Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Invisible Women

This is yet another post in the series of Trivial Topics No Real Feminist Would Write About. I'm so glad I'm not a Real Feminist and can just dive straight into the trivial but very interesting topic.

Which is the way the general political discussion assumes that human beings are men, that the term "gender" means that something will be said about women (men don't have gender just as whites don't have race), that there is nothing about gender when a commenter on a political thread talks about "Republicans and their women" or wonders why we never have a "Kick the Republicans in the Balls Day", that anything about children is viewed as women's issue, as if men procreate by some type of division instead.

This topic doesn't have to do with the obvious kind of sexism at all, because quite feminist people can fall into the same trap. It has to do with the automatic assumption on the part of so many that human beings are men unless otherwise explicitly stated, and if you remind them about that other half of humanity you can see the brain gears grinding into a new position: Oops! I forgot. Yes, naturally women are to be included, too. What about that abortion thingy?

I sometimes feel like a small child pulling on the sleeve of my dad, yelling "I'm here, too!", when I read certain political conversations. And when the "dad" notices me I get some version of attention to whatever is specifically female about the issue, not the kind of inclusion I wish.

What is this all about? Is it just a residue from all that "he embraces her" and so we don't need to remember "her" at all in writing? I doubt it. It's something more fundamental than that, something to do with in-groups and out-groups, I suspect. Whatever it is, yelling that "we are here, too" seems necessary.