Thread: The "F" word
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Old January 28th, 2004, 09:10 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 8
No, prnsescheryl, you are not the only one. It can feel so terrible and alienating when you're trying to share a perspective - particulary a emotional perspective - and you encounter resistence like you've obviously experienced. It can feel like you're on the moon, or floating around in empty space, or separated from all other humans by an impermeable bubble. But you're not alone. Many people understand and share your positions.

Personally, I don't call myself a feminist because there are so many different kinds of feminism that I don't find the term particularly useful. I do, however, share most of the standard feminist views (e.g. many T.V. commericals and movies are sexist; there are double-standards which hurt everyone, etc. etc.). And I have, I think, noticed something which I find interesting and which you may find useful - specifically, if something is sexist (or racist, or homophobic) and person A sees this, and points it out to person B, who has not seen detected the sexism (or racism, or homophobia) on his own, there's a tendency on the part of person B to think "If this thing really is sexist, like person A says, and if I didn't see that on my own, then I must be a sexist too. But I don't want to be a sexist. I'm a good person. So this thing must not be sexist and person A must be over-reacting. Now I must convince person A that she is over-reacting so I can feel good about myself again."

I suspect that most of the time, when someone intentionally or unintentionally reduces you to tears, this is what's going on. If I'm right, it might help to adopt a conversational strategy designed to head this off at the pass - saying something like "Gee. When I see this commercial, it can't help striking me as sexist. Here's why... What do you think?" By speaking in terms of your own reactions, you aren't claiming that the commercial really is sexist (although you're not claiming that it isn't, either) and by asking for the other person's perspective, you're clearing valuing the person's opinion, thereby validating that person as a human being and helping him or her to be more secure and less defensive.

Of course this might not work, and you didn't really ask for advice anyway, and you might already be doing exactly what I recommended, so I hope I didn't overstep the bounds of propriety. I just wanted you to know that you're not alone and give you something that might help at least a little. Take it for what it's worth. And remember, just because someone has made you cry, it doesn't mean you've lost the argument.
Atman is offline   Reply With Quote