What a Mess of Pottage

So I went to Ravencon over the weekend and it was much fun. RES, Laura M., CACS, physics geek and some people who read this blog incognito, as well as Speaker, Kate, Dave Pascoe and his lovely wife came out and hung out with me, which means my horrible sense of being exposed to strangers was gone, and I felt all warm and fuzzy, like a family reunion.

In fact, finances improving we would like to put it at least on a every-other-year rotation, because that way I can see these people more often. (Unless they get tired of me.)

The panels weren’t bad, either. Okay, I lie. There was the humor panel at 9 am on a Sunday, aka the morning after party night, but never mind. I’m going to assume the person who booked it didn’t realize how difficult it is to be funny at that hour. (It’s either that or catch them and make sure they die laughing.)

For the full report for the con, sashay on over to Mad Genius Club. This is going in another direction.

I found myself on a panel on Matrons and Crones. I have a vague memory of indicating that I wouldn’t be totally opposed to it, but heaven alone knows why. I usually have better sense than that. However, Through Fire has had me so turned around and upside down that well… maybe I thought it would be okay.

By the time I was at the con of course, I knew it wouldn’t be okay. Let’s just say there was quite a bit of glitter in the air that didn’t come off Kate’s outfit. Of course with a theme like Women in Science Fiction what else could we think.

We’ll avert our eyes from the panels support for the “Women destroy SF” and apparently Fantasy now, anthos and their belief that because the kickstarter funded “there’s a great hunger for this out there.”

Oy. In the ghetto that science fiction has become, maybe, though I don’t think even there. I mean, a question for the audience, how many of you have EVER had trouble finding an sf/f book written by/featuring women? None, right? Because since the eighties, I’ve been going up and down bookshelves muttering about how women shouldn’t be allowed to write.

…Which usually causes my husband to choke with laughter and make gestures that indicate I too am a woman. Yeah. Aware of that. Like it even. My fetish for lace stockings and really high heels would make me even odder than I am, had I been born male. But the thing is not that the people writing are women, but that they’re… enamored of being women. Like the poor people who dressed themselves as vaginas for political events, they seem to think what’s between their legs is THE most interesting thing about them. Alas, I don’t share the interest, so most of their books leave me cold. I want to read about space and the future, about magic and strange events. Inchoate paens to the specialness of women and the evilness of men leave me cold. Partly because I was RAISED on the specialness of women and they quite mistake the matter. But we’ll leave that for later. It’s entirely possible that there is a great hunger for even MORE inchoate vagina-praising in the reading public that remains in the ghetto that’s now science fiction. I doubt it though. Considering how kickstarter works it’s possible for people to spite-fund something to “show them” without their numbers being very high.

I wish the ah… destroyers well, I just wish they’d cool their jets. You see, I work in the same vineyard and I’m getting sick and tired of having people WHO FOLLOW THIS BLOG or who talk to me on Facebook tell me they’re ONLY NOW reading Darkship Thieves and are surprised they love it because “I got tired of reading all the female-written science fiction, because it tends to be about how men are evil and everything sucks.” So, to the extent they’re polluting the waters, they annoy me, but hey, I don’t own the field and unlike them I don’t confuse the wrapper with the gift, so I don’t even think taking back SFWA would help.

I wish them well, and I’ll make my way on my own and prove myself – which, er… I do.

We’ll also gloss over the audience member who thought she was being so … thoughtful… in telling us that Robert A. Heinlein couldn’t write women. I was very tired which can do one of two things to the berserker. Right then because I’d been prepared for clever stupidity, the berserker was “dulled” and I didn’t leap across the room screaming “Yeah, he was so terrible, he’s the one who broke SF out of the ghetto and it took you clever boys and girls about fifty years to chase off all the normal reading people and lock us back in as a place for weirdos and people who think the world is NOT full of binary gender, and other genius insights.”

This was probably to the good. I hear throttling fans is very bad for business.

I’ll confess the panel irritated me at a low level gradient, including the question on who was our favorite matron or crone character. (Rolls eyes, which are conveniently on a little chain, to avoid becoming cat toys.) Do people do that? Keep little charts of “my favorite sex/age character?” Or do women read to look for women characters? (It reminds me of this writer I used to know, raised in Colorado Springs which is, ah, rather lacking in minorities, and in an upper middle class environment. Young man was black, though, so his books were completely full of black people. Because he thought he was redressing oppression. The fact that he had known fewer black people than I had, and was therefore drawing from (bad) movies and TV series was just icing on the cake. Pity too. One of the greatest raw talents I’ve ever met. Wonder if he ever got over the fact he had a congenital tan.)

You see, I don’t read that way. I read for characters that impress me. Vimes and Granny Weatherwax are filed somewhere in the same place as “Guardians.” The putative gender doesn’t matter, though their source of power is different (and we’ll go into that too) which is one of the things that Pratchett does very well at an instinctive level.

I was so beffudled by the question I couldn’t even think of Granny, or of Granny Aching (as close to a spitting image of my grandma, except we weren’t from a sheep shearing region and grandma didn’t chew tobacco) or for that matter of Mimi from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. If I hadn’t taken the precaution of having a Kate in the audience, I’d have gawped like a gold fish.

Then we went to the question of which historical women we admired, and I realized what was wrong. Very, very wrong. The people they admired were people like Queen Elizabeth or the Empress Matilda, or…

Women who were queens and at least nominally commanded armies. Women who in fact, exerted masculine power – the sort of power that required armies and force, which is not a female sort of power.

These women, all of them “feminists” were in fact enamored of the idea that to be powerful women must be men. That sound you hear is my head hitting the desk. Hard.

I started by trying an experimental sally on the other error of their premise. They were picking people who were prisoners of their role, and who were therefore not “women” in any sense of the word, but symbols, rulers, functions, ranks.

The reaction convinced me there was no point further challenging their fundamental beliefs. Besides the main offender was the guest of honor at the con, and I have a policy of never beating the guest of honor about the face and head with their mistakes of reasoning and logic, no matter how much I want to.

So I went inside and took a little nap while uttering platitudes. I did at one point mention that women pretty much ran the village I grew up in. They took this as brave resistance from prisoners of the patriarchy, so there was no point. Again, they quite mistake the matter.

You see, I grew up hearing lectures about how superior women are to men. I think I heard these lectures more than other girls, because I was a tomboy. I think I started hearing them around three as I was being dragged away from some boy-group and told “Girls play with girls and boys with boys.”

We’ll leave aside the fact that clearly the society was too bi-gendered for words and unenlightened to boot, and skip to what I learned in the kitchens, while sitting around and pretending to read while women talked, or what was told directly me as I got older.

I was told women were superior to men and more powerful too. I’m almost afraid of telling these stories, because I’m afraid the league of women will come out and take away my woman card, as the feminists have already done. Never mind. It needs to be explained.

I think it is this sort of story and “feeling” that has become the poisonous anti-man and “all men are stupid” stuff in our culture – because most women are raised away from older female relatives and because their teachers are full of stupid feminism that thinks men have all the power and therefore want to take it away.

I’ll start by saying that I do disagree with a lot of the provisions in the Portuguese law when I was very small, such that a married woman could only get a job if her husband signed a permission form (and since this was a shame for him, families starved rather than do it,) women had to be part of a “family passport” with either parents or husband, and women couldn’t vote. I disagree with them, but I’m not particularly exercised about them. I once asked my mother – a feisty independent woman, whose income from her self-started, self-created business (she had a 4th grade education, too, far less than dad.) supported us until I was about ten (dad’s job was white collar but poorly paid) – if she minded those things. She said, well, she didn’t want to make dad sign the paper for her to get a factory job, so she created her own business. And she had never had the money to travel anyway, but if she wanted to she could have got the family passport and got dad to sign the paper saying it was okay. As for voting she said any married woman who can’t make her husband vote the way she would have, doesn’t deserve a vote.

And that’s where we start. You see, it wasn’t that women didn’t believe men were smart or good at stuff. They did. They would actually brag about their husbands. Qualities such as ingeniousness, ability to climb the job ladder (such as it was. In the village most people were self-employed craftsmen and small time farmers) and to make money, ability to hold their own in a discussion, etc. all of these were highly valued. Women also valued men as protectors (they ARE bigger) and as influences in the kids’ lives.

What they didn’t think – and forgive me, I’m just reporting what I see – was that men were competent to run families or groups, or, frankly themselves, at least in some regards. For instance, if a guy appeared in public in utter disarray (or drunk) it was considered a grave fault on his wife’s part. Unless his wife was beaten and abused, in which case it was considered a REALLY grave fault on HIS part and often something the village women decided to do something about. (Meeting a bunch of very upset women in a dark alley at midnight cured some of them – if not all.)

Women were in fact supposed to manage money, manage kids and manage men. By extension they managed life. If you wanted to rent the vineyard rights to someone else’s property you could argue it with him till you were blue in the face – the smart person asked his wife.

This wasn’t subversion. It was simply that by making life pleasant and comfortable, women held all the power.

They were, btw, sternly opposed to lifting any of the restrictions on women, so this wasn’t subversion. The gender role thing I so often fell afoul of were enforced BY THE WOMEN. This was not for the men to do. The men concerned themselves with the external world, not the people management. I think the older women viewed it as an intelligence test.

Now, am I proposing this as a role model for a society? Oh, h*ll no. As I’ve pointed out, I came to America for a reason. And in America, we’re supposed to start anew. And that’s fine.

But here’s the thing – women should keep in mind what is their NATURAL source of power. I don’t want to hear any frigging nonsense about gender being a social construction. Some gender behaviors are, but gender itself isn’t. And though individuals vary markedly, the general trend of genders has been shaped by evolution.

Oh, sure, there were women fighters in the middle ages (not nearly as much as our glittery friends think) but the bulk of the armies was men. Oh, sure there are women who do the hard, dangerous, unpleasant work. In the village these were usually “to ugly to get a husband” though not always. When they married, their husbands tended to be small and meek, though. BUT in general, if you drop in to a group of people cow-punching, most of them will be male (as Dave Freer pointed out.) Most construction workers? Male. Most long distance truckers? Male.

In the same way I have a number of friends who are house husbands, partly because they are writers, and so of course stay at home. However, even in our small mountain town when we lived there (we doubled the heterosexual population of the town by moving in. Okay, maybe not that bad, but the general sense is right) Dan was looked askance as a kindergarten mom (for a couple of years, he worked from home and I was teaching in college.) Not because these people were sexist (probably 80% of them were gay) but because it was odd.

In general, the genders were shaped by evolution so women do the indoor, group, persuasive, word-oriented (as in rabble rousing) work, and men do the outdoors, difficult, painful, dangerous work.

Not saying that women should be kept from that, understand, or men for that matter. Just saying that where I grew up, women would be chased away from a wood-cutting party, and men would be chased away from laying out the dead. (Both unpleasant, in different ways.)

I’m not advocating for a return to rigid gender roles. See above where I never fit in. (I wasn’t ugly, but I was a moose compared to Portuguese women my generation, and a hundred years earlier would probably never have married, because I didn’t FIT and was taller and bigger than most guys, which it turns out is a turn off for them.)

