Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Of dogs and men

:: Someone helpfully sent me this link, regarding my last post. The link proclaims that Uncle Cecil was dead wrong: hounds are uniformly regarded as dumb, listed among the dumbest breeds.

My first thought: there is even classism among ranking dogs! Breeds intended for low-class work like hunting are ranked lowest in intelligence. Guarding people, now that's important! Here we see a unique mix of both classism and speciesism at work.

Give me a good basset hound, bulldog (go black and red!), beagle or bloodhound any day of the week! Workers of the world unite! (Not into Afghan hounds, because the shedding is incredible. No offense to them, though, all the Afghan hounds I've met are very friendly and pleasant.)


:: Recommending Ethecofem, a feminist blog which is very fair to the guys. Probably too fair for my liking, but I enjoy the writers there, especially April.

I've been thinking lately, of how men are treated in sexist ways, and I came up with one: men are expected to be Mr Fixit. Whenever something goes wrong in a house or car (which is, sooner or later, bound to happen), men are expected to know how to Fix It, while us girls stand around with our thumbs up our asses, as we say here in the south. In fact, I think this phenomenon may be way WORSE in the south.

In the north, the question was, "Can your husband fix it?" while here in the south, it's more of a declaration: "Get your husband to fix it!"

He is no more of a Mr Fixit than I am a Ms Fixit, which is to say, not at all. He is considered more of a failure for this than I am, though, which goes without saying. Men are supposed to know how to fix cars, light fixtures, stuck windows and the like. They just learn by osmosis!

This is also deeply ableist, which also goes without saying. Whichever man doesn't learn to Fix Things, at least here among the working classes, is regarded as somewhat suspect.

A man who was close to me long ago, once told me he was embarrassed that he didn't particularly like sports, didn't keep up with the teams and scores and bowl games and World Serieses and such. He told me he thought this was a form of language among men that he never learned, that seems to transcend race, class, age and other differences.

Mr Daisy is very much into that language, so I have listened over the years, as he talks to strange men in strange places, How bout them dawgs? (see above reference to black and red) I've listened to delivery guys talk to white-collar supervisors, How bout them dawgs? I've heard doctors and patients, men of radically different classes, How bout them dawgs? Etc. It really is a language that men are expected to participate in, and a man is somewhat suspect (or regarded as standoffish, unfriendly and/or aloof) if he doesn't join in.

I am also reminded of that wonderful movie The Birdcage, wherein Robin Williams (Armand) tries to tutor Nathan Lane (Albert) in how to sound like a proper heterosexual man:

Armand: Al, you old son of a bitch! How ya doin? How do you feel about that call today? I mean the Dolphins! Fourth-and-three play on their 30 yard line with only 34 seconds to go!

Albert: How do you think I feel? Betrayed, bewildered...

Wrong response?

10 comments:

Jim said...

I'm a cat person, so I think most dogs need some garlic and ginger to be worth my time, but here goes - there are dogs and dogs. Some are for outdoors and some are for friendship - huskies trained to a sled are not really into human companionship. Beagles are pretty high energy, maybe a litle much for indoors, up until they are about dead. But greyhounds will ennoble anyone just by living with them. maybe because they are a lot like... cats.

I was going to say that maybe the working class dogs you mention don't fit the beauty norms the crustirs like, but then think of all the grotesque breeds that have been fashionbale.

Here's the big sexist burden put on men - protecting women. And it leads to all kinds of evils, starting with the over-protectiveness we call chivalry, which morphs into the rape hysteria that leads to lynchings and the still on-going civil rights issue of false rape accusations - all implemented, tolerated or encouraged by over-protective men; think of the political uses of demonization of black men's sexuality - and on into the lifeboat and victimhood feminism and collaboration with state power you so powerfully slammed into.

How is April too fair? You rank with her on that.

D. said...

Oddly enough, even though I find football boring to the max and make no bones about saying so, I learned, by osmosis, enough about basketball, hockey, and football to make social noises (I am of course a baseball fan).

What I really don't get is high school and college sports mania, particularly after thirty. Yeah, [figurative] you root for State while you go there, but you graduated/dropped out/were expelled; you've got a life, already. (Somewhat biased by my high school fielding a losing football team, my first college not having much sportswise, and my second college having not much interest in sports and a tiny gym; also the '69 Mets ruined me for lesser miracles.)

