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Academic Mansplaining

Paige West has some excellent examples of mansplaining in 2013. She’s an expert in New Guinea culture, and it’s amazing how many men take the time to explain to her how New Guinea works.

But the best part, I think, is that the very first comment, from someone signing himself “Male Academic”, takes pains to explain at length that maybe this isn’t actually sexism. He’s obliviously mansplaining!

Let me just say that I, a man, have given a great many lectures in the past year, and I have had people disagree with me, sometimes vigorously, and I have had people add informed perspectives from their own expertise, but I have never had anyone treat me as a callow, infantile know-nothing who needed remedial instruction in my own field of expertise.

That would only happen if I had breasts sucking all the intelligence out of my skull, apparently.

Comments

  1. kevinalexander says

    That would only happen if I had breasts sucking all the intelligence out of my skull, apparently.

    .
    You have that backwards. The breasts suck the intelligence out of the mansplainer.

  2. nich says

    There’s no way that first comment is serious. It has to be satire. You can’t miss a point that completely. It’s like shooting an airball at your opponent’s basket. His handle is Male Academic and the third fucking sentence out of his metaphorical mouth is “Let me explain.”

    There’s just no way.

  3. chris61 says

    Maybe I didn’t read his comment carefully enough but I thought Male Academic had a point. How do you distinguish generic pomposity from pomposity directed exclusively at women?

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    I have never had anyone treat me as a callow, infantile know-nothing who needed remedial instruction in my own field of expertise.

    You’ve never talked with a creationist?

  5. anonion says

    @2

    I don’t get it though, isn’t it a valid possibility? These guys could just be general assholes or idiots. Although I admit that to not be nearly as likely.

    I guess the beef here is in that it proposes this possibility as a genuine option? Whereas sexism is far more likely (They are after all academics, and thus shouldn’t be complete idiots in general).

  6. anonion says

    Although West does comment that the coffee guy supposedly wrote a book, making him an ignoramus for sure?

    Although, it makes me wonder how stupid can you be after you wrote a book about this topic, would this rather insinuate the guy’s a real douchebag?

    The intricacies of this thing is a bit hard to grasp for me, genuine questions here: do point it out. I want to do right by individuals, and I’d kill myself rather than perpetuate sexism into my kids.

  7. anonion says

    @7

    Oh, are you sure?

    “This was all after I had been introduced to him as someone who had just written a book about the global commodity trade in coffee.”

    I guess it can be read either way, but it makes a lot more sense now. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m getting ill or something.

    Got anything for me on comment 5?

  8. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    chris61

    Maybe I didn’t read his comment carefully enough but I thought Male Academic had a point. How do you distinguish generic pomposity from pomposity directed exclusively at women?

    Observation and experience.

  9. anonion says

    It’s a true pity West’s books are so expensive here, there are a few I’d be interested in purchasing >.<

  10. anonion says

    @10

    We should judge individuals by their behaviour though, and not by their alleged thoughts. Experience doesn’t count for much in this way.

    Observation however does, and like I reckoned before it’s probably much harder if not nigh impossible to be a general pompous bastard than being a sexist bastard.

    If this is correct though, then I do feel that Myers is not adequately pointing out that this is where the problem lies (with that particular comment). On the surface it felt to me as well that ‘Male Academic’ had a point in that general ignorance was possible (albeit unlikely, which ‘Male Academic’ did not mention, which is bad indeed).

    But please correct me if I’m wrong.

  11. nich says

    @5:

    The thing is that after she writes this post detailing her many experiences with mansplaining, the very first comment from a self-described male academic is a lengthy explanation that she is wrong and that what’s REALLY going is either sexism (well duh) or maybe just jerk-ism (again, well duh). I’m pretty darn sure she is intelligent enough to get that yes, it is sexism, and yes these guys are being jerks. But her post was talking about a specific subset of sexism and jerk-ism called mansplaining and he provided a classic example of it in the very first comment on the article.

  12. Rey Fox says

    Well, we better get out our computerized sexism detectors. Only the most advanced equipment can possibly detect the presence of sexism. We can’t leave this task to fallible human (female) brains.

  13. anonion says

    @13

    While I do agree that appearances are against this commenter, I do feel that questions are questions, and that you should ask them if you have them. That poster could have been me, except I wouldn’t write male academic (as I don’t even remotely identify with that), and I’d be more tentative

    But I understand what you’re saying as well. I don’t feel that being ‘intelligent’ enough to decide something like that is a pathway to knowledge though. Someone may experience something as sexism, but it may not actually be sexism. It’s the problem of not being able to know someone’s thoughts and intentions, and only witnessing their actions.

    Actions aren’t sexist because a person feels they are. People feel all kinds of things. Actions are sexist when they discriminate based on sex. Although I do understand with what you’re saying that West is ‘intelligent’ enough to notice an action is sexist, since the post probably did not include any non-verbal communication etc.

    But I’m still left with the question if the comment was objectionable because it posed general idiocy as a genuine replacement for sexism, whereas general idiocy is not even remotely likely (but possible nontheless).

    I don’t know, maybe I’m just blind to some of these things. I don’t really understand why people think sex is even important outside relationships and baby-making. I mean, I understand the how in indoctrination and religion and such. But even if it were true that there’s differences between the sexes, we’d still have an ethical duty to uphold equality. And I don’t even see differences between the sexes. I see more within-sex differences than between-sex differences. And between-sex differences are smaller in cultures with more equality, pointing to that it’s all just in our heads.

    So meh, I don’t get why people would want this. What’s there to gain by this whole man-movement stuff? Isn’t the fight for equal rights for women identical to the fight for equal rights for men? Do these men-movements want more ‘rights’? I just don’t get it. It’s not like you can choose whether you have your gonads inside or outside your body.

    @14

    I’m not joking? Subjective experiences are not evidence (to other people).

  14. nich says

    Male Academic could simply have asked the question: “How do you tell garden-variety asshole-ry from mansplaining?” vice launching into a lecture in which he actually thinks he’s revealing something by saying that mansplaining is really just sexism and that golly gee we just hafta to get rid of the sexism to make this world a wonderful place to be. If any-fucking-body knows this, it’s a woman in academia, Einstein.

  15. says

    anonion:

    We should judge individuals by their behaviour though, and not by their alleged thoughts. Experience doesn’t count for much in this way.

    Right out of the gate, and you dismiss experience. What’s your rationale? When we experience the direct effects of their behavior, we dismiss that…why?
    Also, you’re not likely to find much support around here for judging people based on their thoughts. However, judging people based on their words and actions? Yup. There’s a phrase we use around here: “intent is not magic”

  16. anonion says

    @15, @16

    You guys are full of snide, which I think is perfectly okay – if I’m an idiot I’d like to know it so I can change. It’d help though if you could also provide some actual thoughts.

    And my main comment was about the why for the antagonizing views about the first comment, and whether for instance it’s because it doesn’t state that the proposed other option (general idiocy) isn’t likely at all. it has nothing to do with sex being related to detect sexism. My comment on that was that someone’s own experiences alone are not generally convincing without any arguments supporting that experience. Just saying something was something isn’t enough, it needs motivation.

  17. nich says

    Technically it was the second comment. Newest comments are on the top apparently. I was confused there for a second.

  18. anonion says

    @19

    I should have been more clear, I think what I meant here was what I said in my previous comment: Simply stating that something is something isn’t enough, you need to include motivations. Example: Saying that person X is a sexist is not okay. However, saying person X is sexist, because this person said that women are idiots. Or interrupts keynote speakers more or less based on their sex.

    I don’t really care if you feel the Moon is blue. However if you also show me that the light reflecting of it is of a certain wavelength, I’ll be on board.

    And dang, this place is like a sharkpit. But I guess that’s a good thing in that it means you have to make arguments for your claims – the way it should be. It does feel a bit unfriendly though, but I just made an argument that that’s not really important ;)

  19. barbaz says

    I have never had anyone treat me as a callow, infantile know-nothing who needed remedial instruction in my own field of expertise.

    No, have you never talked to creationists?
    What I’m saying is, some times it maybe really isn’t mansplaining and only plain old ignorance.
    But most of the times, it’s probably both.

  20. chris61 says

    @10 Okay, I can buy that. But I don’t know Paige West or any of the individuals whose behavior she was castigating. Based on my own experience, a number (although by no means all) of the pompous jerks I’ve encountered have behaved that way to both men and women.

    Maybe I’m particularly obtuse (or particularly lucky) but I can only recall two instances in my 50+ years when someone has said something to me that I considered could only be interpreted as a sexist remark.

  21. anonion says

    @24

    Perhaps a key thought we should get from West’s stories is that there’s a lot of unacceptable behaviour in this world still. Because regardless of the motivation, those people West describes are way out of line.

  22. nich says

    @anonion:

    Male Academic sez:

    I am a good scholar, but am not on the same level as Ms. West, whom I would classify as a “Top Tier” scholar. I know that many men in top tier academia are certainly boorish (pompous pricks, arrogant assholes, etc.), but in my experience (I’m male) the ones that are like this, are like this to everyone. Their assholery is meted out on men & women alike.

    Yes because top tier female scholars being treated with the same condescension as less qualified male scholars has NOTHING to do with sexism. What are the chances that said pompous male scholar would pull the same shit with a male colleague?

    @24:

    Are you a male?

  23. anonion says

    @26

    You’re saying it’s worse because of her academic accolades? Which these assholes may or may not be aware of.

    If they are, then I would definitely agree it would be sexism.

    The most frustrating thing about this discussion is that we’re having it though. I find it upsetting that we live in a world where sexism even exists. Where we even have a word to describe it. You’d think that somewhere along the lines of our thousands of years as a species that has a civilization, we’d come to a point where we’d realize equality is pretty okay.

    But then again, perhaps we did once in the past, and it got overridden by the misogyny of religion / patriarchy.

  24. says

    chris61:

    Maybe I’m particularly obtuse (or particularly lucky) but I can only recall two instances in my 50+ years when someone has said something to me that I considered could only be interpreted as a sexist remark.

    Are you familiar with microaggressions?

    According to Sue and colleagues (2007) microaggressions are common verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile or negative slights to marginalized groups. Perpetrators of microaggressions are often unaware that they engage in such interactions when they interact with minorities.

    If you’re not accustomed to bearing the brunt of microaggressions, I can see how you might miss out on the fact that many, many people deal with that shit every day. Women deal with it daily. Your statement about hearing sexist remarks tells me you’re not aware of all the sexism that goes on around you. That’s not an insult. Until I learned about feminism, sexism, and patriarchy, I was the same way. Listening to women (or other minorities in the appropriate cases) is a big way to develop an understanding of how sexism suffuses our society.

  25. says

    anonion #17

    Subjective experiences are not evidence (to other people).

    How about the accumulation of reports of subjective experiences?

    If many women report this behaviour by men [they do]
    And if fewer men report this behaviour by men [which seems to be the case]
    And if few people, men or women, report this behaviour by women [ditto]
    Then the conclusion would seem to be that there is at least some sexist component to this behaviour

  26. chris61 says

    @31

    I agree that more women report this behavior by men than men do. Is that because the men (and I personally have never heard a woman engage in this behavior although perhaps others have) who engage in this behavior engage in it more towards women than they do towards other men or is it because women are more likely to take note of and comment on such behavior than men are?

  27. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    I love how every discussion of mansplaining and related microaggressions leads to so many mansplainers to show up in the comments to condesplain how the people who were actually there could not possibly have interpreted it correctly, and cannot know what’s in the hearts of those who give out these microaggressions, so fluffy ladybrains must just be misinterpreting.

    Seriously, dudes. We didn’t need more examples.

  28. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    This behaviour is, in a different milieu, common. Women in the National Park Service are frequently ignored by visitors — both men and women — who direct their questions to men in the green and grey. I saw this happen at Yellowstone about 15 years ago. Never mind that she had a MS in ecology. Never mind that she was one of the contributors to the plan for managing the wolf population. Never mind that the young man sharing the visitor center desk with her at Tower-Roosevelt was one month into his first season at the park, they, basically, dismissed the possibility that a woman in gray and green could be a park ranger. I’ve seen it at my park and at Fossil Butte, Rocky Mountain, Dinosaur, Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, Acadia, Antietam, Gettysburg.

    So it doesn’t surprise me that this also happens in academia.

  29. nich says

    @chris61:

    I am male and was formerly in the Army. I probably saw more incidents of mansplaining in a day than you apparently saw of regular ol’ sexism in your lifetime so I’d guess you are either lucky or don’t work in a male dominated field. I’d see male privates fresh from basic trying to school female senior NCOs on the ins and outs of the M16, or trying to take over a female NCO’s class on squad tactics. Meanwhile, said privates never tried to show me how to load my weapon and I was no expert with the thing either.

