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Saturday Links

Like Swimming After Eating A Burrito: Dating Advice From The Wrong Side from In Our Words. There’s a lot of great, insightful stuff in here, but this is my favorite part of the piece:

“Are they a jerk to other people? They’re probably also a jerk to you.

I used to be one of those people who got off on having a boyfriend/girlfriend/ziefriend who was too cool to be nice to other people, like my friends, family members or pet. He had a leather jacket, perfectly tussled hair and was in a band. Who cared if they showed up to my family’s Friday night dinner or knocked on the door before he walked in. They were like Jess from Gilmore Girls or Sam from Clarissa Explains It All. They were too cool to bother with knocking or polite things like that. Did Sid Vicious knock? No, because knocking affirms capitalistic patriarchy. When you knock, the man can hear you.

But it turns out those little things like knowing your mother’s first name or not being an asshole to every single person you too interact with is helpful, because you don’t want everyone you know to vehemently disapprove of your relationship. It feels like you’re dating Charlie Sheen or the Unabomber. And most likely, if they’re not that nice to everyone else around you, they’re not that nice to you. It’s not that you’re special or different from everyone else. It’s that they hate the world, and that someday will include you.”

We often point out here that men’s emotions get treated as logic and truth, but women’s emotions get treated as proof that they are stupid and wrong. Please enjoy this piece by Jen Dziura at The Gloss, When Men Are Too Emotional To Have A Rational Argument, which separates this very bad and sexist cultural trope from the herd and wrestles it down like the weak gazelle of bullshit that it is. It’s very US-politics-media centered, but it’s using the recent election cycle as a case study in this:

“What I want to talk about is how emotional outbursts typically more associated with men (shouting, expressing anger openly) are given a pass in public discourse in a way that emotional outbursts typically more associated with women (crying, “getting upset”) are stigmatized.

I wish to dispel the notion that women are “more emotional.” I don’t think we are. I think that the emotions women stereotypically express are what men call “emotions,” and the emotions that men typically express are somehow considered by men to be something else.

This is incorrect. Anger? EMOTION. Hate? EMOTION. Resorting to violence? EMOTIONAL OUTBURST. An irrational need to be correct when all the evidence is against you? Pretty sure that’s an emotion. Resorting to shouting really loudly when you don’t like the other person’s point of view? That’s called “being too emotional to engage in a rational discussion.”

Not only do I think men are at least as emotional as women, I think that these stereotypically male emotions are more damaging to rational dialogue than are stereotypically female emotions. A hurt, crying person can still listen, think, and speak. A shouting, angry person? That person is crapping all over meaningful discourse.

Read more: http://thegloss.com/career/bullish-life-men-are-too-emotional-to-have-a-rational-argument-994/#ixzz2CVC4yByZ

Happy weekend, world! I’ve got friends in town and am making the most of time with awesome people and Chicago food tourism. Hope you are all doing awesome stuff.

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36 comments
  1. ona555 said:

    “A hurt, crying person can still listen, think, and speak. A shouting, angry person? That person is crapping all over meaningful discourse.”

    +5
    Is there such a thing as plus fiving something? ‘Cause I’m doing it!

    • Emmers said:

      I actually can’t speak when I’m crying. I basically have two settings: “okay” and “complete wreck,” where I can’t talk and can barely breathe. It makes talking about difficult things really frustrating, but what generally works is for me to get the crying out of my system early, and *then* have the discussion.

    • Frank said:

      Anger is not an emotion. Anger is energy, action, and strength. It exists on a higher plane than emotion.

      And if you don’t agree with me, I’ll punch you and you cry and we’ll see who comes out the winner. Because winning is all there really is.

      • JenniferP said:

        I’m letting this one through before I ban you, because sometimes it’s good for people to see pure, unadulterated WTF in action.

        • Myrin said:

          “pure, unadulterated WTF in action” indeed. I don’t even know what to say to this. *shudder*

  2. Regarding the second one, I do not think I will be telling an angry man shouting about sluts that he’s too emotional to talk to. I would be afraid.

    In my life, fortunately, that shouty angry guy would be a stranger. I don’t know if I would be afraid to speak up if it were someone in my family or friends circle. Probably I would feel uneasy and not say anything (don’t rock the boat!) but maybe change the subject.

    I am completely lucky to be in environments with generally mature people. I don’t know how to help people out of their toxic environments except to say “it is possible to be surrounded by people who don’t disparage you or shout at each other” and hope it’s true for people with different privileges and economic conditions.

