The last day I’ve been going “Argh” as I realize the barriers that have been put to thinking and expression thereof, as well as the continuous blast of “this you must think, this you must celebrate” (more onerous than even “this you must not think” and “this you must not do” that Heinlein cautioned us about) just in the last ten years or so.
The first occasion of ARGH was my going over page proofs for my mystery, Dipped, Stripped and Dead (under pen name Elise Hyatt.)
It was supposed to be out in December, then the collapse, and then January turned into “bursts of insane working, punctuated by the worst flu I’ve ever had.” That extended into February. Yesterday Dorothy Grant (BTW, her first book is out) pointed out if I didn’t try to use the treadmill desk the first day I feel up to it, I might not relapse again. It might have been too late for that warning, though this relapse feels less awful than the last. I should have pointed out to her that sanity is for sissies, but she might be able to slap me, even from Texas.
Anyway, in going over Draw One In The Dark, I came across a character I’d forgotten was in the book. First I should point out the furniture refinishing mysteries are where I put most autobiographical details, to the point of older son making me change a thing because he uses it as a password. Both boys refer to this series as “selling our childhood retail.” As in, E. the little boy character in the book, is a composite of my sons at that age.
The character I had forgotten was a Marine, who was a carpenter and six foot six or seven, whose other “personality” was a female who liked to dress in extremely high heels. He was completely harmless, and a very nice man, except for a tendency to think my wedding vows didn’t mean much. THIS part was goofy. (Though he took his rebuff with grace.) And hitting on me in my own kitchen, while wearing women’s clothing was very very creepy. His other goofy idea was that he passed as female. (OTOH best line to guys who were making fun of him in a bar was “How would you like to have your ass kicked by a guy in a dress?”)
Anyway, I use a version him in that book, and gentle ribbing happens.
It occurred to me that I couldn’t get that book traditionally published today for the thought crime of “laughing at the transgendered” (which I wasn’t. I was laughing at a very specific person whom I actually liked, but who had some odd quirks in his brain, as who doesn’t?)
And I went “ARGH.” Because this is an area in which we must now think that someone’s cross dressing name/persona is as valid or more valid than his male personality/person, and we’re supposed to call his occasionally liking to dress as a woman “genderfluid.” We MUST also not find it funny that he thinks his female persona is beautiful. (He is/was — we lost touch and he was older than I– a gorgeous man, of the “craggy type” which does not translate well to female beauty.)
In a way, this type of enforcing of what we MUST think of people’s little quirks is less tolerant and makes us less free. I mean, I honestly don’t know if my friend viewed this other persona of his as a whole other “person” or just as a hobby, i.e. something fun he liked to do/explore. And that was fine. I mean, we didn’t hold our noses up at him, and it was none of our business what he chose to do. But now, by the dictates of the politically correct church, he and I and all our friends would have to think of it as very serious indeed, a “genderfluid” thing that meant he wasn’t the same sex his body was for at least part of his time.
How is this helping? Sure, if you really are a person who thinks he/she shifts genders occasionally, you now have reinforcement/support. But what about everyone else? What about the vast spectrum of people, from guys who think women clothes are fun, to guys who just want to explore that side of themselves? WHY must there be only one correct way to be a guy who periodically dresses/thinks he passes as a woman? And isn’t labeling every other view of it as hateful… rather hateful?
My other moment of Argh was occasioned by younger son. No, that doesn’t mean younger son did something wrong. He didn’t. It’s more that younger son told me about something. (Oh, dear Lord, why does he do that?) and what he told me about was that some show introduced the concept of “Galentine’s” on the 13th. This is a day for “ladies to celebrate ladies.” What was driving younger son bananas (with a side of kiwi) is that he seeing all his female friends fall into this.
The idea is frankly loony. Valentine’s itself is highly commercialized, but most of the time, my husband I circumvent it by having walks together, or just watching a movie together. However, a day to celebrate being a couple is useful (and it wasn’t proclaimed by some government. In fact, I’m fairly sure what it is in the US grew organically, because it’s not the same anywhere else. In Portugal it’s considered “boyfriend/girlfriend day” but it mostly amounts to some kissing and maybe flowers. Or it did in my day.) Trust me, in the years of raising toddlers, any time to remember yes, you’re in love, and what brought you together is important.
But Galentine? What the actual heck? It’s not bonding, and it’s not building a relationship that is a cornerstone of society. No. It’s … putting up lists of your friends who are female and celebrating them BECAUSE THEY’RE FEMALE. This is something they were born, and can’t help being, and… what are we celebrating, precisely?
It’s not that I object to “ugly/awkward girls get a day too.” No. it’s the undertones of it. It’s the “It’s just as good to be a woman as a couple (you know, the future would beg to differ) and how being a woman is something you should celebrate because… because… because…. I don’t know? Because we have vaginas?
Picture guys saying that being a man is something to celebrate, because… they have penises? Mind you, I’m a big fan of both men and their ah implement, but seriously? It would be laughable. And celebrating because you’re a woman is equally laughable.
Mind you, I’m probably the voice crying in the wilderness in the days of pussy hats and women marching around with signs painted with vulvas or proudly proclaiming they have a vulva, but it seems to me if what makes you special is the non-thinking thing between your legs, you’re doing life wrong, you’re doing equality wrong and MOST importantly, you’re doing SPECIAL wrong.
I have friends who are female and friends who are male. Not only do I not care what their equipment is, but frankly I don’t want to think about their equipment. The only person whose sexual organs matter to me (other than myself) is my husband. It’s the only one whose sexual organs have an even remote effect on our relationship (I maintain if we lost the capacity to have sex tomorrow, love would go on, so, yes, remote. But it would be less fun.)
What makes my friends special are the things we both enjoy, the things we like to talk about, their fascinating minds or their generous personality, or their kindness, or their enthusiasm or all of those and more. None of them, though are “vagina” or “penis.”
Celebrating my lady friends is goofy. Celebrating my gentlemen friends sounds like I’m having affairs. I love all my friends, and wouldn’t even be opposed to giving non-romantic valentines, the way elementary school kids do it. (Only not to everyone I know.) BUT I don’t think of my friends in neat little groups. A couple of my best-male friends are gay. I don’t have them in a group for “my gay friends.” I only think of them in those terms when refuting some idiocy from left or right about “all gay males” or when the subject — usually a joke — is one they’d enjoy. In that sense it’s like thinking of my “writer friends” a fluid group who will appreciate some jokes/situations more than my other friends.
Putting people in groups, some of which are to be celebrated and some reviled is a trick for “governing” and controlling people, which has been used since machiavelli.
What burns me is seeing people willingly cooperate in this, seemingly unaware that any group that’s uplifted can be cast down when policy demands it. It’s all a game to control people.
They can pipe all they want. I’m not dancing.
Happy valentines to all my friends, male and female, all of whom are loved even those I’ve never met but who make this blog interesting.
You are loved, all of you, you fascinating individuals. Now, go be you.