Like all my answers, this one arrived breach, backwards, started with the free-floating thought that I had been personally mis-moralled, treated as hostile when I wasn’t. Will you allow the expression?
I understand mis-gendering, the negation of our own self image and expression in favour of someone else’s idea and role for us, I have always been at some distance from the male end of the gender spectrum and have always felt unseen when someone includes me among the manly sorts of men. I’m a “he,” but of course “they” doesn’t bother me – “bro” bothers me. I don’t feel the solidarity it suggests, don’t want it, I do not offer my support to much maleness, much of it is toxic.
But you know what? Not for reasons of sex. That’s not the part of being gendered or mis-gendered that doesn’t fit, and I really don’t take offence if you think I love the ladies, I want to use a strong expression, an anatomical expression, but you know what I mean. I’m not ashamed of my heterosexual leanings, not horrified to be accused of them. My offense is about the other male things, the strength, the violence. A lot of that is directed towards sexual things, conquest and such, and people generally maybe see the sex in that and maybe manage not to see the violence in it, but I am not that way about it. I have this childish idea that some things are more important than sex and gender and that the violence should be the thing that sets off alarms for us instead.
There is enough love and sex in the world that even a little pacifist like myself should be able to find some love, and I did – although maybe my lovers had mis-gendered me, assumed I was tougher than I was, and perhaps some would like to take it back. I found some on my own terms anyhow, I thought, but the general mis-gendering has cost me far more than it’s paid me in the long run. There is a certain amount of testosterone being sexy, but there is also a lot of pain and resentment around it.
I feel being called “bro” like an accusation, I hear “every man is a rapist” In it. I hear “we are all assholes together” in it, I don’t hear “we all love the ladies here” in it, sort of the reverse. It’s more like “we hate everyone, everyone hates us and we’re winning this fight,” that’s what I hear, and I’m not happy with this situation generally, life as a fight. I’m a man, basically, and a white one to boot, supposedly the pinnacle of privilege – why is my life a war, why am I a soldier, fighting and dying in some war and if we’re winning, why doesn’t it ever end?
I feel mis-moralled, that because we white men are winning the war, everyone thinks I’m happy about the whole deal or something. That because men run the world, people think that my life is an exercise in dominance, I don’t have feelings, and want to hurt people or something.
Of course, being “mis-moralled,” being subjected to treatment that is based in assumptions, in this case not about your gender or sexuality, but about something vaguer and more basic, your “morals,” well, that is a part of all of it, isn’t it, this sexism I try to rebel against, that if I’m a man, I’m aggressive, or of regular misogynist sexism generally, and racism. All of it tends to mis-moral the target group, doesn’t it? All of my life I’ve been frustrated about people’s, ladies’ assumptions about me, that I’m some sexist player, when I have always known myself as a person who always tries to good and no harm.
I am absolutely certain that this is a tiny portion of the same feeling a good, clean living Christian black American feels when some white, bigoted obvious sinner lets them know they consider them to be automatically somehow ‘immoral.’ Women generally, looking after everything and everyone and being told by the evangelicals and the old fashioned doctors that women are somehow less developed or less moral, less fit to run the world than the men. Moral efforts seem to count for nothing in this world of group conflict, all try, none get credit, except that within our racist little groups, we are rewarded for good, moral work within and for bad, violent work outside of the group, all under the name of morality.
Bros before hos is “morality” for the bros. Not an endorsement, hence the irony quotes.
But I think this is what hurts, this is the core of it. Mis-gendering has been confusing me some, how is every stranger supposed to know, and why does every stranger need to be familiar with my complex personal sexuality? But it all makes sense this way, that the point of all discrimination is simply the judgement, and the filthy slide into what we call “morality” from matters of other, discreet things, sexuality, race, gender, age, name it. Red headedness. It wouldn’t hurt, and it wouldn’t serve the dominants’ purposes to say, “you’re gay and that’s weird;” it’s always this “you’re wrong” business, the moral othering that makes things dangerous and awful, and it doesn’t matter to a bigot that I might be working hard at being the very best, most moral gay person I can be, making all the right choices.
It’s like when it comes down to it, morality isn’t about choices, isn’t about making moral choices at all, great swathes of humanity are just born “wrong,” to the very people who preach the most about moral choices.
Interesting to me, that again, as the having it easiest demographic there is, an old white male, that I too have suffered this disregard all my life, that there have been almost no-one that ever acknowledged my efforts to be a good fellow. Not saying “me too, I get it,” of course I’m still in the best possible position. My point as always, I think it’s science. That even the best role in this play comes with a large basic serving of bullshit and being hated, even the best served demographic doesn’t have to look far for a reason to be miserable.
This is a hair’s breadth away from white apologism, and I don’t want it to be, I want to say whites are dominant, in charge, causing all of the trouble and strife and we don’t even have the self defense excuse the racists pretend to, this is all our fault. All I want to add is, most whites are getting screwed over too, yes, even as we continue to screw everyone else around. We do not have some working, racist system where all the dominant race’s members are happy and free, and I don’t want one, of course. I’m just saying, this is not a system, as the trolls on Twitter might have you believe, that makes an entire race happy and free.
This is horrible for all but the .01%.
Most white folks are not with the racist cops, mostly, we too are terrified of them. As I said, social media might give you that awful impression, like all whites are happy with Trump, like it’s all white folks against you, of course it’s not, it’s just a few percent of us, against all of us poor folks, of every shade and sexuality. These are not democratic elections, half of no country ever votes for a plague, do they. Never mind the actual vote tallying, actual democracies do not exist awash in misinformation. Actual, human voters in Canada and America aren’t valid, informed voters, a prerequisite for group rule.
I’m trying for it not to be, it always seems to me that to talk about all of us is far more important than to talk about me, but this is very personal for me.
Like I say, I am not black, or female or any seriously persecuted sort of a person, but I have managed to get myself into that situation, where a life of moral strivings means exactly nothing to someone, to the few someones I dedicated my life to being good to, and looking back, maybe from all the ladies in my life ever. White as I am, I am starting to understand invisibility and erasure. Thirty years, entire human beings came into existence and lived lives, in my house, but not in my world, my good self had been erased before they were born.
There are lines not to cross so as not to incur any further abuse from the world, but there are lines that no amount of good behaviour can ever cross and when you “are” wrong, you can’t ever do anything right.
I can’t keep my blogs separate, it’s all one, humanity and me, we have the same problems.
It’s a little bit funny, out of my white guilt and the privilege I have enjoyed, failing upwards or level, I would say, like any white liberal/progressive that I join the disenfranchised voluntarily, that I defend the LGBTQ folks and all oppressed races and such, happily say it, join indeed on paper, in my writing . . . it’s my privileged chickens coming home to roost that the matter has sort of been taken out of my hands, that I stand now, thoroughly marginalized out of my own life.
Dec. 28th., 2020