All I’m saying is women had a source of power too. In these older societies that women, now, imagine were patriarchies (and were, in outward form) women had their power too, and often more power than the men who were nominally ruling. Yes, they stood in danger of the man finding out. See Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Yes, the law often left them unprotected. But women could do things and arrange things and often got to positions of prominence if they wished to. And they were often the holders of the line.

Sexual persuasion? Sometimes. Look, no one said it wasn’t a weapon. Oh, okay, idiots convinced young women it’s empowering to just give it away. Tell me, if this were a plot of men to get ah… laid without any ties, how would it be any different? Right.

But there were others. “Woman” in man’s mind has incredible power. Elizabeth I used the power of the “Seductive but untouchable virgin” to get what she wanted not a few times. In fact, by dint of makeup she kept it up into her old age. Because those archetypes have power over men’s minds.

As does the fact that women nursed them as children and likely women will look after them as old men. I found a thing in a book, can’t remember where “We start out surrounded by women and we end surrounded by women.” If you think that doesn’t have power you don’t understand human psychology.

Trading it all in for being shouty and saying “me and my army?” Ah… that is throwing away the gift and keeping the wrapping.
Even Elizabeth the first didn’t do that. She played the game as well as she could, in her very restricted role, and she shamelessly used her femininity to play both foreign princes and her subjects, which was no small part of her success. (That said, do I admire her? Not really. Like Isabel of Castille, she did some truly horrendous things, and it’s hard to tell how many she HAD to do. Power on that scale deforms the mind.)

If I had a daughter – which I don’t – and if I ever have a granddaughter, what I’d try to teach her is that women have power too. Yes, by all means, move in the world of men if you wish to; perform a male function if you want/need to. But never forget you’re not a man, and that you have more power over them – ultimately – than they have over you. Use it wisely and kindly, and not as a whip to drive them. And never assume they’re stupid. They’re not. Yes, they have their blindnesses (my mom’s favorite trick when she’d blown money on something dad would disapprove of, like a new piece of furniture, was to put it in an inconspicuous place for months, before moving it to its intended location. Then, when he noticed it, she said “Oh, that? We’ve had that for months.”) We have our blindnesses too. To assume that only women are smart or accomplished or capable is a mistake. Yes, I can see how easy it is to do, because of course, you see your strengths and their weaknesses so well.

But I bet you from the other side, it is easy to see the opposite.

So, treat your male friends and colleagues with respect, because they see things you can’t see or aren’t interested in. And in return use your powers for good. Don’t use them to guilt males for being males. Don’t use them to try to turn yourself into an ersatz male or them into females.

It’s a good thing we come in two varieties, and for more reasons than how much fun it is in bed. Making us all alike would – besides being impossible – leave us with some serious cultural blind spots. And it’s not needed. Also it might be evil.

Treat people as individuals. Know the powers within you and be aware of them.

And if you ever feel tempted to say something like “Well, women are smarter” remember that yes, they are. And men are too. Just in different ways.

And if you push your way too far, theirs will inevitably come back at you. We’ve seen the end result of the male form of power prevailing and I don’t want to live in Saudi Arabia, thank you so much. We haven’t seen the end result of female power prevailing and I have my suspicions as to why, but before you think it’s a utopia, let me assure you I went to an all girls’ middle school and high school and paradise on Earth, it wasn’t. Nor peaceful. In fact, the boys’ school across the street had far fewer fights, let alone battles.

Don’t throw away the gift for the wrapper. Be a woman, not a man manqué.




317 thoughts on “What a Mess of Pottage

  1. Is a “mere” male allowed to say “I like”? [Nervous Smile While Remembering Which Is The Most Dangerous Of The Species]

    1. Of course! And you’re not a mere male. I mean without men we’d have a much worse world if any at all. I believe that the world needs both men and women.

    2. Our son was married a couple weeks back, and the discourse preceding their vows covered part of this content, in rough outline, if not in detail. There was more, focused on cognitive/relational/physical differences between men and women (generally, of course there’s some overlap in most areas) that might could be helpful in their working together, because that’s just me. Since we don’t come issued with user manuals, and why is that?

      Their attendants, about half of whom are already married, thought it was useful to know. Being the officiant at your child’s wedding is a lot more fun that I ever imagined…

  2. Now anarchy is only tact when it works badly. Tact is only anarchy when it works well. And we ought to realize that in one half of the world—the private house—it does work well. We modern men are perpetually forgetting that the case for clear rules and crude penalties is not self-evident, that there is a great deal to be said for the benevolent lawlessness of the autocrat, especially on a small scale; in short, that government is only one side of life. The other half is called Society, in which women are admittedly dominant. And they have always been ready to maintain that their kingdom is better governed than ours, because (in the logical and legal sense) it is not governed at all. “Whenever you have a real difficulty,” they say, “when a boy is bumptious or an aunt is stingy, when a silly girl will marry somebody, or a wicked man won’t marry somebody, all your lumbering Roman Law and British Constitution come to a standstill. A snub from a duchess or a slanging from a fish-wife are much more likely to put things straight.” So, at least, rang the ancient female challenge down the ages until the recent female capitulation. So streamed the red standard of the higher anarchy until Miss Pankhurst hoisted the white flag.

        1. Every day, babies are born without knowledge of G.K. Chesterton. This may be the first exposure of someone.

          1. Poor things. We must correct that deficiency as soon as possible. 😉

            On Thu, May 1, 2014 at 9:28 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

            > marycatelli commented: “Every day, babies are born without knowledge > of G.K. Chesterton. This may be the first exposure of someone.” >

  3. The middle school that I went to was mixed; and it was axiomatic that when there was a fight between boys, it would be a matter of some thrown punches and bruises. But with girls fighting – they would generally have to call for an ambulance for one or both of the combatants – because they would draw blood. Lots of it.

    1. When I taught high school, I could tell when girls would be getting in a fight because they’d show up with their hair under a bandanna and some kind of oil on their faces so that their opponent’s punches would (so they thought) be more likely to glance off.

      Boys fought spontaneously if sufficiently provoked. The girls planned and came prepared.

      1. Hi – glad to see ya here.

        Yah – “catfights” tend to start at a level of viciousness that has to be seen to be believed by most guys. What they often don’t see is the days or weeks of psychological warfare that led up to it.

        Having two girls in HS now, I consider “Mean Girls” – despite some unneeded swipes at homeschoolers/etc. – a documentary.

            1. Elizabeth I broke the finger of a lady-in-waiting when the lady-in-waiting asked for permission to marry.

          1. Except rings, particularly ones with nice protrusions that they can twist when they make contact.

    2. I noted a long time ago that, when it comes time for physical conflict, the male of our species is seriously lacking in the viciousness department compared to the female of our species.

        1. “When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
          And the women come out to cut up what remains,
          Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains…”

          Kipling was no dummy.

      1. THIS– I have three sisters plus myself who were all competing for the same resources … it was horrible. (four girls… lying, manipulation, blackmail, etc were what happened in a few hours of one day). I have said that if I ever had children, I would wish for boys only. I know how to handle boys. 😉 Not likely now at 52 —

            1. I suspect I’ll have to deal with some of that.

              My daughter is already a hellion. I’ve joked that I need to become a preacher, because she’s already going to act like a preacher’s daughter anyways, I just want her to have the excuse. 😀

            2. In my first and second year in school I would sometimes play ‘king of the mountain’ during the recesses, on the piled snow on the yard, with a few older boys. Go in low and yank or push their feet from under them, and down they’d go. Worked every time. 🙂

              Plus I suspect they were scared of playing rougher with much smaller and younger girl, so I had an unfair advantage I was happy enough to use. I would also not give up easily, getting pushed down the pile would make me angry and I’d just go back harder. Playing like that may have been one of the reasons why I was never bullied much in school (not by other students, but my third and fourth grade teacher could be rather mean at times) in spite of being the fat weird girl with glasses and all. I got some bullying, but nobody ever tried to push me into a corner, metaphorically speaking.

              1. We learned early on that it wasn’t a good idea to play (American style) football, even flag/touch football with girls. They really didn’t know when/how to pull their punches, or when to quit pushing.

                We’d try to avoid hurting the delicate creatures; it was never a concern with them to not hurt us. Just “accidental”.

                1. How about a pick-up basketball game. The guys played normal rules & the gals played full-contact rules. Hard to do a layup when the defender throws a flying cross-body block.

                    1. Not when you’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. “How dare you do that…..”

                  1. My daughter quit the high school lacrosse team because it was too tame. She wanted hitting and stuff, I guess … what else are sticks for … ??

      2. The male knows better when and where to use the viciousness.

        Two kids fighting in the hallway isn’t war, it’s (usually) just locking horns. Five years later one of those kids is laying in a ghille suit on the side of some hill, or he’s a Marine with a sledge hammer and an M4. Or he’s a drug dealer with a sawed off shotgun.

      3. There’s good, evolutionary, reasons for women to be more vicious. The main one is that women are smaller and weaker… you’ve got to be meaner, and more about scorched-earth, and more about not inviting a second go-round.

        Seems to me that there’s similarly dumb stuff from either side of the “women and violence” divide… Some men like to think of women as kinder and gentler (and I suppose we are, with a little bit of socialization) and thus unable to have the mindset necessary to wage war. Some women insist on this notion that if women were in charge the world would be an automatically more peaceful place and that “feminism” is “anti-war” which is patent fantasy.

        1. Yeah, whenever someone does that “If women ruled the world, it would be nothing but peace”, I have to ask if these people actually know any women.

          Since on of the people I’ve asked that was my own mother, it’s gotten some…um…interesting response.

          1. There WOULD be a lot more peace. Because the graveyards would be a lot more full.

          2. I ran into this at about 16, and was shocked enough to actually say what I thought:
            you’re an only child, aren’t you?
            (In my mind, one sister and one brother was inherent to not being an only child. I never claimed to be properly formed at that age)

        2. Robert Jordan had a scene in WofT (not sure which book) where his “Wise Woman” character reflects on some men in her village thought “appealing to the Women’s Circle” would be “safer” than being judged by the all-male “Village Council” only to discover how wrong they were. Oh, this was just before she passed very poetic justice on a woman who had enslaved her friend. [Very Big Evil Grin]

        3. My take on foreign relations is that we should always try to avoid war whe possible. If not possible, we should then go in with overwhelming force (because face it, we can.) Every war or warlike action we’ve lost in the last century has been through pulling our punches.

          I guess that translates to “scorched earth” pretty well, aside from the fact that we’re getting technologically advanced enough to start throwing rocks again. Well, actually, GPS-enabled pinpoint concrete targeting shells, but still…

            1. Seconded. But I’m a mean vicious girl. Granted, I go in assuming the best of people, and I forgive a few times— but knowingly and willingly betray my own and… it gets personal.

              End fights. Quickly. Show why the fuss of deplomacy and keeping your word is a good idea. Liars and cheaters know no other language.

        4. There’s good, evolutionary, reasons for women to be more vicious. The main one is that women are smaller and weaker… you’ve got to be meaner, and more about scorched-earth, and more about not inviting a second go-round.