Also, I make a point of knowing who's won which championship, not that I retain that very long. (And I know that the Dolphins remained totally unbeaten--suck on that, Pats!--because it was rather a big thing in '72.)

I fix stuff and people are invariably astonished, and all I do is read the manual. *blink*

JoJo said...

LMAO at The Birdcage quote. That was a great movie. I also enjoyed the original La Cage movie (dubbed into English).

Tell Mr. Daisy that Mr. JoJo can't fix anything either. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I just bought a new medicine cabinet for the upstairs bathroom and he's already told me he'll help, but I'm taking the lead on the removal of the old and installation of the new *sigh*. I don't know how to do that stuff! We are sports fanatics though, so we know the sports language and I can hold my own in a conversation w/ any man when it comes to sports, esp. our local teams

On the other hand, my friend Deb and her hubby are total DIY'ers. He fixes any and all kinds of cars and they are remodeling their house room by room. He did the electrical, plumbing, and all carpentry. Amazing!

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

i does my own fixings...
I can change tires, plugs, switch out water pump, fuel pump, etc. on my chevy truck I pulled the fly wheel and clutch plate and replaced. I can do any handiman type job around the house except for electric. no habla electricity.
I used to go from waco to san antonio to my dads house to do stuff around the house for him. put up shelving,fixed his leaky faucets, fixed the toilet..and he loved telling his friens about his handywoman daughter who fixed all his stuff.

Danny said...

I'm more for cats myself.

Jim:
How is April too fair? You rank with her on that.
I agree. And Daisy I think you being banned from a few feminist sites is proof of that.

Oh BTW I responded to the comment you left the other day on my "Working on being a man pt.6" post.

kittywampus said...

Having spent lots of time with Bassets, I'd say they are excellent for friendship, but they're hard to train. Very obstinate. I don't think they're stupid; I just think they're totally driven by their noses. If something smells interesting, they're OFF and running, and if you happen to be tethered to the other end of the leash, you'll be running pell mell too. If they throw on the brakes because something else smells fascinating, you're liable to fall head over heels, as happened to my sister.

How this relates to men is anyone's guess. But I will say that I also enjoy Ethecofem. April is a very fair and independent-minded thinker. And Danny, your posts make me think, too, even (especially?) when I disagree.

sheila said...

Fishing. Men are supposed to know how to fish. I know how to fish...I just don't care for touching live bait. Men are supposed to be able to do that.

Jim said...

"Fishing. Men are supposed to know how to fish. I know how to fish...I just don't care for touching live bait. Men are supposed to be able to do that."

Ha! True But women are supposed to know how to turn bait into a meal. Here in the Northwest people in use herring for bait - so wasteful. In Scandinavia they eat it on weeknights. Earthworms though....? I know - feed them to the chickens, then kill and cook those.

southcarolinaboy said...

As a trans boy, the Mr. Fixit stereotype scares me. I can't fix anything. Although I will say that the hose on our kitchen sink was too long and was getting wrapped around the pipes underneath so it was stuck and couldn't be pulled out. My dad had tried to fix it but whatever he had tried failed. So I got some packaging tape and decided to stick my head under the cabinet and just tape it up to make it shorter. Maybe not a classy fix-it, but better than nothing, because it was getting on my nerves. When I looked under there I started laughing because I could see the old ripped tape from where my dad fixed it previously. So I actually was fixing it like a "real man." His mistake was taping it to the wall so it was easily pulled off. I doubled up a section of the hose and taped it to itself, so that worked better.

In Matt Kailey's book, he talks about how he got a flat tire after he transitioned and realized that no one was going to stop to help him like they had in the past, so he just had to wade through it till he figured out how to change it himself. After I read that I told my dad that he needs to show me how to change a tire. He said, "You can always call ME if you get a flat tire!" I said, "NO, dammit, that is not good enough! You will show me!" I still have not hemmed him up and made him yet, but I aim to.

As for the sports references thing, I am completely lost, and can stay that way as far as I am concerned, lol. I guess that is one of the things that will always keep me suspect...

Danny said...

And Danny, your posts make me think, too, even (especially?) when I disagree.
You would not believe how much I needed that. Thanks for the compliment.