Posts Tagged ‘sexism’

I’ve been thinking recently about how we perceive aging and appearances.  Particularly for women.  It’s commonly said that man more attractive, more dignified looking,  as they get older, whereas for women youth is paramount.

Which is bullshit.  It really is.  Why is being young considered so desirable for women? 

I have times I look back at photos of myself in my later teen years and think I liked so much better,  and why didn’t I appreciate it at the time?  (Side note but when u do thin this,  I try to remind myself that I may feel that way about myself currently,  so I need to appreciate myself now. )
But other times,  I look in the mirror and think I like how I look now much better than when I was 18, despite all the reasons I “shouldn’t” according to whoever.  And I am still fairly young, and so subjected to little of the negativity women get about their appearance and worth as they age.  All I often hear messages about how is all downhill after 18 for women, and I think- why should I want to look 18 again?

Why should I want to be 18? What is it about being young we desire so much?  I have learned so much since then,  I have gotten wiser,  smarter,  and stronger.  I am less inclined to tolerate bullshit,  and I have a better understanding of what really matters in life.
I care less what people in general think of me,  I care less about being cool,  popular,  or fitting in.  And frankly,  I often look forward to getting even older and giving less a shit about these things as time goes on. 

1 Mile Run

Posted: September 14, 2015 in Running Blogging
Tags: , , ,

I was planning to get in 3 runs last week but after the Wednesday running group I couldn’t walk without limping until today. Feet still hurting, but I decided to go out for a short 1 mile run (plus warm up walk and cool down walk) after my OHP workout today.

OHP’s didn’t go great. I find it very hard to make progress on them and was feeling very weak during the workout.

So then out for my run. Not used to measuring my runs in distance. Had runkeeper set to repeat .5 mile run with a warm up and cool down. So warm up walk, then I get the notification for my first .5 mile run. After the first block of running I’m thinking “how far is a mile? Am I almost done? I don’t think I can run this whole distance.” But shortly after 5 minutes ish in I was feeling better about it.

Notification for the second .5 mile run which meant time to turn around and head home. About 2 blocks in, I stop for a car- this time of night/morning the lights are blinking reds or blinking yellows and no sidewalk crossing signals, so I just wait for cars to clear. Except even after I wave for him to go, he is still stopped at the light with no traffic. Ok, I’ll cross then. As I’m in front of him I hear the person honk. I finish crossing and take out my headphones, but I don’t hear anything at first, then dude pulls slowly around a bit and next to me and says something I can’t hear, so I walk back a bit and ask what he said. He says something about working out together, and wanting to meet new people. So I respond “you want to workout with me?” He says yes, says he walks in the mornings and it would be nice to have someone to walk with. Then he says “or do you have a boyfriend?” I ask him if he’s looking for a walking buddy or a date. I don’t have a boyfriend but I also don’t typically date men. He says he just wants a walking buddy but wouldn’t want to be talking to me if I have a boyfriend.

… So you just had to check if another man owns me or not before talking to me?

So that’s new!

So I went back to my running, thinking how I won’t be able to have an accurate sense of my pace during the mile now.

Though I was a bit confused how doing .5 out and .5 back the second .5 was a full block longer than the first somehow o_0 What’s with that runkeeper?

I am now back to limping :-\

I’ve also been out of kinesiology tape for awhile. Hopefully once I get some more and go back to taping I won’t be limping between runs like this.

I think everyone should go check out this blog post by an MIT student about research on stereotype threat, and research on ways it can be countered.

In a now-famous study, psychologists at the University of Berlin falsely told participants that they had been selected to participate in a series of tests “to measure the ability to put oneself in someone else’s position” – a fabrication devised to avoid confounding factors in their real study on gender identity priming. They prepared a text describing a day in the life of a “stereotypical woman” who takes care of her family, works part time, and is insightful, helpful, and agreeable. They also prepared an equivalently-structured text outlining the activities of a stereotypical manly man who is tough, risk-taking, and does weight training after work. Subjects were randomly given one of the two texts, and then asked: “If you were the person described in the text, which adjectives would you use to describe yourself?”

Soon after participants described themselves with either the male- or female-associated traits, they were asked to take a mental rotation test presented as independent of the first part of the study, supposedly to measure their personal spatial aptitude. On this mental rotation test, women who were “primed” with the female identity scored an average of 3.86 on the exercise, compared to the female-primed males’ average of 5.14. Okay, expected. But then when primed with the male text, women scored an average of 5.49, while men scored 5.53… wait a second, what?

