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16 August 2010 @ 03:16 am
kyriarchy  
Went to the Wishkah and had a really good time. Spending time with family, who I appreciate so much more as time goes by, floating down the river in an innertube, etc. I was gonna write all about that. Maybe I will later. I should.

On the way back up to Vashon I stopped at Cabela's. Got some stuff which I'm happy about, but it also ruined my mood, so much so that I was crying in the car a little while later.

It makes me angry, and it hurts, the male-dominatedness of things, the bullshit of things.

All these useful, comfortable men's clothes, and then the women's section where there's like brightly colored cotton t-shirts with cute necklines and decorations. In an outdoor superstore. Why the fuck would I not just go to Target?

All the men's camo, I'm wandering around in there, getting disoriented, trying to find my way back to the women's hunting gear ghetto along part of one wall. No piece of clothing is in my size.

Picking up some books. One about turkey calling. Opens up saying, "Someone might sound like an expert the first time you hear calls coming out of his or her mouth," and I was hopeful, but after that it was him him him.

Some other book about back-country hunting, suffused with macho crap. Literally no acknowledgement, anywhere, whatsoever, with any word or on any page, that hunters are anything but a bunch of "guys" who dream of that trophy buck.

And it put me right back into the whole alienating Earthwalk experience (not saying it wasn't, you know, good overall, but it was certainly alienating to be in that environment for months). Reliving and replaying the stupid shit people said. Arguing back with them in my head. Reasonable, cold and sarcastic, telling them to fuck off. Over and over.

And I cry and it feels like weakness, it feels like *I'm* the one with the problem. Yes, I do have a problem, and that problem is misogyny. And it's not my damn fault, and if it hurts to live every day of your life knowing that you are the other, that you are the object, not the subject--if you are on the radar screen at all. You are never talked to. You are talked ABOUT, when you are mentioned at all--if that hurts, it fucking SHOULD, if you have eyes to see with and a heart to feel with. It WILL, if you're a sentient being who experiences that.

I'm trying to remind myself that those reactions are okay, that it's in fact reasonable and expected that you would be hurt, be affected. We've been conditioned to think, all of us, women, people of color, queers, etc., that if something hurts you it's YOUR problem for being so sensitive about it. You know what? The people saying that, they don't HAVE to be sensitive about it.

Oh, but they are, they're touchy. They're a hell of a lot more sensitive than you, in your way, because you know what it's LIKE to hurt. To know there's no way to win an argument. To choose to walk away and keep your mouth shut, and steam about it--or to confront it, knowing it will likely go bad, you'll be dismissed, they will show their continuing ignorance and no indication that they will learn or change. That if you get upset it's somehow "your fault" for being too confrontational or picking on "every little thing." When you are SUBJECT to that every little thing.

Oh, if I brought it up, every time some misogynist shit gave a ping on my radar, gave a little adrenaline blow, like a bb pellet. Oh, how you'd accuse me of nagging. And it WOULD be incessant.

Anyway, they're touchy. The men, the white people, the cis people. It just hurts them soooo bad, the suggestion that there's something they overlooked, some shit they don't understand, some shit they don't care about that they should. Their poor feelings.

You are scary to them. They rule the world, and when we raise our voice, use a sharp word--use soft words, even, bringing up what they don't want to hear--they flip the fuck out.

There was some study.

Teachers in a classroom would carefully call on boys and girls in exactly equal number. Put a little tick mark down on their notebook, something like that.

After a couple days of this the little boys started complaining. The teacher was calling on the girls all the time! Ignoring the boys!

No. But it feels like that, doesn't it. Our equality feels like that, it feels like YOU are being overrun. No, you're just not in a vacuum any more. Feel that air? Your world has lost its center. There's the danger of things NOT BEING ABOUT YOU anymore. And maybe that's scary because that's all you know. How do you survive, in that world where you have to fight to be treated like a full person? How do you survive for one damn conversation? You can't. Your coping mechanisms kick in and la la la you're back in white person land, or male privilege land, or whatever, where you can CHOOSE not to care, where you can actually NOT CARE if you want to.

I learned a trick. Lie on your back, put your legs straight up in the air. Get a friend to hold them like that. Just rest your legs against them. Close your eyes and count to sixty.

By then, your legs have adjusted to that place. That feels normal. Your friend lowers your legs, and it feels like they're dropping through the floor. Bending all the way around behind you, down down down, how can they keep going down like that?

Oh, that elevator plunge. It's a shock, isn't it, even the slightest taste of what it's like to be on this level. Just one hint that you don't matter, all the time.

So yeah, I'm reading a lot of blogs about racism and such. I have to, for my own sanity. (My own issues aren't that of being subject to racism, but the experience of oppression--of being frustrated, denied, overlooked, talked ABOUT by the other as though you are the other, of knowing your very struggle makes you weaker in their eyes--has commonalities. Lately I've been reading more about race. Getting all agitated in my head, trying to break down my whiteness and SEE it. When you're privileged, it's all transparent.

Maybe because sexism is more "triggering." It cuts deeper because that's the one that hurts me. I can feel passion about racial issues but it's not so close to the bones.

Read some blog post about sexual violence. Obama and his peace prize, how one of the losing candidates is this doctor in the People's Republic of the Congo, helping rape victims who are horribly mutilated. How this woman, reading about it, felt sick for days. Literally felt ill as though she had a fever. She said in her post how rape and the terror of rape hurt all women, even those who have not been raped. And it's so true. I have never been sexually assaulted, but what it does to me, knowledge, images, stories. Animal fear. Fight or flight.

For me, it's always fight.