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Mar 26 2007

Pink golf balls? Nice try, but … no.

dallas_vestal_virgins.jpg
The Vestal Virgins of North Dallas: an average nouveau-riche white guy combines the feminine ideal with life-size entoga-ed yard ornaments.

Still on my whirlwind tour of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. This post will necessarily embrace brevity as its guiding aesthetic principle.

I’ve barely had time to duck my head into the bulging “what is femininity” comments. I did, however, notice this query:

“[...I]f girls and women choose pink equipment to play [...] sports, are they somehow reclaiming femininity in a good way?”

I despair of the idea that femininity is in any way something that can be “reclaimed.” Of course it can’t be reclaimed, because women never owned it in the first place; women’s feminine identities are universally shaped by male ideas.

Possibly the author of the question really meant “can we redefine ‘femininity’?”

To which I reply: even if, back at the dawn of time, women did wake up one fine spring morning — perhaps in the throes of a mass folie brought on by eating too much ergot — and joyfully cry “Hey, I know, let’s invent a bunch of vapid social conventions that demonstrate our endorsement of our own oppression and deprive us of full participation in life’s rich pageant,” why would any rational person wish to embrace such a thing as a basis for one’s identity? Femininity, as one commenter pointed out, does not exist in a vacuum; you can’t, as a woman or as a feminist or as anyone else, erase eons of accumulated symbolism and cultural narrative by simply lurching to your feet and proclaiming, “pink golf balls are empowerful!”

I hate to leave it at that, but duty calls. Until Austin’s gravitational pull acts sufficiently upon my person to propel me from this purgatory of strip malls and rich old helmet-headed honky dowagers, feast your eyes upon the facade, above, of a typical North Dallas house.

61 comments

3 pings

  1. norbizness

    Damn, from that last paragraph, I thought that you had broken down in Round Rock.

  2. Cass

    A better sign would be if boys could use pink sports equipment without fearing for their lives.

  3. Cass

    That, by the way, is not what I meant by “pretty cool architecture”.

  4. j

    An ellipsis in the title? Unprecedented!

  5. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    why would any rational person wish to embrace such a thing as a basis for one’s identity?

    So she could have a really hawt boyfriend all her friends would envy?
    So she wouldn’t have to endure the living hell of blissful solitude?
    Because everybody she respects told her it’s the basis of happiness?

    Pick your favorite answer; all of them are about 4 exits past Rational.

  6. Edith

    Nothing to add here, except to say that when playing miniature golf at night, it’s best not to pick the blue or purple ball, as you will likely have a harder time seeing in on the green. Maybe you shouldn’t pick the green ball for that same reason. Or maybe you SHOULD, and you can use THAT as your excuse for sucking at mini golf, i.e., not being able to hit the ball even though it’s just sitting on the ground right in front of you. I also suggest not choosing the blue ball to limit potential “blue ball” jokes (unless you find it fun to say things like, “Haha, I’m gonna HIT YER BLUE BALL!” which in case you should encourage your golfing buddy to get the blue ball, not you, because it’s funnier that way).

    I have never, to this day, seen a pink golf ball. I would probably choose it for the novelty, in the same way that I like to choose the pink bowling balls.

  7. Edith

    Also, never go mini golfing with any male who wants to “show you how to aim properly” AKA get behind you, put his arms around you, and feel up your butt with his groin.

  8. Laiane

    Hmmmmm. A discussion using the words “pink” and “Dallas” and no pic of the Mary Kay mansion? Well, I’m a newcomer here so I’m guessing that’s been done before.

  9. kathy a

    i just didn’t have time to think out a decent answer to the femininity thing. the pink pedestal stay-in-your-place and look pretty paradigm isn’t viable. there are things i do just to “pass” socially and professionally; that’s survival. there are other things that i genuinely embrace, even if i was influenced by all those intenalized messages that it’s ok for girls to do them, but not ok for boys. i’ve done a lot of things that aren’t viewed as traditionally female things to do, but they were what i needed or wanted to do — and despite and because of them, “ain’t i a woman?”

    that is one hell of a McMansion-in-training!

