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Nov 16 2005

The Nose Glasses of Truth

The nose-glasses of Truth
The author, looking at the world through nose-colored glasses, gets her femininity shaved

From Deanna Zandt at Alternet comes the radical notion that we all just knock it off already with the cozy "women bloggers" cognomen. Because we’re all just fucking bloggers.

Linking to a post regrettably titled "Broads on Blogs" at SadieMag (featuring interviews with, well, women bloggers) Deanna alludes to a spot—nay, a festering wound—that has always been pretty sore with me, which is the notion that "male" is always the default  condition, whereas "female" is a modifier indicating a sort of divergent, auxiliary, less important variant of normal.

Of course this applies not just to bloggers, but to all of human enterprise. For instance, why have a separate category for Best Female Vocalist? Or why offer a woman cancer patient "psychological counseling" to help her cope with the debilitating loss of the sum total of her worth as a human—her boobs and her hair?

Because men are normal humans, and women are the sexbots.

It’s a glittering paragon in the patriarchy’s crown jewels, this vast, insurmountable, culturally-enforced "difference" between men and women. Once you group people  according to bullshit superficial irrelevancies, and then manufacture a bunch of bullshit ways in which these irrelevancies appear to make the group differ from the dominant culture, you pretty much end up with carte blanche to make up bogus rules like "dudes shouldn’t link to chick blogs" or "abortion is a fringe issue" or  "lapdancing is empowering."

It is this assumption—that blogging (political blogging, apparently, in particular) is a natural consequence of having a dick—that fans the icy purgatorial fires of the so-called authoritative male voice.

God, am I ever sick of that fucking authoritative male voice.

Even so, I vigorously disagree with the idea, quoted in the SadieMag piece, that "women view politics through the same prism that they view life–one that is colored by emotion." This idea is patently whack. What does it even mean? That everyone with a pussy has the same affected, sensitive worldview, refreshingly unfettered by logical analysis? That they are liable to write about menstruation not that there’s anything wrong with that? That male writers don’t draw on ardor or mania or vehemence when they deliver their gold-plated "facts" in their super-objective blogs? Why do so many women themselves seem to think that their pussy trumps their convictions and makes them "women bloggers"?

I’ll tell you something. If I view life through a prism—although to be accurate, if I view life through anything it’s a pair of nose-glasses—that prism isn’t colored with "emotion." It’s colored with shit. That hypothetical prism is focusing with pinpoint accuracy the relentlessly harsh white light of day onto every little shit-covered woman-hating, racist, fucktarded act of tyranny that crosses my path, and believe me, there are a million of’em every fucking day, and I’m writing’em all down in my little book, you fuckers.

Anyone can speak the truth. Anyone can do it in a blog. Anyone who does it is a blogger.

It helps to be a radical lesbian feminist spinster aunt living in Austin, though.

37 comments

  1. tr1c14_ll@hotmail.com

    YES!

    YES!!

    YES!!!

    You are so right, I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know how much I idolize you for being so right and telling it like it is.

  2. Ron Sullivan

    Except for, oh, “male nurse.” Which bugs me for a number of personal reasons. Don’t get me started.

    I sometimes pull out an old traditional folk saying that I made up myself a few years back, to the effect that If the whole world looks like shit, chances are you have your head up your ass. But it isn’t the whole world, is it, what you’re talking about. The patriarchy just does its damnedest to convince us that it is, that it’s just natural, the Way Things Are. (Most of “evolutionaly psychology,” e.g.)

    I’m thinking of carrying a pair of the Nose-Colored Glasses of Truth around more of the time, well, to be honest I’ve been bitching to all and sundry and my nearest and dearest by turns for some decades now about those individual acts that, repeated and left un-bitched-about, paint the scenery with shit. One gets hoarse sometimes. But the Glasses at least help keep one from stepping in more of the shit and getting it all over oneself and eventually joining all the rest of the indistinguishably shit-covered scenery.

  3. wordgirl

    …and ALL the people said, “AMEN!”

  4. Steph

    Oh yes, those political blogs. This blogger (who happens to have a vagina) does not link to those because most of them are the male authoritative voice which claims to be unemotional while spouting their vitriol.

    Sure I’m emotional when I blog. Usually because I’m mad as hell.

  5. Sylvanite

    Aaaagh! Typepad lost my long rant!

    Oh, well, it was something about how Majikthise and Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings would probably be surprised to learn that their lack of a penis makes them inferior political bloggers. Then I went on about how it requires effort to be a good thinker, and that men are not actually unemotional. But it’s all gone, and I’d better git while the gittin’s good, lest Typepad lose this post, too.

  6. Tony Patti

    Though I always think it interesting, what sex a writer might be is always irrelevant. I applaud once again your outraged ability to see things as if there weren’t a huge weight of patriarchal assumption clouding your views!

    A similar point was made by Debra Dickerson in her witty little book “The End Of Blackness”. It seems Debra is royally sick of being treated like she’s black. Reading her I thought many times of you — she’s making some of the same points, and with wit, style and needle-like insight that keeps the pages turning. If you took the word black and substituted female you would find much to agree with there.

