I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about this week, especially since a lot of the topics I really care about are being covered by really awesome authors elsewhere. But this one thing keeps coming up for me in my discussions with friends and family.
So I figure now’s as good a time to write about it as any.
Last week I got into a rather silly facebook argument about the level of snark and pretentiousness in a film review article that my friend wrote. I thought the people who read the article as dead serious were missing his point, and, especially knowing the author, I feel strongly that he’s using pretension to mock pretentiousness in film criticism. I found it hilarious.
My friends didn’t. They found it snarky and rude. So we went round and round about what we thought the tone of the article actually was and what the article accomplishes in turn.
And we were assholes. I found the ways that I was being talked to demeaning and frustrating, but to be fair, I started it. In my frustration, I was incredibly rude.
Then one of the folks I was arguing with said this to me in a private message: “You sounded very ‘mansplainy’ like we just weren’t smart enough to get it and that’s why we were offended by something we shouldn’t be offended by.”
If I wasn’t defensive before, I got SUPER defensive in that moment.
I’m thinking, “Wait, WHAT? So now I’m just a sexist, mansplainey asshole? What a copout!”
I couldn’t help but feel like useless rhetoric about male sexism was being used because it would hit me, a man who tries to be pro-feminist, harder.
But then something simple happened.
The mail carrier knocked on the door, and my dog went bonkers. I got her in control, and answered the door, signed for something, and came back.
That time allowed me to step back. Then I took a deep breath, and I looked back over my comments.
I was being a jerk.