Give that a read. Maybe some of you have no idea what this is about yet, because you think the same thing these people on Facebook think. And, long story short, I don’t blame you. But this is the story of how I found out people on Facebook think I’m a guy.
I mainly promoted my Michael Jackson article on Twitter, where my tweet racked up quite a number of likes and retweets. Then, I saw that people were also coming to the article from Facebook.
This was curious to me in and of itself. I have two Facebook accounts, a personal one and one for writing. The one for writing has a Voyage of the Mind page on which I’m not active, to the point that it Facebook unpublished it. Youch. Anyway, I hadn’t been promoting the blog on Facebook, so I was curious as to where the referrals were coming from. I went on Facebook, which I never use, and found that my article had been shared in a group of Michael Jackson fans.
Awesome! People were promoting for me. This was yesterday. The post had a couple likes. This morning, I couldn’t resist the urge to check again. Wow, up to 20 likes! And there were a few comments. What people with no connection to me thought of my writing interested me, so I looked. And I’m glad I did. I discovered two interesting things.
One, that people who have no connection to me generally like my writing.
And two, that people who have read my writing and have no other connection to me think I’m a guy.
My discovery of this was made doubly funny by the fact that my boyfriend and I had been talking, moments earlier, about transgenderism, the issues going on in the transgender community right now, and the divide in the LGBTQ community about trans issues. And in the course of that conversation, I said, candidly, that I’ve suffered from gender dysphoria at points in my life. That I’ve thought deeply about transgenderism and its implications.
That eventually I decided I would be who I felt like on the inside and let it show in my actions. Which is to say, I’m a woman who doesn’t want to wear makeup or ever dress up or brush her hair very often, so I’m a woman who doesn’t wear makeup and never dresses up and doesn’t brush her hair very often.
And I might be a woman who writes like a guy.
When people read an opinion piece, they probably think that the writer’s a guy.
And they’re not completely wrong to assume. Here’s why.
The New York Times, as you might know, publishes a little disclaimer at the bottom of letters to the editor, outlining their commitment to publishing “a diversity” of letters to the editor. When you click the link on diversity, you’re taken to an op-ed about the lack of female voices in the opinion columns of major newspapers like the Times.
According to the editors
…[we have] wrestled with the fact that women have long been underrepresented on the letters page. By our rough estimate, women account for a quarter to a third of submissions — although women do tend to write in greater numbers about issues like education, health, gender and children.Opinion — A Woman’s Plea: Let’s Raise Our Voices! — The New York Times
Here’s that opinion piece, linked again. I want you to read it. It lays out some potential explanations as to why women’s voices are underrepresented in opinion columns. Whatever the reason, though, it’s the truth — fewer women submit op-eds for consideration. his could mean fewer women write op-eds. Or it could mean that while women write op-eds, they sit on them instead of seeking publication.
I’m a woman who not only writes opinion-type articles and not only seeks to publish them, but does publish them, without delay, without waiting. And when I do, when one takes off, people assume it’s written by a man. They think I’m a guy.
I’m not really upset by it. But I’m a little miffed.
I’m not miffed for myself. I’m miffed for the women out there who might care more than I do. And I’m miffed for women in general, because I think we deserve consideration.
While I don’t blame people for assuming that an opinion piece is written by a man — after all, I just went out of my way to show you that most opinion pieces are written by men — I do think that in some cases this reflects people’s inherent beliefs about gender differences. My article on Michael Jackson, if I may say so myself, is even-keeled. It’s clear, it’s logical, it’s as objective as possible, and it lacks emotion, for lack of a better phrase. It’s a story without emotion, just logic and rationality. And in the beginning, I tell a story about how I used to go to the Burlington Mall as a kid to buy Legos.
If I wanted to, I could have a big tizzy over this. If I were a “better feminist,” maybe I would. But what is being a feminist except for standing up for women and being a woman and living the woman’s experience and seeking to be the best at what you do, regardless of your gender? I set out to write a damn good, objective, logical look at the sexual abuse allegations surrounding Michael Jackson and his legacy. And if my article is so logical that it’s viewed as “manly,” then I think I’ve succeeded.
Once upon a time in ancient Greece…
… masculinity and femininity lived on a continuum. A person, whether that person was a man or a woman or anything else, could have some masculine traits and some feminine traits. And, yes, the masculine and feminine traits were the stereotypical ones we know. Masculine meant strong, stoic, practical, and logical. Feminine meant weaker, softer, seductive, and emotionally turbulent.
But people? They could have a combination of those traits while still being men and women. Our best examples of what this meant in a practical sense come from the Greek gods. Take Poseidon, for example, god of the sea. The Greeks actually regarded the sea — stormy, changeable, unpredictable — as a female domain. And Poseidon the god has many “feminine” characteristics. He’s unpredictable and often emotional.
What about Athena, one of the most famous Greek goddesses? As a goddess, she represented warcraft and wisdom to the ancient Greeks. Not war, but warcraft, the study of battle and leadership. As such, she is calm, logical, practical, and very strong. All “masculine” traits. Yet she’s female.
In fact, out of the Greek pantheon of twelve, I would argue that only two of the deities exemplify masculinity and femininity. I would say that Ares, the god of war, exemplifies the Greek concept of masculinity. And Aphrodite, the goddess of love, exemplifies the Greek concept of femininity. Beyond that, the Greek gods and goddesses exhibit split gender roles and traits.
If ancient Greeks could reconcile these things, then modern Americans should be able to as well.
Once upon a time in 2016…
… a woman told me, a woman, that the reason I didn’t like Hillary Clinton was because she was a woman — because I was sexist.
She followed up this statement by saying that she hadn’t liked Hillary Clinton, once, but had then realized that it was just sexism talking and that she should fall in line and like Clinton.
This, for me, exhibits one of the problems with modern feminism and with modern liberalism, for that matter. The pretzel shapes some of these people will twist themselves into! The way they try to reconcile unreconcilable things in their heads! Sometimes, when you don’t like someone, you don’t like them, and it’s not about their gender. Maybe you look beyond their gender. Maybe you look at their politics. Or maybe you just find them plain unlikeable. I know plenty of Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton, even campaigned for Hillary Clinton, who nonetheless thought she came across as unlikeable on the TV screen.
I, for one, am okay with being a woman without being lauded as a woman. When people read my writing, I hope they don’t think, “Oh, here’s another article from that great woman writer!” I hope they think, “Here’s another article from that great writer!” Because writing sometimes comes without a face.
Someday, I’d like it if people didn’t assume great, well thought-out writing all came from men. Someday, I’d like it if people don’t think I’m a guy. Clearly, I’d like it if people didn’t think I’m a guy now, because I’m coming out and saying it. But I won’t be taking any more action. Informing is enough for me. And like I said already, I don’t blame anyone for assuming. We all assume. Heck, if I’d read my own article, I might have assumed.
Great writers deserve to be recognized as great writers, and great women deserve to be recognized as women. That’s one thing the ancient Greeks never said about masculinity and femininity. They never said masculinity meant greatness.
Read “American Justice for Michael Jackson” if you haven’t already.
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