AUTHENTIC MASCULINITY AT ITS MOST VALOROUS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Authentic

Last night I watched a show — Colbert I believe — with Kirsten Dunston as the guest. There were cuts from her first interview on Johnny Carson’s show, 25 years ago which was when “Interview With A Vampire” opened. Someone in the 25-year-old clip commented it was “like a young girl caught by R. Kelly.”

So that long ago all the bigwigs in show biz knew about Kelly. All this time, no one did anything. It was so well known that it was okay to joke about it on the Carson show.

This is an authentic piece of America so well-known no one even winced when it was mentioned. And they were showing cuts from Carson’s show when Kirsten was a girl and a child star.

Now, today, we have R. Kelly telling everyone “it never happened” and it’s all “racist lies.”

R Kelly explaining he can’t read and is broke, There’s no REAL evidence and the whole thing is pure racism. He didn’t do nothin’ while he tries to hire Michael Jackson’s lawyer. Photo: CNN

I loathe how people like him use racism as their excuse for their hideous behavior. That racism even exists is bad enough, but that it is used as an excuse — and believed by many — as an excuse for some of the most egregious male behavior ever displayed.

Make no mistake: it is men. You can argue with me until the cows come home, but in the #metoo discussion, men are the predators.

Why are men the predators?

Because:

      • They are bigger than most women
      • Physically more powerful than most women
      • They have all that rampant testosterone turning their brains to mush.

I understand men were “designed” by whoever did the original design for the two sexes (Note: I think it’s time to admit that a few mistakes were made in creating that design!) so men could be aggressive enough to bring down a mastodon while women could nurture the babies.

Nonetheless, I don’t think men need to be rapists and assaulters. They didn’t have to rape the mastodons, did they? They didn’t need to become the pigs that so many have become.

I understand many men are not pigs, rapists, or assaulters. Not all men beat up their women. Or other men, or children, for that matter. But an awful lot of them do and are proud of it, too.

For reasons that escape me, they feel very brave and authentically masculine because they can beat up a woman, man, or child less than half their size. They feel especially masculine when a group of them beat the crap out of someone. Let’s hear it for the stalwart men of our world and their willingness to take no risks as they prove how brave they are.

Isn’t it humorous when the law finally gets one of these brave lads and they whine and whimper about how it so unfair? Where did all that authenticity and masculine pride go?

What audacity! What courage, nerve, daring, and boldness they display with the cameras full on them! What a bunch of spineless bullies they become.

And now, of course, Kelly is in jail, where he should have been all these years and I don’t care how well he sings. He can sing his heart out from his cubby hole in the Supermax prison of his choice. He can wail about prison conditions and blame it all on racism. He can blame everything on someone else because that’s what those valorous ones do.

Yesiree! That is authentic masculinity at its finest!

FORTHRIGHT – MALE VS. FEMALE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Forthright

When a man is forthright, he is energetic and ambitious. He gets a lot of slaps on the back and with a tidbit of luck, he winds up running the place. Or a piece of it, anyhow. Because if you are a man, forthright and a bit of a go-getter, you are the right kind of guy. You say what you mean and others automatically follow you.

Old Doubleday and Company

On the other hand, if you are a woman and you are forthright, you are probably a slut or at the very least, a ball-buster. If you say what you want, you not a “real” woman. If you are ambitious, you are ruthless. If you are a go-getter, you are probably sleeping with the boss (of either sex, these days).

Regardless, you get paid at least 25% less than men who did the same work and quite possibly, even less.

Recently I’ve read about how “we (women) used to handle ‘this stuff’ back in the good old days.” Like, say, the 1960s.

Those days weren’t quite as good and they definitely weren’t great, at least not for working women. We were just beginning to find our feet out of the secretarial pool. How many of us had to learn to avoid the hands and the tentacles (some men had really long arms) of the men who surrounded us? You didn’t have to look “hot” or wear sexy clothing, either. Just being female was enough. “Hitting on women” has nothing to do with sex or attraction and everything to do with power and dominance.

A lot of the worst of these guys had wives at home better looking than the women they were bugging at work.

Despite rumors to the contrary, it wasn’t necessarily “easy” to get around these guys. Easy if they were an equal or lower level colleague, but if it was your boss? When it was the guy who owned the joint?

You were screwed.

You could quit your job quickly before the boss had time to make up an evil reference about you. That is what I did because not only was he really making it very clear how long our evenings after everyone else left would be. On top of that, he was a handsome guy. That was not going to make the situation easier.

I could give in a bit, enough to shut him up while I bought time to send out resumes. Or I could give in and live with the shame. Because even if no one else knew, I knew. I have a conscience. It is often inconvenient.

All these situations were unique. We were not the same people. Our responses varied. Where we lived made a difference, too.

Every office is different and has its own social milieu. Every “boss” has his own playbook. Moreover, it depended on your position and who was badgering you.

Not your equal? Easy peasy.

Your equal? More complicated.

The 1970s Doubleday I remember

Your boss or worse, THE boss? Big problem.

Working at Doubleday was fantastic except for the pay inequalities. No one bothered anyone except by asking them to help them produce extra work. Which no one minded because otherwise, they treated us very well.

You never made the same money as men whose work wasn’t as good as yours. I remember when I worked there, having secured a pretty good job I managed to get a job for a friend (male) who had no experience at all but had talent. They hired him for several thousand dollars more per year than I was getting, yet I knew the work and had experience. He knew nothing and had to learn it from scratch.

I didn’t see the point in making a fuss. It was pointless. Men always earned more than me, even when they were inexperienced or not very good.

So much for forthright.

SHAME ON #METOO – Marilyn Armstrong

The Daily Post: GENIE!

Of all the genies in all the world, why is my brain totally stuck on “I Dream of Jeannie?” I could be obsessing on “the Djinn of the Desert” or the many Djinn of the worlds of poetry and mythology. Instead, I’m stuck on a 1960 TV series which I rarely watched. The problem was, I found it insulting.

I was a pre-menstrual girl child. No breasts. I just intensely hated the concept, it made me want to spit.

My father once commented that he didn’t really like children because he found them dull. I pointed out that he never found me dull (when he wasn’t being crazy, he was interesting) and he said “Yes, but you weren’t a child. You were a person.” That is probably the only compliment he ever gave me and I think I was 50 at the time.

I felt belittled by it the show. Embarrassed. Humiliated. The idea of wanting a beautiful personal female slave — never mind that the show often didn’t go in that direction regardless. As a note, I think Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman were offended by it too. Larry’s mom was a strong woman in her own right, so they intentionally took it off the rails.

Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden

I was a child, but I already knew it was a bad idea whose time would never come. Besides — I wasn’t blond.

My mother didn’t act like that. She was so very far from that place you could not even mention the concept without a gigantic blast of angry energy. I did not have a penis of my own and thus the concept of having a “beautiful slave girl” wasn’t rattling around my genitalia as it does for so many male persons of the penile persuasion.

I’m probably too much #metoo to be the right genie gal writer. I was #metoo before #metoo was #metoo. I’m betting so were millions and millions of women throughout the world.

We didn’t have a hashtag because “hash” was ground up potatoes and corned beef so you didn’t tag it on anything except your scrambled eggs, but we were pissed off with men long, long decades (possibly centuries) before the “official” movement drifted into view. And we fought back within the limits of physical abilities and the realism of needing to have a professional job in a world dominated by men, many of whom didn’t like women.

So you may have dreamed of Jeannie, but I didn’t.

Still, that little nose wiggle Elizabeth Montgomery did — I could have lived with that. Anything to not have to ever clean — or repair — the house.