And now, a word from Rachel East, AKA, ReginaRey:
I consider myself part of a community; part of a group who comes together every day to help other people through difficult, frustrating and confusing times in their lives. I love the opportunity to share my insights and opinions with a letter writer in need, and I equally love the dialogue that springs from more controversial letters. I can say without a doubt that many of the intellectual debates I’ve participated in have helped open my mind about relationships and life.
I’m glad that there are enough varied opinions to keep things interesting on this site. I’m happy that 99% of the time, the debates we have are respectful and mature and are written in such a way that we aren’t made to feel ashamed of our opinions. That’s more than can be said for the majority of sites with an active commenting community.
But there’s something that’s eating at me; that doesn’t sit well with me and that I don’t want to stay silent about: I’m tired of people playing “The Gender Card.”
When someone reads a comment I’ve written, my first hope is that they’ll recognize the thought I put into it. I constantly try to be level-headed, open-minded, and considerate of what I think is in the LW’s best interest. I don’t automatically choose to side with a female LW specifically because I, too, am female. I don’t read a letter hoping to get the chance to bash on men. When I write a comment, I do so as one PERSON (myself) to another PERSON (the LW) – gender aside.
It seems that no matter how well-constructed, accurate or helpful a comment is, it can still be torn down on the faulty premise of “gender.” As in, “You wouldn’t think that if the roles were reversed,” or “If this LW weren’t female, you wouldn’t say that.”
Well, not only does that kind of comment take aim at my gender, it’s also an insult to my intelligence.
Saying “You wouldn’t think that if the roles were reversed” is a cop out. It’s a cheap way to make an opinion when you can’t think of anything more salient to contribute. I already know how I’d feel if the roles were reversed – nine times out of ten, it would be the same.
It’s insulting that some people assume that women can’t give an opinion without it containing too much “womanly bias.” I think we’re well aware that being female means we might sometimes be more empathetic to the plight of other females. Personally, I don’t believe that
I’m never biased or inclined to let my opinions be swayed by my gender, BUT; as an intelligent human being, I’m also able to transcend gender. I have the ability to forget about what we are (male or female) and consider what we do (how we act, what we said). After all, actions speak louder than gender ever could, don’t you think?
I’m smart enough to form an opinion without letting gender sway me, and I think the Dear Wendy community of women is that smart, too. If you care to challenge my opinion, then please, have at it. Question my judgment, my credibility, and my intellect. But please, don’t take the easy way out by stereotyping me and my gender. For myself, and for all of us, I reserve the right to form an opinion without my gender being brought into it. Because at the end of the day, I don’t think you’re an asshole because I’m a woman. I think you’re an asshole because you acted like one.
*ReginaRey (Real Name: Rachel East) is a full-time Events & Promotions Coordinator and a part-time freelance writer focusing on dating and relationships. One day, after tackling grad school, she plans to be your Marriage and Family Therapist…because the only thing better than talking about relationships all day is getting paid to talk about relationships all day. You can check out her weekly column here and follow her on Twitter @MissRachelEast.
Mel January 19, 2012, 1:06 pm
I think it’s sad this needs to be said out loud. Or have a separate column, for that matter.
lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 1:10 pm
You tell ’em sista!
or brother 😉
Beth January 19, 2012, 1:12 pm
You go girl!!! 😉
Sarah January 19, 2012, 1:20 pm
Couldn’t agree more. One of the things I love about this site is that its a safe environment to tell stories, offer advice, and just generally be immersed in a community that wants to address real problems. Clinging on to old stereotypes about women only makes a problem harder to solve as well as just generally making the community more isolated. If instead of addressing the point of an issue we question the character of the person bringing the point because of their gender, how are we any better than the sexist trolls at askmen?
lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 1:30 pm
Image of those fuzzy headed troll dolls with thigh highs and heels on.
Remember those? That’s what I think of every time people say trolls.
Sarah January 19, 2012, 2:31 pm
When I was a kid I had this much larger than normal (like the size of a regular stuffed animal) troll doll that my mom got for me in garage sale in my bedroom and holy christ did it scare the hell out of me. Something about those cold dead eyes and little pudgy gnome paws that were big enough to choke me with. I didn’t dare throw it away because it I was afraid it would get all offended Talking Tiny style and it would come back inside with like a blow torch or something. I think eventually my dog ripped the stuffing out and that justified me burying it in the backyard. Now I’m picturing it with thigh highs and stilettos, waiting for me on the corner somewhere, pointing at me with its tiny plastic hand, whispering in a harsh ragged voice, “That’s right, Sarah, I’m back. Want a good time, Sarah? I’ll let you rip the STUFFING out of me.”
lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 2:41 pm
I don’t know about Talking Tiny. Did you ever see Brave Little Toaster though? I will never let my daughter see that. It ruined me for years. I was convinced everything was alive and had feelings.
Sarah January 19, 2012, 2:55 pm
Sorry, *Talking Tina was what I meant to write. Did you ever see that Twilight Zone episode? HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP ITS SCARY.
OMG BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER. I loved that movie but the vacuum haunted my nightmares. To this day I’m a little afraid of vacuums….
rangerchic January 19, 2012, 3:18 pm
About 9-10 yrs ago my young daughter had a doll that had the creepiest laugh ever and Medusa like hair. After boxing up some toys to put away said doll got put in the box and into the attic. And from then on, about once a week that doll would laugh in the middle of the night! The doll was set to OFF (though I failed to take out the batteries). It was sooo creepy when the doll would just go off like that. Finally sold it in a garage sell (he,he,he unsuspecting parents!) LOL 🙂
Me January 19, 2012, 4:26 pm
My sister had a furby (remember those little devils?), and it was driving me NUTS so i put it in this rarely-used coat closet. About 6 months later, i was rummaging in the coat closet (having completely forgotten about it), moved a jacket aside, and the little f-er’s eyes popped open as it yelled “FURBYYY!!!”
scarred for life.
AKchic January 19, 2012, 7:03 pm
We had 5 Furbies because my mom and sister loved ’em when they first came out. I taught them some very naughty things.
caitie_didn't January 19, 2012, 3:39 pm
Did you ever see Bratz dolls at the toy store? My little sister had this life-sized Bratz doll head. Just the head. It was meant to be for doing hair and makeup, I think but sweet jesus was that thing creepy as shit. Especially because it was life sized, when you walked past it in the dark and it was the same size and shape as a real human head.
GatorGirl January 19, 2012, 3:42 pm
I loved the Brave Little Toaster! I mean Toy Story has practically the same premise.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 1:22 pm
I love this – I don’t think you’re an asshole because I’m a woman. I think you’re an asshole because you acted like one.
So true. It’s degrading when someone tells me I feel a certain way because i’m a woman. They might as well just throw up the white flag, because if that is the best response someone has, they have already lost.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 1:31 pm
Wendy – I have a totally unrelated idea. Can we have like a once a week thread, maybe called like “Case of the Mondays” where we can just get all our negative energy out and complain about totally petty things?
Because you know what really grinds my gears? When people wear skanky work out clothes to the library. It doesn’t make you any less skanky just because it’s a yoga tank top as opposed to a Forever21 tank top. Your boobies are still all up in my face, and it’s distracting.
I’m mostly kidding. I’m sure that would lead to people being super negative everywhere, and this is such a great positive community I don’t know if the negativity could be contained in one nice little open thread, i’m sure it would spill over into other letters, but still.
Really? Boobs everywhere in the library?
Wendy January 19, 2012, 1:34 pm
I have something better planned! Next week, on the site’s first birthday, I’ll be unveiling a new feature that I think you’ll like.
lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 1:50 pm
That was so exciting when you started this. I only went on TF to see if you posted a letter and I never felt like it happened enough.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:12 pm
I am so excited! I am with LBH, the day you started dearwendy was the day I was able to stop reading the frisky, and that was a gift within itself. I still miss the purple thumbs, but what you’ve got going on is working, so I guess if it’s not broken don’t fix it.
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 2:23 pm
Oh, is it a chat room? A place where I can talk to myself without hijacking a LW’s letter? I can’t wait!!
lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 2:32 pm
Chat room sounds so scandalous and dirty.
And now I’m thinking about the LW confessing to looking up dirty German porn. WTF was that about?
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 2:36 pm
Seriously, wtf was that about? French porn sounds prettier. Oh, or Italian porn. Or even Billy Crudup born. Billy Crudup is my boyfriend, by the way. We are in lurve. But getting back to the room – actually it’s not such a good idea. I’d say things I regret, certainly.
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 2:37 pm
* Bill Crudup porn, not born.
lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 2:42 pm
I hate Billy Crudup. How could he leave my dream wife Mary Louise Parker, even if its for Angela Chase? I will never forgive him.
LadyinPurpleNotRed January 19, 2012, 2:47 pm
I loved him and then that happened and my heart broke because I LOVE her!
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 3:00 pm
I turn a blind eye when it comes to Bill.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:39 pm
It could have been worse – she could have said russian porn.
Who wants a mustache ride??? I vant vone, I vant vone!!
