Over/Over

Overzealous, Overcommunicating

Tag: feminism

On perfectionism

by Increase M

To begin with, perhaps as a disclaimer, perhaps as an invocation of the muse (or lack there of), I should say that I am not a perfectionist. No, if there is an easy way, a cutting corners half ass of a way, a mildly sloppy good-enough that will allow me to drink some wine, play some video games, watch BSG and then go to bed, I will go that way. So, I imagine, would most people. My success, if you want to call it that, is more about my obsessive need to win rather then my obsessive need to get things right (just relax, I’m not endorsing cheating). Frequently these things overlap and I am very fortunate in that regard.

I doubt that most people are, truly, perfectionists but I hear about perfectionism a lot. From my friends, colleagues, mostly women, mostly in the context of making a demand. They say, “I’m just a perfectionist” and that means “indulge my silly whims and do it this way” instead of “my way is right, you should follow it.” It’s a way of softening the inevitable ego blow of being told what to do, a way of embodying assertiveness as a kind of character flaw, or at least, a quirk.

Perhaps I’m overstating it.

It’s like that asinine interview question: “what is your biggest flaw,” to which everyone responds: I work too hard. As an aside, if I ever get asked that question again I’m going to say something interesting and true, like “I’m an arrogant bitch-monster”, or maybe something interesting and false, like “I killed a man in Reno just to watch him die.” People rarely work too hard. Not even me, who got rid of most of my friends so I could hang out in my apartment reading blogs, Bruno Latour, and watching stupid documentaries on the porn-industry* is working too hard. I just have dubious work-play distinctions. As a counterpoint, I know a woman who works full time at an extremely demanding job suffers from extreme fibromyalgia but comes home from work everyday to sweep the house (by hand, with a broom) because she has 6 or 7 inside cats, a poodle, a husband who’s a farmer and she cannot handle her house being dirty. She works herself sick.

Academic culture, at least for me, is rife with misrepresentation and hyperbole. Back in the day, it seemed everyone was underestimating how much work they were doing; now, I feel like it’s all about the overestimation, the “I stayed up for 32 hours straight reading Derrida therefore I am worthy of being taken seriously,” or “I’m a perfectionist, I’m a work-a-holic, please take me seriously.” Inevitable this burden of proof falls unevenly on the portion of academia that consists of non straight, white, het dudes. It’s obnoxious, to say the least, to participate in a class where the bar for “engaged participation” is set at “doing everything, all the time,” especially when adjuncted to other criteria such as “being male”, “being white”, “being a mansplainer.”

Some of those criteria I can never meet, it’s pointless to even attempt it through self-serving hostile space making, where others, particularly minorities, feel like they have to go over-the-top just to fit in. Like, I don’t study all the time. Not at all. I’m even a little sloppy. I half-ass things, I make mistakes, I enjoy fielding the juggernaut of Kardashian-themed reality shows. I have pretty horrific spelling. I don’t care that much about my spelling. I like clothes.  And do you know what? People have to take me seriously anyway.

 

*This one was really awful. I had to turn it off. I can handle soft-core wank material (although REAL TALKE: why would you watch this when you can just beat it to the nubile, soft-skinned internet), or alarmist propaganda for the evening news crowd, but I cannot deal with faulty methodology in a scientific study. Listen guys, if you’re going to do a “study” on the effects that porn has on a relationship, you really should include both partners, and hey, a woman or two more generally would have been nice also. Although, I mean really, why should you control for sex differences? Also, Art Alexakis, WTF are you doing, broski?

Links um die Ecke

by Increase M

http://thehairpin.com/2012/08/outdated-beauty-advice-from-helen-gurley-brown

“Her diary-level honesty charmed, and her humor held a generous warmth. Unless you tried to make her fat”

http://menstruationresearch.org/2012/08/14/cosmos-menstrual-politics/

“Despite the appearance that the article is simply a pleasant set of suggestions, it turns out that the three pages are actually a lead into a fourth page on the right side so the connection can’t be missed, consisting of the latest ad for Tampax Radiant tampons. In design and placement the ad blends perfectly with the article so as to flow, as it were, directly from the pre-menstrual days into the period itself with Tampax waiting there to fill the need.”

http://blog.nationalpartnership.org/index.php/2012/08/going-to-mississippi/

“In closing, to the question of why I go to Mississippi, the answer is, I want for women there what I want for myself: a life of dignity, health, self-determination, and the opportunity to excel and contribute. We know that when women have access to abortion, contraception, and medically accurate sex education, they thrive. It should be no different for the women of Mississippi.”