    I led a reporting cell at a joint facility and I had a mansplainer on my team who thought he could sit one of my senior female team members down and mansplain a process to her that she had been doing for quite some time. Airman Mansplainer looked pretty damn shocked when he learned that having a dick didn’t add three extra rockers to his sleeves. It was actually kind of funny.

  30. ludicrous says

    “I have never had anyone treat me as a callow, infantile know-nothing who needed remedial instruction in my own field of expertise.”

    Here is the quote with two words omitted:

    I have never had anyone treat me as a know-nothing who needed remedial instruction in my own field of expertise.

    Does it lose anything beyond a gratuitous dig at the young?

    merriam-webster.com/dictionary/callow‎
    —used to describe a young person who does not have much experience and does not know how to behave the way adults behave …

  31. says

    chris61 #32

    or is it because women are more likely to take note of and comment on such behavior than men are?

    Well, I’ve not run across many men saying “That happens all the time to me, too.” And I don’t see any particular reason why women would notice it more. Plus, there have been studies on the equally boorish behaviour of interrupting people [PDF Link], and they do show that men interrupt more in general and tend to interrupt women more often than they do men.

  32. Rey Fox says

    Is that because the men (and I personally have never heard a woman engage in this behavior although perhaps others have) who engage in this behavior engage in it more towards women than they do towards other men or is it because women are more likely to take note of and comment on such behavior than men are?

    Keep stretching.

  33. anonion says

    @33

    It would also be nice if people would use words we already have, and are well-established. This whole man+another word thing is getting obnoxious. People need to get lost with their manarchy, mansplaining, man-whatever. It helps you avoid to write what you really mean.

    We don’t need more sexism in our language, we need less.

    @30

    I’ll see if any local bookstore has any! It sounds like an interesting read. Ebay sells copies at 20 euros which I can’t afford, but perhaps an old book store has some still!

  34. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    anonion: Yes, new words to describe things that fucking exist are terrible, and it’s far better to lack terms to describe our experiences because talking baout them is the real sexism.

    Sit the fuck down.

    ludicrous: Yes, it is completely valid to describe someone as acting like they lack experience and maturity. Those are real things. What an asinine derail.

  35. anonion says

    On this last note, what really irks me is that suddenly you see modified words to label women in professions… Professional titles shouldn’t include sex, as if it’s remotely important.

  36. says

    anonion 39

    It would also be nice if people would use words we already have, and are well-established.

    I agree! If a literary great like Shakespeare could manage without making new words up all the time, then surely we…

    Oh, wait…

    [Also, it’s considered polite to use people’s names when replying to them. Most of us don’t memorise the comment-number of every single comment we make.]

  37. ludicrous says

    anonion @ 39

    “We don’t need more sexism in our language, we need less.”

    And we could also do with less adultism (some call it childism) in our everyday speech.

    See ludicrous @ 36

    Why do we need to resort to comparisons to young people when we describe behavior we don’t approve of? If you are old enough you can recall when we used to do that to women. The difference is that women finally got themselves a lobby–feminism. Problem is the young don’t have a loud enough voice to create their own lobby. We grownups will have to do the lifting.

  38. anonion says

    @40

    And what words are supposedly lacking?

    Mansplaining is an inherently sexist word that doesn’t help anyone and just stigmatizes further. It leaves vague what exactly happened, except that apparently there was verbal interaction. The word itself has countless apparent meanings if you browse through articles.

    It’s important to hear in what way someone was being a sexist ass; were they assuming you can’t know shit just because you have a vagina? Were they interrupting you all the time? Were they ignoring what you said?

    It’s just going to be used to avoid the actual issue and try to just wave issues away… Points need to be addressed, not collectively dismissed…

  39. anonion says

    @ 42, Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Sorry, it’s a habit – it helps in multi-comment discussions. I’ll include names also. Internet ‘names’ tend to be terribly suited for these things though.

  40. says

    anonion #44

    Mansplaining is an inherently sexist word

    No, it is a word which describes a sexist behaviour. And you’re crossing a line, from “apparently clueless” to “actively bigoted.”

    #46

    internet ‘names’ tend to be terribly suited for these things though.

    Ctrl+C→Ctrl+V

  41. anonion says

    @47

    My point was that it is NOT descriptive, as it covers a huge range of behaviours. Also it’s implying that the person you’re talking to or about is clueless and can’t make amends. Whereas if you point out the exact behaviour, you may be positively surprised. People don’t always realize exactly what they do, so yeah, this whole mansplaining thing is mansplaining itself.

    Treat individuals as individuals.

  42. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    anonion @ #44: No, pointing out a thing that happens because of sexism, using terminology pointing out the power imbalance of that sexism, is not itself sexist. Jesus on toast. Also, women cannot be sexist towards men, that would require institutional power, which they don’t have, as evidenced by the fact that any woman who is an expert in her field will have any fucking layman noob guy try to explain her field to her. Over and over.

    chigau @ #45: Touche.

  43. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    anonion @ #49: Can you stop and think for a second about how weird it is that you, despite not knowing anything about this experience, despite the deomnstrable existence of cultural misogyny and microaggressions, are still trying to tell women they’re wrong about their own lived experiences?

    You cannot treat individuals as individuals when you’re talking about large social issues. People do not exist in total vacuums.

  44. anonion says

    Addendum to my previous message:

    @47, Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    (facepalm, it’s just so ingrained).

    @48, chigau (違う)

    Perhaps, but first I should try to actually add the names.

  45. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    You want snide?

    But how do we know it’s REALLY sexism/racism/transphobia/homophobia/ablism? Surely we can’t just take the word of the people this bigotry is regularly directed at since bigotry is not an extraordinary claim. After all, they aren’t straight, white, cisgendered, men so we can just disregard their lived experiences. What’s important here is that instead of showing solidarity against bigotry, we spend even more time trying to convince the people who actually matter that the rest of us aren’t just making it up.

    *headesk*

  46. anonion says

    @50, HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Are you claiming that being sexist requires having institutionalized power? What?

    I’ll just give you the benefit of the doubt and declare that clearly this discussion is getting too convoluted for me and is way out of my grasp.

    @52, HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    My 49 comment was on how mansplaining is ill-defined and can mean a multitude of things and how that doesn’t help with the goal of eliminating sexism.

    Therefore I am uncertain to what you are responding, sorry.

    You Pharyngula-dwellers have officially lost me, I’m clearly too stupid to understand this stuff.

    I will wait for Daz’s possible reply and then go back to my closet.

  47. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You Pharyngula-dwellers have officially lost me, I’m clearly too stupid to understand this stuff.

    No, your are clearly too busy pontificating your presuppositions to shut the fuck up and listen, and by actually listening, learn. Think about that.

  48. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    anonion: Yes, sexism requires having institutionalized power! You might be more acquainted with a less accurate definition but we prefer to use words more precisely here. There’s a damn world of difference between actual oppression, by someone who does have power over, than otherwise, and denying that rather denies reality.

    I do think you’re rather over your head, and in need of some 101-level info to be able to participate more easily. (Can someone give the link list?) I don’t think you’re stupid, you’re just dealing with a lot of stuff you aren’t familiar with, and maybe could learn from.

    That said, you might not want to explain to feminists how best to go about eliminating sexism, again, this is a topic we know a damn lot about, and you’re somewhat new to. I think your intentions are good, and that you are surprised by the reaction you got, but please, stick around, you might learn a lot. The reaction you got, by the way, is because every discussion of issues of sexism does tend to bring out the really shitty misogynists, who ask the same questions over and over, and play the same tired games. Which makes discussion difficult!

  49. anonion says

    @54, Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    And we could demonstrate them all to be horribly wrong – in detail. Humans can act stupid, but in the end, I’m sure the brain will connect A to B. There are usually whole networks of things behind things like sexism, and you can’t take them all out at once. Pointing out that you should treat others as individuals, rather than including their sex, with good arguments will probably change their stance on these interactions. Sure, they might still be sexist because women have no aptitude for math etc. etc. etc., but you can’t address everything at the same time.

    Eventually, the network will be addressed this way, and making a small change in say the interaction, will eventually also lead to questioning the rest of the network behind the sexism. And I am certain that most sexist behaviours are genuinely because individuals simply never realized what they were doing. Being the sole girl in a workgroup with boys; them making sexist jokes. These guys don’t realize what they’re doing. (Although this is a bad example I guess, since confronting them generally doesn’t help too well >.< At least not immediately). They don't act this way if there were more girls in the group though, so clearly on some level they must realize it's not okay.

    Getting thousands of people to respond however is a good thing, because if we're correct, we can demonstrate that whatever they bring to the table is false.

  50. doubtthat says

    I used to get that sort of tedious lecture all the time from older attorneys when I began practicing. That dynamic exists anytime there’s a perceived power differential. Rich idiots, to use an example from another post, tend to believe that every horseshit though that pops into their head should be published in Op-Ed form. I’ve known a lot of musicians who babble that way to initiate some weird power game, flex their knowledge.

    I think, perhaps, what makes “mansplaining” unique is that the only relevant variable is gender. I was a young, male attorney, so the older assholes thought they could talk down to me. That doesn’t happen anymore. It does continue to happen to women attorneys with decades more experience than me. There’s no achievement a woman can accomplish that will eliminate mansplaining, whereas a male can achieve a level of success in a given field that will preclude that type of disrespect.

    It’s a phenomena more subtle but no different from calling a black man “boy.”

  51. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Anonion:

    1. You are missing important concepts because you need to do some 101 level reading on institutionalized sexism.

    2. You are wrongly demanding evidence for *feelings* people have, their reactions to how they are treated. You are essentially saying, “Can you provide me evidence that you felt treated in a sexist way?” Stop it.

    3. You are, comically, enacting the exact problem that is the point of this post. I realize this shocks you, and you doubtless think of yourself as a nice, egalitarian guy. You’ll probably get extremely pissed to be told you’re not as good on this stuff as you think you are. But you’re not. Most of us haven’t always been, either. I hope you stick around to learn, as I and others did, with MUCH less sputtering and indignation and fussing about the tone.

  52. anonion says

    @58, HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    I’ll bite for this last comment of yours as well before I depart; correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that sexism is discrimination (or stereotyping) based on sex (Which is why I’d advocate calling it sex discrimination, and not sexism).

    If I think that all men are idiots, that’s sexist. I don’t see where institutionalized power comes into it.

    I do recognize that we have enshrined sexism into our governments, but that’s not really the point here, is it.

  53. says

    anonion

    The topic under discussion is not the definition of the word “mansplaining.” Everyone here is aware of what the word means. And if it is, indeed, imprecise as a description, well so is the word “blue.” If more precise definition is required on occasion, additional terms (sky-blue, navy-blue) may be added, as the author of the article linked in the OP did.”

    <End Of Fucking Stupid Derail>

    Please stick to the topic on hand.

  54. Anathema says

    @ Anonion #56:

    The sociological concept of sexism requires institutionalized power, even if the word isn’t always used that way colloquially.

    This is not a convoluted concept.

  55. robro says

    I have a professional colleague who has been researching and advocating implementing a particular content management technology with her department management for some years. No one has taken her seriously. She told me that recently one of her male colleagues did a presentation about this particular technology and now…I’m sure you can guess…management is very interested in it. Despite her expertise, including practical experience working with this technology and the issues associated with it, her male colleagues, whose knowledge of this technology probably doesn’t go beyond Wikipedia, persist in explaining to her how it works and the problems it faces. No wonder progress is. so. slow.

  56. Sili says

    Monitor note

    anonion @ 20 comments out of 64,

    Consider stepping away from the keyboard and have a nice cup of tea.

    From the rules page:

    II. You may be banned from a comment thread if:

    1. You cannot control your posting habits, and are dominating the discussion.

  57. says

    Anonion:

    Mansplaining is a description of a real phenomenon, that women are condescended to more often than men. There is a general phenomenon of academic condescension, but as I made clear, there is a particularly sexist version of it that must be recognized.

    Now shut the fuck up.

  58. Becca Stareyes says

    Anonion @ 62

    One word: support. If I am a male CEO or politician and I make a sexist comment, my peers will likely back me up and explain that I am a stand-up guy, my detractors are wrong, and that of course I’m not sexist, and everyone knows women are oversensitive and most aren’t suited for Important Things. If I am female and make a comment that can be even remotely construed as anti-men — like, say, quoting a statistic about how more rapists are male than female — I would get all the shit rained down on me. Even if I was a powerful woman. Look at Hillary Clinton. Hell, look at Sarah Palin: she’s not exactly a feminist battling the misogynistic hordes but she still gets a lot of sexist comments thrown at her*.

