• Mon, Nov 12 2012

Bullish Life: When Men Are Too Emotional To Have A Rational Argument

karl rove

Jennifer Dziura writes life coaching advice weekly here on TheGloss, and career coaching advice Fridays on TheGrindstone.

On the night of the election, I was alone in my apartment, refreshing CNN.com. The electoral tally went above 270. I refreshed again! Finally, the headline! I wanted to share with someone, so I went downstairs and told my doorman. I assumed he would be pro-Obama, and I was not wrong. I think I said, “Yay!” And my doorman said, “Yeah, all right!”

Since then, white men all over the television have been LOSING THEIR SHIT. Trump had a public meltdown on Twitter. Limbaugh sounds like he was just dumped by his prom date. (What do I have to do to be good enough for your love?! Tell me! I’ll be anything you want! What about all the good times we had?) This guy is vowing to spit at Democrats and to shout “Obama sucks!” if you try to do something nice for him. Karl Rove got very upset on Fox News. So upset, in fact, that he was not able to think rationally.

This seems like just the right cultural moment for an article I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

Women’s Emotions are “Emotions,” Men’s Emotions are “How People Talk”

A long time ago, in Bullish: What Egg Donation Taught Me About Being a Dude, I quoted Ben Barres, Chair of the Neurobiology department at Stanford, and also a transsexual man:

It is just patently absurd to say women are more emotional than men. Men commit 25 times the murders; it’s shocking what the numbers are. And if anyone ever sees a woman with road rage, they should write it up and send it to a medical journal.

What I want to talk about is how emotional outbursts typically more associated with men (shouting, expressing anger openly) are given a pass in public discourse in a way that emotional outbursts typically more associated with women (crying, “getting upset”) are stigmatized.

I wish to dispel the notion that women are “more emotional.” I don’t think we are. I think that the emotions women stereotypically express are what men call “emotions,” and the emotions that men typically express are somehow considered by men to be something else.

This is incorrect. Anger? EMOTION. Hate? EMOTION. Resorting to violence? EMOTIONAL OUTBURST. An irrational need to be correct when all the evidence is against you? Pretty sure that’s an emotion. Resorting to shouting really loudly when you don’t like the other person’s point of view? That’s called “being too emotional to engage in a rational discussion.”

Not only do I think men are at least as emotional as women, I think that these stereotypically male emotions are more damaging to rational dialogue than are stereotypically female emotions. A hurt, crying person can still listen, think, and speak. A shouting, angry person? That person is crapping all over meaningful discourse.

I love Rachel Maddow. If you’re a ladyblog reader, you’ve probably seen this. But let me bring back this Maddow video from last April, in which Alex Castellanos denies the existence of the pay gap for women:

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RACHEL MADDOW: But given that some of us believe that women are getting paid less than men for doing the same work, there is something called the Fair Pay Act. There was a court ruling that said the statute of limitations, if you’re getting paid less than a man, if you’re subject to discrimination, starts before you know that discrimination is happening, effectively cutting off your recourse to the courts. You didn’t know you were being discriminated against. You can’t go. The first law passed by this administration is the Fair Pay Act. To remedy that court ruling. The Mitt Romney campaign put you out as a surrogate to shore up people’s feelings about this issue after they could not say whether or not Mitt Romney would have signed that bill. You’re supposed to make us feel better about it. You voted against the Fair Pay Act. It’s not about–whether or not you have a female surrogate. It’s about policy and whether or not you want to fix some of the structural discrimination that women really do face that Republicans don’t believe is happening.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: It’s policy. And I love how passionate you are. I wish you are as right about what you’re saying as you are passionate about it. I really do.
RACHEL MADDOW: That’s really condescending.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: For example– no.
RACHEL MADDOW: I mean this is a stylistic issue.
ALEX CASTELLANOS: I’ll tell you what–
RACHEL MADDOW: My passion on this issue–
ALEX CASTELLANOS: Here’s a fact–
RACHEL MADDOW:–is actually me making a factual argument–

“My passion on this issue is actually me making a factual argument.” I could die of joy (yes, that’s an emotion). But despite my deep enjoyment of Rachel Maddow, totally unruffled, calling that guy out for his patronizing bullshit, that video is really hard for me to watch.

I was a high school debate champion. Then co-captain of the team at Dartmouth. I’m no Maddow, but I’m pretty good at holding my own in this kind of situation. And yet, if that were me, deflecting Alex Castellanos’ dismissive mansplaining, I’d need a whole day to recover. How does that kind of discourse help uncover truth?

In a Washington Post article about Ben Barres, the neuroscientist who transitioned from female to male, biologist Peter Lawrence posits “a range of cognitive differences” between men and women. And yet:

But even as he played down the role of sexism, Lawrence said the “rat race” in science is skewed in favor of pushy, aggressive people — most of whom, he said, happen to be men.

“We should try and look for the qualities we actually need,” he said. “I believe if we did, that we would choose more women and more gentle men. It is gentle people of all sorts who are discriminated against in our struggle to survive.”

“The qualities we actually need” rarely include pushing others around, or having a deep, loud voice.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/sameurysm Samantha Escobar

    I’ve never actually thought about this topic beyond the frustration of being called “emotional” when I discuss something that is a deep injustice, like laws impeding women’s healthcare and whatnot. But this definitely is true, and incredibly depressing. All through college, I would always hear women saying that they wish females were more like males because “guys just punch each other and then get over it, while girls get bitchy.” Because, you know, punching people because you’re pissed is totally rational and definitely way better than using your words.

    Also, Rachel Maddow is such a hero, dammit.

    • jack_sprat2

      It’s such a deep injustice that women live some eight years longer than do men. The monkey may not be able to figure out what happened to those extra bananas, but he knows that he’s being hosed. Forgive him his surliness.

    • Bethgael

      Maaaaybe he needs to figure out that the extra bananas were destroyed by all that anger?

    • canaduck

      Blame biology, dummy. The average lifespan of women has always been higher than that of men. There isn’t some spooky conspiracy here.

    • http://twitter.com/sciliz Rebecca Weinberg

      Hmm, probably not *always*. In societies without much war but also without modern medicine, you’d expect enough women to die in childbirth that the averages would come out differently.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sophia-Daniels/764343779 Sophia Daniels

      i’m pretty sure i’ve seen statistics about this. basically women out living men is an indicator of social and economical growth in a country. and in instances where we’d expect women to live longer based on their gdp there’s some other factor (misogyny/sexism) that’s causing their lifespans to not be getting longer.

    • missdk

      I think OP means “always” in that it is a biological constant all things being equal. Mammalian females always have a longer life span than males.

    • Nor

      We should, because the XX combo is stronger than the XY genetically – built in redundancy with the XX means men don’t have any backup when either their X or Y goes wonky. But humans are terribly built re: birth, and historically, women died much younger than men. 150 years ago, our lifespans were shorter for sure.

    • likearadiowave

      why is there always some random jacknob that comments in these articles about serious societal issues, then chooses the most random. unrelated “injustice”, like “women have more pies than I do!” or “women have this” .. it’s like, are your purposely missing the point of the article?

    • http://twitter.com/reanimated Kelly S

      so you’re a monkey? you’re really spending your whole life having a tantrum over average lifespans? you don’t have higher brain function like humans, to rein in your emotions? welp, congrats on illustrating the article.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sophia-Daniels/764343779 Sophia Daniels

      ok. maybe i can dig up some of my old “how to pass as a guy” tricks from my youth to put this in a way you can understand.

      you’re an idiot. please remove yourself. or uhm… something threatening… rawr i beat you up now rawr! because you’re not “man enough” to deal with a shorter life span in exchange for owning everything.

      get over yourself. lurk moar. gtfo stfu….. uhm…. that’s all i got. i never was good at that stuff without consistent modeling and enforcement…. and i’m just sad and horrified by what i was capable when i was trying to prove i was a real boy in preschool through high school….

