So, a couple of days ago, I was at a coffee shop and posted the following Facebook status:
That annoying moment when a guy assumes you don’t understand the concept of an internet connection not working. I asked the woman next to me if her internet was down, too. It was. As I walked to the counter to tell them there was a problem w/their connection, a dude at the other table chimed in…
“Well, you need a password to login.”
“I know. I had one. I got bumped off the network.”
“Well, were you on for longer than 2 hours? The code is only good for 2 hours.”
“I know. I’ve only been on for 45 minutes.”
Guy checks his connection.
“Oh…I’m off, too.”
“I know. That’s why I’m telling them there’s a problem.”
Told the staff, they restarted their modem, and we’re all right as rain. The woman next to me thanked me for saying something. The dude said nothing.
The moral of the story is: Sometimes, women know things about internet connections and how they work.
I was expecting a couple of likes. Nothing much more than that. However, there’s a guy I know who always feels the need to challenge my statuses whenever I mention anything about my experiences in gender inequality. Once he commented, so did others, and it went on and on. I’m going to post the comments below, using initials only (specifying gender, because I think it’s important as far as context), in the interest of getting this conversation off of my Facebook page and into a forum that’s more conducive to discussion and nuanced explanations of opinions. What do you think about my experience? What would you contribute to the discussion below? Would love to hear what you think in the comments!
The Facebook Comment Parade:
NR (chick): we also sometimes know how to set up networks and *gasp* build the computers attached to them!!!! Who knew we could do so much outside the kitchen??!! ;P
AG (dude): Why is this a gender issue? How do you know that guy wouldn’t have given the same exact response to another guy?
LD (chick): My Internet konked out the minute I read this post. WHAT DOES IT MEAN.
NR: Unfortunately, looks dictate how people tend to treat other people. If I walk into a room, business attire and well groomed, there is a good chance the person is going to think I’m some corporate head and that I really don’t need to be thinking about computers (this can also be said for mechanics as well).Now, if I walk in wearing my glasses, chucks, and one of my nerdy pop cultures shirts there would be a little less questioning of my experience with computers. It’s just human nature, it’s just how things go….Granted, the dude could have been having a shitty day as well but generally speaking, people tend to “judge a book by the cover”.
Teresa Jusino (chick – duh): @AG – because this isn’t the first time something like this has happened and I’m not the first woman something like this has happened to. This is just the incident I’m mentioning today. No, I don’t know this particular guy and whether this particular guy would or would not have given the same advice to another guy. But it is likely that he wouldn’t have given ANY advice to another guy. He would’ve assumed the guy had checked all of the things you check before going to the staff for help. Do I know this FOR SURE? Of course not, but I have enough experience dealing with this type of situation that I can apply that experience to this. Also, check out the “likes” and comments above. [ED NOTE: All the "likes" were from women. They still are, except for one!] They know what’s up, because they’ve likely experienced similar things. I didn’t make it a gender issue – it just IS one. Unfortunately.Check out this article on “mansplaining”: There’s plenty of others. Just Google it. My question to you is, why is it that every time I mention a gender-related problem I see, I can COUNT on you to tell me that I’m not seeing an actual problem? @NR – that’s true, too. I don’t look particularly nerdy today. Then again, just because he was dressed like a hipster, complete with skinny jeans and a boater hat doesn’t mean that I’d assume HE didn’t know anything about computers. @LD – I DON’T KNOW! Maybe it has something to do with double rainbows.
AG: Where is your data that shows that men wouldn’t give advice to other men? I would like to read that. I didn’t get through your whole article yet but it seems based on what one guy thought in 1903. I’m sure there is more to it but I still don’t see any real data on this.
AG: I think you sometimes create gender issues out of things that aren’t at all related to gender for the purposes of a specific agenda. Maybe you don’t see it. Some things are just human nature and personality driven. Your example doesn’t scream to me… look at men holding women down.
