and FREE TO SITE VISITORS (just send a request, specifying your preference of epub or pdf)

Jane Smith is a character In my novel A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extraterrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar (blurb below).  And she started this dictionary. I’ve continued it. And everyone else is supposed to finish it. Well, add to it. (It’s unlikely it’ll ever be finished.) Send additions – new definitions to the entries already listed and/or completely new entries – for future editions to me at  (Additionally, you can add your entries to the tumblr page I set up, hoping it would become viral like “Everyday Sexism” and “Why I’m a Feminist” and #MeToo. Sadly, it did not.)

Jane also started a list titled “And here’s something else that would never happen to a man …” – which I include at the end of the dictionary (it’s also in Sexist Shit that Pisses Me Off, 2e). I created a tumblr page for this as well, similarly hoping it would become viral, but, similarly, it did not. Pity. (But it’s not too late! Add your additions to the page and send them to me for future editions of the Dictionary.)


A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extraterrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar: When a self-appointed independent activist and her office-temp-with-a-doctorate buddy embark on a quest for a chocolate bar (a bar that serves not alcohol, but chocolate – in all its deliciously decadent forms), they pick up a hitchhiking extraterrestrial who’s stopped on Earth to ask for directions. Trying to explain Earl (Earth), confronting sexism (rather like bashing your head against a jellyfish), and committing assorted outrageous acts and everyday rebellions, they help “X” find the information she needs to get back home – and go with her – to become chocolate bartenders. A (way) off-the-beaten-path first contact story.

Killing What You Enjoy

So I saw an ad on the website of the far-too-nearby gun club for a book by one of its members (“The Gun Guy”) that “takes the reader through the joyful and humorous stories about life at the hunt camp, hunting culture, and the joys of nature and wildlife.”

I wrote him a short letter: You “take the reader through the joyful and humorous stories about life at the hunt camp, hunting culture, and the joys of nature and wildlife.”  And yet you kill it.  You do not see the contradiction?  (If you enjoy wildlife, you wouldn’t fucking kill it.)”

He wrote back: “I have to say … I respectfully disagree.  I don’t see a contradiction.  Man is part of nature.  We are omnivores, we eat food of both plant and animal origin.  Harvesting an animal to eat is no different than picking a roast up at the grocery store.”

I’ll grant the last point, but as I pointed out in my response to his response:  “I do not eat animals.  I don’t need to.  And if I were that desperate to have to kill another to stay alive, I certainly wouldn’t call it sport, I would not enjoy it.”

I also said: “That we can do something doesn’t mean we should do that something.”

He did not write back again.

Upon re-reading his (initial, only) response a month later, having lost a battle with the MNR about clear-cutting a chunk of forest just a couple hundred feet from my house,* is the complete absence of an ethical perspective.  ‘Man is, we are, we eat.‘  There are no should sentences, no justifications for what he is, what he does.  It reminds me of the currently popular “It is what it is.”  Which drives me nuts.  What the fuck does that mean?  It means ‘I refuse to consider whether it should be that way’; ‘I refuse to consider right/wrong’; ‘I refuse to be an ethical animal.’

What also strikes me now is the complete lack of recognition that he is killing something he enjoys.**  I guess that’s how men kill the girlfriends and wives they love so much.

* About which a neighbour said, undistressed, ‘That’s what it’s for.’  What?   It took me a minute to see that he was MNR, and male, to the core: things are resources, they exist for our use, they have no intrinsic or autonomous value.  Unbelievably, neither my neighbour nor the MNR even recognizes the forest’s instrumental value as the lungs of our planet, as desperately needed carbon containers .  Let alone its instrumental value as a beautiful thing.

** And not to end or prevent pain, as in benevolent euthanasia.

If you can’t say anything nice, maybe there’s nothing nice to say. Say it anyway.

If you’re a woman, you’ve surely been told, reprimanded, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’  To the extent that there may be nothing nice to say, that standard of politeness has crippled us.  It has made us keep our opinions to ourselves.

My neighbours have their tv on all the time; as a result, they do very little thinking on their own.  Not only because there is no silence, typically required for thought, but also because they’re exposing themselves so relentlessly to a worldview censored by a handful of conglomerates motivated primarily by self-interest.  And then, because there’s nothing going on in their heads, they can’t stand the silence, so they keep the tv on all the time …  But do I say “Shut that thing off and wake the fuck up!”?  Of course not.  That would be rude.

