Friday, June 25, 2010

He Got Beaten By a Girl

The Most Honorable Rudd is out and Gillard is in.
Swift, short and mostly bloodless.
As the affair unrolled, the conversation at the high school touched only lightly on politics and policy, and focused on the personal.
            "Rudd's out for sure.  Julia's in."
            "She's sensible enough.  Do you reckon she'll step back on the mining tax?"
            "Do you think labor will lose the government in the next election?  THAT'S the question.  D'you reckon it'd shatter the party, having a woman in power now?"
            "Abbott wants more workchoices.  Mean as a cut snake, that man.  Who wouldn't take Julia?"
            "They say in the paper that Julia'll get 10 000 votes just for being a woman."
            "But how many d'you reckon she'll LOSE because she's a woman?"
            "You know what?"  A little science teacher said stoutly.  "I don't care.  Right now, I'm proud.   I'm proud that my daughters will grow up in a country where, even if it's just for a little while, the head of our government is a woman."
A civics teacher snorted.  "She got enough grief when she was his deputy.  Imagine what she'll get now?"
            "Rudd wasn't to impressive himself, you know.  They say he actually reduced a stewardess to tears the other week - she brought him the wrong meal and he just yelled and screamed and jumped up and down on her till she was CRYING."
            "Yes, well… he's been under a lot of stress the last few weeks.  You can imagine what it must have been like for him."
            "Sure - but how often do men start on MALE stewards like that?  Can you even imagine that happening?"
            "Just last week at a press conference a female reporter asked him what he thought about the crisis he was facing and he said, he actually said "it's not as bad as that the crisis you're wearing."  Because she was wearing trousers and a hat and tie.  At some point, it stops being a bad day or funny ha ha and turns into a symptom.  You know?"
            "They say" the science teacher said juicily "he cried like a BABY when he stepped down.  The tears just RAN down his face, all the way through his speech.  Julia was very gracious, I thought.  Said she hadn't planned or expected it- "
There was universal snorting.
            "You can't blame him for crying."  The civics teacher said.  "He'd been through a hell of a time."
            "Yeah… maybe."  The science teacher said reluctantly.   "But I like to think he was upset because he got beaten up by a GIRL."

And that disturbs me.  Okay, I lie.  It makes my chest tight and drives me up the wall.
            "You throw like a girl."
            "You fight like a girl."
            "You write like a girl."
            "You cry like a girl."
Why is being a girl always so darned BAD?
Maybe I'm late to the party, but there's a weird, hypertrophic masculinity sprouting up all over the place - it's all over the TV, all over the radio, all over the pub and the office - and in it, the word "girl" is being broadcast in stereo as inadequate, badly performed, and shameful.
In the western world, in 2010, I am a pejorative.

There's a Czech add for the sport of Rugby that's being broadcast during this world cup. It's funny - people love it. It's all over the net.
A soccer player falls down, rolling in an outrageous pantomime of agony. A medic rushes onto the field. The medic deploys a comb and hairspray. The player smiles coyly and gets back up to his feet.
Words appear on the screen. "Soccer is for GIRLS."

Message received loud and clear. REAL men aren't girls, because the things that girls do are pointless.
And I'm not proud that my daughters - or my sons - will grow up in a world that tells them that.

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