Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Use Your Words. Name The Penis Problem.

TRIGGER WARNING: Your penis is not that impressive.

When we were kids, my brother was obsessed with becoming a ninja. He was also very clear about girls being incapable of becoming ninjas. As time went on he also wanted to be an Air Force pilot (no girls allowed) and an engineer (no girls allowed). He was backed up in these (and many other) sexist notions by our parents.

Now, my brother was not a moron - he was a normal kid. He did not have any outstanding athletic ability or sharp eyesight or hand-eye coordination or math skills. But he did have a penis, signifying strength and capability. Therefore, in my parents' eyes, his dreams -no matter how unconnected with reality- were worthy of indulgence.

I on the other hand was a gifted kid, and in my family this was not acceptable. Where my brother had a penis, signifying strength and capability, I had a vagina, signifying helplessness and servitude. So my dreams, no matter how connected to reality, were worthy only of derision.

Most importantly, my giftedness could not be allowed to make my brother feel bad about himself. Therefore, his dreams and potentialities and accomplishments needed to be raised up, and mine played down.

There was also violence, of course, which I won't get into just now. This is is NOT a pity party. My parents struggled to do the best they could given their own sexist upbringings and their own mental health problems, which were exacerbated by financial stresses. And my brother was just a kid. I'm very happy in my current life and both my parents and my brother have come a long way vis a vis "the battle of the sexes."

But I'm blogging today about penis-havers.

I may have felt like an unwanted prisoner in my own home, because of my sex. But my brother was a princeling in that same home, because of his sex. How is any boy who is raised like that supposed to feel about his genitalia, about what peeny+balls means?

Some trans activists and their zombie-righteous allies want to take the words girl and boy, woman and man, and even male and female, away from us. Reproductive categorization of humans is *so* old fashioned. Or silly. Or bigoted. A penis means only whatever a particular penis-haver says it means! Why would you ever not want a naked penis in your vicinity? Yadda.

Thus, as a brief thought exercise I'll use SPH and OPH (sperm-producing humans and ova-producing humans) instead.

You can attempt to derail via the tiny percentage of people born intersex, or with cries of sensitivity for the infertile—it does not matter, because this statement still stands:

SPH control the world. Not just the “global south.” Everywhere.

Politics, law, law enforcement, the military, commerce, media, medicine, science, technology, even the arts … all dominated by SPH.


Either you think SPH are naturally superior to OPH in all those fields, in which case fuck off, or you think SPH have been unfairly elevated and OPH have been oppressed, in which case kindly stop pretending that genitalia doesn't matter.

Peeny+balls =(descriptive) male =(prescriptive) privilege over females. We don't rectify male privilege by making it impossible to name.

This constant battle over the clear use of basic vocabulary makes me wonder – while I’m fighting for the right to name the basis of my oppression, what have the oppressors achieved – what are they effectively hiding?

You want to make it impossible to discuss the socio-political consequences of being born one sex or the other? Hmmm...



Do world leaders use their penises to perform diplomacy? Maybe they use their penises as microphones when making important speeches? Do lawmakers sign bills with their penises? Do police and military men actually use their penises as guns? Are businessmen joining important conference calls via the Bluetooth in their penises? Maybe bankers discuss pie charts using their combination penis/laser pointers. Do doctors perform surgery with their penis-scalpels? Are artists painting with their penis-brushes? Et penis cetera?


Yet all these fields are dominated by people-with-penises.


The vast majority of people who identify themselves and are identified by others as talented in those fields just *happened* to be born with trouserworms and undernuts?


When I worked as a paralegal and clients would try to refuse to work with a female, was that because they were looking for someone who could use their penis to hit the tab bar when toggling between all those computer form fields? It was certainly not because they wanted someone who "identified" as competent, because I did that. They simply assumed competence attached to penises, and lucky "cis" me, they could assume I did not have one of those!

People born with penises+testicles are raised by their families and encouraged via media, merchandisers, schools, workplaces and the general public to think of themselves as both superior to and entitled to the servitude of people born without penises+testicles (which is to say, with ovaries+uteruses+vaginas+clitorises, as there's not actually an endless sucking void betwixt our legs.)

And I posit we’re disallowed from discussing this fact so nakedly not because it is silly or gross or hurtful - but because naked peeny+balls is… hilariously stupid, as far as a symbol of superiority goes:

[Yes, through millennia of rape men have made the phallus a symbol of intimate violence. I do not and shall not ever denigrate any woman's negative reaction to penises. But it is only via men's lifetimes of sex-based social entitlement and women's lifetimes of sex-based social subjugation that rape can stand as a (for all intents and purposes, accepted) cultural practice. And if men insist on using their penises as weapons, it's about time we women learned to both mock and SMASH cock. This video demonstrates how we should respond to rape, AFAIC (content note: graphic violence against penises).]

Seriously? I'm supposed to *ENVY* that? Or, alternatively, as porn would have it - immediately drop to my knees to worship it?

Look, I'm heterosexual. I've been quite fond of several penises in my lifetime. But: Oh hai, you can pee standing up, so clearly you should be the boss of me...?


Let me share my favorite crotch-related story. I was dating this fella, and when we would rassle, he would say "Darling, do you really think you could stop me?" The first time he said this, my blood ran cold. I froze up, and warned him, "Don't ever say that to me again." The second time he said that, I responded, "Fair warning: god may have given you superior upper body strength, but he also put your genitals on the outside. Don't make me prove I can stop you." (God here is figurative, OK?) The third time he uttered that vile, threatening phrase, I brought my knee up and lightly tapped his balls. He fell to the ground and rolled around in pain. It was the most pleasure his crotch had ever given me.

I do NOT tell this story to shame any woman who was not able to utilize this technique to escape sexual assault, although I know some opportunistic victim-blamers may take it that way. I tell this story because it is important to note that this man, a self-identified Leftist who supposedly cared about me, felt such impunity in "playfully" threatening me, even after repeated warnings. It *never* seriously occurred to him that I would *ever* harm his magical, sacred male parts.

Just as patriarchists, ever experts at reversals, would have us associate shame and weakness with the female organs that CREATE HUMAN LIFE, they would also have us associate male organs - frightfully vulnerable as they are - with unassailable power. And apparently these days, indescribable power. Do not name g-d. G-d is whatever g-d says. Submit. Do not look behind the curtain/zipper. DO NOT SAY VOLDEMORT'S NAME.

I will bet you $100 these people have penises.

It should not be a shock that we end up here...

Whenever the person on the left, below, tells the person on the right that having been born with a penis entitles him to dominate her – whether via economic control, or threats of violence, or the emptying of her language, including her right to say "no," (just for examples) – he is being an obnoxiously entitled sexist pig. And he is entitled because he was raised and groomed to be so. Because of his genitalia. 

And that is as inescapably true as it is inescapably absurd.

Use your words. Name the penis problem.

The human penis is:

1) the MALE organ of sex & peeing.
2) Out of context, rather unimpressive (sorry not sorry).
3) In context:
     A) a lifelong lightning rod of unearned (and most often, unexamined) privilege, and
     B) a universal marker of membership in a violently oppressive class.

The good news, women, is that every time you stubbornly insist on seeing, naming and analyzing male privilege, you are metaphorically punching patriarchy right in the crotch.

In conclusion, might I suggest that every time a male brings his #unexpectedpenis into a space clearly designated as female-only, he leaves with a stump?* 

*Many women will be uncomfortable with this statement. I do not like violence. However, if you take away the language I use to fight my oppression? I will pick up an axe.

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