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And now, the Proust questionnaire
   Since the tv meme put me in the narcissistic mind-frame, the Proust Questionnaire:

What is your most marked characteristic?

Loquacity; or, negatively, talkativeness

What is the quality you most like in a man?


What is the quality you most like in a woman?


What do you most value in your friends?

The ability to assess people & events with clarity, depth & nuance

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Incapacity for completion

What is your favorite occupation?

Writing with  pen on paper

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Pale skin, dark hair, coupled to unhesitating & inerrant taste

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

To be misplaced in time, language, country

In which country would you like to live?

The Loire Valley

Who are your favorite writers?

Henry James, Amélie Nothomb, Françoise Mallet-Joris

Who are your favorite poets?

William Blake, Marina Tsvestaeva

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Frodo Baggins

Who is your favorite heroine of fiction?

Dorothea Brooke of "Middlemarch"

Who are your favorite composers?

Schumann, Shostakovich, Wagner

Who are your favorite painters?

Cézanne, Corot, Philippe de Champaigne

What are your favorite names?

Jocelyn, Marcel, Isabelle

What is it that you most dislike?


Which talent would you most like to have?

To sing lieder & opera

How would you like to die?

With the window open on cool, sunny May afternoon

What is your current state of mind?

Surprised & pleased

What is your motto?

I not only follow you, I precede you (Oscar Wilde)


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(Deleted comment)
[Doesn't splitting the question into two genders imply a certain sexism? Shouldn't it be "What is the quality you most like in a human being?]

The questionnaire was devised 120 years ago, but culturally speaking, men are allowed to vent anger without much in the way of penalty, while women are taught to be self-effacing & self-critical. Hence the answer.

(Deleted comment)
[there are plenty self-effacing, self-critical men and angry, overaggressive women. It's not just men who can go too far with aggression or women who can overdo self-effacement or self-criticism.]

In a recent thread on feminism, someone said that there were "tons" of women in the Senate & House of Representatives -- in fact, only 1/6th in either body are women. In the same way, the disproportion between male & female behaviors remains not too different from what it was 30 years ago. Boys are still taught to overcome resistance by aggression, girls by placating; boys are still taught to consider themselves probably in the right, girls are still taught to consider themselves very possibly in the wrong.

[you can find all the stereotypical female traits in many men and all the stereotypical male traits in women. Individual personality being far more significant than gender. We're all just people.]

It isn't a question of finding gender-associated traits in individual exemplars, but of the accepted & enforced proportions & patterns of traits in social interactions between men & women, girls & boys. Despite having more masculine habits & expressions, butch women are still women; and despite the flamboyant display of feminine habits & tastes among some men (gay and straight), they remain men.

We couldn't even use the terms "masculine" and "feminine" if your assertion that we are all "just people" were true -- even using the terms as adjectives would be inescapable proof of sexism. We arn't "just people", or we wouldn't have to check the "M" and "F" boxes on all our applications & licenses. There would be no point in being feminist if we WERE "just people" -- one would have to be simply "humanist". But that's impossible, because being human has always meant & always will mean being gendered, except for the very small percentage who aren't. The question is not how to be "just people", but how, being male & female, we bring about conditions in which gender difference doesn't translate into the inequities, injustice, and oppression of women & that they do translate into the obliteration of power relations dictated by gender & economic difference.

The thumbs remain on the scales in all social settings, in classrooms and in work settings, because the individualist model is reflexively applied, because it's what we learn, and the individualist model is the modern ideological form, the chameleon-form, of anti-feminism, by which women are told "equality already exists, but you want SPECIAL treatment. You aren't really for equality, because you aren't against misandry!" Which is, of course, why so many young women refuse to call themselves feminist, because the individualist model is proposed ideologically as preferable, as MORE FAIR than feminism. The model itself dictates that girls think more of how boys feel than how they feel. The pretense that equality is already a given destroys the possibility of creating equality.

A further remark on ideology: Ideology must render the questioned & questionable social rules invisible -- it must make things appear to be the natural state. And when girls today are taught to be "aggressive", what they're actually being taught is to be aggressive in the same socially inappropriate manner that boys are taught -- this isn't equality, or the teaching of equality, but the re-inforcement of inequality, by teaching girls how-to-be-boys, instead of bringing out the fact that males are the primary target of the instruction how-to-be-boys, with females the indirect (but ultimate) targets of the instruction. Feeding the same junk food to boys & girls could be said to be a way of feeding them equally well, but it's a way of feeding them equally poorly. The idea is to feed both well.

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