a thoughtful web.
Good ideas and conversation. No ads, no tracking.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by aidrocsid
aidrocsid  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why Rape Is Sincerely Hilarious

    I don't know that it's possible to focus excessively on one aspect of one's identity except to another person. For example, yes I will focus on gender because it's what colors my experience first and foremost. People look at me and see, for all intents and purposes, woman first. My queerness and Jewishness are secondary and not evident on the surface. There's no physical indicator of that. The other primary physical indicator that you get about my identity is white... It's not excessive to remind you that I am a woman because that is what colors my experience first and foremost.

I don't think it's excessive for anyone to relate their experiences. I'm surprised that you say being a woman colors your experience first and foremost, though. Gender is definitely one of the first things people notice when they look at someone, but there's a lot more to human experience than gender differences. I'd expect, for example, that the life experiences of people of different economic classes or in countries with significantly different standards of living would be much more stark than the differences between genders within those situations.

And as far as the whole teach men not to rape thing, that's an insanely complex issue. We've got massively conflicting standards of consent, the increasingly publicly visible issue of false accusation, the dear colleague letter's kangaroo courts, and, as highlighted by the video that started this thread, a general sense that men can't be raped and certainly not by women.

arguewithatree  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

On the run right now so I only have another probing question at this time. What's surprising about gender being my predominant lens? That might be the key to the disconnect in the whole gender discussion

aidrocsid  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It just seems like such a minor factor in life.

Like I've been homeless and inevitably I eventually looked it. People looked at me like I was a piece of human garbage. Shave, haircut, some clean clothes, and a few weeks in your own place to shake the sense of desperation? Completely different. The same people who'd damn near spit on you when you asked them for a quarter will give you a cigar and a decent tip if you drive them to the airport. Hell, I once got kicked out of a bagel shop at 5am in subzero temperatures that I ended up being the baker at a few years later working for the same woman who'd kicked me out. Total sweetheart once I stopped being some faceless asshole who couldn't be bothered to freeze to death quietly.

I'm not trying to downplay sexism against women or anything, I think it's a problem, but I don't see such a huge difference in gender that it ought to be the primary identifying feature of an individual. There are too many other crazy things in life. Like I'd say the differences between quality of life in any given area tend to be much more along lines of economic class than gender.

Then again I'm probably not the best example of identification with my assigned gender to begin with. I don't exactly conform to the general standards of masculinity. If I think about other men it seems like a lot of them see their masculinity as pretty defining, though, so maybe gender is a bigger identifier for most people than I'd considered. Men may also just be less encouraged to talk about and think about themselves in relation to their gender.

Personally, though, I find that it's my life experiences that have colored my perception of things. Some of those as a man particularly but most of them just as a human being.

arguewithatree  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

And that's where you're dead wrong. That's where you're missing everything in your arguments. That dismay and indignance you felt when you realized the "disposability of man"? That's all consuming for women. Every single second of our lives has to be composed and put together for consumption. And that's how it always has been. Have you seen stats on how early women noticed men looking at them sexual? Some as young as 9, averaging around 12. Society has made its point loud and clear : women are only valuable as sex objects and the highest thing she can aim to be is sexually appealing to men.

It's shitty that you were homeless. Honestly, the rates of poverty in the US make me so sick to think about. Empty homes outnumber homeless people in the US. that's disgusting. But the fact that you can discount gender as "minor" is so telling. That is the definition of privilege.

More cogent thoughts coming. But I had a visceral reaction to your words so I had to respond

aidrocsid  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's not like there's not a comparable situation happening with men, though. We just don't talk about it as a gendered issue if we talk about it at all. I think i was probably like 8 or 9 the first time someone called me a faggot, maybe younger. The first time I had a bully, by which I mean someone who physically assaulted me on a regular basis, I was 5 or 6. I don't think the difference is gendered experiences, I think it's the way we're encouraged to process them.

I've heard the message that women are only valuable as sex objects since I was a kid. And I don't mean in print media and social pressure, I mean the concept that women are reduced to sex objects. Never once, until I was well into my twenties, did I ever come across the idea that men were in any way discriminated against, let alone disposable. I'd been in and out of a relationship where I was being abused for years and it hadn't even occurred to me that it was abuse. I just thought of it as sometimes she's a little out of control. No matter how cruel the things she said and did were it wasn't something I processed as abuse because it's not something I was trained to see as abuse. Now it's obvious, totally clear cut, but at the time, as a man, I hadn't been trained to see it that way.

Maybe that's part of it?

I also have to say that although your gender may be all consuming for you, it's certainly not for all women. I've talked to women about this who say it's not a defining factor in their lives. It certainly seems that it's more often a defining factor in the lives of women than in the lives of men, but again, women are encouraged to think about this stuff whereas men are not.

graphictruth  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This too, is privilege. It's the dark, fun-house side of privilege - but only if you are blissfully unaware of the benefits can you be blissfully unaware of the potential price. Not just in this case. It's really an observation of a situation that continues to exist because for whatever reason, it's invisible to you. I sometimes think the word, "privilege" gets in the way. It's more of a set of assumptions that affect you in ways you are unaware of until it's far too late.