BeckyGrace January 20, 2012, 10:29 am
OMG I almost fell out of my chair laughing so hard and this thread….
GatorGirl January 19, 2012, 3:52 pm
Can it be a spell check? I am such a miserably bad speller. I’m always worried my posts will be riddled with errors and that will discredit what I say!
OneSpiritEternal January 19, 2012, 5:39 pm
Very much looking forward to the new feature, Wendy! And Happy early birthday to DearWendy.com!
lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 1:50 pm
Ugh, with you on not wanting/needing to see people boobies floppin in the wind. I don’t subject you to seeing my bellybutton hanging out of my toosmall tanktop, so please don’t subject me to seeing your sloppy cleavage.
I think I’m liking your rant thread idea!
Bagge72 January 19, 2012, 2:01 pm
How big is your belly button?
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:10 pm
It’s hard enough to pretend like I care about con law. I think girls like to pretend like since it’s work out clothes it doesn’t count as skanky. But girl – I see your game – you’re not working out today. You have make up on and your hair perfectly styled – and is that lip gloss? I don’t think i’ve ever put lip gloss on to work out.
I have not and will never get mad at my husband for checking out cleavage. I think i’m more distracted by it than he is. It sucks that girls with big boobs have fewer choices for clothing, but I sensor (sp? – censor?) myself, so I know you can too. I get so jealous when girls can wear low cut cute summer dresses and look classy, I can’t, but that’s the burden I carry. I’m sure girls with flatter chests get annoyed a lot too. Work with what you got.
And for the love of good I have had too much red bull today, I need a xanax, and I am studying the most boring shit ever, and I just cannot handle your fake tanned boobies today. Maybe tomorrow.
lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 2:30 pm
Ha! The best is when you can’t help but look. Its impossible not to. And then they catch you and give you a look. Uh, you are flaunting them to get looks and now you’re surprised people are looking?! I feel sorry for guys whose girlfriends get mad about them looking. I’m a girl and I can’t help but look, even if they aren’t nice looking.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:34 pm
The ones that aren’t nice looking are the MOST DISTRACTING! It’s like, is that an A and a C on the same chest? I think that defies logic? Or why are they different consistencies? Why is one firm and the other is kinda saggy.
Will.i.am January 19, 2012, 4:42 pm
I saw that once and a few of us agreed that her chest had a stroke.
Something More January 19, 2012, 2:39 pm
My boyfriend and I were watching the Golden Globes last weekend and Selma Hayek had hers a-poppin’! I noticed and commented before the boyfriend, which I thought was funny. But man, total woman-crush (?) on Selma Hayek over here.
Oddy January 19, 2012, 7:07 pm
Haha so true, i am in University, and when i was in residence last year with a roommate she would spend 20 minutes prepping herself to get ready for a workout, putting hairspray in her hair. I just about died when i saw her do that, i can only imagine her face was as hard as her hair after her workouts as the hairspray would drip onto her face.
gbm January 20, 2012, 3:13 pm
“casual” mention of law student status classic.
lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 3:17 pm
Right. Because I’m sure her anonymous-self on DW really cares whether or not people know she’s studying law.
And since I’m finally familiar with the term, I will use it: Troll.
ForeverYoung January 21, 2012, 10:10 pm
Ha weird, I didn’t even think to get offended. But thanks for having my back 🙂
Bagge72 January 19, 2012, 2:00 pm
Umm boobs everywhere is ok with me, as long as my fiance isn’t with me, if she is keep it covered up! I have a hard enough time listening to what happened on biggest loser last night! To deal with boobs everywhere, and leggins with a shirt or dress not long enough to cover a bumb is very distracting!
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 2:24 pm
What if a girl had 3 boobs, would you like that?
AKchic January 19, 2012, 2:29 pm
Usually, that 3rd boob is her ex-husband, isn’t it? Or is that just my case?
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:35 pm
Budj January 19, 2012, 2:37 pm
Bagge72 January 19, 2012, 2:51 pm
Umm have you never seen Total Recall!
AKchic January 19, 2012, 3:09 pm
NOT happy about a remake of Total Recall. Just like Highlander’s rumored remake. “There can be only ONE”.
Budj January 19, 2012, 3:49 pm
TV show >>>> movies…imho… but then Syfy had to go and ruin my image of Adrian Paul as the better highlander version a couple years ago.
_jsw_ January 19, 2012, 1:26 pm
I completely agree that, if your gender is the only basis of someone’s disagreement with you, then it’s proof of a poor, inadequate response.
However, I also think that gender plays a very real role in how people respond to a letter and to each other, both due to societal influences we’ve experienced throughout our lives and due to deeper biological differences. I do not believe that gender makes one’s replies better or worse, but I think it clearly plays a role in making them different. Or, more accurately, in providing a bias or tendency to react one way or another, which might or might not have enough of an influence to affect one’s final opinion.
When you and I view a letter or comment, we will react to it differently in most cases, at least subtly. Part of that is due to gender. Part of it is due to other differences – age, religion, where we grew up, how much sleep we had last night, etc. We are all the sum of our parts and past, and our parts and past aren’t always things we can consciously control or even acknowledge.
So, while I completely agree that playing any card as the sole basis for a reply is pathetic, I also agree that such “cards” are often, in fact, partially correct. Again, though, it doesn’t make one’s argument better or worse just because one is a woman or a man, an atheist or an evangelist, 18 or 81, white or black or brown or yellow, rich or poor, and so on… but those aspects all influence how we will respond to things.
In fact, they influence how we’re even capable of responding to things.
cporoski January 19, 2012, 1:44 pm
This is so true. Many times I feel l disagree with people because I am older. I find the world is more black and white when you are younger and much more shades of grey when you are older. I try not to say it but many times I read things and think just wait in ten years and see if you feel the same way. I try to admit biases when I have them but to say that we can transcend them is hard for most of us.
XanderTaylor January 19, 2012, 3:28 pm
Same here. Is that the age card, then?
cporoski January 19, 2012, 5:14 pm
Yes! I am now going to say “You will see when you are older”
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 20, 2012, 11:34 am
“I find the world is more black and white when you are younger and much more shades of grey when you are older.”
Buzzelbee January 19, 2012, 2:01 pm
I fully agree. We are intelligent and caring people and have many aspects that make up who we are. Our gender is one of them and I am sure that my opinions and thoughts are informed by the fact that I am female but it is also informed by my age, education, profession, parents, siblings etc. To say that I only hold an opinion because I am a woman is as stupid to me as saying that I only hold my opinion because I happen to be short. Sure being short gives me a specific perspective on things but that doesn’t invalidate my opinion.
ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 2:53 pm
Very eloquent response, as usual, JSW. And I completely agree. I don’t think it’s possible for us to completely transcend gender, as it’s just a very deep part of who we are and how we think. I agree that our responses will naturally be different predicated on gender, age, beliefs, etc. I think as long as we all at least TRY to see things as objectively as possible, we’re doing as well as we can.
rangerchic January 19, 2012, 3:15 pm
I agree! Also the statement that “the world is more black and white when you are younger and much more shades of gray when you are older” to be soooo true. Just speaking to my 16yo daughter proves it. I remember thinking the same way she does – everything is black or white, this or that, no in-between. But now that I am older I see all shades of gray! Life is not so simple, so B & W. So, I completely agree that we are the sum of our past experiences, feelings, thoughts, environments, etc.
Bagge72 January 19, 2012, 1:29 pm
I think it was a great letter, but you also made it seem like it is only guys who are making women feel this way, when I see women commenting on other women’s comments all of the time saying they are sick of other women playing gender roles aswell. I think it is fair to say that Dear Wendy is not only a community of women who are that smart but men aswell, because I see men commenting on here all of the time with helpful, and insightful opinions, that usually get comments like “glad to hear a mans perspective on this” or “it’s nice to get a guys point of view”. The thing is nobody ever thinks twice went it is said like that though.
The truth is that we all have a small part of our opinions that are formed from our gender, race, sexual preference, and religious views. The part that sucks is some people look way to much into it, and try to tell people that is the only reason they have that opinion when that most certainly isn’t true. I agree if people disagree with someone’s comments they need have a valid reason, and not just chalk it up to “Women’s/Men’s” point of view, because in the end I think we have all seen that it makes the person using that as an argument point look like a complete asshole, and lose credibility.
oppositeofzen January 19, 2012, 2:44 pm
I think Rachel’s letter was less directed at fellow DW readers and more as an open letter. I do think like a woman because I am a woman. But when someone’s only argument is that “You only think that because you’re a woman”, I do get annoyed. Are you implying that because I’m a woman my opinion is null? Or that because my predominant hormone is estrogen I can’t think clearly and must have my opinion given to me? Or can you simply think of no way to rebut anything I said and so you’ll use a low blow and blame it on my gender?
And in my opinion comments like “glad to hear a man’s perspective on this” are not meant to be negative. I’ll be the first to admit that my brain doesn’t work like my boyfriend’s or my father’s or either of my brother’s does. Hearing any of their opinions has helped me open my mind to understand how the other gender views things and can help improve discussion and communication.
