I was having an on line spat recently with a person who was upset that another blogger whose post we were commenting on had used the word “policemen” and she had gone so far as to call him sexist for doing so. I at first assumed she was joking, merely feigning outrage because she was losing her argument with him, but sadly this was not the case.
After chiming in with what I thought was funny fake outrage over her being outraged, I was told in all seriousness that my being a woman does not give me the automatic right to talk about “gender-specific patriarchal language and societal constructs “ because I didn’t understand their meaning. Right. Well someone excelled in their Women’s Study courses I see.
The notion that my gender doesn’t give me instant credibility on what constitutes supposedly oppressive language towards females is preposterous. I’m a woman (not a womon) and don’t feel at all threatened by words that end in “man” or “men”. That doesn’t mean I speak for all women (not womyn though), but it is my opinion and thus it should count as a helpful reference for those who wonder about stuff like this.
Don’t wade too deep in to the gender proxy wars though as you’re apt to go bat shit crazy. Because you see it’s never about wanting to inform, or improve on things and certainly not to debate ideas, but to shut down and destroy. As the blogger referenced above, I’m NOT ALLOWED to talk about gender specific patriarchal blah, blah, blah because I just don’t understand such complex subject matter. In reality she just didn’t like what I had to say and therefore my opinion was not valid.
On U.S. college campuses this concept of speech suppression has reached insane levels of absurdity. Speakers whose opinions activists disagree with are commonly disinvited from speaking engagements and for the ones that aren’t, safe spaces are provided for students who might become traumatized by hearing opinions they don’t like. It’s bizarre for me even be typing these words but this is really happening.
At Oberlin College recently, feminist scholar Christina Hoff Sommers was invited to speak about her brand of feminism, which doesn’t follow the typical Liberal script and happens to stress empowerment over victimhood. When she arrived she was met with furious denunciations by far left student activists who branded her as a “rape denier” and held “fuck anti feminists” signs during her speech. Safe spaces were also provided of course for those who may have felt threatened by her words.
Just what is so threatening about a petit, middle aged woman speaking about issues of empowerment? Nothing of course but since she doesn’t hold the “correct” opinions on such things she must be invalidated as a rape denier, devalued with offensive signs and shut down with constant heckling during her speech.”
It’s not just Oberlin that’s taken up residence in the Land of Insanity either, schools across the nation have gone all out bonkers, banning everything and anything that may be the slightest bit offensive. This video sums things up nicely…
It would be funny if not for the serious fact that these kids will one day be in charge, and what then? We cannot survive as a species if an entire generation of young people believes that opposing ideas are bad, that hearing something offensive makes you unsafe and that things that might trigger uncomfortable feelings must be blocked out. What a putrid and stagnant society ours would be if this were the norm; different ways of thinking demonized, speech suppressed, constant bickering, no learning, no growth, no evolvement.
Speaking as a woman, (yes I have that right) I think this idea of suppressed speech is especially damaging for females. Physically we are the weaker sex, there is just no way getting around that, but that’s ok. Our strength comes more from the spirit and intellect with our ability to connect emotionally, to nurture and encourage. It doesn’t mean we don’t or can’t excel in areas outside of this but the truth is we are different from men, which gives us power.
We give that power up though by allowing ourselves to be offended by mere words, or to fall for the lie that our culture is steeped in oppressive patriarchy with the deck permanently stacked against us. This poisonous thinking creates a victimhood mentality that encourages blaming others for life’s challenges, while remaining stuck and perpetually outraged. It’s extremely disempowering because it transfers accountability for happiness from yourself to some unknown “evil” source.
As Steve Maraboli, author of the book Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience says, “The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.”
If you’re going to be mad about something, at least go after real outrages like the horrible oppression experienced daily by women around the world, or the disastrous way we are failing those in need of mental health services here in the U.S.
And when dealing with disagreeable? Try listening and accepting that maybe they too share the same good intentions as you but have a different path on how to get there. And if it’s obvious they don’t? So what, just as they have the right to speak and possibly offend, you have the right to not listen and walk away.
Life really is too short to be upset about everything Fight what you must, but don’t let your cause overtake your humanity.