The Great Women of DaveNet
Friday, February 3, 1995 by Dave Winer.
I got a lot of mail on SuperBowl commercials and respect between men and women. First the commercials...
Someone actually liked the Budweiser belching frog commercial! I can't believe it. My theory: SuperBowl beer commercials are aimed at people who are drunk. I figured as the bowl progressed, the drunker the audience gets and the sillier the commercials get. The frog commercials were heavy near the end. Hmmmm. I asked my correspondent if he had been drinking. No.
Wellllll, it was a nice theory (and not quite disproved -- yet!).
I got lots of great responses Wednesday and Thursday, all from women. The men are silent. That's OK -- the woman's point of view was what I wanted to hear, and we're lucky to have four intelligent, thoughtful and caring views to think about.
I've excerpted them, and also made them anonymous. One writer asked for no names, and I like that idea. I hope this is OK with everyone else.
First -- Go Niners! 6 for 6 in 1996? It could happen! :o>
Second, as much as I enjoy football -- especially when I'm lucky enough to attend a 49ers game in person -- the SuperBowl is always a disappointment -- with the exception being the commericals! Thank goodness there are still companies willing and able to pay the $1M per 30 seconds that the network commands.
We watched with my brother-in-law who's a major gridiron freak and he taped the whole game. I just made sure that he didn't do the unthinkable and edit the commericals -- in fact, it's almost worth taping only the ads! (Wouldn't Madison Avenue think that's great!)
Third, my first impulse as I read the last segment of your most recent "rant" was to respond -- there are so many facets that are compelling me to write this. I'm not quite sure which part I should address first, so forgive me if this rambles a bit.
You say: "It happens all the time. Women dismiss men as inferior, incompetent, helpless, disorganized, worthless people."
I have to reply that yes it does happen all the time -- to both men and women! If women seem to be doing it more often than men, the reason behind it is twofold: a) being a man you're more aware/sensitive to when a jab such as this is directed toward a male, and b) women have been living with this for years and have learned from the pros.
You then proceed to give us the man's response: "Man agrees. Laughs. Smiles. Inside the man is furious. It's condescending. He doesn't say anything."
Perhaps I'm taking a hard view on this; however, if he agrees, smiles and says nothing he has no right to be upset because he's taking no action to disprove her theory/opinion. Men are helpless if they don't defend themselves. I guarantee you that when I'm faced with a similar situation -- even if the person is obviously making light of the issue, I take exception and let the person know that I don't agree and I don't appreciate that type of humor. (It's the same thing as not telling someone you disapprove of an ethnic/racial "joke" he told--if you don't say anything you'll hear yet another.)
"And, as always, there are exceptional women who view each man as an individual, and don't place limits or expectations on him. They see the positive things the person, regardless of his or her gender, has to say and contribute and share."
Thank you for recognizing that everyone isn't the same -- we aren't all cookie-cutter people and so of course generalities won't apply to every one. Instead of focusing your energy on the woman who is making disparaging remarks, focus on the more intelligent woman who can see the whole picture and realizes that it's our differences that make us so wonderful! Give this person positive feedback that will reinforce and encourage her to continue in her open, understanding and caring ways.
Peace & Love!
Very provocative, Dave!
When I hear, "I like her, or doing it with her, because she has no expectations..." I know the man is being conned or the woman is disinterested in him! Come on! You have expectations about ways women should behave. Codes of conduct, morals, ethics. Those are Expectations. Expectations can be okay! (Hopes and personal standards are better though. Then if he does not live up to my standards, say he is a liar and a cheat, I can leave based on my own values -- not expectations about his.)
As for limits, I do not think people should place limits on one another. Or limits on what they think the other is capable of. This is typecasting. Limits are why a lot of men on the net have posed as women and vice versa. To explore what it is like without the limitations of their sex.
Some limits are just sexual stereotypes used by women who have been burned too many times. Some women say men are helpless because we have thrown up our hands in disgust after being misled or lied to... all while playing the Mommy role. This is why many women never marry. It so often comes to being his Mom. Who needs that?
There are lots of women who hold negative stereotypes about all men. I fight it myself sometimes. Just as you must when you see patterns in women! We aren't all golddiggers, for instance Dave!! It may be a common pattern, but it is not a limitation. (I'm surprised how many of my bright attractive well-heeled female friends are looking for a "rich man".)
Sexists are their own worst enemies, creating their own worst hangups, and missing out on the excitement that the differences between the sexes allow. Respect the differences and enjoy the friction.
I am most impressed that you try to understand women. You know, a lot of men do not bother. They excuse themselves as incapable of emotional depth.
PS: If you reprint any of this, please leave my name off!
The issue is much larger than how men and women communicate and interact with each other. It's much more than a gender issue, it's a people issue.
There are people in this world who predetermine who you are and what you are based on very little information about you. Maybe the opinion is based on the job you hold, the city you live in, the car you drive, what you look like, or who you love. Maybe the opinion is derived from that person's previous experiences, and truly has nothing to do with you at all.
At some level, we are all guilty of behavior like this, and I believe that the difference between exceptional people and ordinary people lies in whether or not unsubstantiated or immediate opinions about individuals color their entire life experience.
I naively walk around this earth believing that all of us people, are mostly of the exceptional kind you mentioned. I am always, always shocked to the core, when I encounter those who are not, and those that don't even try.
I know it sounds very 60s, very new age, but I do believe in Karma. I believe that you get what you give. You've got to see before you make judgements, put out respect for individuals, look for positive things in others and not place limits if you want the same -- Man or woman.
Your emotional wounds -- so publicly expressed amid technochatter -- always strike me as howlers. But once I recover from your act of screaming in public, as it were, I realize that most of the time what you say is right on.
Women often tend to treat men as helpless creatures -- as you said -- because they revert to a mother-child role. You're right to point out that women should realize the damage they do to men when they treat them in this way -- they treat them as unequals and that hurts.
Women should treat men as equals, not as inferiors. Of course, we know that because the reverse hasn't been true for most of civilization, some women might carry an historical grudge.
We're still in the beta stages of developing equal relations, and Dave, as always you're on the frontier -- keep pushing!
We share this world. Let's have fun!
I think this is the best DaveNet piece ever. Thanks!!!
PS: Michelle Quinn, firstname.lastname@example.org, reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, wants to know about high tech relationships. Are they sustainable? Are you running your lives over email? Bringing the laptop to bed? What happens when technology is in the middle of your love life? If you're in love with a high tech man or woman, please contact Ms. Quinn at 415-777-7216. Off-the-record and not-for-attribution quotes are OK. [I declined to be interviewed for this piece, in case any of my ex's are worried. Peace! -- Dave]
PPS: Another challenge for the women: when respect is the important thing to communicate, she's a woman. When fun is happening, she's a girl. Is that OK?
PPPS: As always, if you aren't interested in this kind of stuff, send me email and I'll happily delete your name from the list. And it's OK to forward it or repost it anywhere you like. The list is expanding -- I'm always happy to add new names.