mouseworks: A crop of an orchid shot taken with a Nikon 105 macro lens (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mouseworks at 02:00am on 20/02/2011
Elsewhere, on another site, I'm reading a guy say he wants more women on the site, but he's not interested in stopping what his friends are doing to newbies who show up there. The people who contributed rather significantly to a recent fracus in which I was not entirely innocent either denied that they'd ever done anything out of line and that the moderator, a woman, was being just unfair and biased against them. The site runner appears to be concerned about what's happening but the site isn't exactly newbie friendly to people of either gender. While no money is changing hands for recommendations, people recommend people they know and flame people who don't take the standard advice on applying for residency (hire a lawyer that they recommend).

And the site runner says he is really disturbed that the site doesn't have more women and women have written him to tell them they were out of there and he really wants more women but one of the ringleaders is his very good friend.


When I came out at work, I got what I felt like was a sort of faux acceptance that was more about the self-image of the people assuring me that this gay thing was okay than any thing real -- I described it to someone as being liberalled on. Most people I know now who I like don't do this. I'm me first, orientation as part but not as definition.

I've seen a disconnect on that site between self-image ("I'm generous to women; I love the Nicaraguan people, especially the poor farmers who are the true Nicaragua, and I attack the petty bourgeois, especially the petty bourgeois who have poorly paying jobs and don't own or supervise anyone) and behavior. I have a special feeling in my heart for Western people want to be cool leftists or progressives but who use petty bourgeois to dismission people in lower circumstances than their own circumstances. Petty bourgeois own at least a shop and have people working under them. They are not contingent faculty, shop clerks, or plumbers.

Getting more women on the site requires seeing them as more than women. The classic observation, often true enough, was that Southern whites of the 1950s would not want to give blacks civil rights but might very well have a black friend, not like those other blacks. Those other blacks were like his stereotypes either, but he didn't know them.

I've known a lot of people who were women over the years -- very few of them were generic women (probably selection bias here, but hey).

The men don't think of themselves as the men except when someone, generally female, points it out to them. They to themselves are people. We're women, something less diverse than people, apparently.

One of the things that I liked about being in Nicaragua was finding out that we were Gringos and we did have body language that make us obviously not ordinary people from the back. Most people here are not us. I'm not impressed by the Gringos who find ways to be the unmarked case, the human observing the Nicaraguans, particularly the Wise Campesinos of the Real Nicaragua, as opposed to thinking about Lester, Marcos, Rosario, Pachita, Roberto, Glenda, or Wilber (I know a Wilber here and a Wilber in Patrick County, both into computers and at least one into Dr. Who).

When the women are the Woman Problem, even if it's in terms of wanting to have more women included in, I'm not really sure what's going on. As with the people who saw me principally as the object of their liberalism, I'm not being seen as a person who isn't more than the sum of my gender when the point of having me around is to have more women on the site.

Nicaragua is a flavor in the people I've met but not who they are. Nicaragua is a starting point for who they are, not the end point. I've seen people who lived for decades among another social group who could never stop stereotyping it, so I'm not impressed by time on the ground. I've seen a number of people live on a land, but not in a place. We've got people here who live on but not in Nicaragua.

Real diversity allows for real diversity within any group. Blacks don't have natural rhythm (I've seen some quite clumsy black dancers in urban areas where the kids weren't brought up dancing); women aren't naturally nicer unless there's something wrong with them; Nicaraguan women aren't all slimmer than North American women.

Using other people as the towel for polishing one's self image is more annoying than mostly treating women in a stereotyped way, but making exceptions for people the otherwise bigotted person knows really well as an individual, a complex person who can still surprise, who can break thinking out of its accustomed ruts.

The biggest mistreatment of women in North American/British/Western European culture is to assume they can't possibly do things without guidance, to try to force advice on people and be upset when they don't take it. It perhaps looks like a milder mistreatment than some of the other things guys do to women, but it means that women are considered less capable, less intelligent than men, and men are necessary to liberate women.

In Nicaragua, some women have led men into combat, which even the most liberated man isn't going to be comfortable with unless he trusts the intelligence of the person leading him. Commandate Dos got results. Women's positions in Nicaragua have regressed from that in some areas (there are people who argue that human rights begin with conception -- I don't agree with them but I respect their belief more than I do someone who loves abortion rights because he can make his girl friend get rid of it).

Societies can have generalities that are mostly true except when they aren't. Most Cherokee have wonderful relationships with their fathers, the parent who traditionally can't discipline them, except when they don't (he decides the rule is bunk or he's a nasty person).

I don't want to be one of the women that the ones who get to define want to diversify their group. I want to be me, and not be seen through the lens of the last experience people had with someone with internal genitalia and the potential (or past) ability to bear and nurse children. Transsexuals will disagree strongly with that definition.

Will those characteristics produce a uniformity in the people who have them compared to those who have external genitalia and higher levels of testosterone?

"I want more people with wombs and relatively high levels of estrogen in their systems to join us here" really sounds odd. These entities are people first, then the definition goes all technical on the details.

I have neither a womb or high levels of estrogen in my system at this point in my life. I used to have a womb and functioning ovaries. Maybe I don't qualify as a woman now (and some societies have completely different roles for post-menopausal women). I don't have the fine motor coordination that women are supposed to have (I flunked typing in high school and love computers for their ease of correction of the finger splay). I've never been docile.

A woman might be a person who had a womb and high levels of blood estrogen at some time in her life. Some people who strongly feel they are women never had a womb.

Most human being are complex and clever social mammals. None of us can really be reduced to a three sentence character description, much less a single word.

Women as women have problems. Those problems would be reduced quite a lot if their being women wasn't seen as their most important defining characteristic, whatever the stereotypes connected with that characteristic.


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