Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 265: The Red Squiggly Line

Let's talk Feminism. Are you scared? This is not going to be a(n overtly) serious conversation. It's just that sometimes it is the littlest of things that topple the biggest, like termites, or a small drip, over time, on a large rock. Subtleties can belie bigger and bolder endeavours and maintain a status quo without anyone ever realising it. And in this category sits the squiggly red line of 'misspelt' or 'not-known' words in Microsoft Word. One of my (male) literary professors sneered in disbelief when I was silly enough to suggest this out loud for the world to hear, so now, just between you and me, I'm telling you that squiggly line represents a continuing dominance of the patriarchal. And I am sorry to seem harsh, but if you don't believe me, you are fooling yourself a little. The fight is no where near over. And this is one of the battles!

Irene               List_Addict

Let me show you what I mean. Open yourself a word document and type in the following list (copy and paste if you like): 'Virginia Woolfe and Thomas Mann; Nyx and Hypnos; Aristotle and Aristoclea; Helene Cixous and Friedrich Nietzsche; Shirin Ebadi and Cesar Chavez; Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein'. We have a couple of writers with names which are familiar to common nouns, two minor Greek Gods, a couple of ancient philosophers, a couple of modern ones too, both with foreign names, a couple of activists and a pair of workers of the mind with similarly originated surnames. Now I understand that your Word may be configured differently and that your dictionary may have different spellings, but in my version and with my dictionary, the boys in that list are all recognised and the girls are all red-squiggly-lined. You see what I mean? Who controls the little red squiggly line? Somewhere along the line a person makes a decision about a word, decides if it is dictionary-able or not. And that someone has obviously decided, seemingly for no other reason than gender (it would appear), that the males are unquestionable and the females are. Doesn't sound like much; some may even think I am being paranoid and just silly (*shock*), but I think it is emblematic of an underlying misogyny. One that none of us really wants to think about too much or even admit exists. I'm just saying! And I think, in these matters, these little incursions into gender power, we need to adopt Alastor Moody's philosophy—constant vigilance! Whenever you see that red squiggly line, and it refers to a woman, who for no known reason on Earth or the Universe, should be considered unknown—right click, add to Dictionary. We can overcome!


The Outfit
Tag-in, Tag-out Project in play, with one item each day carried to the next
Dress (Tag-in): Myers
Jacket (Tag-out): Op-shopped
Necklace: Lovisa
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Nolita Honey'


Photographer de Jour: Moi


Who wore it better?

Sharing Linky-lovin' today with:

pleated poppy


2 comments:

  1. I think the larger issue is that only Virginia Woolfe is a known female, although the squiggly red line plagues even her. I have to admit that if they were listed as random words, other than Woolfe, my own inner squiggly red line marker would have produced the same result, but perhaps that's just because I am a philistine.

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  2. Yeah, I wondered about that too but I had heard of many of the other females too - although the males did tend to be better known. That is just another issue in my mind though! For example instead of Spielrein being known as a psychologist on her own right, she is more famous for being Jung's (probably hysterical) patient. And in the time Aristoclea was writing, she probably was lucky to survive let alone be recognised. And there, in this email, are two more little squiggly lines so its not just my dictionary.

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