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• October, 2011
COURTESY THE PINK PANTY
Great looking gear with performance built right in!
⇑⇓THE BROADER MISOGYNY OF OUR SOCIETY? Naming something, or judging the propriety, legitimacy or fitness of a name, is the oldest mark of ownership. Other than peeing on things, of course, which dogs still do. This tradition has spanned the ownership of vessels, the ownership of land — and most tragically, the ownership of people. Indeed, unabridged naming rights over one's own self and property has long been a seminal mark of freedom. While I understand the grave results of impaired cognitive function, and a very fragile sense of machismo induced by testosterone, it baffles me to no end when that machismo is threatened by the putatively feminine being too feminine. It is an ancient tradition to regard vessels as feminine, most often applying pronouns 'her' and 'she' to the vessel. Yet, not too feminine, apparently, or that machismo begins to squirm. So when the 'For Sale' listings for my boat brought responses such as, "That's not a real boat's name" or "You have to change the name," I really can't decide whether to be more irritated by the testosterone poisoning of the respondent or the broader misogyny of our society. Would it be sufficiently machismo if I named my boat the Otto von Bismarck, or perhaps the Titanic, two doomed legacies of machismo at sea? Do Poseidon or Ægir, perhaps, disdain such hyper-masculinity on their waters, perceive a challenge to be the alpha male of the sea, and perhaps reserve a softer spot in their hearts for the more feminine? To me, those macho names would be like putting the gay-male-pride symbol that I think is called 'truck nuts' — they look like a scrotum hanging from a truck's trailer hitch — on this woman's boat! What about Juggernaut? I can't decide if that's a hyperfeminine witticism or hyper-masculine menacing. Perhaps it's the hyper-juxtaposed androgyny of both in double-entendre — and possibly the same intended message as 'truck nuts'. Well, my boat — having an extensive cruising history and having been cruised and loved passionately by the same couple for 25 years — is a woman's boat right now. So I don't want to hear anyone tell me she's "not a real boat." For those who don't like her name, I say you don't own her nor do you own the equally marvelous me. Casting judgment on whatever I care to name my boat is beyond anyone's purview. Unlike owners of boats with masculinized names, I wasn't in competition for macho approval or maximum intimidation. And mine isn't a battle-hardened boat with a gun turret on the foredeck. Sure, these Columbia 34 Mk II hulls have long been very popular in macho competitive contexts such as racing, but currently, mine is a gentle 'lovers and cruisers' boat. She's a boat for love, to love, to be loved. If someone wants to buy my boat and refit her for a different purpose, then sure, changing her name would be their own choice. But only after they have taken ownership of her. Hell, the new name placA pink panty by any other name . . . ard hasn't even been finished or mounted yet, so renaming her couldn't be easier for a new owner. My Columbia 34 is thoroughly a real boat, a cruiser's boat, a storied boat — but she just happens to be named The Pink Panty. If you can't get over yourself and your need for macho gratification, and your aversion to the feminine, you can either buy the boat and change the name, or learn to live with
The October 2011 eBook issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.