Manicures? You're kidding, right?
A marketing person who wants me to choose her venue for an event (this is something related to work) introduced herself over email a few days ago and suggested that she and I "go get manicures together" and talk about my "event" (which I'm actually not in charge of anymore, and haven't been for two years).
1. You don't know me.
2. How about at least Google-stalking me before gender-profiling me?
3. You don't know me.
I found this totally bizarre and amusing, and I wondered if she's trying to do the buddy-buddy "old boys' network" kind of thing... except with another woman... whom she has never met. So odd. I was tempted to say yes, just to see the look on her face when butch ol' me showed up, but I don't think sitting through a marketing spiel about her amaaaazing venue would have been worth it. I mean, seriously. If she's not going to also take me to a blow-dry bar, buy me an appletini, and go skirt-shopping together, what's the point?
All of which made me think: what would a butch "old boys'" networking event look like? I bet it would involve neither manicures and appletinis, nor golf and scotch. Maybe craft beer and a softball game? A glass of red wine and a k.d. lang concert? What say you?
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.
States aren't allowed to make gay sexual relationships illegal anymore, but this has only been true since the Supreme Court handed down Lawrence v. Texas in 2003. Before that, states were free to make gay sex illegal. Like, sex between consenting adults. If you're under age 25 or so, the recency may be a little jarring to you. By 2003, most states weren't actually enforcing these laws very often, but they were still sometimes on the books.
So you'd think that when a Supreme Court case was handed down, the state would take the unconstitutional law off the books, right?
Ah, no. At least not for gay peeps, and at least not in Texas. As a recent article in the Texas Tribune pointed out, the law prohibiting same-sex sexual contact of basically any type is still on the books. This means that someone could still be arrested for doing fun gay things--and indeed, it's come close to happening before. The charge would be dropped, and no conviction for violation of an unconstitutional penal code provision would stand up in court. But still, why is this law still on the books?
Basically, Texas legislators won't take it off. They know it's unconstitutional. They know it can't be enforced. But keeping it there is like getting to punch queer Texans in the gut. It's an official expression of the belief that homosexuality is wrong and bad and immoral and deserves to be punished. This is completely insane behavior on the part of the Texas state legislature. Completely. Insane.
If you want to learn more about Lawrence v. Texas case and the bizarre story behind it, check out this very entertaining podcast from Radiolab's More Perfect. And for Pete's sake, if you live in Texas, call your legislator and ask to have this offensive, horrible law taken off the books for good.