Whereas very few boys grow up looking forward …

“Even if we don’t think of women wanting to BE married, we at least think of them as wanting to GET married. … Whereas very few boys grow up looking forward to the day that they’ll be a groom.  There is no “American Groom” magazine.  G. I. Joe does not have a little tux with a cummerbund … ”  Singlism, Bella DePaulo, p.103

Let’s Talk about Sex

[This one’s a little old, as you can tell by the Salt-n-Pepa reference, but still relevant, I think.  Sigh.]

Disc jockeys generally come in two sexes: male and female.  So what, you may think, sex doesn’t matter.  Oh but it does, so sad to say.

I used to deejay for weddings and other parties, and on any given night, one or two of several things might happen.  For a long time, I never gave them much thought.  But when all of these things happened during a single night, it suddenly seemed clear to me that all those hitherto separate things were, in fact, related.  They were all related to my sex.

On the night in question, I had agreed to fill in for a friend, to do his regular gig at a basement bar.  When I arrived early for a show-and-tell with his system, I was immediately struck by – size.  Mike and I had started out as deejays at the same time: we went through the training together, we apprenticed with the same outfit, and then we each bought out our identical systems and started our own businesses.  I had pretty much kept the same system – a couple cassette players, a search deck, a mixer, an amp, and a pair of 12″ x 16″ speakers on tripods, with a microprocessor.  Mike, I saw, had added.  And he’d added big: he now had two pairs of speakers, each 3′ by 2′, a second amp of course, and a couple CD players.

What is it with men?  They get suckered in to the ‘bigger is better’ mentality every time.  (And it’s not just immature, it’s dangerous: look around – continual growth is not good, we can’t keep expanding, getting bigger and bigger, using more and more.)  I asked him if the smaller set-up wasn’t loud enough, if he’d gotten too many complaints.  Of course he had to say no.  But this looks better, he says.  And that really pisses me off.  Most people – most men – are stupid that way: they see Mike’s huge array of equipment, compare it to my little set-up, and figure he’s a better deejay.  There’s no logic to it.  And either Mike knows it and he’s taking advantage of it (and making it that much harder for the rest of us who refuse to be taken in by size) or he doesn’t know it and he’s just as big a fool as the rest of them (unknowingly at my expense).

Whatever, he walked me through and in a few minutes I was fine – unless I got a lot of requests.  And this is another problem with more, more, more: there were at least four different places to look up a title – there was one directory for the old cassettes, a separate directory for the new cassettes, a third directory for the CDs (except for the ones which weren’t listed anywhere), and a fourth ‘hits’ directory.  This is crazy, I thought as he left.  I took some time to familiarize myself with what was where, and saw a ridiculous amount of duplication – there had to be at least a hundred songs I could find in at least two places.  And altogether he had ten times more music than he could ever hope to play in a night.

Well, the requests started coming in at 10:00.  The bartender told me to play Seger’s “Rock and Roll”, “Dance Mix 95”, and the “Macarena”.  Gee, none of those would’ve occurred to me, thanks.  Then the other bartender came up and asked for something.  A little later I got a note with seven or eight titles on it.  It occurred to me at that point that I was getting a lot more requests than Mike usually got.  (He had said this gig would be a piece of cake.)  And I wondered, is it because I’m a woman, so people think I’m more approachable?   Or is it because I’m a woman, so probably I have to be told what to play, because I probably don’t know.  (And half the time it is just that: I’m told, not asked, to play such-and-such.)

At around 10:30, this guy came up to chat.  He opened with ‘So are you Mike’s helper?’  Excuse me?  Mike’s helper?  I told him no, I have my own business (I gave him my card), I’m just doing this gig for him tonight as a favour.  The guy continued the small talk.  I was trying to be polite, but I was also listening for the end of the piece, and trying to find at least one of the requested songs in at least one of the directories or boxes of music – and then it dawned on me that this guy was really trying to stretch out the conversation, he was, in fact, ‘hitting on me’.  And I was, in fact, trying to work.

