Thursday, June 16, 2005

Etiquette for Women

Via Pseudo-Adrienne on Alas, a Blog, I learned about Steve Gilliard's ideas about gender roles, especially when it comes to white girls going missing in Aruba:

I don't think it's not so much that "she got what she deserve", but a media refusal to look at their conduct and say these girls were placed in a less than optimal situation. I would also bet no one had an honest discussion with them about acting like adults and making adult choices. Of course not. It was a "Christian" school. So they could get drunk, fuck any cute boy and no one would say things like:

"Be careful. Don't just go off with any cute boy. He may not act that cute when you're alone."

"Carry condoms and lube"

"When you get drunk, you tend to make shitty decisions. So stick together and don't let someone go off alone."

Now, I've always been confused as to why a girl would go off with three guys. Was she going to pull a train? Or did she have two spare sex organs for them to use? Because otherwise, that sounds like a really bad decision. One which she should have been warned against. Boys in groups tend to do things they wouldn't do alone. And the expectation of sex must have been high.

Hmmm. Gilliard's etiquette reads interesting, and I have a terrible impulse to rewrite his instructions to apply for race rather than for sex. Because Steve is understandably very clear on the wrongness of racism, such a rewrite might make him see why what he says here is not that different. Though he probably would just blow his stack at me.

But let's look at the last paragraph above a little. Gilliard is confused why a girl would go off with three guys. As if the only reason a woman ever goes anywhere with a man or men is for sex. As if it's the natural thing to assume, even if there are three men and only one woman. It's not possible to have friendship between men and women, you know, and it's not even possible that a woman might go out with three men just to drink and chat and listen to music. Nope. She must be prepared to provide whatever number of vaginas are needed for the satisfaction of all the men present.

Even if she is a schoolgirl.

This is how things "just are" in Gilliard's world. Nothing can be done about it. It's all in our genes. Men are reptile-brained predators, totally driven by their cocks. But whites who dislike and discriminate against blacks are not doing it because the fear and hatred of the "other" is built into our genes, of course not. Racism can be fixed. Sexism, well, it's just how things are. So you gals better be ready for sex. Carry your condoms and your lube and your spare vaginas everywhere you go. Don't have a working lunch with more than the number of men you can satisfy. And if anything happens, well, you did ask for it.

And never forget that you are a target. Not a person. Well, that, too, but the way things just are is that you are a target. Especially if you are an American woman:

What also needs to be discussed with women going overseas, even to a vacation resort, is the perception of American women, courtesy of Hollywood. Which is this: they're easy. European men see American women on vacation. In a place like Aruba, it's even worse. So they expect American women are easy targets.

Osama bin Laden would agree. In fact, this whole line of thought isn't that different from what certain types of wingnuts spout. The "blaming-the-victim", the "men-just-need-sex-and-can't-help-it", and the focus on women as "targets"; all these are part of the basic belief system of one group of wingnuts.

Steve is a good writer and he's often very perceptive. But not when it comes to a discussion of gender roles and how they affect our lives. Too bad.