Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The single funniest post of Megan's career

I don't even know where to begin, so let's just get to her words.

There was a debate on this subject a little while back that I didn't link because it centered on me, which seemed a little too much like whining, particularly I'm not sure I have anything to whine about. But one of the women offered an interesting analysis: women who blog about "female" subjects will be punished by being taken less seriously; Ezra can post recipes, but I can't.
No, I did not make that up and write it myself. I'm not that funny.
I read that comment and thought, "What decade is this?" Are we still under the impression that we have to dress up like men, at least metaphorically, in order to be treated as equals? Seeing women call on other women to eschew feminine pursuits in order to improve our collective position makes me deeply, deeply sad. This is what we were supposed to be fighting--the ingrained notion that domestic pleasures are women's work, and that women's work is fundamentally frivolous.
I thought the problem was a double standard, y'know Ezra can and you can't? Now you're not being allowed to be feminine?
I am to be sure, something of a girly girl, with thirty pairs of shoes in my closet and a really astonishing collection of hair styling appliances. But I don't think of cooking as some sort of spiritual extension of my womb. Cooking is fun, particularly if you like to eat well and don't have a ton of money with which to satisfy that desire. It doesn't get any less fun if you have an Adam's apple.
That's why Ezra posts recipes. That's why I cook, sometimes. That's why mikey seems to be a culinary genius; he's so damned effete. (inside joke for S,N! regulars.)
I bring this up now because last night someone I'd recently met asked me how much of a role I thought misogyny played in the liberal blogosphere's er . . . energetic . . . reaction to me. I'm not qualified to comment on that; obviously, when someone doesn't like you, the most psychologically comforting explanation is "sexism". Then this morning, someone emailed me Roy Edroso's screed. It was good for a smile--until I reread it and noted that he'd called me a "lipstick libertarian"? What the hell? I'm hard put to think of a way to pack more snide sexism and heteronormative stereotypes into two words. I do wear lipstick (well, usually gloss), and more than occasionally eyeliner and mascara and a little shadow. And what the hell does that have to do with my political ideas?
Megan, I was wrong. You are an incredibly talented comedienne. I cannot mock this passage, I can only highlight it so others may gaze upon its genius. (As an aside, Roy and I exchanged brief emails about Megan this week. He's good people. Megan won't link to it, but she's talking about his long, and good, piece in the Village Voice. Go read it, I'll wait. *Update* Seems she linked to it earlier with a sad attempt to say it missed the mark and didn't bother her. Hence, of course, the extended rant.)
I do not know whether being a woman has ultimately helped or hurt my career, and I don't waste time worrying about it. But I get a little testy when Kerry Howley and I, among many others, see the comment threads on our media appearances degenerate into extended wardrobe critiques, or debates about whether and under what conditions one might "hit that". I'm irritated when interlocutors both left and right assume that my second X chromosome has conveyed upon me a sacred obligation to agree with their political ideas. I'm annoyed that a typically female narrative style, which touches on personal experience, is derided as fundamentally unserious--particularly when it is so derided by people who admire it in feminist bloggers. And I'm perilously close to despair at finding that so many of my correspondents not only believe that pointing out that I am 35 and unmarried is a devastating insult, but apparently expect me to share that opinion. Was I born in 1973, or am I living in it?
That's a good question, as you shift your age around so often no one is quite sure, Megan. We get hits from google searches about your age roughly weekly. Now, nevermind trying to use the peak of the ERA era as an example of sexist hell, let's talk about style. What the fuck is a "typically female narrative style"? Does Digby write with her vagina? Majikthise? You comparing yourself to Twisty Faster? Much as I have real problems with "blaming", Twisty teaches me more in 3 words than covering you for six months has. The only time you write about being a woman, Megan, is when you want to use your gender to deflect criticism. If that's the typical female narrative style in your mind, then I could spend the next 6 months calling you nothing but a twat and still be less sexist than you, yourself, are.
I will say that I'm particularly shocked to find that about 95% of this comes from the left, particularly the fraternity potty talk--my right wing commenters usually limit themselves to saying "you're pretty", which is the sort of thing no one, male or female, minds hearing. Why the hell is the phrase "lipstick libertarian" being written by a left-wing blogger, much less published in the Village Voice? Would my blogging really improve if I traded in my Prada boots for a pair of Doc Martins?
Megan, the actual difference is lefty guys don't really mean it, tho I don't mean to excuse every possible joke, and the righty guys are thinking much, much worse. You went to prep school just like I did. Don't play dumb, you're not smart enough to. The idea that we're sexist because we respect women enough to treat them like we do other guys is, well, fucking stupid. Having a vagina doesn't privilege you, Megan. You have to face the same world as the rest of us.
Update Yes, I know the many uses of the phrase "lipstick lesbian"; indeed, I count several as friends and loved ones. But the facts remain:

1) Lipstick lesbian is used to imply that wearing makeup somehow makes you less serious and authentic.

2) Would the phrase "lipstick libertarian" have ever been used about a man?

Am I humorless? Perhaps. But while I used to feel like my gender didn't really matter on my blog, lately it's come to feel like half the commentary I attract contains some mention of the fact that I'm a woman. Given that few people see a need to remark on the fact that male bloggers are male, I find it annoying.
2) Is Eddie Izzard a libertarian?
1) No, it isn't. It's used to imply a lesbian isn't butch, essentially. I've spent a fair amount of time among lesbians in undergrad and grad school, and I've never heard one complain about how not being butch means no one believes they like women.*
If you're going to whine for several hundred words, Megan, it helps to have a point. At least then you'd give me something wrap up on. There's women out there who are actually victimized because of their gender. They need help, and you're bitching about being made fun of for posting shitty recipes. Way to advance the cause, sister.

Megan adds a comment
The term "lipstick lesbian" is used to deride wearing makeup and high heels as making you fundamentally unserious, at least as far as I've always understood it. It wasn't, in the circles I ran in, used to denote people who weren't actually attracted to women, but people whose clothes made you question their views.

Posted by Megan McArdle | April 16, 2008 11:26 AM
So because Megan's friends used the term derogatorily, Roy is a hatemonger. The post about how her friends were all sexist homophobes is in the queue, I assume.

*- Assholes in bars calling anyone who won't sleep with them a cock tease and dyke don't count. I'll admit this may be an unfair exclusion, but if there's anything Megan and I could agree on it's probably "Fuck them."

1 comment:

Clever Pseudonym said...

Brad - you hit the nail on the head with why her whiny "boo-hoo, they're picking on my girlness" posts bug the hell out of me. There are a lot of women who are really being abused and mistreated because of their gender, and not just in places like Saudi Arabia or Iran. Right here. Today. In this country. Megan, if you want to row with the boys, you have to play by the same rules. Until I read some guy writing that you have no business working at the Atlantic when you should be baking cookies and rubbing your husband's feet, I don't want to hear another word from you about imaginary sexism.