The same thing happened again later on.  Only with the second guy, we got into this ridiculous competition of ‘I know more about deejaying than you.’  I’m sure you know the type, there’s one in every crowd who comes up to tell you ‘Yeah, I used to do this, how many watts do you have?’  But this guy really wanted to win – and it occurred to me that this man-woman thing was getting in the way again, it was complicating simple shop talk, he refused to lose to a woman.  Listen, I’m trying to work here –

And then this third guy came up and said, ‘Play some rock, this stuff is shit.’  I smiled and said, ‘This shit was requested but I’ll certainly put on some rock for you.’  I did so within two songs.  He came up again, and this time sat himself down in my chair, behind my table (I’ve never seen anyone do that to a male deejay).  He told me he had been drinking since 2:00.  He thought he was bragging rather than proclaiming how pathetic he was, and I realized, geez, he’s hitting on me too.  ‘Play some rock,’ he said again.  I said, ‘I’ve been playing rock, what specifically do you want to hear, what do you mean when you say ‘rock’?’  ‘Any rock,’ he exploded, then insulted, ‘Anyone knows what rock is!’  He came up a third time, and said he’d taken a survey and no one wanted to hear this shit (“Dance Mix,” requested three times), play some rock and roll!  By now, I was just trying to ignore him.  I’d already played Seger, Springsteen, the Stones, Cochrane, and Adams; I’d played Tragically Hip and Pearl Jam; I’d played Hootie and I’d played the Smashing Pumpkins.  This was one drunken asshole I would not be able to please.  He persisted from the end of the bar, yelling ‘Rock and Roll!’ every time I put on some dance or country (also requested several times).

I almost lost it when at around midnight the bartender came up and asked me to play some rock and roll – ‘He keeps asking us to come up and tell the girl to play a little rock!’  Any man pushing forty would be, I think, insulted to be called a boy.  Wake up call, guys: most adult women are just as insulted to be called a girl.

Shortly after, the first guy came back up to tell me he thought I was doing a fine job, he saw the shit I was getting from the other guy.  Part of me wanted to take that at face value, that was a really nice thing to do.  But another part of me was thinking ‘Yeah but he’s only nice like that because you’re a woman’: there’s a subtext of either making the moves on me or patronizing me.  (Did he think I was about to burst into tears?  Actually I was thinking about just hauling back and decking the drunk – but I didn’t want to have to pay Mike for damage to his equipment.)

The night finally ended and I left.

The next night, I had a wedding to do.  And it was just like any other wedding I’d done, but after the previous night, well, it was just like that night…

‘I don’t think this is gonna go, you should play something faster,’ I heard someone say to me.  I looked at him and wondered if he thought his being male and my being female gave him the right to criticize, to give advice to someone old enough to be his parent.  Thirty seconds into the (slow) piece I’d chosen, the dance floor was full.  Have I proved myself?  Of course not – I just ‘lucked out’.  ‘Again’, I mused sarcastically.

Another guy came up, walked around my table, and stood beside me.  No, he didn’t have a request, he just wanted to introduce himself, say hi, how’s it going.  He stayed, in my way, for three whole songs, oblivious to my suggestions that he join the party, it looks good.

A little later, an older guy, fifty-something, gave me a gentle warning, ‘You can’t please everyone, but just try a bit of 50s and 60s.’  ‘I know,’ I told him, not pointing out that I’d already done a 50s-60s set, ‘I’ve been doing this for over five years now.’  ‘Oh you have?’  He is so surprised.  What, do I have ‘novice’ written on my forehead?  Did the way I set up my equipment suggest that I didn’t know what I was doing?  (Single-handedly and in fifteen minutes flat.)  No – I’m female – so it just goes without saying that I probably don’t know what I’m doing.

I just wanted to be a deejay.  But people, especially men, kept insisting by their behaviour, that I was a female deejay.  Sex shouldn’t make a difference.  But they make it make a difference.  Do male deejays get questioned?  Are they expected to chat pleasantly while working?  Do they have to deal with a constant stream of guidance, advice?

Frankly, it’s irritating, it’s insulting, and it’s exhausting.