LB (chick): AG, AG, AG. If you’d seen the way my twitter feed lights up with guys telling me why I’m wrong and don’t understand things (like, say: street harassment, abortion rights, gay rights, MY OWN BIOLOGICAL MENSTRUAL CYCLE) any time I express an opinion, you would understand this. If you’d seen how guys at my job where I work with power tools every day question my ability to use a fucking screwgun even though they’d never held one and had been ASSIGNED TO BE TRAINED BY ME (and yes, I did watch them interact with guys, and NO they did NOT ever say anything to them, and YES I did see them do it every single girl we work with), you would not question the assumptions about mansplaining or sexism. Just because you don’t notice the sexism around you every day doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. But thanks for trying to convince me that my life experiences are imaginary and invalid (which, for the record, MANSPLAINING. YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT NOW. THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE).
JS (chick): This almost borders on the strange phenomenon of why men won’t ask for directions…after driving in circles for hours…”The GPS is wrong!” LOL.
LG (chick): I used to work at a hardware store and had more experience than the other people in my department. Many times when I would ask a male customer if there was any way I could help them they would say no and immediately go ask a man in my department–like with me legit watching–and the guy I worked with would often bring them right back to me because he didn’t know the answer. I’m not saying the computer guy was necessarily against ladies, but it does still happen sometimes. Or at least it did in 1996 when I worked at a hardware store.
JF (chick): “I didn’t get through your whole article yet but it seems based on what one guy thought in 1903.” Yeah, calling from inside the house, indeed.
AT (chick): Might I come to AG’s aid and play Devil’s Advocate for a moment. Perhaps AG isn’t mansplaining on this particular issue because he believes he knows how women feel. Perhaps his opinion is rooted in being a man and knowing that not all men mansplain because of a predesposed condition to believing women are inferior. As a married woman I have come to realize that men are far more black and white then women would like to believe. Perhaps the hipster guy at the counter was just a douchebag knowitall and not a misogynistic relic from the early 1900′s. Just a thought…
AG: LB…. I’m sorry that I have a different opinion than you. However, just b/c I’m a man doesn’t mean that I can’t have my own opinions and observations. If I voice my opinions it doesn’t make me mansplaining. Why am I not allowed to have an opinion? I either have to agree with everything that is said or else I’m a horrible sexist man. You don’t see a group of men argue about womensplaining when a women voices their ideas do you? It just seems that no matter what road you go down the answer has to be that men are wrong and aren’t entitled to weigh in on ‘womens’ issues. I’m sorry… but I’m allowed to have an opinion on abortion, and gay rights and anything else I desire to have an opinion on. If I even dared to say that you couldn’t have an opinion on a ‘male’ issue, you would burn me alive. Are there sexist people out there? Sure, but they are on both sides of the fence. What I always see happening is taking the view of the extreme minority and making that the focal point of a movement which has already seen and surpassed its goals. It’s ok to have an open dialogue with a man and not label it mansplaining. We are allowed to think also.
LB: Hellooooo, false equivalency. Members of a marginalized group criticizing the privileged group is not ever the same as members of a privileged group criticizing a marginalized group.( Plus, dismissing someone else’s observations of their own life because you, somehow, know they are wrong even though you have no experience with it is kinda different than having an opinion.) But I’ll tell you what: when I no longer have my health care decisions made for me under the guise of religion, no longer make 77 cents on a dollar, no longer have a glass ceiling, am no longer expected to balance a career and family while men have no such expectation, no longer get catcalled and accused of “asking for” rape because I wore tight pants, no longer suffer 75% of domestic violence in this country, etc etc etc etc. THEN you and I get to be on equal footing.We didn’t create the power imbalance, buddy, but it is still VERY relevant. Asking why you can’t have a dismissive “opinion” about my life is like asking why there isn’t a white history month. And if you don’t get that, I really can’t be bothered to educate you.
