Playing the get out of male free card

Glosswitch has a fiendishly brilliant post about the old sexism and the new.

Back in the olden days, sexism was so straightforward, even a person with a uterus could understand it. It was the belief that men were superior to women — more intelligent, more important, more human — and while it affected different groups of women in different ways, feminists were in a position to identify who benefited from it and who was harmed. Of course, nowadays we can see that this was a very simplistic way of understanding gender-based oppression.

So dreadfully crude, isn’t it? Probably, as she says, because women thought of it. But now we have a better kind.

These days sexism is different. It isn’t about the appropriation of female sexual, domestic and reproductive labour or anything so crude. These days we’ve realised that the people who do this unpaid work are privileged enough to want to do it, freeing us up to focus on the more important task of validating everyone else’s sense of self.

Women’s sense of self doesn’t need validating, you see, probably because women are so busy doing the unpaid work they don’t bother to have a sense of self.

That also means women are out of touch, so they still think some things are sexist.

Porn is one area where they make this mistake, stupidly assuming that men getting off on women being abused could be in some way related to men getting off on women being abused. Drag is another. There are proper, long, thinky explanations as to why porn and drag subvert the very systems that those with an old-style understanding of sexism think they reinforce. Haven’t read said explanations? Then simply take your gut reaction and assume the direct opposite.

Take pantomime dames, for instance. Yes, a grown man calling on all of the misogynist stereotypes of the older woman — vain, bitchy, sex-starved, deluded — and playing them for laughs might look bad. But to think it actually is bad would just be too obvious. You don’t want to look like one of those stupid women who still bases her feminism on things that she feels are wrong.

Oh god no. No no no no no, never. It’s only nonbinary and genderqueer and trans people who really understand gender. The problem with drag and pantomime dames has nothing to do with women – what a silly idea! It’s all about transphobia and erasure and mocking people’s sacred identities.

“That looks a bit … off,” you might say, whereupon some young non-binary type, playing his — sorry, their — get out of male free card for all it’s worth, will ask you whether you’ve read up on the long, colourful history of drag as resistance to gendered norms. Because believe them, they totally have, back when you were too busy washing underpants and cooking fish fingers and all the other crappy, boring things women like you do because you’re lucky enough to have no inner life.

Just read the whole thing.

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