Bagge72 January 19, 2012, 3:13 pm
Well I think Regina’s letter was directed at the DW readers, because she has been getting into some arguments on here lately about this very thing, and I think she has every right to do that, and I’m glad she did, because it was getting pretty annoying how some people on here were pretty much saying the women on here are giving the advice because based on their gender, and the gender of the LW. Regina along with a lot of the other commenters on here give thoughtful, and sound advice, and it should never be dismissed because of their gender, I was just saying that it seems like this was geared more towards the male commenter, and maybe one individual specifically who does use that as his argument every time. I just didn’t want the rest of us guys to get lumped into that category.
Also, my second paragraph, and your first one pretty much say the same thing, except you just pinpoint mostly on just the women’s point of view, when I bring into the other factors ignorant people might dismiss a comment.
As for saying “glad to hear a man’s perspective on this” I agree I personally don’t take this is a bad thing, because I know that my perspective as a male is personally a big part of what I say. I do believe though that saying it is a way to point out that you believe that I have my opinion because I am a guy. *Are you implying that because I’m a guy my opinion is not worthy? Or that because my predominant hormone is testosterone, I can’t think clearly and must have my opinion about women given to me? Or can you simply think of no way to say that anything I said is a good opinion, because simply it was good advice?
*just wanted to see what it was like being on a soapbox, this is not really what I think!
oppositeofzen January 19, 2012, 4:09 pm
Whoa. I’m sorry dude. I just realized I forgot to remove most of my message from reply to a new post. That tirade wasn’t directed at you.
The_Yellow_Dart January 19, 2012, 1:32 pm
I largely agree with this – and ReginaRey, for the record, I’ve always felt that your advice is wise and well-considered – but I would like to say, I don’t believe it is possible to completely transcend gender. Yes, we can try to abstract ourselves when we give advice to friends and strangers, but we can’t ignore the fact that the basis for our advice is grown out of our own experiences, which are shaped (like it or not) by our status as male or female, black or white, gay or straight, religious or not.
That said – being unable to transcend gender (or religion or race or sexual orientation) is not a bad thing. It makes us human – we all have different perspectives, and in a community such as this with so many different voices, we should feel thankful, not threatened.
cporoski January 19, 2012, 1:38 pm
Many times, I think gender needs to be addressed though. It is a factor. Frankly, I think the point is proven when you see someone who is transgendered. If we are so equal, why can’t transgendered people just do things that are more traditionally one sex or another. We need to own up to biases. I think many times we are more likely to coddle women then men. Ask women why they do this to themselves. We all look toward the world through the lens of our own experience. Every step you have taken in your life has led you to form your view of the world. I think many of the men on the site use the gender card because it has been used against them just as much.
amber January 19, 2012, 1:46 pm
I don’t think I coddle women any more than I do men, there are plenty of women in letters who have written in who I think are assholes, and I think I’ve told them I think that. I do think that gender influences our thoughts. However, like ReginaRey has said it doesn’t make her, my, or your advice any less valid. Saying to someone your advice isn’t good because you’re a woman (or a man) and you wouldn’t feel like this if the roles were reversed, is like RR said an unfair hit at my intelligence and the time I took to think about the situation.
cporoski January 19, 2012, 2:45 pm
you are right. Your point is valid regardless of sex. I am saying to think you can transcend your bias is unreasonable. I think that most people point out a bias to show the other side of the coin. Not to degrade your opion but to show a different angle.
amber January 19, 2012, 2:51 pm
I think the problem is that while many of the commenters on here do that to show the other side of the coin, there are a few who appear to attack people based on gender alone.
Something More January 19, 2012, 3:05 pm
THIS! Thank you.
Sarah January 19, 2012, 1:57 pm
Its funny, because, ” I think many times we are more likely to coddle women then men” and “We need to own up to biases” are to me the exact opposite of “We all look toward the world through the lens of our own experience”. We all have different opinions because we have all had different experiences and reactions to those experiences. So, instead of respecting that we’re all different, pushing gender stereotypes like “This is what all of us women do” just takes away the validity of the individual perspective you seem to seek.
For instance, I personally hate to gossip because of my experiences getting hurt by people gossiping about me. But if we kept with the opinions of our gender that have been portrayed by some on this site, my own preference of not gossiping would never be believed as much as the gender stereotype that most women love to gossip and therefore my opinion will always be blinded in that regard. Adhering to old gender stereotypes (ie: your example that women coddle each other too much on here) removes the chance for an individual to share their experiences to an open forum, because you are already assuming what their bias is.
cporoski January 19, 2012, 2:28 pm
To me, we look through the lens of our own experience creates our bias. I don’t think that bias is bad but it needs to be recognized. to say “women love to gossip” is different then saying, “we coddle women on this sight.” One is a statement about women in general, one is a statement about this group here.
Good example: When we had that workout discussion two days ago. Some people were stating emotional abuse. That seemed super harsh to me. However, I have never been in a relationship that a man has emotionally abused me. I do live with a husband that is a super jock. (can you guess what letter I wrote to DW?) My husband and his friends are totally rough with each other. They will call each other fat and lazy and all of this but it isn’t abusive, it is the way guys talk to each other. So my opinion was so off from many on the site because i am coming from a different place.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:31 pm
Oh fun game!! The one about rugby?!?!
cporoski January 19, 2012, 2:46 pm
Good answer…yea, it was the rugby one 🙂
Sarah January 19, 2012, 2:42 pm
“women love to gossip” and “we coddle women on this sight” are both generalizations, are they not? To me it doesn’t matter if you mean “All women do this” or “All women on DW do this” because you’re still using your bias to determine another person’s perspective.
cporoski January 19, 2012, 2:50 pm
my point is that EVERYONE is biased. there is no person without bias. To say there is no bias and no gender difference is unreasonable. In the Marriage Plot, they brought up that the language we use is so biased that we can never really say truth. Whatever the first assertion is, it is biased just like any of the subsequent responses.
Will.i.am January 19, 2012, 4:51 pm
I get questioned about my “woman comments” often. I’m never trying to generalize women by any means, but people act differently in all regions of the world. My experiences with men and women have shaped my thought process of how I view things.
I want to say that I was never here to offend anyone or feel that women are inadequate with anything that I’ve said. Somedays I may have a chip on my shoulder and decide to rant a bit harder about isseus than other’s.
There’s just days where you are frustrated and you feel like saying, “[email protected] this sh*t man!!”
cporoski January 19, 2012, 5:23 pm
It reminds me of the Will Smith Song “Parents just don’t understand” except boys or girls or kids or name the people that just don’t get it. It isn’t a personal attack.
cporoski January 19, 2012, 2:52 pm
I actually like finding biases I didn’t know I had. I read a book that spoke about a culture that buries people standing up instead of lying down. That blew my mind because it never occured to me that it could be any other way.
Sarah January 19, 2012, 3:01 pm
But that is a PERSONAL discovery. I’m not saying that none of us have biases, I’m saying that to generalize that a group of people have the same perspective and not focusing on the individual’s actual point is working against finding the truth to an argument, rather than for it.
cporoski January 19, 2012, 5:28 pm
I get what you are saying. But it seems to me that you are saying that one example to the contrary disproves a generalization…I am saying a generalization exists because it is mostly true. You are saying that by judging someone on the surface, you cannot see the truth in thier statemen. I am saying there is no such thing as truth…right? We are totally on opposite ends of this football field.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:17 pm
Maybe I coddle women men because it’s a statistically proven fact that men are bigger a-holes. Amiright?!?
Kidding. I can be harder on women sometimes. A lot of the time. Men get let off sometimes because they are clueless. (Men with crazy mothers – i’m talking to you. Just because you don’t notice her passive-aggressive shit doesn’t mean we don’t).
Really though, you do have to realize there is a difference between using your life experiences and just flat out saying “you just feel like that because your a girl”?
You stay classy, San Diego.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:18 pm
cporoski January 19, 2012, 2:56 pm
Love this answer. very funny. I think the “you don’t understand because you are a woman” comment always comes when the writer doesn’t feel thier answer is validated…and isn’t that all we want. I am willing to bet the person didn’t say, “I see your point but don’t agree.” People fight thier point so hard that they jump at each other…for an example, look at the abortion talks.
*HmC* January 19, 2012, 6:03 pm
“I can be harder on women sometimes.”
This reminded me of something I learned in Evidence class- female jurors are much harsher than male jurors on female rape victims. Something about, they want to believe that it’s the woman’s fault in some way, because then they can believe it won’t happen to them if they make the “right” choices.
Sorry for the total non sequitur, but your comment reminded me of that.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 7:46 pm
Funny I just wrote an evidence essay for bar prep. I propensity argue all day long in real life. If you’ve done it in the past, it means you are probably going to do it today, tomorrow, and next year. This day wasn’t a total waste. Side note – I might have to block dearwendy from my laptop for the next 6 weeks.
*HmC* January 19, 2012, 8:00 pm
plasticepoxy January 20, 2012, 12:15 pm
Men get let off sometimes because they are clueless.
