Monday 6 July 2015

Women, do we really need them?

Parris McBride spoke at Archipelacon about life in fandom in the seventies, and jokingly said she's educated a whole generation of fans on how to speak to women. People laughed, and I did too, but I think it's funny and sad because it's true. They even had panels where they discussed questions like "Women, do we really need them...?" (I don't remember if the panel was about fandom or SFF.)

Fandom is a great community with a lot of open minded people. We've read and seen fantastic stories and dream of things out of this world.

Fandom also has a problem with racism and sexism, as most communities has. Some people will always be jerks. But we have a code of conduct to tell us that conventions are supposed to be a safe haven for everyone. And at the same time. every day, all year, every year, there's this social construction telling us we're different kinds of people. Masculine and feminine. Women and men. People from different cultures, religion and ethnicity. Heterosexuals and homosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered and queer. It takes some getting used to, to see past these things.

I'm going to tell you a secret about how to do get past it.

You have to realize, there is no spoon.

But what does it mean?

It means, don't see the social construct. It isn't what we're made of, it's what society makes us. See the person behind it. Yeah, I might be a woman, but I'm not defined by my gender and I would like to be seen for and treated as the person I am, thank you very much!

I've often been told that I'm pretty. I've been told I should wear more make up to make my "lovely eyes" shine. I've been told I should wear dresses and skirts and clothes that compliments my body. I'm being told that I should think about how I behave in front of young men, that I'm a warm and hugging person which easily can confuse young men into thinking I'm feeling more for them than I do.

I've had it up to here with people telling me how I should or should not behave, dress or how I should live my life. Also, I'm getting pretty tired of people not understanding what a huge problem objectification is. People, mostly men, rolling their eyes and cursingly telling me I'm one of those "feminist".  Like wanting people to treat you as a person, treat you the same way as they would treat their male friends, is a bad thing.

Hey, here's an idea. For every time you give a woman a compliment, give the same compliment to two of your male friends, and you'll see how strange it sounds.

"You have a nice ass in those jeans, buddy."
"Yeah dude, I think you would look great in a flowery dress, rolling in the wind."
Try catcalling one or two of them, just for fun.

See how degrading it is?

I think the more empathic you are, the more you can feel what other people feel, the more you can understand this. And everyone's not cut out to be an empath, but they can still learn.

A while ago I had a long discussion with people on Facebook who was distraught to be told that they were objectifying women. They're just being nice guys, they said, and if this is the kind of world where they can't give women compliments about their looks, they don't want to be a part of it.

Well, if this is the kind of world were I have to put up with men being entitled to objectify me, I don't want to be a part of it either.

Back to fandom, again. Sorry, I derailed a bit.

Fandom's my tribe, my people. We're all different, but maybe more alike than you think. I am a socially awkward nerd who likes to watch Star Trek, who likes robots and timetravel and maybe you're just like me.

Try to realize, there is no spoon.

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