AG: Thank you AT… I’m not pretending to know how women feel. I just know what I see. I was just accused of mansplaining myself solely for commenting on this. That’s not fair. If anything this is sexism towards men. How is it equality if suddenly men aren’t allowed to be involved? I don’t know why we have to label what a man says as anything. If a female friend of mine decides to give me advice on something I plan on cooking for dinner, is this now womensplaining and she is sexist with no right to comment?
LB: Also, feminism has already seen and surpassed its goals?! Jesus, what kind of magical fantasy-land are you LIVING in?
AG: LB…. you don’t make 77 cents on the dollar..that is a myth… want to read about it?
AG: I can actually show you real facts and data that show there is no sexism involved in the wage gap.
LB: Ok, fine, i will acknowledge that the actual number is higher than 77 cents on a dollar…the actual numbers are hard to pin down, but you’re right, it’s higher than that. I used the cliche for convenience, but that was my bad. However, no sexism in the wage gap? Bull. Fucking. Shit.
LB: Just because there’s “data” doesn’t make it true. I can show you “data” about how global warming isn’t real.
LB: Also, way to cherry-pick ONE point I made and act as though that disproves my entire argument about sexism. Even if you were right about the wage gap, which you are not, the other points still stand. I can’t even BELIEVE you’re trying to convince me feminism is done! All goals achieved! Sexism is dead.
LB: If you really seriously believe that, I just lost MAJOR respect for you. MAJOR.
AG: You are so misguided it is laughable… 1) government makes decisions on my health care also not just yours. DO you know that women in this health care plan get free preventative treatment and men get nothing? How…really against women there. 2) What glass ceiling? Didn’t you just say you train people? Who is stopping a woman from doing anything?THat’s the whole problem, you use cliches and false data to try to prove a point that doesn’t exist. feminism used to be about equality. Now it’s about power and making sure men stay in their place.
AG: Data doesn’t make it true? Why rely on actual facts when you can make up numbers.
LB: OK, you know what? I have realized that I may be ranting, because this is something I care passionately about. Facebook, however, is a bad forum for political discussion. And this is terrible for my blood pressure. So you know what dude? Believe whatever the fuck you want. I’m DONE defending my need for equality to you. Congratulations! Hey, you win! Good thing feminism has achieved all its goals, or the fact that I can’t even log on to my own facebook without having someone dismiss my entire life experience would be REALLY FUCKING BOTHERSOME. I’m out.
AG: What goal do you want to achieve? Make it illegal for men to talk to women? Also, don’t tell me about work-life balance and raising kids. I’m trying to make dinner while getting my son to do hw after working all day. Guess what..us men do it also! You have equality. How much more equality can you get? You have the right by law to do everything a man can do.
AG: and if you want to read real facts…
SW (dude): Bullshit:
SW: And also:
AG: SW… I read the first article. Now keep going down and read the comments. There is definitely a discussion to be had. There are social and other outside factors that go into the wage gap issue that cannot be explained with a simple ‘sexual discrimination’ argument. LB herself earlier was writing about how she has to train people. In this discriminatory world that everyone here seems to perceive exists, she would not be allowed to do that job but be paid 3/4 the amount of her male coworker. She would also never be promoted b/c well.. women don’t get promoted right?The report does not mask sexism.. it includes factors that are actually relevant when having a true discussion on issues. It made me laugh when Hillary Clinton was making a Presidential run screaming about the glass ceiling. The woman is running for president…. more women vote than men. If everyone wanted a woman president, there would be one. Men can’t stop it. There is no glass ceiling. It is a myth. Was it a myth 20, 30, 50 years ago…. no. However, times have changed. CAn’t use facts from the past and pretend they exist now. The world isn’t flat anymore.
AG: Ok… just saw who the authors were for the second link you posted. W/o even starting this yet, don’t you think this might be a little biased?