I keep trying to write a comment about that sentence, something about it bothers me, but I can’t articulate what.
landygirl07 January 19, 2012, 1:38 pm
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
caitie_didn't January 19, 2012, 1:56 pm
lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 1:58 pm
I just got your name (i think). Like the plant (or flower?) Katiedid?
If so, very cute.
caitie_didn't January 19, 2012, 2:39 pm
Haha, thanks! My parents used to call me ‘caitie did’ when I was little…caitie is the short version of my actual name but I think this came from a children’s story or something where cicadas (like, the heat bugs) were called katydids? I think that’s how it went down, anyways. And then I just thought caitie_didn’t was cute.
katie January 19, 2012, 8:50 pm
every variation of katie is called a katie-did. i was too. lol….
Something More January 19, 2012, 1:58 pm
If there shouldn’t be a such thing as gender bias, then why is there a column specifically aimed at a male’s perspective on here? Because men and women have different ways of looking at things, different problem solving techniques, different outlooks on life. It’s not BAD, it’s just different. And sometimes it’s helpful to have someone who may be thinking along the same lines as yourself or your SO/friend/FWB or whatever.
I would gather that the majority of women don’t know what actually happens in the depths of the men’s locker room, just as men can’t quite understand what we truly mean when we say labor is a forgotten pain. You can pretend or assume all you want, but the fact is there are some things you JUST DON”T KNOW. And to me, assuming your brain has that capability is a little self-righteous.
honeybeenicki January 19, 2012, 2:04 pm
Complete sidetrack here, but for labor being a “forgotten pain,” my mom sure has brought it up a lot!
amber January 19, 2012, 2:05 pm
I get what you’re saying but I think the point of this is that people are taking hits at other people’s advice and saying it’s invalid or not good because they are a man or a woman. And that is unfair. Of course there are differences in how we perceive things because of gender, but that doesn’t make our opinions on things any less important or valid. I think instead of asking for people to pretend that gender doesn’t exist it’s asking people to respect others opinions and not always say things like if the roles were reversed you wouldn’t feel the same way or you only feel that way because you are a man or a woman. It’s not the only reason I feel that way. It’s because I’m me and that’s what my entire life experience up until now thinks about it.
Something More January 19, 2012, 2:27 pm
Asking someone if they would still feel that way if the roles were reversed isn’t taking a hit at someones opinion. I’m sure some who have said it have meant it harshly and in those terms, but that’s not always the case. And assuming so is just being defensive. It’s an honest question BECAUSE men and women don’t think alike. Honestly, this is the internet. You can be whatever, whoever you want to be. You can have the perfect life or a horrible, self-depricating one (for attention). That’s the thing about being anonymous. So, if you want to be all high and mighty and SAY your opinion wouldn’t be any different if the roles were reversed, go right ahead. But constantly jumping all over someone for questioning your opinion gets annoying.
amber January 19, 2012, 2:36 pm
So is constantly being told your opinion isn’t valid because of your gender. It’s not the fact that someone is questioning my opinion it’s how they go about it. To say I don’t know if I agree with you, here is how I feel is one thing. To have people constantly tell other commenters you only feel that way because you’re a guy or you’re a girl is completely different and very annoying.
caitie_didn't January 19, 2012, 2:42 pm
Also, beyond annoying…like RR said it’s straight up sexist and insulting to everybody’s intelligence. I mean, you disagree with my opinion but can’t come up with an actual reason to disagree beyond “your opinion is invalid because you have two x chromosomes/a y chromosome”? I hope you’re smarter than that.
When somebody tells me that I hold an opinion or am “only saying that because you’re a girl” I automatically stop taking that person seriously forever.
AKchic January 19, 2012, 2:26 pm
Labor is not a “forgotten” pain. It is a memory, and like all memories, it fades over time. Never forgotten, but not remembered with the same intensity as it was in the moment of it’s happening.
Like a broken arm. You can remember the pain from when you broke it. You may even intensify/glamorize that pain and misremember the pains as worse than what they were. Our memories can be modified or falsified as time goes on (studies have shown/proven this theory). But, as time goes on, your memory of the break, and the pain of that break, will fade. You won’t forget, but you won’t remember it as vividly.
It’s like that with labor, and the pain. Add to it the chemical rush during birth, afterbirth, etc that gives us the “amnesia” effect, and that’s why people tell you that it’s a “forgotten” pain. I remember the pain of all four of my children. Hell, my 3rd wasn’t really painful at all. My 1st and 4th was intense. But the pain will never be as greatly remembered as it was when I was in the moment.
Something More January 19, 2012, 2:33 pm
“It’s like that with labor, and the pain. Add to it the chemical rush during birth, afterbirth, etc that gives us the “amnesia” effect, and that’s why people tell you that it’s a “forgotten” pain.”
Yes, this is what I meant. The almost immediate “amnesia” when you see your little one’s face or hold them for the first time. Good lord – it was just an example. Let me rephrase – Men will never quite understand why you “hate” them while giving birth. Oh wait, you didn’t say that either? Hmmm… Men will never truly understand how freaky it is when you look down and your bleeding uncontrollably for the first time. Oh, it didn’t freak you out? Hmmm… Men will never truly understand what it’s like to breastfeed.
My point is there are things that happen to women that they won’t “get”.
Firegirl32 January 19, 2012, 2:49 pm
My mom has always said it’s forgotten, because if you truly remembered we’d all be only children. 🙂
AKchic January 19, 2012, 4:55 pm
Those of us that don’t forget are gluttons for punishment!
Red January 19, 2012, 2:17 pm
A column that argues against playing the gender card…by aiming it at a gender.
I agree completely with what is being said here. Discounting someone’s opinion on any basis such as race, gender, class, etc is beyond moronic. But attempting to combat it by ( from my viewpoint alone) aiming it at men specifcally makes me less receptive to your words, not more.
lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 2:56 pm
Huh? How else would you have addressed the issue of men saying ‘only because you are a woman?’
Red January 19, 2012, 3:07 pm
I didn’t get the sense that this was specifically about that. If the intent was to address singularly men saying only because you are a woman and dismissing an opinion on said grounds, then I have no problem with this.
When I read it I came away with the impression that allowing gender to factor in at all was what was being discussed. An opinion should always be considered for its points, but background like gender, race, class etc (such as with Tax Geeks response to Forever Young a few days ago, can’t remember where I saw that) where his situation clearly had bearing on his response.
If this column is about dismissal of opinion based solely on the fact that someone is a woman, then I withdraw my complaint.
Tax Geek January 19, 2012, 10:14 pm
That would be the one where the women taking medication for anxiety/depression and was concerend about telling a potential bf.
Also the one where I was compared to a 16yo girl. Not that I’m bitter or anything…
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 10:30 pm
Sorry about that! I admit I got super defensive.
katie January 19, 2012, 10:31 pm
i said this below, but RR isnt saying that men are doing the accusing by saying that women are being accused.
RR is saying, with this statement- “I’m smart enough to form an opinion without letting gender sway me, and I think the Dear Wendy community of women is that smart, too”, she is putting herself into the “accused” catagory of the women who have been accused of “only saying that because your a woman”. that doesnt mean that men are being accused of making those accusations! thats false logic.
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 2:17 pm
Your wisdom and eloquence never cease to amaze me, Regina Rey! … Yet, you like Harry Potter and Taylor Swift, leaving me so confused. … Kidding! … In short, well said, well said.
TaraMonster January 19, 2012, 2:26 pm
LEEEAVE HARRY ALONE!!!! 😉
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 2:33 pm
Alright, alright, I’m backing off. I don’t want to re-open the HP can of worms that spilled all over the DW book club thread.
Something More January 19, 2012, 2:35 pm
Because of your avatar, I totally said that in my head in a Gollum voice…
“Harry Potter, my precious.”
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:28 pm
Please don’t tell me you don’t like twilight? I thought we could be friends.
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 2:32 pm
Officially? Twilight is pretty damn shitty. Per se shitty. Shitty as a matter of fact, objectively speaking!
Unofficially? I saw all three Twilight movies the day they came out. … But, shhhhh, it’s one of my biggest secrets!
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:38 pm
Well the fact that the only person I could get to go with me is my 13 year old sister in law is saying something. But I may or may not have read all 4 books, and hated myself the whole time I was reading them. And then I saw the movies, and still didn’t want to admit it.
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 2:41 pm
See? We CAN be friends. We can talk about scholarly things and make fun of unscholarly things… and then we can go see Twilight together and read US Weekly (in airports and grocery store checkout lines only, of course.. ahem….)
amber January 19, 2012, 2:48 pm
Yeah, I too would never pick up an US Weekly on a Friday night with a bottle of wine a bag of dark chocolate m&ms. NEVER. I would also never DVR Teen Mom. Does anyone on here watch Revenge? I feel like it’s a day time soap opera at night with better lighting and you can maybe admit that you watch it? Maybe….
Sarah January 19, 2012, 3:22 pm
OMG WATCH DOWNTON ABBEY. Its like a soap opera for classy people!! The first season is on netflix instant stream! I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
JK January 20, 2012, 7:08 am
I LOVE Revenge!!!