          “Never scare a little man. He will kill you.”

      4. That all depends. Tell him he’s protecting women and children, suddenly the man becomes a rabid cro-magnon. 😀

        1. Both do what is needed to defend those who are at risk.

          Men defending women will be vicious.

          Women defending themselves will be vicious.

          Both, defending ‘children’ will blow the lid off of the vicious charts.


          Our culture is now teaching adults to be children.

          Horrified, yet?

        2. Fair enough. 😀

          Seriously though, guys seem to be far more likely to “turn it off” than women, even if he’s protecting women and children.

          An attacker, once run off, ceases to be a threat and the male warrior generally ceases to feel the need to pursue the threat any further.

          The female warrior, however, will track him down, cut off his appendages (ALL of them), do the same to his friends (generally not family though), then put them on display. 😀

          This is why I try not to piss of women!

  4. I was remarked to one of those men hating feminist that the problem with the status quo was Women have all the power they just don’t get any of the credit.

    1. That didn’t make any sense.

      Lets try that again.

      I once remarked to one of those men hating feminist that their problem with the status quo was simply women have all the power they just don’t get any of the credit.

      The diatribe that followed should not be repeated.

  5. Crone discussion– As I get older I am getting fonder of the Wicked Witch of the West. *sigh

    I also didn’t fit in my world where women would throw games (table tennis, miniature golf, etc) so that the men would feel good about themselves. I was competitive. So when I found a man who was strong-minded and caring, I grabbed him. 😉 Unfortunately, this masculinizing of females and the feminizing of males is causing confusion and eventual ruin imho. There were always outliers– it seems that our new society wants the outliers to be common. (Dang, I have been an outlier– I worked in electronics with all male colleagues)

    1. “I also didn’t fit in my world where women would throw games (table tennis, miniature golf, etc) so that the men would feel good about themselves.”

      Dang, maybe I should have been in your world. I’m more used to women cheating to win, than throwing a game. 😉

      1. I didn’t mind girls beating me at miniature golf so much. It was the ones who beat me at arm wrestling.

        Yeah, I’m the 1%. Top 1% in education, bottom 1% in physical prowess. 😦

    2. The signals are crossed.

      Old style, throwing the game signaled “I’m willing to do silly things so you look better.” (Sort of like how my husband and I have standing permission to use the other as an excuse to not do something we wouldn’t want to do in the first place– “I’m not sure I can make it, I think we have something planned about that time and I need to check with Elf.” It’s got the added bonus of being true for everything that’s no so desired that we’d reschedule to make it.)

      These days, it could be flirting, could mean “I think you’re an idiot and wish to flatter you,” it could mean “I want this to be over so I’m losing to get away,” probably other stuff.

      1. Seriously– where I grew up, the boys expected to win. If they lost they didn’t ask you out again. I was told over and over that I was embarrassing the men and boys in my area. So I left to find the hubby. And yes, the hubby and I use each other to get out of seemingly stupid things. I have had to say outright to men who make me uncomfortable — “you know I am married, right?”

        1. I’m not saying it’s GOOD, I’m saying it’s a signal– and beats the “if you don’t put out in some form, you won’t be asked out again” situation.

        2. Seriously- if a woman is throwing games and letting me win, it means she doesn’t respect me and is treating me like a child. I’m not going to ask her out again.

          1. f a woman is throwing games and letting me win, it means she doesn’t respect me and is treating me like a child.

            In A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold, Miles has some interior monologue where he reminisces on once when Sergeant Bothari had let him win some game. Miles had been incensed that Bothari had “stolen his victory.” He then went on to conclude that he had been doing the same with the target of his affections.

            I have offered on those occasions where my daughter and I play chess, to spot her a rook or even a queen (she’s played chess maybe a half dozen times in her life whereas I . . . well, a lot more than that). She steadfastly refuses the offer.

          2. I have the same attitude. Fortunately, the Oyster Wife is an absolute cutthroat at games, and very competitive in general. She claims it’s a by-product of growing up with three equally-competitive brothers. The one drawback is trying to find games we can play together, since our abilities don’t overlap much, and getting consistently curb-stomped isn’t fun for anyone. We’ve found a few: Skip Bo works well, as does Hearthstone, Worms is pretty close, and we’ve found we make a pretty good team in MMOs. It’s worth the effort, IMO.

  6. “Then we went to the question of which historical women we admired”
    When I saw thta question, I immediately thought of Abigail Adams. She was powerful in the way you speak, guiding her husband and making him a better man, managing the farm in his extended absences, and cherishing the life the two shared. That is powerful without giving up what it means to be a woman. (Right, Stephanie?)

        1. None of the Argentinians I know thought much of her, nor her husband for that matter. But then, they’re all immigrants from the ’50s and ’60s.

    1. I thought of St. Martha — hard-working, conscientious, more insightful than anyone around her, willing to speak truth to power, never getting the credit … can’t wait to meet her someday … I hope …

        1. Exactly — she knew her mission in logistics and was pissed the other girl didn’t take it seriously, but she still got it done, people gotta eat. Then she called the Teacher out for what she saw as slacking — but privately and respectfully. Strong down in the depths of herself, but not a shrieking harpy …

    2. The comment about all of the named women essentially acting like men made me think of a particular mis-appropriated quote. Laural Ulrich first gave the quote “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” And it has since been used as a justification for any and all over the top behavior on the part of women. But Ulrich was decrying the lack of information regarding the women who served as the bedrock pillars of their communities. From her point of view (she’s an historian), the quote is about the difficulty in properly understanding how communities worked due to the lack of information about the ordinary women in the community. If you’re going to advance the claim that women are really running things behind the scenes, then we need the viewpoint of the women to properly understand what was going on.

      But historians don’t pay much attention to housewives. And journals and the like by housewives are rare, and frequently dismissed and ignored even when they do exist.

      1. Of course, most well-behaved men didn’t make it into the history books, either. Genghis gets the press, not the guy who cleaned up after Genghis.

        But of course, part of the problem is that women tend to ignore the virtues of other women, if there’s not a meeting of the minds there. Look at St. Fabiola. Not the most impressive lady in St. Jerome’s circle of Bible-studying ladies: not a vowed virgin, not a great ascetic, not super smart or a voluminous correspondent or a huge traveler; just an ordinary rich widow who knew some extraordinary people. So when she got some kind of idea for a foundation, most of her friends went “meh.” When it turned out to involve dirt and the dregs of society, even St. Jerome, Mr. I Was a Desert Ascetic, thought it was gross. They were sure she’d come to her senses soon and stop.

        But she didn’t stop. She founded and funded the first Christian charity hospital, and worked in it; and it lasted in one form or another up to the current day. But if Jerome hadn’t written her an encomium letter, we wouldn’t know about her.

        Similarly, Mother Teresa came out of a home where her poor widowed mother was somehow managing, out of a tiny income and garden and under oppression, to feed all manner of even poorer people in the village and the country around, and visit the sick and the dying, and basically be there. Mother Teresa’s whole mission was basically “what Mom used to do at home, on a bigger scale.” There are probably millions of people, men and women, who do this without any recompense or glory (except in heaven). They have power and they don’t owe it to anybody else’s intervention (except God), but we don’t hear about them as powerful because they wield power in a different way.

        1. Of course, most well-behaved men didn’t make it into the history books, either. Genghis gets the press, not the guy who cleaned up after Genghis.

          Publicity-wise, sure. But the records would exist and be available. And those records tend to take more note of the men than the women. King Whatsisname IV, who reinherited his throne after the Mongols all ran back home to figure out who would succeed Genghis and had to put his country back in order, would get some notes in the record books. And he might even leave a journal and a quote or three. A local parish priest might also leave similar evidence of his existance and insights, perhaps via notes scribbled in the margins on the records kept at the village church. But who would the counterpart to the priest be? The closest thing would likely be the mid-wife. But if she didn’t create a journal (assuming she even knew how to read and write; there was a time when literacy wasn’t exactly common in Europe among members of either sex), then there likely would be no record of her thoughts, views, and actions within the community.

          1. Well, actually, no, the records don’t exist. burned, eaten by mice, etc — if they ever existed.

            1. There’s a rather surprising amount of church records still available. I know largely because I’ve heard about amateur geneologists using them to help assemble their family trees (as the local church would track dates of things like christenings). Admittedly stuff surviving from the early 1200s is probably pushing it. But there is a considerable amount of surviving records and paperwork.

              1. Depends on the country. There’s a lot in England, rather less in places where they had invaders every century or so

                1. An English author observed that if you went to the right great-grandparent, he could trace his ancestry to the era of William the Conqueror. If you went to the wrong one — his great-grandmother had been a widow when she married his great-grandfather, and he had never been able to find, in his most diligent searches, what her maiden name was.

                  Or my own. I can trace my French-Canadian ancestry back eleven generations on this continent — more in Europe, because I’m descended from the very first settlers, and there’s history on them. My Italian side? My great-grandfather emigrated, first to Canada, then to the USA. We have his parents’ names. My Irish ancestry splits the difference: we can trace them back to the boat, in the 19th century, but seldom further.

                  1. Yep. My father’s family can be traced back in various lineages to (quite literally) the battle of Hastings and most of the rest get hazy somewhere in the wars of the roses time. MY Mother’s family on the other hand hits a paternal dead stop at her grandfather who was shipwrecked and orphaned as a child because the troopship bringing him and his parents home from india also had all the records of the parents.

                  2. My dad traced the Howard line to a guy came to Southern Indiana apparently (or so he said) from Kentucky. Dad was never able to locate him in Kentucky. Dad joked that his last name wasn’t Howard when he left Kentucky (assuming that he was from Kentucky). [Grin]

                    1. Dad’s gone and I don’t have the information but IIRC it was prior to the ACW and long after the ARW.

    3. Deborah Franklin. Faced down a mob come to burn her home because someone floated the rumor that her husband had approved of the Stamp Act.

      I’ve sometimes heard people say that Franklin was messing around with little French maids while he was over there representing the colonies during the revolution. And I’ve thought to myself, well, first of all, they don’t know Benjamin Franklin very well, and second, they sure as anything don’t know his wife.

      1. Actually, they know Ben quite well, since they are apparently aware that among the few private (unpublished) letters we have of his is a rather famous one advising his bastard son (Royal Gov of New Jersey at the time) on how to choose a mistress…..

        1. Geez, really? That doesn’t jibe with what I’ve read of his attempts to inculcate virtue in himself what with the journaling and the “I’ll work on X this month” thing.

          I’m willing to be wrong (and a lil’ disappointed), but links?

          1. Different times.

            There is a concept still practiced by the french of you marry for station & you look for love and companionship in a Mistress.

            Abigail and John Adams as an exception. What was John’s advice to his son?

    4. Abagail Adams was the first woman I found whom I truly admired. I kept wondering why she wasn’t one of the “feminist heroes” whom everyone was shoving my way. When I offered her name to a feminist group they looked at me oddly, the quietly dropped me out of the conversation. That and I wasn’t wearing a sherbert color.

      I’m an outlier too– but painfully naive early on. I thought my mom had just gotten feminism wrong.

