Friday, August 25, 2006

Women are NOT abalone

This evening at the restaurant, the new head chef (Tony left a few weeks ago) asked me, “What do you want for tonight’s supper?”

Not willing to rake my brains, I replied, “anything.”

He then turned to someone else and asked the same question. “鲍鱼 (abalone),” came the quick reply, accompanied with a laugh.

“We don’t have abalone.”
“处边有一只 (there’s one outside),” he replied, nodding his head in the direction of the doors leading from the kitchen to the dining floor.

They laughed merrily.

There are not many things that annoy me, but one of them is the treatment of women as objects of desire. As ventilators of a man’s sexual urges. As a mere vagina (note the absence of ovaries and fallopian tubes- we are talking about ventilating sexual urges, not satisfying reproductive desires. They are not identical.).

Due to certain geometric similarities, abalone is sometimes used as a euhemerism for vagina. In other words, a vagina and an abalone looks similar, and when people refer to eating abalone, watch for hidden meanings.

In the above case, the meaning was not hidden; it was clear as the waters of the South China Sea.

I’ll admit, treatment of women as sexual objects only pisses me off when the issue at hand concerns someone I know personally. I can’t be bothered about porn models- I do not know them, and they are in the industry. But when the individual is a colleague or an acquaintance, it gets disturbingly close to home.

As of now, I have not had to contend with witnessing someone very close to me being the unwitting victim of this derogatory act. I admire Charmaine’s vow that "If [she] ever catches anyone saying stuff like “She's so hot I wanna bang her” about any of [her] friends, [she] won't let [that person] walk away with everything intact, even if [he’s] a friend."

If the situation involved someone closer to me, a family member or a close friend, I do not know how I’d react. I tried imagining what I might respond with, and it was not encouraging. The problem is that I tend to want rigorous proof and watertight justification before drastic action and on conceptually slippery slopes such as morality and respect, my logical system is not yet sufficiently developed to get a firm hold.

So, how would you respond if someone refereed to your family member, friend, partner as an ‘abalone’?

PS- the statistical thermodynamics entry has been pushed back a bit due to a new investigations being done. And this post is more important.