  10. Bird

    A better sign would be if boys could use pink sports equipment without fearing for their lives.

    I’ve seen boys do this once. A bunch of NHL players (that’s the National Hockey League for the uninitiated) played with pink sticks to raise money for—you guessed it—breast cancer.

    On a side note, ever seen a man freak out because he was handed a (unused) pink disposable Bic razor when he forgot his own? Priceless.

  11. Jessica

    Actually, I went golfing this weekend, but had to buy a glove. At Target, even the smallest of the men’s gloves were too big, and all FOUR of the women’s styles were pink and had breast cancer “awareness” ribbons plastered all over them. I decided to go without a glove, and as a result I got large chunks of skin ripped off my hands. Oh well, still better than 1) wearing a too-big glove, 2) giving one dime to a company that makes a disease fashionable, and 3) marginalizing myself even more in a bastion of male exclusivity. Not sure that it mattered much on that last one, because the guy behind me at the driving range made a comment about me bending over to put a ball on the tee. I blame the patriarchy.

  12. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I stink at golf, and it’s a good thing, because if what happened to Jessica happened to me while I had a fairly good blunt instrument in my hands, you’d see me on the 11 o’clock news for playing “The Flight of the Bumblebee” on the guy’s forehead.

    I recently took le prix de boobie here at work where we had a putt-putt party. It was science nerd NASA calendar — the fancy, glossy one they sell to the tourists.

  13. Bird

    I spent four years waiting tables at a private golf course where the staff got restricted playing privileges. I’m proud to say I’m still terrible at it. I had one very unfortunate golfing date with a co-worker who turned out to be an ultra-conservative aspiring king o’ the patriarchy, which was about the extent of my interest in the sport.

    I did almost choke when I was asked if I wanted a pink sparring helmet when I was buying my gear. I suppose it would make it easy to identify, but really!

  14. Pinko Punko

    I second j’s astonishment at the improbable ellipsis. TACO MEDIC, STAT! GET HER OUT OF PLANO, ASAP!

  15. Cass

    Oh, yes, I forgot about the pink-ribbon kitsch.

  16. Frumious B

    On a side note, ever seen a man freak out because he was handed a (unused) pink disposable Bic razor when he forgot his own? Priceless.

    I think I’m gonna start keeping pink, disposable, Bic razors around just in case I ever get the opportunity to offer one to a man and witness him freak out. My brother and sister-in-law use the same brand of razor which is a woman’s razor, but not pink.

    Femininity, as one commenter pointed out, does not exist in a vacuum.

    And this, you see, is why it is so, so worth it to continue to have dialogues about lipstick and high heels. No, I don’t hate women who wear either. I wear both myself, and I pretend that the sense of fun I derive from doing so is completely unrelated to anything Antoinette said. Fun doesn’t exist in a vacuum, either.

  17. Mandos

    *gasp*

    *long pause*

    Hoooray! Now … ellipses … have … been … endorsed … by … none … other … than … Twisty.

    And the people rejoiced!

  18. BubbasNightmare

    Now, folks, let’s not get too ellipse-crazed here. Remember, the spinster aunt has been trapped in Plano. That is enough to drive anyone to major faux pas.

    Just remember who will be excoriated when she returns to Austin and sanity.

  19. cycles

    Well, monkeys do like to unify under a specific color of banner, and I’m all for banding together to blame the patriarchy, but for heaven’s sake, does it have to be pink?

    I wonder if the question about pink golf balls could be re-phrased as: how can women bust into traditionally male-dominated pursuits while making it both a neutral action (“I like to play golf”) and a political statement (“Devaluing one sex and restricting its members from certain activities is ludicrous and I am working to dismantle patriarchy”)

    And the answer is, you can’t.

    Revolution. Get in, get out, or acknowledge that you’re making compromises for comfort, safety, and acceptance under the current system.

    I do a lot of the third one, but it’s a survival mechanism, not a solution to the big problems.