They also travel a lot, by RV and by plane, checking off destinations on their bucket list.  (They also keep their thermostat at 21 degrees, make single-stop trips by car into town all the time, and eat meat every day.)  Do I point out that they’re leaving a huge ecological footprint, that they’ve contributed to the climate change, that they’re partly responsible for the increasing number and severity of storms, even the forest fires that have twice ravaged areas in their own province, and that they’re therefore being rather selfish and inconsiderate?  No.  I ask whether they had a good trip.

It the standard were applied to men as well, on the one hand that would be worse: everyone would be self-censoring, no one would be honest, dissent would be internalized and then extinguished altogether.  However, as it is applied mostly to women, it enables one of the worst elements of sexism: it makes us mute. 

On Volunteering

Ever notice that women, far more often than men, are expected to volunteer their time and their effort?  On the one hand, the implication is that women’s work has no value.  On the other hand, since they’re expected to do whatever it is, the implication is that it has considerable value (it needs to be done).  Consider, as just one example, the production of a human being.

Am I implying that women be paid to be pregnant and/or to mother?  I don’t know what I think about that.  There’s something very unique about pregnancy, labour, breastfeeding, mothering …  It’s not the same as being a daycare worker.  Then again, it is …

I do think, however, that I should not be the one to do the paying (through my taxes).  Unless, until, we need more human beings to ensure the species’ survival.

As for other things, housework is part of house ownership, so no payment by someone else is justified—except by the other people living in said house.  Overtime?  Definitely payment required there.  Committee membership?  Definitely payment required there. 

Regardless, there should be no difference on the basis of sex, with regard to being paid or not.

Women are presumed incompetent. (We know this.)

“As a man, you’re assumed to be competent unless proven otherwise,” she says. “Whereas as a woman you’re presumed to be incompetent unless proven otherwise” (Transgender Men and Sexism). When she transitioned, she gained authority and professional respect overnight.

(Now if only we could hear from transwomen.  Hear them ADMIT that they LOST authority and respect overnight.)  (That they had no idea …)  (Because they were, are, clueless about sexism …)

Men interrupt Women. Even when they’re Supreme Court Justices.

See the excerpts starting on p1408.

The arrogance is just … mind-boggling.  And so … male.

So the problem is a lack of imagination?

“[In the VR experience] ‘Becoming Homeless,’ a narrator guides participants through several interactive VR scenarios that would happen if they lost their jobs. In one scene, the participant has to look around an apartment to select items to sell in order to pay the rent. In another scene, the participant finds shelter on a public bus and has to protect belongings from being stolen by a stranger.”  Participants became “more empathetic toward the homeless and more likely to sign a petition in support of affordable housing”.

Yeah.  What I thought.  That’s why I wrote What Happened to Tom. 

(And is it just me or is this just a little bit appalling. That reading about it, or seeing a movie about it, or just imagining it isn’t enough. People have to experience something before they ‘get it’–it even if the experience is just fake.)

“Sexual harassment is primarily targeted at women who violate gender roles.”

Berdahl found that women with relatively masculine personalities (e.g., assertive, dominant, and independent), compared to women who meet feminine ideals, experience the most sexual harassment.  That is to say, “sexual harassment is primarily targeted at women who violate gender roles.”

Good to know.

The Authority Gap, Mary Ann Sieghart – A MUST READ

As I was reading this book, I realized right away I wanted to post about it, so I started making a list of bits to mention, but very quickly there were just too many!!  So – A MUST READ.  This book is FULL of all the stats you ever wanted to support your personal experience: it’s NOT just you, it wasn’t just then, it wasn’t just there …   For every bit below, I’ve underlined in my copy of the book twenty more …

70% of men rate men more highly than women for achieving the same goals (p4).

“We will continue to assume that a man knows what he’s talking about until he proves otherwise” (p7).  Yes.  And we shouldn’t (as the book shows).  So, NEW RULE: Assume that men are full of shit until proven otherwise.

“It’s as if men are swimming with the current in a river and women are swimming against it” (p17).  Yes.  YES!!  “[Men] don’t experience the myriad of little insults to their self-esteem and confidence that women have to put up with daily …” (p17).  “Even when a woman gets a top job for which she’s qualified, people ask her what her qualifications are in a way that men are never asked” (p55).

Re women in government, “Women read their briefs, they don’t just read the summary of their Cabinet papers, they’ve actually done the homework, often much more diligently” (p78).  And THAT’S why fewer women seek such positions: we see the responsibility; men see just the power.

