Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Men apparently like being told what to do

Lately I've been trying to try inverted perspectives. "What if the person asking for directions were white rather than black?" The idea is to directly confront the possibility of a bias. If detected, it will also dictate how I'd act without the bias.

So there I am, reading a bit of Slate when I get to this. Note that I tend to skip over writer names when I start an article and only check back if something seems particularly odd. So no bias checking to do on that bit. But on the article itself, I tried some flipping. Here's a bit from the original:
My husband even says, “Men like it when women tell them what to wear, because we don’t know.” Telling your man to shave, in other words, is not so far off from telling him that dishes left by the side of the sink eventually have to make their way under the water, etc. Listen to the outtake from the commercial, where Kate, Hannah and Genesis discuss what they were up to. “We have to help guide you along,” Kate says. Not much threat there.
Nothing bad there, right? I was a little bit annoyed though. Here's the re-write that I'm picturing:
My wife even says, “Women like it when men tell them what to wear, because we don’t know.” Telling your wife to shave, in other words, is not so far off from telling her that dishes left by the side of the sink eventually have to make their way under the water, etc. Listen to the outtake from the commercial, where Kyle, Harry, and Joseph discuss what they were up to. “We have to help guide you along,” Kyle says. Not much threat there.
Stupid women! Don't you know how to shave? You're gross! Just look at all that... woman hair! In places! Here honey, let me help you out there: The dishes go in the sink, not to the side. Ha, you women aren't so great at this housework thing, are you? Dumb bitch.

Of course it won't be perfectly mirrored, so the inverted perspective will yield odd results. Men don't have a history of being chained to housework or being treated like barely-sentient dopes who need to be told how to carry out basic functions. Women, as well as many racial and ethnic minorities, have had that history, and so recently that it is only forgotten to the extent that we forget all sorts of stuff, individually.

Nevertheless, I don't particularly like her claim earlier that: "These Gillette ads feel harmless and funny. No one really thinks that Kate and Hannah and Genesis are doing these men any damage." To that I say, fuck you! That's precisely the problem with this sort of damage: no one thinks they're doing any damage; it's all so very harmless. Except of course when it adds up and feeds into a larger trend. Thankfully, we're not yet at the point where it has all added up into harm, but why start?

1 comment:

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