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:52 pm
I love usweekly. And teen mom. And Jersey shore. I find them to be great talking points during interviews to show that i’m not socially awkward. Did I mention I don’t have a job yet?
Firegirl32 January 19, 2012, 2:56 pm
That made me laugh…sorry. 🙂
Sarah January 19, 2012, 3:21 pm
So I know its not shocker of the century, but I think I have proof that Teen Mom is staged way more than I thought it was. So early in the season it looked to me like Chelsea was wearing a mangy brown wig in some scenes but I just disregarded it. Then later her hair keeps going to platinum blonde to meh blonde in scenes that are supposed to be in the same few days. So now I’m thinking they pulled a Kardashian and all of the wig scenes from Chelsea are just re shot scripted scenes. Oh Dr. Drew. For why??
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 5:52 pm
SARAH! Ignorance is bliss. I have actually noticed that this season too though. In my head I am going to pretend that her going from blonde to brown to blonde is just because they put the scenes in different orders, not that they are actually recreated them.
It’s so hard for me to watch this season since I know that Leah ends up cheating on Cory and they get divorced. I mean I know the stuff with her baby is so sad, but I have like no compassion for her and just fast forward through their scenes. I can’t wait for the Kailyn/Joe hookup! And I appreciate Jennell because everytime I think my life sucks or I’m judging myself, I just remember at least I didn’t get my kid taken away, have a boyfriend in jail, call my mom a bitch on the regular, and normally once I get a job – I have the ability to keep it. Booyah.
Kristen January 19, 2012, 10:46 pm
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has an irrational live for Teen Mom (recreated scenes, infuriating Adam, and all).
Kristen January 19, 2012, 10:47 pm
Rachel January 19, 2012, 6:04 pm
Haha, I read the books, and hated myself for it. But I refuse to see the movies because I think the actors in them are completely annoying.
Sarah January 19, 2012, 2:37 pm
Oh no, you did NOT just insult my wizard! I hope you brought a wand to a knife fight, because sh*t is about to get REAL.
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 2:39 pm
I’m backing down and out – I fold – Finito – I’m afraid of you HP fans. Your passion scary! 😉
Sarah January 19, 2012, 2:45 pm
Is finito some kind of slang against Wizard spells you heard in one of your muggle meet ups?? ARE YOU A WIZARD RACIST ADDIE? *takes off dragon skin gloves*
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 2:51 pm
Oh no, I don’t even know the words to fight you. Um, I’m in a gild and I throw objects and I have a special skill and I come from a planet of blue people and I am on a quest to find a princess and something something about a ring and um, potion. There, did that make any sense?
Firegirl32 January 19, 2012, 2:54 pm
Depends, are you trying to find Zelda?
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:55 pm
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 2:57 pm
Ah is it weird that that just creeped me out to write it and I had to knock on wood? Harry Potter is too real for words.
Sarah January 19, 2012, 3:12 pm
Did…..did you just kill Addie?
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 3:26 pm
Is that what she did? Well shit.
Sarah January 19, 2012, 3:32 pm
Yeah… I was just gonna make your legs feel like jelly or something, but damn…..Forever is street.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 6:05 pm
I belong in Azkaban.
imsostartled January 20, 2012, 3:09 pm
This thread made me laugh so much! My office-mate must think I’m weird when all of a sudden I start to cackle.
HP for life! 🙂
TaraMonster January 19, 2012, 3:39 pm
Oh look, you came back to life just like Harry did! I have so many questions!
What’s Platform 9 and 3/4 like? How is Dumbledore doing in the afterlife? Tell him he’s owed me a letter since 1996!!!
LadyinPurpleNotRed January 19, 2012, 3:42 pm
fun fact…I have a letter from J.K. Rowling because I wrote to her right after the first book came out before everything exploded.
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 7:33 pm
It’s chilly because of the draft, and he’s doing well – he eats flax seeds and does yoga now.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 8:14 pm
I want an 8th book SO BADLY. I just re-read all 7 from like September to this last weekend. It was only my second time reading the 7th and so many more things clicked.
FireStar January 19, 2012, 3:16 pm
::laughter:: I’m trying to count how many movies you managed to fit in that one sentence…and I’m not sure HP even made it in!
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 3:25 pm
Oh, and I’m a child. That should cover it, right? 😉
AKchic January 19, 2012, 7:11 pm
I think she mixed in Mario Brothers too…
Firegirl32 January 19, 2012, 2:53 pm
Oh Lord, when this starts heppening – the thread conversations with appropriate, detailed actions – it reminds me of the old chat rooms we used to play in, in college. Man, I haven’t been in a chat room for years. Brings back memories… 🙂
ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 2:56 pm
God Sarah, I love you.
AKchic January 19, 2012, 2:18 pm
Thank you. Just because I have ovaries doesn’t mean that I am weaker or less capable of making decisions. Note that I didn’t mention my boobs because unfortunately, a good number of males have boobs too (even when they aren’t actually BEING boobs themselves).
The female half of our species can do just as much as the male half. And do it while listening to the male half denigrate us the whole damned time. This Alaskan is tired of having males treat her like she is a dainty weakling that will break in the wind. All to protect their own fragile egos. I can carry my own guns (otherwise, why the hell would I own them?), and don’t need a “guy” to help me to my favorite shooting spot. Women don’t need help starting their vehicles. Some of us don’t need a guy to help fix them either. Guys, you aren’t all that great at parking or driving either, so don’t start on the “bad female driver” stereotypes.
When a guy starts in on the mysogynistic BS in front of me, he loses any respect he may have ever had. I don’t judge people by what they’ve got in between their hips, but what they’ve got between their ears. Mysogyny suggests an empty head.
kittyk January 19, 2012, 2:38 pm
I agree with you to a point. At times the discussions around here can feel like male-bashing or the argument is made that the overall view would be different if the LW were of the opposite gender. He’s an asshole, she’s a bitch, yada yada yada. In general though I think most of us would agree in that we try to look at things from a non-baised perspective with regards to gender and instead base our opinions/suggestions on a LW’s actions/feelings/overall tone.
It is important, as an intelligent human being, to be able to see past gender stereotypes and form thoughts on a person as a whole.
I do love your last line though “Because at the end of the day, I don’t think you’re an asshole because I’m a woman. I think you’re an asshole because you acted like one.” i think it summarizes everything perfectly.
You somewhat lost me at ‘trancend gender’ though. I am a woman, and as such I have a unique perspective based on my experiences in life. I don’t actually know what it is like to be a man, or a transgendered person. I can try to see things from different perspective, certainly, but to say my gender has no affect on my outlook or thinking or advice to a LW would be incorrect. In fact, to hope that it doesn’t would be a shame.
Budj January 19, 2012, 2:41 pm
As a man….I agree with most of this. I also agree with JSW though.
Just in case I need to type it out…my opening words weren’t for serious.
ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 2:49 pm
Just to clarify, the paragraph that ends with “Personally I don’t believe that” is supposed to connect with the next “I’m never inclined…” Just didn’t want anyone to think I believe that I’m never inclined to be biased…I was saying that I definitely AM inclined toward womanly bias at times, because I can’t totally do away with my gender, of course. Just to clarify!
GatorGirl January 19, 2012, 3:30 pm
While I appreciate what you’re trying to say ReginaRey, I disagree with your statement “I’m also able to transcend gender.” I don’t think anyone can truely do this, man or woman. We form our world view on so many variables; gender, religion, socio-economic status, education, etc etc etc. It is absolutely inevitable that our gender would play a role in our comments.
GatorGirl January 19, 2012, 3:31 pm
I change my first sentense…it’s not what you’re trying to say…you make a very clear and well thought out point. I just disagree with that one little sentense.
ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 3:42 pm
I think I might have been better served to say, “I make a concerted effort to transcend gender.” Because you, and the others who have mentioned this, are right. I know that none of us are able to completely transcend gender — that’s impossible! But I, at least speaking for myself, always try to be as unbiased as I can in regard to gender…and everything else.
GatorGirl January 19, 2012, 3:50 pm
I think we all knew thats what you meant…that you try to…but I couldn’t help pointing it out. I too try to make an real effort to be as objective as possible. I think one of the reasons people write into DW is because of the wide range of responses they can get from a wide range of people; different ages, genders, races, etc etc. I would say that is one of my favorite qualities of this site.
John Rohan January 19, 2012, 4:40 pm
You make some good points, although in a larger sense, isn’t it still quite valid to at least try to examine if we would respond differently if the gender/race/age/religion/economic level/nationality/etc of the people in a situation were changed? People aren’t perfect, and it’s ludicrous to assume that there’s anyone who is free of biases (including me).
Regarding the recent letter about the bf nagging his gf about going to the gym, Wendy called the bf a “dipshit” (among other things), and in the comments I asked Wendy if she still would have called the woman that if the situation were reversed. But I simply asked it as a question – I didn’t accuse, and there is a difference.