    (Statistically speaking, yes, if I spend a day giving a talk on planetary science, I don’t know if Doctor Smith the condensed matter theorist or experimental high energy physicist** in the audience does this to every speaker, male and female, or if he’s a big old sexist who assumes he knows more than any woman. Dr. Smith’s colleagues at the university probably do know which it is, since they see him at every talk. I also can observe that I and other women get a lot more condescension than my male colleagues, and social scientists, as mentioned up-thread, quantify this in their experiments. So even if Dr. Smith is just generally condescending to everyone, a male scientist is more likely to have it be a rare occasion than a female scientist. Just because you have noise doesn’t make it impossible to measure a signal.)

    * Note: this is not saying that Ms. Clinton or Ms. Palin are above criticism, but that a measure of their criticism wouldn’t be said about, say, Bill Clinton or Mitt Romney. Even people with horrible ideas don’t deserve sexism.

    ** No offense to these branches of the field, but I wanted a field that wasn’t at all close to planetary astronomy but still physics.

  59. anonion says

    @61, Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Ugh, I can’t help myself so I’ll respond here also:

    1. Possible, and probable, my initial comments said as much.

    2. I don’t need evidence for people’s feelings, I’ll trust them on their word. But I don’t give a damn about them when they are posed as ‘arguments’. They’re relevant for inter-personal communication and relations, but they’re not arguments for anything else. Feelings don’t necessarily reflect reality. Feelings are used as blackmail for bad ideas. Perhaps I didn’t communicate well here, my apologies.

    3. My initial comments wondered these things out loud, I feel I spelled out in detail what my thought processes were, but I never quite got a response on that initial question and introspection. I fear I will not stick around much longer, due to comments 50 and 52. In fact, I more or less feel like giving up on trying to make the world a place of equality. I can’t even get in line with other (at least implied) proponents of equality, so what the hell am I doing anyway. These things have just made my life more hard and more disappointing.

    My sex isn’t terribly important to me I might add, it always annoys me when people just make assumptions about it. But hey, it could just be a way of speaking, although you could have written person or individual or anonion. (I guess tone does matter to me in a way). But yeah, I don’t like being referred to as ‘male’, nor ‘female’ or anything else in this line for that matter. (Isn’t that also kind of the reason for these discussions?)

  60. anonion says

    Anyway, it seems I’ve sadly been informed I need to shut up. Thank you everyone for your replies, I will consider everything everyone said very carefully and think about everything deeply! I really appreciate your efforts!

  61. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh cry me and everyone a river, Anonion. “I give up cuz I just want equality and you don’t care” is the tiredest and most self-centered pity party on earth. Do better or shut up.

  62. says

    Anonion: as has been pointed out repeatedly, you are obtuse and long-winded, and your attempts at sarcasm now are pompous and annoying. I’ll take your multiple promises to retire from this thread as binding; show up again and you’ll be banned,

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    “I give up cuz I just want equality and you don’t care”

    Funny how they don’t want to give up their privileges, just have people pretend real equality is happening while grasping those privileges to their incompetent bosom, so they don’t really have to compete on a level playing field, which they know they will lose on.

  64. carlie says

    My point was that it is NOT descriptive, as it covers a huge range of behaviours.

    It covers a very specific type of behavior. That doesn’t mean that the occasional person doesn’t misuse it, but the word itself as generally understood is quite specific.

    People don’t always realize exactly what they do,

    No kidding. That’s kind of the point. They never will if it isn’t pointed out to them, will they?

  65. Anathema says

    @ anonion, #70,

    But I don’t give a damn about them when they are posed as ‘arguments’. They’re relevant for inter-personal communication and relations, but they’re not arguments for anything else.

    We’re talking about how instances where men feel the need to condescendingly lecture women on aspects of their own field of expertise. If this doesn’t count as an example of inter-personal communications and relations, then I don’t know what does.

    Feelings don’t necessarily reflect reality.Feelings are used as blackmail for bad ideas.

    Not necessarily. But the question isn’t whether feelings necessarily reflect reality, the question is whether or not they reflect reality in this particular case.

    Let’s say that all of your doubts about mansplaining are correct. Let’s pretend that men receive condescending explanations of their own field of expertise just as often as women do. Let’s assume that the men who give women these condescending explanations don’t in any way assume that women are inferior to men.

    The fact of the matter is that having mansplaining still makes women feel that their knowledge and expertise in unappreciated. Men have historically held power over women and looked down on women as their intellectual inferiors, so when men (particularly men in a male dominated field) patronizingly explain things to women in their field, women feel unwelcome. They have to worry about whether or not others are dismissing them because of their gender. That’s an added stress that men don’t have to deal with, even if men receive just as many condescending explanations as women do.

    The way women feel might not reflect the intentions of mansplainers, but it certainly reflects the affects of mansplaining because mansplaining affects how women feel. And the reality of how women feel is an important thing to consider in any discussion of sexism.

    In fact, I more or less feel like giving up on trying to make the world a place of equality. I can’t even get in line with other (at least implied) proponents of equality, so what the hell am I doing anyway. These things have just made my life more hard and more disappointing.

    I understand that conversations like these can be frustrating. I understand that understanding the full extend of institutionalized bigotry can be disappointing. I understand that trying to avoid perpetuating bigotries that are deeply engrained in our society can make your life more difficult. But I don’t understand (and will never understand) why people who claim to be proponents of equality react to these things by saying that they feel that they might as well give up at trying to create a more egalitarian world. I don’t want to create a more egalitarian world because it will make my life less difficult, but because it is the right thing to do.

    The victims of institutionalized prejudice generally don’t have the luxury of just ignoring these problems because they are disappointing or frustrating or difficult. I want to get rid of oppression because it will make life better for the oppressed, not because it will be easy or because it will make life better for me.

  66. Louis says

    Dear fuck is the legacy of historical, social and extant sexism being a complicated thing to understand again?

    Remind me to avoid muppets for a while and drink heavily…

    …oh look! No reminder needed.

    Louis

  67. says

    @69, Becca Stareyes:

    That paragraph on Dr. Smith is an excellent piece of writing. With or without the footnote. :)

    And I hope, I hope, I hope that anonion is really the same person as “Male Academic”, and is just engaged in an extended round of trolling. I don’t have a lot of faith in humanity, and the thought that there’s someone as clueless as that — let alone two of them — is more than I can handle today.

  68. lostintime says

    #50 Happiestsadist

    Also, women cannot be sexist towards men, that would require institutional power, which they don’t have, as evidenced by the fact that any woman who is an expert in her field will have any fucking layman noob guy try to explain her field to her

    I understand the frustration. Women don’t have institutional power or privilege, but saying that women cannot be sexist towards men is contentious. Maybe women can’t be sexist towards men to the same extent, but saying that it isn’t possible is ungrounded.

  69. Punky Pine says

    ludicrous: I wholeheartedly agree that we need to get adultism out of our language (and everything else for that matter). Thank you for speaking up about this; I almost never see/hear people doing that. I’m saddened but not surprised that people react with negativity when their use of oppressive and stereotype-perpetuating language is pointed out to them.

    (However, I didn’t know that callow actually specifically referred to a young person so I can see how some think it’s a derail. That being said, I still doubt anybody would care.)

  70. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    lostintime: No, women cannot be sexist towards men. Again, because of the institutional power. That is the fucking definition.

  71. Punky Pine says

    anonion and lostintime (and others I many be neglecting): You are confusing sexism with prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping. Women can be prejudiced against men, discriminatory towards men, and can certainly stereotype men. I suppose women can be sexist in the sense that they can internalize sexism and project that onto other women but that’s the extent that a woman can be sexist. (And I know some would even disagree with me about that last point being sexism). Sexism (like racism) requires institutional/structural power.

  72. says

    @lostintime #82

    You misunderstand. Inherent in the sociological definition of sexism is that it is about an existing power imbalance. Read this paragraph from Wikipedia about racism. Sexism is the same but with respect to gender.

    Some sociologists have defined racism as a system of group privilege. In Portraits of White Racism, David Wellman has defined racism as “culturally sanctioned beliefs, which, regardless of intentions involved, defend the advantages whites have because of the subordinated position of racial minorities”.[30] Sociologists Noël A. Cazenave and Darlene Alvarez Maddern define racism as “…a highly organized system of ‘race’-based group privilege that operates at every level of society and is held together by a sophisticated ideology of color/’race’ supremacy. Sellers and Shelton (2003) found that a relationship between racial discrimination and emotional distress was moderated by racial ideology and public regard beliefs. That is, racial centrality appears to promote the degree of discrimination African American young adults perceive whereas racial ideology may buffer the detrimental emotional effects of that discrimination. Racist systems include, but cannot be reduced to, racial bigotry,”.[31]

    Some sociologists have also argued, with reference to the USA and elsewhere, that forms of racism have in many instances mutated from more blatant expressions hereof into more covert kinds (albeit that blatant forms of hatred and discrimination still endure). The “newer” (more hidden and less easily detectable) forms of racism—which can be considered as embedded in social processes and structures—are more difficult to explore as well as challenge. It has been suggested that, while in many countries overt and explicit racism has become increasingly taboo, even in those who display egalitarian explicit attitudes, an implicit or aversive racism is still maintained subconsciously.

    You can see why it would be nonsense, given this definition of racism, to say for example, that black people could be racist against white people in the US.* Likewise, women can be prejudiced against men, but since they don’t have the institutional and cultural systems of power backing them up in their prejudice, it’s not sexism.

    *I imagine the situation is a little more complex in regions where whites are in the minority since there is still a global imbalance of power which intersects with the local kyriarchy.

  73. leepicton says

    A two-fer in sexism and mansplaining: At the shooting range my son’s girlfriend (smoking hot at the time) was checking the balance of her beretta, and several man-types asked if they could help the little lady with any instructions or demonstrations. Spawn just smiled; he shoots a .357 magnum competitively and went first, getting a very decent 7 out of ten shots in the smallest circle. Girlfriend took her turn and nailed 10 shots in rapid succession, shredding the little black dot in the center. The man-splainers mouths dropped open and they backed away- rapidly. Girlfriend (now my DIL) is an E-7Army sergeant with a tour in Iraq under her belt and holds sharpshooter rank (one level below sniper rank). Spawn knows not to mansplain wife.

  74. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    You might be more acquainted with a less accurate definition but we prefer to use words more precisely here.

    And yet, here you are equating “precision” and “accuracy.”

  75. ChasCPeterson says

    That is the fucking definition.

    the sociological definition

    Yeah, you have to include that second adjective. It’s not The fucking definition; it’s the one that is conventionally preferred around here.
    Now you will tell me that well duh, sexism is a sociological phenomenon so of course we should prefer the academic sociological definition.
    Except that sociology is the only academic discipline that insists that its specialized definitions must replace those in vernacular use for similar but not identical concepts.
    (well, not the only one. To be fair, there are biologists who insist that vernacular organism groups must be redefined as clades, e.g. that from now on ‘reptiles’ includes birds. That’s equally stupid, as I have recently argued elsewhere.)

  76. echidna says

    chas:

    Except that sociology is the only academic discipline that insists that its specialized definitions must replace those in vernacular use for similar but not identical concepts.

    Except that, even in the vernacular, there is an underlying idea that sexism, and racism for that matter, act to perpetuate the status quo. Sexism and racism are not simply prejudice, it’s more complex than that.

    It’s also more complex than men can be sexist towards women – the gender perpetuating sexist memes is irrelevant. For example, it occurs when men are looked down on for doing “women’s work”.

    Language is loaded, and different disciplines load the terms differently, and tend to resist new distortions, like twisting sexism to mean any gender-based act. From the engineering side, I feel that the “abortion” of a pregnancy has been twisted from it’s vernacular, and precise, meaning that applies to the premature cessation of a process (in this case a pregnancy) to apply directly to the object of a process, in this case a fetus. The term becomes emotionally loaded for the purpose of distorting public discourse.

    I can understand the biologists desire to reframe the language that we use to refer to species according to our updated knowledge. After all, we no longer classify bats as birds, which was a relatively recent historical change.

    All of these examples show how the language moves. Definitions are important, and it gets really complicated when the different segments of the community don’t move their definitions in the same direction.

