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No, you don't get it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 by Dave Winer.

A while back I was being lectured, in a blog post, by a woman, about how sexist I am. Permalink to this paragraph

She explained that one way to tell you're being sexist is to reverse the genders in a story you tell, and sometimes the sexism reveals itself. Your prejudices about one gender are influencing you, and by switching them, you switch the bias around, and what was invisible before now is visible.  Permalink to this paragraph

I knew about this, and agreed, it is an excellent way to see sexism or any kind of ism for that matter -- racism, ageism. For example in a TV commercial, a woman hits a man in the face, as a joke. Or turns the sprinkler on him. Or says he's so predictable, in a dumb way, because he likes black cars. Or doesn't remember something like an anniversary. We're supposed to laugh. But if we were getting physical that way with a woman, or being so condescending, it would evoke a completely different reaction. Permalink to this paragraph

The irony, is that if the person lecturing me were to flip genders in her own story, she'd probably see her own sexism. Would she lecture a woman the same way she was lecturing a man? Might she consider the possibility that the woman is smart, and might be offended by the assumption that she's not? Especially if the woman she's talking to is 20 years her senior? Basically it's always a mistake to assume you understand something that the other guy doesn't. Permalink to this paragraph

Another thing like that is the zealot's proclamation that You Don't Get It. Michael Gartenberg indulges in that today. As with my sexism teacher, the danger in saying that about someone else is that it likely applies to you as well. Michael has no idea what I get or don't get. In fact he's basing his conclusion on old data. I've refined my position. Even so, I haven't used it once so maybe I have to refine it again. Permalink to this paragraph

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