This has been in my draft file for a while. I’ve been working on taking out the anger, but this is the best I could manage.
I wish I had a share of Berkshire Hathaway for every time I’ve read “I’d do her” in comments connected to a blogpost about a woman. Any woman. Any context.
You wanna know why the bits-based blogosphere is even more of a misogyny-condoned playground than we might expect in our atomic world? It’s because in any post concerning the actions of a woman, it’s always reduced to – and unerrringly expressed as – this. Her “doability”.
Even if the poster agrees with the substance of her actions, his idea of praise is to say he finds her sexually acceptable. Don’t give me any of this crap that “oh, it’s playful” or flattering or any other bullshit excuse. It’s because that’s what they ultimately think we’re here for.
I see these posts, and it reminds me of being online 20 years ago – that’s right, 20 years ago, before the Web, when the Internet was almost entirely a boys’ club and the vast majority of today’s “doers” had no access in more ways than one. As a young conventionally attractive woman whose academic pursuits were literary and artistic, I was the equivalent of the man from mars arriving in Kansas City, or Providence.
It wasn’t enough for there to be the workplace attitude that young female hires were there to primary serve as eye candy or provide a social outlet for the young gifted men there – the online environment lacked even the spin of “social environment”. And since I was in my 20’s, and my looks got attention, I used that attention to rail against the sexist presumptions of the workplace, with a smile. (My first week at work I brought in a copy of “Captialist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism” as my lunch reading, and left it on the desk in lieu of a nameplate.)
Now, it’s not so much than I’m not a martian – there are just more of us. Our increased numbers mean that we’re more likely to talk about our lives, put pictures of ourselves on our professional and personal Web sites, and connect with each other.
So now, it has morphed into this “doable” angle. It makes me think of the Yummy Mummy phenomenon or the NC-17 version that is MILF. (Both labels are serious objectifiers – why are thinking women and men not taking this on? Tori, I’ve followed you for 17 yearsm but your irony is lost on me.)
The madonna-whore socio-industrial complex looks easy to navigate compared to the good mommy/hot mama protocols. (First, give yourself up to the needs of dependents. Then, somehow get 8 hours sleep – in a row – and in between cosmeceutical treatments and your dayjob, remain sexually awake and available.) And remember, no matter what you do in that dayjob, no matter what achievements you bring to this day, or what you may accomplish tomorrow, it will come down to this – would some troll in pajamas find you doable?
So, readers, I’d like to encourage you to do as some people are starting to do in different ways since the Kathy Sierra incident. The next time you see “I’d do her” in comments, consider telling the do-er to keep it, or perhaps “do it” to himself.