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You know, funny story: There’s this craft store called Michaels. Look, my sister knits, and she goes to Michaels. So my sister called me and she’s like, “Oh my god, I’m at Michaels, picking up yarn. You have a poster at Michaels.” I’m like, “What?” She’s like, “There’s a poster, there’s a Falcon poster at Michaels.” I’m like, “Holy s**t!” She’s like, “I’m gonna come and pick you up, and we’re gonna see your poster in this store.” So she picks me up and we go to Michaels.
We go in, and I see the poster and I’m like, “Oh, this is….” She’s like, “I know, I know.” I said, “I’m gonna sign these posters.” I was like, “That would be amazing, you buy a poster and it’s like, actually signed by the Falcon.” Like, it would blow my mind. So I go to the front, I buy a Sharpie, I run back to the back of the store. And she’s like, “I’m gonna take a picture of you signing it.”
I’m in this store and I’m signing all the posters. The manager comes out, he’s like, “Hey, whatcha doing?” I was like, “Oh man, I’m signing these posters so when people buy ‘em, they’re signed.” He’s like, “Well, people are not gonna buy ‘em if they’re signed.” And I was like, “No, no, no, it’s cool. I’m pretty sure there won’t be a problem.” And he goes, “Yeah, but it is gonna be a problem, you’re messin’ up my inventory.” And I’m like, “No, my man, trust me. I mean, I’m the Falcon, that’s me!” And he goes, “Yeah, right. You’re gonna buy those posters.” I said, “What?” He’s like, “You’re gonna buy all those posters or I’m gonna call the police.”
He rolls up all the posters and goes to the front of the store. And I had to buy like 60 Falcon posters that I signed in Michaels."
I’m going to say it again: Misogynists don’t hate women because they are feminine. They hate women because they are women.
They hate feminine traits because they are associated with women.
Femininity is not a universal, transhistorical concept. The signifiers of it have changed throughout time. And any time a thing becomes associated with women, it is viewed as corrupting and to be avoided.
- Pink was not associated with girls until after WWII. Only then did it become taboo for boys and men.
- Once religious participation and activism became associated primarily with women in the 19th century, it became possible to talk about it’s feminization. And feminization is a bad thing.
- Professions that become “feminized” (which sometimes still means having less than 50% female representation, just more women than their used to be), tend to become lower paid and garner less respect.
This is why men protect male-dominated spaces (like sports and comic books) so intensely. Because once women are allowed to enter it, it is in danger of being corrupted. Women who adopt more masculine traits in order to enter those spaces are capitulating to a degree, but they also do so because de-sexualization makes it easier to move into those domains, but it doesn’t mean that they are treated as equal. Indeed, for many of them, it means facing harassment, though perhaps a form of harassment that’s more tolerable to that individual woman than a man putting his hand up her skirt.
The solution to this problem is not for “tomboys” (be they actual people or cartoon characters) to validate a wholly arbitrary and contingent iteration of “femininity.” That is not going to make men of any age view femininity as a positive thing. The solution is to rid the culture of misogyny and thereby remove the stigma on anything associated with women.
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