  3. Stay Excellent said:

    First link is solid stuff, though it weirds me out how the image of the counterculture rebel gets mixed up with jerk behaviour. Not bothering with all the petite bourgeois manners and a bantering style of conversation only flip over into DTMF if the person in question refuses to adapt and dose that attitude to suit the social situation.

    • JenniferP said:

      Sid Vicious was a total asshole. I find that OFTEN people who are total assholes try to explain how they aren’t assholes, they are just misunderstood rebels and manners are oppressing them. Your point that they need to be able to judge the audience in the situation is valid, but if someone explains to you that they can’t remember your mom’s name because names are bourgeois, you’re probably not dealing with someone who is changing the world in positive ways.

    • twomoogles said:

      I think it was framed that way in part because of the cultural vocabulary about these things. Dating a ‘bad boy’ in movies, literature and so on generally means you’re dating someone who wears the leather jacket and flips off authority. These characters are often also giant jerks, but it’s brushed aside as being part of ‘who they are’.

      There are definitely other kinds of jerks out there. The Nice Guy jerk, for one. But usually (in my experience anyway) people don’t date *that* jerk out of the idea that It’s Different When It’s Me, Other People Just Don’t Understand Him. Usually it’s a more insidious jerkitude.

      • AnthroK8 said:

        Oh, I dunno. I’ve seen the “that’s just how he is” about misogynist dude-bros, hard core union reps with an arbitrary disciplinary hand, eccentric professors of history, and monks/nuns. Point is, people who say “I am eschewing manners/courtesy/respect behavior in their context because it is bowing to [insert your flavor of The Man here"] are making a power play for themselves and not for the good of society.

        And people who are committed to that person- colleagues, friends, family, partners included- will excuse that with “that’s just how zie is.” And in that sort of situation, the excuse makers sometimes definitely have “but I am special, so it doesn’t apply to me.”

        The worst boyfriend of all my friend’s boyfriends in college was your clean cut frat boy who was an ass to anyone who didn’t meet his criteria of acceptably care-free college student. His GF, my friend, said “well he’s nice to me.” Until he wasn’t any more. And boy, he wasn’t nice.

  4. I’ve pretty consistently noticed that people (yep, almost always men) who brag about how rational they are are highly likely to be pretty fucking incredibly emotional.

    Incidentally my older sister came around for weekly family dinner a couple of nights ago and within ten minutes got into an argument with my father about proposed bus routes. He insisted he didn’t know what a “route” was (as in, does it mean the bus line itself or the path it takes), despite the fact that my sister was repeatedly telling him that she did because she’s been bussing her whole life. (She’s about to turn 35.) None of me/my siblings drive. The idea of my father on public transport is ludicrous. But no, route still might not mean what she’s absolutely certain it does!

    And how do I know about this argument? Because I could hear it from my bedroom, at the other end of the hall.

    • Bunny said:

      AAAAUUUGH at the “I’m going to derail your entire argument by dissecting this one word/phrase over and over and over again”. Much as I love him, my other half tends to do this, as well. And instead of accepting your definition of the word – as you used it for your argument at that time – in order to move forward, somehow the next twenty minutes become an increasingly heated debate about the meaning of a single word.

      To be fair, he’s aware it’s a problem and we’ve been working on it, but it is so hard to remember to stop doing shitty-argument-habit-thing when you’re emotional, which people generally are when arguing anyway.

      • Muse142 said:

        True story: One of the worst arguments I had with a particular ex of mine was about the definition of the word “pigment”. He just *would not accept* that I knew what it was, and kept trying to propose alternate definitions which I immediately rebuffed, with evidence.

        Which I knew all about, because I was finishing my chemistry minor, and we’d gone over it thoroughly in class not a few weeks prior.

        I still lol my face off thinking about it.

        • Acmac said:

          Well, of course I know nothing of the specifics of your argument, but many words do vary in meaning depending on context, and I believe “pigment” is one of them? What it means from a scientific perspective is not quite what it means from an artistic perspective, I think, but both meanings are equally valid.

          Though I agree that endless quibbling/refusal to accept another’s authority can be frustrating and counter-productive in debate, so can an insistence that one’s own discipline’s definition of a multi-faceted word is superior to all others.

          A great example is the fruit vs. vegetable debate. From a botanical perspective, things like zucchini and peppers are technically fruits, but from a culinary/nutritional standpoint (i.e., disciplines that group items according to flavor/usage/chemical make-up), it’s perfectly valid to classify those things as vegetables.

