Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In Which I Rant About Bitches' Rights

I last wrote here about the bi-weekly gatherings of Cavaliers at a nearby dog park, and the strenuous attentions that Bisou has steadily received from the "ruby humper" since her earliest infancy. Unlike another owner of a Cavalier bitch--who fled from the first play session crying "rape!"--I have been reasonably good humored about the goings on. Bisou doesn't seem cowed by the persistent male, and she rather enjoys running from him. Needless to say, she has not yet come into her first heat. The minute she does, she will go into dog "purdah" for the duration. Halfway between her first and second heats, when the hormones have done her growing body all the good they're supposed to, I will have her spayed.

Today I received an e-mail from the organizer of the Cavalier gathering diplomatically informing me that the owner of the "r. h." has suggested that there be a male-only gathering from 10 to 10:30 a.m., to give the boys a chance to play without being hampered by tempting bitches, after which time the bitches will be allowed to join the group.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to become embroiled in a feminist dispute on behalf of my bitch, but here I am. This may sound weird, but the first thing that came to my mind after reading the e-mail was my high-school religion teachers, who were forever warning us girls against becoming an "occasion of sin" for our pimply male classmates. Then I thought of the blame-the-victim prejudice that let so many rapists go free. Then I remembered how in Spain women were not allowed in church unless their head was covered and their sleeves reached to their elbows, lest they inflame male worshipers. From there it was but a step to the veil and the chador....It's long been my opinion that these are only means for men to reassure themselves of their virility (as in "I have so much testosterone that if I see so much as a woman's little finger I may lose control") and have little to do with real women at all.

But we're talking about dogs here. And what I'm wondering is, why not have a special "bitches only" play time, where the girls can romp unimpeded by male lusts? I was always a proponent of women's colleges during my higher ed career. I never dreamed that I would become a "bitches' playground" advocate. But I am. It's only fair. Especially since spaying Bisou will not necessarily stop the obsessive behavior of an unneutered male.

My task now is to find some way of communicating the essence of this without upsetting the humans involved--they are genuinely nice people whom I would not for the world offend. Help!

Oh, and by the way, why is "bitch" an insult in the English language?

6 comments :

  1. i would be annoyed, too. it seems the problem isn't that your dog is female; the problem is the un-fixed male.

    but perhaps the solution is segregated play times: is there somewhere the girls can play while the boys are playing? followed by integrated? or am i being Neville Chamberlain here?

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  2. Laurie, I agree that segregated play times are the way to go. In my experience, an un-fixed male doesn't care if the female is spayed or unspayed, and often doesn't even care if she's a male!

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  3. The bile rose in my throat as I read this. I probably shouldn't feed your ire but I have to say I empathize with it. My unhelpful suggestion is that you throw off the veil of politeness and let the other dog owners know how you feel - in fact why not just send them a link to this post?

    Oh, and I completely agree about the issue of the negative connotation of the word 'bitch' a favorite political blogger of mine has this tag phrase on her blog header "You say I'm a bitch as if it were a bad thing..." Talk about using the subjunctive!

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  4. Thank you, Elizabeth! I remember having to stop play dates with Wolfie and Mika before he was neutered, despite Mika's spayed status. Many unneutered male dogs, in my experience, will hump, in order of preference: a bitch in heat, an unspayed bitch, a spayed bitch, a male dog, and anything else within reach. One odd thing about Wolfie: he never for a single moment attempted to mount Lexi--obviously some primal pack thing that is totally beyond my ken.

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  5. He probably had tried it once with Lexi and she put him in his place with certainty.

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  6. mrb, one thing that has amazed me about Lexi is her patience with Bisou. She puts up with a lot of puppy nonsense, especially at meal times.

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