    All to say that sociologists are not imposing their distorted term: they have a definition of the word that matches the vernacular, except in the case where the vernacular has been distorted by anti-feminists.

  77. vaiyt says

    What I’m saying is, some times it maybe really isn’t mansplaining and only plain old ignorance.

    And that’s why we should always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always give the benefit of the doubt. And make sure women understand that, repeatedly.

  78. vaiyt says

    Except that sociology is the only academic discipline that insists that its specialized definitions must replace those in vernacular use for similar but not identical concepts.

    Strictly following the vernacular for concepts that the majority of people want to deny and defuse is a losing proposition. It means abandoning words as soon as they enter common usage and are consequently drained of their power – which has the effect of producing an ever-changing, apparently impenetrable jargon!

  79. jxbean says

    I am an MD. In the past few weeks I have had two male doctors explain an x-ray to me, “This is your fibula and this is your tibia.” In both cases they knew that I was also a doctor. I mean, seriously dudes? Do breasts also make you unable to remember anatomy?

  80. zenlike says

    The vernacular definition of theory is ‘Some thoughts someone has about something that might be true. Or not.’

    Why does science insists that its specialized definition must replace the vernacular use?

  81. knowknot says

    # 70 Anion

    I fear I will not stick around much longer, due to comments 50 and 52. In fact, I more or less feel like giving up on trying to make the world a place of equality.

    From chapter (too many to count), in which we learn How to Identify Ourselves as Trolls.
    |
    Because it’s a little like this: Winston Churchill goes to see the Queen. Is offered tea. During, he notices a fly on the outer surface of a windowsill, and says “You know, I was previously committed to dealing with this whole war thing, but I am now completely dispirited and feel like giving up on trying to make England a place of no bombings.”

  82. carlie says

    Except that sociology is the only academic discipline that insists that its specialized definitions must replace those in vernacular use for similar but not identical concepts.

    Besides “theory”, see also “monkey”.

  83. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I, myself, have seen no effort to replace the vernacular “killer whale” with “orca” over concern of a public use of “whale” that is different from the biological.

    Why do you ask?

  84. Louis says

    I have decided that since some people have mildly disappointed me, my general principle of not going on drug fuelled killing sprees is now to be rescinded. I realise this is not the most enlightened view, but dammit, someone was mildly nasty to me on the Internet and I’m really sad about it. Therefore I shall be emigrating to the USA where I understand the streets are paved with guns and, frankly, going on something of a rampage. Given that shooting black youths armed with Skittles seems to be a well rewarded pastime I may start there. However, that may be too easy for me, I understand that there is a bit of a problem with wealthy, white, older, male bankers. I’ll ask them who I should be shooting, surely that will get me the best possible targets as these people are rich, and thus the repository of all that is wise and good.

    Louis

  85. Rey Fox says

    I, myself, have seen no effort to replace the vernacular “killer whale” with “orca” over concern of a public use of “whale” that is different from the biological.

    I think that “killer whale” is gradually being phased out of the vernacular, at least as much for the “killer” part as the “whale” part.

  86. ChasCPeterson says

    what are your thoughts about the word “theory”?

    I think it’s an excellent example of how polysemy can cause confusion and impede clear communication. It means one thing in the context of the philosophy of science, something else within the field of biology, something else to North-campus literary-studies types, and yet another thing to your basic person on the street. At best the meaning ought to be clear from context, but when people who habitually use it differently talk its use therefore requires a tedious defining-of-our-terms to facilitate understanding. But since this almost never happens it just results in people talking past each other.

    Now, of course polysemy is a natural and unavoidable property of language. My problem is not even the use of specialized terms or meanings within disciplines, it’s the turning around and sniffily insisting that the new specialized meaning is the only correct one and that people who use words like they’ve always been used are suddenly “wrong”.

    All to say that sociologists are not imposing their distorted term: they have a definition of the word that matches the vernacular

    Arguably true in the specific case of ‘sexism’ (though I think you’ll find that a lot of people implicitly use different meanings), but not for other examples (racism, privilege, minority).

    Besides “theory”, see also “monkey”.
    Also see: dinosaur, lizard, bug, beetle, fruit, vegetable…

    ?
    Not clear what you think is exemplified by this list. Whatever it is, it’s not the phenomenon I am talking about.

    I, myself, have seen no effort to replace the vernacular “killer whale” with “orca” over concern of a public use of “whale” that is different from the biological.

    uh, wut?
    You think that ‘orca’ is preferred over ‘killer whale’ because they are not ‘true whales’ or something? If so, you are mightily confused in more ways than one.
    And it has nothing to do with what I was talking about anyway.

  87. chris61 says

    @103 ChasCPeterson

    it’s the turning around and sniffily insisting that the new specialized meaning is the only correct one and that people who use words like they’ve always been used are suddenly “wrong”.”

    I love this quote. If I promise to attribute it, may I use it, please?

  88. carlie says

    Not clear what you think is exemplified by this list. Whatever it is, it’s not the phenomenon I am talking about.

    Specialized meaning in a particular academic field, another related definition in the public, a lot of people sniffing that the academic meaning is the only true one. Remember the monkey argument of just a couple of days ago?

  89. says

    @ChasCPeterson

    In this case, the sociological definition came first.If people using are now using it in a looser way in settings that are unfamiliar with its usage in sociology, gender studies, and vernacular feminist discourse then all we can do is correct them, sniffily or otherwise.

    (P.S. sorry if this is a double post)

  90. says

    nich #35

    I’d see male privates fresh from basic trying to school female senior NCOs on the ins and outs of the M16, or trying to take over a female NCO’s class on squad tactics.

    What?! And how did that work out for the private, exactly?

    I can tell you how that would have gone with most of the female NCO’s I worked with:

    “So you need to pull back the…”

    Hey yo, I’ll show you how to handle one of these bad boys. What’cho gotta do is…

    “Why the fuck are you talking, private? Sit back down and shut the fuck up. Better still, assume the front leaning rest and shut the fuck up. As I was saying, you need to pull back the…”

  91. ChasCPeterson says

    carlie re: ‘monkey, dinosaur, lizard, bug, beetle, fruit, vegetable’

    Specialized meaning in a particular academic field, another related definition in the public, a lot of people sniffing that the academic meaning is the only true one.

    wow, you’re really stretching here.
    Do you really hear people insisting that you shouldn”t call a tomato or a squash a vegetable? Or that uh-uh, a strawberry is not an official fruit?
    Are there really people who take issue with the vernacular term ‘bug’? Scientists that want to refer specifically to bug-bugs always say ‘true bugs’ or probably more often ‘hemipterans’.
    How is ‘beetle’ ever misused?
    As for attempts to enforce a cladistic meaning to words like ‘dinosaur’ and ‘monkey’, I’ve already said I thought that was stupid (in fact I do believe I did so right there in the very comment to which you are ostensibly replying).
    And I happen to know a lot of lizard biologists, and every single one of them uses the word ‘lizard’ in exactly the same way as everybody else does: for a squamate that’s not a snake or amphisbaenian. Never a sniff.

    Ibis3:

    In this case, the sociological definition came first.

    are you sure?

  92. says

    Reading the comments at the original blog entry by Paige West, I noted two things:

    1. Male Academic addressed the blog author as “Ms. West” instead of Paige West, Dr. West, or Professor West. He was immediately called out on it by Ian Douglas Rushlau. Good catch!
    2. Then another commenter, Gilga Mecha, went on an obsessive rampage, acting like a Male Academic sycophant and attacking almost anyone else who dared to disagree with his god and savior. If I were Dr. West, I would have banned that guy by now.

  93. Nick Gotts says

    Besides “theory”, see also “monkey”. – carlie@98

    And “animal”: in vernacular usage, birds are not animals.

  94. Deoridhe says

    ChasCPeterson at 108

    From your link:

    “According to Shapiro (1985) the term was most likely coined on November 18, 1965 during the “Student-Faculty Forum” at Franklin and Marshall College (p. 5). The word appears in Pauline M. Leet’s forum contribution entitled, “Women and the Undergraduate”, where she defines it by comparing it to racism:”

    Racism began as a term wherein the hierarchy of the races were implicitly critical to how it worked – i.e. the “sociological” definition of the word.

    “Shapiro also documents the first time the word appeared in print: Caroline Bird’s “On Being Born Female”, published on November 15, 1968 in Vital Speeches of the Day (p. 6). In using the phrase Bird also expanded it; both explicitly connecting it to the act of judging a person based on their sex and highlighting hierarchical imbalance by talking about how sexism has helped to keep power in the hands of those who already have it:”

    Looks like the “sociological” definition of sexism as highlighting hierarchical imbalance and as a concept similar to racism did come first… according to your source, at least.

  95. carlie says

    And “animal”: in vernacular usage, birds are not animals.

    “I’m a vegetarian, I only eat fish!”

  96. roro80 says

    C’mon folks, we all know that the difference is that academic science is real, whereas academic sexism is just a bunch of ladies getting their panties in a twist. Using science terms correctly makes Very Serious Unbiased Men feel smart and superior, whereas the real definition of sexism implies that these Very Serious Unbiased Men might have to admit to they may not be the perfect objective observers they fancy themselves to be.

  97. shimmy says

    Really not trying to be passive-aggressive despite how this might sound, but could someone please explain to me how Paige West arrived at the conclusion that her male colleagues were motivated by sexism, rather than them simply being patronising know-it-alls who would behave the same way towards men too? Can someone please highlight the crucial points that I’ve missed?

  98. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Can someone please highlight the crucial points that I’ve missed?

    It appears what you have missed is men being condescending to a woman. Your basic sexism. How they treat other men is not relevant to her situation. And harassment is always defined by the victim, not the harasser. Another important distinction you missed. Sounds like you need anti-harassment training.

  99. carlie says

    could someone please explain to me how Paige West arrived at the conclusion that her male colleagues were motivated by sexism, rather than them simply being patronising know-it-alls who would behave the same way towards men too?

    Because she’s watched them not act the same way towards men. Because the vast majority of collected data of women watching and experiencing interactions for their whole lives shows a huge bias towards acting that way towards women and not men.

    Remember, sexism isn’t a guy saying “Ha, there’s a woman! I shall be condescending to her because I don’t think she knows anything!” It’s more subconscious than that. It’s something like looking at a man flubbing a statement and assuming he must be nervous, looking at a woman flubbing a statement and assuming she doesn’t know what she’s talking about , without ever realizing that’s what you’re doing.

  100. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @shimmy

    You need to read the thread; this has been done already. Right from the word go, in fact.

    But, it depends what you mean by “sexism”. Is this down to personal prejudice against women? No. Is it due to the fact that our society teaches men that they are inherently superior to women? Yes. That and a little Dunning-Kruger syndrome on the part of the mansplainer, I reckon, but it can’t just be that. These are men who are less qualified in the field being discussed than Paige West is, and yet they feel they know better than her. You can be fairly sure, based on the accumulated anecdotal evidence of many, many female academics, that these men would not treat a male expert in the same fashion. And while one, or three, or maybe even ten anecdotes can be dismissed, it would be foolish not to take note of hundreds upon hundreds of them.

  101. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    without ever realizing that’s what you’re doing.

    Shimmy, that right there is the important part.

  102. David Marjanović says

    Just for fun, you could take the gender version of the Implicit Association Test to see if it shows any unconscious bias.

    I can’t take it. I’m much too consciously aware of the implications of the questions on the first page.

  103. shimmy says

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Are you saying that a man behaving this way towards another man may be considered a patronising know-it-all, but if he’s speaking to a woman the same way then he’s being sexist? If he was speaking to a black person like that, would it be considered racism? What if it was a woman speaking down to a man, is that considered sexist behaviour? I’m not being flippant here, nor am I trying to minimise this behaviour when it genuinely is motivated by sexist attitudes; I just don’t see the grounds for labelling those men as sexist without evidence that they hold sexist views.

  104. shimmy says

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Sorry, I meant to quote this:

    How they treat other men is not relevant to her situation. And harassment is always defined by the victim, not the harasser.

  105. shimmy says

    @Carlie

    Because she’s watched them not act the same way towards men.

    Did she write that, or was it implied? I can’t see anything to that effect in Dr. West’s post.

  106. shimmy says

    @Thumper: Token Breeder

    You can be fairly sure, based on the accumulated anecdotal evidence of many, many female academics, that these men would not treat a male expert in the same fashion. And while one, or three, or maybe even ten anecdotes can be dismissed, it would be foolish not to take note of hundreds upon hundreds of them.