As it turns out, there is zero statistically significant gender difference in mental rotation ability after test-takers are asked to imagine themselves as stereotypical men for a few minutes. None. An entire standard deviation of female underperformance is negated on this condition, just as a man’s performance is slightly hindered if he instead imagines himself as a woman. (well then.) Although this study is of course not a logically definitive answer to all things “nature versus nurture,” it does add a tremendous structural asset to the growing mountain of evidence that “natural” ability differences are confounded by identity and subconscious self-stereotyping. Demographic expectations may be subtle or overt, but they are omnipresent, and they are likely much more powerful than most of us have ever considered.

There is a lot more really great info in the original post, so go over there and read the whole thing!

Comic shows a man and woman getting married. In the first panel the priest asks “Do you promise to love him in sickness and in health?” The bride answers “Yes.” Second panel the priest asks “Do you promise to love him ’till death do you part?” The bride answers “Yes.” Third panel the priest asks “Do you promise to order your OWN fries if you want them, instead of saying you DON’T want fries, then requesting a ‘taste’ of his, and helping yourself to roughly half of them?” Fourth Panel the bride says, “Wha… who wrote these vows?!” The Groom says, “Just answer the question”.

I saw this the other day, shared on a website, and honestly didn’t think too much into it at the time. Yet it’s been stuck in my head a bit since then, bugging me a bit more over time.

The thing that bugs me about this comic strip is that it plays on a pretty common trope- women want something like fries but don’t order them instead eating a large portion of their (typically male) partner’s serving of that food.

If you want fries, just order your own fries, right?

Why is it apparently so common for women to not just order their own fries?

I feel pretty sure the issue is mostly related to pressure women feel to not be seen ordering too much food or the “wrong” kinds of food. That is the part that bugs me. Makes me mad actually. That we worry, that there is any cause to worry, about being judged if we did just order what we want.

Which to be clear- I order what I want when I eat out. Still, I can certainly relate to worrying about being judged for ordering what I want. Especially because of my size, but also certainly because I’m a woman. Because femininity is associated with daintiness and being small- and so we should be eating small, dainty portions right? Or better yet just not eating those foods at all because food is for some reason very gendered in our society! Burgers and fries? Those are guy foods. Women should order a salad. There is also this social image of women as dieters, where in it almost feels like an expectation that women be dieting, and trying to eat better (and less). Even if we don’t, how normal is it to preface such things with comments about how bad we are being for eating this or ordering that? It’s not the slightest big out of place to hear “I really should get the salad but that burger just looks so good!” To the point that it starts to feel like a social obligation to make it clear we know we aren’t supposed to be eating the burger and fries.

I certainly fall into this. Especially because I do tend to eat a lot in one sitting, particularly since I practice intermittent fasting. When I eat out at a restaurant, that’s often the only meal I eat that day, so yeah, it’s going to be big. It’s just common sense it will be bigger than someone for whom that is one of 3 (or more) meals they eat that day. Because of that I do find myself thinking “I really want to order this, but what are the people I’m with/the server going to think of me ordering that much?” I think more often than not these days I end up at “well fuck what they think, I’m ordering the food I want”, but it’s also pretty clear that this is something a lot of women, myself included, struggle with thinking. I also find myself making comments about it sometimes, like I need to acknowledge to someone that I know it’s a lot of food, or even apologize for that. I remember for instance going to a Coney Island restaurant with a friend who was visiting from out of state, who had never been to a Coney before. Looking at the menu, I really wanted a chili dog. I also really wanted a greek salad. And also chili cheese fries. So what did I order? All of the above. (Also ate all of the above plus half of a big dessert dish split with my friend after. And it was good.) I also remember making some comment to my friend essentially apologizing and saying that I was about to order a whole lot of food for myself.  Which is of course completely ridiculous. I don’t need to apologize to my friend because I’m eating a  lot of food. If I want to eat it, I don’t need to justify it, or apologize for it to someone else.

