November 10th, 2003

running, bomb tech

Overloading: "Feminine"; also, rants on logic

Commented to boojum, here, about the overloading of the word "feminine", thus causing mass confusion. I take the same points and elaborate here.

"Feminine" is generally understood to mean things relating to or typical of women. But, where to draw the lines?

It means:

In the aggregate:
Things (emotions, behaviours, tasks, attributes) traditionally culturally associated with females in the society.
Things that are in practice associated with females in the society.
Things that females are biologically associated or equipped with.
Things that females are typically psychologically/mentally equipped/hampered with in the society.
Tasks that females do well.

And in the specific:
The physical, psychological, mental, biological, preferred, practiced, traits associated with one or more particular females.

It's a very overloaded word, with gaps between the definitions. They do not overlap well; the traits that the culture associates with the traditional female role may not match up well with the female role as practiced in the culture, and any given female may match up with any or none of the varied definitions.

A pet peeve of mine involves the logical fallacy of assuming that because the aggregate generally possesses a trait, that the specific will conform to the norms of the aggregate. Um, no. It doesn't work that way.

Example: Women are good at ironing. azurelunatic is a woman. azurelunatic is good at ironing. The fallacy is that there is an implied "all women are good at ironing", rather than the actual state of "many women are good at ironing." In point of fact, azurelunatic is very bad at ironing.

Likewise, the extrapolation to a large group from a sole or small-group example irritates me. "I met some Canadians on one game server. They were all bitches to me. All Canadians are assholes," is one such train of logic I encountered. (IRC. 2000.) Um, no. That has two flaws in sampling I can see right there: all examples were gathered from one server, and all examples were gathered by one observer. That proves that all Canadians on that game server were assholes to the observer. The credit for the behaviour could go to Canada, the server, or the observer (who was, from what I saw, no prize himself.) (Incidentally, PudStuppy, if you read this, you suck, unless you actually grew up, which I doubt.)

And then there's the question of which culture, and what counts as female for the record anyway.

Culturally feminine varies; I would hardly expect the cultural expectations for being a "proper" woman would be the same in the deep South as they are up in Alaska; ability to put one's own chains and winter tires on oneself are probably not as prized traits to be bragged about in the mate places other than the deep North.

One would think that "female" would be inarguable: they come with standard equipment, no? Well, no. On my friends list alone, we have:

  • transgendered m to f (lists self as female)

  • transgendered f to m (lists self as male; was very incredibly hot as a chick when he was a young woman and several friends from back then are quietly pouting because she was so hot and now she's a he)

  • biologically female, mentally neuter, socially male (I think zie's as boggled on the gender-front for what to call, uh, him, as I am)

  • biologically and mentally female but not with a full complement of parts

... and probably more. Those are just the people I could think of off the top of my head who are fairly open about it.

So, yeah. The state of "feminine" is ... really, really wide.
running, bomb tech


Had another dream with Darkside in it, but this time it just looked like him, acted like him, and bore his name -- it wasn't him in there. I can feel the difference.

There was something about an airport, and a dog, and getting a job (I was on the phone interviewing with a manager type) and adult-type stuff. Also, ATM robberies with John Cleese playing my father (not playing FatherSir, you understand, just playing my father).

And then it was time for bed, and we were sort of camping, and I wound up settling down next to Darkside, who was somewhat grumpy about it, but somewhat grumpy turned into me being very cold and him snuggling up and sharing blankets, and then us being careful not to kiss, because Balor would detect it if we started to kiss, but we were doing almost doing everything but.

*sigh* Only a fantasy. Wasn't really him.
running, bomb tech


Today's one of those destroy-everything-I-touch kinds of days. Knocking things over, dropping them, trying very hard not to...

...I think I'm going to be prudent and avoid doing anything that might have issues. I dropped my backpack, my glasses, and the fricking phone charger within three minutes.
running, bomb tech

I bitch, I whine.

Links supposedly open in new window when clicked. New window has mangled URL and annoying Hotmail banner at top. If I've taken a long time reading my 40k+ mailing list digests, sometimes it doesn't open the content pane at all, and tells me I need to re-open my message as it's become inactive. I do not need or want this. Please direct me to the correct place to turn this setting off.

Links opening in new window is just fine.
Mangled URL is *not* fine.
Link having annoying hotmail banner at top is *not* fine.
Having the link open to reveal a "Your message was open too long, so we're not letting you open your links, refresh the message and try again" is *not* fine.
documentation, writing, quill

Progress of the novel

3171 words into The Necromancer's Prayer so far. The central conflict became explicitly stated just after 3000.

I write swiftly.

Alia is now finding that the pastor is no hope at all. Not sure where she'll turn next.
multiple user

Why do I always do this?

I write characters I want to meet. Now I want to sit down with Randy and discuss where the novel's going next with him over a cup of hot chocolate. And of course that's not going to happen, because he's in my head.
documentation, writing, quill

Character names

I love naming my characters and giving even boring names nice backstories, even if they don't make their way out into the plot.

Alia and Drew are going to wind up forming the "Our mothers' fandoms are on crack" club; Alia was named for St. Alia of the Knife from Dune; Drew was named for Nancy Drew.

Other than that, they have very little in common.