I Like Men

9 September 2001

I read a story last night that upset me -- and no, I'm not going to tell you where, I read a lot of stories, and I don't particularly want you to stumble upon this one. Anyway, the deal was, the male character was entirely evil. Just plain flat-out evil. Not even love-to-hate-him evil. Simply and solely evil. And it was pretty clearly that he was male that was the issue.

It reminded me of a person I met fairly recently, who interrupted a story I was telling about one of my friends to insult him for being male. Yuck.

Why is this okay? Why is it insensitive and stereotypical to have only one woman character and have her be The Bitch Queen archetype, but having men who are Just Bad Because They're Men is okay? Why would it be wrong for a guy to assume that a woman they don't even know is a dumb bimbo, but for women to rip on guys they don't even know for supposedly thinking with the wrong parts of their anatomy is totally okay?

I like men. And in the important cases, men like me. I never went through an "I hate boys" phase. And I guess I don't really understand people who think that the solution for all of the evils of the past is to vilify men in the present. What does this solve?

Because of this, I'd like to propose the Switch Test for writers. If you have a villainous character, switch the gender but not the sexual orientation. If this strikes you as a nasty stereotype (Evil Domineering Lesbian, in this case), it probably is.

Oh, and speaking something of which, I was half-wrong when I was running around telling people that there was no Homosexual Agenda, that gay people hadn't banded together for this monolithic set of goals. I was right in that it's not monolithic -- because there are two of them. There's Homosexual Agenda.Org and Gay Agenda.Com. If they have websites, they must exist. So. Mea culpa.

I found this out, actually, because I was looking through my children's market guide and found that there really is a Feminist Press. Here I thought people were making it up, when they talked about the feminist press, but no. They have a website, they must be real.

On the other hand, we can rest easy knowing that there is no Liberal Media. No website, must not exist.

Isn't that how it works for organizations? No? Oh.

Last night, Mark and I played a couple of hands of "Before I Kill You, Mister Bond...." It was a lot of fun, although I blush to admit that it got the Dr. Evil theme song from "Austin Powers" in my head. "Eeeevil, eeeevil is his one and only name...." It looks like it'll be a better game with more people, though.

After that, Timprov and I went for a night walk. (In a perfectly safe neighborhood, for those of you prone to worrying.) My folks and I used to take night walks all the time when I was a kid, and I forget sometimes how much I love them. This one didn't smell quite right -- the smell of juniper and of ocean color everything around here. It certainly didn't smell like a night walk in September, which involves the tinge of turning leaves and a wood-burning stove or two, and that crisp tang that means you'll be wanting your winter coat before Parents' Weekend, you stupid freshman. Ahem. Anyway. But it was still good.

Today we have, lo, these many plans. We're going up to church, then to lunch in Pleasant Hill at Pasta Primavera (hazelnut pasta, mmmmm), then to coffee with Tim and Heather in the Piedmont (Best New Crack a.k.a. blended iced vanilla latte, mmmmm), then across the bridge to the Ghirardelli Festival (do I even need to mmmm for you here?), then I'm dropping Mark off and going to Avi's to critique five stories. (Assuming, of course, that Zed finds a better way to get there than our tangled plans. I'm almost physically incapable of not offering help if it's needed and I don't mind, but sometimes it's pretty ridiculous-looking help. Remember the song about Stalin and Lenin, from "Free to Be You and Me." Anyway, if Zed decides that our kind of help is the kind of help that helping's all about, then we'll go fetch Zed in the middle of that somewhere.)

I feel like I'm packing for a week's vacation, when in fact we'll just be gone for the day, traipsing around most of the Bay Area. Anybody in San Jose up for a visit around 11:00 tonight? How about Marin? What are the people who live in Marin, anyway, Mariners?

Anyway. We have: my jeans and a sweater in case it gets cold, the cell phone, the digital camera, music to last the whole day, my journal, critiqued stories, this month's F&SF, novel to edit, "to do" list to ponder, books for Tim to borrow/have back, Mark's sax and music, my contacts in case Avi's kitties get too friendly and my eyes bother me, address book in case we need to call somebody unexpectedly...and I'm pretty sure I'll remember one or two more things before it's time to go. I try not to overpack, but I'm not sure I am, this time. It just feels like it because we have a lot of stuff we're going to do today.

Almost none of it, I might add, even remotely productive. Woohoo! Worked yesterday! Playing today!

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