You're Soaking In It!

One of the things that continually surprises Iain, as he becomes more aware of the nuances, patterns, and narratives of sexism, having taken the red pill, is the sheer abundance and constant presence of sexism, how it is seemingly infused into everything, shoved into places where it makes no obvious sense even by The PatriarchyTM's logic, into spaces where it undermines messages of equality, into every nook and cranny in the goddamned multiverse.

"I don't know how you can stand it," he says, in moments when this realization really hits him in his gut.

"Yeah, well, remember that next time I'm crabby for seemingly no reason," I say.

It's often the "throwaway" lines, in the middle of what's not meant to be sexist commentary, that he's really started to notice—the misogyny in news stories, for instance, jarring in its presence. Shaker Franka sent me a perfect example of this today, in which the last paragraph of a news story about the Couric-Palin interview begins thusly:
The former NBC "Today" show host, in a short skirt, was flashing her famous gams in the interview while former beauty queen Palin wore a conservative pantsuit.
It has no relevance to the paragraph before, or the sentence after. It's just stuck in there—and hangs, awkwardly and lonesome. Says Franka: "Uh. Why is this in the article? Why is McCain's erotic appeal not touched upon through sartorial choices?"

Like I said, these things make no obvious sense—except, of course, that the sheer ubiquity of misogyny is what inures us to it.


(For those too young to get the title reference, it comes from a series of adverts (example here) that ran from probably the late '60s to at least the mid '80s, in which "Madge the Manicurist" would tell ladies that Palmolive dishwashing liquid was so mild it would actually soften their hands while they did the dishes—then surprise them with the news: "You're soaking in it!" For some reason, that line has always stuck in my head as the perfect description for how sexism is so ubiquitous that we can't even see it. We're soaking in it!)

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