  • Lastango

    Unbalance comes in many forms. You agreed to debate about whether men should have to pay on dates, and hijacked the forum to talk about your personal views on violence by men against women. In an act of low-level violence against the format and and compact, you set your partner up, taking him off his game by blindsiding him with an out-of-context, un-debaterly rhetorical switch he had no way of knowing was coming. You dealt a card from the bottom of the deck, selecting one that would have an especially sharp edge because your debate partner was a man. You cheated. No wonder he called you out. Now you’re saying, in effect, “Look at that emotional, angry, shouting man!”. Since when is your performance how an veteran debater presents or wins an argument? The loudest shriek here is your sense of entitlement.
    ======
    You want us to be impressed by your sang-froid. Actually, I’m impressed by his clarity. Despite his irritation he not only recognized what you had done, but he also, when he declared your approach “passive-aggressive”, saw that you were attempting to exploit the tenor of his reaction by striking a calm, collected pose so that he would look irrational by comparison. You, of course, would come off as the scholarly, collected, fact-based, experienced commenter that you’re trying to sell yourself as in this post. And perhaps that is what you usually are. But in that time and place, you were an activist on a mission, ready to disrespect the invitation and your debate partner to get what you wanted for yourself.
    ======
    You end this piece with, “we’ll just have to act like grownups and ignore whoever’s having a temper tantrum.” You’ll have my ear when you decide that means all forms of non-rational discourse — including sophistic partisanship served up by gamesplayers with calculated, calm exteriors.

    • Elmo

      Whoa, dude. Did you just mansplain what was IN JENNIFER’s HEAD before a debate started? Not only could you not know that, I thikn she was pretty clear that the two people basically agreed on the main issue to be “debated,” so they probably had to talk about other stuff. I also think that violence against women is pretty relevant in any scenario involving a woman wanting to extricate herself from a date.

    • Lastango

      Playing the “mansplain” card, eh?

      ======

      Just an FYI: your ability to back me off with a spin-and-smear attack is absolute zero.

    • kj

      “Mainsplaining” is a pretty accurate description of the approach made by your comment.

      Perhaps your point would be better made by actually engaging with what Elmo has to say, instead of simply dismissing it as a “spin-and-smear attack.”

      As of now, you are basically proving Jen’s point by demonstrating the kind of non-communicative, reactionary behaviour she is decrying.

    • Lastango

      You seem to be hoping that noone reads carefully. Perhaps you didn’t either — so let me help.
      ===
      First, Elmo’s remark is based on a claim that I was saying “what was is Jen’s head before the debate started.” Your next step is to carefully review my comment, and to discover that I said nothing at all about that. I would have suggested as much to Elmo, but thought it too obvious. Evidently it wasn’t… or you are so eager to attack you don’t care what I actually wrote.
      The “mansplainin” cheapshot was just the usual demonization, like a campus undergrad trying to marginalize another viewpoint by calling someone else a racist or a hater.
      ===
      Second, Elmo is trying to let Jen off the hook with “so they probably had to talk about other stuff”. We’re going to have to let Elmo expain the grounds for that speculation. While Elmo is doing that, Elmo can also enlighten us on why “violence against women is pretty relevant in any scenario involving a woman wanting to extricate herself from a date”, and why that sort of bombthrowing seems like a such a natural follow-on to a conversation in which people run out of things to say about who should pay for dinner.
      ===
      Third, for some reason you want us to think Jen is making a highminded argument, decrying “non-communicative, reactionary behaviour”, and trying to bring us to civil discourse. She is doing nothing of the kind. She is launching a buzzsaw attack on men, springboarding off of a strawman incident she herself was responsible for creating, and doing it by kicking her debate partner in the teeth.
      ===
      You can call that “mansplaining”, or whatever you want. I’m making sure no one fails to notice what Jen actually wrote, or where she was taking it. She took it to the same place she took the debate. And where is that? Let’s re-read her grand finale:
      ===
      “I’d like us to acknowledge that uncontrolled emotions are the cause of most crime, and most crime is committed by men.
      “I can tell you, the truth is infuriating to irrationally angry men who try to bully you and shut you down. You want to see how much such men cannot handle the truth that they are slaves to their own emotions? Tell a shouting, angry man — ‘All you whores voted for Obama because you want handouts from the government!’ — tell that man, ‘Stop it, you’re getting emotional. I can’t talk to you when you’re so emotional.’”
      ===
      My goodness, what a controlled, unemotional appeal to reason. No red-meat, inflammatory language there, right? And certainly no distortions. Just like at the debate. Yup, that’s our Jen — and you — calming us and helping us to a healing dialogue.

    • eirik1985

      “I’m making sure no one fails to notice what Jen actually wrote, or where she was taking it.”

      Give the readers of this article some credit for being able to understand what Jen is saying without you needing to explain it.

      Someone disagreeing with your interpretation does not necessarily mean they have failed to understand. I disagree that the risk of violence towards a woman is irrelevant in the context of dating. Since much of the violence against women is perpetrated by partners, it’s highly relevant to the debate in question. It provides an explanation for why women aren’t always as straightforward as men might like them to be in terms of refusing a follow-up date. It’s an explanation, not necessarily a justification.

      You’re resorting to sarcasm and patronising your interlocutors to discredit them and make your own points seem more heavyweight. This is precisely what this article is complaining about. You have provided all the vindication Jen could ask for. Sneering is not the way to win an argument, it’s the way to make yourself appear weak. Come back when you can present your case dispassionately.

    • Lastango

      It’s astounding you think you can urge me to argue dispassionatley while you omit addressing the highly emotional “ZOMG BIG WUUUURDZ, U MUST BE RITE!!1!” and “Whoa, dude. Did you just mansplain what was IN JENNIFER’s HEAD before a debate started?”

      All the sarcasm and the sneering — not to mention the namecalling and ridicule — is being done by the people you’re defending. But you have to claim it’s the other way around because otherwise it’s obvious they are doing exactly what Jen did: using emotional ploys instead of the logic real debating, and then blaming her debate partner for causing the problem.

      ===

      But I do appreciate your comment, because you’ve really helped me make my point. You’re playing to the crowd. Your sneering “Come back when you can present your case dispassionately” denies my equal right to voice my view on this thread. Who made you the Patron?
      But it was a nice try by you — striking a rational pose while avoiding actual rationality… just like Jen during what was a debate until she drove it off the tracks, and in this article where she uses emotion to denounce men for being emotional. I hope she gets over her anger; her protest against angry men is dripping with it.

    • ThothMRM

      Mainsplaining is a sexist ad hominem and shows a lack of respect; it should be called out for its sexism. If the best one can do is attack a persons gender to try and make their point then they have no real point to make.

    • kj

      I love that you copied my typo. My bad for making the typo I guess.

      Mansplaining, IMHO, refers to a condescending way of speaking to a woman. Male privilege tends to come into play.

      Elmo’s comment was suggesting that Lastango’s comment fit that description.

      Mansplaining is a very real phenomenon. The Gloss has previously written at length about the experience of being mansplained too. Here on our wacky ladyblog, we are entitled to discuss this.

      Using the term “Mansplain” does not mean that women do not “mansplain” in their own way, both to men and women. it does not mean that mansplaining necessarily implies a certain bad intention. It does not mean that men are bad.

      I’m not disrespecting him by saying that his reaction was condescending and implied speaking from a perspective of male privilege.

      A lot of people appear to be reading this article and completely misconstruing its point. They are cherry picking details that they find offensive and using them to derail the argument of the entire article.

      The argument is that when men are emotional, they are not typically seen as irrational, whereas when women are emotional, they are seen as irrational, and not taken seriously. She is also saying that we need to reexamine the way we carry out discussions on TV. I think those are both pretty valid points.

      Jen is not saying that all men are irrational and crazy emotional, or that all women are rational. Jen is suggesting that rethinking our discussion styles and perception of emotion can benefit everyone.

    • ThothMRM

      Mansplaining is sexist. If I used womansplaining wouldn’t you feel that insulted all women? It is a gendered slur that shows many feminists accept sexism as part of their core beliefs and fine with sexism as long as it’s directed at males.

      Also, privilege is a canard, a red herring, to allow sexists to feel justified in their sexism against the other gender. The concept has no merit and only leads to generating more sexism because it creates a very adversarial quality to gender and gender politics. This type of language use to be condemned by feminist, any type of gendered slur, but todays feminists seem to embrace that sexism and hold it as what feminism is about. It makes feminism look like what they were fighting. Sad really.

    • kj

      Please explain to me how privilege is a red herring/canard. Seriously. I would like to hear this.

    • “M”

      I wouldn’t.

    • jack_sprat2

      It’s quite common for women to condescendingly speak to the men in their life, as well, when they can get away with it. Many women will run roughshod over men who cannot or will not engage in alpha behavior with them. Frankly, this cognitive dissonance has much to do with why so many women lament their inability to find a “good man”. Yet, they and their sistren have made it increasingly perilous for non-alpha males to rear up on their hind legs.

      What, they expected to bond romantically with the men whom they’ve neutered?

    • kj

      “Women complaining about being unable to find a good man” has nothing to do with this conversation. I’m not going to touch that.

      The condescension that fuels “mansplaining” has been used to justify centuries of oppression, lower wages, murder, etc.

