Being in a bad mood, I should probably try and write something positive. But I can’t think of anything, and if I did, it’d feel pretty saccharin.
So I’m getting this rant out of my system with the hope of being able to post more positive and constructive stuff in the future (I really need to get off my ass and read up on GG&S and maybe write story things again). I’m hoping this rant makes sense, but if it doesn’t then that just means my writing is way more rusty than I thought.
Also this feels way more ranty and unrelated to writing to qualify as an ‘A Tricky Topic?’ thing, but it’s in that vain.
I know two guys.
We’ll call them Mick and Joel.
Mick is a very docile guy who doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body.
Joel is somewhat arrogant and aggressive but a good person deep down.
(We’ll probably be focusing on Mick here.)
They have a number of things in common. To name a few: their need for sunscreen greatly outweighs mine; they advocate things in a manner I think is stupid; and, my favorite, their inability to handle disagreement. And, no, I don’t think it’s because they’re men. At least, not in the way a vocal minority seems to want to portray men (blah blah patriarchy men are scum blah blah).
They’re incapable of handling disagreement because they think they’re doing the right thing. The male aspect comes up in that I think they believe having dangly parts makes them evil, thus they need to atone for it. Or something. I’m not a dude, and I’m definitely not them, so this is all conjecture.
We’ll start with Mick.
Again. Super docile guy. I know he doesn’t mean anything bad, but his desire to try and be a good guy or “not one of THOSE guys” has gone into overdrive and is turning him a little bit into what he says he’s not. A way to look at him is that “docile” is the word for his nature and “overcompensates” is the word for his methods.
What annoys me about Mick, aside from his inability to handle me questioning his logic or arguments (I’ll get to that in a moment), is how god damn hard he tries to show he’s one of those good and safe guys. If you bring up reddit, or if he brings it up, he always, always has to say “ugh, that sexist cesspool!”
We get it. You hate them. He also throws in jabs at men in general (he’ll share posts on FB about how men are scum, men are pigs, etc). It all just screams insecurity. I get he wants to show he’s a safe guy (and he really is), but he’s so offputting about it. But what makes it all the more obnoxious is that I, a woman, disagree with him a lot and he can’t seem to comprehend that.
Mick is very polite, by the way. But he (and Joel) both espouse and regurgitate rhetoric that comes from people who treat women that disagree with them sufferers of internalized misogyny. So how does this make me, a woman, a member of the group Mick claims to champion the rights of, feel? It makes me feel like I’m not actually allowed to have those opinions. Whatever I say will not be taken seriously but as coming from a woman who is misinformed and doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Obviously he may not actually think that, but he doesn’t seem to be aware that a lot of what he shares and parrots can alienate the very group he thinks he’s helping.
Hell, I can’t even make jokes about myself in front of Mick. An example with a bit of background:
In the history department there were a lot of dudes named Mick. I had classes with two Micks. There’s the Mick I’m bitching about and another Mick. We’ll call the Mick I’m bitching about Mick-I and the other one Mick-II. This happened last year.
-Me: So many Micks.
-Mick-I: Yup. We’re everywhere.
-Mick-II: It’s like a club, really.
-Me: Sweet–can I join?
-Me: Why? Is it cuz I’m a woman? Is that it? Huh??
-Mick-II: Yes. Yes it is.
-Mick-I: What?! Nonono–no it’s not that–
-Me: …It…it was a joke dude.
-Mick-II: …Mick is traditionally a male name. Salix is female. Therefore, yes, it is because she is a woman that she can’t join the club.
It was a harmless joke that I made about my lack of dangly parts. But apparently that was not okay to Mick-I, a male, who thought it was offensive for a woman to make a joke about herself.
In other words, this guy doesn’t seem to be aware that he is, to an extent, acting like the controlling dudes he thinks he’s championing against. Since he’s advocating for my rights, he seems to think it’s okay to try and stop offensive jokes I say at my own expense if it’s in the name of making a safe space for women (also note I was the only woman present for this joke). I should note I’m aware this behavior is not as extreme as the group he’s against, but it’s still really, really annoying to feel like I’m on eggshells with him. I just wanted to make a joke about being a woman but apparently that’s not acceptable. He wasn’t angry, but he looked like he was about to have a heart attack unless he expressed right then and there the joke wasn’t acceptable.
This isn’t the only incident, mind you, and I’m not bitter about it. But I chose that event because I feel like it’s a good snapshot of how he is. He’s a dude who is terrified that he’ll be seen as sexist if he didn’t stop that kind of joke, or he was afraid I’d think he was sexist for laughing at my joke. Because, y’know, that’s what jokes are for–to be laughed at.
What is also exasperating about Mick and how he goes about his platform is he doesn’t seem to understand what it means to be an advocate. He does do cool things, but when it comes down to standing his ground and defending what he says, he fails.
Two recent examples. The first being that he is going to school abroad in Europe (which is cool, so congrats to him for that). … Also I just learned it’s a degree in business, not history.
Well okay then.
Let me pretend I didn’t see that yet.
He has a BA in history (like me). His plan was, originally, to go to a foreign school for his MA in American History to gain a different perspective. I think that’s actually a really awesome approach. Except his further reasoning soured that a bit. Sadly, our country elected a Cheeto puppet for president. Understandably, he wants out.
Except he’s (well, was) an American historian fleeing the country at one of the most pivotal moments in our history. That in of itself wasn’t so bad, but it was the way he kept going about it. “I’m getting outta here guys! Good luck!” “I wanna get outta here before things get real bad.” Or saying things like I’m an optimist because I don’t think the country is going to tear itself apart in a la Civil War 2. That aint optimism–that’s cold, hard acceptance about how compliant and overworked and outgunned we are.
Whatever. He’s not getting his MA in history anymore, but in business instead, it turns out. Kind of wonder what caused that change. I’d ask, but he’d probably see the question as starting a fight (and let’s face it–it probably would be).
Anyway, he made a post about how we should get out of this country while we still can. If you haven’t guessed now, the topic of (white) people needing to understand their privilege is also something he discusses. Except here’s a privileged white guy telling a bunch of people to leave the country while they can. I asked him about the people who want to leave but can’t afford it or aren’t in a position to leave.
He never replied. I’d like to point out I made sure I did not sound aggressive.
The other incident of him not knowing how to respond to a challenge in his mode of thought was about trigger warnings. Jonathan Pie recently did a little video about how excessive they became. Mick defended the trigger warnings. I disagreed and said that they had a use but are now extremely overdone and over trivial and impossible to predict things (like colonialism in Things Fall Apart).
Never got a response.
So what’s the tl;dr of all this?
I’m really annoyed by people who claim to be for the rights of others, but when presented with a person or statement that goes against their preconceived notions of reality, they don’t know how to take it and come off as spineless and ill-prepared instead.