Over the weekend, some dudebro with a history of shitting on women took this picture of me (which you may remember from here) and meme-ized it, with the intent, given his personal history and predilections, of mocking me — both for my views as regards women, and for wearing a dress.
Well, this dudebro clearly knows his way to this site, where the picture was originally posted, by me, so let me go ahead and address him directly.
Dudebro: Let me detail for you the various ways this picture has utterly failed you as an attempt to ridicule me.
One: This picture was taken as a result of a dare, to wit: if people on Twitter pledged $500 to the Clarion Foundation in a half hour, I would take a picture of myself in a regency dress, of which there just happened to be one in the house because my friend Mary Robinette Kowal, writer of a number of successful, award-nominated regency-era fantasies, was visiting and had one with her. Twitter came through with $600 in the allotted time, and, well, fair’s fair.
So when I see this picture, what I am reminded of is that I have the power, with just a simple, entirely mild instance of cross-dressing, to raise hundreds of dollars in minutes for a worthy charitable organization. If you had that power, would you not use it? Well, actually, I don’t imagine you would use it, since the idea of being a man in a dress apparently fills you with sniggering, confused terror. Fortunately for Clarion, I don’t have that problem. Which brings us to this:
Two: Mocking me as a feminist means you are mocking me for this:
Aw, SNAP, bro. Someone hand me the phone, because it looks like I just got TOLD.
Now, bear in mind that I know this isn’t what you mean by “feminist.” What you mean by “feminist” is GWAAAAARGH UGLY WOMEN WHO WON’T LET ME HAVE SEX WITH THEM AND THEIR COWERING MALE GAMMA SLAVES WHO HAVE COME TO SNATCH MY MANLY TESTICLES AND ROAST THEM OVER A BONFIRE OF HUSTLERS AND PORN BLU-RAYS AND THEN MAKE ME WATCH WITH ALL MY OTHER EMASCULATED DUDEBROS WHILE THEY FEAST ON OUR HOT BARBEQUED DUDE OYSTERS GWAAAAAAARGH, although I’m sure you have many layers of self-justifying verbiage that helps you avoid confronting this fundamental reduction of your views. Nevertheless, that’s not actually what “feminist” means.
Sorry. I know this hard for you to grasp. If you want to take a moment to process the news, we can pause for a few.
Ready? Okay, let’s move on.
Three: Let me draw your attention to something in this next image:
Now, I see you going “wha?” to this, so let me explain. When you use a picture to mock someone, the idea is that you show them as an object of ridicule — that your life, whatever else it is, is better than theirs in a fundamental way. But, here’s the thing. I may be a dirty dirty feminist, but I’m also a feminist with five acres of really awesome lawn, on which rests a lovely, large house, in which I have lots of very cool things. I got the lawn and house and things by being successful — that’s right! I am financially successful through work! It’s not like, say, I’ve generally failed at everything I’ve done and have wealth from living off family remittances. Nope, I worked for this stuff. Go me.
The point is that whether you processed this in your brain or not when you slapped up the picture, what you’ve ended up doing is showing me exhibiting some of the benefits of being who I am — and one of the things I am, as you maintain, is a feminist. I am not saying that being a feminist is sufficient for having a successful career, big house and a ridiculously large lawn that is the size of a New York City block — but on the other hand it certainly hasn’t hurt me in acquiring those things, has it. And as you clearly believe in correlation as causation — Because I am a feminist, I have worn a dress — then you should also believe that because I am a feminist, I have a nice lawn, a nice house and a nice career.
So, yes: this is what a feminist looks like: A successful man standing on the land he owns, enjoying his life and all the opportunities it affords him, including wearing a dress if he feels like it, which clearly he does. Mock away, chuckles.
Four: Which conveniently brings us to the next point:
Or, to put it another way, after some random dudebro has attempted to insult me on the Internet by taking a photo of me in a dress that I’ve already posted on my own site and slapping the word “feminist” on it, all I have to go back to is a successful career, a loving family, a circle of amazing friends and talented peers, and a social system whose systematic biases favor me in nearly all cases as a well-off straight white man. Even when I put on a dress.
I mean, I know that’s not much compared to the awesome power of a random Internet dudebro calling me a word I don’t find in the least bit insulting, but it will have to suffice. Somehow.
It would be nice to live in a world in which any time a dudebro tried insulting someone else, that person had the same level of insulation from the effects of the attempted insult as I do — we don’t, and this dudebro is working hard to keep it that way. I know one of the reasons he’s working so hard on it is because even if we’re not there yet, we’re well on our way to it. Rear guard actions are always the most frantic.
Speaking of which:
Five: Seriously, now: “This is what a feminist looks like” qualifies as arch mockery in your world? Dudebro, please. This is so much more devastating:
Look, I don’t want to tell you your job, but you’ve got a slightly chubby, slightly balding middle-aged dude in a mint green regency dress here. There is so much to work with. That all you’ve managed is “Hurrrrr hurrrr feeeeeemineeeeeest hurrr” is not just disappointing, it’s a waste of awesomely good meme material. If you can’t do better, dude, you might as well turn in your Reddit membership right now.
But I know, little dudebro. I know. In your world, calling another dude a feminist is the worst possible thing you can do. So one more picture for you:
I mean, these are my choices, right? One or the other? Well, then, if these are my choices, I know which way I am going to go. Which, I suppose, means that by your definitions, this was right all along:
Yes. Yes it is.