Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Revisions and Society. Part 1 of ???!?!?!?%&#*$WTF

So today's bit started with this short piece about fathers, their daughters, and sexism, "The War On Women Begins With Girls" thanks to my friend Krista.

It’s a nice scratch on the surface of a much larger issue. I probably won’t scratch a whole lot farther today, as currently I’m enjoying a song over the monitor that seems to be entitled “Daddy is a Booty”, as those are the only words to the song. I believe it to be inspired by not allowing my three year old to go ride her bike, AND watch a show before naptime. The ensuing tantrum won her a brief lesson on choices, which was also not well received…. Anywho it’s quite a lovely song, I swear…

So somewhere along the line my “guy brain” broke, assuming I had real one to begin with. And I’m not talking about that I’ve stopped watching football or hockey as much for big hits as for amazing plays, or that I don’t enjoy a good mindless, plot free action flick, but perceptions can change over time. Sometimes that is learned. Sometimes it is knowledge in a box that was just waiting to be opened. Sometimes it’s just that you feel free enough, or no longer care about what other people think enough, to say what you already know is true.

See? See what I did there? Yes? No? Maybe so?

When I started writing this, I did so in sort of a free flow, stream of consciousness, thought puke sort of way… I wasn’t thinking directly about what I was writing, and wrote that. When I DID think about it, I took out the “guy brain” paragraph, because it didn’t need to be there. Then I put it back, because there was a much larger point to be made from it.

See, before I went on to the rest of what I was originally going to talk about, my subconscious felt it necessary to defend my “manhood”. Like somehow before writing about anything even slightly “out of the box” or maybe a bit “touchy feely”, I had to let out some fucking Tim the Toolman Taylor grunt to show I am still a “dude” or whatever. So I took the paragraph out, because this has nothing to do with football, or hockey, or mindless plot free action flicks, yet it has EVERTHING to do with those things.

If I do say so myself, and I will, I’m a pretty damn open minded guy. At this point in my life, I am pretty sure I can get more than a few people to attest to that fact. Yet despite that, at least in this case, I still had to THINK about the fact I don’t care about things along the lines of other people’s perceptions of my “manliness”, instead of just instinctually not caring. To me at least, it speaks volumes about how societal ideas seep into our heads, despite that I grew up, and spent my formative years in an environment, and surrounded by people where things like that didn’t matter a lick. So really this is more like a scratch on the surface, of the scratch on the surface the article made, on the subject it was briefly touching on.

People, over time, tend to do one of two things, they either surround themselves with like minded people, or they conform to the ideas of the people around them. If you don’t, you spend your life constantly challenged on your beliefs, and fuck that’s exhausting. I did the former, because it’s far easier to have your own beliefs validated, than it is to change your beliefs into something they are not. Maybe my perceptions of this are skewed by that, but I can hardly remember a single time I've ever heard a mother or woman tell a girl that there was something she could not do… well maybe aside from peeing standing up… and if you are curious about that, I know a guy who found an article… well never mind… However I have heard fathers or men tell girls that only “boys” can do such and such a thing, significantly more times (scientific I know). The short of it is, that the article is right in that fathers should be stepping up to help their daughters. Though with my two girls, I don’t know that I really need to “empower” them. They seem to have all they need and more built right in, all I need to do is make sure that spirit doesn't get dampened or crushed. That’s going to be the hard part…

It’s no secret that the U.S. (not to mention the rest of the world) is a patriarchy, and here that means pretty much everything is run by straight white males. Hey look! That’s me! Yay me for having extra status via birthright! …I mean who cares about merit or skill or anything like that anyway…er something… *puke* But see, in my first rant I mentioned that a parent should want the best for their children, and I do for my girls. So let’s check that out… They are white, and nothing better than getting a leg up based on what wavelengths of light are or aren’t reflected off their skin (no, I’m really not going to touch that right now, beyond my sarcasm). Sexuality? YTBD, which is fine, because as a father, I’m really not ready for dealing with any of that shit with them yet. Male? Nope. But how much does that really matter? Hmmm...

*Knock, Knock.* Who’s there? Glass ceiling. Glass ceiling wh…. Wait weren’t you supposed to be shattered by now? Nope, I’m still here! Nice and solid! …ugh… Well maybe for now I’ll just look around at all the options they have, and we can worry about going up later… Huh, what’s this? It’s like big bars or something, sort of like a cage. I wonder what is on the other side? Oh hey look! It’s all the things that society says a woman can’t or shouldn't be, jobs, activities, ways of thinking... kind of a lot of stuff out there. I wonder what the bars are made out of? Looks like stereotypical gender roles predominantly forwarded by men… go figure.

And that is really the crux of the problem. Just how much of the fact that I like football, hockey, and bad action flicks is learned, instead of just some inborn testosterone thing? Probably most, if not all of it. If society said little boys should like cheesy romance flicks, pairs figure skating, and floor dance routines with ribbons, I'd probably like those things just as much. So I can “empower” my girls until I’m blue in the face, but those bars are all still going to be there. I also can do my best to blow a hole in whatever bars my girls may want. Without other men helping however, even if I manage to make a hole, it might not be big enough for someone else’s girls to get through. Without other fathers teaching the next generation of men that those bars shouldn’t be there in the first place, they will always be there. Who knows, maybe my girls will want to stay comfortably inside the cage. That’s just fine too, I’ll still try and blow as many up as I can. Why you ask? Shit I’m a guy, born in this society, and I love a good explosion! And really, what could possibly be more fun to try and blow up than antiquated world views?

Anyway it’s been a very long day, and it’s only taken about eleven hours to squeeze in the time to write less than two pages. Shoot I’m not even going to proof any of this before I post it, maybe I’ll do that tomorrow. Now, I’m going to sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice glass of Belvedere vodka, because you know what they say... Belvedere, when you are too drunk to rape the woman, Belvedere makes it better... (more after the ad.)

WTF?!?!?! Ok, so even if I actually drank alcohol anymore, it wouldn't be this. But rapey vodka ads will have to wait until tomorrow, because I need to do something before bed that wont make by blood boil. At least now we can share sweet dreams about how people could possibly think this was one of those good "brand building" ads that the world should see.

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