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.