    I hate to bring up old stuff, but it’s been bugging me — why didn’t they do a study to see how old men feel about their bodies, and whether feeling less sexy goes hand in hand with looking less sexy for men, too? The older I get, the flabbier the old tissues become, and the less I want sex. I don’t understand why it’s an issue to be studied only from the perspective of whether the sex class is still on the job for old coot gratification as they age…

  7. ursa

    Men are over emotional they suffer from a deranged love of themselves 10 or so repetitions being their ideal image, especially playing football.
    If men could get outside their emotions and be logical they would have a very different view of women

  8. Chris Clarke

    For instance, why have a separate category for Best Female Vocalist?

    If you didn’t, men would never win the “best vocalist” prize.

  9. ms kate

    Right on Bloggah! Right on!

    Being rather mentally and spiritually androgynous myself, I despise both gender polarity AND it’s assignment to everyone on a two-bin basis. I’ve never lived according to women do x men do y and I’m not raising my boys like that either because it just doesn’t fit.

    Emotional people view things through an emotional lens, unemotional/rational people view things through a logic lens. When emotional males are prevented from doing what would be natural and normal to them they end up a big huge fucking mess. Unemotional females (like my late grandmother, who was in all honesty asperger’s), end up running idiot emotional female simulations to fit in, or wind up as outcasts. Someone who uses both modes is not a complete person, but a suspect person.

    We would have a much better world if we were permitted the expression and self-understanding and balance that is our personality and temperment, because many would be permitted a more complete picture of the world.

  10. tisha

    I wuv you Twisty, you are so right on.

  11. Ancrene Wiseass

    You rock so hard, Twisty.

  12. Anonymous

    Dag, you look hot bald and in Nose Glasses, Twisty.

  13. Allison

    This post rocks so much it is delurking me.

  14. Dot

    This is SO true. And then there are those women, like me, who are assumed to be and are discriminated against as being lesbian because we speak our minds no matter what, consider women the equal of (or superior to) men, enjoy the company of sensitive intelligent women as much as the company of sensitive intelligent men (who are universally branded gay), dress as they consider comfortable for the circumstances, and on and on and on.

    I celebrate your thinking and your writing. You say what many of us are too conditioned NOT to say or be. My world is better for you being in it and letting me know it.

  15. Masterfraud

    Um, this is fantastic. I so fucking needed this today.

  16. TMo

    “the notion that “male” is always the default condition, whereas “female” is a modifier indicating a sort of divergent, auxiliary, less important variant of normal.”

    Can I frame this? I couldn’t have put it any better.

  17. Stella

    This is so right on.

    And reminds me of a little story.

    Once I read the book ‘Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating’ by Erik Marcus. It was a pretty good book. I didn’t rush out and become a vegan, but it was a pretty good book.

    However, I noticed in the appendices at the end, the author had listed various caloric requirement tables, etc. The categories for all his advice were: children, the aged/infirm, adults, and women. Seriously.

    So I wrote him an email, explaining that, while I enjoyed the book and might be persuaded by some of his arguments and appreciative of his style, I had one bone of contention, which I thought that, as he is obviously sensitive to the needs of other sentient beings, he might be interested in hearing. I told him that, as a ‘liberal’ woman, I get tired of women being treated as a separate, ‘special’ category. I used the example, current at the time, of the Yahoo! Directory. Which, under the ‘Society and Culture’ section, and the ‘Health’ section and the ‘Politics: Issues’ had subsections for ‘Women’. As if our interests were separate and special and not mainstream. I pointed out that I found this illogical and offensive because it implied that a) the websters over at Yahoo! knew which ‘issues’ and parts of ‘health’ women were interested in and b) it implied that we were somehow less important and, therefore marginalized, when, in fact, women make up more than 50% of the population of the world and this country and thus WE should be the default, if there has to be one, and there should be a separate section labelled ‘men’.

    Mr Marcus wrote back a nasty, personally insulting email about how I was obviously someone who had a chip on my shoulder, yada yada yada the usual, and said that the reason he had ‘women’ as a separate category was that ‘women’ experience things that ‘no one else’ does, such as ‘pregnancy’ and other things that would affect their nutritional needs. Mmm-hmm. And this makes sense, HOW?

    I won’t even begin to tell you what’s wrong with his refutation, because YOU ALREADY KNOW.

    What an idiot. But it was a pretty good book.

  18. tisha

    Twisty, me thinks you needs to leave TEXAS, augh! Head yer way north of the Mason-Dixon!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Kate

    As usual, Twisty, you say everything that boils around in my head in an inchoate mess, only you say it in such a way that it makes sense, and powerful sense at that.

  20. Susan

    Thank you, Twisty. Thanks for all of it.

  21. Maven

    Word UP. This has been just one in a series of righteous Twisty posts that have made me glow with love.