[Hell Yeah, I’m a Feminist is a feminist blog, often radical feminist (radfem), always anti-gender and anti-sexism.]

Men’s Precision Teams

Have you ever wondered why, in the sport of figure skating, there are no men’s precision teams?

Sure, precision skating requires attention to detail and a highly developed spatial sense.  But both are surely male capabilities; in fact, aren’t they male superiorities?  Isn’t that why (so we’re told) men dominate science and engineering?

And of course, it requires skating skill.  But countless men – Alexei Yagudin, Elvis Stojko, Kurt Browning, Brian Boitano, to name a few – have proven this to be Y-chromosome-compatible.

Perhaps it’s the degree of cooperation required that’s simply beyond men.  Yes, men are capable of cooperation – that’s what team sports are all about.  But in hockey, football, basketball, and the like, there’s always room to be a star; there’s always room for grandstanding, for upstaging.  In a precision skating team, there’s no room for even the teeniest of egos.  (Synchronized swimming – there’s another sport men simply couldn’t handle.  There’d be way too many deaths by drowning.)

And yes, men are capable of the timing that cooperation entails.  Quarterbacks and their receivers demonstrate this all the time.  But the perfect synchrony of a precision team performance is not achieved by such discrete instances of cooperation.  It’s a matter of continuous cooperation.  The sport requires continuous adjustment to others, which requires awareness of and sensitivity to others, not to mention patience, and persistence, with the practice.  It’s not only about relationships – to the ice, to the music, to each other: it’s about maintaining those relationships.  (Hey, this sport should be mandatory for boys 13 to 18.)

But no, this can’t be right.  Consider marching bands and drill displays.  They have as much precision and uniformity as a skating team.  (Oh, well, give a man a gun – )

Maybe it’s because so few boys go into figure skating that after the channelling into solo, pairs, and dance, there aren’t enough left over for precision teams.  Hm.  There are no male corps de ballet either.  Is it really jut a matter of supply and demand?

Well, maybe.  Or maybe it’s just that members of a precision team have to put their arms around each other.

Deformed Freak Born Without Penis

The Onion writers are brilliant! Check it out!

First (and last) Contact

Women have a long tradition of being diplomats.  “Historically… marriage has been the major alliance mechanism of every society, and little girls are trained for roles as intervillage family diplomats…the married woman straddles two kin networks, two villages, sometimes two cultures” (The Underside of History, Elise Boulding, p.53-54).

Many women have decades of experience, settling a dozen disputes a day.  To whom do the kids go crying “It’s not fair!”?  Mom.  She’s the mediator, the negotiator extraordinaire.

Girls develop language skills before boys, and their level of proficiency continues throughout their lives to be superior.  Women in languages and linguistics degree programs outnumber men. 

Translators?  Women.  Writers?  Women.  In short, women are better at communication.

(And) (So) We talk a lot.  (Well, when we’re not interrupted by men.)  Although ‘gossip’ can be superficial and mean, much talk among women is unjustly dismissed with that term – when women talk, they’re doing social cohesion work.

But of course communication doesn’t involve just words.  And, well, women are also better than men at reading facial expression and body language.  And they go deeper: men actually avoid any kind of psychological understanding (of themselves as well as others); women actively embrace such knowledge (“But why did you do that?”).

Lastly, women, whether by nature or nurture, are more predisposed to cooperate, whereas men are more predisposed to compete.  We prefer a win-win solution; men love a win-lose one.

So why is it that when presidents fill their ambassador and diplomat positions, they appoint men?  Is it because their ambassadors and diplomats will be talking with men?  And men are more comfortable talking to other men?  That would mean ambassadors and diplomats are men because they’re men.

Or is it (also) because the goal of a diplomatic exchange is not to cooperate, not to resolve conflict, but to conquer, to come away ‘one up’ on the other?  Diplomats are really just smoke screens; mediation isn’t the goal at all.

And why is that?  It could be as simple, and as awful, as (1) Women are good at mediation; (2) Whatever women are good at is devalued; therefore, (3) Mediation is devalued.

