Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Looks Like You Got Yourself A Feminist There

Scenes in the delagar household:

(I am slouched in the big white chair, which is where you can usually find me, craptop propped on my knees, writing on my latest short story, which concerns a gender-fluid alien and a xenobiologist on a far-future far-off space station; it is very late at night; despite this, I am drinking coffee mixed with too much sugar and just a bit of rum. The kid emerges, flung like a popped cork, from her room. She rages to the kitchen.  She rages back into the living room.)

Me: What?

The kid:  My friends!  My friends!

Me: (I know she means her online friends.) What?  What?

The kid: They keep making horrible rape jokes.

Me: ---

The kid: I know I should tell them it isn't funny.  They're just messing, but.

Me: But rape's not something to joke around with.

The kid: I feel bad that I didn't tell them to stop.

Me: Well.

The kid: I know I should have told them to stop.

Me: Next time you should.  They'll be mad at you, but you do have to tell people to stop when they're doing something wrong.  The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

(She flings herself back into her room.  I return to writing. Several minutes later she emerges again, bouncing.)

The kid: I told them to quit.  Maybe more harshly that I should have.

Me: Ah?

The kid:  I said cut out the rape jokes you jerks, rape isn't funny.

Me: (Grinning) That sounds appropriate to me.  What happened.

The kid:  They were like oh we were just playing around.  But they apologized and they quit.  And I said rape is a horrible thing and no one should joke about it.  And they quit. And now I want to go yell at someone else on the internet somewhere.

                                                     *****      ******    ******

(The kid and I are doing her Latin lesson.  We're using the iPad to look up words we don't know.  Which is plenty of them, by the way.  Latin Is Hard.)

Me: (putting a word into the search box, which iPad autocorrects into something idiotic) Oh, stop that, you bitch.

The kid: Hey.

: Well, it's just...

The kid (even more sternly): HEY.

: Okay, okay.  Stop that, you asshat.

The kid: Don't use gendered insults, MOM.

                                                   ****** ******* ********

(Another evening.  I am in the white chair again, prepping for class this time.  The kid comes into the room and slouches on the sofa.)

Me: What?

The kid: Nothing.

Me: ---

The kid: I'm just sad about *Lily.  I was thinking about how her mother calls her fat all the time.  That's just terrible.

Me: It is.  You're right.

The kid: I mean, the school* doesn't allow bullying. But then she's bullying her own kid.  Plus, that's just telling her -- that's saying she's worthless if she's not skinny.

Me: You're absolutely right.

                                                ******  ********  ************

(We are riding in the car, on our way somewhere -- Harp's, maybe?  Maybe the library.  It is right after I have compelled the kid to read Ender's Game as part of her homeschooling.  She has hated the book so much she can't shut up about it.)

The kid: And plus -- and plus -- this part, do you remember this part?  How girls don't make it to battle school because hundreds of years of evolution are working against them?

Me: ---

The kid: (shouting) Hundreds of years of evolution, Mom!

Me: Well, maybe that's what your paper should be about, then. (She writes papers on the books she reads.) The anti-feminist implications of --

The kid: (grumpily) You're not taking me to that stupid movie, I'm telling you that much.

*Lily's mom works at a local school.


Anonymous said...

Awesome! I hope my children are as aware.

(I confess, I totally must have skipped over that part of Ender's Game, or else just put it in the category of, "a product of its time" along with most science fiction and fantasy I read growing up. Only Piers Anthony and Anne McCaffrey didn't get "product of their time" byes for sexism in my mind, the latter because date rape by the protagonist being ok isn't a product of her time, the former because the Xanth series isn't actually good enough on any dimension to be worth the overt sexism.)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that delagar junior is developing fine morals.
I have to say, though, that if you don't report Lily's mother to the school board then you're not upholding your own standards.
It made the post a bit conflicting in my eyes.

delagar said...

The passage is very near the beginning of the book, N&M, when Graf and the other guy whose name I can never remember are discussing whether to send toddler Ender up to Battle School. They mention that very few girls have qualified for the school because they have "centuries" of evolution working against them.

I think that's the part that really pissed the kid off -- the sexism, sure, that was annoying, but hardly surprising. It was Card measuring human evolution in centuries that really got down her neck. (See, because back on the Serengeti plain, human females were fierce, but now that we've spent centuries in the suburbs...)

To be honest, I didn't expect her to hate the book as much as she did. I've got her reading classic literature, and that one is one of the classics of SF, however we might feel about OSC. But wow. She really hated it.

delagar said...

That's clearly a point of view, anonymous, and you're welcome to hold it.

Athena Andreadis said...

*happy sigh*

jo(e) said...

LOVE this.

Michelle said...

This was a wonderful read!

Also, may I just say that I think you are very brave to have a white chair and a child. Or even just a white chair at all. I can't even buy white shirts if I want them to last more than a week. Kudos.

delagar said...

Ha! Michelle, we got the white chair when the kid was four months old. It was Dr. Skull's idea. I told him he was insane. Those were my exact words. "You're insane," I said. "We have a four month old."

"We'll just keep her off it," he said.


The chair is only *technically* white at this point.

Anonymous said...

Reading this post made me more than just a little happy! I don't know if you've done this already but would you mind sharing your parenting tips and how you raised your child to be so bright?

delagar said...

Aw, anonymous, thanks!

I don't think I have written up my parenting style/rules. Maybe I'll do that next!

(You know I love laying down the law!)