I won’t become a doctor.
One day you will be sick.
Frances E. Kendall, Understanding White Privilege (via nadashannon)
This is wonderful. In college, we talked about philosophy as if it were warfare. “Defend your position.” “Take the best line of attack.” “Shoot him down here.” Ever since, I’ve been very wary of metaphors. They’re powerful, and they can distort and alienate.
This is a great point. I remember reading a book around 13 years ago about a large travel agency (at the time) that had a policy of picking a class of metaphors for use in meetings. As in, one week football metaphors would be acceptable but the following week it would be something like dressmaking, then fishing, etc. I tried to find it but didn’t have any luck with some quick Googling.
The time I spent in college with non-American born roommates (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, and Russian) was my first exposure to this. If your goal is to communicate with people who don’t obsess about football or war to the degree that you do, you may have more success if you don’t use language that’s foreign to them.
It is a woman’s responsibility to dress herself in the morning. It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing.
“One male poet approached me after a performance and said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but do you ever write about anything other than the struggles of women?” I replied, “I don’t mean to be rude, but take your finger off the trigger and I’ll stop.” After all, who among us ever wanted to speak about these things? What little girl dreams of growing up to write ‘rape poems?’ About violence? About the muffled voices of women worldwide?” -Andrea Gibson
I spent the first half of the ’90s wearing a thrifted suede jacket that I had accessorized with a neon-green sticker across the back, expressing a somewhat negative attitude regarding the patriarchy (let’s just say it’s unprintable here). But even then, I smiled at everyone. Because I wanted everyone to like me. Everyone!
I am a radical, card-carrying feminist, and still I put out smiles indiscriminately, hoping to please not only friends and family but also my son’s orthodontist, the barista who rolls his eyes while I fumble apologetically through my wallet, and the ex-boyfriend who cheated on me. If I had all that energy back — all the hours and neurochemicals and facial musculature I have expended in my wanton pursuit of likedness — I could propel myself to Mars and back. Or, at the very least, write the book “Mars and Back: Gendered Constraints and Wasted Smiling.”
10. A man’s place is in the army.
9. The pastoral duties of men who have children might distract them from the responsibility of being a parent.
8. The physique of men indicates that they are more suited to such tasks as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural”…
You know, a few months ago this dude friend of mine showed up to hang out with me all dejected. Over a couple of drinks he explained his long face — earlier that night, he’d been walking down the street behind this really cute girl, and when she looked back at him over her shoulder, he thought it was in interest and smiled at her. Now, this guy is tall and skinny, can most commonly be found in glasses and t-shirts scrawled across with math jokes, is kind to animals, considers himself a feminist. What he doesn’t consider himself is threatening, so he was surprised, confused, and even hurt by what happened next: the girl in front of him responding to his called greeting of, “Nice skirt,” by taking off down the darkened street in a dead run.
"Yeah," I said, “she probably thought you were going to rape her."
"But that’s not fair,” he said. “I’m a good person; I’d never rape anyone! How could she think that? She doesn’t even know me.”
Out here in the wilds of the internet, I often find myself making arguments about shit like feminism and rape culture unilaterally. For one thing, there’s so much (like, so much) out there arguing unilaterally against this shit that I feel it’s necessary; for another thing, ‘round these parts there’s a lot of people jumping to hostility when it’s painfully clear they don’t have a handle on all the facts. But I’m more lenient with the people in my real life, especially dudes like the one mentioned above. I’m willing to extend to them a patience that I wouldn’t with strangers on the internet, because they matter to me, and it matters to me that they understand. So when my friend sat there that night, whining over his beer and responding to my attempted explanations with, “But I’d love it if a girl smiled at me on the street, or even catcalled at me! Fuck, even if a dude did it, I’d be flattered,” I decided to spend some time thinking about how to clear things up for him. It took awhile, but I finally came up with a metaphor to get the job done:
Consider the bank.
I feel like every man who has ever tried to convince me to take some rando shouting “Hey girl, nice ass” at me as a compliment sees it this way: You’re sitting outside some Italian café in a Betty Draper dress sipping a prosecco when all of a sudden your dainty neck scarf flies off in the light breeze. Joseph Gordon Levitt, wearing a linen suit with a pocket square and no socks with his penny loafers, steps off his Vespa and hands it to you while saying something witty about how it’s almost as beautiful as you are. You then both ride off into the sunset, laughing as Dean Martin plays in the background and the director yells cut on the espresso commercial that is your life.
In reality, it’s you getting yelled at by a bunch of sweaty men standing outside a bar at eight in the morning, telling you about how fuckable you look in your sweatpants when you’re just trying to get a bottle of milk in peace like a goddamn human being. And it is the opposite of a compliment.
So I saw a post on how American Apparel markets unisex clothing, but I couldn’t actually find a unisex section on their website. I did however notice this. The sweatshirts one is particularly illuminating.
Selling men’s clothes to men, and selling women’s bodies to… ?
American Apparel is really fucking horrible for many, many reasons, but here’s another example.