  20. Haukur

    Hi, I’m new to this blog! I really like Twisty’s take-no-prisoners approach and I’m hoping to learn something. Oh, and I’m male. My contribution to oppressing women today was hanging up a dart board for Friday playing at work so that the centre is at 5 ft 8 in from the floor. This is really convenient for me (I’m 6 ft tall, the centre is exactly at eye-level) and really not convenient for my female co-worker who can’t even reach the top of the board. This is the regulation height, of course. It only dawned on me that this was perhaps a wee bit unfair hours after it happened. I wonder how many little aspects of the patriarchy like that I *never* notice.

    I’ve been wondering a lot about this pink thing because feminism in my country, even radical activist feminism, is all pink all the time and I’ve never understood why. Maybe it’s meant as some sort of redefinition, the way gays aodopted the pink triangle. I’ll have to find the right person to ask.

  21. Alarming Female

    “Empowerful”?

    hahahahaha *snort*

    A-hem. That said, it did take me a few years to come to the realization that my fondness for carnation pink was not an affront to my fondness for feminism. Feminism means never having to say you’re sorry you like pink. Or something like that.

  22. CafeSiren

    In essence, pink is just a color. But it’s a culturally-frieghted color, much more so than blue-for-boys.

    I feel sorry for pink. Unlike other avatars of femininity (e.g. high heels, corsets) it doesn’t physically disadvantage the person who wears it. A pink shirt doesn’t feel any different than a blue shirt. A pink golf ball works the same way as a white one. But the choice for or against pink can rarely be a neutral one.

    Poor pink.

  23. Dr. Free-Ride

    I don’t feel so bad for pink, given that pink has long been in cahoots with Barbie and her permanently deformed feet.

  24. Mar Iguana

    I don’t feel so bad for pink because it’s boy code for “pussy.”

  25. mearl

    As I have stated elsewhere on this blog, I propose that if labia pink should be the colour for girls, then veiny, wrinkly, testicle purply-skin colour should be the colour for boys. Will they make sparring helmets in that, I wonder?

    I prefer black, with cat hair. IBTP!

  26. thebewilderness

    Pink is the color we spray paint our tools to prevent the other half of the population from appropriating them.
    Never buy the cheap prepinked tools. Always paint your own. Men covet tools, but not enough to own a pink one.

  27. Andrew B.

    I’ve been wrestling with the idea of the signifier/signified relationship in our day to day lives. When considering what seems to be a human trait of stereotyping, I wonder how we are going to get past what seems to be a primary function of our brain – to categorize things to make them easier to identify.

    I guess that the term femininity is eminently a relational term in that its function is to diametrically oppose masculinity for the purpose of identification which is followed up by whatever behavior one is trained to react with.

    I’m curious, though, with all the information we’re inundated with every day, should our goal be to change our predisposition to categorize using surface markers (say, the color pink) or is it better to educate a sense of knowing ignorance? As a primary/elementary teacher, I’m always looking for ways of infusing a sense of equality and justice within children.

    What do you think?

  28. roamaround

    “Revolution. Get in, get out, or acknowledge that you’re making compromises for comfort, safety, and acceptance under the current system.”

    cycles, I agree with that idea, but I don’t think wearing or not wearing pink or playing golf or not constitute revolutionary or counter-revolutionary action.

    Here we are (most of us readers seem to be in the U.S.) living in the most dangerous megalopatriarchal industrial complex of all time, and we’re talking about what color is properly revolutionary? Can’t we act? Like break some windows or lie down in front of something?

    And just fyi, pink was the muy macho color of the Latin Kings Chicago street gang for a few years. I have pictures of big, mean-looking boys in baby pink. Una rosa by any other name…

  29. roamaround

    . Looks like I got away with a terminal ellipsis!

  30. TP

    Andrew B, radical feminism will change the way you look at many different categories that seem natural but which fall apart on examination.

    I have a 3 year old daughter who is taking on cultural imprinting of femininity right now and it is painful to watch, since I’m helpless to stop it.

