The Uncle and I share almost identical views on dogs and on a certain fellow Tennessee blogger. We’ve both addressed those feelings at our blogs in recent days. And yet, the Uncle has no recent posts about dogs with 48 comments.
I’ve also been thinking about what’s interesting about those 48 comments. Twenty three of them are by women. Nineteen of them are by men. One of them is from anonymous, whose gender I can’t know, three of them are from FactChecker, whose gender I don’t know, and two of them are from Devil’s Advocate, whose gender I do know, but I don’t think is readily apparent.
In other words, the comments were pretty equally split between men and women.
And yet, our fellow Tennessee blogger specifically addressed six women and yet only specifically addressed one man, once–Exador. He also made one comment specifically towards anonymous (a gender he couldn’t know) and one towards Devil’s Advocate (a gender he didn’t know).
Jebbo, I hope you appreciate that I threw all those numbers in there just for you, knowing how much you like them.
Y’all may recall from our fun discussion of feminism last week (in which, interestingly enough, some of you tried to claim that there was little, if any, gender bullshit left in the world) that I claimed there are four easily successful ways for a jackass to argue against feminists:
1. Be sure that the feminists know you don’t take their perspective seriously.
2. Demand that the conversation go forward on your terms, even though you are not an instigator of said conversation.
3. Deliberately misunderstand the feminists.
4. Condescend, condescend, condescend.
What I didn’t explain is why those four things work so successfully. Allow me to articulate that now.
Those things work because they bank on male privilege. Dsmith, of course, is not a man, but it’s not that simple. Male privilege doesn’t work just because men assert it. It works because women almost unconsciously acquiesce.
We’re trained from an early age to believe that, if there’s some problem between us and anyone else in the world, the problem must lie with us; we must not understand what’s going on.
In other words, there’s some objective, big world reality out there that some folks (men) are just inherently more cued into than other folks (women). Perhaps this is best seen when it breaks down, when some woman has been playing cutesy dumbass in order to get her hands on some man’s money. She’s able to cutesy dumbass her way into his money because he believes that he is inherently more cued into the world than she is and it never occurs to him that her cutesy dumbass ways are an act of manipulation.
But the vast majority of us women are not playing the cutesy dumbass role in order to manipulate men into doing what we want. In fact, most of us aren’t cute enough to be able to play that role. And most of us resent being told over and over again that we’re dumbasses, good only for whatever doesn’t take too much thought.
We’ve talked a long time about my brand of feminism, which normally isn’t concerned with the shit men do, because I expect you to be grown ups and straighten your own selves out. Normally, I’m concerned with helping women who don’t want or can’t be cutesy dumbasses imagine some other way of being in the world.
But the thing is that most women, no matter how feminist, no matter how not, really really don’t want to be thought of as a cutesy dumbass. And that’s why the four rules of how to argue like a jackass against feminists are so grievously underhanded–the person following the four rules both gets to argue his or her points and insinuate that the woman he or she is talking to is just a cutesy dumbass (or failed cutesy dumbass) who doesn’t know how the world works.
(A kind of secondary thing to keep in mind is that hand in hand with the “cutesy” part of the equation is the idea that women’s physical presentation is up for scrutiny. I mention it even though it’s secondary to my “dumbass” point in this post because is comes into play slightly at the end of that thread and, though it seems like the fellow Tennessee Blogger’s mention that he now knows what I look like seems out of place, I’d argue that it actually is important for him to assert that he now can both judge me on how I measure up to ‘cutesy’ and meet his expectations for ‘dumbass’.)
The reason that the cutesy dumbass paradigm is bound up in male privilege is that, while this is the underlying tension in almost every negative interaction women have with men, I’ve never seen it in an interaction between male equals.
The fellow Tennessee Blogger is a perfect example. When he addresses the one man he addresses, the facts are up for discussion:
Exador, most of the stories I found in the news from the past two days alone were of pit bulls mauling people. There are probably good stories like you mentioned, but I shared what I found [emphasis mine]
The fellow Tennessee Blogger isn’t challenging Exador’s perception of reality. In fact, Exador is even extended the likelihood that his point is true; in other words, even though the fellow Tennessee Blogger and Exador disagree, Exador has a valid understanding of reality.
The Professor, however, according to the fellow Tennessee Blogger, does not. Watch how he repeatedly invalidates her ability to correctly interpret what he’s saying, and thus invalidates her understanding of reality:
Professor, other than quoting what Aunt B. or other bloggers believe I’ve said about banning pit bulls, can you rise up to your scholarly title and provide a single quote where I have called for a ban on pit bulls? Quoting other bloggers claiming I am calling for a ban doesn’t count, although that seems to be the only fuel for your speculative conclusions.
Why is that?
The Professor and Exador are making very similar points. Why is he afforded the courtesy of having his interpretation of events respected while she isn’t? Why are the obvious men in the thread for the most part left alone and the obvious women addressed like we don’t understand how the world works? Why isn’t the fellow Tennessee Blogger over at the Uncle’s arguing his points?
That’s what I’ve been mulling over this morning. I think it has something to do with who has a penis and who doesn’t. But I’m just a girl; I’m sure I don’t understand how the world works.