“Think how hard it must be for a female economist to thrive in a world of such intellectual rigour when the words most likely to be associated with her [previous statistic] are ‘tits’, ‘anal’, ‘horny’, and ‘prostitute’.  And these are written in a public forum!” (p89).

In all nine countries, boys were much more likely to claim they knew and understood proper numbers, subjunctive scaling, and declarative fractions.  A delightful study to read about because THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS!  Proof of men’s bullshitting through and through.

Female job applicants who negotiate their offered salary are twice as likely not to be hired as male applicants who do so.

Information offered to a group by a man was twice as likely to be used by the group for a decision as information offered by a woman.

“The cat sat on the mat.”  Excellent analysis (too long to reproduce here).  p144-5.

Male judges on literary prize panels not reading books by women.  Just not reading them. p145-6

“There’s something innately very patronizing about knowing that half the population considers my thoughts on anything to be completely irrelevant to them” (p150).  Well-put.

News coverage on abortion … 81% of those quoted were men.  Re birth control?  75%.  Were men.

Re being White Dude Alex online instead of Lady Alex.  “For an entire week, I got to see what it was like to be treated with respect.  As a man, I could use the same words and be met with discussion, with disagreement, or even nothing at all, instead of insults.  [and rape threats and death threats] I became an equal human being, one whose voice deserves to be heard.” p265

“What kind of a person read through a newspaper and thought ‘Hmmm.  I don’t appreciate Reporter X’s writing.  I think I’ll send some hard-core porn mail recommending a good, solid raping.’ …” (p268).

Here’s a letter I haven’t seen yet … and I’m waiting … and waiting …

I don’t know what I was thinking.  No, that’s not true.  I do know what I was thinking.  I was thinking I could be a gentler person, free of all that macho shit.  I thought I could indulge my feminine side without shame (and yes, perhaps with praise).  I thought I could finally be the person I want to be. 

I neglected to consider the behavior of others.  The way they constrain the person I am. 

How could I have been so stupid?  It was the behavior of others, of men, that constrained me before, preventing me from being that gentler person, insisting I ‘man up’, calling me a wimp, and worse, threatening to hurt me if I didn’t join their various herds, their various brutalities …

But now, now that I’m a woman—

I’m interrupted.  All the time.  I can’t finish one damned sentence before—  At first I called them on it: Excuse me, I was talking.  Bitch.  Cunt.

Often it’s not even an interruption: people, men, just speak over me like I’m not even there, let alone saying something. 

I’ve noticed I’m using shorter sentences now, speaking more quickly, to say what I want to say before someone shuts me down.  I used to speak in whole paragraphs.

My queries, to everyone, about anything, go unanswered more often than not.

And when they are answered, it takes weeks. 

And the replies are brief.  As if I’m not worth their time.  I have to ask again and again until I have all the information I need.  I used to be offered information without even having to ask for it.

I’m challenged on every damn thing.  All day.  Every day.  Even on my most uncontroversial utterances, I’m questioned: Are you sure?  How do you know that?

I’ve noticed I’m starting to question myself.  Maybe I don’t know what I thought I knew.

Even outside work, not only am I challenged and questioned all the time, I get unsolicited advice.  All the time.  As if I know nothing.  About anything.  It gets very tiresome.  And, of course, the implied insult is very … angering.

No one ever asks for my opinion.

No matter how good my arguments, no matter how much supporting evidence I present, I have no influence whatsoever.  Over anything.

I have to prove myself over and over and over and over.  Reputation doesn’t exist for women except as a bitch or a slut.  So I can never let my reputation for good work precede me; I can never rest on my record: in every situation, I have to start over, proving my competence.  It used to be … assumed.  That I was competent.

Maybe I’m not as good as I thought. 

I’ve received fewer promotions.  What am I saying, I’ve received no promotions.

When I publicize my achievements, I’m arrogant, I’m bragging.  Not to mention disbelieved.

When I ask for a raise, I’m uppity.  And so for sure no raise is forthcoming.  

I swear I was doing the same quality of work as I used to, all those years.

And then when I did fuck up one day, I was fired.  Just like that.  No second chance, no allowances made for …anything. 

And then, I was flabbergasted at the interviews I was not granted.  Even for positions well below my qualifications and experience.  Often my application wasn’t even acknowledged.

