I've realised a few things about tootstorming.
1. It's ... possibly frighteningly ... fun. Once you get on a roll, you're marshalling your thoughts in 500 character, roughly 80-word, nuggest.
2. That's about the same size as one of my 4x6 index cards, filled out fully.
3. Which means it's a bit like outlining an essay, though of course, Timelines and stuff mean that everything is strictly sequential.
4. People can respond to individual cards, either boosting, favouriting, or commenting.
@stefanieschulte Interesting article. Though I've got a whole bushel of problems with terms like "mansplaining" and "manthreading" being tossed around casually. Even /where/ accurate, they are terms which have a great deal of opportunity to make a situation worse, and little to improve, defuse, or prevent it.
That's not a denial of privilege or behaviour, but its /also/ a reflection on dynamics of such discussions. There's an essay on the topic I may need to write.
The thread/form bits...
@dredmorbius I think "mansplaining" is more about the receiver than about the sender: Most people seem to be much more patient when men act that way than when women try the same. In real life, I have a tendency to ramble, too, but people usually interrupt me quickly.
I don't think this is the same in social media: Women's tweetstorms don't seem to be received less favourably than men's, at least in my experience.
@stefanieschulte Specific instance comes to mind: someone had posted about a gym/workout issue, being worse at a particular lift than they wanted to be. I responded with some pretty commonplace, though effective, advice. I'd had no idea if the poster was a man or a woman, and didn't much care, I'd followed them for a year or more. The response was that I was "mansplaining'.
I pointed out the several issues with the claim, and tried to return the matter to workouts. It didn't stay there.
@stefanieschulte At which point I elected to delete my contributions to the thread and block the user.
If the first assumption coming out of the gate is that some pseudonymous profile writing in good faith is mansplaining...then productive discussion seems unlikely to happen. I don't have the cycles for that fight.
I've been trying really hard not to cheer loudly in agreement with @maiyannah's recent thread about the privilege knapsack. But her views are refreshing.
@dredmorbius @maiyannah Counterpoint: In real life, I often have to listen patiently to men rambling on and on about topics I'm more knowledgeable about than they are, but they don't let me get a word in edgewise, no matter how hard I try. This behavior is socially acceptable.
If I tried to act the same way, that wouldn't go down well. It's not socially acceptable.
This is why this remains a sensitive issue to me, although I do experience it less on social media.
I think ultimately this is more fundamentally a /power/ thing than a /man/ thing, though yes, men quite frequently have power.
It does happen to me, at least at times, and it can be phenomenally annoying.
Discussion of the Charlie Hebdo shootings a couple of years back raised the point of punching up vs. down. That's a very strong point.
There are some good social media examples of "mansplaining", but they seem hilarious precisely because the woman isn't powerless anymore, see e.g.: http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/08/16/astrophysicist-katie-mack-lays-the-smackdown-on-mansplainer-with-droll-twitter-burn/
I think in terms of brains with patterns so firmly established that they resist all effort at change. In a world-models view, a badly broken, and yet unrepairable, non-disposable, model.
There are all kinds of times I've talked to experts in fields w/o realising it initially.
Mind that those power relations can vary tremendously with time.
I try to be conscious of my own relationships, though I know I'm far from perefect. I'm far more conscious of it when I perceive (correctly or otherwise) I'm the less powerful.
Power is also also aware of its own fragility.
@maiyannah @stefanieschulte That presumes a requirement for cause. In places there's no such thing, and a regular practice of more-or-less arbitrarily removing staff is itself a control tactic. See discussions of stack ranking.
Agree on assertive vs. aggressive. Assertion is born of confidence (or equanimity). Aggressiveness of fear, or a lack of a sense of control.
Sometimes you can address the causes.
Alain de Botton's School of Life videos touch on this.
@maiyannah @dredmorbius Again, it is partly down to power relations, I think. During my eight years as a reporter at a fairly reputable financial newspaper, this was rarely an issue for me. I always had the power to "ask questions".
Now, as a PR officer, I find myself in situations where I have to endure "mansplaining" much more often. It is quite eye-opening (and for that reason, I sometimes miss my time in journalism).
@maiyannah @stefanieschulte @dredmorbius Loving this thread - oh how it resonates.
I was the first girl deck cadet in the 1970s, in Shell Tankers, then the only female continership planner in the UK. I've had a lifetime of mansplaining...
sometimes I took it - as the sefaring officer was senior to me, now, sometimes I call it out, mostly I ignore it....