      And that is why even if “womansplaining” existed in the way you describe, it does not have the same significance.

      …when was the last time they burned grooms in India? Threw acid in their faces? Had witch hunts for men?

    • oj2

      yes eunuchs for everyone

    • Nor

      You clearly don’t have enough bi friends. Maybe then you’d see the pattern.

      Maybe don’t hang out with female jerks? Doesn’t seem like you have much luck finding a “good woman” either.

      My sistren? Don’t you mean my cistern?

      I sure hope you’re rearing up on your hind legs. If you are crawling around on the floor, I’d bet that’s your dating problem right there. That takes a very specific type of lady to enjoy, and they usually charge.

      Yep. Baboons do. http://www.radiolab.org/story/91694-new-baboon/

    • Lastango

      You write (referring to me) that “I’m not disrespecting him by saying that his reaction was condescending and implied speaking from a perspective of male privilege”.

      People who read this whole thread will see that you answered my initial post with “ZOMG BIG WUUUURDZ, U MUST BE RITE!!1!”.

      That was “Agressive You”, showing that your first instinct is to destroy by demonizing. Now you’re dropping into “Passive You” mode, striking a rational pose… exactly what Jen did during the debate, and in this piece.

      You and Jen make a great pair. Slash and bash — and then falsly pretend you’re merely urging that “rethinking our discussion styles and perception of emotion can benefit everyone.”

    • kj

      Nope, both the same me. My first sacrcastic comment was based off my gut reaction, which was “someone who uses this kind of obfuscating, pretentious language does not deserve to be taken seriously.”

      Later on, I thought I might as well try to directly engage you, If only to encourage other readers who are surely disheartened by such deliberate misinterpretation of the author’s intent.

      You often assign intent to me: “You seem to be hoping that noone reads carefully.” …on what basis do you say that? Nowhere have I indicated such a thing.

      You keep mentioning a “spin and smear attack.” At what point have I attacked you personally? Please explain. You again are assigning intent without any basis.

    • Lastango

      So… in defending an article claiming that angry men are out-shouting rational women, you’re defending your right to have an ugly gut reaction that demeans and marginalizes another commenter.

      Now — after that — you think you can ask, “At what point have I attacked you personally?”

    • nobodobodon

      Playing the “playing the ___ card” card, eh?

    • kj

      …including sophistic partisanship served up by gamesplayers with calculated, calm exteriors.”

      ZOMG BIG WUUUURDZ, U MUST BE RITE!!1!

    • Amanda Chatel

      Go, kj!

    • Sabrina

      Jennifer was just pointing out that a major reason women might not be upfront with a man on a date when he says “we should do this again sometime” is because we are afraid of aggression, in whatever form that comes in. The male debater brought up the point that he wishes women would be upfront with a man when he says that, to his face, on the date and Jennifer responded with the reason why many women don’t do that. It was an explanation, and a pretty accurate one at that. She didn’t change the debate by bringing up an unexpected topic, she was just giving the reason.

      And if you’re upset by the content, then I will just throw it out there that this is a huge reason why we don’t tell men to their faces that we do not wish for a second date. This happened to me last weekend. A guy asked for my phone number, I told him that I am going through a break up and am not interested in pursuing anything else at the moment, and he immediately got in my face demanding to know how long ago the break up was, do I still live with the boyfriend, how long until I think I’ll be ready, and that he thinks that I can handle a casual lunch. I just wanted this sudden burst of in-my-face aggression and his thoughts on what I was or wasn’t ready for to end, so I gave in, gave him my phone number. Last night he texted me “so are we ever going to see each other again?” Great first text, dude. I responded with “Hi, I am really sorry, I shouldn’t have given my phone number out. As I told you before, I am going through a break up and I am not ready for anything else. Again, I am sorry, I don’t want to lead anyone on, but you would not take no for an answer at the time.” So yeah… that’s the reason.

    • Lastango

      Thank you for the first coherent, straight-up reply of this exchange.
      ===
      If Jen had done what you just described, the flare-up never would have happened. When it comes to fact that women are often at physical risk, men already know this. In conversation, men are not going to be preturbed if a woman says she uses social nicities to avoid potentially-risky confrontation. Getting rid of pesky men isn’t always easy, and everyone has seen this happen many times. Men aren’t big on risky confrontation with other men either.
      ===
      The twist came when, instead of saying women get creative to escape potentially aggressive men, Jen escalated all the way up to a supercharged reference to rape — followed by other references to extreme voilence by men against women. That’s a ploy, and — in a debate between a man and a woman about how men and women relate to each other — it denied her debate partner equal standing. She was positioning him as her moral and cultural inferior, and then tried to reinforce this by a passive-aggressive maneuver so that the contrast between his outburst and her calm would prove her point. He saw this clearly. That’s why he called her out. Crying is another way of pulling this same stunt, of making the other person look like a bully. We see it all the time in courtrooms. Jen talks about the evils of denying someone else’s voice, but is comfortable doing it.
      ===
      If Jen did not intend to hijack the debate, she could have quickly apologized or retracted and then rephrased. But this piece can help us understand why she did not: she said exactly what she meant, and in the intended way. That’s why, in this multipronged, politicized hatchet job of an article, we read inflammatory wording like, “Can you tell me somehow that this is inferior to a bunch of men shouting at and interrupting each other?” and “irrationally angry men who try to bully you and shut you down” and “certainly every time I piss off an unhinged man.”
      When an experienced polemicist goes to work, very little happens by accident.

    • Origami_Isopod

      “When it comes to fact that women are often at physical risk, men already know this.” Yeah, that must be why they whine so often about women “judging” them just for being men.

      Anyway, thanks for proving the truism that you can’t have a discussion about mansplaining or even related to mansplaining without a windbag mansplainer like yourself showing up and sucking all the oxygen out of the thread.

    • Lastango

      If by “sucking all the oxygen out of the thread” you mean that I rained on this orgy of tribal agitprop by showing what it really is, I take that as a compliment.
      ===
      Here’s something for you to think about: perhaps bash-blogging happens because the posters and commenters know they can count on an endless parade of people who want to show they belong by supporting what’s popular. Do you think for yourself, or are you just a soldier in someone else’s army, always saying the Right Thing? When is the last time you contested a progressivist blogger on a progressiveist website? When is the last time you weren’t part of a mob?

    • canaduck

      You don’t
      ===
      actually have to separate your paragraphs
      ===
      like this.

    • Lastango

      Is that all your gang has left?

    • kj

      Buddy, we have lives. Like, seriously.

    • jack_sprat2

      Hmmm, you don’t say. I’d mistaken his doing so for a style choice. Silly me.

    • EastVanHalen

      I was about to respond to this wankery as though it were rational. Time to step away from the internet for a bit.

  • Ktree

    Wonderful article, thank you!

  • kj

    This was a good guy. The problem wasn’t him, it was that the behavior our society
    rewards
    was not, in my opinion, the best this guy had to offer.”

    BAM. This right here, this nailed it. The loud people who talk before thinking and are pushy and all flash but no substance… this is why they are the successful ones. They trample the quiet, thoughtful, rational ones and get all the attention. Frankly, I think that this dynamic is why the world is going to shit… As a quiet person that loathes confrontation and loud shows of dominance, I find it a real struggle to get ahead without going against my easy-going, considerate nature. Seriously.

    Also, If you involve me in any kind of debate about smart, poor kids not being able to
    obtain education, a tear will roll awkwardly down the side of my nose about every ten seconds. It’s cool.

    I almost teared up just reading this. It’s brutal. There is nothing more painful than living with unrealized potential. It reminds me of my beloved Sor Juana who was probably the most brilliant person in the Baroque Spanish World, and yet was constantly oppressed because she was a woman……………..

    • shargarepa

      Yes, I run into this in the corporate world all the time. Too many people value flash over substance – at least in the moment. I’ve found it’s a little like the turtle and the hare – we’re the hare, and we do eventually “win the race,” we just have to stick it out. Unfortunately, some organizations are better at listening to and heeding their hares’ ideas than others.

    • Josh Mathews

      I’m pretty sure the “slow and steady” tortoise is the one that “wins that race” in that fable. But I’m guessing that’s just a typo.

    • shargarepa

      Whoops – yes, that was a typo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thedecay Alex Keller

    lol that is not what people mean when they say women are more emotional, but whatever, the sexism in our world is crazy, so I’ll let you be just as insane in your fight against it.

    PS: Fuck this planet.

    • devovit

      Woah, calm down, you’re getting a bit too emotional.