I suspect though that this is the underlying reason why it is, according to popular culture at least, so common for women to say they don’t want something like fries, and then eat part of their partners. This eliminates some judgement about what the woman orders for herself- not just from her partner, but the (often imagined) judgement from other random people, as well as from herself. “I’m bad for eating this” isn’t just something people say far too often, but also something far too common for women to feel. Yes, we want the fries, but we have years of programming telling us we are bad if we give in and order them or eat them. So you don’t order them, you just eat a few of your partner’s, which maybe ends up being more than a few because damn it you did actually really want the fries.

So, I absolutely agree that if you want fries, go ahead and order fries for yourself! But also, while we laugh about this phenomena of women who won’t order their own fries, why don’t we also consider what we are doing as a culture to make women feel bad for ordering fries?

(Also, I have some frozen fries in my freezer that I am definitely thinking of digging out and cooking later tonight thanks to this post! lol.)

Image of a potato with text saying “I’m offended by this potato”

I am so sick of hearing folks talk about how terrible it is that other people make an effort to be respectful to other people- ie, caring if something they say is offensive. And images like the potato one here being shared around social media as oh so edgy! When did intentionally being an asshole become something to brag about?

This was going to be a facebook post but I feel like this will get too wordy for a facebook status, so blog post it is!

This is actually most recently inspired by conversations I’ve seen around a free pride (alternative to the main pride which many feel is too commercialized) in Glasgow deciding against having any drag performers at the event because some felt it would be offensive to some trans people. They apparently are working on changing this policy btw.

The thing is, looking at discussions about this- I actually saw a lot of really great and thoughtful discussions about this with people talking about the role drag has had in the history of the lgbtq right movement through time, and how it has been important for many cis gay/queer people and trans and genderqueer people in being able to embrace who they are. And some trans folks spoke about why they find drag upsetting, negative experiences with drag performers, and some cis gay/queer folks talked about why they are uncomfortable with drag performances- how many performers draw on misogynistic, classist, and racist caricatures yet it’s given a pass because it’s a performance/comedy/part of queer culture.

And then other folks but in with such insightful commentary as “haha pc police going overboard!”, “the movement to not be offended is imploding on itself!”, “if you are offended by anything ever just never leave your house!” and so on.

The underlying idea behind all that of course is that the thoughtful conversations that I previously mentioned are utterly worthless. Attempting to understand where other people are coming from and find ways to be more respectful to a wide variety of people is stupid. The cool thing apparently is being an asshole just for the sake of being an asshole. If you hurt someone unintentionally and they say so, laugh at them for being a human being who has feelings- what a loser!

The thing is, there is not actually any real movement out there to never be offended. What does exist is a lot of people who have decided “hey, let’s try not to be assholes!” Who actually care to listen to what other people have to say and perhaps make changes if what they are doing is upsetting people.

I don’t think “I’m offended” is or should be the end of the discussion. And the truth is, I don’t think anyone thinks that. That may be the starting point for a larger discussion that hopefully leads to greater understanding and empathy. It is certainly not the end all, be all it is made out to be by the same people who talk about “social justice warriors” as boogie men. (Because when being an asshole is cool, social justice is bad.)

If someone tells me something is offensive to them and why I like to hope that I would consider the point they are making. I would certainly not keep doing/saying the same thing for the sole purpose of hurting them, because I’m not a sociopath. I recognize that other people are human beings with feelings, and I try to be respectful of that. If I have a reason to say something that I feel is important though, I will say it. Take for example “queer”. A lot of people, especially in my experience older people, in the lgbt community find the term offensive. If I know someone who find it offensive I will not purposefully refer to them as queer to upset them, in fact I will do my best to use their preferred identity to refer to them specifically. I won’t stop using queer in general though, because it’s still the term I feel best fits my identification and I’m not ok with being told how I’m allowed to identified. There is actually nuance to these things. And there is a huge difference between using a term because it has important meaning to you, and using a term just to upset other people or because you can’t be bothered to be considerate of the fact that other people exist and have feelings.

In contrast to my use of the word queer, many years back a friend called me out on my usage of the word “retarded” as a generic negative. And while my immediate reaction was actually rather defensive at the time, over the next few days I considered the point she made and realized she was right, and there was really no good reason for me to keep using that word. It took awhile to get out of the habit of using it, but at the end of the day there was no good reason for me to use that word. Whether I agree with people being upset by it or not isn’t even relevant, they are and it’s a word I have no good reason to need to use, so why not make an effort to be respectful? It’s not that hard.

