Thursday, March 12, 2015

On being humans

Andrew Smith is a popular American author who recently was interviewed by Vice and at some point he was asked, "On the flip side, it sometimes seems like there isn't much of a way into your books for female readers. Where are all the women in your work?". To which he replied, "I was raised in a family with four boys, and I absolutely did not know anything about girls at all. I have a daughter now; she's 17. When she was born, that was the first girl I ever had in my life. I consider myself completely ignorant to all things woman and female. I'm trying to be better though."

Then hell broke loose. For this line, he received an avalanche of brutal criticism. Feminists drooling in anger bullied - yes, bullied, there's not a better word for that - him because how dare he says his experiences with women were less than enough to create convincing female characters? From that single reply, they decided that Andrew Smith is a misogynist who deserves ostracism, whose sexism is disgusting, yadah yadah. 

I feel sick about how quickly a man's words can be twisted and taken out of context to justify someone else's anger and frustration. For instance, Tessa Gratton wrote, "The interpretation is that women are less than human, or at the very least, inherently different from men. That is one of the oldest sexist arguments in the entire world."  Where for goddess' sake did Andrew Smith ever say that?

Yes, his books are focused on male characters who face challenges in life, who suffer abuse, who get over their fears. His secondary female characters are not as well developed. But you don't see him dismissing women in any of his books.
What the bullies don't mention is that in the same interview he says, about his new novel: "The book is really about the failure of male-dominated societies. Every single one of these male-dominated societies is really misguided, a failure—the survivors on the boat, too. They just think that they’re doing something that’s good and really, they’re not." Does that sound misogynist to you? It sure doesn't to me...

This man was abused by both his parents, didn't have a healthy female role model as a child, and was surrounded by brothers, not benefitting from growing up with girls around. He didn't become a man hating women, though, and if he's more comfortable writing about the masculine perspective, so what? 

He said he's ignorant about all things women, and this is a reason to attack him? He openly admitted his issues, and that he's learning to be better while raising his daughter, which is way more than many men out there would be willing to do. Actually, this is nothing new, there are several articles and books about "understanding the female universe", etc. It is a worldwide well-known joke that men don't understand women. 

The writer Chuck Wending wisely said, "I took his statement as being honest and as one that ended with an understanding of his need to improve. Aren't there actually shitty people we can be mad at?

But some people decided to unfairly pick Andrew Smith as a scapegoat, just because they can, because it's easier to immediately assume whatever they want, accuse and attack.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Seeing gold where gold is.

Soooo recently Amanda Palmer was criticized as not being a real feminist for showing public displays of affection towards her man. They said, "If you happen to be an internationally adored cabaret artist, is probably not to coo and gaze adoringly at your bestselling fantasy author husband for two hours in public". You can read her awesome response to this piece of ridiculous call-out hereI so relate to her post, and I applaud every single word she wrote.

I obviously believe in and demand equal rights for women and men - socially, sexually, politically, professionally, etc., the same way I support equal rights for everybody, socially, sexually, politically, professionally, etc., because these are human rights, plain and simple.

But I don't feel like I'm less of a woman or as if I don’t have a life just because I openly (and often) talk about the man I love. I'm not misandristic, which is what their "You're not a real feminist if you..." rant smells like. Because it's okay to talk and write about how bad and cruel some men really are, but when, like me, you have an amazing guy in your life, who loves, supports, admires and makes you feel wonderful, you should act as if it's nothing?

You don't need to have someone to have a happy, complete life. But when by one of these incredible twists of fate, among billions of people, you stumble upon an incredible person who becomes an important part of your life and you feel this immense love for them, and who makes you feel like the most beautiful and smartest person in the world, of course you can adoringly gaze at them in public, if you want to, literally and metaphorically.

I'm pretty sure there are some eyes-rolling every time I post another ("... there she goes again...") photo of Tim and I on my very active "Decaturian Delight" Facebook album. But I love doing so. I don't hide my feelings nor am I shy about them. I wish all men were with their women the way Tim is with me. Hell, I wish everybody was like him, period. He suffers with severe depression, which makes life awfully hard for him, but it doesn't prevent him from being a fun, witty, smart and brilliant man.

As many of you know, in January I visited him in Decatur and it was a nightmare for my health, when I had a kidney/bladder infection (with a night at hospital with him) and spent the whole month poisoned by Levaquin, with all the terrible side effects you can imagine that debilitated me to the point of feeling like a poor miserable mouse. So that's when someone shows their true colors. He was seeing me at my worst: often helplessly crying, physically weak to the bones, disoriented, half-walking, half-dragging myself from room to room, throwing up my guts, unfocused - in a nutshell, ultra sick like I've never been before. And how did he behave and treat me 24 hours a day, seven days of those (very long) weeks? With love pouring through his eyes. Never impatient, never a harsh word. Always with a smile for me, always with my hand in his, always with his arms around me to sleep. Always sweet, fun, loving and caring. All the time. Because that's who he is, and that's how he always treated me since we first met. And that's how every person should treat their loved ones.

So, roll your eyes if you must, or enjoy the joy with me, because yes, I do value the man I love, I brag about him, and I do think life is too damn short to save my PDAs for special occasions.