    I hope you have a thick skin. When you are seen as an oppressor, and you say anything that supports and exemplifies male privilege, whether you feel that privilege or not, you might be attacked for it. This is where this is supposed to happen, and if it happened a lot more often outside of this forum the world would be a better place.

    I want to reject the ideas of masculine and feminine more completely. So much baggage and trouble over such a tiny glandular difference.

  31. 19 Tricia

    The seatbelt in my race car is hot pink. The other color choices were boring. I painted hot pink zig zags on the hood and trunk to match.

    I’m glad I chose pink. The patriarchal pink prejudice has worked to my advantage. I chose pink for the joke. I think it’s kinda funny. I mean, what difference does the color of the seatbelt make? Does it matter? To me, of course not. To everyone I’ve raced with? Yes.

    Ha! I can race no matter the color of the belt. But the boyz? No way, no how, is any one of them gonna drive my car until there’s a new color belt.

    Ha! That’s never gonna happen.

  32. Scratchy888

    Actually I don’t like violet. Can I admit it into the colour range as “pink”. Really. Pink is incoherent empty space, but violet makes my brain judder.

  33. Scratchy888

    Oh yeah, apparently this is the colour that I hate: edium Lavender – ([Light] Violet [web color])- light violet – Prismacolor color Lavender (Hex: #EE82EE) (RGB: 238, 130, 238)

  34. Catherine Martell

    I wish to add two pieces of observational comedy drawn, sadly, from real life:

    1. Bird: “On a side note, ever seen a man freak out because he was handed a (unused) pink disposable Bic razor when he forgot his own?”

    Many, many years ago, I lent a razor of just that description to a high-school boyfriend. Wearing a pained look, he shaved himself with what I suspect to have been deliberate hamfistedness, and then spent the rest of the day complaining that women’s razors “weren’t as sharp as men’s ones” and that clearly the companies had to make them that way owing to some kind of eternal truth regarding ladies-have-soft-skin / ladies-can’t-be-trusted-with-sharp-things.

    He wasn’t joking. He got dumped soon after.

    2. thebewilderness: “Pink is the color we spray paint our tools to prevent the other half of the population from appropriating them.”

    I have a pink laptop case. This is because the lovely woman in the Apple store – who, being in her 40s or 50s, down-to-earth and extremely well-informed, was a delightful contrast to the usual clueless 20-something emo-haired pretty-boys that staff the place – stopped me from buying my usual black one.

    “Laptops get swiped the whole time,” she told me, “but men never steal the ones in pink cases.”

    So my ludicrous, overpriced computer is now shielded from the thieving hands of the overwhelmingly male criminal class, on the grounds that even the desperation of a crackhead for his next hit will not drive him to associate himself with the soul-sucking horror that is feminine pinkness.

    Thinking about this, femininity isn’t so much a class as a caste. Or, rather, a lack of caste. Feminine things are literally untouchable to many men. So the idea of reclaiming this as something positive? You’d be looking for happiness in slavery.

  35. Hattie

    Dallas, Dallas
    Rhymes with Phallus

  36. lawbitch

    GAWD that McMansion is horrible. You can’t buy class.

    I refuse to buy pink products. No pink razors or pink shaving cream. I believe that the pink products cost more anyway.

    I do buy my hubby pink shirts because he looks so handsome in them. Brings out the blue in his eyes. Mr. Lawbitch is very secure.

  37. 100 Words

    Pink golf balls can be ‘empowerful’, but only if they’re hit hard with a 3 Wood at the head of a misogynist

  38. Spinning Liz

    Whoa. I have a sudden urge to surround my yard with hot pink Vestal Virgin statuary, each winsome virgin armed to the proverbial dentata with a Glock .380 and a meat cleaver. Excuse me, I must go lie down until this yen for tacky lawn ornaments passes.

  39. Frumious B

    Can’t we act? Like break some windows or lie down in front of something?

    yeah, we can act, and talking about pink doesn’t preclude breaking windows. It’s just that the personal really is the political. It’s when I can’t even pick out a shirt without it becoming a political act that I get cranky and want to break windows with my pink crowbar. That’s why talking about pink and lipstick and femininity is worthwhile. It’s not about a particular color, it’s about certain traits being insufficiently human for real people, ie, men, to adopt while simultaneously being mandatory for the sub-human class.