  • http://twitter.com/Rockybalboa211 Louis Gonzales

    I totally saw a lady driver with road rage! I was about to drive since I had the right of way, yet she totally made her turn right in front of me, stopped, wagged her finger at me, and then drove off. I was so shocked that she would do something like that and I had to go get some frozen yogurt to make myself feel better after that situation. I like to think that women drivers are more composed than men drivers, since there have been several times where men drivers have scared me to death. Once, the car to the side of me honked at this guy on a motorcycle and he proceeded to follow my car for 20 minutes. I stopped at a gas station to see what the trouble was about, and he got off his bike to ask me why I had honked at him. I had to explain to him that it was the other car that had honked at him, yet he went into this rant about how he doesn’t like being honked at since he has been working incredibly hard on minding other people on the road and he didn’t think there was any reason for anyone to honk at him at that moment. All I could do was listen and say I was sorry about the situation. He left, and I made my way inside the gas station to buy a slushee to calm my nerves. (Food calms me down!)

    • Campaign_Reporter

      that’s not road rage, that’s just rudeness and entitlement. Road rage is when the other person blocks your car, gets out and starts striking your vehicle with a bat, screaming obscenities. Which is what has happened to me a few times while driving in male-dominated Malaysia.

  • Matt

    Dear Miss Dziura,

    taking a stand with respect to this article, as a man, I have to admit that I do concur with many of your, as always, very thoughtfully put opinions. I do think that men are as emotional as women, and that there is such a thing as stereotypically male behaviour, that is surely not helpful to any sort of discussion.

    However, there also are points which I do feel are not well represented here. You were able to show clearly just how destructive a fit of shouting and aggression can be, to then go on and compare it to a single silent tear rolling down your cheek. That, in my experience, is not how crying usually is carried out. Many, if not most, people who cry, will do so accompanied by hysteric screeches about the injustice they incurred, in a voice that is as piercing and predominating as I have ever heard. Those people will not, as you posited, be able to listen any more. You are comparing an extreme outburst of one thing, with a humble little display of the other, which hardly captures the point of the argument. Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh are as little use as an argument for anything as calling everyone with a dissenting opinion a Nazi (which happens surprisingly often).

    Secondly, I do concur that aggressive, typically male, behaviour is rewarded in a sense, that people are actually getting away with it. This is a problem, and will lead to a disadvantage for those who are not willing to partake in it. Yet, that is not true for all aspects of life. While you rightfully claim, that a tear will make it hard for you to seem competent in a factual discussion, it is also true, that not only feminist conventions will condemn you for shouting and interrupting people. Most gentlemen will find such behaviour entirely unacceptable. In any academic discussion I have witnessed (a few), it was clear to everyone, that the person who raised his voice first had the weaker argument, trying to compensate for that in volume. I do feel it has something to do with higher education.

    Our society seems to have adopted some weird double standard, in which business people (and radio show discussion panellists) are rewarded for aggression, and the rest of society is talking like some sort of stoned hippy. Because, as a matter of fact, I do not agree with you, that aggression is a more destructive emotion than “getting upset”. Both can be dangerous, and need to be channelled well, instead of being demonised. As long as aggression is off limits, people will be entirely unable to deal with it, when they encounter it. However, if they learned to handle aggression in moderation, they can more easily deal with persons who are going over board with it, and who are unable to make a valid point because of it. While the business world is definitely in favour of classically male behaviour, I feel that on a conceptual level, typically female behaviour is treated preferential in our society. And your condemning of shouting actually proves my point. It’s no coincidence we think of most successful people as arseholes. It’s because the tactics required for them to be successful and the tactics to be successful in a social environment differ. I can’t even begin to imagine how the other side would view our “civil society”, but will try to do so now for my own amusement.

    • Burke

      I think this would be a great point if it were based on an accurate reading of the article – I can’t speak for the author, but I didn’t see any suggestion that by “crying,” she meant “hysterical meltdown.” She hasn’t said that blame-slinging and sobbing isn’t disruptive – she’s said that it’s possible to shed a tear while continuing to listen and absorb. Crying is like drinking: you can have one beer or 12; you can shed a little tear or be drunk on hysteria. Shouting/screaming, by definition, means you aren’t listening or talking calmly. Certainly you aren’t listening or being calm if you’re doing “hysteric screeching,” but surely you’ve seen men and women cry without screeching?

    • jack_sprat2

      That was his point, in part, that she did not intend “crying” to mean “hysterical meltdown”. Why not? Contrasting anything less with shouting and other aggressive dominance display is merely constructing a straw man.

      Have I seen “men and women cry without screeching?” Of course, just as I’ve seen restrained displays of raised voices and other dominance display. We’re naked apes, not baboons, after all, but we’re still male naked apes. Most of us aren’t ready to go under the knife, like they seem prepared to do in Norway.

    • snuffleupagus

      Ah, I was wondering when we’d get to the tiresome mature=castrated equation. Thanks for getting there so efficiently!

  • Person

    Really good points in here, but one aspect you didn’t really touch on is, why are women who display “appropriate male emotions” (ie: anger) still labeled “emotional”? It seems as if the only acceptable range of emotions for a women are placid pleasantness to enthusiastic.

    Also, while men’s emotions are seen as relevant to and reflective of the situation, women’s emotions are seen as extraneous and excessive. You’re also expected to have the emotional cognizance — female intuition? — to change the tone of the situation to one that’s more positive. For instance, even if a catastophe occurs, you, as a women, are supposed to keep your cool, speak in a calm voice, and quiet everyone, while men end up shouting and it’s your responsibility to calm them down.

    • Raka

      I agree, although I don’t think it’s a failing in the article to not touch on every interesting related issue. Plenty of material for more great articles!

      I do find it fascinating that as a guy, I can walk around my workplace all day scowling without a single person telling me how much better I’d look if I was smiling. And contra the admittedly funny road rage quote, it’s certainly not unheard of for women to be loudly irate and aggressive– but almost invariably they will be characterized in disparaging and often gendered terms for doing so. Even behaving firmly and assertively tends to garner the same response. I think it’s bizarre but very telling that acting “like a guy” elicits insults that are explicitly about females. Even when the stereotypically male reaction is assumed to be the default and appropriate one, it’s not acceptable for women to step outside their roles and adopt it.

    • SW999

      But isn’t the same doubly true times ten if a male cries, or becomes frightened or shows any weakness or vulnerability? Women are free to show a wide range of emotion, and do shout and get angry quite often –only when they’re doing it, they’re “asserting themselves” and “being empowered” You go, girl.

      Maybe men shout and wave their arms more because that’s the only kind of emotion they’re allowed to show.

    • canaduck

      You might appreciate the film “The Mask We Live In”–it’s the male-focused counterpart to “Miss Representation”, both by the same feminist director. It’s excellent and discusses the very problem you’ve identified here in regards to men not being allowed to show any emotion other than anger.

  • Amanda

    I also have the ability to cry and carry on a rational discussion at the same time. Gotta say, it freaks people out. Including women who have less of an affinity for rationality–it’s not just a gender thing.

    • Anonymous

      I find it hard to believe that anyone (man or woman) can have a rational conversation while being emotionally distraught. Whether that’s crying, rage, or whatever.

    • PettyBetty

      That’s the thing, though. You can be upset enough to cry without being an emotional wreck. Some people, mostly women, physiologically have a hair trigger for producing tears. When you’re built like that, you often get used to just talking through the tears, and see them more of a marker of a heightened social situation than as a sign you need to stop talking altogether.

    • gordondev

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, crying does not equate to being “emotionally distraught” in the context of a heated debate. In fact, I often end up getting *more* frustrated and shut down when I try to keep from crying and (inevitably) fail.

      For me, the act of “crying” (as in, tears coming down my face; we’re not the howls and moans of someone reacting to something tragic or truly heartwrenching, like the death of a loved one or whatever, here), is purely a physical manifestation of anger or frustration. Some people get red-faced, some clench their fists, some raise their voices. For me, my eyes start producing a large amount of saline, to the point that it runs down my cheeks.

    • 41_N

      @9ef9675448fb2424a65eb86f3817d48a:disqus same. My tears are triggered by anger and frustration; if I expend energy trying to prevent shedding them, I cannot participate rationally in the discussion – it’s a distraction. So, if I’m angered or frustrated, and just let myself cry, then I can use my energy/focus to calm my mind and return to the conversation. I’ve had to explain this to every single person in my entire life who’s at all important to me, including my close family members. I was often dismissed out of hand as a child/young adult because I was “hysterical.” Far from true, I was often mentally calm and focused on the conversation, it’s just that for me certain sorts of emotional stresses result in tears. I don’t love it. I haven’t been able to change it, only moderate it slightly and come to terms with it.

