Today Jordan and I slept in, made crepes, and went for a hike with the full knowledge that I was missing the women’s meeting that, as has been made clear over the past few weeks, all the women in the church are supposed to attend. I wasn’t clear on what would be happening except that there would be women speakers, admittedly a Yeti-like rarity at our church. After some consideration, I determined, based on the fact that a couple weeks ago I was drinking beer, eating pizza, and playing poker with a bunch of guys, that I would have nothing to either gain from or contribute to a group defined solely by their lack of a Y-chromosome.
My care group has various roles that have been divvied out among the members, several of which deal with planning non-church-related social events. One person is in charge of general events for everyone. The other, the Femme Fete Facilitator, is in charge of women’s events.
I think that the attitude between both these cases of separate women-only events unmatched by any men-only events is similar to that revealed by the Bechdel Test. There’s the shared sense that being male is normal and being female is aberrant, hence events and women’s events. But there’s more. Women don’t seem to just be an unusual sort of people, but a type that’s weird and not all that interesting. There’s a sense that women need to go off together and giggle and braid their hair and give each other pedicures and that men don’t really know or care what they’re up to, whereas the things men do are normal activities and thus there’s no particular reason to exclude women (except from leadership, of course). It’s the same mentality that leads Hollywood to rarely make movies where women talk to each other, because whenever women talk it must be about shoes or clothes or something boring like that and no one would want to watch it.
This kind of low-grade sexism is wearying because it’s so difficult to pin down that it really isn’t worth confronting (I did at my care group, but it didn’t accomplish anything). Nevertheless, it’s insulting. I don’t think I’ll be attending any women-only events anytime soon.
Notice that my blog has a “gender” tag instead of a “women” or “women’s issues” tag? I’m setting an example as best I can.