Friday, January 12, 2007

This Friday List Could Change Your Life!

Well, it really could if it helps you meet a potential love(r). As suggested by the brilliant ruby in response to last week's Friday List, today we are creating our very own feminist version of the Hanky Code, the purpose of which will to be to signal that we are feminists looking for some sort of love, sex, or romance, thereby encouraging other feminists or feminist allies to flirt us up even if we're at a Very Important Rally or Talk or somewhere else where you wouldn't want to just randomly flirt up a feminist b/c you don't want to suggest that you don't take her political commitments seriously.

Got it?

Some thoughts before we dive in:

-What should the base signifier be? I personally think we should use something other than hankies, so our code doesn't get mistaken for the original Hanky Code. It should be something wearable on the person which can be worn easily by people who like to dress feminine, masculine and inbetween/neither/blur/whatever.

-Consider attributing meaning not only to color but also to where and how the object is worn. But don't be limited by left/right/top/bottom -- our code doesn't have to address that dynamic (or it can).

-Should the code indicate the gender(s) of the type of date/mate you're looking for?

-We should probably keep it simple to start with, to make it easier for it to catch on. We don't need twenty or thirty submeanings.

Once y'all contribute your excellent ideas, ruby has offered to synthesize them and present The Code right here at PFG. THEN we'll hit up the feminist blogosphere to help us spread the word.

Then we get our flirt on...


P.S. The Goths seem to have already developed a code of their own...


ruby said...

i agree with ladyred that it should stay as simple as possible. it's just a signal that the wearer is available for dating, so it doesn't have to get too deep into anything--that's for finding out later, the old-fashioned way.

so, i think it should *either* signal only what genders the wearer is interested in, or just be one general, all-purpose "flirt with me" message.

if we do decide that gender identity should be part of it, the question is how many categories. at least 5, i think (F, M, MtF spectrum, FtM spectrum, and a general genderqueer/i don't identify on any spectrum option), though there are doiubtless more options i'm not thinking of. i personally would also like to see a signal for "any gender whatsoever," just so i don't have to wear a ton of whatever it is we choose as the item.

as to what the item should be, at first i was thinking pins, but then there's the challenge of getting them--not many solid-color pins out there, and we don't want to mess with attributing extra meanings to the color/placement of people's message pins.

maybe a little piece of ribbon or fabric tied to a belt loop/pinned onto that area? could be very inconspicious.

there's the option of literal buttons--easier to find simple low-cost colored ones, and it's also pretty easy/cheap to sew/glue a stick-pin backing on there so you can attach it wherever.

this is not my strong suit, unfortunately--i'm gonna be a lot better at synthesizing others' comments than coming up with ideas for this.

Roy said...

For what it's worth, I'm definitely behind something gender neutral. It should be something that any of us can wear or display, and I think it's probably best if it just says "it's okay to flirt with me." Otherwise, it runs the risk of being too compliated. I don't even think it's important to say what genders the wearer is interested in- would it really bother any of us if someone came up and said "Hey, I noticed you're wearing X" and started flirting with us, and they weren't quite what we were looking for? If you know what the symbol is, I'd hope you're at least open-minded/cool enough to be able to handle someone outside your normal spectrum showing interest without getting weird about it.

Honestly, if a guy came up and started hitting on me, I might not be interested, but at least I know someone still thinks I'm cute. ;)

Pheint said...

I like the pins. Meanings attributed to different pins could be extended to brooches or tie-pins for classier individuals, as long as there was one set code to follow such as colour or shape. People might also play with the meanings of symbols given the Greek pantheon (see ), which could be worn as jewellery or otherwise.

Tom Carew said...