    Catherine Martell, word.

  40. mearl

    “It’s not about a particular color, it’s about certain traits being insufficiently human for real people, ie, men, to adopt while simultaneously being mandatory for the sub-human class.”

    Fruminous B, word!

  41. TP

    All of you rock.

    Without this forum, how can someone come to understand that the trivial is actually profound? And in impassioned language anyone can understand.

    The example of the pink laptop case is particularly powerful, and is just another proof of the idea that anything feminine is a tool of male oppression in addition to whatever it might essentially be.

  42. Veselka

    When did colors grow genitals? When did “girly” become a pejorative (or a word, for that matter)? Why is everything feminine, like shoes, clothes, hair, nails, so damn uncomfortable? IBTP.

  43. Tpurplesage

    Haukur – try reading “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (available at: http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~mcisaac/emc598ge/Unpacking.html). And I quote “I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege.” While it is clearly an analysis of White Privilege, it makes a great deal of sense in helping you see the Invisible Knapsack of male privilege as well.
    Pink is an abhorrent color I have hated since childhood, much to my mother’s dismay.
    Twisty, we miss you, come back to Austin soon.
    TP, good luck with your child, watching a child accept cultural oppression is very difficult – (it was incredibly painful for me as well). My encouragement is that kids often come back around to seeing the world for what it is if you remain steadfast – my kids surpised me, I hope yours surpise you as well.

  44. hedonistic

    Uncomfortable AND expensive.

  45. Bird

    As I have stated elsewhere on this blog, I propose that if labia pink should be the colour for girls, then veiny, wrinkly, testicle purply-skin colour should be the colour for boys. Will they make sparring helmets in that, I wonder?

    Mearl, I will have a very, very hard time not falling to the floor giggling at my TKD class tonight thanks to you. Have you seen what a sparring helmet is shaped like? Oh, if only I was good at Photoshop!

    I was a child who instinctively rejected pink, much to my mother’s despair. Funny, she was a good 70s/80s style feminist mom in other ways, but she really, really wanted me to at least wear a pink blouse with my jeans and sneakers. She says it was because people thought I was her son otherwise (I also had a very gender-neutral haircut). Just shows you how much colour influences people’s assumptions around children. I have friends who dress their baby girl in whatever colours they like, and people are always asking what the baby is.

    But I have chosen pink for some things. Back when I was a smoker, I used to buy pink lighters because nobody would ever pocket them.

    In the women-only area at my gym, the vinyl on all the machines is pink. It goes with the proliferation of Cosmo magazines. I do not use the women-only area at my gym.

  46. Sylvanite

    No time to finish reading the comments, but I just have to share that I’m so lousy at mini-golf that I once got a hole in one. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on the hole I was playing. I wish I had gotten that on film.

  47. Bitey

    What I see in those pink tools, pink sports equipment, etc., is command from the patriarchal heights: “Never forget. Never forget! You are now and will always be feminine, and your safety lies in your conformity.” I understand that some of the stuff is scaled down in size, better to be used by our daintier hands, but using that stuff strikes me as the same thing as putting on lipstick to go to jogging. Gah.

    Re the Vestal Virgins, I saw something like that here in LA once. Pictures here.

  48. TP

    Thank you, Tpurplesage, for your kind words. I am very hopeful that my girl will grow up to be a feminist, because it just makes sense that any woman who isn’t indoctrinated against it will gravitate toward it by virtue of pure human self-awareness.

    I just had to note for my sake that it’s the whole world that is doing this, not me. More than half the color choices of clothing for girls are pink, or contain lots of pink. I like pink, she likes pink, but her favorite color is orange. And there, for once, is something that the patriarchy is not responsible for. She likes orange!

  49. Bird

    Does anyone else remember when they came out with pink Lego? Like the ordinary multicoloured stuff wasn’t acceptable for girls?

