Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Eat Shit, Or Ruin an Afternoon?

People reading this blog have probably read Melissa McEwan's post, The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck, which discusses dealing with sexism which happen on what could be called a micro-aggressive level - sexism that comes from not from random men in our lives, but men we love and care for, who shock us with the misogynistic things that come out of their mouths.

My dad, although he is made of Awesome™ and Win™, and my brother, slightly more typical than my dad, have occasionally sprung such unpleasant surprises on me in the past. Usually it's my dad, circulating emails filled with stereotypes, counter to what I know to be my reality. He means well, and just wants to share a laugh, but I have written back angry emails telling him, no, this isn't funny, and this is why.

There used to be a time when he would have a very long CC list, and I would hit Reply To All.

Yes, all, I Ruined Afternoons.

=/ In retrospect, I didn't do a good job of it. I didn't have the words necessary. I quite possibly wrote too-long paragraphs. I did my best to make it personal, but it was incredibly difficult to make personal something that is not in another's sphere of experience.

I was told to keep quiet, not go against my father, who is, after all, elder than me and deserves my respect and love for having supported me throughout my life.

I said, yes. He did all that, and I am showing how much I have learnt from him by speaking out against injustice when I saw it. Because my dad taught me some things: I have value. I should do good. I should never be afraid to go beyond other people's expectations. I should never judge myself by the yardstick others use.

When I get condescending remarks telling me, what do you know? I want to reply, look, my parents didn't raise a fool.

But these are from strangers, which I can handle. I don't live by their yardstick.

Occasionally, I will open my inbox, and I will be greeted with stereotypes that I might have laughed at in more ignorant years past, but these days, leave me with a sense of despair, why Dad? Why?

He has written back to me a few times since, saying to the effect of, "okay, sorry, this isn't your kind of humour, I won't send such things to you in the future."

And as much as I love him, my heart sinks, because I know whatever I have said hasn't really been heard or understood. He's still going to spread the misogynistic jokes around, and he's still going to be part of the perpetuation of a culture that devalues women, makes women targets of mockery.

This post is going to Ruin His Afternoon, if he ever reads it.

But I am so tired of Eating Shit.

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