  • Ian Muir

    I’m really torn about this article. Jen makes some great points, and in all honesty I agree with pretty much everything here with one big exception.

    Can we please stop using FOX News pundits as the white male control group? Us white guys have a long way to go, but comparing us all to those whack jobs is going to turn away many of the guys who might learn from this.

    • taylorrenee9

      Why would it do that? Nowhere in this article does it say that all men act that way, just that the ones who get the most attention and who obtain high profile jobs that include debating and reporting on important issues act that way. Using hurt feelings at the comparison as an excuse not to listen to the argument doesn’t gain you too many points in my book. The guys who turn away because of a completely logical and fair comparison because it seems insulting to them are just making an excuse not to consider the points the article makes.

    • treacle

      The point was more that FOX News is the pinnacle job in broadcasting (for worse or for worse, it has the highest paying, most powerful positions in corporate cable news) yet it’s stocked with the worst of these offenders. Our culture rewards emotional white men even when they are irrational. FOX News is the perfect example. It doesn’t mean all men are like those men, it means the ones who are somehow get to become the elites in our society. The same exact behavior from non-white non-men is frowned upon, and so they do not become part of the powerful elites.

  • Christina

    Well the societal view of women being more “emotional” are still propagated by shows like The View and Housewives of….., etc. I think the point should be that both sexes can be emotional in certain circumstances but neither is better than the other.

  • Quill2006

    I am so the woman driver with road rage. I hate driving in heavy traffic, have to do so on a daily basis, and get very, very frustrated by it. I curse, I bang my fists on my steering wheel, I switch lanes more often than is reasonable or even safe. I know my road rage isn’t a particularly healthy way of dealing with traffic, but I still find myself cursing out other drivers. I just do it where they can’t hear me…in my car, with the windows rolled up. I never make any attempt to involve the driver who has pissed me off in my anger. I’m too aware that it would be very easy for someone to get out of their car and respond in kind at the next stoplight. Perhaps that’s the difference?

    • jack_sprat2

      In fact, this behavior is now much, much more common among millennial women, than it seems to have been among their forebears. I’ve seen several mentions of it across the web, mostly by those women themselves.

  • Esqg

    I liked this article; it made me laugh while being a good description of these problematic dynamics. But I do have to ask for more attention to race dynamics here, because the article seems uncomfortably centered on white gender norms (even though I don’t know how you identify).

    One part that stuck out to me: a man being aggressive in debate or conversation with a woman, and usually not having an understanding of how much he can be perceived as threatening: that is white privilege, or at least light-skinned privilege. Men of color, particularly black men, are much more likely to have it reinforced to them by common social reactions that if they get aggressive, even if they move too fast, they can be seen as threats. That is because white men treat them as threats too, and in the long run this makes men of color less likely to speak up.

    Another one: white women’s tears are at least to some extent socialized, and are a reflex that can manipulate others to be more considerate of the woman in question. That works out because anger is usually not seen as acceptable, so tears come instead. But firstly, those tears *are* a distraction, they make people be nice to one, and can be manipulative even though they’re unintentional. Secondly, many women of color have frequently found society unsympathetic to their tears. So it would be good to understand where exactly you’re coming from with how crying works, and where other women might differ.

    So if you address the dynamics of racism and silencing of people of color, and hopefully other privileging dynamics, you will be able to paint a much more coherent picture of how debate styles works. I’m not saying I know all this stuff and learned nothing from your article, but I was frustrated that racial dynamics were not acknowledged past the first paragraph. I would expect your messages will get a lot clearer if you learn from others’ experiences instead of projecting universal-sounding ones onto them.

    TL;DR intersectional analysis needed.

    • shargarepa

      I really like your comment, but I have to ask about this:

      “[tears] can be manipulative even though they’re unintentional.”

      Honest question: Are you thus suggesting that tears are never acceptable because they might be, intentionally or not, manipulative?

      FWIW, I’ve cried MANY genuine tears in my life, as a result of extensive abuse, and I’m disturbed by the number of people who automatically equate tears with manipulation. I’ve never used tears to manipulate (though my kid brother was expert at that, so I’m familiar with it), and I’d be pretty upset if a person close to me interpreted my tears that way. I would hate to live in a society that rendered all tears insincere.

    • jack_sprat2

      No, but it’s also true that the men who react that way to a woman’s tears, in a professional setting, have been manipulated by them before. They’re not going to embrace them gladly now.

    • shargarepa

      Well, I’d want nothing to do with such a person. People are human and have emotions. Distrusting a person just because they cry is ridiculous.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mx.rubyben Ben Jennings

      I don’t think men are any more manipulated by women’s tears than other women are.

    • Josh Mathews

      More to the point, someone shedding tears doesn’t interrupt a conversation the way an angry outburst does. I mean, it probably would interrupt the conversation the first time I saw it because I’d want to make sure the other person was alright, but if they said that they were okay with continuing the debate, then we could continue even if they kept crying. On the other hand, someone talking over me throughout a debate? Well you can’t get your point across unless they stop doing it at some point.

    • esqg

      Hello, thank you! I am not trying to make any blanket statement like “unacceptable”, that would be ridiculous. I keep thinking of things to say, but I think in this comment thread they’ll draw more people like jack_sprat2 who see an opportunity to justify misogyny. So I would simply recommend searching out some anti-racist, feminist writing on “white women’s tears”.

    • 01234

      I think this guy meant that women get paid less because of things like job choice and working styles. From my experience (as being a man) ambition is more financial for men. Being a man means, in part, being able to support yourself so I don’t think it’s too irrational for him to say that. Additionally, (because of their ambition) men choose jobs that are more financially lucrative like something in business etc.

      Ultimately, I think what he meant was that the pay gap isn’t a direct cause of gender discrimination.

    • 01234

      But more a result of the distinctions between genders. You can’t deny that men and women have the same nature; psychology says the oposite.

    • 01234

      Though obviously it plays SOME part. Though not the main one.

    • 01234

      Also, I think what is meant by women being more emotional is they rely on emotion more than men do; women think more. It’s a statistical fact that women are more prone to anxiety and depression. For example, and relating to the job choices of men and women again, men are more likely to go into something like business (a logical decision: money) and women are more likely to go into something like teaching (from my experience, teachers are often more driven by some sort of philosophy like enriching the nations future; a more emotional decision)

      But I’ll admit the emotions expressed by men are typically more violent; afterall, you don’t see women getting into a fight as much as you do men.

    • 01234

      Even if you look at the ‘stylistic difference’ Maddow talks about, you can see that he looks at this more statistically and factually and she looks at it more emotionally: that it’s ridiculous to look at the fact (that the average women gets paid less than the average man) and not be immediately outrage at THAT (as opposed to looking into the issue more extensively using things like demographic and statistical analysis)

    • jess

      But his “statistics and facts” are devoid of actual analysis. It’s simple to look at numbers on a page and say, “Nuh uh.” It takes thought to decipher the reasons behind the numbers. Women aren’t paid less for being teachers and nurses because such jobs are inherently less valuable than being a businessman, they are paid less because such jobs have been devalued by the decision of the men who are empowered to make a value judgment. The men in power place more value on their own contribution to society than women’s. Without teachers and nurses most of us would be dead, without businessmen we’d be thriving.

    • KM

      I’d wager that the decision to follow the money is a very emotional one, fueled by the universal emotion of “gimme gimme gimme.” On the other hand, a “philosophical” decision is by definition borne of thinking/logic. The decision to be other than self-centered is often a very reasoned one indeed.

    • Girls Gone Weird

      I don’t know that dismissing “gimme” as the only emotion when seeking money is really fair. Or that raising philosophical “this job will make me feel good” on a pedestal is fair either. Men are valued for the money they make as much as women are for their appearance. I think both emotion and logic can enter into either job choice.

    • Eyebrows of Logic

      Except that the pay gap statistics compare male and female earnings in identical jobs.

      You are right that stereotypically male jobs tend to pay more than steriotypically female jobs, but that’s a compounding factor of the earning disequilibrium, not the source of it as seen in the $0.77/ $1.00 statistic.

    • Jim Jarvis

      Yeah most of this stuff applies primarily to white people or whiter environments. In my experience black women in particular don’t cry as easily as white women.

  • Lupus

    “I would like a model of discourse in which stereotypically female emotions are less stigmatized, and stereotypically male emotions — especially destructive ones — are not given a free pass. ”

    So, you would like a model of discourse where it’s ok for women to be women but it’s not ok for men to be men. Sounds fair.