    All of the kits were houses and things like that. No helicopters, robots, dragons, cars, or other “boy stuff.” Because you wouldn’t want your daughter thinking about anything other than domestic bliss, I guess.

  50. Sylvanite

    Bird, I guess that was so parents who were uncomfortable with the idea of giving girls Legos would find it more acceptable. I have a friend whose parents refused to give her the Legos she wanted because they weren’t for girls. PZ Myers has a post on his blog right now about a mother refusing to by a book for her daughter because the book was “too thick.” When the girl pointed out that her brother was getting a “thick book” the mother told her that thick books are okay for boys, but not girls. Aargh!

    It would also be nice to get to buy appropriately sized tools and equipment that wasn’t automatically colored pink. I must say, though, that if I ever want to get something that I don’t want to be snatched up by a guy, maybe I’ll consider getting it in pink, after reading some of the stories here.

    I wonder, do pink cars get stolen less often than other colors?

  51. Haukur

    Thank you, Tpurplesage, this was quite helpful. Many of those points about being of the “default” race generalize to being of the “default” sex. I am both, too.

    “My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will.”

    Very true.

  52. Andrew B.

    “radical feminism will change the way you look at many different categories that seem natural but which fall apart on examination.”

    I agree, and that’s why I’m here. In thinking about teaching theory, I’ve come across a lot of nasty things that people (seem to) do unconsciously when teaching children such as encouraging rule-breaking behavior in boys yet severely chastising it in girls.

    My comment on categories is aimed more towards the fact that we have so much sensory information coming into our brains at any given time that I’m finding it hard to rationalize that we can break out of a nasty cycle of categorizing; whether it be seeing a four sided object and calling it a square or seeing a blue sky and thinking it’s warm out.

    “I have a 3 year old daughter who is taking on cultural imprinting of femininity right now and it is painful to watch, since I’m helpless to stop it.

    I want to reject the ideas of masculine and feminine more completely. So much baggage and trouble over such a tiny glandular difference.”

    This is what I want to attack in the education system; I can’t change the world but this is an area that I believe can result in at least some good. I know it might be bold and maybe a pipe-dream but I know there has to be a way of educating our children to believe in equality and justice with a side of rationality.

    But that’s why I’m here, I want to pick peoples thoughts and theories on education and HOW we move forward, or at least change the education system.

  53. LMYC

    Bitey, the tools aren’t only scaled down in size, but quality as well. You only have to strip the end off a cheapass phillips head once and you’re buying snap-on for life. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass whether it’s pink or any other color.

    Cuz we all know if you’re really leaning in to work a stuck allen screw loose, you have to do it daintily. Any real woman wouldn’t put enough torque on a cheapie handtool to strip it anyway.

  54. Bitey

    LMYC, totally. The first time I saw one of those stupid little kits was when my cousin showed hers to me. Hers was powder blue. The hammer wasn’t a proper hammer at all, but the kind one uses to tack upholstery. There was a little screwdriver, and a delicate tape measure, and, most precious of all, a little packet of picture hangers. Because what else would a woman be doing around the house?

    The saddest part of all that is that my cousin is an engineer. She’s very smart and very capable, but also very invested in a certain patriarchal religion, many of whose adherents can be found in the vicinity of the Great Salt Lake. She’s too smart to pass as feminized, but too brainwashed to call bullshit on the fact that she “should” be feminine. I hate to think that she’s a lost cause, but they’ve really got their hooks in her.

  55. Miller

    I’d paint myself pink a la Blue Man Group if it meant I could ward of unwanted male advances. Somehow they seem to get past their fear of the pink then.

  56. Scratchy888

    This is what I want to attack in the education system; I can’t change the world but this is an area that I believe can result in at least some good.

    The contemporary education subtly reinforces gender norms by discriminating against female teachers who adopt a conventionally “male” form of disciplinary approach. They are unable to keep order unless they revert to being good nurturing females. Of course all of this is “child centred” and market driven.

  57. thebewilderness

    Andrew said:
    whether it be seeing a four sided object and calling it a square or seeing a blue sky and thinking it’s warm out.

