As a result of a recent exchange on a blog in which I felt insulted enough by the patronizing tone taken by the moderator that I decided not to participate any further, while another commenter (a male) responded with a mere “LOL”, I asked yet another commenter (also a male) why he thought our reactions were so different. “Don’t men know when they’re being insulted?” I asked.
His response? “We know, we just don’t care. At the end of the day, it’s just words on a screen. Most of us don’t expect to convince anyone else, this is a social event of sorts for people who like to talk about stuff.”
He went on to say “We don’t expect to change anything, we’re just engaging in venting, observation, and entertainment. If we learn something new, all the better.”
I find this horrifying. Words have meaning! Meaning is important! At first I thought maybe that’s just a philosopher/non-philosopher thing, but then I recalled conversations with male philosophers in which I similarly felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously, in which I felt like, the man nailed it, “entertainment”.
I don’t feel that when I speak with women on these matters. So it’s a sexist thing, not a philosopher thing.
But it’s not that men don’t take women seriously, it’s that they don’t take each other seriously either. Suddenly their attitude toward debate—it’s a game—makes sense.
As for the convincing, the changing, maybe that’s a non-teacher-non-social-activist thing, but again, if it’s a male thing, then again, it’s horrifying. No wonder the world isn’t getting better and better: the people in power aren’t talking, thinking, acting to make it so. Their discussions on policy are just “venting, observation, and entertainment”!
I wonder if at its root, it’s part of the male relationship to words. Women are better with language, so it’s said, whether because of neurology or gendered upbringing; men are better with action, so it’s said, again whether by neurology or gendered upbringing. So that would explain why women consider words to be important, and men don’t.
[Hell Yeah, I’m a Feminist is a feminist blog, often radical feminist (radfem), always anti-gender and anti-sexism.]