Tag Archives: Katherine Fritz

My Response to an Anti-Feminist

14 May

On the Twittersphere, I recently shared a blog post by Katherine Fritz over at I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog. I got a response tweet from a self-proclaimed anti-feminist. Since his response came through a public forum, I felt it would be appropriate for me to release mine through a public, easily-put-link-in-140-character-box medium as well. Thus, the following post.

———

Hi Ian,

thanks for your thoughtful response! I appreciate your civil discourse and lack of ad hominem attacks. Seriously.

Due to your lack of actual citation beyond the link to a blog post that itself looks at largely anecdotal data, I will also respond using broad strokes and summaries. I can provide factual citation and data from research on historical trends from non-biased sources as requested, if necessary. Also, while gender and sexuality are multivariate, not binary, in order to most directly and efficiently respond to your letter, I will mostly be talking about feminism in largely binary terms.

So, I see your hurt feelings. They are true and valid. I will not dispute that they exist. However, I think that there’s some conflation going on assigning causality in incorrect ways. I am not saying that nothing was done, or that no one did anything. Things were done. People did them. But from where I’m standing, there’s been some conflation of separate entities in what all went down.

Yes, feminism has pointed out that there are issues that exist with men, masculinity, fatherhood, and male sexuality. It has not, however, said that those categories are the issues. They have the issues. And lots of those issues have affected women at a systemic and subsequently individual level. Yes, women, femininity, motherhood, and female sexuality also have issues. And those issues have affected men on a systemic and subsequently individual level. But feminism posits, with the whole of history that I won’t repeat here to back it up, that men’s issues have had the harder hit, when it comes to the way society has shown bruises. The phrase “it’s a man’s world” is an incredibly crude phrase, but it is a good summary of what the main problem throughout history has boiled down to.

You say that feminism has not been inclusive of men’s issues. I say that this is an unfair critique. Every activist movement only has so many resources to go around. You wouldn’t criticize a puppy rescue for not seeing to the homeless kittens out there, too. It’s not their scope. Do they care about kittens? Yes. Do they want organizations to exist to get the kittens help? Yes. Do they think that by addressing the cause of homeless pets while working specifically with the target population of puppies their work will also help kittens? Yes. When they go out to the public to talk about their mission, are they going to use their limited time and resources to talk about kittens? No. Feminism works on the overall condition of human rights by focusing on a target dynamic. We think men and their plights are important too. We’re just not that organization.

Finally, there is the important distinction between “the actions of an individual who claims a label” and “the definition of the label itself.” A person can claim that they are a certain thing, and then act in no such manner. It’s been the recognized case with religion for years. People claiming to be Christian and to believe in love and forgiveness have gone and slaughtered millions in crusades and KKK rallies and abortion clinic bombings. Were those actions produced by Christianity? No. They were actions produced by angry individuals who falsely claimed the nearest convenient label as a justification for their own independent action.

Feminism is not about taking advantage of or attacking men. Feminism is in fact exactly the opposite, about righting a systemic abuse of power to bring us all back to a playing field of being reasonable, decent humans to each other who don’t make assumptions based on stereotypes, whether about males or females. The actions of not-actually-feminists only “stain” the movement as much as the action of male rapists and serial killers and bigots and otherwise terrible humans “stain” the whole of manhood.

As Katherine mentions in her blog post, true feminism does not discount subsets of feminist interests. Women are allowed to want to be mothers and wives and mascara-appliers and hair-doers and skirt-wearers. They are allowed to care about their high heels and children. That is fine. Acceptable. Laudable. As is not wanting to be a wife or a mother or to wear makeup or do anything remotely similar. Or, to be a male and to want to be a husband and father and to wear makeup and do hair and wear skirts. Or, to be someone who falls in none of those categories. Feminism is the idea that boxes are idiotic, and no one should be trapped in them – or outside of them. You say my idea of feminism is naïve, but I would counter that perhaps your experience of it is limited. I do not deny that there are angry people out there calling themselves feminists and acting the opposite. They are visible. They are loud. They are really quite noticeable. Yes, they exist. But feminists who are reasonable and don’t go gutting others in the style of exactly what we’re trying to end exist, too. The “warm, happy, sunny feminism” you claim I know because I practice it, or at least try my damnedest to. Katherine does as well. There are others – women and men – in my day to day life who practice it, too. I see them. I know they are real. I’m sorry people like them apparently don’t exist in your personal world. Though when presented with two people – one who’s smiling at you and the other who’s about to stab you with a knife – I can understand how the knife-wielder might take more precedence in what you’re remembering came at you that day. I promise there are more of smilers out there, somewhere around you.

