Newsgroups: alt.slack

Subject: Sex Roles, Tools and Slack

From: !!! (TarlaStar)

Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 12:48:17 GMT


This morning I went into my studio, found my mitre box, grabbed my

drill and went to work. I'm making the base and armature for a new

sculpture. I measured the base supports and cut them down to size,

then pre-drilled the screw holes. When the base was solidly supported,

I screwed in the base flange and the upright pipe-nipple-pipe

arrangement that will be the center of the armature. It looks damned

good and is strong enough to support a group of Chinese acrobats, much

less a mess of foam and clay.


After I sat back, covered in sawdust, I caught sight of myself in one

of the studio mirrors and had to laugh. I looked like...I dunno, a

middle-aged dyke maybe? My short hair, my stained (albeit clean)

sweats, my beat up t-shirt and a big ole fucking drill in my hand. It

made me think about sex roles, especially in the light of Annnna's

recent "tests."


When I was in grade school (back before pantyhose or The Pill) little

girls would sit together playing jacks at recess and say things like

"When I grow up, I want to be a: nurse, teacher, mother, ballerina"

Those were about your only options. Occationally you'd get a girl who

wanted to be a "cowgirl" but that was Arizona and no one really

believed it could happen. Not me; when I was 10, I wanted to be "a

translator at the United Nations." The other girls thought I was

crazy. Cindy Kennedy bet me $10 on it. I guess I owe her a tener, but

I DID grow up to be an anthropologist and that's pretty close.


When I was in high school, we took those aptitude tests. They told me

that I was right about not wanting to be a nurse. The only field in

medicine that even came close to being within my aptitude was,

Psychiatrist. But that meant going through med school and med school

meant chemistry and chemistry meant math. Math and I are not friends,

so Psychiatry was out. I did score high on mechanical aptitude. But

what good would THAT do me? I was female and females did NOT become

mechanics. No self-respecting girl would attempt to tear a car down

and repair it. The closest we would come to that would be to hand a

beer to our boyfriend while he was changing the oil.


My first husband could fix cars. His cousin taught auto mechanics in a

high school in Nogales, Az. and Wes picked up a bunch from him. I once

made Wes describe the internal combustion engine to me, so that if I

ever got in a car bind, I might have a chance of figuring out what the

hell was wrong. My greatest mechanical triumph came when I was

divorced however. I had a truck that I bought from my dad. It was a

'67 Ford f-150 with 3 on the column. One day, while driving home from

work, the gear shift came off in my hand. The collar that held it in

place had simply worn out. I called a repair shop and they told me

that it would cost about $15 for the collar and $100 for the labor.

There was no way in hell that I could afford that at the time. So I

called Dad.


I spent about an hour on the phone with my father. He described to me

exactly what I would have to do. "Get yourself a 'wheel pull' at the

auto parts store. It'll cost you about $4," he began, and talked me

through the whole process. I did just that. I marked every wire that I

disattached with tape. It took me four hours to get the old collar

off. I rested for the day. The next day, I went back to work. It took

another four hours to get the new collar on, and all the wiring

reassembled. When I was done, it shifted like a dream and I still had

all my turn signals. Nothing could have made me feel better at that

moment unless some MAN had been standing there handing me a beer.

I was Superwoman! I was MECHANICAL!


Now I make my living as an artist and writer. These are asexual jobs

to a great degree. Sculpting is still male territory for the most part

however. I rarely meet women who create full-sized sculpture. Why?

because it's dirty, sweaty, hard work. There's nothing pretty or

glamorous about it. Maybe that's part of why I love it. I feel

powerful with the torch in my hand, bending a piece of rebar or

running the chop saw. I have eschewed appearance for the sake of

Slack. There was a time when I got my ego-satisfaction from having

every man in the room drooling over me. Now I get it when they step

back and say, "Man, that's a lot of work!" I enjoy being covered with

plaster, silicone rubber, metal shavings and blisters. It means that I

am the equal of every man in the place. I don't need to flatter anyone

to get their attention. I don't need to be a sexual object. I am

capable...and I am a woman.


A big part of what I am comes from growing up in the time that I did.

If you wanted a husband (and we ALL wanted husbands) you had to play a

game. You could be smart, but you couldn't be smarter than your

potential mate. You could have talent, but it should be a compliment

to your mate, not competition for attention. You could like men, but

you should hang out with the women. I rebelled at that idea. Feminism

came along just in time for me. The INTERESTING conversations were

where the men were. There's only so much fun to be had in sharing

recipes and talking about baby drool. If you had political opinions,

social ideas, then you HAD to talk to the men. You had to be as smart

or smarter than them or they would ignore you. I refused to allow them

to ignore me. I read books. I learned to play chess, not because I

cared about chess all that much, but because it was a MAN's game and I

wanted to be able to beat every man at his own game. I joined the Army

(becoming a translator), because that was a man's world. If woman is

the nigger of the world, then I am a successful Negro. I can pass.


Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I was as bad as many men as

well. In my mind, I found that I had accepted the line of thought that

said that women weren't quite as good as men. *I* was, but then I was

superior to everyone. I questioned my own snobbishness against my sex.

I had to start over again and start learning the ways of women. I

learned to enjoy women, to enjoy being one of them. We have our own

ways of power. We are subtle and use men's arrogance against them. We

share our feelings and love each other openly. By rejecting sexual

roles, I have found freedom and power over my life. I can choose

whichever group I want to be in at the moment. When the girl-talk gets

boring, I can switch over to the boys. When the boys go off on

something stupid, I can go back to the women's circle. And

occasionally, I meet a woman like me and love her for all she's worth.



And a woman like me is worth plenty.


Reverend Mutha Tarla Star of the Little Sisters of the Perpetually

Juicy; a Proud jism schism of the Church of the SubGenius.

Worshipping Juicy Retardo and "Connie" Dobbs since 1986.