I also can’t help point out that as one of the few non-gay male commenters on here, I do feel like I’m in blatantly hostile territory sometimes. This site does bash on men an awful lot, often justifiably but frequently not so much (as proven when more than once I’ve seen the original LW chime in to ask people to please tone down the invective). If I disagree with the majority of the women on here, I’m usually accused of being a “troll”.
Budj January 19, 2012, 4:53 pm
I actually think there are less gay men commenters than straight men commenters here…BGM was the only openly gay guy I was aware of here…haven’t heard from him in a while either.
cporoski January 19, 2012, 5:32 pm
Something else interestingly about the Troll thing. So John, I agree with you like 95% of the time…I don’t know if you noticed. However, I have never been called a troll. So though my statements are normally identical, I have never been called a troll. Unless it happened after I stopped reading a post. So I think your right, there is a harshness against what you say maybe strictly because it sounds harsher coming from a guy.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 5:57 pm
No – it’s because of the way he says everything. It always comes off across in a know-it-all confrontational way. And John, i’m sorry but you have the ability to make EVERY letter about gender issues. Not everything is about male/female. Sometimes people are just dicks. I know some female assholes, and some male assholes. Like the woman cheater from today – she’s a dick. The guy yesterday that “essentially” (I say essentially because you got all up in arms that he didn’t actually call her fat) called his girlfriend fat was a dick also. I don’t think every single thing has to be turned into a gender issue.
cporoski January 19, 2012, 7:32 pm
See, I think people always consider the tone to be the worst possible tone. Because men don’t use non confrontational language, they seem know it all. This is another generalization…and I am doing alot of that today…girls use qualifiers. In fact I started this with I think. Because of that, I don’t seem that way. If you met us in real life, I bet he would come off better to the haters because his tone, facial expressions, and body language would soften his words.
John Rohan January 19, 2012, 9:07 pm
“No – it’s because of the way he says everything. ”
There’s an old guideline when it comes to debates: when you use absolute words like everytime, everything, never, or nothing, then you are very likely wrong.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 9:14 pm
Haha fine. Then the way you say most things.
Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 10:11 pm
John Rohan, would you say that guideline is always true?
amber January 19, 2012, 6:23 pm
for me it’s in the delivery of the comments. when i read yours even when we don’t agree, i find them to come from a place of promoting conversation about a topic rather than being arguementative.
*HmC* January 19, 2012, 5:56 pm
From the comments of yours that I have read, you seem like an articulate person with well thought out opinions. However, I have gotten an impression of you that you want to sort of be the dissenting voice because you feel like the site can get too female biased (please forgive me for not using examples, I’m just sort of speaking off the cuff here and sharing my impressions, right or wrong). I’ve noticed that your comments have sort of gone out of the way to give the guy from letter the benefit of the doubt. And I don’t have any problem with this- I like to read dissenting opinions and always, at the very least, you give me something very interesting to contemplate.
I’m just saying that I only notice you commenting if and when you disagree. To sort of make up for what we may lack in male perspective. Historically, throughout time, women have been largely suppressed, exploited, and silenced in their relationships with men. Maybe this is too much of a reach, but I’d draw an analogy between your actions defending males on here to many female commenters defending females (and that is assuming you are correct about many of the females on here being overly defensive of other females, which I don’t necessarily think is true). We’re both, in different ways, rectifying what we see as a lopsided and unfair system.
Not sure if I explained myself exactly right, but hopefully someone will follow!
katie January 19, 2012, 9:30 pm
in my opinion, you get called a “troll” (which i havent said) because you only comment to agrue. not to discuss, to argue. its never respectful or anything, its just a comment soley to get the other person mad. thats just my opinion though i guess…
John Rohan January 19, 2012, 10:13 pm
I’m guessing that “discuss” = agreeing with you, while “argue” = disagreeing with you?
All I can say is that I’ve never commented solely to “get the other person mad”. People seemed pretty fired up around here without my help.
katie January 19, 2012, 10:27 pm
no, people can definitely discuss things without agreeing… but that comes with respect and phrases like, i can see you point, but X is my thoughts, or whatever… i just dont see that from you. thats all i was trying to say.
fast eddie January 19, 2012, 5:24 pm
As much as your entitled to your opinion Rachel, I can’t remember more then a couple of times that the gender gap was evident on this site and it was jumped on with both feet from other commenters. Men and women look at life issues differently and differ about them. A few times I took the guys side to a letter and I have no regrets for it. Anybody that puts out a gripe in a public forum is subject to scorn. I think like a man because I am one. If Wendy wants to exclude me for my views that’s her prerogative. I’m a guest and she has every right to expect me to act like one. As to the community we have a responsibility to be courteous and honest. If someone feels that there toes are stepped on then we DWits need to respond and alert our host. Despite my sometimes criticized comments I get a pile of thumbs up. I’m male and imperfect and not too self centered to accept criticism. I’m 50 years older then most of you and that complicates my responses. Yes, I consider the age difference when I comment. If you want a blind admirer look elsewhere, it’s not going to happen here from either sex.
John Rohan January 19, 2012, 10:09 pm
Looking at your comment, as well as ForeverYoung below, I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who has noticed this.
John Rohan January 19, 2012, 10:19 pm
Oops, I meant “GuyFriday”, not “ForeverYoung”.
amber January 20, 2012, 8:11 am
Eddie I always enjoy your comments even when we don’t agree on a topic because they are always so well thought out and you respect other people’s opinions as well!
fast eddie January 20, 2012, 3:31 pm
Thank you Amber, I do try to make constructive responses but most of the time it’s just what pops out of my head. I love this site with it’s diverse content. The fact that like most men I don’t completely understand women and likely never will doesn’t keep me from trying to.
*HmC* January 19, 2012, 5:41 pm
Offhandedly dismissing someone’s opinion entirely because of their gender, or any one trait really, is ridiculous. Anyone who doesn’t already know that is beyond hope (or at least, beyond my desire to reform them).
But I think it’s a fundamental truth that our experiences do shape who we are, the opinions we hold, and the way in which we express those opinions. Many universities in the United States enact affirmative action policies in their admission processes. In part, they do this because a student body consisting of students from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints leads to an engaging and enriching educational environment. And to me, the diversity of backgrounds in terms of age, nationality, sex, relationship status, and family experiences are a big part of what makes this particular site so interesting.
It’s differences in perspective, shaped by many factors including sex, that create a tapestry of interesting opinions that is enjoyable for me to navigate. It’s interesting to hear the opinions of younger people, combined with more experienced married people, to come to conclusions on my own about the nature of relationships. Do I like Budjer’s posts because he’s a guy? No. I like them because he seems like a thoughtful, intelligent guy who can offer a certain unique perspective on issues that I don’t always think of. Maybe one day in the Star Trek perfect future, we will all be so equal in every way that being a woman will not be so distinctly different than being a man that a male’s perspective won’t be foreign territory to females. (Or maybe perspectives will still be extremely diverse, due to our differences in biology…) But I don’t think that’s the world we live in. Maybe it should be. I really don’t know. But I know that we live in a world where there are entirely different cultural norms impressed upon women than upon men, and this culture shapes us differently.
And I don’t view the fact that my opinion my be recognizably shaped by my experience as a female to be a negative thing. It’s not better than a man’s, or worse, just by virtue of which reproductive organs I was born with. Anyone who thinks so is being unreasonable. But I think that denying that things like sexual orientation, gender, relationship status, and family background affect your opinions is equally unreasonable.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 5:59 pm
“Offhandedly dismissing someone’s opinion entirely because of their gender, or any one trait really, is ridiculous. Anyone who doesn’t already know that is beyond hope (or at least, beyond my desire to reform them).”
Boom there goes the dynomite.
Guy Friday January 19, 2012, 6:48 pm
“I’m smart enough to form an opinion without letting gender sway me, and I think the Dear Wendy community of women is that smart, too.”
. . . which implies that the community of MEN here isn’t. And, frankly, I’m a bit offended by that, because I work VERY hard to approach comments as being given by people and not by people of a specific gender, and yet I feel like I get thrown under the bus with the VERY small handful of posters — who you are assuming are male, though I don’t know that most of them have identified themselves as such — who pull out tired dismissive phrases. Aside from my challenging your assertion in the “weight nagging” thread, I challenge you to find one other post of mine in which I’ve dismissed ANYTHING someone’s said due to gender.
I mean, I agree with your overall point, and I support removing “nullification due to gender” arguments, but I’m starting to get a little fed up about this. If you can’t see how these kinds of threads are making it a hostile environment for the males who post here, I don’t know what to tell you, RR.
ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 6:53 pm
I don’t think she meant it that way. And I don’t know about RR but I definitely don’t think it is the men pulling the female gender card. I think a lot of times women will dismiss another women’s opinion and say that she can’t see the other side because she’s a girl. So I think in the part you have in quotations she was just trying to say that women commenters are smart enough not to just “man bash” but really be gender neutral to the issues. I don’t think she was implying the guys aren’t smart enough, just that women get called out for man bashing around here. Does that make sense? I don’t think it did. But I hope you’re not offended because I don’t think she was saying the men aren’t smart enough AT ALL, her beef was about something totally different.
