Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Child Rearing Techniques of the 80's: The Aftermath and the Male Privilege Cookie

You're remarkable, you really are
You're the only one like you!
The world is better just because you're here!
You should know that we love you!
'Cause you are special, special,
Everyone is special!
Everyone in his or her own way!


While this Barney song wasn't around while we were growing up (Hey, I babysat a lot, give me a break! I had to watch a lot of that crap), the attitude definitely was. It's probably even worse now- I've heard they changed the lyrics of "Frere Jacques" to "I am special, I am special, Look at me! Look at me!" in Nursery Schools across the country. Parents were/are told that they have to constantly remind their kids that they are special in and of themselves without them actually doing anything. I've always felt that was pretty retarded (as I tended to be on the "existence precedes essence" side of things, even before I knew what it was)- but I'm even more annoyed with it now, as an adult.

See, I think it affected men more. Women my age were raised with that idea, but at the same time were told "You have to be ten times better to be considered half as good (as a man)" along with a lot of ideas about sisterhood- and I think that those things sort of counterbalanced the "You are special" doctrine in a lot of ways. I also think that, as a "minority," things were a bit tougher for us, which helped us build character.

See- the thing is- you've got these guys who were told they were special, precious, snowflakes. And they've got this world to deal with where there used to be this cookie of male privilege, which is being "taken away" by women who believe they should have equal rights, equal access, and equal pay. I think that this, on many levels, means that misogyny is even more poisonous than it was prior to women's liberation. And it's not necessarily that on a cognitive level that they disagree with this idea. Not most of them anyhow. But every so often you get these wafts of bitterness.

1) "It's NOT FAIR that women sometimes get free drinks by guys who are trying to get into their pants! I think *I* should get free drinks!" (such a SWEET deal, huh? We've totally got it made!)
2) "Since women are equal to men now, I think I should be able to hit a woman like I would a man."
3) "I don't see why I should have to put in any effort at all to attract a woman. It's NOT FAIR! Supermodels should just jump in my lap because they see that I am a special, precious snowflake and love me for me, and not care that I pick my nose, or that I never want to go anywhere, or that I don't have much to say." (not that they actually say this, but it's often implied.)
4) "It's NOT FAIR that women have an easier time getting laid than I do!"
5) Straight white men are the new minority! Why is it ok to hate us? (We don't hate you, we hate your privilege.)

With some exceptions (my very first straight male friend- Luke, my gays, pretty much all of the guys I know who are over 32, and a few others), I trust my female friends more than the men I know. There is more of a comradery, and you don't have any of that underlying bitterness to deal with. I know that they care if I'm safe, and I care if they are. It's a certain awareness we have, especially since, as women, we are obviously more prone to being attacked or raped. We make sure everyone has a ride, or gets into a cab at the end of the night. If I'm staying over someplace else, I let Jen know. I think maybe it's hard for men to understand that whole rigamarole, because it's not something they have to deal with? I don't know. I trust my girlfriends to have my back and stand up for me- while, honestly, most guys are a little wimpy in this area. They never get that it's not about "I need a man's protection"- but about "If I'm dating you, or if we're friends, it would be swell if you cared whether I live or die, or had my back once in a while."

(To sum up: My expectations of men are the same as my expectations of women. Unless I'm dating you, in which case there are obvious exceptions that really don't apply- that and I expect that you buy me dinner. Why? Because there's still a wage gap.)

I think it's just this... supreme self-centeredness that prevents them from seeing that. I think that sort of "sensitivity" is a lot more worthwhile than the kind where you cry all the time. I have to say- a pretty important issue for me and a lot of other girls I know is the "I've got bigger balls than any guy I know" problem. There's just not a lot of character or chutzpah going around, it seems. (Oh, also- I'm not saying *all* women are like this, just more of them than there are men, and I have an eye for finding them)

One really big thing I notice, is that almost every guy I meet freely talks shit about his mother. It's totally bizarre and offensive to me- and on a very real level, very misogynistic. I mean, extenuating circumstances aside, I do think that if a guy treats the woman who gave birth to and raised him like shit- you can get a pretty good idea of how he's going to treat you. It's also a pretty immature thing to do. I was raised, half-way, in that Italian-American culture, where there are these guys who are super tough and macho, but would never, ever say anything against their mother. Not in a million years. And they'd pretty much kill you if you ever said anything about their mother. And there is something I about that attitude that I always thought was super cool. And just think! These are the "You are a special, precious snowflake!" moms! Frankly, I think, what we're dealing with is basically, a whole crapload of spoiled brats.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's been a weird morning...