          Hope I’m not coming across as disrespectful or argumentative; again, I obviously have no knowledge or opinion on the specifics of your argument with ex. :)

          • JenniferP said:

            U R PEDANTIC

          • “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is never putting it in a fruit salad.” :P

        • acmac said:

          I’m sorry, Muse142 and the Captain, for my inappropriate comment above; I’d delete it if I could figure out how. Exiting the thread now. Cheers!

          • JenniferP said:

            The thing to take away is: When someone is expressing themselves about something important to them, and you pick on one word use thing and dig into it (while ignoring the overall point they are making) as if using that word “wrong” means they are wrong about everything and you get to ignore everything they say, you’re basically being Walter White yelling “WHAT’S YOUR PLAN, SKYLER.” This is a common tactic that men use to talk over women, and if the woman gets flustered then she’s being “too sensitive” and oops, loses the argument AGAIN.

            So if you want to correct someone’s language or get into a big discussion about what certain words mean in context, make sure that’s also what your conversation partner is also wanting to talk about and you should be fine.

          • Lilly said:

            [This is actually a reply to the Captain's comment but we reached the Nested Comment Ultimate Limit...]

            The thing to take away is: When someone is expressing themselves about something important to them, and you pick on one word use thing and dig into it (while ignoring the overall point they are making) as if using that word “wrong” means they are wrong about everything and you get to ignore everything they say, you’re basically being Walter White yelling “WHAT’S YOUR PLAN, SKYLER.” This is a common tactic that men use to talk over women, and if the woman gets flustered then she’s being “too sensitive” and oops, loses the argument AGAIN.

            I really, really wish this site had been around a few years ago when I was dealing with my Abusive Ex (well, he was not an Ex then.) Because he would use this tactic ALL THE TIME and it made me incredibly upset, and then he would give me the “you’re too emotional for this discussion to continue” line.

            He would either pick on a word I used and say it was “vulgar” or “lower class” (I grew up in a working class family and he used that against me constantly even though I feel proud of my background), or most usually he would pick on or mock my accent.

            So I would try to explain why he had upset or hurt me or whatever, and he would start talking over me and mocking the way I said a word, or repeating a word I used over and over in a mocking way.

            Ugh.

            It would really make me upset, and I just realized exactly why.

    • popesuburban said:

      Oh my, yes. This is the price of admission for a friendship I have had since high school. The guy is fun, he is smart about some things, and he is not a traditionalist, but he is guilty as sin of this behavior sometimes. And it’s like, look, if you were really Dr. Neuroscience (This being one of his Super Rational Dude areas), you would know and have squared yourself with the fact that most of our decisions, as humans, are made first and rationalized/explained/realized second. That’s brains. That’s not being perfect. That’s okay, at least as long as you can and do check yourself before you’re about to be awful to someone who maybe doesn’t deserve some awful. And sometimes, being mad/sad/disgusted as all get-out is okay and completely appropriate too, and it doesn’t have to mean your argument sucks. I mean, I get mad as hell about bigotry and cruelty, but that doesn’t mean the problem is with me, or that I’m just not seeing the Super Rational Reasons why it’s okay/not worth being negative about. It’s not an either/or between emotional involvement and thinking (though it can be, and that’s part of being human too), and people who insist otherwise in order to get some fucking merit badge drive me up the wall.

      • He’s taught it to my younger brother too, come to think of it. With him it doesn’t feel as gendered as it does with my father (though my father is pretty awful to said younger brother as well), it’s just his mindset where he’s very important and very busy. He practically had a melt down at dinner because he told my parents to give him a deadline to write his contribution for the family Christmas letter and my father said Friday, which he decided was a “fake” deadline because they couldn’t possibly need that much time to collect all contributions, put them together, edit them, find pictures, print the letters, stuff envelopes, etc. But my strongest memory of it with him is actually the time we challenged him to go I think one week without using the phrase “That’s irrelevant”, and then he started debating the rules and used it two minutes in. He is… not the sibling I’m closest to, though I used to try to be just because of how much our father picked on him.

        • popesuburban said:

          Oh my, that sounds rough for everyone involved. Jedi hugs to you, and hope for your brother that he can find a way to break out of your dad’s weird mental tyranny.

          • He has moved out now and doesn’t come home very often – in comparison my oldest sister moved out too and bought her own place but she lives much closer and visits every week. So that’s good for him, but he’s still had 20+ years of it which I’m not sure how he’s dealing with.

    • I’ve pretty consistently noticed that people (yep, almost always men) who brag about how rational they are are highly likely to be pretty fucking incredibly emotional.

      Yes indeedy!