Leroy January 19, 2012, 8:48 pm
She’s implicitly identifying men and complaining that they’re using the ‘gender card’ against her, and the other women here. So I think that it’s fair to assume that she sees the male commenters as the primary source of the problem.
Here’s the thing, there are certain commenters here who are pretty hostile towards men, and a lot of less hostile commenters who can get a little carried away with the male bashing. So it’s not surprising that the few male commenters are going to use gender reversal as a device to point out when someone is being chauvinistic. Because while it’s not fair to dismiss someone’s argument out of hand, this is a useful device for pointing out the biases in someones perspective. It all depends on how it’s applied.
katie January 19, 2012, 9:05 pm
no- shes saying that there has never once here been a “your only saying that because your a man” comment on here (atleast that I can think of), but there is, almost on every letter, a “your only saying that because your a woman” comment.
i can not remember once when a man on here has been challenged of using gender bias- but a lot of the women on here get it all the time.
thats what she was saying.
Leroy January 19, 2012, 9:36 pm
So she’s “identifying men and complaining that they’re using the ‘gender card’ against her, and the other women here” ?
You seem to be stating the same thing. So I think that we agree.
And of course it’s not appropriate to tell someone that “your only saying that because your a woman” . But that’s not what I’m defending.
katie January 19, 2012, 10:02 pm
no- its not just men that make the “your only saying that because your a woman”. its honestly not- and i think that would be a terribly stereotyped thing to say as well- that all men blatantly disagree with women just because they are women.
RR is saying that the people being attacked for gender bias are women, not that the people doing the accusing it are men. there is a difference.
katie January 19, 2012, 10:04 pm
“I’m smart enough to form an opinion without letting gender sway me, and I think the Dear Wendy community of women is that smart, too”
this means that she is indentifing herself as one of the accused, along with the other women who are accused of the same. that doesnt mean that she is singling out men as the accusers…. does that make sense?
Leroy January 19, 2012, 10:40 pm
So who do you think that she’s accusing?
Did you see the thread that prompted this letter? – the one where Carrot Top’s girlfriend wrote in complaining that he’s always nagging her to go to the gym.
A male commenter had posted ..
This might not win me a popularity contest here, but I would like to interrupt the lynching in these comments for another perspective.
and then he posed a role reversal to illustrate his point. He’d never even addressed RR, but she seemed to take it personally and made the same points there that she has here. So it’s pretty obvious that she’s addressing her complaints to the male commenters.
Guy Friday January 19, 2012, 10:45 pm
No, actually, it doesn’t. Because she’s identified herself, and she’s identified the community of women, and seemingly explicitly left out the community of men. She’s said that SHE’S smart enough, and that the WOMEN here are smart enough. The implication from a statement like that is that the MEN — the group she hasn’t named — IS NOT smart enough to form an opinion without letting gender sway them.
You want an example of someone dismissing a comment of a male because he’s male? Look no further than the response I posted to RR in the “weight nagging” thread — a response that I personally feel was solely a respectful disagreement to her post — to which someone replied “That’s such a stereotypical man thing to say, GF.” No one stepped in and said, “Hey, don’t say crap like that on here” or had any real concern for refuting it. How exactly is that not dismissing my comment? And how am I, or any other male here, supposed to look at that compared to the sheer outrage that comes when someone — male or female — says anything even remotely related to “your perspective is based on your gender” and not feel like there’s a double standard in play here?
Also, with all due respect, if RR didn’t mean that implication, I am happy to see her say something to the effect of “Hey, I didn’t mean it that way. I’m sorry if it came across like that,” and I will happily accept it as both sincere and genuine. But until that time, I don’t think I’m out of line for reading a pretty clear implication she laid down in her comments, especially when the person who wrote it is a free-lance writer who I think we can all agree is incredibly intelligent and eloquent. It’s hard for me to believe at the moment that the phrasing was 100% accidental.
katie January 19, 2012, 10:57 pm
im sorry that you guys felt attacked by this… and i very much understand why you would feel attacked.
i just want to point out that just because she says that women are being accused, doesnt automatically mean that men are doing the accusing. there is nothing in the writing that says or even hints at men doing the accusing. and guy, i dont know how long you have read this site, but the “what if the LW was a man” question has been said here many many times, by men and women alike, as others above have been pointing out.
im just saying to not jump to the conclusion that a peice that is about gender may imply- that this is somehow an men vs. women kind of thing- because its not!
im trying to think of a good analogy for this… and i dont think that im coming up with anything good…. but its like, if someone says that they like flowers, that doesnt automatically mean that they hate whatever the opposite of flowers are. that is something that you as a reader infer- you are putting words in the writers mouth, so to speak….
katie January 19, 2012, 11:13 pm
also, one thing i just thought of- that comment on the letter about the bride who’s fiances friend had no teeth- there was a comment on there calling wendy out for being hormonal and sleep deprived, and that being the reason that she was harsh on that LW… i personally think that comment was left by a woman, and that was a terribly gender biased thing to say! that created a whole shit storm of the women on here saying things like, just because im a woman doesnt mean im pmsing everytime i get upset, and things like that. its not the guys! im telling you! its just people who are doing this!
ReginaRey January 20, 2012, 8:39 am
Here I am to illuminate what I meant. As someone said above, I wasn’t implying that men were doing all of the attacking. I meant to imply that women, at least the vast majority of the time, are the accused. But you’re also right – there certainly have been instances on this site where men have been gender-stereotyped as well. And that’s not right, either. I didn’t mean to dismiss the plight of men in my column, but merely to address what I see the vast majority of the time – which is women because accused of gender stereotyping (whether by other women, or men). Make sense?
Guy Friday January 20, 2012, 10:55 am
Yeah, that’s fine. I also suspected you were somewhat upset and angry when you wrote this column, which would be completely understandable given the subject matter and the fact that it actually happened to you. But the way it was initially phrased rubbed me the wrong way, so I wanted to make certain that it wasn’t what you meant rather than having other people say “Well, this is what RR meant to say.”
As long as the issue is gender-negating and not men doing the gender-negating, I’m behind you 100%. I just wish more people here were vocal about calling it on both sides, you know?
iseeshiny January 20, 2012, 3:02 am
I’m with you on this one. I read this post, and my mind went right to the gender drama on that Carrot Top thread the other day. If mine did, I’m sure a lot of others went there, too. I have faith that RR has good intentions in general and I think she’s making a good point about how it sucks to have your point of view dismissed because you’re a woman (cause it does).
But I don’t blame you for feeling like this whole column was directed at men. Because from where I’m sitting, it kind of was. It’s splitting hairs to say that it’s not directed at men, because who else is going to dismiss a woman’s point of view because she’s a woman? Probably not other women (except, I’m sure, in some peculiar, oddly specific case that someone might want to imagine and post in a reply below).
I also think this column comes off as being directed specifically at John Rohan, who has been accused of being a troll because his style is abrasive and he tends to defend the men in the letters on here (I don’t think he is. I think he’s just abrasive and tends to defend the men, and that can be irritating, but that doesn’t make him a troll. If everyone agreed with everyone else we wouldn’t have much to talk about) and also at yourself since you were involved in the Carrot Top brouhaha. I don’t really think RR is pursuing a literary vendetta against John, or you – I’d like to give her the benefit of the doubt there and say she’s just fed up with the issue in general and the most recent carroty kerfluffle led her to write the above, but I can see where it would feel that way because she didn’t go out of her way to make that “gender card” thing unisex. It really is just the woman card we’re being told not to play.
So, yeah, I think you’ve got a legit gripe, and if you wanted validation, you have mine. For what it’s worth.
(Lesson learned here: don’t piss off RR, amirite? Also Carrot Top needs to pull up his pants. I couldn’t look away from the manscaping, and I really, really wanted to.)
John Rohan January 20, 2012, 9:54 am
I am curious if you or anyone else could actually provide an example of me being “abrasive”, except in response to someone making a personal attack against me.
The accusation of “abrasive” is especially ironic in a thread where the man is committing no other sin than nagging his girlfriend to go to the gym, and he’s called a “dipshit”, “asshole”, “abuser”, “jerk”, “loser”, etc etc. Some people were suggesting that the next step would be him beating her up! I don’t resort to name-calling, and I think that makes me actually pretty tame around here.
iseeshiny January 20, 2012, 3:31 pm
Probably, if I felt like doing research about it. But I don’t, so suffice to say that I remembered your name from across the internet because I’ve read your words and thought, “Man, he could have phrased that less aggressively.” Multiple times.
iseeshiny January 20, 2012, 3:35 pm
And the difference is that you are abrading other commenters, not the people who are in the letter. You’re not the only one whose abrasive (I’ve been sandpapery myself a few times, even pumice-y) but you do stand out. (I think part of it is you have a website linked. Your name shows up in a different color, and so it stands out more.)
