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Shakra Was A Rolling Stone

Here‘s this week’s exciting episode. I like the new practice of ending columns with cliffhangers, by the way.

Unfortunately, patriarchy is continually propagated as the perverted norm. Now add to this the concept of compulsive heterosexuality.

I’m pretty sure he means “compelled heterosexuality”, but it’s certainly funnier this way. Here we go again with the gender roles. I liked it better when he was rewriting term papers.

This segregation exists in the forms of gendered spaces, friendships, and spatial separation between boys and girls — with boys typically controlling areas such as large playing fields, and girls controlling smaller enclaves like hopscotch. Examples like these solidify the gendered orientation for each group.

Ladies, can you speak to this? I know I’ve often speculated as to the origins of my deep-rooted fear of hopscotch.

Seriously, I think my problem with the notion of “patriarchy” as usually explicated on this campus is that it’s so deeply collectivist: the underlying assumption is that there is a concerted effort underway by all men (and gender-traitor females) to oppress “women, nature, and children”. This oppression is everywhere, like the Matrix, and absolutely everything can be viewed as a symptom of our pernicious “hetero-patriarchal” socialization. What results is columns like this one: unintentionally humorous and utterly devoid of semantic content. I’m every bit as opposed to forcing people into traditional gender roles as Shakra claims to be, but I (as regular readers will have surmised by now) think he sounds like an asylum inmate when he starts talking about the patriarchal attitudes instilled in us by the institution of elementary school. (And my heterosexuality remains, alas, compulsive.) As ever, though, the ideas become much clearer when cast into verse:

Or, like one of my favorite poets once said: Break free songbird, break free — break free songbird, break free.

Oh, the humanity! But rhyming “free” with “free” is cheating, sir.

  1. Olly says:

    Sure. Come and get it, Stan.

  2. Stan says:

    We have songbirds round here that have started learning fairly accurate renditions of mobile phones and car alarms.

    Also: Aaron Shakra is Alan Sokal, and I claim my five dollars.

  3. Tyler says:

    My above post should read: “I’m not sure about your office-mate’s assertion that only MALE songbirds sing…” Yep, I’m an idiot. Or maybe just sleep deprived.

  4. Danimal says:

    Are songbirds, too, victims of compulsive heterosexuality? Someone should look into this . . .

  5. Tyler says:

    I’m not sure about your office-mate’s assertion that only songbirds sing, but it is interesting to note that songbirds have different regional dialects, just like humans. So, if you put a songbird in isolated captivity, it will not learn to communicate in the same way as the other birds in its family…

    I guess that isn’t really interesting come to think of it…

  6. Olly says:

    Moreover, I’m not absolutely positive of this, but my office-mate reckons that only the male songbirds actually sing…

  7. Olly says:

    I had the dubious pleasure of gender-exclusive education as an early adolescent: I would say the effect on boys is neutral going on bad.

    There’s a definite upside to keeping people’s adolescent relations with the opposite sex clearly separate from their academic advancement (where gender shouldn’t be an issue) – on the other hand, if people don’t learn how to interact with boys/girls as actual people rather than mysterious far-away creatures during adolescence, when are they going to?

    (And yes, insofar as that question applies to me, it is purely rhetorical.)

  8. Tommy Gunn says:

    I can’t cite a particular study offhand, but I believe that it’s generally found that “spatial separation between boys and girls” during early adolescence (gender exclusive schools or classes) helps girls become more confident teenagers and adults. The effect on boys is neutral.

  9. Danimal says:

    Quoting not Shakra but whatever maniac he’s reading this week:’woman/man,’ and especially ‘femininity/masculinity’ are categories loaded with heterosexual meanings.Wow, man. That’s insightful. Let’s see where we can take this. Check out this thought experiment:


    Are we picking up any homosexual meanings? Eh? OK, how about this:


    Eh? Hoo yeah! You know what I’m talkin’ bout!

  10. Courtney says:

    I’ve always found songbirds to be emblematic of the patriarchy, forcing their songs on the public at large without taking anyone but themselves into consideration. It’s an aural rape culture.

    On a side note: Walking to work this morning, I inadvertently stumbled upon the Men’s Center 1st annual walk against sexual assault (or something like that). Amusingly enough, there seemed to be around six men and twenty women in this march — though a couple of those men were in the back of the group and may simply have been walking to class.

  11. Billy Name says:

    How Childish

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