But don’t get me wrong – people who are good feminists, are decent humans are allowed to get angry, too. Just like you, we’re allowed to feel hurt at our own knife wounds. And we’re allowed to fight back. Just as you are.

Best,

Miceala Shocklee

Title (Optional)

20 Jan

So Katherine Fritz, my fellow blogger and an excellent person and kinda-friend who lets me send her overly excited emails about fucking awesome coffee mugs got an agent! And it’s awesome. And she’s hilarious. So you all should head over to her blog and read her post “Title (Optional)” because hoorah smallish-time writers getting literary agents before they’ve even actually written a book because hope and smiles and inspiration! 🙂

Title (Optional).

(No, I’ve not had an entire French press’s worth of coffee today plus also maybe recently a cookie-shaped form of refined sugar… not at all…)

via Title (Optional).

bloggedy blog blogs

17 Dec

In which I say to hell with grammar and tell you about some other awesome blogs. NO, you don’t need to buy anything, repost anything, sell your soul to corporate America for anything, or any such nonsense.

I’m just writing this post to say, “Oh hey, it’s the winter holidays when we’re supposed to be sharing and giving and spreading joy throughout livingkind and stuff, so how ’bout I do some of that with my readers?” ‘Cause, you know, there are other bloggers besides me (oh god please don’t leave me I love you all I need you please please stay and keep giving me someone to write for *continue desperate begging of an underly-caffeinated Miceala*) – and of those other bloggers, there are some who make me laugh and smile and nod approvingly at their writerly wit that I think they’re worth telling y’all about too.

So. Really what I’m doing is just giving you a bigger reading list. That’s a good thing, right?

Anyhoo. On to my fangirling.

 

I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog, Katherine Fritz

Okay, maybe it’s just that this woman has the same sarcastic snark that I do, but I consistently love her posts. Every. single. one. And that’s no easy feat for a blogger. And when I say her posts are real, I don’t just mean in the “Hallmark touchy-feely” sense. I mean that her posts are filled with all the fucks and damns and laughter and pissyness and appreciation and grunge and lust and luster of a typical day in the life of a twenty-something. She’s got mega-good insights without being preachy or trite, and she’s blunt without being crass. She’s a freelance costume designer in Philly, so a lot of her posts are about artsy stuff, but she also posts about everything and anything. Including mistaking sweater fluff for a spider. Best. Halloween post. ever.

 

Mommy Man, Jerry Mahoney

So a lot of you have probably already heard me go on and on about this dad-superman-comedian-gay guy writer in a previous post about the book he’s got coming out in March. He’s hilarious, he loves his kids and will tell you about them in all their awkward, selfish, innocent, just-barely-not-a-toddler glory, and he’s got some pretty interesting thoughts to share on what it’s like being a gay stay-at-home-dad in today’s times.

 

The Blog, Patrick Rothfuss

Apparently Patrick Rothfuss is *just too busy* finishing up that third book of his to come up with a wittier name for his blog. To be fair, the man’s throwing his energy into being a family man, a fantasy writer, an expert geek, and a cultural critique, and he’s got so much excellence outputting there, it’s understandable that he didn’t feel the need to agonize over his blog title. But seriously, if you want to keep up with the goings-on of someone I think is one of the world’s most interesting people, check out his blog. Also follow him on Facebook – not for publicity’s sake, but because a lot of the best snippets he writes show up as status posts rather than blog entries.

 

Let’s share the blogginess! I’m always happy to find other excellent internet writers out there I can use to procrastinate on work by reading their posts. So comment with your favorites! 😀

The Electric Toaster Support Group

18 Nov

In which I completely ignore all the homework I’m behind on, and write a good ol’ fashioned short story dedicated to Miss Katherine Fritz of the fantastic “I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog,” who came up with this title.

