Friday, January 7, 2011

Interesting Things About Gender

Some of my online detractors last year were feminists.  I sparred with feminists online even before that, perhaps due to my likening feminism to white supremacism -- by which I mean not that feminism has done as much damage to the world as Naziism, obviously, but rather that I reject any philosophy that insists (as it seems to me virtually all forms of feminism in the real world do) that I hold certain seemingly-empirical claims about the relative merit of one subset of the population to be true a priori (and I would reject being told to do this on principle, for obvious reasons, even if empirically it turned out to be the case that whites had the highest IQs and women were precisely as capable as or more capable than men). 

Your average Nazi would insist white people are inherently awesome (though I recognize that for many of them this claim was perceived as an empirical one backed by various pseudo-scientific measures, not ostensibly an a priori claim), and, in practice, you know darn well feminism just boils down to being told in advance to root for the female.  It's all just dumb tribalism and will likely be recognized as such by future generations who've ceased to care about these particular pseudo-philosophies. 

But rather than have another online fight with feminists, I here present ten interesting items related in some way to gender issues, or to the mixture of sex and politics:

•A two-timing North Carolinian is in the headlines again.  Sounds like the Hunter is a lonely heart.

•Penelope Trunk tells us "What It's Like to Have Sex with Someone with Asperger's," in an article pointed out to me by a methodically neat friend with fairly muted facial expressions who likes to keep things alphabetized, not that I'm one to point fingers.

•Unless he just has a very unusual method of drumming up advance interest in a project, accused rapist Julian Assange's quote in paragraph 4 of this article is so honest that it may be more evidence of Asperger's.

•In a strange coincidence, pointed out in a comment by Gerard Perry on this blog, Moe Tkacik, whose insulting piece about me I complained about in yesterday's entry, sounds like she may have been demoted a couple weeks ago after (but ostensibly not over) a piece she wrote about Julian Assange, who I've repeatedly joked is my doppelganger.  So, some kinda cosmic justice there, maybe.

•Gender-bendy demigod David Bowie turns sixty-three tomorrow (whereas Julien Temple, who has directed Bowie more than once, is a mere fifty-seven, I notice, so he -- like the British generally -- still has years ahead of him in which to figure out how to make the sound seem less muffled).

•I have bet Dan Raspler that he will enjoy Kick-Ass, largely due to the character Hit Girl.  By contrast, I do not want to see Zack Snyder's upcoming
film Sucker Punch about superhero-like crazy women fleeing a mental institution, save perhaps to root against the crazy chicks. 

•I was worried about Shatner for a moment this week when I heard the captain of the Enterprise had been making sex videos.

•One of my favorite headlines last year was "Man Says He Was Forced to Eat Beard in Mower Spat," which really has nothing to do with gender, aside from its sheer manliness, but it reminded my friend Katherine Taylor of the time I pointed out the headline "Man Arrested for Sex with Picnic Table" and said "I blame the victim."  In the beard piece, I love the fact that things just kind of went haywire, from what the victim says, whereas this sounds like such a complicated, premeditated sort of violence.  You'd think it would at least have been preceded by less-than-spontaneous conversation: "Should we, I don't know, maybe make him eat his beard?  Would that even work?  How long do you think that would take?"

•I went on a date a couple months ago with a cute pink-haired promoter of women in media (hey, not so unlike what I do in my spare time), and she was not wowed, but at the event we attended, at least we got to meet the guy who does the voice of Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird.

•It crosses my mind that a scary, sort of pitiable pattern you see among some of the less-sophisticated feminists (the ones who seem like they didn't quite read the whole memo, as it were) is them simply thinking that any bitchy or poorly-behaved character is "liberated."  I'm reminded of a review of Metropolitan years ago, in the Voice I think, written by a woman who complained about the film's conservatism and called the mostly off-screen college girlfriend of the male protagonist the one sexually empowered female character in the film.  That was odd, since that character's only achievement was cheating on several people, and she was not meant to be impressive.  Mental note: do not ever date that Voice writer.

Instead, I offer this brief assessment of feminist eras through the lens(myn) of sci-fi-ish characters:

Scrappy but reckless reporter Lois Lane, hyper-competent but lonely train exec Dagny Taggart, competent and comfortably liberated but slightly naive Barbarella, take-charge yet sorta bitchy Princess Leia, totally ass-kicking and socially adept but somewhat de-feminized Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and, though almost no one watched it, perhaps the recent TV version of Sarah Connor from Terminator as the fairly well-rounded gun-toting, world-saving, caring mom who can still kill and even sacrifice the innocent when necessary, while coping with cancer (and while the actress playing her is doing an American accent so consistently and flawlessly that it makes me suspect some British actors are android infiltrators who can mimic us -- or were faking their native accent in the first place to sound classy).

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