Occasionally, I receive hate mail--not usually directed toward me as a person, but toward queer people in general, or butch women in particular. I just delete these, because they're ignorant and unproductive and add zero value. But sometimes I get blog comments that are strange or ignorant or hateful, and unless they are incredibly horrible and offensive, I let those stay; you, my awesome readers, always inject a huge dose of reality/perspective into the conversation.
Anyhow, I wanted to share one of these with you because it epitomizes multiple discussion/critique modes that I loathe. Someone commented this on my post Things Butches Do That Bother People:
I don't like how butch women dress like men and then get annoyed when you don't treat them like women. Why dress like a man if you don't want to be seen as protective, wordly-wise and strong. Luckily I'm bisexual so I can just go get an actual man. Sorry but just the truth - been stung.
Let's break this into five constituent parts:
(1) I don't like how butch women dress like men
(2) and then get annoyed when you don't treat them like women.
(3) Why dress like a man if you don't want to be seen as protective, wordly-wise and strong.
(4) Luckily I'm bisexual so I can just go get an actual man.
(5) Sorry but just the truth - been stung.
And analyze them one by one:
(1) Is simply an aesthetic preference. Fine. I don't like it when you dress like a fairy princess. Or when you unbutton too many buttons on your shirt and I have to look at your nasty chest hair. We can agree to disagree, although I should point out that it is incredibly gender-reductionist to use the phrase "dress like men." But I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that by "dress like men," you mean "wear clothes bought in the men's department and marketed toward men." Fine. But I don't care about your particular idiosyncratic aesthetic preferences.
(2) What do you mean "get annoyed when you don't treat them like women?" This makes no sense. What does it mean to treat someone "like a woman?" Are you really treating, say, your male co-workers differently from your female ones? Why? That's weird.
(3) What butches don't want to be seen as protective, "worldly-wise" (whatever that is) and strong? Those all sound like good things. In fact, I don't get why these things are gendered, or what they have to do with the way people dress. This makes no sense.
(4) An "actual" man? Look, sweetcakes, butches are not "approximating" men. We are not fake men or wannabe men or anything else that is MANly. We are proud women who present in a way society defines as "masculine." Masculinity ≠ men. Your thinking is so incredibly reductionist and narrow that it depresses me. Go get a man if you want one, but puh-leez don't think that any butch would want to be with someone who didn't like her for who she is or saw her as some kind of "almost-wannabe-man."
(5) Why is it that whenever people say something stupid or offensive or completely devoid of evidence, details, or data, they hide behind the idea that this is the "truth?" If I said, "Straight people are annoying; sorry, that's just the truth," it would make no sense. There's an overgeneralization followed by a completely fake "apology," followed by the idea that something vague and offensive is "true." And then the "been stung?" Stung? What are you talking about? Simply the idea that you haven't had successful relationships with butches? Yeah, I'm not surprised! You don't seem to like them very much!
I. Can't. Even.