Sunday, February 14, 2010

For Valentine's Day and for V-Day: Different kinds of "Real Love", none of them Hate

Valentine's Day is probably the most heterosexist holiday in the U.S. and one of the most commercialised. I love it that when young, my elementary school classmates and I used to exchange very simple or hand-made Valentines without regard for gender. It strikes me now as such a sweet thing to do. I wish it continued to happen that way through high school.

[image is from here]

I love the Beatles for too many reasons to state here now. But I'll name a couple. I love it that they loved one another and that they were not afraid to speak of it. I love that they had deep, loving relationships not only with each other, but also with women: John with Yoko; Paul with Linda; George with Olivia; Ringo with Barbara.

With awareness of the pun, I post this video in honor of my love for the Beatles. The song is called "Real Love". The video was found *here*.

I also <3 Apolo Ohno. I love him (in an adoring sort of way) because he is amazing at what he does as an athlete. I respect his dedication to his sport of short track speed skating. I marvel at his centeredness. I applaud his loving bond with his father who was the parent who raised him. (I adore his father also, for raising such a fine young man in difficult circumstances, in terms of what other choices Apolo could easily have made that would have been very destructive to himself and other people.)

 [image is from here]
I am especially attracted to him because he is strongly anti-racist, and because he is not known (to me, at least) as a sexist jerk. Also, he doesn't come across as arrogant, but seems confident in his abilities. For all of those reasons, and because I think he's physically beautiful,  I hold him in deep regard. I have no reason to think he's gay. So my crush ends when he's not in my life in some insignificant way, such as while watching the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, which is land stolen from Indigenous people, as is the rest of North America. I have never met him, and have no plans to meet him. But today, I want to publicly state that I think Apolo Ohno is one of the most beautiful men who is best known in the worlds of sport and entertainment.

And I <3 this quote by Catharine A. MacKinnon, except for her use of the term "dumbest" to mean "most ridiculous". I'll note that one the internet, only portions of what follows are offered as "the quote". Men who wish to prove MacKinnon hated men, for example, delete the part where she speaks of men's capacity to be remorseful and rehabilitated into a more empathic, compassionate humanity, expressed and shared with women, rather than imposed and forced upon women.

"[...] men who are in prison for rape think it's the dumbest [sic] thing that ever happened... It isn't just a miscarriage of justice; they were put in jail for something very little different from what most men do most of the time and call it sex. The only difference is they got caught. That view is nonremorseful and not rehabilitative. It may also be true." (MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified, p. 88)

[image is from here]

There are at least two reason for this to be the case:
1. Most men who rape do not rape only once. All the rapes prior to being caught, charged, prosecuted, and imprisoned were, for him, "not crimes". So he must be wondering "why this time?" in a similar--if less egregious--way than the man who speeds on the highway in his automobile daily is pissed when he gets pulled over, feeling it is unfair since he gets away with it most of the time.

2. Het men (not all het men, but het men as opposed to gay men) define sex with women in terms that are not organised around women's humanity or civil rights, but, rather, around men's inhumanity towards women, men's privileges and entitlements and rights as organised by patriarchal societies which deem women to be inferior to men and treat women accordingly.

Het men consider obsessive and gross objectification of women, the preoccupying fetishisation of women's body parts, strong attraction to cosmetically modified body parts, and draws to "physical types" of women to be natural and normal, no matter how "unnatural" the cosmetically altered woman is. Het men (not all het men, but het men as opposed to gay men) see it as natural and normal to visually violate women, to have 24/7 visual access to pimped women's bodies and body parts, and to pursue women they are attracted to, regardless of whether the woman or women demonstrate any level of interest in the man.

Het men find the use of coercion, manipulation, and dishonesty to be normal means for obtaining sex with women. Het men believe women exist to serve men in some way, and many het men consider lesbian women who organise their social and personal lives around other women, and who refuse to deal with or take care of men to be "man-haters" and not "woman-lovers".

Because of all this, because het men feed upon and conjure stories in their heads that fuel misogyny, about "that woman in pornography who would never go out with me", or about "women having men by the balls" because het men, collectively while not always individually, often do not own their entitlements and structural political position in a social gender hierarchy. They often act as if they are obliviousness to the forms of social status, power, privileges, human rights, and lack of stigma that women collectively while not always individually do not experience. Het men do not appear to be responsible with their emotions or actions regarding women. I see het men out misogyny at women in egregious ways against individuals because they are part of a gender group called women.

And I think all the het men who are not respectful of women in the ways they speak pejoratively about women or who mistreat women, ought to become responsible, caring, compassionate, empathic, and sensitive people in their interactions with women in all spheres of life.

I believe men can learn to love women as human beings, and as uniquely embodied souls. And I sometimes question the lack of will het men demonstrate in sharing this belief. I love any man's materialised, socially acted out capacity to be humane. And I can't hate men because I love men too much.

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