But look at where that’s gotten us.  Planet-wide, we spend more on weapons than food, clothing, and entertainment put together.  Unless of course you consider weapons to be entertainment.  Which apparently men do.  (Turn on any tv show during prime time, and nine times out of ten a gun will be fired in the first five minutes.)

But hey, when the aliens come, NASA’s first contact team had better include a bunch of women.  Because please, guys, all those weapons of yours?  They will surely be but slingshots.


[Hell Yeah, I’m a Feminist is a feminist blog, often radical feminist (radfem), always anti-gender and anti-sexism.]

A Little Less Evolved

Sometimes I wonder whether men have a defective chromosome: the Y was supposed to be an X, but somehow it ended up missing something – a case of stunted growth, or arrested development.  This defective chromosome, uniquely characteristic of the human male, causes them to be a little lower on the evolutionary scale, a little less evolved.

Consider their fascination with movement.  They always have to be doing something, moving around, busy at this or that.  They can’t sit still.  This importance of movement is characteristic of many lower animals; something doesn’t even register in the frog’s visual field unless it moves.  Certainly movement is required for flight and fight.  (And no other options occur to lower animals.)  And for many, movement is a form of posturing – which explains the way men walk, and stand, and sit.  On the other hand, such excessive physical activity may simply suggest that the organism’s mental activity does not provide enough stimulation.

Not only must they be doing something, they must be doing it loudly.  They even speak more loudly than women.  And when they’re not speaking, they must be making noise.  They derive endless delight from engines, jackhammers, chainsaws…  This propensity is suggestive of the lion’s roar – the louder the noise, the greater the threat.

Because, usually, the larger the animal.  And of course size is another male obsession.  Girth which in a woman would be considered obese and disgusting is carried by men as if it increases their legitimacy, their authority: they thrust out their gut just as they thrust out their chest.  It brings to mind animals that inflate themselves to achieve greater size (the balloonfish can actually double its size).  Men are concerned not only with physical size, in general and in particular, but also with the size of their paycheques, their houses, their corporations.  The bigger, the better.

Closely related to the size thing is the territory thing.  Men occupy a lot of space – again, look at the way they stand and sit.  They take up, they occupy, more space than they need – they lean on counters, sprawl on chairs, take over small countries.  They engage in turf wars, at every level.

Consider also men’s obsession with speed.  Cars, trains, planes.  Sex.  Speed is, of course, important for flight, one of the forementioned behaviours favoured by so many lower animals.

Like their sexual response, men’s emotional response is, well, uncomplicated.  They are easy to please.  This lack of complexity is further indication that they are simply less evolved.

Some say that language is the mark of higher life forms.  And, of course, any grade school teacher will tell you that boys lag behind girls in verbal development.  They’re just not very good at communicating.  I believe the word I’m looking for is  ‘inarticulate.’

By way of summary, consider dick flicks.  Also called action movies, there is indeed lots of action.  And lots of noise.  The heroes are usually big.  And they have big things – big guns, usually.  The central conflict of a dick flick is almost always territorial.  There is little in the way of plot or character development, but there’s always at least one high-speed chase scene.  And, understandably, the dialogue in a dick flick consists mostly of short and often incomplete sentences.


[Hell Yeah, I’m a Feminist is a feminist blog, often radical feminist (radfem), always anti-gender and anti-sexism.]

To the Morons who wear Make-Up

First, there’s the ageism you’re perpetuating: make-up is intended, to a large degree, to make one look younger.  In many respects, younger is better, but in many respects, it isn’t (and anyway, make-up merely gives one the appearance of being younger).  True, at some point in time, being old is completely the pits, but hey, that’s life, deal with it – without delusion or deception (or implied insult).

Second, if make-up were merely intended to (attempt to) make one beautiful, well, I suppose there’s no harm in that – the world can always use a little more beauty.  However, I despair at the pathetically low aesthetic standards in use if a blue eyelid is considered beautiful – let’s at least see a glittering rainbow under that eyebrow arch!  Further, I despair at the attention to beauty of skin if at the expense of beauty of character.

