Monday, March 18, 2013

Well, crap -- this is enough to make me post something

Sound the bells!

Okay, so as I noted, this semester I have three regular courses, two independent studies, and am acting undergraduate advisor. Plus I committed to write an article. I'm dumb. And also not blogging.

Not that there haven't been blogworthy things. Oh my, yes. This semester I have:
  • ...gotten verging-on-shouty with a colleague. In the hall. In front of students.
  • ...refused to sign off on a thesis before some revisions were made, and gotten into it with the thesis chair about that.
  • ...been on the receiving end of a couple of really weird personal interactions that have formerly comfortable situations suddenly awkward.
  • ...sprained my ankle.
  • ...gotten my credit card hacked
May I note that all of the above happened within a ten-day period?  Yeah, it was the most emotionally exhausting week and a half I've had in ages. And other than the ankle (healing well, thank you), I really can't blog about any of it. And though I could blog about the last two, I just haven't had the time (see above), nor does what I have to say (both things suck righteously) do much to embiggen the human spirit. So I forbear.

But... the Steubenville verdict. And, more importantly, the media reaction to it.

There is no shortage of commentary flying about the internets about this one, so perhaps you won't want to read my thoughts on this.  I'll keep it short:
  1. Ew. Gross. Beyond gross.
  2. I've seen this movie before. Like, 600 years ago.
Here's how it worked in the Middle Ages (and please note that this is coming from a Certified Historian of Medieval Women and Gender Who Wrote a Whole Damn Book about This):
  1. Patriarchy exists. Boo. 
  2. Patriarchal gender system sorts you into two categories, and if you're in the "female" category, then your sexuality is closely monitored and heavily regulated -- sometimes by your parents, sometimes by your spouse. If you're an adult single woman, then technically you're supposed to do it yourself, but in reality, you're in for some heavier-than-usual scrutiny by your entire community.
  3. If you're going to be sexually active outside of marriage, you need to keep it under control -- limited partners, and preferably one that you're going to marry, and soon. This means you are a Good Girl, and entitled to protection when someone commits a crime against your property or person. You are also entitled to Special Protections for your Vulnerable Femaleness.
  4. Step outside those boundaries, though (Where were those boundaries, precisely? Yeah, we don't really have a firm consensus on that, but we'll let you know), and you've in essentially done an opt-out on being a woman. This means that if you are beaten, raped, or otherwise harmed, you really don't have a case, because, by opting out of the gendered limitations on your behavior, you've also opted out of the gendered protections. You did this to yourself, missy.
  5. And no, you can't opt for "human" protections; that would mean that there is an "outside" of patriarchy, and that's just plain silly. 
Okay, I have to go to work, so I need to be done. Have at it.

1 comment:

Elle Fury said...

"I've seen this movie before. Like, 600 years ago."

I think this is a really important point to make. Our society hasn't changed in its attitude towards women's sexuality in... 600 years. And yet there are so many "progressive" people out there who live in denial of this sad, sad reality.