Monday, September 24, 2012

Stick Your Arm In My Washing Machine

My washing machine locks up when it is in the wash cycle. Does yours do this? Being slightly less organized than I should be, sometimes I find a stray sock I need to throw in after the wash has started, but the door locks itself. I'm pretty sure this is so no one sticks their arm in the machine while it's agitating and breaks it. As if I would do that. I certainly wouldn't be overcome by the unnatural urge to grab one of those paddle thingies and let it wash my arm with the jeans just to see what it felt like. Who would do that?! Anyway, it locks. So if I need to put something in after it has started, I have to turn the whole thing off, wait a few minutes and then open and add. This takes a little bit more attention that I have the patience for, so it just means that sometimes that stray sock doesn't get washed or it gets washed with the next load, regardless of color. This bothers me inordinately, by the way, that sock out of place.

So it goes with the old noodle today. I've got an idea that is agitating around and the stupid door is locked. It has hung up its "Do Not Disturb" sign and is up to all kinds of nasty behind that closed door. I have a stray sock to throw in, but I'm not of a mind to shut down the whole production just to add it. I'm generally all right with this. I know from experience that eventually the cycle will end and the door will unlock and there will be wadded, soaking wet piles of stuff in there for me to work with. I have this stray sock, however, and it bothers me. I think I'm just going to hang onto it for a while and see what grows out of it. That's vile when you think about it. It's a metaphor, though, so you know... no real fungus.

This is where you can help, though. Think about femininity and give me some descriptors. What does femininity mean to you, personally? How about in a more universal sense? Is it only a function of gender or sexuality? Let us discuss. Shall we? Are there any metaphors, images of femaleness that have not been overused? I have recently come to the conclusion that our language and its usage is a wee bit sexist in this regard. Are you feminine? Are you comfortable with your femininity? Do you have trouble typing femininity like I do? Seriously. Are you casting about for a post? Is your washing machine locked right now agitating something else and you need another thing to focus on? Am I the only one who has appliances in her brain? Leave me a comment, write me a post, send me an email, draw me a picture. Tell me about femininity from whatever angle you choose. There needn't be any ghastly housewifely references.

Meanwhile, I'll try not to mangle my arm in the washing machine.


  1. A post is swishing around in my brain now. I'll give it some thought and see what comes out.

  2. I am going to give you a stream of consciousness because that is all I have time for and I want to play...Here is what strikes me: I am a feminist but I resent what feminism is often associated with. In essence, I am pro-woman, pro-man, pro-children, pro-family, pro-choice, and pro-life. None of that is mutually exclusive in my book and I will brook no little boxes to be shoved into.

    I can't think the word "femininity" without ending up in a Summer's Eve commercial. The word has been ruined. It means nothing but flowery scents and lack of choices and something I am supposed to want to buy or want to be but can't afford and am not. If I feel positive, it means lace and awesome shoes.

    There are gender-specific terms I find empowering and I think women and men are not the same, culturally or biologically, but "femininity" deserves to be burned on a pyre of thwarted expectations.

    This weekend I saw Miss Representation, a documentary about how media influences our view of women and what is available for them. I watched it with my teenage son. I think everyone should watch it. It broke my heart, enraged me, sucked me back to the memory of being so young and easy to sell cheap hope to—the kind of hope that kills. It now simmers in my brain alongside the other things that have changed my life in this regard. All of this swirls around in my consciousness everyday, while I do the work of raising three boys and living married to a man, finding out over and over who I am and want to be as a woman. I have no answers to any of this and asking the questions makes my work harder, not easier. As always, I'm glad I do anyway.

    Call 9-1-1. My arm is mangled.

  3. TL ... This has been in my draft post for ages... I think it's about time I wrangle that subject into a post and corral it into a couple paragraphs. *sigh* this is it... Migt take a while, but please know I'm banging my head and mangling both arms to get this out. Thanks for the push...

  4. I'm glad you didn't say "feminist" because that feels negative to me. But yet "feminimity" feels more like strength, and courage, and love, and compassion and ability to stick with something to the end. And a lot more.

  5. I wish I knew how to put a painting in this reply box b/c I have painted femininity....
    I'll go with stream of consciousness too b/c I want to play... femininity implies gender, not sexuality. I embrace gender differences because they do frame us as people, in all our glorious similarities and differences. Certainly femininity is not solely attached to the female gender but rather is on that masculine/feminine homosexual/heterosexual continuum. Think mother: femininity: empathic, nurturing, verbal, soft and with curves. Think father: masculine: worker, silent, active, strong, . By no means am I suggesting these characteristics are gender specific - we all have them to some degree or anther.
    On a whole other car on that train is the question are you feminine? are you comfortable with your femininity? do YOU like typing that word? NO on the last part -- but YES and YES on the first two parts. I love being a girl and always have. I guess I blame that on growing up in a household with seven brothers - how fun to be a girl in that milieu! I love wearing skirts and boots, and hanging out with "the girls" -- but I also have a lot of fun with "the boys"!
    Maybe there will be more from me later - just wanted to toss something out there right now!

  6. What a big, heavy, muddy, complicated load of laundry you have thrust upon us today!! LOL (love your metaphor, by the way)

    Right off the bat, I have to say that the whole concept of feminism is maddening to me. I get some of the historical context and previous needs, but it feels like we've been beating this dead horse for a long time now.
    The notion that one gender needs promotion above the other is archaic, and pretty much all connotations of this word for me are negative. I have the same soured attitude toward racism. Call it reverse discrimination or whatever, it's a still discrimination. (Opinionated much? LOL)

    I happen to believe that the genders are different by design, and that trying to shave off the differences in order to "equalize" our parts means we miss out on the gifts each one offers.

    Okay okay this is too big and deep for me today. Excellent topic!! I will check in later to see what everyone says. I hope you tackle this more, I just need to go outside asap. LOL

  7. Sweet lord--this topic has been agitating in my brain for decades--maybe my whole life. It's a tangled up mess and someone threw the political in there with the personal--and you know how those personal colors tend to run all over everything. I have several stained-up attempts at the topic soaking in my drafts folder at this moment--not to mention countless journal entries. Throughout one of which, incidentally, I consistently left out an entire syllable of the word "femininity"--ranting for pages on "feminity" which is a whole other issue.

    Let me dig around in the hamper and see what I can come up with.

  8. I am loving all the laundry metaphors milling around. The first thing that fell out of my hamper of femininity, a good pair of high denier tights - strong, yet soft and warm all at the same time ;-)

    Now step away from the kitchen appliances, you do know most accidents happen in the home!!!

  9. In an attempt to appear not as needy as I am, I have waited three days to come here and tell you that I posted on this subject on Sunday. It is an enormously long post and you can be forgiven for not reading it (all or at all). I just didn't want you to miss it if you did want to read it. (How much does that sound like "please drop everything and go read my post"? Because that's not what I mean. want to drop everything and go read my post.)

    1. Of course I read it as soon as you published it. I have a nasty habit of reading things, pondering them so I don't leave a lame comment, and then wandering off, still pondering. I am a bad blogger.

    2. As a very bad blogger who does exactly this thing--and also often goes days or weeks between catching up around our little corner of the internet--I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to comment--and for not calling me out as the needy lunatic comment whore I so clearly am. ;)


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