First of all, I missed my blog’s birthday because we all know that I’d be a terrible mother. My first post was June 11, 2015; so sorry, Blog, that I’ve neglected you. People are giving me money to write and stuff, so that’s gotten in the way.
Have cake, Blog, and feel better.
So! I had said a long time ago that the romance genre is much maligned for various reasons and that I would write about it. What has finally gotten me around to doing the post is actually making an attempt to write a bit of romance.
Even a small piece, about 800 words as a thought exercise, is proving difficult. The gears that make romance writing tick are not easily manipulated. Granted, writing anything out of one’s sphere isn’t easy and takes practice, but making a decent, entertaining, little scene requires a deft hand. Otherwise everyone’s rude, creepy, and inappropriately horny in a strangely ambiguous historical setting (where my characters currently are right now.)
My mother told me that she didn’t care if I ever give her grandchildren in much the same way she told me that I didn’t have to become a doctor: sincerely with an undercurrent of disappointment. I remember the home movies she took of my tantrums, all snot and rage and throwing shoes out of the shoe rank. Watching the old VHS tapes with images of my fits popping up between piano recitals and birthday parties, I knew that if I ever had a child I’d be cursed with one like myself.
When I first started reading Harry Potter I was about 13, and I grew up with the books in a way. The petty rivalries and teenage miseries spoke to me. Of course, the delightful world of magic did, too.
Whenever I come across an android in movies, novels, or anime, there seems to be a disquieting amount of comfort surrounding the existence of female androids. Male androids get the heartrending or thought provoking stories of being almost human, of trying to discover themselves and what it means to be human and yet not. Think of Roy Batty in Bladerunner, David in A.I., David in Prometheus – these are characters that are unsettlingly human in a way that is disruptive to the society that made them. These characters are also all white and perceived as male.
Female androids seems to slip pretty comfortably into societal expectations – female as housekeeper or maid, female as pleasantly helpful organizer of information (a sort of housekeeper for business), female as prostitute. If these fem-androids aren’t satisfied with their role as servants to humans, they often act out in ways that are typical narrative templates for women behaving badly. Continue reading Why Are We More Comfortable When Robots Have Boobs?
Part 1 of these essays provides some context as to why I’m writing them and covers the negative consequences for men in regards to women being trophies for successful masculinity. The next subject I will cover is how patriarchal standards require men to perform masculinity in a way that emphasizes action, strength, and dominance and the negative consequences men face.
Now, to a certain extent these attributes are also valued in women. But in a patriarchal society, I consider them in much the same way that physical attractiveness and social adeptness are valued in men as compared to women. Is it advantageous for a man to be good looking and socially smooth? Absolutely. Are these things required for him to be perceived as masculine? No, but prettiness and social consideration are required for women if they are to be perceived as feminine. Being attractive in a way that’s pretty or being extremely socially conscious can even make a man seem effeminate. After all, the term metrosexual wasn’t devised because being deeply concerned about how you look and what others think is part of traditional masculinity.
It has become relatively common to hear that patriarchy hurts everyone. While I generally believe that this is true, I’m usually hesitant to talk about it because the concept seems to invite a rather unhelpful dialogue. Often “Patriarchy hurts everyone” translates to, “That’s enough women talk; let’s get serious and talk about men! You know, the real people.” I’ve seen people make the argument that men were and are historically treated worse than women, that the patriarchy hurts men because without it they would get laid more, that feminism also hurts men, etc. It usually doesn’t behoove me to spend the energy trying to wade through it all.
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My look, such as it is, is pretty low-maintenance. It was low-maintenance even when I dressed professionally, but I’ve cut back further. Based on this description, it sounds like I must look like a wild animal.
However, I realized just how much I spent for my so-called low-maintenance look. (All of my estimates include tip when applicable because beauticians, cosmetologists, hair stylists, etc. can’t pay for groceries and rent with gratitude alone.)
I’m really bad at losing and failure. Really, truly awful. When I was a kid I would cry angry tears when I lost stupid games. Nowadays, I lie on the floor angrily when my sportsball team loses. When I lose at something, it’s never like, “Wow, nice effort. Good game! I’ll get you next time!” It’s more like, “This friendship is over. You’re dead to me. Get out of my house.”
This behavior is occasionally funny to people, but mostly it’s a pain in the ass. It’s also tiring to care that much about succeeding and winning in nearly every arena. This mindset is paralyzing. Why would I take a big risk at something new when I could fail spectacularly? What if people find out that I’m human and am not very good at some things? What if the truth is that I’m actually bad at everything?! WHAT IF I AM A PERSONIFIED FACE-PLANT?!?!