Tag Archives: mediocrity

Subliminal Domination and Why Feminists Are Right (!)

“As a result of the feminist revolution, ‘feminine’ becomes an abusive epithet.”
 Wyndham Lewis

Before I went to college, I never realized that I was subliminally dominated by men, betrayed by the very words I uttered every day. Nobody taught me Latin, the gender of the origin of my English nouns;  no teacher suggested I could use pronouns referring to generalizations in the neuter, or (goodness gracious!) in the feminine case.

Yet Benjamin Franklin said that “admiration is the daughter of ignorance,” and maybe those who left me in ignorance were gracious.

As a girl I was flattered when, after wearing red white and blue, I was called patriotic. But I never questioned why I couldn’t be matriotic; why patria/patriae (fatherland) instead of matia/matria should form the Latin base-especially when countries are generally formally and informally referred to with feminine pronouns? (Of course, no such Latin noun as matria/matriae exists-subliminal male domination apparently has been an issue for thousands of unhappy years).

Never did I wonder why (in virtually every Latin-based language) unknown or generalized pronouns automatically took masculine form.

“To use his/her as a pronoun simply isn’t technically acceptable.” My mother explained to me after dinner one night, as I stirred my coffee and rebelliously banged my spoon against the rim of my mug.

“It’s awkward.”

I told my mother that it was not acceptable for women to vote a hundred years ago, to go to college two hundred years ago, and to sit and eat dinner at the same time as men two thousand years ago.

We both turned and looked at my father and brother.

My roommate at college claimed that she didn’t feel subliminally dominated at all.

“I was like you once.” I assured her patronizingly. (Or matronizingly?) “However, your denial of your subliminal domination is actually confirming evidence of its effect on you. Subliminal domination has been so successfully applied to you that you don’t even realize its affect.”

I’ve found few people who could argue with this logic.

So I go on, grateful to have my eyes open to the tragic utilization of language as a tool to suppress my sisters, happy to have the opportunity to open my sisters’ eyes to their domination, and pleased to insert feminine generic pronouns whenever I have the opportunity.



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California is beautiful to look at, but you can’t be a part of it like you can in Michigan.

Jennifer Granholm 

Michigan is obsessive and compulsive with her weather. I realized this fact the summer I turned twenty-one; the sun glared threateningly upon endless layers of intense green, and my sister visiting from California commented quietly that Michigan is very wasteful with her colors.

California masterfully moderates it’s climate. She is content to sit most years in sedate browns and dry yellows, and only asks for a few slender months of deep blue and wet green. Quiet and unobtrusive, California is pleasant. She never surprises her residents; she never causes them to squirm.

Michigan’s irresponsibility with her weather is a rather ironic reflection of Michigan’s economic instability; she always spends more than she can afford during good times and pays rather harshly for her wastefulness during bad times. Michigan passes from a bright, fresh, impossibly pure spring into an intense, colored and heated summer; the rain and sun battle angrily and each day passes in either passionate downpour or beating humidity. Summer culminates into an explosion of fall; colors compete for initial domination as Michigan’s intensity climaxes. The denouement leads to winter: in bitter, quiet months, the sun slips softly away and silence surrenders to a grayish white – supreme in intensity and dominant in cruelty to every other color.

And what people would choose to live there, to feel the constant struggle; to live in good days that are too strong and bad days that are merciless? Some people can appreciate the acid of winter, can see beauty in it’s tragedy because they understand that sometimes broken days are the most beautiful. They know that to live intensely and experience sunburns and frostbite is better than to live quietly and unobtrusively with flawless skin and mediocrity.

Tuck said it to Winnie the summer she turned fifteen: “Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life. You don’t have to live forever…you just have to live.  And she did.” – Tuck Everlasting

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