    I think this is the part that I’m having trouble with. I don’t accept anecdotes as evidence. How can we be so sure that the examples of mansplaining that Dr. West provides are genuine instances of sexist behaviour, and not the result of her own confirmation bias? I’m not asserting that this is the case, or that her claims should be dismissed out of hand, but I do think it’s something to consider since none of us is immune to the influence of cognitive bias.

    It just seems that without additional context to demonstrate these individuals behaving differently towards male colleagues, there’s no justification for us to label them as sexists in this particular case.

  107. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Shimmy, women generally learn to tell the difference between “arrogant prat,” “no social skills” and “thinks he can educate the little woman.” They tend look rather different.

  108. Tethys says

    How can we be so sure that the examples of mansplaining that Dr. West provides are genuine instances of sexist behaviour, and not the result of her own confirmation bias?

    How can she be sure her hair was set on fire? Maybe the blisters are simply due to bias!

  109. Amphiox says

    How can we be so sure that the examples of mansplaining that Dr. West provides are genuine instances of sexist behaviour, and not the result of her own confirmation bias?

    By saying this you are asserting that the null hypothesis should be that a woman’s judgment should not be trusted.

    I suggest to you that the null hypothesis should be the opposite.

  110. carlie says

    I don’t accept anecdotes as evidence. How can we be so sure that the examples of mansplaining that Dr. West provides are genuine instances of sexist behaviour, and not the result of her own confirmation bias?

    What exactly would you accept as evidence?

  111. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t accept anecdotes as evidence.

    Gee, what do they call that in a court of law. Why TESTIMONY, which is EVIDENCE. Your presuppositions that women lie are showing. Hide them, before you show your MRA fuckwittery. OOPS, too late.

  112. says

    Shimmy:

    I don’t accept anecdotes as evidence.

    Why is that?
    Given the mountain of evidence that supports the existence of institutionalized sexism or sexual harassment my default assumption when a woman accuses someone of either is to believe her. Not being a court of law, I don’t have to have the same high standard of evidence to believe a woman’s claim that she was harassed. *IF* her claim is taken to court, and further evidence is brought forth that refutes her claim, then I’ll adjust my belief (in that one case).

    Here’s an anecdote for you:
    I used to work at a bar/restaurant. I had a friend there-N-who told me she was sexually harassed by our General Manager (who had just started two weeks prior to the event). Was I there? No. Did I have enough information to convict the guy in a court of law? No. Did I believe her?

    Fuck yes, I did.

    I know that sexual harassment happens. I know it happens a lot. I know that people routinely disbelieve victims of sexual harassment. As a result, my first response to her was “I’m so sorry that happened. Is there any way I can help?”
    I believed her.

    And you know what?

    When I suggested she go to our district manager with her complaint, she was initially hesitant, but after offering to bring this up to him (which she agreed to), and learning how receptive he was, she agreed to meet with him (with the caveat that I be there during the meeting).

    The result?

    The sexually harassing GM was summarily fired.

    There are times when anecdotes are sufficient evidence to believe the claims being presented. The situation with N was just such a time.
    So too are the claims of sexism in the OP.

  113. shimmy says

    #131 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Hide them, before you show your MRA fuckwittery. OOPS, too late.

    You’re free to disagree with me and explain precisely why I’m wrong, but there’s no need to be a dick about it.

  114. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You’re free to disagree with me and explain precisely why I’m wrong, but there’s no need to be a dick about it.

    There’s no need to be supercilious dick by not accepting what a woman says as EVIDENCE. Don’t like the label, don’t argue the MRA point. Accept what a woman says like you want what you say accepted. And you aren’t that polite, just another asshole.

  115. shimmy says

    #126 Esteleth
    #127 tkreacher
    #128 Tethys
    #129 Amphiox
    #130 carlie
    #132 Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Thanks to all for your responses.

    If Dr. West had written that she observed those male colleagues interacting more respectfully with men, or that they were behaving in an openly sexist manner towards her, then I’d be as appalled as everyone else here. Instead, we have to take her word for it (I’ve no reason at all to believe that she’s lying, but we’re all guilty of embellishing the truth now and again) and assume that her interpretation of the events is an accurate account of what happened and not the result of confirmation bias.

    I’m not dismissing Dr West’s claims, and nor do I deny that there are men who behave condescendingly only towards women, I just don’t see any justification for jumping to that conclusion in this particular case because Dr. West did not demonstrate it in her post. That’s my one and only objection, and it applies exclusively to this case. If it was a legal trial, the case would be instantly dismissed if it emerged that the accused was an all-round condescending moron. Why do so many of you assume that this is not a possibility and that the only explanation is sexism or male chauvinism?

    It genuinely worries me that my opinion is in opposition to what everyone here is saying, so I had to assume that I was making a fundamental mistake in my thinking. For that reason, I asked my girlfriend to read Dr. West’s post and give her opinion on it. I was careful not to express my views until she had shared hers. I asked her if she thought the men were behaving in a sexist manner. Her response was that they were clearly being condescending morons, but she saw no evidence of sexism.
    I don’t expect anyone to believe me, or to even find this a compelling argument, but it’s enough for me to think that I’m not being completely unreasonable here.

    I’m treating Dr. West’s claims with the same skepticism that I apply to everything else, so I’m not sure why I’ve been met with hostility from some people on here. Obviously, her claims don’t require the same degree of evidence that many other claims do, but if a person is making accusations that could potentially ruin the reputation/career of others, then I think the least we can do is be certain that the circumstances are precisely as described and not the result of cognitive bias. If we can’t be sure then shouldn’t we suspend our judgement until supporting evidence is produced? Isn’t that a reasonable approach?

    Why is everyone so quick to rule out the effect of cognitive bias, and instead simply trust Dr. West’s judgement (I don’t value a woman’s judgement any less than that of a man – I’m skeptical of both in equal measure) that those men were motivated by sexist attitudes? I’ve met and worked with lots of men who think they know it all and understand my job better than I do. Why do so many assume that there are more sexist assholes in the world than garden-variety assholes?

    On a final note, I took the gender version of the Implicit Association Test as suggested by carlie in #119.
    My result indicated that I hold a moderate association between female and career, and male and family, so make what you will of that, if it means anything at all.

  116. shimmy says

    #134 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    There’s no need to be supercilious dick by not accepting what a woman says as EVIDENCE.

    I don’t accept anyone’s subjective experiences as evidence, regardless of gender, but I really like how you’ve asserted that my opinion is motivated by sexism towards women simply because I hold an opinion that differs from yours. It speaks volumes about your character.

  117. shimmy says

    @132 Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Thanks for your reply. I first want to commend you on how you responded to your friends’ experience of sexual harassment. I’d like to think that I’d be as supportive if one of my friends had to go through something so awful. I hope I don’t ever have to put that to the test.

    I want to make it clear that just because I don’t accept anecdotes as evidence does not mean that I wouldn’t take claims of sexism or sexual harassment seriously. It just means that I’d withhold judgement until an investigation was carried out. I assume such an investigation occurred in your friend’s case, and that the former GM was allowed to respond to the allegations before he was proven to be a low-life scumbag?

    My objection in Dr. West’s case is that everyone here seems to be reaching for their pitchforks without being in possession of all the facts. It would be quite easy for Dr. West to ask students and other colleagues about the conduct of the males in question. She may already have done so and discovered that all of those men are indeed chauvinist pricks, but until she tells us so, there’s no justification for us to reach that conclusion.

    Dr. West provides nothing to support her claims of sexism. Should we dismiss those claims? Absolutely not. Should we wait for evidence before jumping on the hate-train and branding those men as sexists? I think so.

  118. says

    shimmy:

    My objection in Dr. West’s case is that everyone here seems to be reaching for their pitchforks without being in possession of all the facts.

    Please don’t get hyperbolic. There are no pitchforks involved. People are supporting Dr. West on in an internet blog. We are doing so bc the well documented evidence about the extent to which sexism pervades societies around the world. Women have faced and continue to face tremendous obstacles in all walks of life. Those obstacles are overwhelmingly tied to the fact that they’re women. If you’ve not read the studies, or not educated yourself, then you’re really not qualified to speak on this subject. That you’re doing so speaks to your ignorance, and is a big reason for the pushback you’re receiving.

    I assume such an investigation occurred in your friend’s case, and that the former GM was allowed to respond to the allegations before he was proven to be a low-life scumbag?

    Well of course he was talked to. But that doesn’t equate to ‘finding evidence to support allegations of sexual harassment’. So it came down to he said/she said. Actually, it was a bit more than that. I forgot that he’d also sexually harassed a bartender by slapping her butt. That too was anecdotal evidence of his douchebaggery.

    What you fail to understand is that attitudes about women are ingrained in society. You’re trying to explain this away for some reason while the rest of us are operating on the default assumption of “hey, sexism is pervasive and ingrained in cultures around the world. It is well documented with many studies and much evidence. When a woman with qualifications in a field of expertise is mansplained to, it is most likely due to culturally ingrained sexism.”

    I’m curious what you think sexism is and if you understand what we mean by institutionalized sexism. Another reason for the pushback you’re receiving is likely that many of us are so tired of having these discussions only to have someone come in showing off their ignorance, thus forcing us to have 101 Feminism level discussions. At a guess, I’d say that Nerd’s response to you (which you consider dickish) stems from that frustration.

    Also, this is a rude blog. You barged in here disputing sexism with no evidence to back up your claims.

  119. says

    Shimmy:
    http://www.paulkivel.com/issues/gender-justice/18-gender-justice/64-are-you-challenging-sexism-and-male-supremacy

    THERE HAVE BEEN MANY FORMS of patriarchal societies over the ages. Currently in the U.S., patriarchy takes the form of sexism and male supremacy. By that I mean that we currently live within the pervasive, systematic, everyday system of exploitation, marginalization, objectification and violence directed towards girls and women (sexism), and the pervasive, systematic, everyday system of benefits, power, prestige, inclusion, and privileges afforded to men (male supremacy). Of course, our ruling class and power elite also use capitalism, racism, heterosexism, and other forms of exploitation and violence to maintain their power.

    Here’s another:

    A series of ads, developed as a creative idea for UN Women by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, uses genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women. Based on searches dated 9 March, 2013 the ads expose negative sentiments ranging from stereotyping as well as outright denial of women’s rights.
    http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/10/women-should-ads

    And one more from the Everday Sexism Project. This one I think you (and many other people) should read:

    The Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day to day basis. They might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalised that you don’t even feel able to protest. Say as much or as little as you like, use your real name or a pseudonym – it’s up to you. By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss.

    http://everydaysexism.com/

    Please stop denying sexist attitudes. Like racism, sexism is prevalent, and I don’t just mean in one particular country. Sexism involves a lot more than you might think and sexist attitudes are found to varying degrees in most people.

  120. shimmy says

    #137 & 138 Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Thanks for taking the time to respond, and for providing me with reading material on this topic.

    I can see that Dr. West has received a lot of support. I’m all for that. It’s probable that you’re all correct about those men being chauvinist assholes. However, you’re still not justified in asserting that as established fact right now without knowing their actual motivations. This isn’t about me denying sexist attitudes, or trying to minimise the problem of institutionalised sexism. It’s about you and many others here forming premature conclusions about the motivations of people that you know nothing about except for that which another stranger has told you. That’s my entire objection. Nothing more.

    It’s one thing to support Dr. West because of evidence about the pervasiveness of sexism, but it’s another thing entirely to brand those men as sexist mansplainers. Once again, I’m not defending those men, or accusing Dr. West of being overly sensitive or some bullshit like that. I’m pointing out that none of us is in possession of all the facts in this particular case, and all the mountains of evidence for institutionalised sexism does not justify your guilty verdict. If you are right (and you probably are), then you will have been right for very wrong reasons.

    Thanks again for the links. I will read them now.

  121. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t accept anyone’s subjective experiences as evidence,

    So you claim. Your attitude says otherwise. You said anecdotes, not testimony (evidence). Privileged dismissal of a woman’s claims of maltreatment. You are a blindus battus as far as privilege goes.

  122. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m treating Dr. West’s claims with the same skepticism that I apply to everything else, so I’m not sure why I’ve been met with hostility from some people on here.

    Nope, your privilege dismissed her TESTIMONY. By the way, I don’t believe anything you say, and since you presented no third party evidence to back up your claims, dismiss them without evidence. Don’t like it, don’t do it. Which you do with hyperskepicism, an MRA trait.

    but it’s another thing entirely to brand those men as sexist mansplainers.

    Evidenceless assertion, dismissed without evidence. Don’t like it? Support your own claims, or shut the fuck up.