And yet, for some reason instead of recognizing the nuance and purpose behind these discussion, there is a large portion of people who want very much to reduce this all to “haha, you’re a person who has feelings!” and cries about “pc police”.

I’ve actually been thinking a lot recently about being single and my feelings about it.

Now just a quick disclaimer here- first off I am speaking about my own experiences, and that is really all I can speak on. Similarly, because I’m speaking from my own experiences, I’m throwing a bit together here that isn’t all directly defined by being single. Some of this is also specific to living alone, and living alone in a house- I could be single and still not have that experience. But that is part of my experience with being single.

1. I’m comfortable being single

As much as I sometimes want certain benefits of a relationship, I’m also very hesitant of getting involved in one- mainly because there are so many perks to being single! I was talking with someone about this and they suggested it’s normal to be afraid of getting serious when you’ve been hurt before… but that’s not how I feel. I’m not afraid, least of all of being hurt. There was a time when I was hesitant of dating for that reason, right after coming out of two back to back abusive relationships. But now? I’m not afraid to get close to people. I’m not afraid of having my heart broken. And honestly I’m not even afraid of the risk of abuse, because I know I can get out and I can survive any of it.

Damaged people are dangerous, they know they can survive.

Quite the opposite, I’m just not about to give up all the good things of being single quickly or without good reason. And I notice that after spending most of my adult life un-attached, I’m very comfortable in being single right now.

Now part of this is liking the perks of being single, especially living alone- things are my way, I don’t have to share, I don’t have to accommodate someone else, I don’t have to accommodate their schedule, or worry that my dirty clothes all over the house or general clutter will bother them. And I don’t get annoyed because someone moved my [insert thing] and now I can’t find it!

someecards says: “Yes, I’m single. And you’re gonna have to be pretty amazing to change that.”

But there is a deeper level to being comfortable being single as well- I’m comfortable with myself! I’ve seen friends who just can’t be single. They get antsy and uncomfortable spending mere weeks without a significant other. The result being they jump into relationships not because they found someone who they are so into they really want to be with them, but because they just really want to be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship. Most people I’ve observed who do this, seem to be rather uncomfortable with themselves alone. Being alone with yourself can lead to some deep reflection on who you are. If that makes you uncomfortable you either have to make some serious changes in yourself… or you just try to avoid being alone with yourself long enough for that to kick in. The latter can be a lot easier! There is also an issue with social acceptance and this ties in with being comfortable with yourself though! I’ve had friends who told me they couldn’t stand being single just because they felt left out among coupled friends, or felt like they were judged for being single. There is this idea people have that being single means you “can’t get someone”. People tend to view being single as something forced on a person rather than something they would choose. This often is not the case, but if your single, you are going to come up against this stereotype. Are you comfortable enough in who you are to not give a damn what people think of you for being single?

By being single for so long, I feel like I’ve had to deal with a lot of these things, and so many more. I have grown and I am a better person for it.

2. I’ve learned I’m capable and I can handle myself

A big motivation for me writing this is actually just the mundane things about living alone that I’ve learned to deal with, or you could say even overcome.

For example, today I removed a dead bird from my backyard, all by myself! That may sound silly, but I’m pretty proud of myself for that!

Now, this was after getting some advice from my family who pointed out the common sense solution- use a shovel! I was a bit horrified thinking I needed to get a glove or plastic baggy and pick it up with my hand. We all have our strengths and weaknesses- I’m learning one of my weaknesses is that I sometimes I overlook the simple, commonsense solutions to basic problems. No shame in admitting I’m not perfect!

But this got me thinking about all the things I’ve had to do myself because- it’s just me! I also think most people could benefit from living alone a least for awhile for these reasons.

It’s funny to me, because there was a time I thought I couldn’t live alone! I thought I would always need roommates at least.This was due largely to a fairly serious phobia of bugs- all bugs. I could not deal with them. I could not kill them because that required getting too close to them.

It’s gotten a lot better over the years, and that is due a lot to simple necessity. I had to get used to it/figure out solutions that work for me (I still can’t get close enough to most bugs to kill them by squishing them with something, I  have to use raid that I can spray from a distance. But I keep home and garden raid on hand now so I can handle it my own way!)