  7. including the question on who was our favorite matron or crone character.

    That’s actually a pretty easy one for me:
    Matron: Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan
    Crone: Hazel Stone

    Not because they are good “women characters” but because they are farging awesome characters.

      1. I just run through awesome characters in my mind until I find one that meets the criteria. It just so happens that “The Rolling Stones” is on my mind because it was one of the books my daughter asked for for her recent birthday.

        1. The banter between Hazel and her son… had me in stitches. For some reason, I only read it as an adult, and it was like Heinlein had a mike in my kitchen, catching the conversations with Robert. Ouch.

    1. I’m thinking Ista (Paladin of Souls) or Chanur (Pride of Chanur) mostly because I’ve read them recently.

      A few more books and Cordelia can be both Matron and Crone! I bet Ms. Bujold could do an interesting story of Cordelia running Sergyar by herself now.

  8. Growing up, my TV heroes were Sgt. Ron Harris (Barney Miller), Michael Evans (Good Times), Billie (Lou Grant), Raj (What’s Happening?), and John Boy (The Waltons). Why? They were all writers, and that’s what I wanted to be.

    Had someone explained Representation to me, I would have had to abandon everyone but John Boy. How could I, a white male, possibly identify with three black males and a white woman?

    And to this day, I can’t go by an Orange Julius without buying a drink. Why? Because when I was a kid, Luke Cage (a black superhero from Marvel) always ate at Orange Julius, and I wanted to be just like Luke.

    How naive I was. I should only watch and read white males, since clearly it’s impossible to identify with and understand a character who’s not exactly like me.

    1. I’m still occasionally stunned by the suggestion that I shouldn’t (or can’t) identify with/admire/aspire to the character of another human being because of differences irrelevant to the matter at hand. This naivete, this I hold to with both hands, and refresh as necessary.

      1. The irritating part when writing is the insistence by the PC crowd that a writer shouldn’t write characters who are too different from her, at least not as PoV characters, since she can’t possibly understand them well enough, while at the same time whining about the perceived scarcity of other than white characters (or sometimes, white male characters, by those people who perhaps mostly just watch TV and movies and presume novels are just like that too since that is somewhat true in Hollywood and television). (And btw, except when we are talking about some sort of victim porn, it seems that there may actually be more offenders when it comes to ‘just white characters’ among the PC observant classes – they use ‘of color’ characters when they want to send a message, but default to what they themselves most easily identify with when they try to tell just a fun story)

        So what the hell do they want? Right now most aspiring writers who give it a serious go seem to come from white middle class – upper middle class etc groups. Yes, maybe the PC ideal would be lots of writers from all backgrounds and all kinds of ethnic groups, but until that happens it’s going to be either or. Either majority of white characters or characters of color written by white writers (and I damn well hate that ‘of color’ designation, I think that kind of playing with words is basically rather damn stupid – that is the exact same thing as ‘colored’ just said a bit differently, and I don’t doubt it will became as tainted as ‘colored’ is seen now in the future, so then the PC crowd will have to figure out yet another way to say ‘not white’, in a never ending cycle – but since it is seems to be what is used now, okay then).

        So, at least decide, damn it. I will write what I want anyway, but would be kind of nice to know where you think I stand when I do something. 😉

        1. It’s like being caught by a downpour in the middle of a park with no pavilions or trees. You’re going to get wet.

          Their problem is that they think we should frantically try to avoid getting wet — that is, getting criticized by them — even when we deduce its impossibility.

        2. What the hell do they want? Simple; they want their own endless short stories and novels about upper-middle class white writers and their upper-middle class white angst to not have to compete with anything really interesting.

      2. Just before he went on his All Ender, All the Time! writing kick, Orson Scott Card wrote a novel called “Magic Street” that’s set in a middle class black community.

  9. Sigh, Sarah. You DO realize that some member of the Perpetually Outraged class is going to stumble upon this blog, skim your posting until they find something to take offense at, and start howling how you want to keep women out of SF, right? 😉

        1. It’s okay. After Kate glittered all over our seat (it really was a glittery outfit) we found that the sticky rollers remove it. And you know, we’re cat owners. Sticky rollers we have.

            1. Not really, but their hoo-hah disappears, and since that is the only part of themselves they recognize, it has the same effect.

      1. And here you are, a female PoC writer who’s just published a book built around a gay romance. Larry ought to put AFGM in Sad Puppies III and watch the internet melt down.

        (I pointed this out to someone on Twitter and got blocked for my trouble. Turns out I was speaking to the woman whom you caused to wish she could resign her gender.)

  10. The whole concept of making women more masculine and men more feminine is just weird to me. Especially when you care about women (what hetero male doesn’t?). It’s improbably difficult to convince the vileprog women that they aren’t, in fact, as strong as men, and to try to act out this fantasy of kicking ass like Kate Daniels will turn out badly for them. How does one convince another that genetics is really immutable? Women are prettier, men are bigger. Not 100% true across the board, but probably 98.763% true, globally, yes?

    1. Especially when you care about women (what hetero male doesn’t?).

      Oh, but you see, that’s not a feature, that’s a bug. If not an actual crime. And not just a thoughtcrime, but a real crime. You know, a ‘rapey rape’ crime.

    2. These are people who see GI Jane as prophetic, and not as wish fulfillment. I’m not looking forward to the eventual reality check.

    3. Heh. You’d assume that seeing those movie etc female heroes run down healthy young men who are wearing something like sneakers while the women are wearing high stiletto heels themselves might be bit of a hint that what they are seeing is perhaps some sort of fantasy thing instead of documentary, considering that most women probably are at least somewhat familiar with high heels… 😀 (one of my personal minor irritants – I love high heels, and yes, it is actually possible to run in most of those, including the stiletto heels, but are not going to be running very fast and besides there are plenty of cool looking shoes for women with more sensible designs so why do those female detectives etc almost always have to be wearing something like those ultrahigh stiletto ones)

  11. Been saying this for years, only nobody listens to me. Anyone who thinks that the “bad old days” were as bad as they make them out to be has managed to read history in a very blindered manner. Disbelieve? Take a look at the rates of interpersonal violence visited upon women, “back when”. Even the most criminal avoided the very idea of demonstrating violence upon random women, back in ye Olde West. Why? Because a.) there was no better way to get your neighbors riled up and forming a posse and/or vigilance committee to hang your stupid ass from the nearest tree, and b.) the women themselves did a pretty good job of enforcing such things. “Why, Clancy… You simply must do something about that nasty Mr. Smith… He’s been beating Emma, again…”.

    Anyone who thinks that violence is strictly a male “thing” hasn’t been paying attention to the world, or it’s history. Women have been behind it, committed it, and enabled it from the beginning of time. “With your shield, or on it…” ring any bells? Do you foolishly imagine that the Spartan women who were willing to sacrifice their sons and husbands in the serried ranks of the phalanx would be any less violent, if they’d had the outward trappings of power? If anything, women are far more violent in traditional societies, because they don’t have to take part in the actual slaughter. All they have to do is sit on the sidelines and do a little encouraging and blackmail, and work through proxies.

    Which I suspect is one reason they were kept from the traditional levers of power, and forced to work through others. It’s not really a good idea to leave the final decision about things such as warfare in the hands of people who aren’t actually forced to risk themselves on the cutting edge of inflicting it. Leads to bad, overly-bloody decisions being made, you see…

    Which is another oddity–Most of the truly committed pacifists I’ve known are professional military types. Which is totally at odds with the traditional mostly-leftist stereotype, but completely sensible once you connect “I’m the one who has to go do the killing and risk being killed myself” thing with the utter lack of desire to go to war.

    The idealist extremist urge to make war is often the province of those who don’t have to take the risk of actually doing it, which is why you hear so much of the “White Feather” thing from strictly female standpoints back in the Edwardian era. Men might have been contemptuous of the physically cowardly, back then, but they shrank from the viciousness that women demonstrated in “encouraging” the reluctant from participating in things like the Somme.

    It’s not too hard to put yourself in the situation of the coward, as a man. In fact, sometimes, you find yourself rather admiring the coward, because he has the moral courage to actually, y’know, actually demonstrate how he feels about the situation. It takes a lot of balls to be an open coward in society, just a different kind than the man who is physically courageous has.

    Quite often, that sort of thing is a massive fraud, anyway–You’re scared literally shitless (not meaning that you’ve evacuated your bowels in anticipation, but that you’re so frightened of what you’re doing that you’ve gone through to the other side, and quite literally could not unclench your bowels to save your life…) as you move yourself to the front, and the only reason you’re still there is fear of shame in front of your comrades. Believe me, if you went to war as an individual, and everything were kept perfectly private? You’d see a hell of a lot less of it. Shame is the great motivator, in combat, far more than bloodlust.

    And, whence comes most of that shame? Why, my dears, that’s straight from mommy and the girls… Why else do you think dying men cry out for their mommies? It’s not seeking comfort, directly–It’s more a “See, mommy… I did the right thing… I was brave. For you. And, oh God, but it hurts…”.

    The idiots (and they were idiots…) who thought out the theories behind feminism completely missed the mark with their ideas, and screwed up gender relations for generations to come. Not to mention, the bonds of trust that need to be in place for things to work properly across society. Women had more power as a group, working in the background and behind the scenes than they ever will as “one of the guys”…

    1. Women are more likely to kill male members of their families than men are to kill female.

      1. Something that can be justified, in some cases.

        What’s always struck me as really unjust is the manner in which mother-on-son child abuse is ignored and often sidelined. Friend of mine who was a social worker told me that she found that when women were abusing the kids, it was generally the boys who were the primary victims and who received the worst of it. She also told me that this was something that “everyone knew”, and yet, hasn’t made its way into the literature and/or formal training. Apparently, it’s something that a new social worker is left to discover for themselves, because it is so counter-intuitive…

        Personally, I really don’t have a problem with female-on-male violence, when it’s a case of the woman involved taking action in her own defense or that of her kids. As many of the women in my family have made a point of openly noting, you eventually have to sleep. There’s absolutely nothing saying you have to wake up, necessarily…

        Interestingly, there’s not a lot of interpersonal violence in my family. Well, among the adults, anyway–The kids are vicious, and the girls usually manage to hold their own, and then some. Most of the males are really cautious in adult life, because of this–We’ve learned the hard way that retribution may not be swift, but it is coming. Sevenfold. If she’s in a good mood, that is…

        1. Sometimes it can be justified the other way. Like the man who pushed his wife down the stairs because she was charging up it at him with a baseball bat. Or — tragically — the man who merely tried to fend off his wife lugging a butcher knife until he got out the door, leaving behind his nine-month-old son whom she then stabbed to death.

          1. I see you’re as cynical as I am about these issues. I no longer take anyone’s side automatically, when discussing domestic abuse cases. You have to learn all the facts, and then judge based off of the unique merits of each case–There is no “One size fits all…”.