“It just… pops out at me! Every time! I can never expect it!” Sadie dropped her head into her hands, stifling a sob. Around her, the group nodded knowingly. One member reached out and patted Sadie on the back. She looked up, and there were tears streaming down her cheeks. “I never know when it’s going to happen! I look for patterns, try to anticipate the time, but it’s never the same. I can’t handle all this anxiety, every single day!”

“I burned myself yesterday,” another group member mumbled. He’d pulled his hood up over his head and had his hands stuffed deep into his sweatshirt pockets. Now, he pulled them out to let the group oggle his bandages.

From a chair far away in the circle, a small, flighty voice peeped up. “Why’d you do it, Howard?”

Howard shrugged. “Didn’t really mean to. I just… needed to know when it would be over. I had to get that control back.”

“Well,” a woman’s deep, husky voice slid into the conversation, “Mary and I, we’ve started bringing… implements, if you know what I mean, into our daily routine. Makes it easier to, uh, get things out, without having to worry about putting yourself in too much danger. More structure, more distance.”

The group was silent for a while.

“I don’t know,” the flighty voice again, now a little less tepid, “seems like you’re just trying to ignore the problem, by removing yourself from it. Doesn’t require any physical action on your part. Almost like you’re putting up a wall.”

There was whispering and head nodding and murmuring and head shaking at that. The group leader looked up from her clipboard, finally noticing the din that warned her group might break out of control.

“Celia,” she cut in, “that was some very good insight – if it had been about your experience. Let’s all focus on talking about our own feelings, and not telling other people out theirs, okay?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Celia piped timidly. She grasped the edges of her chair with both hands and slid herself as far back as she could go.

The husky-voiced woman stared at her. “You haven’t even been able to do it at all, have you?” she asked. “At least, not recently. Look at you, all pale and trembling. When was the last time you were actually able to go all the way through, satisfy yourself?”

Celia burst out into tears. “All right!” she wailed. “I admit it! It’s been a year! I just… I couldn’t take it, the waiting and the uncertainty. And sometimes it comes out too hot and then I get all grossed out. I tried adding oils and all that stuff, but nothing helped! By the end, I was so nervous, I just fell apart!”

More sounds came out of Celia’s mouth, but they’d devolved into noises that were more animal than human. The group sat silently on their folding chairs, most of them looking at their hands or feet, some of them displaying a nervous tick or two that only got worse with the increasing tension. But the husky-voiced woman, she got out of her chair, completely ignoring the disapproving look the group leader shot her, and crossed the room to kneel by Celia. She wrapped her arms around the smaller woman.

“Hey honey, it’s going to be okay. I know it’s hard. Why, before Mary and I started our new approach, I could barely take all the build up too. It just takes practice, and finding what works for you. Electric toasters, they don’t have to be so scary.”

Celia sniffled and dragged a mealy tissue from her coat pocket. She blew her nose loudly. “But it’s so hard!” she cried. “You never know when your toast is going to be done, not really! And then it just shoots out, sometimes even lands on the floor if you haven’t calibrated the springs right! And Howard’s right, sometimes, it’s too much! I used to burn myself so often, trying to pull the toast out before it was really done. And even if I managed to get through the toasting alright, the toaster was always there, on the counter, staring at me. And I knew the toast came from it. Butter, olive oil – nothing made it friendlier!” She collapsed back over her knees. “I just don’t know what to do!”

The husky-voiced woman was silent.

The group leader checked her watch. “Well, that’s all for now. I think we’ve had a very productive session today.” The room stirred with the sound of feet shuffling and chair legs scraping against the floor as people started preparing to leave, even as Celia still sobbed under the ministrations of the husky-voiced woman. The group leader seemed unconcerned. “Please remember,” she continued, checking something off on her clipboard, “everything we discuss in the electric toaster support group is confidential. This is a safe, private place for people to move beyond their fears and learn to enjoy toast again. Good luck with breakfast, everyone. I’ll see you all next week.”