Last Friday, I was a featured participant in a debate during my university’s New Student Days. I shared the auditorium stage with some pathetic loser who didn’t stand a chance. And you’d better believe that I made mincemeat out of his pimply ass.
Who doesn’t love a good debate on gender politics? Below, you can see a great example of the late Andrea Dworkin in her prime. She’s matching wits with Alan Dershowitz in a 1982 discussion on the censorship of pornography.
Smackdown! Censorship wins!
And here’s how it went with me last week:
TRANSCRIPT OF STUDENT PHILOSOPHY DEBATE.
September 1, 2006
Debate Title: “The Nature of Woman”
Dr. Smythe: (Taps microphone) Good afternoon. I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Dr. Lillian Smythe, faculty advisor to the two student philosophy clubs. I trust you’ve all just come from a pleasant lunch?
Audience: (Polite murmurs, distant cries of “can’t hear!”)
Dr. Smythe: (Taps microphone again) Better? Ahem.
Audience: (Distant cries of “okay!”)
Dr. Smythe: All right. (Laughs politely) Seven years ago, student orientation began the custom of introducing our newcomers to a spirited academic debate on pertinent issues of the day. (Smiles) Like a sorbet to cleanse the palate of all the fun you’ve had over the summer.
Audience: (Scattered chuckles, distant cries of “not funny!”)
Dr. Smythe: Occupying the stool on my right (gestures) is Mr. Greg Vaughn, president of the Student Philosophy Society.
Audience: (Weak applause)
Greg: (Smiles, takes his mike.) Thank you very much. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while.
Dr. Smythe: On my left (gestures) is Ms. Amynda Maggotte, of the Womyn’s Phylysyphy Room.
Audience: (Weak applause)
Amynda: (Takes her mike) Thank you, Dr. Smythe. (Smiles broadly) I’ve also been looking forward to this. Seeing as how I kicked the boys’ asses last year.
Audience: (Scattered laughter)
Dr. Smythe: Quite. So, let us all sit back and enjoy the discussion. (exits the stage)
Greg: (Takes the microphone, addresses the audience) Good afternoon to everyone. Ms. Maggotte won the debate last year, so it’s up to the other side to pick the present topic. So why did I choose “The Nature of Woman”? Why this topic?
Twelve months ago, Ms. Maggotte used a very interesting closing argument which serves as our starting point. She was asked how she can take the stance that a female who murders somebody else is just copying the “masculine violence model” which has been created by men. She responded with: (glances at a slip of paper) “Men are granted so much social power that they define the gender roles for themselves and for women”.
(Puts the paper back in his pocket.) That’s an interesting statement. And if it is true, it can only be concluded that everything good about women is because men have made them that way. Therefore, men deserve all credit and all thanks for anything good to ever come from a woman. All women’s achievements, big or small, ultimately come from women being programmed by men. (Chuckle)
So here is the question I’d like to ask Ms. Maggotte: what things are natural about women and what things aren’t?
Amynda: (Sneers at Greg) Well, someone certainly thinks he’s very fucking clever. It’s always so cute when a boy thinks he’s made a point.
(Straightens her hair and raises her voice) The question you’re asking is bullshit. You don’t have to think very far to see that talking about innate sexual differences is just a slippery slope down to saying that women ought to be shoved back into the home, barefoot and pregnant.
Greg: Yes, that’s exactly my point. If you say that a woman who murders isn’t genuinely being a woman, how do you manage to weasel-out from going down that slippery slope?
Amynda: Here is why, you pig. This all began in ancient (makes air-quotes) “his”tory. Back before any written records or archaeological proof. Ahem.
(Gestures grandly) Ever since men figured-out that they needed women’s wombs to reproduce copies of their darling selves, they’ve sequestered women away into caves and huts where other men can’t get them. Out of sight, out of mind, out of moral dilemmas and, unavoidably, out of murderous situations as well.
Furthermore, men didn’t want women out there in the world because they don’t want them getting anything on their own. Or even fighting back. Men like everything to come from themselves, in return for female submission. Sexual submission. This is how men created the gender roles from the beginning of time.
Greg: Ah, so everything good about the female role comes from men. Men are your creators. As far as I can reckon, that’s where your own logic goes.
Amynda: Yes, that is as far as you can reckon. (Laughs) No, the real point is that it’s vital to reject traditional femininity, the part that men have created. All the tittering and submissiveness. And all the nurturing maternity stuff. Those are the “special” parts of us that men have created as an excuse to keep us locked-away and enslaved.
Greg: So men created maternal sympathy?
Amynda: That was part of the package. All the earth-mother crap about how women were created to give birth and protect their little boys, no matter how old they are, is a male fabrication. And if a woman ever feels like doing something for herself, on her own terms, she’s crazy.
Greg: All right then. (Gestures to audience) So now we’ve established that femininity, with its cults of prettiness and passivity and maternal nurturance, is a male fabrication. So please tell me what women are, not what they are not.
Amynda: (Twirls hair) Could you repeat the question? (Simper) My stupid female brain doesn’t understand…
Audience: (Giggles in gallery)
Greg: Very funny. I’m trying to define a few terms here. How can I define the half of humanity to which you belong when you just sit there and tell me that whatever term I use is wrong?