            My favorite situation with regards to blowing people’s minds was a couple I knew who were locked into this outwardly depraved abuse/sadomasochistic relationship where what you looked at from the outside sure as hell appeared to be an abusive relationship, but was actually quite the opposite–And, the “victim” in this couple was a role they rotated. They both “got off” on moderate physical violence and cruelty towards each other, and somehow managed to keep things on a level that didn’t result in anyone getting really hurt, but still involved a bit of blood and bruising. Interestingly, they both thankfully acknowledged that they were way too ‘effed up to be raising kids together, but they made a decently matched couple otherwise. Well, complementary–I can’t even begin to imagine living like that.

            1. There are several very thoroughly done studies that come to the conclusion that, if classifying DV into “mutual”, “m->W” and “W->M”, that in roughly 50% of the “mutual” cases, the women started it, and that there were more cases of one-sided violence against men by women (roughly 55-60% of non-mutual cases IIRC). Heck – it was not difficult to find women who were proud of it, and knew they could get away with it because “guys don’t hit girls” (me – I don’t hit ladies….)

              This was for behavior that did not include necessarily “battery” , but definitely would constitute assault – threats, shouting, etc…

              The same studies noted that, barring the use of weapons, because of greater strength, that women were far more likely to be injured once it became “mutual”.

              Also – controlling for time spent, women were more likely to abuse their kids.As noted above – mostly boys.

              Finally – for DV patterns, I can’t remember the order of least to worst (IIRC gay men edged out traditional families, which edged out “step” families) but lesbian couples were the worst by a long shot.

              1. Also, women are far more likely to use a weapon and to make a “Surprise attack”. i.e dumping the pot of boiling water on the man on the sofa, or stabbing him with a knife.

                1. In a civilized group– basically, removing unmarried couples in subcultures where there is no expectation that people will be married if they’re going to be publicly recognized as having sex and kids, which is a large chunk of the DV caseload– surprise attacks are more common when there are unreported/nonpublic threats. (You can’t measure what’s not reported.)

                  In unsecure side…. “surprise attacks” make sure that they don’t leave you.
                  If you won’t have me, nobody will have you.

        2. Something that can be justified, in some cases.

          No, it can’t.

          Some cases of killing a family member can be justified.

          More males killing females than the other way can be explained the same way that more mothers kill minor kids than the other way around. (These days, may have to limit it to “young teens and under.”)

          1. I think he meant that in some cases killing a family member can be justified. And he was commenting on the fact that more women kill males than the other way around. Which I believe is more easily justified due to simple physical realities. (I don’t know if Kirk believes this or not, this is just my belief) Women as a general rule are physically smaller and weaker than men, this makes killing their partner more easily justified, because they cannot be expected to physically overpower their partner, therefore the only way they can reliably stop their partner is to kill them. If the man is attacking them, beating them, etc. and they grab a kitchen knife or a .380 and kill them, it is easily justifiable. If the man is not attacking them it becomes harder to justify, but still easily explained. Whereas a man may slap a woman around because he is made at her, he expects to be able to physically stop her if she to retaliate in kind. A woman on the other hand doesn’t expect to be able to physically stop the man if he attempts to retaliate, so the logical thing is stop him BEFORE he can retaliate, and killing him immediately, is very effective at stopping him before he can retaliate. Now to justify it though one needs to prove that the woman feared for her life, or her children’s lives and walking out the door (with her kids, if they would be in danger) either wasn’t an option, or wasn’t a safe option for her or her kids, because he would either use one as hostages, or she had good reason to fear he would come after them in order to harm/kill them.

            I actually believe there are cases where she is perfectly justified in walking up to him laying on the couch and blowing his brains out for things he has done in the past, but this is generally illegal, regardless of my beliefs, and needs to be judged on a case by case basis.

            1. Much agreed.

              I’m still not sure why my cousin’s bio-father is alive. After dinner with my aunt’s folks celebrating that she was pregnant, they left…and her parents heard a noise, which turned out to be him beating her head against the bumper of the pickup. Not an unusual occurrence in their relationship, although it’s the first the she hadn’t managed to hide it because, of course, it was All Her Fault. Last time he was with her and she didn’t have a weapon and the assurance that she should use it. REALLY drove home the whole idea that emotion abuse is quite real– and a way to precondition for physical abuse.

            2. Actually the reason women predominate is that they are killing their sons, not their husband. In which case the physical arguments are reversed, because children are physically smaller and weaker than women.

            3. “they cannot be expected to physically overpower their partner, ”

              I add that men are not allowed to physically overpower their partner — that’s wife-beating.

              And having overpowered her, what is he supposed to do? Sit on her until she regains sanity?

    2. “And, whence comes most of that shame? Why, my dears, that’s straight from mommy and the girls… ”

      Like the nubile beauties who distributed white feathers in WW I …

  12. my mom’s favorite trick when she’d blown money on something dad would disapprove of, like a new piece of furniture, was to put it in an inconspicuous place for months, before moving it to its intended location. Then, when he noticed it, she said “Oh, that? We’ve had that for months.”

    That very thing was used in an episode of I Love Lucy (amazing the things that will stick with you over the years), only it was some new clothes and weeks rather than months.

    OTOH, I’ve been known to use the same tactic in reverse so it works both ways.

    1. I remember a simular episode where she over-spent and bought five new dresses. Then when Ricky complained about the cost, she immediately gave in and returned four of them. LOL.

    2. My grandmother kept a red pen in the car and would mark down everything she bought that needed to be used immediately. For other things, like a nice dress or pants, she’d hide them in the back of the closet and when he asked if it was new she’d say “Oh, this? I’ve had this for ages.”

      1. When I was in high-end retail sales, I knew a woman who did this … write through the tag with the red felt-tip, and brag to the hubby that she had so scored it on sale … I think this was the same woman who would keep it in the trunk of her car until she could say – “Oh, this?- I’ve had it simply forever.” That particular job was … interesting.

        1. When my grandfather died, we found out that my grandmother had hidden money everywhere. Like, thousands of dollars in envelopes in every drawer, under the paper linings, in cabinets. Because she knew if she didn’t, he’d drink all their money away. Their relationship was…interesting.

          1. Sigh. My maternal grandmother. Then she got early onset Alzheimers. They couldn’t find it. She tried to tell mom where it was, but it didn’t work. The house was a rental. It was a nightmare.

            1. I’m sure we sold some of the furniture before we found it all. She died of cancer and didn’t tell anybody what she was doing. We were just lucky that my 12 year old self needed a new dresser.

              My husband’s grandmother…I’m just glad we’re inheriting the house. I can’t even imagine what it would be like if it was a rental.

              1. *shudders in terror*

                Thank you for validating my notion:


                Then put THAT somewhere safe.

                I live in terror of dying because of some idiot in a totaled car and my husband not being able to find any of our accounts.

                1. I just did something similar last weekend. Created a document telling my husband what to do if I’m killed or hospitalized. Gave him a printout and also saved it in My Documents on my computer. It included my Last Pass master password and where to look in my hard drives for copies of the bank account e-statements. Tax time seems like a good time to update such things.

            2. My great grandmother. In the freezer was all of the milk money she had gotten from selling the extra milk, with receipts from clear back when my grandmother was a kid. (they didn’t have a freezer then, so who knows where it was stored for years) We found other money wrapped in freezer paper and labeled as turkey legs, etc. Not sure who found the first of it, but then we had to go through and unwrap every package in the freezer to make sure it was food.

              1. While my mother was not like that, she DID take care of the household finances. My dad kept a portion of his paycheck for his own personal expenses, and she handled everything else, but she kept it in the bank.

                Dad was the one who hid money all over the place. I really don’t think we’ve found it all, and am not sure we ever will.

                1. My hubby and I split the job of handling bills. I take care of keeping track of what the house needs, he has the bills debited from a specific account. I’m not fantastic at math and worrying about the bills left and right stresses me out more than he’d like me to be.

                  I’m the one who tends to hide money away; and there was a time when I’d tuck a bill into a book because I meant to set it aside for a specific thing, and then I’d forget. It’s a habit picked up from my parents when we were younger; so sometimes we’d find 20 francs to 100 francs tucked into novels. And laugh.

  13. Favorite female characters? Hmmm. St. Catherine of Sienna comes to mind, as does St. Scholastica. But they were both very atypical for their times. Molly Goodnight is one, she of the bottle-fed buffalo. Electress Anna of Saxony (1532-1585) is another. She was nobility, raised a brood of children, was an herbwife who wrote a pretty major (for the time and region) book on herbal medicines, and corresponded with lots of people.

    1. I was so beffudled I didn’t remember the Bread Maker of Aljubarrota (no name preserved) — as the Spanish laid siege on the town and they had very little flour left, she went in with helpers, started baking bread. Spaniards came, attracted by the smell of bread. She hit them on the head with the oven shovel, and helpers pulled them out the backway. She killed hundreds, and the siege lifted.
      And if that’s not a “female way of fighting” I don’t know what is. Reminds me Judith with the tent stake.

      1. You know, it was strange. None of the religious instruction folks I can recall from childhood or my teen age years ever taught much about Judith (“the original happy camper” as an irreverent friend of mine put it as we were pounding stakes for our tent on a youth trip) or Deborah (“I’ll go if you insist, but I’ll get the credit.”) Can’t imagine why not . . . 😉

        1. Jael the foreigner chick was the tentpegger. Judith was sword, maid, head, bag, and the inspiration for Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan’s shopping trip (plus a lot of Renaissance paintings).

          A lot of otherwise religious people are really, really uncomfortable with the military side of Israel and salvation history. A lot of the uncomfy psalms disappeared from the Liturgy of the Hours after Vatican II, and even C.S. Lewis has a bit where he writes about not liking those psalms. So Israelite women participating makes things twice as uncomfy. Feminism did help bring some of these female Biblical figures out, but it also seems to have discouraged a lot of men’s devotion to them. (Or at least driven it underground.)

              1. I come at it from a _very_ different viewpoint. I’m a “protector,” and have been for the vast majority of my life. I learned a sad lesson when quite young. Sometimes the *only* way to fix a problem, is to “Nuke ’em from orbit, with the whole magazine.”
                Back when I was in College for the second time, there was a “Dean of Students” that was a very slow learner. I worked with the Handicapped Students Association organization, as an adviser, and end user. I needed some help (it was supposed to be done, but he didn’t want to), and was talking to the head of HSA. I said to the HSA head, who was talking to the DoS. “When I leave here, I’m headed to the office of the Dean of Campus.” When the DoS heard that, he “found the help. He knew I was dead serious. Had we been on the main Purdue campus, it would have been the College Pres.’s office.
                On more than one occasion, i have contacted the President/CEO of a company, with a complaint. Always after the “local” refused to do anything. To paraphrase the wife of man I knew through a newsgroup. She told us, after his death, about a problem she had with a car dealer. “Bob is on his way down there, to fix this problem. You won’t like it is he comes down there as Robert. Bob, is a nice man. Robert, is not nice.”
                Sometimes, the “choice” is between being “nice,” and “getting the job done.” I’ll try being nice, but I *will* get the job done.

              1. I think I feel a blog post coming on about the “softening” and foolishness going on with Protestant hymns. One thing about being a semi-pro musician, you get exposed to a lot of hymnals, and some pathologically-fascinating tap-dancing about “oh, we changed it/removed it/ ‘updated’ the lyrics because . . .” when you inquire about the missing/edited hymn.