A 3-box button would be workable,with both [a] self ,and [b]the other, described in the first 2 boxes, from these 8 options of: 1=Hetero Female, 2=Hetero Male, 3= Bi, 4=Gay, 5=Lesbiam, 6=mTf, 7=fTm, 8=fluid, while the third box specified "What" as follows:
1=friend, 2=just looking for now, 3=open date, 4=chaste date, 5=partner, 6=spouse, 7=paramour, 8=polyamory, 9=swinger.
That yields some 576 options, and should cover most options.
For clarity, each button could have a different color - eg red, white and blue !
And folk can bring a range of buttons with them - just in case.

Steve said...

You guys are making this way more complicated than it needs to be.

What's being asked for is an article of clothing that can be used by the wearer to signify their availability. Since there is already a Hanky Code for Gay men, then this new code doesn't need to worry about the Gay male population. As well, the Gay female population could adopt the hanky, or develop their own article of clothing.

This would allow for a total of 3 articles of clothing to account for the Gay/Lesbian/Straight dichotomy. You could lower this number to two if Gay women (Lesbians? I'm not hip to the P.C. nomenclature) are also willing to go with the hanky(or perhaps one of those light material scarves, I don't know the names of these, that women like to wear...).
You now have one article of clothing for Gay and one for Straight. So if a straight male is wearing the article it would be instantly known that they are looking for a female, and vice versa. Those of the "Bi" persuasion could wear both articles, or a third could be decided on?

From there the next important piece of information are the devotion level the person is seeking. This basically comes down to Casual and Serious. Casual would obviously mean one night stand while Serious would indicate some level of commitment. I don't think a Friendship level needs to exist, since there is no alt motive in this type of encounter it should be par for the course in normal social interaction and the simple act of wearing the article should require one to be open to this type of encounter with the caveat that the friendship encounter must end when one party chances for a true encounter.

Thats it. Nothing more needs to be conveyed. Modifiers like the Hanky Code could be useful, but I think would be best expressed via a second article in close proximity.

I for one would argue for no article modifiers as that level of exclusion seems a bit much even for those looking for a Casual encounter. I would argue that performance modifiers be part of the code. Such like: if you notice yourself being eyed by another participant in the code you must engage eye contact and immediately (within reason) meet in a location exclusive from the original standing location of either party. If one member does not make such movement or does not maintain eye contact if they are unavailable to immediately change locations then the other party will know that the first party does not wish to currently engage in social interaction with you. This method allows for some of the original intent of the social game to take place.

If a modifier must be used I would argue for a second piece of clothing to be used. This would allow for easy mix and matching by those interested in using them and so those that don't wish to use one can make this point obvious to others playing. I have some more reasons for this below.

What comes next is what the article of clothing is and how it is worn. This choice is crucial. It must be chosen in such a way as to not be confused with the common method by which the article is worn. This will never be 100% foolproof obviously, but it needs to be different enough to stand out without being clashing. This also allows for patterns and colors to be used. It is also obvious that this matter is not essential, as it would just inform more people of the game and may accidentally lead to wonderful chance encounters.

Back to the article and modifiers. The original article must be something that is evident enough to be noticed from a short distance. I would prefer shapes over colors as some of us men are colorblind/deficient. If colors are used they must be based on dark/light which allows for proper reading in dark or colored lighting conditions, while also helping with the colorblind/deficient issue. Dark blue, purple, black, brown, etc would then mean the same thing, as would white yellow, green, orange, etc.

Finally, being privy of the game alone should allow anyone the ability to randomly approach another participant at any convenient time and discuss the game. Beyond friendship encounters this could be used for things like negotiating introductions, etc.

Jessica said...

I really like the idea of buttons (clothing buttons) because they're simple and small, but you can find lots of variations, which makes them good for if/when people decide to add meanings. I agree with Ruby about the pins. Pins would be great except for the difficulty in finding single colors, and the problem of people who have pins just to have pins. The buttons could be worn as a bracelet (thus keeping the very nice left/right scheme that the hanky code seems to have).

Andrew said...

How about bracelets? Anybody can wear one without looking too conspicuous, and there can be a very simple code that goes by material or color or even style.