      When people (yes, usually dudes) say “I’m so rational and unemotional” all they really mean is “I am such an un-self-aware narcissistic asshole that I can’t recognize that my emotions are obviously emotions, and am laboring under the ridiculous delusion that they are scientific facts or something.”

      These people are both mean and stupid. DO NOT DATE THEM. I say this as someone who dated one of them, so sadly I know what I am talking about.

      • Xenophile said:

        “When people (yes, usually dudes) say “I’m so rational and unemotional” all they really mean is “I am such an un-self-aware narcissistic asshole that I can’t recognize that my emotions are obviously emotions, and am laboring under the ridiculous delusion that they are scientific facts or something.”

        This one time, I had plans to meet someone at a park to watch fireworks. We were coming from different directions, so we arrived at different entrances. He said, “Come meet me at [intersection],” and I said, “No, that intersection is super crowded and we won’t see each other. Let’s meet at the ice cream truck by the north bridge, halfway between us.” He said, “You’re being totally irrational. There is more than one bridge. There is only one intersection. My location is more logical than yours.” He went on like that for a while until I said, “You’re in a bad mood. I’ll come meet you but I don’t want to argue anymore,” and hung up. When I found him, he said, “What the hell? Why are you causing all this drama? I thought you were better than that.” *facepalm*

  5. bluecandles said:

    In regards to the second point, I’ve found myself having to hold back my rageosaurus at work when overhearing discussions on how women like to hold grudges about the tiniest things and use the information at a later date whereas poor, simple men never remember anything past a week, ergo implying that women manipulate and browbeat men about unimportant things, ergo implying that women are emotional and irrational and play mind games and men aren’t & don’t.

    Even one of the younger women was laughing & saying she was like that. Anything I tried to say to the contrary was politely ignored because it didn’t fit in to the deeply held stereotypes. Actually, this always seems to happen when it comes to anything about men v women in my office – I’ve mostly given up trying to discuss, but sometimes it still gets me all emotional and passionate, poor sensitive girl that I am.

    • popesuburban said:

      My rageosaurus would like to join with yours and SMASH PATRIARCHY RRRRR! People who try to pretend you’re a unicorn or tell you you’re just in denial (or immature, or trying to make a point like that’s a bad thing) about your own experience as a multifaceted human being are the worst. And I really don’t know how I would handle someone who is bragging or laughing about a genuine, known habit of being shitty to other people and engaging in emotional manipulation. That is all kind of touchy for me anyway because of how I grew up, but it’s like, dude, if you know you manipulate people and make them feel bad so you “win,” you need to be stopping that (Therapy, self-help books, meditation, martial arts, feminist punk and tea, whatever) instead of wallowing in it, because you are hurting other people and that is not cool.

      • Zweisatz said:

        feminist punk and tea

        Here, have a kitten!

        • popesuburban said:

          Yay, kitten! Though I borrowed that example from someone’s excellent comment on the original rageosaurus post, so to be fair, perhaps more kittens are in order, for that cool person?

    • Amy Pond said:

      My mother always used to tell me and my sister to watch how a man you’re dating treated his mother and any sisters, because that’s how he’ll treat you when the initial gloss wears off your relationship. She was right, too.

      • Leela said:

        And how that person treats people in service jobs- waitstaff, taxi driver, secretaries, etc. If you are sweet as blueberry pie to me and nasty to the receptionist, forget it. I’m going to find someone who doesn’t think it’s ok to snarl at the bartender because his drink didn’t arrive within thirty seconds.

      • It actually kind of depends on the mother and sister, sometimes. But the general takeaway of “he’s not going to stay nice if he’s ONLY nice to you” is good.

  6. wondering said:

    RE: speaking to angry men at work.
    When a certain male co-worker is angry, especially when he is shouting or accusing me of doing terrible things (which by any objective measure is not the case), I have taken to saying “This discussion is no longer productive. Let’s talk about this later when you have calmed down.” And then I hang up the phone, turn off instant messaging, or leave the room. It is the most tactful way I know of to say. “Fuck you, asshole”. When I’m safely away from him (physically or virtually) sometimes I cry. The main thing for me is to hold it together enough for him to never know he’s pushing me that far – I’m pretty sure he would get off on it if he knew.

    The rest of the time I am trying to be unrelentingly cheerful when I speak with him. If I fail to react to his bullying, I’m hoping he will stop.

    (And yeah, why this guy still has a job while behaving this way to “everyone” I just do not know. I can only assume that the labour laws in Germany (it’s a multinational) are different than the ones in North America.)

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