                1. Pratchett’s “Carpe Jugulum” has a nice bit about more modern, less aggressive hymns versus the old fire and brimstone types. The visiting Omnian preacher is well aware of the fact that all of the old type (that his mother used to sing) are no longer used. But considering he’s going up against vampires, he finds singing them to be a lot more of a morale boost than the newer ones.

                2. There is also the “gender-neutraling” of those hymns. As if God prefers to be referred to in Elmo speech.

                  On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 3:43 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                  > TXRed commented: “I think I feel a blog post coming on about the > “softening” and foolishness going on with Protestant hymns. One thing about > being a semi-pro musician, you get exposed to a lot of hymnals, and some > pathologically-fascinating tap-dancing about “oh, we change” >

                3. Do you know the modern hymn “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend? There was a kerfluffle recently where a denomination (and it was a couple months ago, so I don’t remember which one now) wanted to add it to their hymn book, but only after removing the part about “The wrath of God, was satisfied”. They didn’t want to mention “wrath”.
                  The writers refused to licence it if the wording was changed.

                  1. Good for them!

                    (I get really *really* ranty annoyed at our church for changing words of hymns *without attribution*.)

                    On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 4:30 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                    > Rachel commented: “Do you know the modern hymn “In Christ Alone” by > Keith Getty and Stuart Townend? There was a kerfluffle recently where a > denomination (and it was a couple months ago, so I don’t remember which one > now) wanted to add it to their hymn book, but only after ” >

                    1. A couple Sundays ago, our church sang “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, which has a line near the end, “Were the whole realm of nature mine / That were an off’ring far too small.” The projected lyrics, though, were “That were a present far too small.” My friend who was sitting next to me later commented on this and said, “Why would you do that?!?” I mean, there’s a reason (even if I think it’s a bad one) people change the language of some hymns to be more gender-neutral. But why would you need to change “offering” to “present”, and thereby weaken the meaning of the line?

                      My friend, by the way, ignored the projected lyrics and sang “off’ring” when we got to that line, just like I did. 🙂

                    2. Well, yes, you change the lyrics from what I memorized at your own peril. :-p

                      On Thu, May 1, 2014 at 1:56 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                      > Robin Munn commented: “A couple Sundays ago, our church sang “When I > Survey the Wondrous Cross”, which has a line near the end, “Were the whole > realm of nature mine / That were an off’ring far too small.” The projected > lyrics, though, were “That were a present far too small.” M” > Respond to this comment by replying above this line > New comment on *According To Hoyt * > > > > *Robin Munn* commentedon What > a Mess of Pottage. > > > in response to *Jasini*: > > Good for them! (I get really *really* ranty annoyed at our church for > changing words of hymns *without attribution*.) On Wed, Apr 30, 2014

                    1. They changed the hymnal in the 70s or 80s… and many of Luther’s hymns were taken out. I miss those. 😉 and no, I am not a believer anymore either —

                  1. Try Keith and Kristyn Getty. Theirs are pretty good. So are Stuart Townend’s. But the old ones are still have some amazing words and music, too.

            1. When I’m good, I’m good; when I’m bad, I’m better. Sounds like a quote, or something.

          1. Thanks for catching my error. I’m drawing from a long-faded memory, while trying to change the water every 15 minutes or so. The old sprinkler system at Redquarters gave up the ghost, and the Red Parents are out of town, so I’ve been a “wee bit” scattered this AM and early PM, going from computer to yard to computer and back. And then there’s the attack rose that broke free from its trellis yesterday and took up a “None Shall Pass!” stance . . .

          2. Devorah’s Song is some of the most stirring poetry in the Bible not written by that fellow David.

            (As usual, the guy just kept writing and writing till there was no more room for women’s voices. #Patriarchy)

  14. It does occur to me that the (Catholic) church is a great example of how women have no official power but still run pretty much the whole thing. I mean yes there’s the pope and the parish priest and they are always male but the person who really puts the fear of God in you is Mother Superior. And at a more mundane level in every church I’ve ever been in long enough to observe properly has been run on a day to day level by the women of the church, be it a collection of Orthodox babushkas, the lady of the English manor and her WI committee or something in between (and AFAICT the same thing applies in Shinto & Buddhist Japan).

    I’ll also note that a number of such people are precisely the ones who object to women priests and while I know there are many wonderful lady vicars, I’ve also heard all sorts of horror stories about how the new woman priest has managed to put the backs up of these church stalwarts and turned the parish into a war zone

    1. Who has more actual power over the world? The priest or preacher up on the pulpit, or the woman who actually put her husband and kids into their good clothes, and dragged them to church in the first place?

      Most of society is a function of the women wanting it. If they didn’t make it happen, the men would gratefully let it slide. Which is why a lot of the things we consider as consisting of traditional society have been going by the wayside–As more and more women have given up the role of social goad, men are doing whatever the hell they want to, and things like churches and other such institutions are dying out. And, right along with them, the traditional male “escapes”, such as fraternal societies and so forth that enabled them to get the hell away from the wife and kids often enough to keep wanting them…

      I’m openly contemptuous of those social theorists and innovators who thought they were changing things for the better over the last few generations, and mostly because the felching idiots didn’t understand the how and why of the societies they changed. And, mostly changed for the worse…

    2. I’m a Presbyterian. This past Sunday was a big day for the Presbyterian Women.

      A comment was made during the service that Presbyterian ministers, while they attend seminary, are told that the one inviolable rule not found in the Bible is, “Don’t mess with the Women.”

      It’s really, really solid advice regardless of denomination. 😀

      1. And Presbyterians – he says, having been raised one – are pikers compared to Baptists. Or Missouri Synod, for that matter.

        1. Well, we’re the Frozen Chosen, so I’m not surprised about Baptists. Was actually raised Missouri Synod, actually, so I already knew that one. 🙂

          1. *huge grin* I was once told to avoid the Missouri Synod Lutherans in the next town because “those Missouri Synod Lutherans are fast.” He was Dutch Reformed, IIRC.

        1. But *Mooommm*, I’m not ready yet . . .

          On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 10:52 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

          > Foxfier commented: “Jesus’ first miracle was because His mom said so. > Nuff said.” >

          1. My Favorite Priest Evar spent an entire Youth Group evening side tracked into explaining what the heck that meant in context– closest we got to a decent religious education, outside of watching X-Files with him. (Why they usually had teens coloring pictures and makign felt banners, I don’t know.)

            1. Ooh, I’d like to hear that explanation, if you remember it. I’ve heard a few people explain that line, but not that many. If you don’t feel like posting it as a comment, please feel free to email me at (first name) dot (last name) at gmail.

              1. Sadly, I remember it was mostly just trying to get it across to teenage boys that it was NOT the same as the modern “Woman!” thing (ie, rude attempt to degrade), and that it was more of a formal respect thing– “my dear lady.”

                The idea of cultural differences, with lots of examples, can take a while.

                1. I was hoping more for an explanation of the “What is it to do with me? My time has not yet come” line (followed by his doing it anyway!), because I already got that he was addressing her respectfully. But yeah, I can see how for a modern teenager, the “Woman” part would be the part requiring the most time spent on explaining it.

    3. iirc, one of the reasons why the Orthodox churches used icons (which was one of those things that generated theological arguments over the centuries) was because the women liked them.

  15. Don’t throw away the gift for the wrapper. Be a woman, not a man manqué.

    These days, we can apply the admonishment to both (agghk! binary!!) genders. The results of boys and men molding themselves in the image held forth by some women is distressing.

    Oh! Never mind. Women are still powerless in the modern patriarchy.


  16. I was pleased to see Granny Weatherwax mentioned. She is my favorite crone, just as Nanny Ogg is my favorite matron.

  17. I don’t want to hear any frigging nonsense about gender being a social construction. Some gender behaviors are, but gender itself isn’t.

    I’ve been thinking about this whole “gender is a social construct” thing. If it is, indeed, a social construct, then why is it that we’re expected to accept their gender constructs rather than the ones we have been living with just fine?

    Now, I don’t actually buy that it’s a social construct, but that’s their argument. Why aren’t we turning it around on them and asking them to justify changing our social constructs. When they argue that genders exist that aren’t male or female, we simply ask them if that is biology or a social construct. After all, if gender is a social construct, how are they improperly assigned?

    Honestly, I suspect others can take this and do more with it, but thought I’d throw it out there.

    1. If gender is a social construct, then it’s one that’s developed over millenia of trial and error. It’s a social construct that works for the vast majority of people in society. Sure, you can tinker around at the edges, give people some flexibility, but only a little.

    2. Because the well-being of a tiny fraction of humanity, who are discontent and blame those constructs for it, is more important than the welfare of the rest of us, which you are free to endanger by throwing out things that have been found in literally every human society, even in the absence of evidence that it would do that tiny fraction any good.

      1. I wish you were simply being facetious, but you’re not. You’re actually telling me what they think, and that’s the most depressing thing of all.

      2. Exactly. They believe they are doing good, and they can perceive no potential harm. And because they perceive no potential harm, and their consciences are perfectly clear (we’re doing good!), there’s no brakes on their enthusiasm and no limit on what they can do to people who oppose them – who may perceive a potential harm. Those who stand in the way are just hate-filled haters who hate. And the track record of this kind of thing actually helping is insignificant next to the need to do something and more importantly feel that they are on the side of truth and righteousness.

      3. Only Real Person syndrome.

        Also seen in cars.

        And I don’t just mean in the “Everyone driving faster than I am is a maniac, everyone driving slower is a moron” way.

      4. EXACTLY! Every would-be elite in history has wanted to make people behave differently than they do, and every would-be elite in history has come up with reasons that this should happen that are pretty much bullshit. Divine Right Of Kings, Social Darwinism, Gender Is A Social Construct. They ALL smell of sewage and corruption.

    3. I wish we had a similar concept to environmental impact statements, but for culture and law-related changes to the status quo.

      “Okay, you want to make this change to the law and customs. Fine. What are the ramifications, and where will it impact everything else?”.

      Call it a cultural impact statement, and make the idiots who want the change actually think through the likely effects their “fixes” will have. Oh, you want to move women into the general job market? Great–How will the increase in workforce numbers change things? How will not having a parent at home raising the kids impact culture? What effect will opening up the general job market have on the traditionally female jobs, like teaching?

      One reason we’re in the shitty situation we’re in today is because of the unforeseen effects that these changes had. Just one of them, the effect of drastically reduced quality of teachers, is that there are more opportunities open to women in the general job market. Women who would never have passed muster, back when my grandmother and great aunt were teaching, are now routinely becoming teachers. It’s no accident that the quality of education has gone down, now that the upper echelons of female intellect are no longer being limited to primary education.

      Which is not to say that I’m making a value judgment on any of this–It’s simply that nobody thought through the implications of the changes, and they should have done so, before we made the changes effective across the nation and the generations. When we liberalized the job markets to allow women more access to “traditional male roles”, we should have acknowledged that we were necessarily going to be making massive changes to the “traditional female job market” at the same time, and thoughtfully put some consideration into keeping the positive effects of the “old ways of doing things” going–Like, perhaps made teaching a more prestigious occupation that paid better, and quit relying on the fact that women weren’t allowed to work elsewhere to keep the quality up in the work force.