Amynda: (Twirls hair) My stupid fwuffy widdle bwain… (giggles) You’re too smart for me, you big MAN you.
Audience: (Chuckles in gallery)
Greg: (Shaking head and sighing) How about I call you ‘Vagino-Americans’?
Amynda: (Bares teeth, getting annoyed) “Woman” will do!
Greg: Fine. Now as for the part of woman which hasn’t been made by men, what is it? Is there such a thing? Is there anything in female nature that isn’t the work of patriarchy? Are women, by nature, empty zombies who get filled-up by male programming? What is the uncontaminated part of woman? The essence, the part that men have managed to suppress. What is it?
Amynda: Well, aren’t we the little Aristotle? Why are you men are so frenzied to brand everything with a label?
Greg: (On the verge of losing his temper) Just give it a name! What do I call it??
Amynda: My my, you’re getting all worked-up! (Smirks) You men really have problems controlling yourselves. (Giggles) If you insist on a name, call it “womanhood”.
Greg: Fine. So what are the distinguishing features of womanhood? I mean, when you define manhood, you say brutality or bossiness or something. So what’s womanhood? Non-brutality? Non-bossiness?
Amynda: Emotional depth. (Looks proud of herself) Empathy. Appreciation of the world, beauty and life.
Greg: Hmmm, isn’t that “earth mother crap” when I say it?
Amynda: It is. When men force it on us, it turns into earth mother crap.
Greg: (Laughing) Oh, give me a break! (turns to audience) All this business about empathy and emotional depth is exactly what you’d call “earth-mother crap”. The only difference is that it comes out of your mouth and not out of mine! You can’t have it both ways.
Amynda: “You can’t have it both ways”! Wonderful! Oh that is so male. So phallic. So typical. There is nothing worse than contradiction, is there? Well life is logically messy! Oh, but “logical messiness” is probably one of your vaunted definitions of “female” isn’t it? The truth is never learned by you rarified, super-rationalist males with your precious linear-thinking which forces us all into the brutal either-or of so-called “logic” of so-called “laws”. It is your so-called “contradictions” that make us human! Things aren’t tidy! That’s what your mommy has shielded you from. There would be something touchingly innocent about your demand that I can’t have it both ways if it weren’t such a cancer on this earth. What, do you think I can’t have an abortion when I need one while caring for the children I do have?
Greg: Okay, hold on-
Amynda: It is monkish little sophists like you with your kosher codes of mutually exclusive pigeonholes and your taboos on one idea contaminating another what’ve lead us into the modern nightmare of today! You endlessly “rationalize” this messy, tragic, living world of ours. A world where the ones on top have it both ways and the ones on the bottom don’t get anything. You, who gets all the sex he wants without getting pregnant, have the gall to say “you can’t have it both ways”!
Greg: Amynda, you can’t take two opposite positions at once. It’s a basic principle of rational discourse.
Amynda: Goddess, how typical! All that self-satisfied, oh-so-neat cutting up of life into something you can “deal with rationally”. Your “logic” is a phallic extension! Like bullets and knives and “smart” bombs. You just boil it down and put it in a nutshell and drop it on an Iraqi village. One little point singled-out from everything around it and take it apart, pontificating about how if x is so, y can’t be so and if y isn’t so then z-
Greg: Slow dow-
Amynda: -and congratulating yourselves for being “on target” or hitting the “nail on the head” and (unintelligible) of being fuzzy or soft. God it’s amazing the way your language gives you little boys away. You’re Exhibit A, you know that? Exhibit A of the cancerous, garbagey death machine that calls itself “manhood”. We’re being raped and you want to split hairs on the rapist’s head!
Greg: Can you-
Amynda: You’re a little boy in the schoolyard waving your pee-pee, always competing with your friend about who can best turn himself into a tool. Yes, I said “tool”. Logical tools. Research tools. Tools of the trade. That’s the real difference between men and women, so obligingly demonstrated by yourself. You make a virtue of totemizing, fetishizing everything, including parts of yourselves. The first tool wasn’t the wheel, it was the cock! You’re in love with your own cocks and you dominate me because you’re not bound to the earth with blood. You’re “rational” because the menstrual clots don’t seep down your legs after a full moon. You don’t go splat splat spat on the floor of the hut. Splat! Splat! Splat! So you rock back and forth, desperately chanting “men better, men better!”
Greg: Will you just-
Amynda: “Man is a tool-making animal”. MAN is a tool-making animal! God, I learned that in 5th grade and it comes back every time I meet someone who uses his mind as a prick. All so you can exploit and screw and strip-mine and nuke everything with your tools. Your scalpels, guns, bats, cocks, hammers, forceps, stirrups, chastity belts, whips and chains-
Greg: Let’s get something straight-
Amynda: (Pointing) Heteronormative fascist!
Greg: Oh God, I give up. (Rubs temples and sighs) No human being can respond to relentless antilanguage and antireason-
Amynda: He can’t respond! I win, just like last year! (Raises fist in the air!) GRRLZ ROOL!
(Audience applauds, Amynda does a victory dance and leaves the stage in triumph)