Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On being called militant

There have been many different times in my life that I've been called militant. Last night was one of those times. It used to really offend me because of what it implies... because of the image your brain instantly conjures up of the man-hating fat ugly dyke. It makes me think of that drawing in "Chasing Amy." You remember the scene... it went like this:

Banky Edwards
: Alright, now see this? This is a four-way road, okay? And dead in the center is a crisp, new, hundred dollar bill. Now, at the end of each of these streets are four people, okay? You following?
Holden: Yeah.
Banky Edwards: Good. Over here, we have a male-affectionate, easy to get along with, non-political agenda lesbian. Down here, we have a man-hating, angry as fuck, agenda of rage, bitter dyke. Over here, we got Santa Claus, and up here the Easter Bunny. Which one is going to get to the hundred dollar bill first?
Holden: What is this supposed to prove?
Banky Edwards: No, I'm serious. This is a serious exercise. It's like an SAT question. Which one is going to get to the hundred dollar bill first? The male-friendly lesbian, the man-hating dyke, Santa Claus, or the Easter bunny?
Holden: The man-hating dyke.
Banky Edwards: Good. Why?
Holden: I don't know.
Banky Edwards: [shouting] Because the other three are figments of your fucking imagination! (taken from IMDB)

So, yeah... along time ago, I was sensitive to being called militant or a dyke or man-hating. Let's examine why, shall we?

Let us first look at the definition of militant. defines it as:
1.vigorously active and aggressive, esp. in support of a cause: militant reformers.
2.engaged in warfare; fighting.
3.a militant person.
4.a person engaged in warfare or combat.

1. belligerent, combative, contentious. See fanatic

You know whats funny? I don't think I've ever heard a guy called militant... not even one "engaged in warfare or combat." I've only ever heard women called militant. I've also only ever heard women called militant by men. Moreover, I've only ever heard women called militant by men when they are trying to speak their mind, or stand up for themselves, or exhibit any other form of mildly aggressive behavior that could be viewed as threatening to the delicate and fragile male ego. Why you ask? Well, because, from what I understand, the general consensus is that women are not allowed to have opinions.... or a voice... or take up too much space... When they do, what happens? They're called a bitch or a cunt. If they do this in opposition to men, they are called a dyke. They are called man-hating. They are called militant. There are so many names to call women when they exhibit any sort of masculine behavior. Men get praised for their opinions and their assertiveness. They get financially rewarded! They become C.E.O's of major corporations! Women are laughed at and assumed to be "on their period." They're just being "belligerent" or "combative." If a woman lives their life as a lesbian, they are doing an inherently anti-man act.... which men find terribly threatening. They believe, much like Banky, that the male friendly lesbian doesn't exist. In his drawings you can see that a lesbian can't be what our culture defines as feminine (hello femme invisibility). This is enforced over and over and over again through countless mediums. Therefore, if a woman exerts any "agressive" behavior or is a self proclaimed feminist, she's assumed to be a dyke. This is because society at large can't wrap their tiny little brains around women performing any act that can be viewed as anti-man so they must find ways to tear them down. Language and name calling is the first way and because each word has been reinforced with an ugly image, my feelings are supposed to be hurt. This is because I am supposed to want to be feminine. I'm supposed to want to be passive and submissive and quiet because then I'll be prettier.

So, I'm reclaiming militant. Damn right I'm militant. I'm strong and vocal. I have thoughts and opinions and I share them. I'm totally combative! Thanks for noticing! I'm also a bitch, a cunt, a dyke, and ya know what? Sometimes, I can be man-friendly and sometimes I can be man-hating. And if I don't say so myself, I'm still kinda pretty. What do you think about them apples?


  1. My mother called me militant about being a feminist/ lez last night. She just said the word "militant," but it was implied and it was certainly not intended as a compliment. I was talking about how men feel like we have an obligation to like them... based on recent experiences.

  2. hmmm ... depends on whether we're defining "prettier" in terms of "more attractive to men," which is a whole different cage. Personally, I think you're plenty pretty.

    And speaking of figments of one's imagination: consider the male feminist.

  3. E - I love reading your blog. keep up the writings!

  4. If militant means passionate and outspoken...then damn right your militant! My parents told me my whole life to tone-it-down and be quiet.....of course I never did. Keep up the good work darlin!