Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Me? A Woman? HOW DARE YOU?!

OK so it’s time for a little rant, as this has been bugging me for a while now and I figured Id get it out of my head as best I can. First, a little back story.

A few days ago I was chatting on fb with a friend of mine, whom I talk to on a regular basis despite the fact he lives in the US. Now we take little digs at each other, constantly, it’s just what we do, and so when he told me he was watching a tv show I had never heard of I automatically said that if he loves it, then it must be corny (the fact that he loves corny tv shows is a well known fact, two of his favourites being Gilmore girls and the OC). I thought he’d giggle and tell me what it was about, instead he got extremely defensive and very, very pissy with me. This being a completely unexpected reaction, I made a period joke, as the comparison to PMS seemed very applicable, i.e. the getting overly emotional and angry at something that is actually innocuous and realizing, a few days later, that you totally overreacted. I said

Jesus [friend] what are you manstruating today or something? (…)  in a couple of days you wont even know why you were this upset. hormones will do that to your head. i know its frustrating,  but it does stop

Wow, he got really, really mad. Before signing off, he said

trust me, when I have problems to fix the LAST thing I need is to be told I'm not a man

Well I let that go then, I figured it was the wrong time to tell him he was pissing me off ever so slightly when he was obviously actually mad about something else that I knew nothing about. So I didn’t bring it up, until he contacts me the other day, and I ask him if he’s over it. Apparently not, because he gets pissed at me again for bringing it up

if I'm not talking about it then its obviously not something that needs to be brought up

there's just certain things you cant touch. That’s all I’m saying

it wasnt necessarily the things you said, because I allow people to do it and my humor is so self deprecating, people never know that there's a point where they need to just not. So I really have to make it a point now. When im dealing with something the last thing I need is something of the immasculating variety.

Now I’m pissed.

Look, I get he was actually pissed about something else, and hence got overly defensive about something as asinine as his taste in TV shows, but what bothered me was how angry he got at being compared to a woman (when that was not the nature of the friendly insult at all, the nature was comparing his overly-sensitive behaviour to that of a person in the throes of fluctuating hormones). Being a woman is such a terrible fucking thing, isn’t it?! The LAST thing ANYONE needs when they’re worried about something is have someone suggest they were born without a penis! Can’t you see how that is the HEIGHT of self-deprecating humour?

I can hear the girls telling me that I’m exaggerating. Yes, it is common for men to feel that being called a “girl” is the absolute worst thing they could be called (except maybe being called “gay”), but my question is why? Why the fuck is it so acceptable?

Try, for just a second, to change up the roles for one second. Imagine you’re teasing me about my taste in music, and good-naturedly tell me that I might as well have been born in Compton because all of my favourite artists come from there. Say you take it further and say I should get big rims for my car or some other rapper-stereotype in your jibe my way. Then imagine I flip at you, and say

“trust me, when I have problems to fix the LAST thing I need is to be told that I’m not white”


“I get my humour is self-deprecating and all that, and usually that’s fine, but when I’m dealing with something I just really don’t need that. You have to understand how telling me I’m black in that moment would get under my skin. It’s not what you said, I just didn’t need that right then”.

Wow, sounds unbelievably racist, offensive and all-round shitty when rephrased like that, doesn’t it? See how I took something about music and hip-hop, and turned it into something about race? 

Remember that fifty years ago being compared to a black person was a relatively acceptable insult to use. It was telling someone they’re lazy and uneducated, but nowadays public opinion has shifted enormously away from that mental image, and being insulted by someone suggesting you are black has definitely been restricted to a minority.

Now I hear the voices saying “but no, that’s different”. Well, is it? Why is it different? 

Why is being offended by the undertone of disgust with being compared to my gender different from being offended by the undertone of disgust with being compared to my race?

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