AG: Early career choices, most prominently occupational choices, also play a role in the gender pay gap. While the choice of major is related to occupation, the relationship is not strict. For example, some mathematics majors choose to teach, while others work in business or computer science. One year after graduation, women who work in computer science, for instance, earn over 37 percent more than do women who are employed in education or administrative, clerical, or legal support occupations. Job sector also affects earnings. Women are more likely than men to work in the nonprofit and local government sectors, where wages are typically lower than those in the for-profit and federal government sectors.
AG: ok..I agree… it’s about choices.
SW: You didn’t refute any of the points in the first article. This’ll be my last posting on this thread. Thanks.
AG: You didn’t refute anything from my article. IT was a pleasure chatting with you.
AG: And I didn’t have to refute anything. It was all done in the comments below the article. You just need to read it.
Teresa Jusino: Wow. I can’t go to work for five minutes (or a day) without turning around and finding a huge comment chain! I think it’s safe to say that it’s done. Although I have to say, AG, when LB talked about “data” she was using QUOTES. Meaning that anyone can find fake (ie: NOT factual and unbiased) data to support things, like global warming not being real. We’re not “anti-data” here, but you seem to not count LIFE EXPERIENCE as data, when that’s the most concrete form of data there is. I shouldn’t have to show you charts and graphs from scientists to tell you things FROM MY LIFE. “Where’s the proof?” I LIVED IT. You don’t believe me? THAT’S YOUR PROBLEM, AND IT DOESN’T MEAN IT DOESN’T HAPPEN.
AG: I understand that Theresa I really do. [ED NOTE: He spells my name wrong, despite having known me for a while, and despite my name being right there next to my comment. Grrr. Argh.] But it seems that anyone’s life experiences that show anything different arent’ valid. I can share plenty of my own personal life experiences about how I clearly see that most sexism these days are towards men. I can give you personal examples of how as a man, I have less rights than a woman. I can show you personally how government is biased against men. We all experience things. However, taking your personal experiences and then claiming that if men speak they are mansplaining and they should just shut up, is not fair.
Teresa Jusino: Also, to both AG AND AT – the thing is, it’s not as if “nice people” aren’t misogynists. It’s not as simple as that. Just because a man (or woman – and YES, there is internalized misogyny. But just because it’s a woman supporting the unfairness doesn’t make it right) isn’t out and out bashing women or keeping them from jobs, etc….just because a man loves his wife and daughters, etc doesn’t mean he isn’t sexist or contributing to discrimination. The problems re: gender are systemic, meaning they seep into every aspect of our lives, from what we wear (or are criticized for wearing) when we leave the house, to what jobs we have (and how we’re treated at them even if we DO have a higher paying/ranking job), to the very simple thing of families still being traced by the male line. It’s the double standard that’s the problem, and that double standard manifests itself in a million little ways. Yes, Hilary Clinton can run for president, and yes, there are women who won’t vote for her. But just because Hilary Clinton is ALLOWED to run BY LAW, doesn’t mean that there isn’t sexism involved in her not winning. ALSO, I didn’t vote for Hilary Clinton, because I didn’t think that she had valid experience at the time as a lawyer and a First Lady, whereas Obama had worked through state and US Sentates before running. Were she to run now after having been Secretary of State? I’d vote for her in a heartbeat. Just because some women didn’t vote for her, doesn’t mean they “don’t want a woman president.” Also, just because there are more women than men doesn’t mean “more women vote.” Having worked on a couple of presidential campaigns, I can tell you that those facts change from election to election, and each time have different factors (economic, social) contributing to those facts. Just because women are ALLOWED to do certain things (first of all, you’d be saying that this in and of itself deserves some kind of special praise. It doesn’t – it should be a given. And the fact that you could even say something like “See? Women can do high-level jobs! That means there’s no sexism.” with a straight face just shows how deep misogyny goes in our culture) doesn’t mean that sexism doesn’t exist. Black people are allowed to use whatever bathrooms they want – that’s hardly proof that racism is over. AG, you demand more DATA, while contributing simplistic, one-sided arguments in return. Arguing with you is kinda boring, because it’s akin to talking to a kid with his fingers in his ears.