  22. Dr. Virago of Quod She

    As the first commenter said: YES! YES! YES!

    I especially loved this bit: That male writers don’t draw on ardor or mania or vehemence when they deliver their gold-plated “facts” in their super-objective blogs?

    YES! Please, the din of mania and ardor and hyper-emotional, hormonal, dick-smacking craziness that frequently emanates from some of those blogs is part of why I don’t often read them, and epsecially not the comments. Makes my eyes bleed.

    Love you, Twisty!

  23. Dr. Virago of Quod She

    Oops, forgot to close the italics. Should’ve closed them after “blogs?”

  24. Dr. Virago of Quod She

    Um now I have italicized all your comments. How the hell did I do that? Sorry.

  25. rose

    Damn Twisty, I’m glad to see that you’re feeling so much better.

  26. Anonymous

    does this fix the italics issue?

  27. Erin

    i guess so.

  28. ae

    Right the hell on, Twisty. I do love, too, how the “hard topics” like politics are the most exalted, presumably because they concern the affairs of men, while a huge contingent of amazing writers called Mommybloggers are slogging away in the cutesy, “women’s stuff” bloghetto. Happily, I doubt the Mommybloggers give a flip.

    there are a million of’em every fucking day, and I’m writing’em all down in my little book, you fuckers.

    This part reminds me of a story about Roseanne during the first season of her TV show when she had less creative control than she would have liked. After many prolonged battles, she decided to put up a list on her dressing room door of all the people who’d f*cked w/ her and who would be first fired when she took over. The next season she apparently crossed them off one by one. Ha.

  29. darkymac

    The Germans are deliberating over the gender of blog itself, over there. Is it to be the masculine der Blog or the neuter das Blog? The feminine die Blog doesn’t even get a guernsey.
    The feminist blog carnival is wondrous and good but I’m not a fan of the blogher nominal ugliness. It has a Self-Confidence for Dummies ring to it.

  30. Sane Aussie

    Great post – hits home on various points for me. Growing up, I consciously rejected the ‘feminine’, refusing to (for example) wear things that guys didn’t wear (dresses, skirts, etc). I guess I internalised the idea that feminine was weak, pretty, pink…(I’d just like to point out that I was raised by liberal parents who never let the fact I was female colour my expectations, so it was *definitely* not them).

    I think I wanted to badly to be equal, to be seen as a *person*, that I decided to take the route of being the ‘norm’, the default – i.e. male. It was only when I hit uni and found feminist blogs that I began to let go of this (much to the relief of my folks, who were worried that I tried to hard to be what I wasn’t).

    I *still* identify as being ‘human’ rather than ‘female’ – I have no particular attatchment to my double X chromosomes, but I’m now taking the route that I can wear clothes that don’t hide the fact I have breasts, and I’m still the same person. (Consciously hiding female attributes doesn’t seem to have worked anyway).

  31. Indri

    As I understand it, there are more female bloggers than male. Particularly if you count the teenagers.

    And yet, and yet. It’s like talking about the women’s vote as the “minority vote”. For fuck’s sake, there are more of us than there are of them.

  32. Annie in Austin

    Delurking to tell Tisha – please do not try to tempt Twisty to leave our town.

    Many Texans doubt that Austin is even part of Texas, anyway.

  33. kate.d.

    …a modifier indicating a sort of divergent, auxiliary, less important variant of normal.

    though this is kind of a tangent, you can kind of talk about race in this same way. white is the default setting, the zero point, and everything else deviates from that. as white people, we have no “ethnic” identity, because in order to have that you must be different from the norm, which we are not.

    god, don’t get me started about the way they use the terms “ethnic decor” or “ethnic cuisine” on HGTV and the like. makes me want to poke my eyes out with knitting needles.

  34. yankee transplant

    I heart Twisty. This post is a classic reason why.

  35. darkymac

    KATE.D. god, don’t get me started about the way they use the terms “ethnic decor” or “ethnic cuisine” on HGTV and the like. makes me want to poke my eyes out with knitting needles.

    How about the even more casual attitude to women’s stuff that means a person can get gender management software
    Whacko the diddle o. Brand yourself woman, and slot yourself right in where the ladies are liked. Saves the Patriarchy half the labour of finding you to target you for that extra special fitting-in. Self-relegation for dummies.

    Try renaming it “racedex” and see how far you’d get in court.

  36. laughingmuse

    Twisty, seriously, I luff you. I could just print this out and post it on my cube wall at work. I wonder if I’ll get in trouble for “harassment” or something…?

    Maybe if I post it with a photo of Bert next to you in the fab nose glasses, people will be able to absorb the wisdom while being distracted by the wonderful dog cuteness.

    As a delightful aside – my boyfriend’s family sent in a family photo to be posted at Ellis Island, when the request for photos went out several years ago – and in it, they were all wearing nose glasses.

  37. Deanna

    [delayed reaction due to work overwhelm:] thanks for the linkback and KUDOS on such a rockin’ post. =|m|

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