My plan to blog away my afternoon has been thwarted by my inability to steal internet access. A city of how many million and not one kind soul nearby has left himself unguarded? What is this world coming to?
I had a meeting this morning in which we ended up spending some time talking about Mack. I was thinking about Slartibartfast, but I didn’t bother to bring him up. It’s like this, when I say that my experience as a woman matters–that because I am both myself and a member of this group “woman” and am not allowed ever to forget that without endangering myself–and Slartibartfast says “I don’t have male privilege,” I’ve got to say, at a very basic level, it hurts my feelings.
I mean, yes, it makes me mad and causes me to roll my eyes, but my first experience of that is to have hurt feelings, because, it means, when it comes down to brass tacks, Slarti thinks I’m a liar or stupid. I’m either lying about my experiences or stupidly misinterpreting what’s going on around me.
It’s hard not to experience that as incredibly hostile.
It’s funny, not in a funny-ha-ha way, but in a funny-fuck-me way, this situation: I say there’s a problem. Slarti says there’s not. I think the evidence I could present that there’s a problem is overwhelming (and evidence that is presented by women over and over again) and yet, I guess, that evidence is not overwhelming to Slarti. I can’t get him to recognize my problem because I can’t get him to give my evidence any weight.
That’s a problem. Or, I’d say, that’s the very problem I’m trying to illustrate to Slarti. That’s what makes me laugh so long and bitterly about it.
I was reminded of it reading Coble’s entry about The Homeless Guy, who wants $5,000 so that he can emerge out of homelessness. I’m not interested in this context so much in Coble’s argument in how she delivers that argument–in a strong voice that doesn’t coddle The Homeless Guy. Look down to the comment where she’s criticized.
What is the gist of the criticism against her?
That she’s not being nice, that she’s not being generous enough to The Homeless Guy–that she’s refusing to do the emotional work to keep things going smoothly that we just automatically expect women to do. Look at W.’s criticism of me in regards to the whole Krumm conversation from earlier this week. He’s upset that I appear to be being more harsh and less understanding of Krumm than he’s come to expect from me. Krumm advances a point of view that clumsily accuses me of racism and sexism and not one person calls him on that. But I get chastised for not being kind enough to him in return. And then when Krumm does decide to address my post, what’s his complaint? That I’m being patronizing.
Here’s my question for you, Slarti: when was the last time you had a discussion online about something serious like racism, sexism, or homophobia in which folks wanted to talk not about your points but about whether your behavior is appropriate?
If calling that “male privilege” makes you uncomfortable, might we at least call it a “female detriment?”
Because it is to my detriment that any time I want to talk, I have to spend so much time justifying how I talk, in order to get folks to listen to me.