Now, I’m also thankful that I was eased into living alone in a house, because I would not have managed going from living with my family to having my own house well. But rather I went from living with family to a dorm with a roommate and a hall full of other students and an RA. Then I tried that again the next year with a different roommate and ended up with a sociopathic, homophobic rooommate who did everything she could to make my live miserable every second of the day because she was upset at having a “gothic dyke like [me]” for a roommate (and this was actually before I was out!)

That was the push that made me brave living alone. I switched dorm rooms for the rest of that year and had a totally nice roommate, but still I decided to move offcampus and live by myself in a studio apartment the next year. Which gave me plenty of living alone experience, though I never had to deal with outdoor things.

Now I rent a house I live in just me and my cat. Which comes with so many more challenges than an apartment. I have to do yardwork- and venture outside and deal with all the  bugs in the process.

Yet ironically despite my general hatred of being outside with bugs, I like mowing the lawn and don’t mind most of the yard work. Which I’m thankful to learn about myself, I know I can handle things that I do not like- like disposing of the dead bird, or having to kill spiders myself. I also learned that I prefer certain chores that I would have thought I hated, and ones that are generally considered men’s work. I’ve had guy friends over who make comments about doing things like mowing the lawn for me or whatever and I’m just like… why? Yeah I’m a woman, but I can handle it! I live alone, who do you think usually does it?

So I’m glad to know that I can be self-sufficient. And again, I think that’s a big benefit to take with me when I do get into a relationship.

Oh, and to throw in a little bit related to the actual theme of this blog- lifting helps with this stuff too! Makes being a single, self-sufficient woman a lot easier. Today I was doing yardwork and hauled my bag of yard waste to the alley and filled it as much as I could with leaves and branches my neighbors keeping throwing on my part of the alley. So then I tried to drag the bag back to my house, but it was too heavy it didn’t really want to easily slide across the uneven grass. So I said fuck it, and just picked it up and carried back to my house. I’ll need to repeat the when I take it out to the curb for pickup. Certainly makes things easier when you don’t need assistance in lifting or moving the heavy stuff- just saying 🙂

I also suck at making lists- this should probably have more than 2 listed items…. oh well.

This morning on my facebook newfeed I came across this image:

Image Description: A flyer says "Check Your Privilege Gender - Man (+50) -Woman (-50) -Genderqueer (-75) -Intersex (-100) Transgender (-300) Race -White (+100) -Asian (-50) -Latino (-50) -Black (-100) -Middle Eastern (-150) -Other (-100) Religion -Christian (+50) -Non-Religious (-10) -Jewish (-20) -Muslim (-50) -Other (-20) Disability  -Able-Bodied (+25) -Disease (-30) -Immobile (-50) -Deaf or Blind (-50) -Autistic (-200) Sexual Orientation -Heterosexual (+50) -Bisexual (-50) -Pansexual (-50) -Asexual (-50) -Homosexual (-150) Status -Plutocrat (+100) -Wealthy (+50) -Middle (+25) -Poor (-25) -Homeless (-250) Appearance -Average Body (+10) -Overweight (-20) -Underweight (-5) -Disfigured (-40) -Tall (+10) -Short (-10) Very Priveleged: 100+ Priveleged: 50-100 Non-Priveleged: -100-0 Very Dis-privelege: >-100

Image Description: A flyer says “Check Your Privilege
Gender
– Man (+50)
-Woman (-50)
-Genderqueer (-75)
-Intersex (-100)
Transgender (-300)
Race
-White (+100)
-Asian (-50)
-Latino (-50)
-Black (-100)
-Middle Eastern (-150)
-Other (-100)
Religion
-Christian (+50)
-Non-Religious (-10)
-Jewish (-20)
-Muslim (-50)
-Other (-20)
Disability
-Able-Bodied (+25)
-Disease (-30)
-Immobile (-50)
-Deaf or Blind (-50)
-Autistic (-200)
Sexual Orientation
-Heterosexual (+50)
-Bisexual (-50)
-Pansexual (-50)
-Asexual (-50)
-Homosexual (-150)
Status
-Plutocrat (+100)
-Wealthy (+50)
-Middle (+25)
-Poor (-25)
-Homeless (-250)
Appearance
-Average Body (+10)
-Overweight (-20)
-Underweight (-5)
-Disfigured (-40)
-Tall (+10)
-Short (-10)
Very Priveleged: 100+
Priveleged: 50-100
Non-Priveleged: -100-0
Very Dis-privelege: >-100”

The more I look at this or think about it the more wrong with it I notice, including the misspelling of privilege. I can’t make out anything on the flyer that indicates who created it. I’m sure they had good intentions to help make people aware of their privileges with it. Though I am skeptical of whether this is even effective for that.

