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Shego - Facepalm

Dear Internets,

Please do me a favor. If you ever find yourself speaking or typing words like the ones above? Shut up and walk away.

Cat Valente wrote a powerful post about Gender and the Fallout Over Christopher Priest, comparing the responses Priest received with the much more vicious, hateful threats and attacks women receive for similar posts.

Naturally, one of the commenters jumped in with, “I’ll probably get vilified for saying this, but I’m a guy…” Just in case you missed the point, he added, “Unfortunately, I’m a guy, and so far as I can tell, therefore I’m evil.”

I’ve seen this preemptive crap a lot lately. Look dude - it’s not that you’re a guy. It’s not that you’re white or straight or whatever. It’s that you’re being an dumbass and a coward.

A dumbass because nobody is saying anything about guys all being evil! Go read Valente’s post and show me where she says men are evil. Show me where anyone in the comments says it. Take your time, I’ve got all day. Nobody said it, nobody suggested it, and if you really believe that’s what’s going on, then I have very little hope for you, but I’d be happy to recommend some remedial reading courses.

A coward because in most cases, I suspect you know perfectly well that nobody’s saying that. You don’t actually believe Valente is suggesting all men are evil. You’re saying it to protect your ego. Because by preemptively writing crap like, “I know you’re all going to dogpile me for being male,” you’ve given yourself an excuse. Everyone who points out that your argument is full of crap isn’t doing it because you’re an ignorant, misinformed, condescending jackass. They’re just doing it because you’re a guy.

Bullshit.

Let me break it down as simply as possible.

1) Blogger writes a post pointing out the inequality in how men and women are treated online. She gives multiple examples of women who receive threats of rape and death, where men receive far less viciousness.

2) Random dude reads this post and immediately feels defensive and attacked as a man.

Why is that, I wonder? Is it because harassing and abusing women is, in your opinion, part of being a man? Is it because you’ve personally done things like this and you dislike being called on it? What is it that makes you read this as a personal attack on your gender?

Because you know what? If you haven’t done these things, then it’s not about you! And if you have, then it’s not about you being a guy; it’s about you being an asshole.

Like I said, it’s not just one commenter. It’s one person after another pulling out this same rhetorical garbage, and it’s tiresome.

Enough from me. Go read Valente’s post, if you haven’t already. I’d also recommend Seanan McGuire’s follow-up thoughts about gender and literature.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Comments

jimhines
Apr. 7th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Actually no, that's not what I'm saying.

I strongly suggest you not finish that last statement.
dbcooper
Apr. 7th, 2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
Then I'd appreciate if you could clarify for me, since I seem to me misinterpreting, but nonetheless, I don't think it is helpful or fair to jump on people because you assume you know why they feel defensive.

And with respect, I have been given ample reason to actively dislike her. I will never apologize for that. Well, not never. If making peace with her were to somehow spare the planet imminent destruction at the hands of some alien life form, I'd do it sincerely and solemnly, but short of that, no.
jimhines
Apr. 7th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
I laid it out as clearly as I could in the blog post, which most people seem to have understood. Maybe I failed as a writer, and could have made it clearer, but at this point I'm not sure how to help you understand.
dbcooper
Apr. 7th, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
Forgive me. I'm not trying to offend you here. But what you specifically said was,


1) Blogger writes a post pointing out the inequality in how men and women are treated online. She gives multiple examples of women who receive threats of rape and death, where men receive far less viciousness.

2) Random dude reads this post and immediately feels defensive and attacked as a man.

Why is that, I wonder? Is it because harassing and abusing women is, in your opinion, part of being a man? Is it because you’ve personally done things like this and you dislike being called on it? What is it that makes you read this as a personal attack on your gender?


Now, I'm not saying that the initial post the random dude is commenting on is invalid--far from it, especially in this day and age. I just think that your speculation on an admittedly oversensitive response is itself not particularly fair or helpful.

I sense what I have said already has upset you, and for that I apologize. It wasn't you communicating badly; it was me responding aggressively. However, as much as I disagree with the sentiment of responding to any post with "You're just going to dogpile me for [reasons x, y, and z]," (you'll notice I have not done it here, though I will confess I may have done so in the past, and for that too I am sorry) I don't feel that the way you're going after it is going to help eradicate it.

For one thing, and I really should have brought this up sooner, straight white guys have become the last acceptable target in pop culture. And it's the actions of one or two jerks of that phenotype way up at the top of the financial and political food chain who have brought it on the rest of us. To be fair, that tiny slight is nowhere near as bad as what has happened to women or people of color (or especially both) or the LGBT community over the millennia--but it is everywhere, and it is, to some of us, really frustrating. Just because it's a smaller (much smaller) wrong doesn't make it right. We get stereotyped and vilified too, and it makes some of us likely to protest even when we shouldn't. Sure, it's unhelpful. But being easily upset is part of human nature.
jimhines
Apr. 7th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
"And it's the actions of one or two jerks of that phenotype way up at the top of the financial and political food chain who have brought it on the rest of us."

I think this is the crux of our disagreement.
dbcooper
Apr. 8th, 2012 02:50 am (UTC)
Quite possibly. In my defense, our sociopolitical and ecumenical leaders in various nations and churches spanning the globe started teaching gender/ethnic/religious equality all the way back in the mid-20th Century, which hasn't exactly erased almost 6,000 recorded years of doing exactly the opposite. Now, I'm not saying that the men below the top who then went out and hurt people because of those teachings are at all blameless; after all; they were responsible for their actions. But I think it's more than fair to say that our kings, queens, emperors, presidents (especially our presidents-for-life), priests, monks, caliphs, rabbis (though perhaps to me less so), and other various politicos and religious figures had a hand in the inequalities many suffered over the millennia. Even now, some profit from dividing socioethnic and ecumenical groups and pitting them against each other--mostly defense contractors.

But we as a species are slow on the uptake, even though the oppressed knew it was BS all along. We are products by and large of our environment. I grew up in a world where I personally was taught to value all people equally, and did my best (with some minor slip-ups here and there, mostly before I got out of first grade) to do so. However, I also grew up in a world where I observed people getting away with undervaluing people based on gender, ethnicity, religion, economics, and pretty much any other difference under the sun. Fortunately, it all came to an end back in the...oh, wait, it hasn't yet, not at all. That's where my guilt comes from, as far as I can tell, and why I feel defensive. There's a part of me that recognizes that not everyone is being treated fairly, and that feels (sometimes rightly) that I'm not doing enough.

The rational side of me knows that the people expressing their frustrations over being dumped on aren't pointing at me, or even at guys like me. And it knows I can't do everything (sometimes not even anything) to just fix it. But I'm not ruled by my rational side 100 percent of the time. None of us are. That's my real point.

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