Gender Roles: Part Two

I didn’t get that last post exactly right.  (Of course, there never is such a thing as “exactly right.”)

What’s missing is the concept of “girly”.

“Girly” could mean something like:  girls are supposed to be doll-loving mother wannabees who want to find a man to support them in their mother roles.

But I have something entirely different in mind.

One of my sisters has become a top-of-her-profession lawyer.

And the other sister has become a top-of-her-profession RN.

What they have in common is three things:  first, they are my sisters; second, they are at the top of their professions; third, they are women.

This shouldn’t be a big thing.  But it is a big thing because there are a few (hundred? thousands? tens-of-thousands?) who believe that we ought to keep score.  Well:  jolly good.  What do I know about hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands?

Let’s go back to “girly”.

To me, the naive little boy with two older sisters, “girly” means what his sisters were like, and what his sisters have become.  “Girly” means that my sisters are female, and that female is cool.

What worries me the most about some kind of “gender-neutral-world” is that we can’t celebrate, enjoy, or cherish the “girly-ness” of human beings who mean so much in part because of their gender.  A gender-neutral-world would crush my memories of my sisters dressing me up as a girl.  A gender-neutral-world would insist that the very source of my fun (and theirs) was in fact a source of oppression.

As a philosopher, I feel an almost electrical urge of arrogance to smite the thighs of such philistinistic thought.  But as a brother, I just think this:  can’t I love my sisters as in:  famale=girl=cool?

That’s the way I feel.  Philosphy and political correctness be damned.



Gender Roles

I have sisters and no brothers.  So we can forget about what a brother means.  And since I’m not some kind of neo-frankfurter-marxist-wannabe, we can forget about gender differences with regard to my sisters.  They ain’t girls; they are my kin.

And yet:

In complete defiance of  modern gender-neutral thought and language, I must say this:  my sisters are female.

And that has played a role in my life.

Actually, it has played a really BIG role.

When we played “dress up”, it was frequently the case that I got dressed up as a girl.  Why not?  My sisters were girls, and played around with dresses and make-up and whatnot, so why not practice on me?

No problem.  I enjoyed it.  I was playing with my sisters.

Now that I am older and involved in…ah…uh…situations in which it has become a crime to notice that some members of our species are male and some are female…ah…uh…it concerns me that we are no longer supposed to “notice” that girls are girls.

When my sister got cancer, I decided to donate some money to charities fighting cancer.  One of the charities I found was selling armbands that had the message, “fight like a girl.”  So I donated money and got a bunch of armbands.

So I was talking to my sister afterward, and showed her (via Skype) my “fight like a girl” armband, and she asked what it meant.

I said I didn’t know.

But I knew.

To me, “fight like a girl” means that the final statement of recognising “gender roles” is for me to say that my sisters are girls, and that one of them is fighting for her life.

It’s very hard to explain, I suppose, since the statement is so incredibly loaded with intellectual politics and such.  But I’ve tried to explain it here.  If you don’t get it, leave a comment and I’ll try further.



Up until now, I have used WordPress as a totally free service.  But they now have an option of registering your domain for a mere five bucks if you pay them another twelve to link it to your blog.  So I did it.  Now you can just type and reach this blog.

Why did I use this service?  Vanity.  I suppose that’s why anyone uses the service.  I imagine that’s how WordPress had planned all along to earn money.  More power to them.

I also updated my look, which I like.  It’s much easier to reach on my new 24″ monitor.


Where’s my classroom?

In my last post I mentioned how some new technology is rather ridiculous.

Here’s an example.

Sometime last semester, letter-sized posters with QR codes appeared outside the door of every classroom at the university.  Supposedly these are meant to be useful.  I don’t own a smartphone, so I’ve personally never scanned one of the codes to see what kind of information one might get.  But I can guess.  My guess is that you would be taken to a website saying which classes are taking place at a specific time and day.  So if you’re standing outside a classroom, and you’re not really sure whether it’s the room where your class is meeting, you can scan the code and find out.

Of course, up until that time every classroom had a small sign with a little schedule on it.  So if you weren’t sure whether you were in the right place, you could look up the time slot you needed—say, Monday afternoon at 3 pm–and see what class is taking place, along with the teacher’s name.  Which in my case would be, “Stone”.  So if I’m standing outside a classroom at Monday at 3, I look at the little chart and see, “Stone”, and I know I’m in the right place.  It takes five or ten seconds.

But those useful little schedules are being replaced by QR codes.  Since I don’t have a smartphone, I’m shit out of luck if I’m not sure where I’m supposed to be.  But IF I had a smartphone, I could scan the QR code and find out whether it was the right place in—well, I’m not sure how long it would take, so I’m guessing—thirty seconds or so.

One might also guess that other information could be added, such as whether class has been cancelled for a particular day.  But I doubt such a thing exists right now.  If that were the case, wouldn’t I have to log in to some kind of server to tell the network that I’m calling in sick?  Or I suppose the department secretary could do that.  One might also suppose that if I had a smartphone, I could then scan the QR code to discover whether I was ill or not.  Right?

Who thinks this stuff up?



One of the great loves of my life is baseball.  But since we don’t have professional baseball in Germany, there isn’t much to watch.  I did get involved with the local baseball club, and it was a lot of fun, but it didn’t exactly replace MLB.

Meanwhile, Germany is shutting down all analog television broadcasting, so cable and satellite and VDSL services are competing for customers.  So I signed up for Internet television.

All the equipment arrived and Billy and I set it all up yesterday.

To the disappointment of both of us, for some reason the extra sport package we had signed up for wasn’t unlocked.  Not sure why this should have been the case, but no matter.  This is the age of the Internet.  Using a laptop (the computer I’m using right now hadn’t been set up yet; but that’s another story for another time) I signed into our account and added the sport package—and it instantly turned on.  Wild.

So last night at 7:00 pm, Billy and I watched the Boston Detroit game—LIVE!—from beginning to end.  It was the first time I had watched an entire MLB baseball game on my living room TV with my son.  We were both thrilled.  We watched an opening day game (and a good one!) together here in Germany.

Some technological advances are useless, silly, and even stupid (like the new scan codes outside the classrooms at the university these days; but again, that’s another story for another time).  But a technology that lets me watch baseball with my son is OK with me.