  123. ChasCPeterson says

    You’re free to disagree with me and explain precisely why I’m wrong, but there’s no need to be a dick about it.

    Being an irrational dick is just what Nerd does. You’ll never meet him on the high ground; that’s a given.

  124. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Being an irrational dick is just what Nerd does. You’ll never meet him on the high ground; that’s a given.

    Gee, Chas, high praise from you on a gender issue.

  125. says

    shimmy:

    However, you’re still not justified in asserting that as established fact right now without knowing their actual motivations.

    I think I see where you’re coming from.
    You think we’re discussing motivation.
    We’re not. You’re right when you say we can’t know the motivation of Male Academic. All we can do is judge him based on his words and actions. So when he tries to explain to Dr. West about sexism in the workplace, a topic he doesn’t have much experience with–and one she *does* have experience with–that’s mansplaining.

    Mansplaining is a portmanteau of the words “man” and “explaining” that describes the act of a man speaking to a woman with the assumption that she knows less than he does about the topic being discussed on the basis of her gender.[1] In 2010 it was named by The New York Times as one of its “Words of the Year.”[2] Mansplaining is different from other forms of condescension because mansplaining is rooted in the assumption that, in general, a man is likely to be more knowledgeable than a woman
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansplaining

    Male Academic might not intend to be sexist, but reading his comments makes it clear that he’s trying to explain away sexism in academia to Dr. West. He *doesn’t* know more about the topic than she does. It’s the other way around. Moreover, he’s suggesting that his interpretation of the events are right (that the explanation is ‘general boorishness’) and hers are wrong (that the attitudes are rooted in sexism). He’s dismissing her lived experiences as a woman dealing with sexism. That’s a whole other level of insulting.

    Also, even though the definition provided above refers to the assumptions men make about their level of knowledge on a topic as compared to a woman’s, those assumptions aren’t always conscious. When I speak of ingrained sexism, this is one of the many examples. It’s so deeply rooted that people don’t even recognize it’s sexist!

    People can be sexist without intending to be. People with the best of intentions can still be sexist or display sexist attitudes. I have lived in the southern United States most of my life and I’ve seen innumerable examples of ‘chivalry’.
    Men holding doors only for women.
    Men holding umbrellas only for women.
    Men standing up when a woman sits at a table.
    For the vast majority of people, I daresay they’re doing it out of a sense of being polite.
    However, the end result is placing women on a pedastal. It treats them like delicate, dainty, wallflowers, rather than human beings. I’m all for being polite and holding doors for people–but I do that for men *and* women. The examples I gave of “chivalry” are examples of sexism (stereotypical assumptions about women based on their gender).

    From wikipedia:

    Sexism or gender discrimination is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender.[1] Sexist attitudes may stem from traditional stereotypes of gender roles,[2][3] and may include the belief that a person of one sex is intrinsically superior to a person of the other.[4] A job applicant may face discriminatory hiring practices, or (if hired) receive unequal compensation or treatment compared to that of their opposite-sex peers.[5] Extreme sexism may foster sexual harassment, rape and other forms of sexual violence.[6]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexism

    Sexism manifests in a variety of ways. As I said above, sometimes its deliberate, but often it’s not. Some men who sexually harass women may not be motivated by sexism*, but the end result is the same. Sexism can manifest in the attitudes and beliefs that people hold about women, regardless of intent. As we cannot ever know someone’s true intent, all we can judge them on are their words and actions. If those actions support gender discrimination, sexual harassment, rape culture and sexual violence, or perpetuate sexist attitudes about traditional gender roles, those actions and words are sexist.

     

    Hope this helps. If not, I may have to work on making my point clearer in the future. I know what I want to say, but sometimes, translating that in a way that others can understand, especially when it’s a foreign POV can be difficult.

     

     

    *I’m actually not certain how one can be motivated by sexism.

  126. carlie says

    If Dr. West had written that she observed those male colleagues interacting more respectfully with men, or that they were behaving in an openly sexist manner towards her, then I’d be as appalled as everyone else here. Instead, we have to take her word for it

    Step back and look at that for a minute, though. “If [she] had written that she observed those male colleagues…” Isn’t that also “taking her word for it”? Why is it ok for you in one instance and not another?

  127. says

    First, this is the fourth time today I’ve read the word “dick” or a variant thereof on Pharyngula today. A reminder that this is a gendered slur and thus unacceptable language here.

    @shimmy:

    You are obviously not aware of the context. Please read the links below. The first is the essay which identified the concept (though the coinage was later). The second is a tumblr full of anecdotes evidence that mansplaining is a widespread phenomenon. If it sounds like a duck and looks like a duck, there’s no logical, rational reason to withhold judgement in case it might actually be a zebra impersonating a duck. That’s not scepticism, it’s just foolish.

    http://www.guernicamag.com/daily/rebecca-solnit-men-explain-things-to-me/
    http://mansplained.tumblr.com/

    By the way, saying “my girlfriend doesn’t think this is sexist” will not gain you points. I believe that’s on the MRA bingo card.

    In other mansplaining news, the Canadian federal budget was released yesterday and the Ontario premier, Kathleen Wynne is not happy because there’s a half billion dollar cut to the money that the feds give to the province for education, health care* etc. So the Finance Minister has been making the media rounds saying that Wynne just “doesn’t understand” the transfer payment system and she shouldn’t be upset at all. It’s coming across as condescending and smarmy as it sounds. You can almost hear him putting her “stupidity” down to her unfortunate ladybrainz.

    *One of the things on the chopping block as a result is a fund for the HPV vaccine.

  128. says

    Ah, the ol’ my [ wife | girlfriend ] totally agrees with me with no prompting gambit. Yeah, right. Pull the other one. I’m skeptical that you even had someone to ask.

    ’m treating Dr. West’s claims with the same skepticism that I apply to everything else, so I’m not sure why I’ve been met with hostility from some people on here.

    Sure, the same skepticism you apply to everything. How ever do you manage to make it through a normal day?

    Sorry, I’m skeptical of your skepticality.

  129. says

    dontpanic:

    Sure, the same skepticism you apply to everything. How ever do you manage to make it through a normal day?

    Sorry, I’m skeptical of your skepticality.

    I’m of the same mind.
    There are some claims that are so commonplace and mundane that I don’t need large amounts of evidence to believe them.

    If someone tells me they had eggs and toast for breakfast, it would be unreasonable for me to ask for proof of that. It is such a mundane claim that it should be easy to believe.

    If I say I got a speeding ticket on the way to work, that shouldn’t require any evidence for others to believe. People speed. All the time. Speeding tickets are commonplace.

    If I say that women face high amounts of sexual harassment in the workplace, that is a similarly mundane claim, bc it is well documented. The default assumption when a woman makes a claim of sexual harassment should be to believe her-even if only initially-because of how commonplace such harassment is. If further evidence comes to light that proves she wasn’t harassed, then you can amend your opinion of that case (though that would be insufficient reason to discount other claims of sexual harassment).

    Likewise, claims of mansplaining aren’t extraordinary claims. There’s a wealth of evidence to show that men do engage in mansplaining.

    ___

    Humans living at the time of the dinosaurs, the moon landing was faked, President Obama is not a US citizen–those are claims that require evidence (and substantial amounts of verifiable evidence at that).

  130. shimmy says

    #145 Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Men holding doors only for women.
    Men holding umbrellas only for women.
    Men standing up when a woman sits at a table.
    For the vast majority of people, I daresay they’re doing it out of a sense of being polite.
    However, the end result is placing women on a pedastal. It treats them like delicate, dainty, wallflowers, rather than human beings. I’m all for being polite and holding doors for people–but I do that for men *and* women.

    I’m completely with you on this. Men who think they’re being chivalrous and noble make me cringe. I’m glad you raised the point, because it allows me to demonstrate the objection that I’ve had from the very start.

    Imagine that you hold a door open for a stranger (as you always do). This person happens to be a woman and she takes offence to your apparent act of male chauvinism. She then goes on her blog and writes about this “sexist pig who thinks women are incapable of opening doors by themselves.” Her legion of followers then proceed to post a slurry of hateful comments directed at you.

    Is it fair for the commenters to justify their responses by pointing to all the glaring evidence of institutionalised sexism? Without them knowing anything about you, it might be reasonable to say that your behaviour was probably the result of a negative attitude towards women, but is the conclusion completely justified when there is even a slight chance that you might just be the kind of person who holds doors open for everyone?

    Granted that my analogy was slightly contrived, but I don’t think it’s unrealistic. Also, I don’t mean to trivialise the patronising behaviour that Dr. West had to endure – I just built the analogy from the point you made.

    You think we’re discussing motivation.
    We’re not. You’re right when you say we can’t know the motivation of Male Academic. All we can do is judge him based on his words and actions.

    I don’t think I referred to Male Academic in any of my comments. I was referring to the men that Dr. West writes about in her post, so the only words to judge them by are the words of Dr. West herself. We can also judge them by their actions in the same way that the commenters in my hypothetical example judged you.

    I hope you can see the point that I’m making, and acknowledge that it has nothing to do with my understanding of what sexism is or isn’t. Having said that, I have found your explanations to be informative and helpful, so thanks for that.

  131. shimmy says

    #150 dontpanic
    #151 Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    If I say that women face high amounts of sexual harassment in the workplace, that is a similarly mundane claim, bc it is well documented.

    I recognize that in one of my earlier comments I suggested that I was skeptical of Dr. West’s claim. That’s not at all what I intended to say. What I was trying convey is that I’m dubious of the justification for concluding in this particular case that those men are mansplainers. The conclusion is probably correct, but the reasoning is not.

  132. shimmy says

    #149 Ibis3, Let’s burn some bridges

    By the way, saying “my girlfriend doesn’t think this is sexist” will not gain you points. I believe that’s on the MRA bingo card.

    Yes, that’s why I then wrote:

    I don’t expect anyone to believe me, or to even find this a compelling argument, but it’s enough for me to think that I’m not being completely unreasonable here.

    Also, what’s with this MRA bullshit? Just because something I write happens to coincide with a view expressed by this MRA (I’m taking your word for it), does not mean that I endorse them. I don’t even know what the fuck MRA is or does. Is it an American thing because I’ve never encountered it until I commented on this blog?

  133. carlie says

    Just because something I write happens to coincide with a view expressed by this MRA (I’m taking your word for it), does not mean that I endorse them. I don’t even know what the fuck MRA is or does

    The reason that accusation comes out so often (and so quickly) is that sexist views tend to be all bundled together – when one gets dismantled, they all fall down, so seeing one is quite often evidence that others are there too. The people who reflexively defend a man being condescending to a woman as “well maybe he’s always that way” are often the ones who also say “maybe there aren’t any women in engineering because they don’t like math” and “she probably shouldn’t have been there wearing that” and “maybe she’s lying, we can’t really be sure because it’s his word against hers”.

  134. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I hope you can see the point that I’m making, and acknowledge that it has nothing to do with my understanding of what sexism is or isn’t.

    Your ignorance can be cured. Google sexual harassment, and you will find out policies, terms, and training. Which is what you should have done in the first place, since you believe nobody.

    Just because something I write happens to coincide with a view expressed by this MRA (I’m taking your word for it), does not mean that I endorse them.

    Sorry fool, If you quack their spiel, we can only presume you walk their walk. You haven’t shown you aren’t one. In fact, you keep quacking their foolery and script # 5.

  135. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just because something I write happens to coincide with a view expressed by this MRA (I’m taking your word for it), does not mean that I endorse them.

    You’re the one who doesn’t believe what anybody else says. Explain WHY we should take your word like the above for anything other than self-serving bullshit.

    Then, if you understand your problem, ratchet down the skepticism to a more reasonable level. Like claims are tentatively accepted unless there is evidence to the contrary. Which in your case, that evidence is available–your writings.

  136. shimmy says

    #157 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You sound an awful lot like a fanatical and odious little troll, and if you quack their spiel, I can only presume you walk their walk. You haven’t shown you aren’t one. But don’t despair, your ignorance can be cured. Google ‘confirmation bias’, ‘groupthink’ and ‘outgroup homogeneity’, and you will find an explanation of why it is you become instantly hostile and vitriolic towards anyone who dares to disagree with you.

  137. says

    shimmy #152

    Imagine that you hold a door open for a stranger (as you always do). This person happens to be a woman and she takes offence to your apparent act of male chauvinism.

    That exact thing happened to me, many years ago. The answer is to shrug it off. People sometimes mistake other people’s intentions. And women—even feminist women!!!!eleventy-one11!—are people. It’s not the end of the world, and the sad fact is that she would probably have been right more often than not… and even though she was wrong on that occasion, she still raised awareness of the problem.

