2013-09-06

Geek Girl Con & Feminist Perspectives


The Geek Girl Con, Seattle, October 2013

Cool.  Maybe I should go.

I saw a cool word: kyriarchal or kyriarchy, which is more general than patriarchy.  It refers to a system of domination-submission relationships in which an individual may be dominant is some and submissive in others.

It also said that Geek Culture is highly misogynist, but of course that is not my impression, as I've said many times, so I'm curious what that's based on.

I also read references to women being the "linguistic other" which is a theme which Simone de Beauvoir touches on as well in Le Deuxieme Sexe, which I have very half-assed started reading.  It makes me wonder whether this is only an English problem (which I tend to suspect) or if carries over into "genderless" languages such as Japanese and Chinese, or if subjugation of women in this manner, or I guess "marginalization" of women, takes a different form.

A thought occurs to me: I have long noticed that women seem to have a particular affinity for "self-oppression" or "internalized oppression" e.g., "I'm bad at math" or "girls can't do THAT", and accepting it rather than working on it (of course there are exceptions, but this attitude is seen as socially-acceptable, shall we say), so one wonders whether this bland, unquestioning acceptance of things like "linguistic othering" terms such as "female writer" "girl geek" etc. or "women's sports" might not be an historical "route of entry" into intellectual or other pursuits that women themselves or society generally considered off-limits by making them "lightened for women" i.e., putting women on a different playing field than men from the outset..  I'll have to look into it, but this could serve the purpose of being non-threatening to men, and also non-threatening to women themselves, but there is no route out of it, i.e., once mediocre jobs and roles have been adhered to women memetically, the only way to escape is to change gender, so to speak, since the memes are "sticky" with respect to gender (the same sort of principle applies to things like racism).

So, as Gloria Steinem ridiculed me when I asked her questions at her speech at the U of Idaho, men need "permission" from women to let go of both homophobia and misogyny, and that is the solution.  You could say that homophobia is just a subset of misogyny, i.e., the fear of appearing "womanly" (and this is culturally relative, e.g., in Scotland, men are the knitters).  Why is this?  Men have a need to have their own identity, I guess.  Women have no such need -- they are inherently womanly by biology, child-bearing, menstruation, etc.  Men have no such reminders of their existential destiny (one "purpose" of circumcision, in adolescence, anyway, is the mimicry of menstrual blood, an example of male jealousy).

I think I forgot what I was going to say about men needing to not be afraid of working with and competing with women.  I lost my train of thought there, somehow.  I think if we can fight homophobia, lift up homosexuality as a norm, then we can combat misogyny.  We can also promote womanliness as a good thing, or at least an alternative norm.  That's why I'm in favor of male breastfeeding.  It seems that woman are breastfeeding less, rather than more, because the bond between mother and child is seen as unique, and tends to put women apart (again), and uplifting male breastfeeding would provide a stabilizing effect, I think.  Likewise things like unisex restrooms might have similar positive influence.

Anyway, "if you're in a hurry, take the side route, go around" (Japanese proverb).

The inculcation with the hatred and fear of womanhood in young boys by women, their mothers, et al, may be yet another example of women's internalized oppression.  Maybe a theory worth exploring.

The site mentioned gender-specific toys (cf our earlier Legos e-mail) and this is no doubt another example of this kind of gender segregation and something to be vigorously combated in my view.  In fact, since toys impact early childhood, maybe that sort of thing is really the most important place to concentrate.

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