R*E*S*P*E*C*TApril 16, 2011
Posted by Kanga.
There is one thing I miss about living in America – a higher percentage of genuine respect for women and lower percentage of misogynists. What brings this on? A brief, but illustrative Twitter exchange. It went like this:
“Joker”: Wives are funny. They don’t have sex with their husbands for weeks and then they want to kill the woman who does. (I don’t follow this guy. It was repeated by someone I do. I usually let this stuff go without reply, but not today.)
Me: Husbands ignore the needs of their wives & then think the lack of sex is the wife’s fault.
“Joker”: its was just a joke.. dont be so serious now 🙂
Me: But it is not a joke.
“Joker”: thousand apologies if i’v hurt ur feelings or so.. but it was purely unintentional
Me: It isn’t about my feelings. But, if you don’t get that your joke isn’t funny, you won’t get what my objection is either.
“Joker”: was just trying to be nice.. but i see there’s no point.. and yes I dont get it.. moreover dont wanna get it.. kappish.. bye
End of transmission.
So, let me recap. He blames men’s infidelity on women’s disinterest in sex. I call him on it by pointing out there is a reason to be disinterested in sex. He doesn’t like being called on it and tells me it is just a joke. But it is not. THEN he “apologizes” by blaming my tender feelings which he did not mean to hurt. (I wish I could record my tone of voice when I type that.) [At this point I took a look at this guy’s profile which states that he “thinks like a woman.” Wow, you gotta be kidding me.] So, yeah, I insulted his intelligence with my next remark by which he gets his feelings hurt and departs in a huff.
Now, what really spurred me to respond in the first place. Stupidity. I really have no tolerance for stupidity.
Twitter exclamations are ephemeral. 140 characters – people may or may not glance at it – people may or may not respond to it – life goes on. Unfortunately, this often results in people saying things that are, or ought to be, socially unacceptable and getting away with it. They may get a reputation for what they say and it might even be considered positive. This sort of thing happens to some extent on American radio and television, but there are laws to keep it from going too far and when it does dipping ratings or outright complaints spur consequences. There is very little law to provide boundaries on the Internet. (I’m talking social, not political. That’s a whole different ball of wax which can result in jail or worse.)
Free speech is a double edged sword. I believe in free speech and I believe in social boundaries. It is a balance.
But, here’s the problem. If stupid things are said repeatedly without reprisal, they become embedded into society. That is how things like female genital mutilation, honor killings, sexual harassment in the workplace, etc., came to be and continue today. Words are not really ephemeral and they do have consequences.
ADDENDUM: My proofreading husband warns me that people will read this and assume that our marriage is in trouble. Therefore, I am stating explicitly that none of the above is about our marriage. We are approaching our tenth anniversary and are doing just fine. We happen to enjoy each others company and occasionally finish each other’s sentences.