Not To Be Sexist, But...
Lately I've been getting better at noticing what I and many like to call the 'Sexist Asshole Dragon' (SAD for short) which is this demon that possesses well-intentioned people and makes them act like sexist idiots.
This is my best attempt at drawing a SAD breathing firey sexism out of its penis and balls nose/mouth continuum.
Let me now illustrate, with words this time, an example of a man being taken hold of by a SAD. Aka 'Something That Seemed Like A
Compliment And Then I Realized Was Sexist Way Later #98' Guy comes up to me after a show and gives me a nice compliment: "you should play more piano in your shows, I liked it a lot" This was especially nice to hear after I communicated with the audience that I had a period of falling out of love with piano and am back to playing it and enjoying what I can do with it.
I see Guy out a couple weeks later. He reiterates the compliment to me. "Yeah I liked watching that. You should play piano more. It's hot. Chicks that play piano are hot."
He's clearly right. Tori playing piano *is* hot. Wait. Tori playing *two* pianos is hot. Wait.
My first thought was that I'm glad my partner is someone who tells me "I like it when you play piano because I like the way you play it" and, ironically, he's the only guy I want telling me that I look hot doing it.
Beyond The Basics*: Guys who ever want awesome girlfriends: think about pay attention to the difference and keep reading.
*Beyond The Basics is actually a phrase that I'm maybe 50% sure is copywritten by Epic (a company I used to work for) and I've decided to co-opt it and not give a flying fuck in a frying pan.
The test I put any conversation through to determine if the man has a SAD goes like this:
1. Did I feel kind of weird about what a man said and don't know why? (if YES, proceed)
2. Maybe I'm just a silly woman for feeling maybe offended or disrespected? Upspeak? (Because maybe we've been conditioned to question ourselves all the time?)** (answer NO because this way of thinking disrespects yourself. Proceed)
3. Would it still be rude if a man I knew better like a trusted friend or lover said it (aka "is a joke and I think it's funny")? (if NO, proceed)
4. Would I think "Bitch!" if it were a woman saying it to me? (if YES, proceed)
5. Did the man *intend* to be rude? (if YES, stop talking to this person because he sucks. if NO, the man is possessed with a SAD.)
**See definition of sexism and why reverse sexism isn't a thing below.
So what does it really mean when a man is wrestling with a Sexist Asshole Dragon?
First, let's define sexism to get on the same page:
Short definition: Sexism is both discrimination based on gender and the attitudes, stereotypes, and the cultural elements that promote this discrimination. Given the historical and continued imbalance of power, where men as a class are privileged over women as a class (see male privilege), an important, but often overlooked, part of the term is that sexism is prejudice plus power. Thus feminists reject the notion that women can be sexist towards men because women lack the institutional power that men have.
A helpful explanatory graphic.
The man with a SAD doesn't mean to actively discriminate. I don't hang out with many men in high enough positions of power to actually discriminate. I hang out with musicians and writers. I hang out with working class heros. There is intersectional awesome shit to read related to socioeconomic status and oppression/liberation, but that is for another day. My point is, the men with a SAD aren't actively discriminating against women because they don't have the power to do that. They don't have the power to make a decision to pay A Woman less of a salary for the same job A Man does, or to introduce or vote on legislation that takes control away from us, etc. But these men *behave* with *attitudes* that promote this discrimination.
These are the lyrics to a song called 'Fuck That Guy' by my band Damsel Trash and it's a true story:
We were playing a show
I was singing some Hole
You came up after the show
I think you said that I did a good job
And then you said 'don't ruin your voice' like I was screaming too hard like I didn't know what the fuck I was doing I'm singing some Courtney Love you son of a bitch god dammit I studied this shit you fuck
Let's run this through the SAD-trometer:
1. Yes, I felt kind of weird about what this man said to me.
2. Maybe I'm just a silly woman for feeling maybe offended or disrespected? Upspeak? Self-doubt? Maybe he was just trying to be nice to me somehow and maybe I should thank him for knowing more than I do about singing...wait...I'm the one that just played a show and was awesome...What? Moving on per protocol...
3. Would it still be rude if a man I knew better (friend/lover) said it? Only if this man was my vocal coach...proceeding
4. Yes, I would definitely think "Bitch! Shut up!" if a woman said it to me.
5. No, I don't think this man intended to be rude to me, in fact, I think his intention was to be helpful, which is a special and tricky kind of SAD.
How does a well-intentioned man overcome a SAD?
I think the first step is awareness, just like any problem that is frowned upon by society. Which, sexism *is* frowned upon by society, just in case some of you men with a SAD on your back might not realize and instead think is a way to be funny with other SAD men. If you are a man and you're reading this, whether you have been possessed by a SAD or not, you're taking a step forward. Toward progress and equality.
The next step is to pretend as best you can that you are a woman and run your thoughts through the SAD-trometer just like I do. Just like if you have a fever and you want to make sure, you use a thermometer, just like a doctor would. Just like if you have warts on your dick, you go consult WebMD with that shit and examine yourself, just like a doctor would. The trick is trying to think about the world like a woman does, so you can understand us and become a better person. A more fun person for the ladies to hang around. A man who isn't SAD anymore.
The final step is to realize that you live in a crooked room too. It affects you whenever someone gives power to the slippery slope fallacy that you won't have fun or be funny or have power anymore if you can't use your rude attitudes toward women. That's the lie that our culture helps you to believe to keep sustaining itself = SAD. There are so many creative ways to feel powerful and to be funny without reinforcing sexist attitudes. So stop being SAD. The ladies will love you for it.
Awesome comic by an artist with more to say on sexism. Check out the tumblr here for more: http://rasenth.tumblr.com