    • ebstarr

      Wouldn’t be fair if that’s what it meant, but “less stigmatized” and “not given a free pass” hardly correspond to “OK” and “not OK.” Rather, the article seems to be saying that the former are stigmatized as emotions precisely because they are stereotypically female emotions, not only when they are harmful to discourse, while emotions expressed in stereotypically male ways are often not considered emotions, and are not called out as being obstructive to discourse.

    • brando55

      She still uses female emotion to derail the argument. Here she assumes a premise “men refuse to debate women because they think they are hysterical”, proves it false herself by showing examples of men debating with women, but dismisses those men through ad hominem attacks and non sequiturs about emotionalism. She’s a timid and polite woman, though, so we should agree with her. I have no doubt that she feels nothing as she delivers fallacy after fallacy as honed by her debating experience, but this is irrelevant The person outraged at dishonesty and injustice is usually filled with righteous outrage, while the lying snake is cool and smug.

    • Adele Quested

      The premise was not “Men refuse to debate women because they think they are hysterical” – but “Men habitually refuse to engage with arguments made by women when these women show the slightest hint of emotion in debate while they expect their own arguments to be worthy of consideration regardless of the amount of emotion they themselves display”. As such, it is of course not proven false by the examples of men debating women mentionned in the article 1) “Debating” in the context of this examples does not necessarily mean “engaging with your opponent’s arguments” (when you are just constantly repeating “You’re wrong, I’m right” in a loud voice that’s not engaging with an argument) 2) The woman in these examples remained calm in order not become a target for that point of attack.

      I like your “cool smug snake vs righetous fury” observation. “I’m less emotionally involved, so I’m obviously less biased, so my arguments are obviously superior” is a pretty bullshit strategy – lack of emotional involvement is often just another content of the invisible knapsack, another one of the countless boons of privilege. You can afford to be detached, because you’re safely in power, nothing is really at stake for you. Of course that doesn’t make you more likely to be right.

      But that’s not what this article was about. It’s obviously okay to be passionate, to show emotion (the author talks about arguing passionately herself) – as long as these emotions don’t rob your opponent of their chance to voice their opinion. Teary eyes don’t disrupt the discourse. Wild sobbing and screeching would. So would shouting.

      The cool smug person might be a lying snake, but they won’t interrupt me. What do I care if my opponents are lying, as long as they don’t stop me from showing the evidence that their statements are lies? Let the audience decide.

    • http://twitter.com/avoidinfinity Envious D

      “She still uses female emotion to derail the argument.” Thanks for proving the article’s point.

    • jack_sprat2

      Then again, they’re also considered serious sins, unlike “stereotypically female emotions”. (Google the Wikipedia entry for “Seven Deadly Sins” and read all three main source lists.)

    • E

      while you’re at it check your horoscopes and lucky numbers

    • http://twitter.com/avoidinfinity Envious D

      And we all know how much our society disciplines things like greed, envy, wrath, lust…

    • KB

      You’re suggesting that the women will always be the ones showing the stereotypically female emotions and the men will be showing the male emotions. Actually, I think a world which did not fetishise those ‘masculine’ emotions would contain a lot more men who had the ‘feminine’ ones. It’s the particular emotional responses she wants to be less stigmatised, not the women themselves.

    • fork

      ‘Not given a free pass’ simply means that she wants men to be ACCOUNTABLE for their emotional outbursts. No one is trying to stop men from being men, we’re just trying to make it more common for men to be accountable for their actions. Same with ‘less stigmatized’ – ‘less stigmatized’ doesn’t mean ‘consequence-free.’ Basically what the writer is saying is that currently, men are encouraged to be irrational and women are discouraged from being anything but complacent, and she wants it to change so that men are discouraged from being irrational and women are not VILIFIED for being anything other than complacent. You’re just twisting her words to make it sound like she hates men :/

  • hello

    Definitely a lot of good points in this, but the claim that emotional reactions such as crying cannot disrupt discussions really doesn’t jive with my experiences. I think crying — male or female — can definitely be a way to control or dominate a conversation with an intimate.

    • Lastango

      You’re exactly right that crying can be used to control or dominate a conversation, or to switch it to another track. That’s why the people who reserve the privilege of using it to gain unfair advantage want the rest of us to give them a pass when they pull that stunt. If challenged, they might claim their passion is part of their rationality. They might also insinuate superiority; the subtext is “See – I care. And you don’t!”. The other party is of course thuggish, primitive, and stupid.

    • shargarepa

      Yes, it can be a way to manipulate. It can ALSO be a genuine expression of a GENUINE emotion, and people crying genuinely shouldn’t have to stifle their emotion just because SOME people use grief/crying as a tool of manipulation.

      My abusive ex used to LOVE to accuse me of crying as a way to manipulate him. Because really, my crying had NOTHING to do with being repeatedly emotionally shredded by him. Yeah. I was just crying to manipulate him — into not abusing me any more, and that was certainly not okay by him!! Ugh.

    • Anonymous

      Whether it is a male or female that is doing the crying, I don’t think having a rational discussion can truly happen while such a distracting act is occurring. I’m not saying it’s wrong to cry, but in these cases I feel like conversation should be suspended until all parties can continue with a clear head.

    • PettyBetty

      But that’s operating under the assumption that crying means you must have a particularly unclear head. Crying is often just a reflex, like kicking when someone strikes above the knee with a mallet. There’s a reason actors have to be trained to cry on purpose – you can milk a crying fest once it starts by trying to become progressively more hysterical, but you can’t usually pull one out of nowhere unless you’re a very good actress. If I’m talking about something emotionally weighty, I’ll start crying but keep talking in the same tone at the same pace – it’s not like my points cease making sense because there are tears in my eyes.

  • R.J.

    Hey, this article was fantastic. I’d never thought about communication this way, and I like it! And while I’m here, I have to say- I was nerdy-thrilled to read about your days as a debate champ. I made it to states in Student Congress with VHSL, and my best friend medaled in LD. I went back up to see if your name was familiar, but as it wasn’t I’m guessing our high school careers did not overlap.

  • PDXOutdoors

    “I want a model of discourse in which we all behave like adults: mostly calm, as rational as possible, and informed but not controlled by our emotions.”

    Amen sister! However, “we’ll just have to act like grownups and ignore whoever’s having a temper tantrum.”

    Anger may be destructive, but it’s certainly not the most destructive to a rational discussion. That would be a lack of any commitment to rational discussion. I’d say well over 2/3 of the people I know, good folks, for sure, have no idea how to conduct a rational inquiry or discussion/debate. They simply don’t understand what a fact is, what evidence is, and the difference between an unsupported claim and a supported claim. Harder even than suppressing my anger when I try to talk sense with those folks, is finding folks who’re actually able to have a rational debate of any kind.

  • J

    really good article until this line: “I’d like us to acknowledge that uncontrolled emotions are the cause of most crime, and most crime is committed by men.”. lost some credibility there. I’m sure you can asterisk into correctness now, but it just won’t be the same.

    • jack_sprat2

      Men steal to get money for drugs and sex. Women give up sex to get drugs or the money with which to buy them. Men sometimes assault one another, often so that they might assert their dominance, thereby obtaining sex or money or drugs. Women give up sex…. Women also sometimes manipulate one or more men into assaulting one another, usually just for their own amusement. (Been there, stopped just as we were ready to go at it, when I saw the unholy light in her eyes. We actually maintained a platonic friendship for decades afterward; I’ve desired few women as much as I did her, but I don’t dance on anyone’s strings.)

    • D

      Yes because it not true if grammar not correct

  • zuneybunny

    I wasn’t able to read everything, I found this article to be extremely sexist and full of bullshit.

    “Not only do I think men are at least as emotional as women, I think that these stereotypically male emotions are more damaging to rational dialogue than are stereotypically female emotions.”

    Since the author is a woman, that sentence makes sense to her. For me, it’s just an incredible sexist to think that ‘stereotypically female emotions’ – specially woman who enjoy using the ‘I’m-going-to-cry-know-and-make-a-scene-because-you’ve-hurt-my-feelings’ argument in public.

    “What I want to talk about is how emotional outbursts typically more associated with men (shouting, expressing anger openly) are given a pass in public discourse in a way that emotional outbursts typically more associated with women (crying, “getting upset”) are stigmatized.”

    In what world? No seriously, in what worlds? Any of those two situations is clearly unacceptable practically everywhere. To be honest the only places where that kind of behavior seems acceptable are in places where classical stereotypes are still acceptable (Rockabilly parties come to mind)

    “Not only do I think men are at least as emotional as women, I think that these stereotypically male emotions are more damaging to rational dialogue than are stereotypically female emotions. A hurt, crying person can still listen, think, and speak. A shouting, angry person? That person is crapping all over meaningful discourse.”