    I don’t think you can get around our tendency to categorize. What I think children need is a healthy dose of doubt to prevent galloping assumptions.

  58. Andrew B.

    Thank you all for the opinions, back to lurking.

  59. The Constructivist

    Hey, there, don’t be a Paula Creamer hater. You probably upset her so much she lost the LPGA’s first major of 2007. Actually, I don’t care that much about PC’s tacky fashion sense, but I have to admit I never thought my own 3-year-old daughter would love pink. Figure she’ll grow out of it on her own w/o too much prodding. Same with the “gotta wear a skirt” thing and the “I want ponytails down to the ground” thing, both of which I blame on Pretty Cure (although the fashion/hairstyle choices of the older girls at her yochien probably play a role). So far I’m limiting myself with messing with her head, like when she screams when she sees pants (which for the first 3 years of her life she pretty much wore every day), “I like to be a girl! I don’t want to be a boy!” I simply ask, “Isn’t mama wearing pants? Isn’t she a girl?” Fun times.

  60. Shabnam

    Question for the Constructivist:
    Does you daughter know that the only difference between a boy and a girl is what lies between their legs? I just ask because when I was 3 years old, and baffled about why certain activities were promoted towards either girls or boys, I asked my mother, a doctor, to define boys and girls, and she gave a purely anatomical description. From then on, I concluded for myself that the difference between the sexes was negligible and I could do anything I wanted. Admittedly, I was a bit of an egocentric and stubborn child who did not wish to be like her peers. I just thought I should mention this because it was one of my earliest memories of asking questions.

    Despite my rebelliousness, I also went through a “girly” phase between the ages of 5 and 7, but I think it was more out of curiousity than conformity. With a good feminist mother like yourself, I am confident your daughter will grow out of it – she is just testing the waters.

  61. Artemis

    Sorry to be late to the post based on my comment. I was on vacation in a blissful state of life-without-computer.

    As to said comment and Twisty’s post, what “the author of the question really meant” was based on what J had been saying. I understood her position to be about reclaiming femininity, or some such. In other words, my question was rhetorical in response to J’s position.

    In more other words, it ain’t me trying to reclaim or redefine something I never had (or believed in) in the first place. When I play a sport (and I’ve played a whole, whole lot) what I care about is whether the equipment works, not how it makes me look to the patriarchy (I tend to get sweaty, bloody, and dirty – rugby – plus my sweats are baggy and torn in the wrong places and not butt-squeezingly tight; no amount of pink can save me).

    The patriarchy would have us believe all kinds of nonsense, including that pink golf balls are a sign of “girl power” TM (economic class having nothing whatsoever to do with it, of course, this is America afterall, but that’s another topic, sorry).

    As many others have alluded to here, when men will happily play golf/tennis/baseball/football/basketball/cricket/rugby/handball/water polo/ping pong/jacks (jacks?) with pink balls and build a house with a pink hammer, then we’ll know something has actually changed. In the meantime, it’s more of the same BS. Most of us get that, but I was wondering where pink sports equipment fits in J’s femininity argument.

  1. courses » Pink golf balls? Nice try, but … no.

    [...] mulligan wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt… does not exist in a vacuum; you can’t, as a woman or as a feminist or as anyone else, erase eons of accumulated symbolism and cultural narrative by simply lurching to your feet and proclaiming, “pink golf balls are empowerful!” … [...]

  2. courses » Comment on Pink golf balls? Nice try, but … no. by courses » Pink …

    [...] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt… does not exist in a vacuum; you can’t, as a woman or as a feminist or as anyone else, erase eons of accumulated symbolism and cultural narrative by simply lurching to your feet and proclaiming, “pink golf balls are empowerful!” … [… … [...]

  3. femininity and feminization « Devastating Yet Inconsequential

    [...] me about this, in her abrupt way, and I told her that, in my opinion, femininity is basically a tool that the patriarchy uses to oppress women.  As best I can recall, she found my argument ridiculous.  She asked me something like, [...]

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