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/08/10/philosophy-gender-war-sparked-by-call-for-larger-role-for-women/

“Under scrutiny, the Berlin organizers added three women to their philosophy of science roster — including the University of Waterloo’s Carla Fehr. And while outsiders might assume the move successfully quashed the controversy, the debate rages on in the global philosophy community and raises broader questions around affirmative action: Does this kind of boycott go too far? Is naming-and-shaming appropriate? Is it a man’s responsibility to fight what some say is a woman’s fight?”

http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/tenuredradical/2012/08/american-bromance-paul-ryan-the-tea-party-and-the-recent-history-of-political-conservatism/

“Paradoxically, the Ryan nomination may reveal the complete lack of ideas within the Romney campaign, an absence that money and image making has only partially obscured until now. His pro-business, anti-federal stance will draw the greatest possible funding for his campaign from the billionaires who fund the Tea Party and who find it much easier to buy their way around state and local regulations than federal ones.”

http://www.fem2pt0.com/2012/08/07/i-wish-my-mother-had-aborted-me/

‘The narrative that anti-choice crusaders are telling is powerful, moving, and best of all, it has a happy ending. It makes the woman who carries to term a hero, and for narrative purposes, it hides her maternal failing. We cannot argue against heroic, redemptive happy-ending fairy tales using cold statistics. If we want to keep our reproductive rights, we must be willing to tell our stories, to be willing and able to say, “I love my life, but I wish my mother had aborted me.”’

Links, rechts, geradeaus

by Increase M

http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/08/10/all-in/

“ The creepy thought that the reason a lot of outspoken, committed, passionate atheists are choosing this as their arena is because they’re too selfish, too entitled, or too sheltered, to allow any other issues to really matter to them. That they choose this ONE civil rights issue to dedicate themselves to, because it’s the ONLY legitimate civil rights issue that actually effects them, secure in their absence of ovaries, melanin, exogenous hormones, medical devices/supports, welfare checks, track scars and rainbow flags.”

http://captainawkward.com/2012/08/11/the-c-word/

“So. I would like to see a world where women can speak up directly when they don’t want to do something. They will be more likely to speak up if they have a reasonable assumption that they’ll be believed and not punished. One way men can make this world more possible is to take women seriously and stop telling women they are overreacting when they do speak up. Mocking someone for being a Humorless Bitch Who Spoils Everyone’s Fun is a silencing tactic and makes you part of the problem. Reading about or witnessing someone’s experience of harassment and looking for the ways it’s all the victim’s fault and probably didn’t really happen anyway makes you part of the problem. Making bad things that happen to other people – real, true bad things, like sexual assault – about your own feelings of hurt about getting called creepy that one time by a girl you liked…makes you part of the problem.”

http://www.alternet.org/jonah-lehrer-and-problems-pithy-science-writing?paging=off

“The world economy is crumbling and unemployment is soaring. But let me talk to you about an intangible tipping point that could change your life forever or tell you what happens in your brain when that proverbial light bulb goes off in the cartoon equivalent of a thought bubble. Because talking about the actual economy is much too real and depressing.”

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/literally-psyched/2012/08/10/humanities-arent-a-science-stop-treating-them-like-one/

“Every softer discipline these days seems to feel inadequate unless it becomes harder, more quantifiable, more scientific, more precise. That, it seems, would confer some sort of missing legitimacy in our computerized, digitized, number-happy world. ”

http://thonyc.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/we-live-in-a-geocentric-world/

“People… make the mistake of thinking that because they have been ‘indoctrinated’ by the modern education system into believing in a heliocentric worldview that such a worldview is logical and obvious to anybody who would just open their eyes. It isn’t.”

[I actually take issue with significant parts of this post, but the overall point that geocentrism was an empirically valid worldview until the modern era is a good one – Jon]

http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/08/its_hard_to_imagine_a_worse_choice_for_people_of_color_than_paul_ryan.html?

“With his choice of Ryan, Romney has seized the reins of the race. The real consequence of Romney’s choice is that at exactly the time our country needs a serious debate about the best way to grow the economy, and end the jobs crisis, we’re going to get the opposite.

What will ensue is yet another argument over whether people of color and the working poor are to blame for the current economic catastrophe.”