The first issue with this is that privilege and oppression cannot simply be added. My experiences as a queer woman are not simply sexism + heterosexism. Rather the way I experience sexism is as someone who is queer and the way I experience heterosexism is as a woman. Or to put that another way: I don’t experience sexism as straight women do + heterosexism as gay men do. This goes the same for areas of privilege. The way I experience sexism is also impacted by my white privilege as much as by queer oppression.

This is also one reason I’m skeptical of this doing much good for helping people be aware of their privilege as this suggests that my being gay somehow cancels out my white privilege (and then some). That’s not how it works. When it comes to race my privilege is not less just because I lack privilege in things not related to race.

Next up is that a lot of the numbers relatively are off. The first that stood out to me was sexual orientation, bi and pan represent 1/3 the lack of privilege of being gay which is just bullshit. bi and pan folks experience heterosexism/homophobia just like gay folks. Passing privilege is a thing, but not one specific to bi and pan folks- it’s neither inherent to those identities nor limited to them. As a single queer/gay/lesbian* woman I often have an easier time passing as straight if I want than a bi woman in a relationship with another woman. I’m never outed by talking about a current significant other or just being with them.

*I prefer queer as an identifier but will also use gay or lesbian. On a spectrum I fall somewhere closer to totally gay than middle of the road bi. On a kinsey scale about a 5.

And then that being bi or pan is equal to asexual that I personally do not think belongs there at all. Heteroromantic asexual people (those who have/desire hetero relationships but do not desire sex) are not oppressed imo. This also reminds me of the recent Daily Show segment showing past reports from correspondent Jason Jones where he is talking to a man who says that (gay) people shouldn’t have special rights just because of the kind of sex they have. The thing is, sexual orientation is not about the type of sex one has! At most it give you an idea of the gender of people I have sex with. It is a common question of how two women have sex, but the reality is the answer is all sorts of ways! There are many different acts that two women may or may not engage in, they may have very vanilla sex, or very kinky sex. And if it’s kinky, my sexual orientation tells you nothing of if I’m a domme or sub or a switch. It doesn’t tell you what my kinks are or aren’t. Gay sex shouldn’t be extra taboo imo, but being queer is about far more than sex and it’s effect on our lives goes far beyond the bedroom.

Other categories have weird hierarchies int hem as well. Autism is the most oppressed of all disabilities? Who decided that being middle eastern is the most oppressed racial group?

There are also issues with terminology. First off I don’t get the categorization for class, I don’t see anyone identifing as a plutocrat, and wealthy folks will just think they are middle class anyways.

“immobile”, “disease”, “disfigured”- many of these seem like they were chosen by people who are not part of that group. Even though I have diseases, in context I would prefer “chronic illness”, since I think of myself as “ill” not “diseased”- there is definitely a negative connotation to that. I’m not even sure who all is supposed to fall under these categories. There are definitely disabilities that don’t fit any of them.

Then there are the cross group issues. I’d rather speak to those that apply to me, so let me talk about those. First off, short? I’m short at 5’0″ but I am not oppressed by that shortness. Even within the appearance category, it is not comparable to being fat. And fat is nearly equivalent to being poor? I don’t think so. And for me I feel being a woman is a bigger factor in oppression that being queer, though I’m not sure where I’d rank everything. But socio-economic class needs to be higher up there. Of course the problem with ranking is it is personal! To me being a woman feels like it should rate a bigger negative score than being queer but that does not mean another queer woman won’t feel differently from her experiences. And much of this goes as well to the fact that we all typically experience varying degrees/aspects of oppression. My experience being queer is different than someone who was disowned by their family when they came out. My experience being fat is different than someone who has difficulty with chairs in public spaces accommodating their size. Experience with disability varies so fucking widely I wouldn’t even know where to start there. And socio-economic status is incredibly complicated in how we define it and where one falls. By income level I am poor. But that is to some extent ameliorated by other aspects of class privilege like education.

All in all, it’s just kind of a mess. Which tends to be the result whenever anyone tries to quantify or compare privilege.

