August 28, 2017 (Monday)

by Yule Heibel on August 27, 2018

True confessions.

I’ve noticed that I will typically stay my finger from retweeting posts by a woman, whereas I’ll retweet with more abandon if a man posted. This is sexism in action, and it’s quite curious.

It’s not that I think the woman’s tweets don’t have merit, of course they do – I’m thinking of Lehman, or Christina Sommers, or even My Charmed Life on occasion. No, it’s more the case that I hold them to a much higher standard. I’ll go with the guy even if his utterances are hyperbolic and/ or “challenge-able,” whereas if I perceive these flaws in the women, I’ll pause and do a rethink (or a re-flex), and maybe not retweet. So, I’m more “forgiving” of a man? How does this translate to my relationship with my children, one of whom is male (and forgiven?) while the other is female (and held to a double standard?)? I’m not sure I do it there, but seeing my retweeting pattern gives me pause.

Is this an Adam-and-Eve scenario all over again, where women are blamed at a disproportionately higher rate? How does it feel to be a feminist and yet realize that one does hew to that pernicious pattern also? At the same time, if a woman is an expert in her field, as well as an expert in the topic she’s tweeting about (Nancy Friedman on language and naming; Tulsi Gabbard on government and war; Camille Paglia on just about anything), then the pattern breaks.

Expertise, in other words, provides a desexing mantle – or an aegis, like Athena’s – which cancels the gender prejudice. Claire Lehman, in her capacity as a magazine editor (and founder) is bit by bit weaving that mantle in my eyes. Expertise is a thing that has been codified by a male-dominated (or male-preferred) world, and yet once it has been attained by either gender /sex, the experts are desexed. I can’t take some women on social media seriously at all because they only post from a position of feeling. On the one hand, they are certainly “experts” in that domain. On the other hand, that sort of expertise only entrenches their gendered expression, “resexes” them once again (and again and again) in the realm of femaleness.

Okay, so I think at the end of the proverbial day, I’m rationality-oriented. I recognize that people make earnest mistakes as they try to learn rational ways – hence my problematic tendency to “forgive” men more than women; because I assume (“‘assumption’ card! ten demerits!”) that probably men have been more openheartedly oriented to the kingdom [sic] of Rationality. Their mistakes are honest. And with women I’m less forgiving. This is a problem.

It’s a problem because the assumption can be quite unfair (especially considering how many stupid stupid stupid men there are in the world – men are actually not “naturally” predisposed to thinking straight, it’s a mostly enculturated bias), and we need some way of acknowledging the, let’s call them “the feels,” without descending into mush, without severing the thread which each human being has connecting him or her to that mantle of expertise. To that expertise in life and living, most of which will teach a person that a more rational life is much pleasanter than a more irrational one.

And we need to understand – and recognize – the still fundamental sexual (and pleasure-giving) nature of the expert woman. I’ve noticed myself that, whether in my blogs, other writing, social media, etc., when I lay claim to expertise in a given field, I’m desexed – or “resexed,” as male. My voice as female is ignored – just as I’m ignoring female voices trying to find their way to legitimate expertise, to that mantle which too often hides instead of revealing who we really are. Maybe Athena’s aegis is better: it can leave the sex exposed for all to see.

Hear-see me, this is whence you came – and I shall speak.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: