where I set out to think about Books, and totally forget about books-that-happen-to-be-on-the-internet. I was making a list of books I read when I was younger that dealt with emotional abuse (I haven’t actually posted the post that was part of yet, have I? Oops.)
and anyway I forgot about this plotline in Tales of MU, which is not the first plotline to deal with that kind of manipulation but it’s a good no-context-needed example.
Sparkly is in the living room right now reading facts about the DC metro system to someone over video chat and I love this and I love em.
Also apparently the DC metro includes the longest single “flight” of escalator in the western hemisphere, AND, it’s not the one in Rosslyn that everyone takes pictures of? There’s another longer one???
Ok I think I have some more feels about the posts I’ve seen that I need to set down before I can go into detail about myself. I’m going to go bullet-point style here for a bit.
- For the people who like femininity it’s not just about safety/camouflage/being more socially acceptable. That’s definitely a factor for some people but also:
- Some people just actually enjoy it and think it’s fun??? Like knitting is stereotypically feminine too but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for me to enjoy it on its own merits?
- For some people, doing femme fashion in a way that makes it their own is sort of like reclaiming a slur. It’s taking something that was used against you and taking back control of it.
- Femininity is simultaneously required and devalued. Some people want to push back against that by showing that it has value, that e.g. makeup takes skill and artistic talent.
- Believe it or not there are afab people in the world who were discouraged from being feminine (in one sense of the word or another) by their culture/their parents/etc. For some of us, being feminine is a rebellion and a rejection of limits put on us.
- The idea that femininity (or makeup in particular) is inherently tied to body shame is another thing I don’t get.
- Like obviously I get the straightforward connection that being expected to cover up/”fix” your skin is kind of inherently body shame
- and obviously a lot of marketing towards girls/women takes advantage of body shame to make people think they Need various products to be acceptable
- It’s just not what I experienced. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be feminine. I felt like I was so… just generically bad… that I couldn’t possibly wear makeup or really feminine clothes because I would obviously do it wrong and look bad and I would just be embarrassing myself.
- “…the idea behind that skirt you bought in tenth grade (maybe if I stop wearing so many loose jeans the girls in my class will want to talk to me)” And this is why I experienced it differently. Something something my sins are too numerous to mention etc. etc.
- The rhetoric that socially enforced femininity is an irresistible power, a death threat, “conform or die” is incredibly alienating for me and idk, I’ve now seen both straight femme women and butch lesbians use it so apparently I’m in the minority but I just don’t get it.
- I’m not dead.
- How am I supposed to describe my experiences and how my life fits into these ideas if the only position open for me is “dead or mostly dead”.
- The thing where people assume that people like you are just too outside the norm to exist is really unpleasant. really disorienting. really saddening. Why would you want to focus on your deadness-to-society when you could do anything else.
- This person probably doesn’t even mean that argh she probably means like actual harrassment and violence not rhetorical non-humanity
- I am so! far! from being on the same page with anyone about this and btw this is why there’s no such thing as a single universal female socialization.
(in which I joke about emetophobia sort of)
Continue reading “Fun stuff”
In discussions about enforcement of femininity in fashion/presentation, I feel like I usually hear from three groups of people:
1. Butch women who’ve received a lot of negative attention for being butch and a lot of pressure to be more femme
2. Women who are very conventionally femme but who view it as an imposition, something that’s necessary to get along in society, not something they would ever choose to do independently
3. Femme women who find some value in being femme, who would choose to do it even without societal pressure, and therefore feel the effects of the other side of the double-bind more strongly (being told that femininity and intelligence are incompatible, that being conventionally attractive means they deserve/are asking for sexual objectification, etc.)
And I’ll be honest, I have some resentment for group #2, because they often seem to forget that being obligated by society to spend lots of unnecessary time and effort on makeup, fashion, etc. and successfully achieveing a socially valued, conventionally attractive result, is not the worst possible position a woman can be in. That in fact, women who don’t or can’t fulfill those obligations exist and may possibly be more burdened, or at least equally burdened, by not living up to those standards, as fashionable femme women are by the process of living up to them.
It’s late and I’m tired so, tomorrow, part 2: I don’t fit in any of these categories and I have feelings about that.
Sparkly had a job interview today and it seems like it went really well!
I transcribed a bunch of very poor-quality audio tonight and kind of mushed my brain. Or at least, I assume that’s why I’m feeling so drained now. It’s done, though.
Some of it was probably carry-over stress about the sink drain problem.
Oh right I was going to write something about “the worst thing in the world”/being nebulously “in trouble” and how people acquire that way of thinking. Yes, prompted by us having problems with the sink. Note to self.
You know come to think of it I sometimes do the opposite of infodumping? I give a really brief and vague summary of an idea and then wait to see if the other person wants to hear more?
And like 75% of the time, rather then responding with either “Oh really, tell me more,” or a non-interested response and a change of topic. Instead, they go into Debate Mode immediately and start trying to pick holes in my super vague and simplified summary.
Instead of letting me go into detail.
Whatever it is I’m doing, it’s not sending the “this is a preview, and now, the details…” message.
I had forgotten about this because it doesn’t come up very often but Sparkly calls eir glasses “specs” and isn’t that the greatest thing ever?
My brain is mush and also I’m worried about someone I know, not for any immediate or practical reason but because it’s only now dawning on me how much she really liked That One Fic I Didn’t Like, and what that implies about how she views relationships. She’s been really busy lately, and she’s doing the thing where because she feels so stressed and frazzled, she’s questioning her entire self-worth and competence, even though actually she’s getting a lot done and she hasn’t done anything wrong.
P.S. why is the AC system so loud. I don’t really notice it until it turns off and then it’s like OMG FINALLY QUIET.