      Frankly, I think we should exercise a hell of a lot more caution in making these changes. Things like making narcotics illegal ought to be experimented with, carefully, and then appraised with equal care once they’re put into effect. And, when we make changes in the opposite direction, like legalizing marijuana (again…), we need to think through the implications carefully while making compensatory rules and laws governing the whole thing we’re proposing. Thanks to the lack of foresight accompanying the whole legalization idiocy, there is going to be a raft of lawsuits, and accompanying BS to figure out the whole “How will we administer this whole thing…?” question. Not to mention, the time it will take. Just the civil administration crap that goes along with the banking issue is going to be a huge issue, and one that the legalization people should have been made to work out before putting the idea up for passage.

      1. They’ll make a statement about all its wonderful wonderfulness, and when it issues in nightmare, they will blame us for obstruction.

      2. The same should apply when making laws. The consequences of the criminilization of and zeal to pursue substance use and sale has left some significant complications in its wake. As have any number of legal efforts to direct social behavior.

        I don’t disagree with you, impacts should be studied and consequences understood. From both sides of the question.

        1. Apologies, I re-read and what I read as “making narcotics legal” you actually wrote as “making narcotics illegal” so you already addressed my comment. I humbly withdraw.

      3. As much as I agree with you, the track record for environmental impact statements really doesn’t back you up. Of course basing the statements in reality and then using common sense and actual, you know, facts, to extrapolate from would no doubt help.

  18. “There was the humor panel at 9 am on a Sunday”

    Someone in Programming needs schooling. My experience is [a] never EVER schedule someone onto an early panel without asking them first and making sure they’re OK with the time; and [b] never EVER hold a panel before 10 am without having coffee and carbs handy for everyone. (And 10 am is pushing it.)

    Just don’t.

    1. A) 9 am is early? you’ve already wasted half the day.

      B) Never EVER not have coffee handy, regardless of the time.

  19. I think my favorite feminine Bible character is Caleb’s daughter, Achsah. Though I’ve always had a sneaking admiration for Judah’s daughter-in-law Tamar (not to be confused with David’s daughter, Tamar).

  20. These women, all of them “feminists” were in fact enamored of the idea that to be powerful women must be men.

    And so we’re back to “Men with breasts” again. Despite the fact that my weight, combined with a congenital deformity of the breastbone gives me more cleavage than some women I know, that visual is still painful.

  21. Bravo, Sarah! Well said, Ma’am! I’m going to link to this on my blog tonight, and drive my readers over here (with a pitchfork, if necessary) to read your words. Would that more people were so honest with the glittery hoo-ha crowd!

    I’m reminded of a long blog exchange about men, women, relationships and society that I had with Labrat of the Atomic Nerds a couple of years ago. Being from Africa, and having seen a great deal of how women were treated in a patriarchal tribal environment, I put forward the perspective that they had a great deal more actual power than was ever acknowledged by anthropologists and sociologists. She found this eye-opening from her perspective, and we had a very mutual respectful dialog about it. It makes interesting reading if you want to spend an hour going through it. In order, the exchange went like this:

    1. http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2011/03/men-being-men-good-idea.html

    2. http://www.atomicnerds.com/?p=4492

    3. http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2011/03/on-manliness-response-part-1-of-2.html

    4. http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2011/03/on-manliness-response-part-2-of-2.html

    5. http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2011/03/manhood-in-relationships-what-does-it.html

    6. http://www.atomicnerds.com/?p=4513

    7. http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2011/03/labrat-responds-to-my-response.html

  22. Very true.
    I’ve (albeit temporarily) shocked a militant feminist into silence by noting that the Tidewater South is one of the most matriarchal societies there is.
    Of course, the squawk of indignation that followed was all the louder because of it.

    I have three daughters. Tell me gender is a social construct, and I’ll laugh in your face.

      1. Enthusiastically seconded!

        That mere mention of her name causes such consternation in a certain set in the dear old isles is a bonus, of course.

    1. Doesn’t matter. Maggie Thatcher wasn’t a woman. I was told so by a (Vile Prog, feminist, apparently female) newspaper editor, back in the day. Lamia locuta est, causa finita.

      1. She wasn’t? Do her children know this?

        My Latin is extremely weak (okay, nonexistent) translation, please? I’m getting something about final cause…

        1. “Lamia has spoken, the case is closed.”

          A take-off on the famous line “Roma locuta est, causa finita est” — Rome has spoken, the case is closed — attributed to Augustine, although an actual paraphrase of what he said.

          1. Ah. Not even close. I wasn’t required to take a foreign language, let alone Latin.

            Thank you. 🙂

  23. “We’ll also gloss over the audience member who thought she was being so thoughtful… in telling us that Robert A. Heinlein couldn’t write women.”

    Well neither could Asimov, and many others.
    Asimov couldn’t do teenagers either.

    1. Personally I think Heinlein could write women just fine. Not ordinary women, but who wants to read ordinary people?
      As for Asimov — he couldn’t do humans.

        1. Well, considering his career as a fiction author, if that’s “not writing”, I’d like a dose of it. [Wink]

          I’ll admit that I reread _Second Foundation_ and decided that “The Second Foundation Must Be Destroyed”. [Sad Smile]

      1. Now that you mention it, Asimov came closest to portraying humans when he stuck to neurotic academics. No coincidence there, I’m thinking.

        1. Indeed.
          BTW, thank you – though you’ve been around here long enough you can call me Sarah — for calling me MRS. Hoyt. Ms. Hoyt is like a neuter form, and feels odd.

  24. Women were in fact supposed to manage money, manage kids and manage men.

    Funny, except for where it’s banned by law my husband is very vocal about this being the case in our household. (I’m not allowed to make doctor appointments for him until he’s established there.) Possibly in part because he’s TERRIBLE about telling me when he’s going to have something going on, and my memory is bad enough that I write everything on the calender on the wall.

    1. I’m not allowed to make doctor appointments for him until he’s established there.

      Geez, I’m glad that’s not the case here. If my wife had to make the first appointment, it might never happen.

      1. Wouldn’t be so bad if military legal wasn’t so bad about actually being in the office any time my husband has gone in for a power of attorney.

  25. This resonated so much for me. One thing I’ve *never* understood is why when “feminists” talk about a family in which the wife is at home, taking care of the family and the household, and the husband is out working, they always assume that the *wife* is the oppressed one. I always looked at it more as that the women were shooing the men out to make money so that they could do the all-important work of creating home and family.

    My perception growing up was always that women had a lot more power then men, because that was what I saw. (This was in the fifties, in the Midwest.) So I always had some cognitive dissonance when listening to feminist rhetoric. I’m sure there were probably families that resembled what they were talking about. I just didn’t know any…

    1. I think where the problem lies is that the women who talk down the role of housewife have never properly performed that role, and have no idea what the hell it entails in terms of effort and thought. Or, how much more effective the out-the-door-to-work partner can be, with all the housekeeping issues being properly taken care of by someone who can concentrate on them.

      Then, there’s the idiocy on the part of the “out-in-the-world” partner, who has no ‘effing clue what goes into them having their dinner being ready and a clean house at the end of the workday.

      Properly done, I don’t think there’s any way that a household with small children can be run on a part-time basis more efficiently than with a dedicated, full-time homemaker. Certainly not until the kids are out of the house and going to school full-time.

      If I ever heard some idiot denigrating what their stay-at-home wife did while I was in the military, I usually had harsh words for them. Most of those idiots were able to live lives of comparative leisure, when you contrasted their lifestyle to someone who was living as a bachelor. I could only dream of having someone who had done the shopping, the cooking, the laundry, and all the other life-support tasks that they apparently assumed happened by sheer magic while they were at work. Meanwhile, I’d be doing the same job they were, and having to do all the life-support crap they assumed just happened by itself. Believe me, after a bit, you notice the differences…

      I had one guy I worked with I wanted to just reach out and slap the ever-loving shit out of, listening to him talk about it. He had no clue how many of the things he was able to do at work stemmed from his wife essentially handing him the tools to do it with. Some military couples really are both full-time employees of the service they belong to, even if only one of them has a contract with the government. Catch is, there aren’t too many of those, especially these days.

      1. Been there, done that – only in my case, it was as a single parent, and the two happily married senior sergeants with wives who looked after the home front and the children who were piously telling me that I really had to get into community involvement for the good of my performance ratings. They really had no idea of how much work their wives did, and practically no appreciation for the fact that I was doing double-duty; 12-hour workdays, with a few brief hours and weekends trying to keep my house and daughter in order. Yeah, and on top of that, to make my APR look good I should … volunteer for something. The ironic part was that I was a Girl Scout troop leader for about two years (taking my lunch hour and breaks to run over to the Scout Hut to manage the girls) until I had to give it up because of the work involved in the ramp-up to the first Gulf War.
        They were nice guys, really, and I otherwise respected them, but at that moment I really wanted to beat both of them senseless.

          1. Well if you stayed in the house and wrote for a month you wouldn’t need clothes, so laundry wouldn’t be a problem. (for you) Although you might give the pizza delivery guy an eyeful. And at the end of the month, when you cleaned all the pizza boxes out of the living room you could have a heck of a bonfire. 😉

              1. Lo-carb pizza? Just the toppings?

                On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 11:34 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                > accordingtohoyt commented: “my sons and husband would die. SERIOUSLY. > And I can’t eat pizza.” >

                1. Just the toppings?

                  Had my daughter’s birthday party at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet (and game arcade). I think they hate me because that’s _exactly_ what I do–get the pizza, scrape off the toppings to eat, then toss the crust (or save some of it as a treat for the dogs).

                  1. That’s one way to make your pizza low-carb! 🙂

                    Also, if the pizza buffet and game arcade is the one I think it is, that’s a valiant attempt at making the pizza edible… but I feat it’s doomed to failure regardless.

        1. Speaking as a single guy who never had kids while in the service, I’d have happily held them down for you to pummel, had I been around to hear that drivel. I used to get aggravated as hell hearing that crap when all I had to do was take care of myself–It was like, hey, just when the hell do you think I do my damn laundry? Yeah, that’s right–While you’re doing your volunteer gig down at the Youth Center.

          I got to watch one of these types crash and burn about 1998-ish. His in-laws got into a nasty car accident back east, and his wife that had been playing Suzy Homemaker effortlessly had to go back and care for them for several months on very short notice. There were three kids, all pre-teen down to toddler.

          I’d often heard this gentleman trash-talking what his wife did all day while he was at work. First week she was gone, he went from semi-OK to a near wreck. By week three, he was a total wreck, and it was only the intercession of the other wives in the unit that saved his ass from a total nervous breakdown. When his wife finally came home after about three months of taking care of her parents (which couldn’t have been easy), he was singing a totally different tune than he had before.

