Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Feminists Bullying Women

A woman writes to Dear Prudence, aka Emily Yoffe. Her problem is simple. She is working in a STEM field, but has not suffered any gender discrimination.

Some might cheer the progress her company has taken in creating sexism-free zones. The letter writer’s feminist friends do not. They find her attitude and her experience to be profoundly offensive and anti-feminist.

Since her experience does not fit the narrative that has captivated their minds, they are accusing her of not being a true-believing member of the sisterhood.

Thus are cults formed and sustained.

Theirs is not a simple disagreement. The woman’s feminist friends become offensive and aggressive when she tells about her work life. At the very least, they do not respect her opinion or her experience.

The  letter writer says:

…even quite reasonable and pleasant women get aggressive when I don’t have anything to contribute to their list of crimes committed by the patriarchy. I don’t want to lie, but I’m not sure how to handle inquiries when I can’t give them the story they want.

She is asking a question that belongs properly within the domain of etiquette. How do you deal with zealots who are threatening you for not toeing the party line?

Riding to the rescue, Emily Yoffe offers a perfectly sensible analysis of the situation. Obviously, this caused a significant backlash.

In Yoffe’s words:

There is an unfortunate strain of obsessive grievance-mongering in feminism today. It’s a kind of sport for these self-proclaimed guardians to venomously attack those they feel don’t precisely toe their line. You’re a scientist who lives in the world of facts. You are finding that ideologues aren’t interested in facts, thus they go after you when your reality trumps their ideology. My general advice is that it’s best not to engage with unpleasant people, especially those who seek to lecture you about your own experiences. Feel free to extract yourself and say, “You’ll have to excuse me, but I’ve got to get back to the lab.” But if you feel like it, you can also counterpunch by saying something like, “It’s funny, but the only people who try to bully me are women who aren’t in my profession.”

Yoffe understands well that the letter writer’s feminist friends are bullies. They are threatening to exclude her from their group if she does not change her attitude.

This is called shaming. It is disgraceful and disrespectful.

Of course, the grievance-mongering feminist zealots believe that the paucity of females in certain fields is ipso facto proof of sexism.

Any workplace that does not correspond to the feminist requirement of an equal number of men and women must be rife with sexism.

If you don’t believe me, ask Sheryl Sandberg.

Feminists set up a fictional world and denounce any configuration that does not fulfill the terms of their fiction.

They never consider that there might be other reasons why there are few women in STEM fields and at Facebook. They never consider that women might be exercising their right to choose their career paths and to balance their work with their family responsibilities.

Yoffe offers the correct solution to the letter writer’s problem. It applies to other circumstances when anyone is being bullied or shamed into ideological conformity.


That is: to dismiss such people from one’s circle of intimates. 

11 comments:

Ares Olympus said...

All we know in detail of the interaction is here: "But even quite reasonable and pleasant women get aggressive when I don’t have anything to contribute to their list of crimes committed by the patriarchy. I don’t want to lie, but I’m not sure how to handle inquiries when I can’t give them the story they want."

This is what you might call a "softball" question. It's a big beachball flung in the air saying "Hit me!" and even a child can play. The big bad feminists have been judged as aggressive, and can now be condemned and must carry every personal association every single reader has had with an "aggressive" femininist in the past.

She says "I can’t give them the story THEY want." But what she can't see is the enemy is WITHIN. There is a little girl in this women who asks "What can I give that will satisfy these women?" And so she's naturally frustrated when she answers herself "Nothing, these women expect me to make crap up so they'll accept me." But its really some part of herself that has this expectation.

So instead of being "assertive", stating her truth and sticking to it, she has to play "tattle" with Ms. Prudence to validate her feelings of hostitlity for "aggressive women", all the while being passive aggressive, talking about them behind their back without a chance to defend themselves.

So again, I have no reason to doubt that there are feminists who are actively looking for evidence to support their biases, and choose to actively ignore evidence that weakens the case.

But I think we need a little more evidence before we jump on her bandwagon, or we just become "prattling women" with their aggressive gossip repeating someone elses experience to validate our own desire to dismiss feminists.

Specifically from Marshall Rosenberg Nonviolent Communication, he would say "aggressive" is not a observable behavior, but a judgment.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dpk5Z7GIFs Nonviolent Communication Part 1 Marshall Rosenberg

What we know is the writer wants to connect, but doesn't want to have to lie to feel belonging. But we don't know why she doesn't feel safe to be assertive and say that.

Sam L. said...

The "War On Women" is waged mostly by women. Yoffe's gonna get backlash for her response. The writer needs to dump these acquaintances; they are not her friends.

"Tattle", Ares? I'd call it asking a disinterested person for advice/another take on this.

Anonymous said...

My ex had the same experience as the letter writer. She was in data processing/computer programming and virtually everyone in her field was a man. She went straight to the top because she was good.

What these feminists don't realize is that in business, management wants people with talent who make them money. If a woman can make them more money than a man, they want the woman. Money comes first, and companies would be crazy to discriminate and damage their own bottom line.

