I think it's pretty obvious to anyone who reads my blog or catches my comments here and there, that I am a pretty big fan of Dr. Isis. I like her blog for a number of reasons, first and foremost being: I'm a dad. I like the cutesy stories about rocking smart kids being, well, cute. I also like stories about parents being, well, good parents who are proud of their children.
I also really like her blog, because she discusses the balance between being a mother and the domestic chores that entails, and her career - a career that is pretty demanding. I can relate to a lot of what she discusses because I'm a single dad who is balancing a demanding new schedule of studying, with the domestic demands of being a parent - the parent to my kids, when I have them.
And I really like her blog because it is often a forum for discussing social gender roles. A topic that is rather near to my heart.
When I wrote this post, little more than a month ago, I failed to really explain why this was such a big deal to me. I'm a born and raised midwestern boy. In the midwest, boys just don't step out of the archetypal male gender constructs. It's not as bad now, but when I first put on a skirt in the mid-nineties, it was pretty radical. Especially given that I'm not into playing with other boys. So when this happened to me and I liked it so much, it was really kind of confusing - especially given that I had met my first transgendered person not all that long before it happened. As stupid as this might sound, it just hadn't occurred to me that a guy could wear "women's" clothing and still be a guy.
I have some very strong opinions about gender and gender constructs. I use the same language to discuss these issues as a lot of feminists use. In part because I am a feminist and in part, because this language (in modern usage) has largely developed in women's and subsequently gender studies programs. I pretty firmly believe that a lot of these last vestiges of actual misogyny in our society are a result of the lack of focus on men's studies. I really want to see that change, so I spend a lot of my time talking about it. And this is not just online, I talk about it here in the outside world too. I wear skirts on occasion, because of the conversation doing so fosters (and because I love skirts and look pretty hot in them).
But often times, when I start using the language appropriate to gender discussions, I turn a fair number of people off. And not because they're misogynists or even disagree with anything I have to say. They are turned off because they have had shitty experiences with people who use that same sort of language, who also seem to believe that any and every criticism of them is misogyny.
I am all for calling misogyny when I see it. I am even for calling people on making unintended misogynistic statements. Such as:
"Damn, women are just stupid." or "Here, let me change that tire for you - I'm sure you'd rather not get dirty."
The first is pretty blatant misogyny. The second is misogyny by implication, the intention is not inherently misogynistic, but the effect and implication most certainly is. And for the former, I am all about letting loose my inner asshole. For the latter, I would be inclined to politely take them to the side and have a little talk. But this:
I don't know. There seems to be a limited overlap between what she writes about and my interests and her general tone rubs me the wrong way (reminds me of too many people I've known), but I'm willing to give it another shot. A few suggested starter posts?
I've had a similar response to it. I found it grating, even though I wanted to like it.
or even this:
Nice to know I'm not completely alone here.
her blog came across to me as:
"I was washing [the shit off my baby's] beautiful little bottom and he got a little erection, then he did a wee all down my front, and I thought to myself 'This is it, this is what life is all about'."
Some of us have other priorities.
Are not misogyny at all. They are legitimate criticisms that explain why those individuals didn't care for Isis' blog. Accusing the people who have those opinions of misogyny, is not any different than religionists who refuse to discuss any criticism of their faith, because that's their faith and off limits. The fact that there are people out there who criticize me and the things that I happen to talk about, does not make them man hating misandrists. It just means they don't like what I have to say about something. OTOH, if the criticism of me was basically, "DuWayne's friggin stoopid because he has a penis instead of a uterus!" that would qualify as misandry.
The problem that I have with this off the cuff, bullshit use of the word misogynist is twofold. Most importantly, it makes the word entirely meaningless. When anything and everything that criticizes any feminist is magically considered misogyny, effectively calling out actual misogyny becomes pretty much impossible. The other problem I have with it, is that it associates me to that kind of bullshit, when I am using the language of gender issues. I have shit to do, trying to make my community a better place, an easier place for people to live and be, regardless of gender or where they fit in gender constructs. Assholes who cry misogyny at the drop of the mildest critique, make that much harder for me to do.