          I think the funniest thing about the whole deal was me running into him over at the commissary, where he was in a state of complete befuddlement with the three kids, trying to shop for the month, and just before closing time. The panic-stricken look in his eye, as he asked me about stuff to buy for cooking dinner for the kids was priceless. His comment about his wife somehow managing to feed five on six hundred a month when his food expenses were six hundred dollars in one week was also particularly telling. Pizza every night gets pricey, I guess.

          After the whole thing was over, he was able to laugh at it, and referred to the episode as “housewife appreciation training”. Notably, he did not talk one bit of trash about what his wife “…did all day at home…” any longer.

      2. I think where the problem lies is that the women who talk down the role of housewife have never properly performed that role, and have no idea what the hell it entails in terms of effort and thought. Or, how much more effective the out-the-door-to-work partner can be, with all the housekeeping issues being properly taken care of by someone who can concentrate on them.

        *looks at laptop* I’m working on it! For a guest post!

        Really, I’ll eventually get at least ONE of them done…..

      3. Part of it is the Marxist line that women must be involved in “productive” labor — technical term there. As witness discussions in the Soviet Union about how socialist cities do not need to be as large as capitalist ones for the same amount of industry, because both men and women would be working in the socialist ones.

    2. “Whenever women have insisted on absolute equality with men, they have invariably wound up with the dirty end of the stick. What they are and what they can do makes them superior to men, and their proper tactic is to demand special privileges, all the traffic will bear. They should never settle merely for equality. For women, “equality” is a disaster.” – Robert A. Heinlein

      1. *random thought*

        Scary thing is, this isn’t a bad thing against either.

        Good men WANT to do what will make good women happy.

        If the women they’re told are good say, you must treat us as equals…. they they will treat them as equals. In the male metric. Which, obviously, females do not fit.

        1. ” ‘Equality’ is for ugly losers.” –Robert Stacy McCain
          The man can compete with VD when it comes to abrasive and “so sharp he cuts himself” (as Our Beloved Hostess put it once), but I think he was spot on there.

  26. My favorite “crone” is the old woman in Remnant Population (Elizabeth Moon?). So I guess I actually do know the answer to that question and I really really loved that character, too.

  27. The problem with stupid questions like “who’s your favorite crone?” is that I immediately blank on remembering any character’s sex. Or age. Or melanin content. Or whatever else the identifying characteristic is.

    So favorite crone. I know she’s a villain, but she’s such a great villain – Issus, from The Gods of Mars.

      1. Yes you suddenly get confused, or yes Issus is a fantastic sf/f crone?

        Actually, this happens to me with entirely innocuous questions too. I was on a podcast and they asked me who my favorite character was in the LotR and all of a sudden I didn’t know anymore.

    1. Can’t remember the context, but at one point my geek group got wound up about “minority” and such.

      At some point, someone pointed out that out of twenty-some people, only three were white males, and one of those was an observant Jew.

      None of us– including me, one of the “minorities” as a girl– had thought of it that way.

      1. I’ve yet to figure out how women, at 52% of the population, have managed to convince us they are a minority.

      2. During my undergrad years, the one Orthodox Jewish student was told that she wouldn’t understand what it was like to be a minority, especially not an oppressed minority. She was pretty amused, and a bit ticked.

        1. I…

          I think I’m a little uncomfortable with how insular the accuser must have been to let such a statement out into the world. Wow.

  28. My favorite historical woman is Sheherazade. Through telling many good tales and keeping her audience hooked, she secured safety for herself and stopped the slaughter of other women in the kingdom.

    In Thailand, traditionally it was the women who ran the businesses because “men had no heads for figures”.

    1. In my family, it was my mother who kept the family accounts – very strictly, IIRC. She did the bookkeeping,did all the shopping – for groceries and practically everything else – and told my father, yes or no when he asked, if they could truly afford this or that. Dad wasn’t truly economically clueless – it’s just that Mom had her finger on the pulse of our particular family economic. I had read somewhere ages ago, that in about %95 of American families, this is the practice. No matter who earns – wife manages.

      1. There’s a one-woman play called “Bist du sischer, Martinus?” “Are you sure, Martin” that’s a monologue by Katerina von Bora, about running the school and household, and trying to stretch one chicken to feed ten men, plus the rest of the family. It’s taken from letters and writings by Luther, Melanchthon, and others, and you really get the point that Luther thought, talked, and taught, while Katerina ran the place.

      2. I don’t know about the percentage, but that is the way the family I was raised in was managed.

      3. *looks pained*

        Who are you going to send out to buy bacon, someone who goes “I want bacon” or someone who goes “well, this store has it for a third of the price, that store has a coupon, this other store has an inherent 1% discount converted to gas, and I have a coupon for that store, or this third one has a sale on bacon for a third of the price ever month or two and then I buy three months’ worth”?

        I spent most of Easter trying to explain to my mom that part of why I keep refusing to let her buy things for us is that the ground beef they give us is worth about $4 a pound, if we assume I hit a really good sale and ignore the quality issues.

        I don’t want to think about what certified natural grass fed black angus steaks go for.

        I finally stopped asking my husband to come shopping for his work clothes, because he just wants it to be DONE– if I do it, I get a good price on acceptable colors in no-press styles.

        It helps that I have an idea of what is in the freezer.

          1. It’s really a function of who does what, I think, since he’ll spend a month comparing tech components and paint that I can’t see a difference in. Don’t get me started on vehicles, where I’m in the “four wheels, moves” category.

            Still, specialization is– heresy warning!– of use outside of insects. Just need to make it a focus instead of exclusive.

            1. Still, specialization is– heresy warning!– of use outside of insects. Just need to make it a focus instead of exclusive.

              I’m going to have to respond to this, because, even though I’m sure you understand the quote you were disagreeing with, I see far too many who don’t:

              That quote from Heinlein was not intended to apply to people’s careers, nor their place in the functionality of the home. It was meant as a gross survival characteristic, to wit, that a person who finds himself struck by adversity should be able to jump up and punch adversity in the eye, despite whatever form it takes.

              1. In my Macro Econ class at the University, my professor pointed out that while the common Utah practice of growing a garden (and the ideal of having one big enough to live on) was not an optimized output – it broke with comparative advantage – it made an excellent hedge against adversity and disaster. Essentially, it’s insurance. The same can be applied to other skill development. Heck, several things I do for a living now started out as hobbies.

  29. You’re SOOO right, Sarah. Here’s the trick: women can scream at men and use sex on men as a whip until men start getting out of their 20’s. After that (at least in my case), sex is awesome, but I now have other interests as well. Maybe it’s later for other men, but I have kids, and if I don’t have sex available, I can always find something else to do. I’m a very good provider, and I’m getting to the age where I’d rather be alone than have a hot woman around who never has anything nice to say about me. Go ahead and withhold your approval. My cars and guns never do. I lived for a couple of years as a missionary, and I’ve been in two branches of the military over the course of a decade and a half, so I know how to cook and clean.
    I’ll walk through fire to get the approval of a woman I admire. But if a woman thinks she can use withholding of sex, withholding of approval, or berating me to control me, she’ll find out quickly that I can be perfectly happy by myself living in a burned-out motorhome in the middle of the desert. If I get restless I can build myself a rammed earth hut with a dirt roof for free. I’m pretty sure she can’t do the same.

    Luckily for me, I married a wife to whom I’ll probably read this column tonight, and she’ll just smile and nod knowingly. 😀

    1. I’ve always wondered how many of the women who “withhold sex” are really doing it to punish (I’m sure some are) and how many are more like “I’m angry at you, I don’t want you to touch me”. Because the second would be more how I was thinking. Otherwise I’d be punishing *myself*, and that seems counter-productive.

      On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 8:28 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

      > CombatMissionary commented: “You’re SOOO right, Sarah. Here’s the > trick: women can scream at men and use sex on men as a whip until men start > getting out of their 20’s. After that (at least in my case), sex is > awesome, but I now have other interests as well. Maybe it’s later for othe” >

      1. I’ve always wondered how many of the women who “withhold sex” are really doing it to punish (I’m sure some are) and how many are more like “I’m angry at you, I don’t want you to touch me”.

        I’ve delicately tried to make that point in some areas.

        It never went over well, because.. .girls are just boys with innies, I guess.

        The idea that girls want different things from sex is apparently strange to some.

    2. The most violent that a woman ever got with me, combat, was when i played this game back on her. I got a bruise, and a full week of the silent treatment for that one, but it was oh so worth the laughter later.

  30. Totally OT but what title are you giving the Witchfinder/ Rogue Magic series? I like to keep things tidy in Calibre and sorting by “series” really helps on rereads. (Although nothing helps with the Honorverse.)

    1. Magical Empires.
      I don’t know what to do about the Magical British Empire (Coming soon in Author edition) because it’s not QUITE the same. It’s sort of a sidestep.

  31. My favorite was always Nanny Ogg, and she counts for Matron and Crone.

    As for historical women? I’d honestly have to look at some of my notes, which are currently buried in boxes. I do remember blowing one of my professors minds because I applied a working knowledge of written law versus common law to the question “Describe the plight of women in the middle ages”.

    I will admit for a certain fondness for Rahab, if pressed to remember somebody off the top of my head.

    1. I don’t know if she counts as a favorite, but Xanthippe gets my sympathy, at least. Living with Socrates – who’s always off at other people’s symposia or trying to get his hands into Alcibiades’ toga – no wonder she dumped a chamberpot on his head (if that’s even true).

  32. I use the same premise as the reason I argue that abortion is not a feminist value. It basically goes like this: “You say that pregnancy is not the only thing a woman can do. Yet pregnancy is something only women can do. If you push heavily for abortion, what you are implying is that a woman only can do things of value if she does not get pregnant—which means she can only compete in venues that men can compete in.”

    I believe very firmly in the idea that if you can’t win the game, maybe you’re not playing by the right rules.

    (I am anti-abortion, but for practical reasons* I do not think it can be outlawed. I want to work on the cultural perception side, so that it’s not an option that is pushed and lobbied for.)

    *Among other things, there are necessary medical procedures that closely resemble abortion.

    1. I recognized it.

      To be sure, I see it as often in the spoonerized form since “pot of message” is so handy.

  33. I agree with you to a point, but differ on pragmatic angles of making it illegal– along the lines of making slavery illegal, with an eye to history.

  34. Growing up in a very small town with pretty defined gender roles, there is a phrase that is often heard “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. I never saw a woman who was in any doubt about her power in life or her relationship. The phrase “what would your mother think about this” held much sway in male behavior. I have watched fathers discipline their sons because ” you don’t talk like that around your momma.” Women have forgotten that their power is different not lesser just different than that of men. It’s ok to be female. It’s ok to enjoy it. It’s not ok to throw away all of the things that make us special and female as useless or outdated. Men and women are different and personally I revel in the differences. I have no desire to kill spiders, take out the trash, or figure out what made that noise in the middle of the night. I frequently tell my husband that I married him because I know that when the zombies/alien invaders/Russians(child of the 80’s they were the Boogieman) show up, I know that he will make sure that we are safe. My husband is my hero and I have zero problems with being told to get in the kitchen and make him a pot pie. I just remind him that he has to sleep sometime. 😉

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