  138. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    I’m pointing out that none of us is in possession of all the facts in this particular case, and all the mountains of evidence for institutionalised sexism does not justify your guilty verdict. If you are right (and you probably are), then you will have been right for very wrong reasons.

    One thing that you’re missing is that Dr. West has not accused any individual of sexism. Nowhere in her post does she identify the men (beyond some generic descriptions), so for the vast majority of us there is no way to identify who she is talking about. I suppose if you travel in her circles you might be able to identify some of the people, but in that case you can better judge for yourself if they’re sexist. The point of her post is to illustrate a particular type of sexist behavior, so even if some of the individual examples could be explained away as general boorishness* and not sexism, that doesn’t negate her overall point.

    But hey, some woman on the internet called out the behavior of some anonymous dudes, so we must come to the dudes’ defense. Where have I heard that before? And why do I have a sudden craving for a cup of coffee in an elevator?

    *Though if your defense is “Hey, I’m not sexist, I’m an asshole to everyone,” you’re probably doing something wrong.**

    **Also, what’s with the assumption in this thread that being sexist and being an overall boor are mutually exclusive?

  139. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    A lot of that sort of thing is body language. Someone in front of me sees me coming and holds door after they opened it to go through themselves, fine. Especially if I have full hands.

    Someone who rushes in front of me when I am not laden, opens the door with a flourish and attempts to bow me through, unless they are a friend where this is a running joke we both find funny, well I would find it patronizing.

    I am not a delicate flower, I am a human being and I do not need someone trying to tell me that my experiences are not real.

  140. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    and you will find an explanation of why it is you become instantly hostile and vitriolic towards anyone who dares to disagree with you

    I don’t care that you disagree, but how you disagree. Don’t like being treated the way you treat people?

    Easy, treat people the way you want to be treated, trust their word if you want your word trusted, etc. Not a hard concept, but you fail to walk that walk, as you expect to have your word taken seriously, but dismiss with “pure anecdote” the testimony of others. Change your outlook, you are the one with the problem.

  141. shimmy says

    #158 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Like claims are tentatively accepted unless there is evidence to the contrary.

    Oh, I agree completely.

    Now, how will you find the contradictory evidence (if any exists) in Dr. West’s case? Will you or anyone here go looking for it, instead of forming your own immutable conclusions and then appointing yourselves as judge, jury and executioner? Of course you won’t, because that would be the rational thing to do, and you don’t want to risk any kind of challenge to your pre-existing assumptions and biases. Besides, it’s much easier and more fulfilling to make baseless assertions, label strangers as sexist mansplainers, and then post abusive comments on the Internet, am I right? So, if claims are tentatively accepted (and I agree they should be), does that mean that all the hate and abusive that’s been directed towards those ‘mansplainers’ is tentative too?
    If contrary evidence is found, will everyone retract their comments and adjust their attitudes accordingly?

    When I raised my objection about people forming premature conclusions, you interpreted that as a direct attack on the rights of women. Why is that? I’m not dismissing Dr. West’s claims, or denying that sexism is a really huge problem. I’m questioning the faulty reasoning which led you to your conclusion, and I did so by highlighting the fact that no one stopped to consider that there just might be evidence to the contrary (even if it’s incredibly unlikely). Why do you keep sidestepping my argument and making bullshit accusations about MRA?

  142. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Now, how will you find the contradictory evidence (if any exists) in Dr. West’s case?

    Who the fuck cares. Her story makes sense, unlike your hyperskeptical bullshit. It’s a story that is heard frequently if you ever shut up and really listen to women, learning how microagressions in society keep them from being fully equal.

    I’m questioning the faulty reasoning which led you to your conclusion

    And that evidence YOU presented is where? I don’t consider your hyperskepticism, and stupid questions evidence. They are obfuscation tactics used by the MRA crowd.

  143. ledasmom says

    Honestly, the door thing?
    Undoubtedly women have at times mistaken the actions of universal door-holders for directed sexism. Whoopie. I doubt me much that anyone’s life has been ruined on account of being glared at while in possession of a doorknob.
    However, in the case originally given, it would be rather a question of someone being mistaken for a sexist condescending ass rather than a general condescending ass, would it not, and is that not also behavior that should be roundly discouraged? If one is a condescending ass, one cannot complain overmuch that one’s less-sexist offensiveness got lumped in with the great avalanche of more-sexist offensiveness. Not being an ass would take care of that risk, would it not?
    That is to say, if one’s experience and observations shows that one, as a woman, is condescended to at much higher rates than one’s male colleagues, and the difference is such that any given male condescender is more likely than not to be the sort who would not behave so to a man, one is not obliged to give the particular condescending ass the benefit of the doubt and assume him to be an equal-opportunity condescending ass. One is not obliged to be so finicking as to insist upon the removal of even the tiniest possibility of the ass in question being an ass regardless of whom he is talking to.
    In other words: The door thing? Red herring of the reddest and most odoriferous sort. Someone holding a door is at least doing something potentially useful regardless of the motive; I do not comprehend the utility of the pretentious condescending ass.

  144. ledasmom says

    And now I am laughing my own ass off at Daz’ remarkably succinct explanation of what I was trying to say at obnoxious length:

    If a man’s only defence, on being accused of mansplaining, is “Oh, but I’m a boor to men too,” then, frankly, I see no real downside to him having been called out.

  145. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Daz 170,

    No worries–as someone told me the other day, we must be sharing a brain.

    It’s just that I don’t have enough of a brain to share….

  146. says

    I appreciated your longer explanation, ledasmom, it might be helpful for those who have trouble grasping things.

    @shimmy

    MRAs (self-described Mens’ Rights Activists) are to sexists what White Supremacists are to racists.

    Of course you won’t, because that would be the rational thing to do, and you don’t want to risk any kind of challenge to your pre-existing assumptions and biases.

    This makes me suspect that you are not discussing in good faith. People have told you that they’ve come to their conclusions due to evidence.

    Is it a pre-existing assumption and bias to conclude that if you have a cough and runny nose you’ve probably got a cold and not some obscure disease? Would you rush to the doctor and have them run thousands of dollars worth of tests just to make sure? If someone says “hey man, I hope that cold of yours clears up soon” would you scold them for their bias and demand that they not attribute your symptoms to a cold virus before they come up with evidence? Somehow I doubt it.

  147. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Carlie #119

    I am absurdly proud of this :)

    Your data suggest little or no association between Female and Male with CAREER and FAMILY.

    Test Result % of Test Takers
    Strong association between male and career 40%
    Moderate association between male and career 15%
    Slight association between male and career 12%
    Little or no gender association with career or family 17%
    Slight association between female and career 6%
    Moderate association between female and career 5%
    Strong association between female and career 5%

  148. shimmy says

    Ok, I’m still having trouble getting my head around all of this, so I’d really appreciate if someone could explain to me where I’m going wrong. To try and make sense of this, I’ve come up with the following syllogism (of sorts) that describes the situation as I understand it:

    1. Behaviour X is caused by traits A or B, or a combination thereof.
    2. There is considerable evidence to indicate that trait A is the primary cause of behaviour X.
    3. Therefore, trait A must be the cause of behaviour X.

    Where X is condescension towards women, A is male chauvinism, and B is general boorishness.
    (The following details apply to Dr. West’s case and the resulting fallout.)

    I think many of you are under the impression that I’m asserting trait B as the explanation for the behaviour. That’s not what I’m suggesting at all. I’m simply questioning the validity of the conclusion because it excludes B as a possibility (no matter how remote it might be).

    Most of the comments I’ve seen on here and Dr. West’s webpage seem to affirm premise 2 and the conclusion, but I don’t see how premise 2 necessarily justifies the conclusion, so something clearly isn’t right. Is B considered to be the same as A when it leads to behaviour X? Is that what I’m missing? If so, can someone explain why that’s the case? Also, if you think that I’ve made a mistake in my syllogism, then please let me know, because I’d really like to get a handle on this. Thanks.

  149. says

    shimmy

    Okay. You are absolutely right, in that we cannot, for sure, say that any one particular boorish person is only boorish toward women. There is though, as you say, good evidence showng that women experience such boorishness more often than men.

    Even if we are wrong in any one particular instance, calling such behaviour out raises others’ awareness of mansplaining, whilst causing no harm beyond a slightly bruised ego, to the person being called out. (In fact—see several comments above—there is no real downside.)

  150. shimmy says

    I think I’ve got it. I expect that many of you would insert another premise before the conclusion that deals with personal testimony from the victim of behaviour X, right?
    As you may have noticed, I have a mental block about treating testimony as evidence, particularly in cases that require subjective interpretation of events, so that’s what I need to work on next.

  151. says

    shimmy:
    I have to admit, I’m waffling back and forth between agreeing with Nerd and disagreeing. While I did make the mistake of thinking you were referring to Male Academic, my larger points still hold. He was engaging in mansplaining just as much as the men in the examples Dr. West gave.
    I clearly am failing to get my point across and there’s only so much banging my head against a brick wall that I can do.
    I’m out.

  152. Nick Gotts says

    I have a mental block about treating testimony as evidence – shimmy

    You mean like every known legal system does? Yes, you do have a problem. It’s often known as “hyper-scepticism”: suffering from the delusion that rejecting a reasonable conclusion because it is not logically watertight is eveidence of rationality.

  153. says

    Boorishness in general, and mansplaining in particular, are social interactions. While you might get some more formal evidence, for the most part testimony of people’s personal experience, and how it affected, them is the best evidence you’re likely to get. And while testimony regarding others’ motives may be a little fuzzy, accounts of the testifier’s personal reactions should be, I suggest, accepted as completely reliable.

  154. ChasCPeterson says

    “hyper-scepticism”: suffering from the delusion that rejecting a reasonable conclusion because it is not logically watertight is eveidence of rationality.

    where “reasonable conclusion” is of course defined as = ‘Nick’s conclusion’.

    Look, call personal testimony ‘evidence’ (or evein ‘eveidence’) if you want to, but as with all evidence, it doesn’t exist as some sort of unsullied Platonic ideal. Evidence, all evidence, even data, has to be evaluated.
    People lie all the time. Honest people are mistaken or deluded all the time. Memory–yep, even yours–is shitty. These are all facts that need to be taken into account.

  155. Rey Fox says

    If a man’s only defence, on being accused of mansplaining, is “Oh, but I’m a boor to men too,” then, frankly, I see no real downside to him having been called out.

    “I may be a condescending jerk, but I’m no SEXIST!”

    I dunno, maybe this means sexism is becoming as taboo as it should be.

  156. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Shimmy #136:

    I don’t accept anyone’s subjective experiences as evidence,

    Shimmy #164:

    #158 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls
    Like claims are tentatively accepted unless there is evidence to the contrary.

    Oh, I agree completely.

    Gee, flat out caught contradicting yourself. Everything you say will be subject to hyperskepticism, including your reasoning for what you think are reasonable conclusions, but appear to be sexist rationalizations based on women lie, men can’t be hurt by their lies. You see, if you listen to women, and don’t dismiss them, their stories add up to real evidence damning privileged jerks who don’t understand how privileged they are, and how boorish/sexist their behavior is.
    And, of course, your inane and inadequate attempts to teach how to be the proper skeptic (I’ve been one for 30 years, and your efforts are not what skepticism is about, so they are properly ignored), and opine from “authority” are dismissed.

  157. shimmy says

    There’s a big difference between tentatively accepting a claim for the purpose of conducting an investigation (that’s what grown-ups do when they want to gather evidence), and just blindly accepting a person’s subjective claim as evidence. There’s no contradiction in what I wrote. It’s just down to your lack of comprehension. However, even if I was contradicting myself, is that the best argument you have, you pathetic little troll? Seriously, try harder.

    For instance, you could start by quoting precisely what I wrote that justifies this hilarious brain fart of yours:

    …reasoning for what you think are reasonable conclusions, but appear to be sexist rationalizations based on women lie, men can’t be hurt by their lies.

    And this:

    And, of course, your inane and inadequate attempts to teach how to be the proper skeptic…

    Oh, you mean my attempts to understand and resolve a source of confusion by asking questions? You’re absolutely right; it was foolish of me. I instead should have taken a leaf from the Nerd book of skepticism, and demanded that everyone listen to me and agree with every fucking word I say. If that didn’t succeed, I would then have followed it up with a series of baseless assertions and general douchebag dishonesty.