If certain women aren't getting hired in the computer field, they're probably the ones who are the problem, since they are of no benefit to any company. If you're good, management wants you because it benefits them and they don't care who you are.

In fact, gender never even came up in the decades my ex worked in the computer field, not even in the many conferences she went to. They all talked boring "code" and "reports" and such.

-- Days of Broken Arrows

Ares Olympus said...

Sam L, yes, it is most definitely tattling, and useless for advice because the details are so one-sided, so weak or lame advice is all Yoffe can offer:

Emily Yoffe: My general advice is that it’s best not to engage with unpleasant people, especially those who seek to lecture you about your own experiences. Feel free to extract yourself and say, “You’ll have to excuse me, but I’ve got to get back to the lab.” But if you feel like it, you can also counterpunch by saying something like, “It’s funny, but the only people who try to bully me are women who aren’t in my profession.”

The problem with this counterpunch "if you feel like it" advice is the woman may be LOST in her own temporary regression and hearing things that are not actually there, and if she carefully parsed the interaction objectively (like a good scientist), she might discover she was "feeling" her own unexpressed aggression and projecting it onto the other women.

I admit it is fun when you can take an irrationally aggressive person and show them a mirror of their hypocrisy. But this sort of satisfaction lasts less than 5 minutes unless you're really good at milking it in your mind, and it causes the same alienation that its supposedly fighting against.

I'm always interested in deeper advice than the lame "it’s best not to engage with unpleasant people."

My opinion is you should feel free to retreat from discomfort, but you shouldn't blame other people for making you uncomfortable.

You could actually say "This conversation is making me uncomfortable." and that nonblaming omission might encourage some reflection in others of their contribution.

I sometimes wonder if my conversation style causes offense, and in my excitement of a mystery I'm trying to work out I may miss visual clues of someone else's discomfort.

Ideology does seem to be a terrible trap for humanity. I always wonder if I can escape it by taking 6 or 7 contradictory ideologies at the same time, then I'm immune, but it still matters how people hear me, not just what I mean.

Linda said...

I'm a STEM woman - previously a programmer and trainer, network administrator and database programmer.

Now, a Physics and Chemistry teacher.

A LOT of women over the years have bemoaned the lack of women in STEM fields. They mutter about the evil men who lurk about, sneakily trying to build barricades against female encroachment.

Silly broads! Men are quite welcoming, eager to have women enter the field. Other STEM women have been tremendous mentors.

The only ones that are snide are the non-STEM women.

Sam L. said...

I still don't see it as tattling. No names are named: not hers, not theirs, not the company's or the industry's, and not even the region. One sided? It's her question. It's her perceptions. Gotta work with the info we have. Can't ask the unnamed women she talks to.

Larry Sheldon said...

When I retired in 1989, my boss (Group Leader) was a woman, her boss District Manager) was a woman, HER boss (Division Manager) was a woman.

As with my remarks elsewhere about Jews, what we have here is a case where the complainants are a major part of the problem.

What is a man to do?

Anonymous said...

When gay marriage was banned by federal law, didn’t individual states invoke states rights to allow it in their own states?
Seems to me ‘states rights’ goes both ways. There was a time when pro-homo lobby was pro-states rights. (Funny, but 'marriage equality' only seem to care about the homo 'right' to marry. They never speak for incest-sexuals or polygamists. So much for equality.)

Why don’t people invoke cases where federal power was abusive/oppressive? Like the federal decree ordering Japanese-Americans to be dispossessed and interned?

Besides, there was a time when federal power required free states to return runaway slaves against the wishes of individual northern states. So, states rights can cut both ways. It could be on the side of freedom or slavery.
Same with federal power. It could be on the side of freedom or slavery.

One thing for sure, it was federal power that led US to foreign ventures in Philippines, Vietnam, and Iraq that led to the killing of millions of people abroad.

'Gay marriage' is anti-true marriage since it equates perverted 'sex' among homos with real sex between men and women that makes natural sense and produces life. 'Gay marriage' also argues that a homo's fecal anus is the 'sexual' equivalent of a woman's vagina that produces life. It's an insult to womanhood, esp considering the pain a woman goes thriugh in child birth.
Equating homosexuality and real sexuality is like equating evolution with creationism in the name of 'science equality'. In fact, creationism is bogus. Pro-creationists might argue that they are for the equal teaching of both instead being against evolution, but when falsehood is made equal with truth, it is anti-truth. The idea that homosexuality has equal value with real sexuality between men and women is like saying a lie is worth the same as truth. Why is a penis being smeared with fecal matter of equal value with a penis fertilizing the egg in the female organ?

Katielee4211 said...

As I read somewhere, and I think this has truth: 'It's no longer about the rights, it's about the fight' - might have even been one of your articles.

I tend to wonder, if you take away their fights, what do they have left? Where does that leave them?

Sam L. said...

You were 15 days ahead of Instapundit!

Wed, 25th
IT’S COME TO THIS: Woman Worries That She Doesn’t Have Much Workplace Sexism To Complain About.

Posted at 2:00 pm by Glenn Reynolds

Stuart Schneiderman said...

It looks like he has a good source.