@dredmorbius @maiyannah As a journalist, I never had to act "aggressively" (at least in my own perception). It was usually sufficient to politely state my point, and to ask good questions. I rather had to be careful not to scare people by being too assertive (because people tend to be nervous around journalists).
Today, I'm sometimes being outright ignored when I try to act the same way.
There's studied non-violence: Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi. The Dali Lama.
There's assertive opposition: labour unionism is probably among the prominant examples.
There's telling truth to power: good journalism, satire, parody, folk music. Orwell, Sinclair, Huxley, Roger Moore.
There's some choice here.
@maiyannah @stefanieschulte Another element of the interruption / blathering thing I'm trying to sort out: what is it about some conversations that flow (the ones I've had with each/both of you over the past few days in particular), and those which are a constant struggle of trying to understand, trying to be understood, having the obvious obsessed over at length, the obscure flitted over, utterly random and inexplicable responses, etc., etc. That's /so/ wearing.
@stefanieschulte @maiyannah I'm suspecting psychological mechanisms at work. Our brains try to make sense of the world. Part of that world is other brains. Two brains running different rulesets (or with different, possibly defective mechanisms or training data) trying to make sense of each other results in a constant case of model/feedback mismatch.
Getting a prod in a new direction can be useful. Being assaulted with noise, at all times, is confusing.
@stefanieschulte @maiyannah The notable cases for me come from those with little education, occasionally with /very/ different life experience. From idealogues of all stripes. And in more than a few cases, those with some organic dysfunction, either congenital or acquired. I'm close to a case of the latter now, and comparing notes with others, my impressions seem reasonably well founded. Anti-gaslighting myself is part of the challenge.
In real life, I have a tendency to ramble as well. However, I'm usually getting interrupted quickly when I try to do that.
At the same time, it's usually considered "normal" to politely listen to men when they are acting the same way.
Mutual trust and respect help. A lot. Which is to say, exchanges amongst peers.
/Some/ dimension of deep commonality. I've never met @maiyannah or @stefanieschulte before this week, and @woozle is someone else I know only from online, though over 4-5 years now. I've had great conversations with each.
There are also childhood friends with whom there's a strong bond.
@sim Because we've got so much common experience, at least in cases, there's that depth. Not always, but sometimes.
Perceptual challenges can get in the way. One good friend has been losing sight and vision. He's pretty good with his hearing aids, but registers few visual gestures, especially facial expressions -- smile, frown, nod, etc. Those implicit or gestured elements of conversations have to be verbalised.
@sim Being able to gesture, raise a finger, or quickly interject something, /and be acknowledged for it/, helps.
I've mentioned the cognitive faculty part -- productive conversation with someone losing their marbles is hard. And re-calibrating to the present state of embarbledness constantly is difficult and tiring.
@sim @stefanieschulte I know someone, a woman, as it happens, and an exceedingly competent sysadmin, who came from a family like that, and whose response was, if she had something to say, she opened her mouth and started saying it, whether someone else was talking or not. This drove me nuts -- I really hate fighting for airtime.
I had a male coworker who would finish my sentences, incorrectly, always. Also maddening.
That at the same gig where I met my long-lost brother.
So, here's a good example of that: @Harena's brother Pete has been employed for many years as a full-time professional tax preparer. Her mom, however, likes to be the most knowledgeable person in the room on any topic. Whenever we ask Pete a tax question, HMom tends to interrupt his response as if she is the definitive expert.
(We call this "momsplaining".) (Point being: it's #notAlwaysMen)
@woozle @sim @dredmorbius @Harena That has occurred to me as well. I believe "womansplaining" is most common in traditionally "female" domains, however. Think the stereotypical mother-in-law and her unwanted advice about household, child-rearing etc. I think this is also because they are traditionally getting away with it (mother = position of power towards her adult kids).
@stefanieschulte @sim @dredmorbius @Harena FWIW, HMom has always been deferential to *me*, both before and after I came out as female; she only momsplains her *offspring*... and has no opinions at all about household matters (at least not recently; she never comes to our house anymore, so it doesn't come up).
I have had that kind of experience (a mominlaw who was also self-appointed interior decorator) in the past... but that's another story. >.>
@sim @Harena @woozle @dredmorbius Well, you can't "ban" mom (or dad) from your living room, no matter how badly they are misbehaving (except in very extreme cases). Intuitively, they know that, and some of them might adjust their behavior, even if their intentions aren't that bad.