So despite the fact that I have a blog where I talk about fitness and lifting this is not even close to what I most identify myself by. Neither is being fat for that matter.
And the truth is it is weird to me when this seems so central to other people’s identities. But for the most part I feel that falls under “to each there own”. The one part of my blog title that I would say is very central to who I am is that I am a feminist. And who am I to say that me putting great emphasis on that aspect of myself is somehow more valid than someone placing great value on the fact that they liked lifting shit up and putting it down?
But I was thinking about this in the context of certain men who get on my nerves with how they talk about lifting. I’ve run across a few men who just make me want to scream at them “building muscle and having a low body fat percentage does not make up for a shitty personality!” It’s like the lifting version of nice guys I guess. These are men who complain about how despite their lifting and low body fat women dont want to date them, meanwhile they act like misogynistic assholes. And then inevitably some girl they like ends up dating some guy who “doesn’t even lift” and they whine about how could she be with him and not them because they lift!
Well, shockingly, for many folks, like myself, personality matters more than muscle when it comes to dating! Whether or not a girl lifts or works out at all really doesn’t have much impact in my interest in her. I mean cool if she does, cool of its something we could enjoy together, but if not that’s totally fine. Women I date don’t need to share all my interests. But what very much does matter is her personality, and in particular that she not be some woman hating asshole.
So how about instead of whining that women aren’t interested in you even though you lift heavy shit, you stop and consider that maybe she likes that dude who doesn’t even lift because he’s actually a decent person who doesn’t treat her like an object he’s entitled to for lifting heavy shit?

For some reason there is something… or somethings… about me some people just really hate. I mean, I never expect to be everyone’s cup of tea. But honestly I am surprised at times the amount of obsessive hate I get directed at me. Particularly the obsessive part. Like the folks who obviously disagree with me and clearly straight up do not like me, yet still apparently read everything I write here and on other websites- and check all my workouts I post online. I mean, I have a blog specifically identified as being about feminism, I expect the random nasty comments. That some people really get so obsessed though that they don’t just say “haha fattie!!!!” (<- real comments I get often) and move on but keep following all my activities across various websites- that was a bit unexpected.

But I guess I should have expected, I’m fat, I’m a woman, and I’m queer a dyke, several characteristics that mean a lot of people are very bothered by my mere existence on the internet. I actually try not to venture too far away from certain safe internet spaces usually (my facebook that is limited to those I have friended, and a few forums that restrict membership and are heavily moderated against hateful or harassing comments). Though I’ve branched out recently. Though I still won’t go on reddit. But I have this blog, and another, I use twitter now and then, and I started posting on instagram a lot and even made my account public, and I’m active on this fitness website called fitocracy.

The latter being the primary source of most issues I run into.

None of this should surprise me. I stayed out of #gamergate and mostly out of #shirtgate but I read about both and I know women who actively posted bout them. I know about the rape threats and misogynistic comments that followed those who did. I know about the doxing and many women who had the harassment go beyond the internet resulting in being stalked and threatened IRL. Women who no longer could feel safe in their own homes all for speaking out on the internet against sexism and in support of other women.

Misogyny on the internet isn’t news to me. But I stayed largely uninvolved in both of those precisely because I have limited energy to deal with bullshit. I have more than enough stress in my life already, and I do research that revolves around violence against women- when I want to relax and get away from that, I don’t want to get away from it by reading a bunch of rape threats.

And it shouldn’t surprise me running into so many issues on a fitness based website, it should be no surprise that a number of men who are interested in lifting feel the need to fuel that interest with misogyny and homophobia. Because it’s all about proving one’s masculinity which apparently means tearing down women and gay men.

And even though this is titled “haters gonna hate”, I wish I could sit here and say that it hasn’t changed anything for me and I just ignore it. I do my best to, but sometimes, it doesn’t work. I’ve deleted a number of workouts after just downright mean comments (not advice, just mean for the sake of being mean.)  I’ve started not tracking a lot of workouts online- not for the reasons I hear others use about just not caring about points anymore, or because they track other places instead, no- for me when I choose not to track something online it’s because I just don’t want to deal with comments from folks about how they are laughing at my workout.

I want to connect and talk to folks who have a similar interest and I want to celebrate progress, but I can’t do that without also opening myself up to all number of rude comments there, and here, and probably soon enough other places as well as a small set of people follow me around from site to site.

