“Johnnie Phelps, a woman sergeant in the army, thought, “There was a tolerance for lesbianism if they needed you. The battalion I was in was probably about ninety-seven percent lesbian.”
Sergeant Phelps worked for General Eisenhower. Four decades after Eisenhower had defeated the Axis powers, Phelps recalled an extraordinary event. One day, the general told her, “I’m giving you an order to ferret those lesbians out. We’re going to get rid of them.”
“I looked at him and then I looked at his secretary who was standing next to me, and I said, ‘Well, sir, if the general pleases, sir, I’ll be happy to do this investigation for you. But you have to know that the first name on the list will be mine.’ “
“And he was kind of taken aback a bit. And then this women standing next to me said, ‘Sir, if the General pleases, you must be aware that Sergeant Phelp’s name may be second, but mine will be first.”
“Then I looked at him, and said, ‘Sir, you’re right. They’re lesbians in the WAC battalion. And if the general is prepared to replace all the file clerks, all the section commanders, all the drivers-every woman in the WAC detachment-and there were about nine hundred and eighty something of us-then I’ll be happy to make that list. But I think the general should be aware that among those women are the most highly decorated women in the war. There have been no cases of illegal pregnancy. There have been no cases of AWOL. There have been no cases of misconduct. And as a matter of fact, every six months since we’ve been here, the general has awarded us a commendation for meritorious conduct.”
“And he said, ‘Forget the order.’””—
Phelps tells this story herself in the excellent 1984 documentary Before Stonewall, which you can watch in its entirety on YouTube (she’s at 19:30, but really, watch the whole thing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX7AxQd82H8
If you’re using NYC subway passengers as your example to lend credence to your argument that men purposefully sit with their knees out as a patriarchal “crotch display” conspiracy, you pretty much just sunk your own ship.
We’re talking the subway system that, on more thanone occasion, has discovered corpses that had been riding with other passengers for hours without anyone noticing.
Also, it isn’t a male-only sitting position in the first place.
So, maybe—just maybe—we can just admit that all human beings are capable of being insensitive assholes, especially on the subway that is legendary for people not giving a fuck what happens on it.
Amazing. This person is upset that the subway post that went viral awhile ago, where I complained about my experiences on the New York subways… is in fact about the New York subway. How dare I talk about the NYC subways in my personal blog? After all I just live in New York, and take the NYC subway every single day. I shouldn’t talk about THAT subway. I should talk about the Utah subway or something.
First of all, those pictures of people sprawling, aren’t real sprawls. They’re inconvenient. Maybe a little rude. When I talk about people sprawling on the subway I’m talking about things like this:
Which by the way, not all of those photos are from NYC, so obviously it’s not JUST an NYC problem. And before you say “Oh that’s such an exaggeration! No one REALLY sits like that!” Obviously they do because there are photos, and my post wasn’t about EVERY SINGLE DUDE WHO SITS WITH A KNEE GAP. No one cares about a reasonable knee gap. My post was about those jerks who take up 3 seats with their knees splayed and their elbows out. Does that happen every day? Nope. Because 98% of the people who ride the subway aren’t complete assholes. My post is about the assholes. No one cares if a dude takes up his whole couch at home. This is about sharing public space.
As for the patriarchal crotch display, those weren’t my words. However men ARE socialized to take up more space. Men feel entitled to more space. 98% of guys aren’t total jerks about it when riding in cramped public spaces, but those that ARE total jerks about it ARE TOTAL JERKS ABOUT IT. Every woman I know who rides the subway in NYC has stories of some guys sprawling all over her. Every single one. A lot of these stories involve them already being seated and then having some guy shove a sweaty thigh into their leg and shove an elbow into their side. Is this every single guy out there? No. No one ever said it was. But there is a minority of guys who absolutely feel entitled to your space, and your attention and that IS an example of the patriarchy.
“That’s actually a running joke on set. Whenever someone’s like, ‘I don’t understand why my character would do this,’ or, ‘This feels awkward,’ the director — or whoever — will be like, ‘Guys, this is a show about werewolves. Just do it.’”—Ryan Kelley [x] (via korydwen)