    A hurt crying person can still listen, thing and speak? An angry person can’t? No no no. A hurt person and an angry person can do all that if they are able to block their feelings from gaining control. But most people can’t be reasoned with when their feelings dominate their rational side – men or women.

    “But even as he played down the role of sexism, Lawrence said the “rat race” in science is skewed in favor of pushy, aggressive people — most of whom, he said, happen to be men. “We should try and look for the qualities we actually need,” ”

    Qualities we actually need? Have you ever had a manager who is unable to stand up to his director? Have you ever seen a professor who is unable to stand up to their coordinator? Pushy and aggression are qualities that are fundamental to various workplaces, the biggest problem is that a person who is aggressive will usually be able to produce better results than a person who isn’t.

    I’m trully sorry for not reading the whole article, maybe I’m missing something here or I’m being completely ignorant about the subject, but the text seems poorly written and filled with gaps.

    What bothers me the most is that she quotes a situation where she had a debate with a very angry male counter part, and while he lost his cool she managed to look calm.

    This article reads like butthurt. There may be a real discussion in here, but it doesn’t seem like the author wants to have it, or do anything other than soapbox to the choir about how men are shittier than women.

    • Stubbles

      You are all upset but did not even read the whole article?

    • BruceMcGlory

      So, in other words, you decided to fully embody the title of the article? Thanks for embarassing all of us, dude.

  • ThothMRM

    Anyone that uses the word mansplaining shows themselves to be a sexist bigot and thus can be ignored as their opinion are formed trying to use gender instead of a valid argument to justify their point. This is the opposite of equality and makes any feminist who uses the phrase seem a man hating sexist. If anyone used womansplaining they would be called out on their misogyny. This is just misandry. True feminists, those who believe in equality, should call out this type of sexist language whenever it appears.

    • Freida

      Oh, well, thank you so much for explaining that to me.

    • Kklipse

      Lmao, I found the MRA everybody!

  • jack_sprat2

    “ ‘The qualities we actually need’ rarely include pushing others around, or having a deep, loud voice.”

    Yet such men never seem to lack for choices in life.

  • http://twitter.com/reanimated Kelly S

    perfection.

  • Nicholas

    Wow. The things crazy emotional women will write…

    • treacle

      …are the same things “crazy emotional” men will write…

  • Nicholas

    Hi, Im a woman and I want to be treated fairly. I want to be treated the exact same way as a man, yet I want to point out all of our differences as to prove that we shouldn’t be treated the same. Dafuq.

  • http://www.facebook.com/petite.canelle Valeria DelCastillo

    I remember once that we had a school debate, and I got against some guy. He would start yelling and going crazy, and I remained calm, but you know what the teacher said? That I was being the aggressive one. What. I mean, he tolerates this behaviour on a man, but not on a woman who was not even shouting (at least I am pretty sure that not as much as the guy was)

  • Donatellospaghettio

    Would it be fair if I lumped all women in with Dr. Laura? Or god forbid Paris Hilton? Or any number of television, radio, internet, etc. personalities? I don’t think so. I feel as though I am mostly rational, most definitely clear headed, and most of all, I know I am not a robot. Human beings have emotions, we are prone to be passionate, especially on controversial subjects that don’t exist in the realm of black and white (shades of grey). I don’t doubt that there are some very pig-headed men out there, but everyone also knows there are some irrational women, it is just life. One of the main issues I have with a lot of feminists is the attitude of oppression or perceived inequality. Again, I won’t say that some men do see themselves as superior, society absolutely doesn’t view women as inferior. Inequality is not malicious if the choice exists. Example, football in the NFL is 100% male. Why? Most women have no desire to play football. I would argue that if a skilled woman player played, that player would make it to the NFL, thus far we have yet to see that happen and it isn’t because men prevent it, it just hasn’t happened. Women have rose to positions of power, a woman was very recently in serious contention for the office of President, I have had more women bosses in my life than I have had male bosses.

    And this male bahavior male discourse stuff is nonsense. Language is language, discourse is discourse, it doesn’t discriminate based on gender. That men and women are different in some ways is logical, if you want to fight biology, be my guest, but be ready to lose.

    • ashsprout

      Ok but girls do want to play football. Here is a list of them that have made it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_female_American_football_players Girls are discouraged from playing football in highschool and some school teams even make a big fuss about playing a team that has a girl on it in highschool.

    • fakefighter

      Except you don’t actually have enough scientific proof to state that, unless you consider Newsweek to be a credible source. Try again.

  • http://twitter.com/sciliz Rebecca Weinberg

    Telling the world that women are better at being unemotional and fine upstanding adults is delightfully counter-cultural to the “women is so crazy! LOLZ” dismissive patriarchy BS, so I applaud that aspect of this post. At the same time, I fundamentally disagree with the notion that tears are ok and yelling is not.

    It’s worth noting that if one takes a speech 101 class (which is quite discrete from competitive forensics) one of the first things one learns is that what constitutes “yelling” or “interrupting” or “a display of emotion” (or, for that matter “appropriate posture/eyecontact/personal space”) is remarkably culturally dependent. New York Jews don’t debate like affluent Southerners, and neither debate like Japanese business people. None of them are being any less “adult”, and I don’t buy that some of these models of discourse are simply better than others.

    I’ve seen people crying present incredibly rational arguments. I’ve also seen debates consisting of yelling and interruption and extremely rigorous logic, with a firm underpinning of respect on both sides. I’ve also seen each type of approach lead to somebody VERY UNCOMFORTABLE with the parameters of the debate.

    On the other hand, I’ve also been silenced by remarkably even-keeled people who liked to play the “I’M being an adult!” card in an extremely patronizing fashion. The ability to be calm has zip to do with being correct.

    Different people may be better equipped to manage tears or yelling in discussions and debates. As a general rule, any given approach will be more tolerated from a person with more privilege and more stigmatized in those with less privilege. I generally think the most productive debates are those in which people have figured out what form of communication works best for the person their debating (which may not be “what is the most relaxing for an audience to listen to”).

  • ashsprout

    I do think that that men are taught from childhood that they don’t need as much self restraint as girls are taught. Boys will be boys and all that. Girls are taught that they need to be quiet and respectful at all times. As girls tend to mature faster than boys its been accepted that girls are just better at being restrained rather than girls learn to be restrained faster than boys and boys can learn too.

  • JoseArturoOrnelas

    This is a good article to team up with the Jen Kirkman piece about how men should get LOUD against sexism. It also reminds me about Chomsky’s description of concision in political debate. Surly if discussions can only contain obviously true precepts, then they can be easily recalled and shouted constantly. The “Obama” reference is particularly apropos, his campaign had no “nuance” what so ever.

  • Spider

    Typo alert:
    “I can be both adamant and imminently reasonable”

    I think you meant “eminently,” not “imminently.” (Those pesky homophones…)

    • nobodobodon

      Homophonophobia will soon be a thing of the past.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sophia-Daniels/764343779 Sophia Daniels

    i loved how at the last place i worked (was part of a consulting group working on a big contract) when everything finally fell apart and we lost the contract they made offers to the guy who spent the whole contract apologizing for not knowing how to code in any of the languages we used… and the guy who had flat out stated he didn’t want to work with them, never did anything beyond what he had to do and drove our product manager crazy for not remembering what he’d done the previous day at scrum.

    me. i’m still recovering from how burned out i was at the end. i worked myself into the ground. but because i wasn’t able to completely hide my emotions while around them i wasn’t given an offer. though i wouldn’t have accepted it because i was starting to feel uncomfortable with them teasing one of the guys on the team for shopping at victoria secret and implying that he’s ladies underwear for himself… which triggers memories of how hard it was to buy clothes when i was first starting transition. and i couldn’t complain to the hr guy or the ceo because they were the ones doing it. >_<

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sophia-Daniels/764343779 Sophia Daniels

    i loved how at the last place i worked (was part of a consulting group working on a big contract) when everything finally fell apart and we lost the contract they made offers to the guy who spent the whole contract apologizing for not knowing how to code in any of the languages we used… and the guy who had flat out stated he didn’t want to work with them, never did anything beyond what he had to do and drove our product manager crazy for not remembering what he’d done the previous day at scrum.

    me. i’m still recovering from how burned out i was at the end. i worked myself into the ground. but because i wasn’t able to completely hide my emotions while around them i wasn’t given an offer. though i wouldn’t have accepted it because i was starting to feel uncomfortable with them teasing one of the guys on the team for shopping at victoria secret and implying that he’s ladies underwear for himself… which triggers memories of how hard it was to buy clothes when i was first starting transition. and i couldn’t complain to the hr guy or the ceo because they were the ones doing it. >_<

  • Bobby

    I agree when you say that there are “emotions” that we fail to call out…but your idea that somehow men are angrier than women is just dumb. Women get road rage all the time. I work in a school. More than half of my coworkers are women. They are angry very very frequently. Much more frequently than the men I work with, if I do say so myself.

