|note these are all ones. I'm stupid, not rich.|
My new motto is "I don't hate myself enough to listen to GenChat tonight."
And every once in a while I get smacked in the head by someone I like with the "girls are horrible/dumb/bitchy and why why won't they fuck me" line. (Gee, Prince Charming, I fucking wonder!)
So, this weekend, I get into an argument with a friend, because I just can't seem to shut up. If you act like a sexist fucknut around me, I am going to call you out. If you act like a privileged white guy rape apologist, I'm going to call you out, and then drop you off my friends list like you're toxic, because, well, you are.
I come downstairs to get coffee and I rant at my husband, "Why is there no way to actually get through to people? Why is it that I ask someone not to use 'rape' to mean 'something didn't go my way' around me, and I end up in a forty-five minute argument that ends when I ban someone from ever talking to me again? Why do they think they need to justify their thoughtless behavior by becoming worse? Is there some genetic code that prevents people from just saying 'Oh, sorry,' and going on to become a better person? Is it that much of a big deal?"
He didn't really have any answers for me, although he did offer to punch the guy in his stupid mouth.
And while I appreciate that my husband stands up for me, sometimes I really wish it wasn't so fucking necessary. I get better, faster answers from mechanics, teachers, repairmen when I ask my husband to talk to them... nice little girl, hesh yo mouth and go make me a sammich.
So that happened.
(apologies for this 'my best friend is black/I'm not racist' paragraph.)
I have quite a number of friends who are QUILTBAG* including quite a few transgender in various stages of transition / gender corrective surgery.
And one of my friends was talking about being MtF and dealing with women who give unsolicited fashion advice, expecting her to be even more feminine than the standards they hold themselves to. Don't wear stripes, don't wear those shoes, why are you walking around without a purse, girl?
I said that I didn't think unsolicited advice was reserved entirely for trans; I've gotten unasked for advice on fashion, my weight, my hair, my hobbies, the men and women I sleep with, being a mom, not being a mom. If there's a subject out there, chances are good I've gotten some unsolicited opinions about how I'm doing it all wrong. Women are, unfortunately, prone to this sort of nitpickery/rung climbing/pecking order/mommy-drive-by behavior. Hell, I've done it myself. And then I opened my mouth and fell in.
"Welcome to the club."
And I got called out for it. My friend is a woman, she's been in the club for years and she's got her jacket already. I was being condescending and it was uncalled for.
I didn't mean it that way - I'm the sort of asshole who says "Welcome to Virginia" to people who complain about the heat around here, to my husband and my best friend who've been living here for decades. I'm not actually welcoming them anywhere, or including them in some exclusive club. I'm saying "yeah, it sucks. it always has. it probably always will."
I almost typed all that up on my friend's page and then I took a deep breath. Defending my thoughtless words. Getting somewhat angry.
Was I not being the sort of privileged asshat that I was just complaining about not three hours ago?
"Thank you for calling me out. I was being an ass without realizing it. I know it's not your job to handhold me though the conversation and assumptions of what's okay with me might not be what's okay with you. I apologize. It wasn't my intention to be an ass, but it happened and I was wrong. I want to learn to be a better person than I am now. Thank you for being understanding as well. The only way for me to get better, check my privilege as it is, is to be open to learning what I do or say that can be taken wrong. I don't think anyone can ever get everything right, but you do the best you can, leaving a criticism as being what it is, the opportunity to learn, share and understand."
It's not possible to never say something stupid without crawling into a hole, or surrounding yourself only with people who are exactly like you, who come from the same point of privilege. And I'm not telling you what I did because I'm trying to earn some sort of LGBT cookie (see also feminist cookie). I was an ass.
And sometimes, I need to be reminded of it.
Which is exactly how being an ass, being sorry, and obtaining forgiveness should work.
*QUILTBAG is an acronym. It stands for Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer. It is meant to be a more inclusive term than GLBT/LGBT and to be more pronounceable (and memorable) than some of the other variations or extensions on the GLBT/LGBT abbreviation.