    I do enjoy reading your feverish and rambling diatribes. They remind me very much of the writing style of Holocaust deniers and 9/11 Truthers. It’s most entertaining. Please keep them coming.
    I hope they provide a suitably cathartic outlet for the impotent rage that you are experiencing.

    As a note to anyone else reading this that thinks I’m a rude and condescending asshole, this is just how I deal with trolls (regardless of gender). Still not cool? Don’t worry, I’ll be showing myself the door very shortly.
    For everyone who was kind enough to respond and set me straight on a few points, thanks. Your feedback was very helpful.

  158. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There’s a big difference between tentatively accepting a claim for the purpose of conducting an investigation (that’s what grown-ups do when they want to gather evidence), and just blindly accepting a person’s subjective claim as evidence.

    Sorry fool, we don’t blindly accept a woman’s testimony. We compare her testimony to what other women say in similar situations. If they jibe, a conclusion is made.
    You dismiss a single woman out of hand. That is sexism.

  159. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Seriously, try harder.

    No, you try harder, by presenting third party evidence to back up your evidencless claims. Which are dismissed without evidence pathetic misogynist troll.

  160. says

    Shimmy, we get a helluva lot of people appear here who are obviously trying to pick holes in order to support their already-made conclusions, and doing so by means of endlessly Just Asking Questions. If you have honestly been just asking questions, please forgive some of us for being somewhat jaded on that front.

  161. ledasmom says

    shimmy @ 190:

    I do enjoy reading your feverish and rambling diatribes.

    I admit to occasionally feverish; I deny rambling.

  162. vaiyt says

    Oh, you mean my attempts to understand and resolve a source of confusion by asking questions?

    You can go Just Ask Questions in hell for all that I care. Smarmy little shit. You’re not asking questions, because you’re not interested in answers. You’re just casting doubt, trying to excuse mansplaining by inertia. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

  163. Jacob Schmidt says

    There’s a big difference between tentatively accepting a claim for the purpose of conducting an investigation (that’s what grown-ups do when they want to gather evidence), and just blindly accepting a person’s subjective claim as evidence.

    So you reject someone’s testimony as evidence, yet are willing to conduct an investigation on it. You, the self styled sceptic, are willing to conduct an investigation without any preliminary evidence?

  164. shimmy says

    #197 Jacob Schmidt

    So you reject someone’s testimony as evidence, yet are willing to conduct an investigation on it. You, the self styled sceptic, are willing to conduct an investigation without any preliminary evidence?

    Yes! If you called your insurance company and told them that your house had burned down, would they say “Sorry, I don’t believe you”? No. Would they say “Oh, that’s awful. Have a shit ton of money”? No. Would they take some details and then conduct an investigation before paying out? Yes. Does that mean that they don’t believe your claim? No.

    Similarly, if you called the police to report a burglary, would they dismiss your claim? Would they convict someone on the strength of your testimony alone (without, for example, determining if the suspect has an alibi)? In both cases, I think not. They’d take your claim seriously and then conduct an investigation because they know that sometimes people lie or make mistakes. Isn’t that how things work in a fair society?

    What you and everyone else seem to be advocating is that it’s perfectly ok (necessary, in fact) to convict a person on nothing more than the claims of another. Your actions demonstrate this because you’ve already reached the conclusion of “mansplainer” simply because Dr. West says so, and nothing will change your mind (since no one is likely to conduct an investigation). You probably think that it doesn’t matter because the identity of the mansplainers is unknown and you’ve succeeded in raising awareness about an important issue. However, I think it does matter because it reinforces negative attitudes and poor reasoning that, in this particular case, are completely without justification. Once more – because many of you are failing to grasp the point – your conclusion is probably correct, but your reasoning is not. Please see #180. I’m not denying the extent or severity of sexism towards women. It’s a really big fucking problem that I think we should all be trying to stamp out, but we should not do so by means of this guilty-until-proven-innocent attitude that many of you hold.

    Most of you have decided that I’m a misogynist despite the fact that nothing I’ve said supports this view, and everything I’ve said applies equally to men. As far as I can tell, your reasoning is simply “this asshole dares to disagree with me, therefore he must be a misogynist.” If that’s the decision you’ve made, then there’s probably nothing more I can say that will convince you otherwise.

  165. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @shimmy #182

    I think I’ve got it. I expect that many of you would insert another premise before the conclusion that deals with personal testimony from the victim of behaviour X, right?

    Nope; we’re following exactly the same syllogism as you. I think we’d include the personal testimony of the victim in the category “considerable evidence to indicate that trait A is the primary cause of behaviour X”. Y’know, exactly as they do in legal systems all over the world. And that’s what’s particularly puzzling about this: you are demanding higher standards of evidence than would even be demanded in a court room, despite the fact that we are not in a court room and there are absolutely no consequences for the accused mansplainers.

  166. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Jacob

    So you reject someone’s testimony as evidence, yet are willing to conduct an investigation on it.

    To be fair, that’s not actually illogical. Saying that someone’s testimony isn’t evidence is not the same as saying it is not reason to investigate. In the same way, correllation is not causation, but a correllation is reason to look into the matter and see if you can identify causation. The real issue with shimmy’s logic is that they don’t think that an overwhelming amount testimony is evidence in the first place.

  167. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What you and everyone else seem to be advocating is that it’s perfectly ok (necessary, in fact) to convict a person on nothing more than the claims of another.

    This isn’t a court of law Shimmy, making your whole argument nothing but hot air. Why can’t you just admit nobody is going to listen to your presuppositional idiocy, and just go away. We’ve heard your inane arguments before from MRA apologists. You said nothing new. You present no new arguments, you just follow their script.

    As far as I can tell, your reasoning is simply “this asshole dares to disagree with me, therefore he must be a misogynist.

    Nope, its not that you disagree, it’s how and why you disagree. Your whole argument is a repeat of that we have heard many times before. It effectively dismisses the testimony of a woman.

  168. shimmy says

    #192

    No, you try harder, by presenting third party evidence to back up your evidencless claims.

    Read the first two paragraphs of #198 again.

    #201

    Your whole argument is a repeat of that we have heard many times before. It effectively dismisses the testimony of a woman.

    Nope, it dismisses your ridiculous notion that the (inherently subjective) claim of one person (REGARDLESS OF GENDER, YOU DISHONEST SHITBAG) is by itself sufficient – in this, or any other case of condescending behaviour towards the opposite sex – to justify your conclusion.

    What you and others are advocating is an attitude of guilty until proven innocent, and even outside the courtroom, that’s fucking absurd. It’s the mindset of vigilantes, witch trials and vindictive assholes.


    Since you keep distorting my arguments to fit your assumptions of misogyny, I can only assume that you are pathologically incapable of honest and rational discussion, therefore I suggest you go FUCK YOURSELF.

  169. Jacob Schmidt says

    What you and everyone else seem to be advocating is that it’s perfectly ok (necessary, in fact) to convict a person on nothing more than the claims of another.

    Shimmy

    There has been precisely zero conviction here. Like, literally none.

    Similarly, if you called the police to report a burglary, would they dismiss your claim? Would they convict someone on the strength of your testimony alone (without, for example, determining if the suspect has an alibi)? In both cases, I think not. They’d take your claim seriously and then conduct an investigation because they know that sometimes people lie or make mistakes. Isn’t that how things work in a fair society?Shimmy

    No one is talking about handing over large sums of money or convicting on testimony alone. You seem to be confusing evidence with proof. Why, I have no idea.

    To be fair, that’s not actually illogical. Saying that someone’s testimony isn’t evidence is not the same as saying it is not reason to investigate.Thumper

    With nothing to differentiate this case from any other hypothetical case (as the testimony supposedly isn’t evidence), they shouldn’t be investigating. If there’s no reason to think that something might be going wrong (any reason to think that would constitute evidence), there’s no reason to investigate.

  170. ledasmom says

    shimmy @ 202:

    What you and others are advocating is an attitude of guilty until proven innocent, and even outside the courtroom, that’s fucking absurd. It’s the mindset of vigilantes, witch trials and vindictive assholes.

    You will be so kind as to inform me who it is that is being hanged or tortured for the crime of being a condescending ass.
    Same:

    I suggest you go FUCK YOURSELF

    Rest assured that, should I take your suggestion, I shall do so in a possibly feverish but never rambling manner.

  171. shimmy says

    You will be so kind as to inform me who it is that is being hanged or tortured for the crime of being a condescending ass.

    No one. I was pointing out examples that employ the same faulty reasoning.

    I suggest you go FUCK YOURSELF

    Rest assured that, should I take your suggestion, I shall do so in a possibly feverish but never rambling manner.

    How very droll of you, but unless you are Nerd’s conjoined twin or alter ego, that comment was not directed at you.

  172. says

    @shimmy

    You’re not disagreeing, you are trolling. You are not conversing in good faith (you have not educated yourself by reading the links provided in this thread have you?), and you are deliberately refusing to listen to the answers people have patiently given you, continuing to JAQ off instead. Go away now.

  173. Louis says

    Vaiyt, #189,

    Can we stop calling this kind of thing “hyperskepticism”? It’s denialism.

    THIS!!! A BAJILLION TIMES THIS!!!!!!

    Sorry but my agreement with this is very effusive and complete.

    Louis

  174. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No one. I was pointing out examples that employ the same faulty reasoning.

    Compared to your faulty reasoning that eyewitness testimony from a woman needs corroborating evidence for you to believe it. Never mind the corroborating evidence if you shut the fuck up and actually listen to women is there. Nothing novel in the claims, unlike your claims.

  175. ledasmom says

    shimmy:

    How very droll of you, but unless you are Nerd’s conjoined twin or alter ego, that comment was not directed at you.

    Your pardon for not having noticed that you were apparently having an entirely private conversation in these comments.
    Modern English as most commonly used in the part of the U.S. in which I reside has this flaw: “you” is used for both singular and plural. In your next-to-last paragraph of your comment #202, you refer to “you and others”, leaving “you” in your final paragraph ambiguous as to whether it refers to the previous “you”, “you and others” or, indeed, some more general “you”, perhaps the personification of the idealized Pharyngula commenter. Now, it might be said that your use of the form “go fuck yourself”, utilizing the singular form “yourself”, indicates that the “you” in question is necessarily the singular “you” of the previous paragraph. However, your tendency to move back and forth between the singular and the plural without warning, e.g. your #198, does not indicate the sort of attention to grammatical forms that requires me to interpret you strictly. In addition, I am not and never have been droll. I permit “sesquipedalian”.
    More to the point: You require that a person evaluate an occurrence without regard to their previous experience; that it be considered without regard to history, as if all the participants were created new for the purpose. That is ridiculous.It is the same ridiculousness that claims there is nothing, oh nothing, nothing whatsoever racist about associating our current president with, say, watermelon. After all, it could be a compliment. Maybe the person in question loves watermelons! Maybe they associate everybody with watermelons! Could be perfectly innocent!
    You also do not understand that we are not talking about the single report of a single incident, but a summary of cumulative experience. Also, nobody is actually being convicted. It is not actually a crime to be an ass. It is not necessary to have a trial in order to officially refer to someone as an ass.
    @198:

    Your actions demonstrate this because you’ve already reached the conclusion of “mansplainer” simply because Dr. West says so

    Dr. West can’t win, can she? Can’t get taken seriously on New Guinea culture, can’t get taken seriously on not being taken seriously on New Guinea culture.

  176. A Masked Avenger says

    #199, Thumper:

    And that’s what’s particularly puzzling about this: you are demanding higher standards of evidence than would even be demanded in a court room, despite the fact that we are not in a court room and there are absolutely no consequences for the accused mansplainers.

    It’s worse than that: the “accused” are completely anonymous. So people are more concerned about protecting the reputation of anonymous people (a contradiction in terms), more than they are about believing Paige West. They’d rather call Paige West a liar, than call an anonymous male a sexist. Because anonymous males deserve the presumption of innocence, doncha know.

  177. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What you and others are advocating is an attitude of guilty until proven innocent, and even outside the courtroom, that’s fucking absurd. It’s the mindset of vigilantes, witch trials and vindictive assholes.

    Whereas your attitude is that of rape apologists. Gee, your sexism is showing again.
    Skepticism is always tempered by experience. If I know the Patterson Bigfoot tape is a fraud, I don’t have to watch it anew every time somebody mentions it, I can dismiss it out of hand. Likewise, if I known there are misogynist jerks who demean women, and have heard multiple women’s testimony to that effect, I can believe the word of any woman who describes the same treatment, as it is in this case. You haven’t present one iota of evidence otherwise.