The jobs I’ve had to accept pay less than the jobs I had before.  In fact, I refused the first three offers because the pay was so insulting.  Then I realized … that was as good as it was going to get.

Eventually I had to get a job as a waitress.  Yes, me!  A waitress!  And it wasn’t enough that I was punctual and pleasant.  I had to flirt to get tips, and since they’re allowed to pay waitresses less than the minimum wage, I had to get tips if I was to make rent.  It’s so demeaning.  I feel like a prostitute trainee.  And the uniform.  Tight top, short skirt, high heels.  For eight or ten hours.

And it was just part-time. So no sick days.  No medical.  No dental.  No pension. 

I had to sell my condo and move into a crappy apartment.

And what fresh hell, getting the super to replace the fridge, to fix the plumbing, anything—  He always puts me at the bottom of the list and acts like he’s doing me a favour.  It’s his fucking job!  I am, essentially, paying him to do it! 

I’ve been called rude so many times.  And I swear, I’m not acting any differently.  But it’s like I’m expected to be over the top nice all the time, smiling at everyone …

I can’t just ask for what I want anymore.  That’s considered rude. 

I can’t just say, plainly and directly, what I think anymore.  That’s considered rude.

I’m expected to volunteer for everything, to ‘help out’, do this, do that.  For free.  Like I don’t need money to support myself?

Men accuse me of ignoring them.  They make it sound like a reprimand.

They expect me to look after them, as if they are entitled to my time and attention.

Apparently I’m supposed to defer to, well, everyone.  No matter what’s at stake.  Apparently my primary objective in life now is not to hurt others.  Others’ feelings.

When I happen to be beside a man, the other person always acknowledges him first.  Sometimes not ever getting around to acknowledging me.

My presence, my existence, is tolerated.  At best.

And when I happen to be on my own …

There is endless commentary about how I look.  At first, I enjoyed it, but after a while, it becomes clear that that’s all anyone cares about.  It’s insulting.

And the touching.  Again, at first I enjoyed it, but then, well, it was just all the time.  Often for no discernible reason.  When a man will shake another man’s hand, that same man puts his arm around me, pulling me close, giving me a squeeze.  What’s up with that?

But heaven forbid I ask him to remove his arm.  One man became so apoplectic, I thought he was going to hit me. 

Even online.  I don’t want to be too graphic here, but I’ve received rape and death threats.  They’ve been very explicit, very detailed.  And they’ve been issued simply because I disagreed with a guy.  And said so.

Even when I don’t say anything that might—  It seems like men are either coming on to me or insulting me.  It’s either one or the other. 

And the insults are always sexual.  Bitch, cow, cunt— Subordination by sexualization.

It’s like—  I thought I was getting away from the fighting.  But now, it’s like I have to fight for everything: acknowledgement, respect, opportunity, autonomy, dignity … Everything I used to take for granted.

I didn’t use to have to try so hard to be taken seriously.

I didn’t use to have to try so hard at anything, really.

I’m ashamed to say, I had no idea what women have had to endure …

I didn’t know anything about sexism.  Not really.  Most men don’t.  In fact, I’ll bet most men understand less about sexism than white people understand about racism.

After all, this is a meritocracy.  So any advantage I had over women was due to my respective choices, my relative competence.  I thought.

When the novelty wore off, I realized I’d traded my first-class seat on a plane for a second-class  seat on the bus.  (Too late I realized that Martine Rothblatt and Caitlyn Jenner were rich and famous.  Even before.  That Laverne Cox worked in the entertainment industry.  And so had an agent.) 

I had no idea I was voluntarily becoming a member of the sexed subordinate class.  No wonder twice as many transwomen as transmen commit suicide.  On top of everything else, we’re broadsided by a sudden and almost complete disenfranchisement.

I read that thing about Martin and Nicole changing names on their emails.  After a week of being treated like Nicole, Martin said, “It sucked”.  And after a week of being treated like Martin, Nicole said she had one of the easiest weeks of her professional life.  I get that now.  I really get it.  And I have to say, I’m not looking forward to this being the rest of my life. Not just a week of Monday to Friday, nine to five.  But before and after work as well.  And on the weekend.  And for not just a week, but for a month.  A year.  Ten years.  Twenty.  Forty.  Your whole fucking life, every minute of every damned day, from the time you get up to the time you finally fall asleep, being ignored or dismissed, being doubted, being demeaned and humiliated …

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