Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bland Mysogyny

Catspaw's blog about the "boys club" in engineering and the University of Ottawa's student engineers' paper being shutdown for misogyny inspired this comment from me.

As a comedian I've seen a lot of amateurs (a community dominated by white males) make crude, taboo sexual remarks. It's the shortest route to reaction. Misogyny is the haven for the talentless. A desperate shield from the heat of the stage lights. They're like children in a schoolyard calling each other "fags" without knowing what it means. They're trying so hard. They just want to be liked.

I'm not trying to defend the boys' club writers. I'm trying to explain the "can't you take a joke" backlash that feminism often faces. Look who we're dealing with. University papers are like NHL expansion teams. Forgettable squads that dilute the league's talent. We're left with an embarrassing amount of mediocre male writers reaching into their shallow bag of humour to produce a bland attack on women and homosexuality that they don't even feel. Don't get me wrong. Women can make for shitty writers too. It's a numbers game and our patriarchal history gives more opportunities for talentless men to speak their minds. Should we heckle them off the stage?

On a related note:
I have a friend who has time-traveled here from the early 19th Century. He was a plantation owner in the southern US. At dinner parties he makes all sorts of jokes about his Negro slaves. It's awkward for all of us. No one has the courage to tell him "history has moved on" so we tolerate his racist puns and limericks. When the room grows deathly quiet he shouts "can't anyone take a joke?" and nervously polishes his monocle.


Also. This blog is an index of insight. Turns out, there's a cultural war going on even if we don't consciously choose a side:

1 comment:

lfar said...

Thanks for those articles. When I took a women's studies elective everybody in my class made fun of me. "I can't meet to have group study on Wednesday, I have Women's Studies" "Oh, you're going to go burn all your bras again?" and etc. I let the comments slide and then I'd feel bad for letting the comments slide.

As with most of my negative life experiences, when I look back, and realize that now I'm way cooler than I used to be, I almost wish for those same things to happen again. Like when people were mean to my friend in grade 7 because she cut her hair short? And they told her she looked manly? Man, would I like to take those grade 7s on now. And when they make fun of women's studies? It makes me hope my engineering paper publishes something as stupid as this, so I can stand up for feminism this time, instead of letting it slide.