AG: My arguments are one sided? In your world, everything is against women. If women have high paying jobs, there is still sexism. Women can run for president but if they aren’t elected..it’s sexism. You have to dress a certain way for work/school/etc… sexism. I’m one sided? The answer to everything here is..men are bad..woman good.
Teresa Jusino: @AG – I remember your email explaining this point – and I countered a lot of it as making up for YEARS of imbalance in the other direction. [ED NOTE: AG emailed me directly to clarify comments he made in a similar discussion about feminism months ago] As for you having “less rights” legally? Like, for example, a mother automatically getting the rights to a kid over a dad (which I think you brought up)…THAT IS ALSO SEXISM! Sexism doesn’t just affect women, and it’s not just a woman problem. Why do women automatically get the kids – because taking care of kids has historically been “women’s work,” so it’s automatically assumed that they’re the better parent. You’re right – THIS IS WRONG AND STUPID. However, it’s actually rooted in misogyny against women. It’s not women “winning” or “having more rights” as much as it’s a byproduct of perceived gender roles. I think it’s interesting that you’d hold up an example like that as “proof” that men have it bad – it seems sexism against women only matters when it affects men’s lives? Fine, whatever makes you get up off your ass and fight it.
AG: So.. sexism against men is all b/c of sexism against women?
AG: I dont’ see feminists fighting for equality in family law. If you truly believed that it is wrong and stupid, you would be joining the father’s rights groups that are trying to get real equality.
Teresa Jusino: How can I explain to you that the fact that there are strict gender roles in the first place is because there’s a “way” men are supposed to act, and a “way” women are supposed to act – and while it’s OK for a woman to wear pants, it’s NOT OK for a man to wear a dress without risking at the least, embarrassment, and at the most, violence. How can I explain to you that this all stems from the fact that being female at all is considered weaker and lesser-than, and that that idea informs ALL of the problems that you see. I just don’t have the time to get it through that thick head of yours.Also, you say “feminist groups” as if there’s only one kind. There actually ARE feminists who fight for father’s rights, because all of that contributes to equality among the sexes. A big point of feminism – especially modern feminism – is not only to better women’s lives, but to allow men to not have to adhere so strictly to THEIR gender roles. You’d actually know that if you paid attention and/or actually cared. You’re still thinking of “feminism” as “something that happened in the 60s” and have that stereotype in your head. You’re not thinking of it as a current, evolving movement, which it is. No movement is perfect, but it’s more inclusive than you think, and there are actually men now who call themselves feminists without apologizing for it. I’m dating one at the moment. Progress.
And now, I’m done. I have to get to work, and Liz is right – FB is not the place for a nuanced discussion.
Aaaaand, that’s where it stopped. Though in re-reading the conversation here, I just noticed that while AG didn’t finish the article I posted, he “read the first article” – the whole thing, despite ultimately finding fault with it – posted by SW, a dude. I wonder if he would’ve read the whole article had I posted it? Hmmm….
Also, I’m not a feminist scholar. When I argue, I’m arguing from a place of “obviously, women deserve the opportunity to design their lives as individuals as freely as men do without being hindered by gender-related double-standards.” I don’t always have the correct terms for things (though I think they’re helpful, so we’re all on the same page), but I don’t think they’re absolutely necessary. After all, feminism, to me, is really a very simple idea – one so simple, it can be understood by a child. Simple, but – of course – not easy. Yet, I’d be curious to hear from people all across the feminist spectrum. Where could I use more info? And where am I getting it wrong? I know lots of intelligent feminists who are well-versed in the history and continued evolution of the movement. Help a sister out!
And lets’ be civil, people. I know how these convos can get sometimes. These comments are moderated, yo. I’m tolerant of a lot, but I won’t tolerate personal attacks (on me, or other commenters) or trollage. /warning