Part of my inspiration for this is when I see folks say this doesn’t happen, they don’t see it. Well, you wouldn’t if it’s not directed at you. Many of these exchanges have not happened in the open. I’ve deleted them on other sites, on this site comments need to be approved so if I delete it without approving it no one except me knows it happens. And so that’s part of why I’m writing this. To acknowledge that this happens, even though if you looked through comments here or elsewhere you would find no evidence of it.

And a big part of my inspiration in writing this is just how exhausted I am with it. I’m exhausted at having to put my guard up if I venture over to certain sites. I have to prepare for the backlash if I do something as radical as suggest that folks should maybe not use homophobic slurs. And it’s just fucking exhausting and there are so many times I just want to delete all my accounts, block everyone, and hide from the whole world because of this. Usually I get over that. I get some rest, get my strength back up, but the mental armor back on, and venture back out to deal with it all again. But god damn it blogging, tracking workouts online, and wanting to talk to other people about lifting should have to feel like that.

And it’s on a totally different topic but I am somewhat reminded of this article I read recently about Lena Chen’s experience blogging about sex. There are a number of parallels, plus it’s a great piece and worth reading so I’ll take any excuse to link to it.

I was hanging out with a friend once, and we were driving somewhere in my car with my music playing when a song I like started- Emotional Girl by Terri Clark. It’s a song that came out when I was 9 and I’ve been listening to it ever since then. My friend starts telling me how he can’t believe I would like this song. I’m confused, he’s hear enough of my music he should know by now that I like country music. That’s not it. He explains that this song supposedly represents everything I disagree with because I get upset at sexist stereotypes and this song is saying they are true.

Except not. I’ve listened to this song a lot. No where in the song does she says “women just more emotional than men!” or “women can’t control their emotions!” She sings about herself being emotional, and the artist happens to be a woman (or “girl” in the lyrics of the song). This led to an argument about whether or not it “proves” a stereotype for an individual to meet it, which he claimed it did- I still find interesting considering how many stereotypes he would be “proving” under that logic.

But I’m reminded of this conversation from time to time because while most people would never say they think a single individual displaying a characteristic means that proves a stereotype of all people like them in some way will have that characteristic, people still are inclined to take such things as evidence that their stereotype is accurate.

And this is one of the problems with stereotypes- making people in certain groups feel like everything they do has to be defined by that stereotype by way of disproving it.

You tell me women are just too emotional compared to men, and now I’m apparently under some obligation to never show emotion to prove your stereotype is wrong and show that I am worthy of being treated equally. And suddenly an entire group of people are not allowed varying personalities and characteristics because if even a few fit the stereotype for the whole group that is taken as proof the stereotype is accurate.

I’m writing about this because in a lot of ways it took some work to say “so what if I fit your stereotype?” For a long time I did feel like I had to behave in certain ways so I wouldn’t be considered a stereotype. But the thing is, the problem with stereotypes is the stereotype, not me being whoever I am.

And who I am sometimes fits certain stereotypes and sometimes it doesn’t. I wrote recently about musing about fitting the stereotype of the man-hating, lesbian feminist in combat boots, and the thing about that stereotype is there was a time when I did feel like I had to counter that stereotype personally and would be afraid of fitting it. Of course I still don’t fit the stereotype perfectly- usually the stereotype also includes “hairy legged” and I do shave. But, that’s kind of how individuals work.

Some stereotypes about women don’t fit me at all, some do. Some stereotypes about lesbians fits me, some don’t. Et cetera. And that’s fine.

There is nothing wrong with being an emotional person, so why should I be bothered if I fit that stereotype? There is nothing wrong with being a lesbian or wearing combat boots, so why be bothered if I fit those stereotypes?

Also fitting one part of a stereotype does not mean all the things people think about that are accurate.  See for example: fat lesbians do not prove the stereotype that lesbians are just gay because we are too fat and ugly to get a man. Being a fat lesbian doesn’t even prove that lesbians are as a group always fat (even if most of us are, your stereotype still sucks because it doesn’t ft all lesbians) and it certainly doesn’t prove all the extrapolation beyond that about the supposed meaning of our bodies and sexuality.

The problem is with people who make and operate under stereotypes about whole groups of people, not me for being who  I am instead of always trying to be the exact opposite of every stereotype that could maybe be applied to me.