  • Jim Jarvis

    Shouting = crying in my view. Both serve to derail the conversation from rational goals. Holding it together while getting your point across ala Maddow scores points with me every time. Even so, I understand a lot of people automatically take the side of the shouter/crier simply on the basis of the emotional display. I’m always impressed by the person who gets their point across with as little sweat or intonation as possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/frankie.wilde.3726 Frankie Wilde

    It kills me that female, even perceived-feminine, arguments are never taken as seriously as male arguments. And it’s shocking, devastating and just really scary how often women are laughed down by men in public situations and broadcasts, regardless of how factual their argument is – I mean, even if the above example with Rachel Maddow had been a discussion about something else entirely that wasn’t nearly as important and completely subjective, the people around her should still be decent enough to let her finish and quit condescending her!

    AND this article’s awesome and makes all the sense ^_^ x

  • alpierce

    Men being emotional over Obama winning the election is called racism, plain and simple

  • go on get angry u know u want2

    This is the most stupid thing I’ve ever read, stating that men are more emotional because they commit more murders is exactly the type of rationale a woman would come up with. When in reality the percentage of men that do murder due to an emotional outburst is probably minute where as the percentage of woman that have emotional outbursts of “getting upset” (which includes anger btw) is so high as to be the norm. The only thing that makes the emotions described for men (shouting, etc..) male traits is the word openly. Women have the same emotions and just as bad except its usually directed at one person when the two of them are in private and thats only because most women would rather hide that part of themselves from the majority of people. Women don’t think ahead at all where as men tend to look at the bigger picture which is why women are more prone to getting upset at the most insignificant things. This ends up with a lot of women thinking as the author does, when in reality men don’t see themselves or other men getting angry/fighting etc… as ‘right’, hence why fights in public (unless for entertainment) are usually broken up. Why would anyone think beating the hell out of someone is normal?, that’s just ridiculous, violent anger is an out of control emotion anyone with a brain knows that. Everyone can be irrational but women tend to be more so because they get so defensive about small things like being called emotional when it’s in their genetics in the form of the compound oestrogen just as testosterone can cause anger or ‘hot headedness’, the difference being men don’t reach the point of irrational outburst as easily as women which is why men aren’t seen as ‘over’ emotional.

    • devovit

      I can’t talk to you until you learn to use paragraph breaks. Perhaps you need to calm down a little?

    • darthevader

      nice dodge

    • ellid

      Your post is a fine example of men being too emotional.

      FAIL.

  • SomeDude

    Men are very emotional, especially around certain subjects. The problem stems from the fact that socially men have been taught to only deal with their emotions with a cautious humor or anger. I’m sad? No I’m pissed. I’m happy? Yes but it’s a joke. So the actual emotion is rarely addressed. Sure before it reaches a boiling point there are more subtle forms of communication that men use in order to at the very least let other men know where they are emotionally. However most men haven’t even begun to develop the tools to understand their own emotions because we are trying to understand something that we’ve been told our whole lives doesn’t exist for us. This perspective of emotional isolation wears on a man because he understands that even if another man understands and empathizes with his situation a real emotional connection and understanding is perceived as impossible. It is not just men who perpetuate the myth of the lone wolf. I prefer to think People have emotions, and our society has been skewed to only recognize certain emotions as valid in both genders.

  • McGuest

    Way late to the party here. I guess my main complaint (as a guy who gets frustrated at his girlfriends “emotions”) is that this ignores context and frequency and assume that “displays of emotion” occur for similar reasons between men and women.
    What frustrates me is that my girlfriend will get emotional over things that I find trivial: I didn’t like the flavor of coffee she picked out (we experiment with flavors a lot), saying, quote, “I hate to say it babe, I don’t like the [flavor] coffee”. Ten minutes later she is crying over this and calling herself a screw up; I’m trying to tell her that 1) we were bound to find flavors we didn’t like 2) she didn’t “make” the flavor or have any input as to how i felt it tasted and 3) it’s just a flavor of coffee, we will have others. This of course sets off her “I feel like my emotions are minimized” alarms which triggers another round of crying (and moping).
    Like, I get it, yelling is no better than crying. I’m not a yeller, or a cryer. But I feel like, if you are going to have emotions, make them count. I can’t stand crying over what is basically spilled milk. I feel like this exercise exists only to make herself feel bad, and has a side effect of feeling guilty over something she realistically should not be having any emotional response too. Of course this makes her feel like I don’t think her feelings are valid…. which in this case, I DONT! She has plenty of other strengths, weaknesses, insecurities and such as we all do and I try very hard to be with her on those. But i hate having to acknowledge the meaningless and juvenile ones. I had to get over that at a certain age.
    A part of me is actually jealous of the female privelege of “having” emotions. I realized at a young age that basically no one gave a crap if i cried, how much and for how long. Crying was whining and if you were crying, you weren’t “doing”; if you got bullied at school, it’s because you didn’t get strong enough to defend yourself; if you didn’t get the role in the school play, it’s because you didn’t spend enough time practicing; etc, etc. There were those who did what it took to get what they want, and then there where the whiny-ass bitches who were too cowardly to take control of their own life. For me, and I suspect most american men, this realization starts around age 6. So a large part of me feels it is “unfair” when women cry over trivial things.

    • Kei

      There’s a difference between an average female emotional response and being mentally ill. Your girlfriend sounds mentally ill as that is not a normal response. She’d probably be a lot happier if she started seeing a therapist. I say that as somebody who is also mentally ill, but still remembers back when I was not. I did not have all these screwed up feelings until my mental illness manifested, but now I often feel like she does, though I have the sense to realize I sound crazy if I actually clue people in to me feeling that way.

    • ellid

      That has diddly squat to the point of this article, which is that men shout and bully opponents, especially women.

      Not good.

    • Shanleigh

      Thanks for telling us about your relationship problems, I guess?

      I have some news. You think your girlfriend gets emotional over things you find trivial? She probably feels the same way about things that upset you. For example, my boyfriend doesn’t understand why I get so upset when he makes what he perceives to be harmless jokes about my driving skills. On the other hand, do I understand why he gets furious enough to repeatedly punch the roof of his car when he’s stuck in city traffic? Nope.

      This article was about debate and the different ways in which stereotypically male and stereotypically female emotions and styles of expression are stigmatized in that context.

      (By the way, you just TOLD us you don’t think your girlfriend’s feelings are valid, so to give some unsolicited advice — which I don’t think is unwarranted since you took a completely separate women’s issue on a women’s website and made it about your personal life and insecurities — you should do yourself and her a favor and break up, if you haven’t already in the six months since you wrote this.)

  • jess

    Telling angry, aggressive men that they’re getting too emotional to have a rational discussion with has almost gotten me beaten up in practice unfortunately, but it’s a great idea for those who feel safe enough to do it.

  • Adam Taylor

    The Daily Show recently made a point of something similar:

    http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/Shows/TheDailyShow?vid=327751

  • Juniper Lemonpledge Clambake

    I may be a conservative (and not a fan of Rachel Maddow), but I am also a feminist and I think there is a lot of good stuff in this article.

  • Watros

    While taking a violent action may be due to an emotional response, it does not necessitate one. I’m not saying I disagree with the position of it being a myth that women are more emotional than men, I personally think that it is absurd, but that point of the argument is fallacious. Also, the argument from “stereotypical male/female” emotional responses is weak and a bit hypocritical, working against the point being made.

  • Abaddon Lives

    I would have spat in his face after about the second insult. I have literally zero patience left for male bullshit.

  • Othelie Moor

    In addition girls are raised to be polite, and to say straight up no is not polite. In my last apartment building I had to go up a floor to get to the washing machine and there was this guys apartment I had to go past. He kept the door open and kept asking me to have a drink, and I kept saying variations of ‘maybe later’ even though what I wanted to say, and what I meant was no.

    • Jasmine

      Also, if the roles were reversed and you were a man being propositioned by a woman, you’d be able to say “no thanks” without fear of physical repercussions.