I don't normally talk about my dreams- and I find it insanely annoying when other people talk about theirs- especially when they ask me what I think it means, and of course- seeing as how I am not Carl Jung, I have no idea. However- I have to tell you, I had a weird one:

First, Jen says to me "Have you met Cookies yet?" And no, no I haven't. She then brings out a baby leopard and says that she found him near the dumpster and that he's the same kind of cat as her cat (who is, somewhere down the line, part wildcat) so we have to keep him. I say he is a leopard and will probably kill us, and no one believes me. Then I go Christmas shopping with my mom and get kidnapped by this bizarre white trash man who says he traveled all the way up here from Arkansas to kidnap me, because I stole his favorite pair of Bermuda shorts from Old Navy. Which, by the way, I did not.

And then I woke up. And I go to get coffee at Atomix and orange juice at the... Jalisco? I don't know, the convenience store across the street. With the guy who likes to touch me. He's a weird guy. The first time he saw my ID he freaked out because I was from NY. He said his girlfriend lives in New Jersey, and then made me wait for 5 minutes while he finds her picture in his phone, and then shows me this 18 year old super hot blonde chick (he's a 50 year old highly unattractive dude, I'm not buying it. I bet you it's a picture from a catalog or something.) He always asks me to go to New York with him. Which I am, of course, not going to be doing ever. Today, however, I purchase my orange juice and he cheers "You are my first customer today!" and starts shaking my hand and refusing to let go. "I'm really late," I say... "Oh, just give me a hug" says he... and then I pull my hand away "Nope, really, gotta go- see you later"

I don't know- something about the whole thing just creeps me out. So like, if I ever go missing, check the freezer at the convenience store across the street.

But, I do get to see the fam today, and that's pretty damned awesome, I think. They're pretty much the best ever.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It will probably be a lot like pulling teeth...

This week will involve two of the things I hate most in the world- airports and the dentist. I'm going back home to Rochester to finally have my wisdom teeth out. I am not happy about this for any reason whatsoever.

Although, I don't hate the dentist as much as I hate and fear dental hygienists (and am thoroughly weirded out that all the dental hygienists at my dentist's are named Judy... it's very Twilight Zone...). I honestly can't handle it when they talk to me and expect me to respond whilst poking around my mouth with sharp objects. It makes me panic. Especially because they're always really perky. I deal poorly with perky-ness.

Dental Hygienist: So, what have you been doing in Chicago?
Robyn: Allaghsighdksidh, dhdsisdich...ewqnjklvdhi...(drool...)

I don't hate flying because I'm afraid the plane will crash. I merely fear being annoyed at the airport. EVERY time, something obnoxious happens. I swear to god, I have no luck at airports. Ugh.

But Jerry Falwell is dead, and that's pretty swell. And I'll of course be glad to see everyone. Even though I won't look very pretty what with the swollen face and all...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Robyn answers search terms!

1. "How to Pronounce Sartre/De Beauvoir"- Sart, De Bow Vwah. Easy.

2. "Betty vs. Veronica"- Veronica

3. "People with birthdays in June"- Me!

4. "The Truth About Diamonds"- They are mined by slaves and you shouldn't buy them

5. "A guy told me i'm intimidating"- Good for you! I find being intimidating to be an excellent way of separating the wheat from the chaff. I mean, I figure, if a guy can't get the cajones up to talk to me, what chance does he have of dealing with me on a regular basis? Guys with balls= less pep talks and coddling. Always a good thing.

6. "Why are beautiful women always single? intimidating" Because we don't have low enough self esteem to deal with stupid dudes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Oh god! I am so tired of this argument!

A post over at Feministing about the health problems high heels cause has of course turned into a discussion about whether or not high heels are feminist approved, or simply the medieval torture devices of the patriarchy.

I just have to say- I'm already a pretty tall lady- 5'8". If I was out seeking male approval, I would probably never wear heels! In fact I'd probably slouch! I just happen to like shoes. I like pretty things. This doesn't make me any less of a feminist. I'll never see the difference between rad-fems who say if you wear make-up or wear heels or shave your legs you're not a feminist and the Christian freaks that say if you do so you're a damned jezebel.

Also- like I've said before- most of these "beauty standards" are created and perpetuated by women. Women primarily dress up for themselves and for other women. Don't believe me? Go out looking like crap one night, and see how much more often you get approached than when you're all dolled up and look fabulous. Men have far lower standards than we give them credit for. Seriously- like my mom always says: "Don't drive yourself crazy, haven't you read Portnoy's Complaint? They'll screw a piece of raw liver if that's what's around." Most men could not tell the difference between a pair of Manolo Blahniks and a 10 dollar pair of shoes from Target if their lives depended on it!

So there.