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 20, 2012, 11:32 am
Funny I thought it was directed at a specific commenter too, but not John Rohan. Somehow I missed the Carrot Top drama, whatever it was.
lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 11:50 am
Leroy January 20, 2012, 12:18 pm
What people are referring to is a recent letter in which a young women had written in complaining that her BF was nagging her about working out and had become obsessive on the matter. She felt that he was accusing her of being fat and lazy etc.. And it did read as though he’d gone overboard with his nagging. Wendy used a picture of Carrot Top – the red headed comedian – in the header to the letter.
The funny thing is that JR was right when he warned people that it was likely that they were reading too much into the letter. The LW posted a follow-up disclaiming the characterization of her boyfriend as abusive.
lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 12:34 pm
No. I meant who as in who did she think this was directed at.
iseeshiny January 20, 2012, 12:22 pm
Yeah, who? (PS Carrot Top drama is from earlier this week, the one where he wants her to go to the gym more often and he doesn’t take her seriously when she says stuff like that is hurtful and she wishes he’s stop. Some commenters cried emotional abuse, some commenters cried oversensitivity on the part of the lw. And then gender was brought into it and it went boom.)
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 20, 2012, 12:26 pm
Ahh, ok. Yeah, I am sort of pick and choose letters to read and comment on. Sometimes they are just too much and I MOA on the letter 😉
I thought RR was referring to BGM.
Wow, when did I start speaking in acronyms?! Geez.
iseeshiny January 20, 2012, 12:29 pm
IDK but I like it!
lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 12:34 pm
Oh. Is he even on here anymore?
Something More January 19, 2012, 7:00 pm
Just adding a couple more cents…
Wasn’t it just a couple weeks ago that the LW who said everyone on here was way harsh, we discussed and Wendy had to come in and scold everyone? If I remember correctly, there were quite a few that were appalled at the idea that a commenter might have essentially “told” on another for insulting comments or coarse language. And now we have this… Just a little ironic, I thought.
Emma January 19, 2012, 11:55 pm
I don’t comment often (I’ll write something out many times, just to delete it, haha), but I have noticed myself thinking “Well, you’re only upset because you’re (insert trait).” And sometimes it’s true. But that’s probably why I end up deleting my comments before I post them.
For example; I’m in an open relationship. When I read posts about women (usually) who won’t even let their significant others watch porn, I get irritated. I tend to think ‘This gives us a bad name,’ and I’m inclined to pair this trait with their gender. I still think not allowing porn in a relationship is ridiculous, but it’s ridiculous without being paired with being female.
I think that says a lot about our culture. It seems self-loathing when women get onto each other about being too stereotypically female. I’m certainly guilty of this. We all think there are things about our traits that we have to overcome. Much of the time, we apply these ‘short comings’ to others.
As far as the “You only think that because you’re male/female” reply goes, I think it’s just people assuming that the person they are referring to has not thought through their response, and that is offensive in and of itself. It’s stereotyping, and now allowing room for an legitimate point of view for anyone.
just me January 20, 2012, 10:19 am
I am a first time commenter, even though I read Dear Wendy all the time, since day 1.
Just a few thoughts. I believe that every person comments from their own unique life experiences. Of course a woman is going to have a different opinion than a man. But the same goes for married/single, gay/straight, age differences, cultural differences, etc.
But, one thing that always stands out to me is the fact that there are commenters that always seem to receive more thumbs up and positive comments simply for being who they are. More than once I´ve seen one of those people practically repeating something already stated further up, but getting a lot more acknowledgment than the original comment. Maybe that also accounts for the fact that when those “popular” commenters get somehting negative written about their opinions, there is a lot more fuss in the general community than if it happens to anyone else.
lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 11:48 am
Yea, this is BS. Regina and Addie always get thumbs up. They could write “blah, blah, blah, Chick Fil A and those little hearts as replies to Budj” and they will always get more thumbs than me. BS I SAY! Away with the thumbs!
I kinda agree though.
Addie Pray January 24, 2012, 10:37 pm
Ha ha, I just saw this. I can say without a doubt that ReginaRey gets thumbed up all the live-long day because of her thoughtful, insightful, and eloquent responses! Any thumbs up I receive are simply because deep down whether they know it or not everyone is obsessed with Chick-fil-A too! 🙂
LeahW. January 20, 2012, 11:29 am
THANK YOU!! I’ve had this lobbed at me when I responded to an admittedly controversial letter (the “I tried to knee my boyfriend in the balls when we had an argument at the bar and now his friends hate me” letter). Because I attempted to answer the LWs question, how to deal with the boyfriend’s friends, and didn’t make a value-judgement about the act of physical violence, I had several commenters suggest that I wouldn’t have felt that if the genders were reversed. But I’m not sure I would have felt different! When a LW writes in to Wendy and says that they and their SO (no matter what the gender) have worked past a particular issue and have decided to stay together, I’m going to take their word for it. That includes really difficult situations like physical violence and cheating!! Sure, I’m never going to be the kind of advice-giver that gives the “tough love” that some LWs clearly need, but what I hope is to be one of the voices giving LWs helpful advice about how to make their relationship better when the overwhelming reaction is to just dump the guy. Some LWs need that, too.
iseeshiny January 20, 2012, 12:46 pm
Yes, I’ve noticed a trend to just say MOA when the LW has clearly stated that she wants to stay with her SO. People try to answer a question she isn’t asking, which is fine, but it’s occasionally to the exclusion of what she is asking, so she doesn’t hear much but chorus of “Dump him!”
Biglight January 20, 2012, 1:31 pm
I have to say, I find this post simultaneously accurate and inaccurate. I’d like to say right up front that I find clear dismissal of an opinion based on the commenter’s gender to be ignorant and short-sighted. Just so we’re clear about that now. However, there are a couple of things that I’d like to point out.
Generally when I see gender reversal brought up, it is in relation to the LW’s gender rather than the commenter’s. This is a subtle, but important, difference. Bringing up the LW’s gender questions the influence of societal gender stereotyping in shaping the view of the commenter(s). Not because you are a woman, but because the LW is, and gender stereotyping affects us all. The violent female letter writer mentioned a couple times above was a good example. Her violence was something I didn’t think the boyfriend should put up with, but my initial gut response wasn’t nearly as disgusted and angry as it would have been if the roles were reversed (this isn’t entirely unwarranted, considering it is reasonable to assume that a man is bigger and stronger than a woman, making the violence more damaging; or the threat of violence more… threatening. But I digress). In either case though, my end response should be the same, that the victim shouldn’t put up with that kind of behavior. I can understand how this can be misconstrued, especially considering the sexist slights that many women deal with on a regular basis. However, perhaps the defensive posture shouldn’t be so readily assumed when the role of gender in shaping your opinion is brought up. An honest consideration of the influence of gender on your opinion, and then a measured response to the specific criticism might be the best route. To repeat what I said above though, this doesn’t include dismissive responses like “you only said that because you’re a woman”. In this case, the person has asked for a bit of vitriol in response to their opinion. Most of the times I’ve seen “The Gender Card” played though, it’s not in this manner.
A quick point about “The Gender Card” being primarily brought up in response to a woman’s response about a female LW. The vast majority of commenters on Dear Wendy are women, so we would expect nearly anything that’s said to be primarily said to women. I would like to point out that I’ve had my questions about the role of the LW’s gender in a commenter’s opinion with both male and female commenters. Statistical likelihood simply makes it more likely that I would be responding to a woman if I responded to it though.
I read this site quite often. I recognize many of the commenters, and remember the types of responses they’ve posted in past. I do find the site (and community) to be generally quite good, or I wouldn’t be reading it so often. However, I’ve only commented on the site one time (now twice) because I find the commenters to so often have a hostile or condescending stance toward men. Beyond that, I do find that the community tends to suffer a bit from group think and there is additional hostility to dissenting opinions. Given these two things, and my reluctance to simply repeat what other have said, I have nearly always felt that my response was unlikely to be fairly and thoughtfully considered. With that reluctance, I have not wanted to spend my time trying to speak while nobody listens. As I am generally an outspoken person, I doubt we can point to my insecurities holding me back, though I recognize the possibility. I would only like to suggest that the people of the Dear Wendy community at least consider that there may be a tendency to descend into man-bashing a bit more often than is really necessary.
I’d also like to point out that the idea that you’re intelligent enough to overcome bias seems to be a common misconception. Overcoming bias is about diligence and self-awareness. It isn’t really about intelligence, and it shouldn’t be a comment on your intelligence to have your biases questioned. It’s really an opportunity to look at our own opinion through that harsh lens of judgment that we are so often pointing at LWs on this site. If the question of bias isn’t a concern you can always say so, then back that up with reasons why it isn’t the case. However, overuse of “The Gender Card” can certainly make it a bit tedious and frustrating to constantly refute it. Perhaps we could all be a bit more reluctant to use it (though that’s probably not realistic). Perhaps with that, we could try to cut back on the inclusion of the man-bashing quips in our responses (probably about the same likelihood).
Sonia January 20, 2012, 4:18 pm
This post reminded me of one of my favorite quotes of all time:
“I’m just a person trapped inside a woman’s body” (attributed to Elayne Boosler). I think it’s so true, because being a woman shouldn’t matter with anything but being able to menstrate and give birth.