My point: Most people feel the urge to behave in annoying ways sometimes, but how society reacts depends very much on power relations and context.
Mind you, I put up with it for about a decade first (I guess that qualifies as "extreme"?)... and it took ~6 months of whining from both of them before he really accepted it, I think.
But now they both know I will defend my boundaries. <looks steely-eyed>
I'm most susceptible myself in instances where I feel threatened. Or where the assaults simply go on far too continuously. Again, watching someone in decline, coming to understand a whole history of interactions, realising that these are now being amplified and solidified yet further. It's sad, tiring, frustrating, and fascinating all at the same time.
@dredmorbius @maiyannah If your encounter was indeed with one of those truly toxic people, all bets are off anyway. They might play the "sexism" or "racism" card whenever they see fit, and even act in a racist of sexist way themselves elsewhere. In such a case, only a ban, moderation or some other community effort can help.
My feeling is that sometimes you have to decide for yourself what is socially acceptable -- what *you* consider acceptable -- and distance yourself from people who violate those decisions (aka "boundaries").
I realize it's not always practical to do that, however.
In any case, I certainly don't consider such behavior socially acceptable, and do distance myself accordingly.
From the outside, actual helpful advise can look a lot like mansplaining.
So if you constantly get things mansplained, and in comes a man explaining things, regardless of how sane and innocent that was, _of course_ he's a nasty mansplainer too!
@JollyOrc @dredmorbius Yes, and it's sometimes the nicer people getting the heat, because facing the real bullies is (often objectively) risky. I think people who point out that they aren't the worst offenders, or that they didn't intend any harm, sometimes miss this point.
Of course, there are probably toxic people who intentionally accuse others of sexism or racism simply in order to stir up trouble (but they are a minority, I think).
@stefanieschulte @dredmorbius There are two points in there I like to expand on, plus a third that occurs to me: 1. If you offended, apologize. You may then decide that you don't need more interaction with a person that is, from your POV too easily offended, but that doesn't change the fact that you politely apologize and back off.
2. There are indeed few real trolls. Still enough to stir up trouble.
3. often overlooked fact: Men can mansplain to other men too!
Let's see if I can't codify that: Insensitive, presumptive, and condescending conversation drives out sensitive, considerate, and supportive conversation.
The only fix I can come up with is to make bad interpersonal behaviour non-rewarding. (where the trick is to figure out what the "reward" here is. Attention, even negative, can be a reward. As can "getting away with it" be. So if you think that someone feels rewarded by column a, but it's actually column b, you're in deep trouble)
If the behaviour comes from a position of power, and that power can be removed, that's an option.
If it comes from a position of /lack/ of power, or more specifically, /responsibility/, then giving a small measure of responsibility may help address this. See what it is to actually have to /work with others/ in order to /achieve/ something.
@JollyOrc @dredmorbius @stefanieschulte tl;dr not all men's explaining things comes from assumption others are stupid; and we really don't have a crystal bowl that would tell us "this person knows this already".
Also, I am very tempted to change my avatar and nick here to something looking vaguelly non-male non-white and do some serious mansplaining, and observe the difference in reactions.
/me ducks expecting a tootstorm
@rysiek @JollyOrc @dredmorbius
> Also, I am very tempted to change my avatar and nick here to something looking vaguelly non-male non-white and do some serious mansplaining, and observe the difference in reactions.
Some people tried something similar, and their experience was... interesting:
@stefanieschulte @JollyOrc @dredmorbius ah yes, I've seen this. My point is to do it the otehr way around. I am not saying sexism is not a problem - it is. But my feel is that last couple of times when I was called a mansplainer, had I had a non-male non-white avatar, the reaction would have been different. I would like to test this.
@stefanieschulte There are assholes, bigots, sexists, rascists, and all other types in the world. But, as @maiyannah said, answering bias with /another bias/ -- and no, I'm /not/ talking about efforts to level the field, equalise opportunity, and atone for past (or present) wrongs -- strikes me as wrong. If there's going to be an identity-awareness, it should tend to inclusion rather than exclusion and othering.
Discussing mansplaining as phenomenon seems useful.
@stefanieschulte Using the term directly in addressing a possible source of it, or using it as an opening gambit, not so much.
If I /suspect/ someone of being an asswipe, I'll generally give them the benefit of the doubt.
The sealion.club commenter on this thread got that benefit. My first response (deleted) was to suggest the approach they used wasn't particularly productive. A quick visit to their home profile suggested an exceedingly low percentage on that angle. Block, mute, report.