However, make-up is intended as much, if not more, to (attempt to) make one sexually attractive.  (To some extent, I suppose physical beauty is sexually attractive, but that suggests a very narrow definition of beauty: a dog running full-out is beautiful but not, at least to me, sexually attractive.)  (It also suggests a very narrow definition of sexual attractiveness.)  I’m thinking, for example, of reddened (and puckered) lips – what is that but an advertisement for fellatio?  Consider too the perfume (especially if it’s musk rather than floral), and the earrings (earlobes as erogenous zones), and the bras that push up and pad – all are part of the woman’s morning grooming routine, her ‘getting ready’ (that phrase itself begs the question ‘Ready for what?’) (‘Sex!’).

Now there’s nothing wrong with being sexually attractive per se.  But there is something wrong – something sick – about wanting to be bait (sexually attract-ive) all day long.  Especially when those same women complain about the attention they receive for their sexual attractiveness – the looks, the comments, the invitations (can you say ‘sexual harassment’?)  Not only is there a serious self-esteem problem here, there’s a serious consistency of thought problem here.

Third, combine the first point with the first part of the second point and we see another problem: make-up endorses the ‘(only) young is beautiful’ attitude.

Combine the first point with the second part of the second point: make-up endorses the ‘(only) young is sexually attractive’ attitude.

Add the shaved legs and armpits (and eyeliner, for that big baby doe-eyed look?), and we see we’re not just talking ‘young’ as in ‘twenty years old’ but ‘young’ as in pre-pubescent (only pre-pubescents are hairless, only pre-pubescents have such smooth skin).  And that’s really disturbing – to establish/reinforce the sexual attractiveness of pre-pubescents.

Why is it (we think) men find young women, girls, sexually attractive?  I doubt it’s just the ‘heathy for childbearing’ thing.  Because actually, it’s not healthy for girls to bear children, and it’s not even possible for pre-pubescents to do so.  (And it’s not like the men follow up in nine months to claim their progeny.)  (But then I’m assuming rational behaviour here.)

I suspect it’s the power thing.  Men can have power over, feel superior to, children more easily than adults.  So in addition to encouraging child sexual abuse, women who shave their legs and otherwise appear/act prepubescent are reinforcing the ‘sex as power’ instead of ‘sex as pleasure’ attitude (though of course I guess for many men power is pleasure).

Last, compounding all of this is the custom that only women wear make-up.  Which reinforces the whole patriarchy thing: the women are sexual objects while the men are sexual subjects.  (‘Course, without make-up, and the loss of about 20 pounds, and, well, major surgery, most men couldn’t cut it as sexual objects anyway.)

Swedish Cinemas using the Bechdel test!!

Check it out here!


[Hell Yeah, I’m a Feminist is a feminist blog, often radical feminist (radfem), always anti-gender and anti-sexism.]

What happens when men do the cooking and the baking?

Used to be women did the cooking and the baking.  Then men starting getting into it.  And in theory, I have no problem with that.  In fact, I’m all for making everything gender-unaligned.  But now that men are in the kitchen, suddenly it’s important.  So important it’s being televised.

And my god, the drama!  (And they call us drama queens.)  The tension, the conflict… Chefs (yes, men are chefs; women were just cooks) scream with self-righteous anger at their minions, they rush around with great urgency making sure every sprinkle of cinnamon is just right, because, well, it’s so frickin’ important.

The phenomenon defies logic.  Drama, therefore importance?  No, because then the toddler screaming about his toy truck in the shopping mall would rank right up there with nuclear disarmament.

If anything, Continue reading

The Pill for Men

‘Outrageous!’  That was the word used way back in ’85 in response to the expectation that men take a contraceptive that had a side-effect of reduced sex drive.  Hello.  Let me tell you about the contraceptive pill for women.  Side-effects include headaches, nausea, weight gain, mood changes, yeast infections, loss of vision, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, liver tumours, skin cancer, strokes, heart attacks, and death.  Oh, and reduced sex drive. (Thing is, and get this – do not pass go until you do – taking the pill is, for many of us, preferable to getting pregnant.)

But, you know, Continue reading

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