February 05, 2016

Feminist Friday: Do's and Don'ts of Interacting With Stories About Women Online, Part IV

I'm back with another primer about interacting with women online, guys. I've got examples from state and national media this week, so hang on to your hats.

I actually think the solution to interacting online is pretty simple: empathy. Start from a place of empathy when you can, and see where it takes you.

Today, we're dealing with several double standards:

  • Reactions to women divorcing
  • Women are shallow for dating men the public thinks are less attractive than they should be
  • Women in power must leverage sex appeal
  • Expectations of pregnant women
  • Misconceptions regarding weight and diet
  • Expectations of rape and physical assault victims
These expectations seem to be grounded in some ideal woman. As far as I can tell, here's what she looks like: She doesn't go out after a certain time. She dresses in the way that society wants her to. She marries once to a man who is reasonably in her league as far as attractiveness. She adheres to some standard of weight and "fitness" that is hard to even begin to define. If she's in power, she can't be too pushy.

It's impossible. Here's the examples and how we can do it better.

1. Don't blame women and call them shallow for divorcing when you don't know them.

Mariah Carey got engaged, folks:

And some people are really unhappy about it:

Notice how no one seems to care that he, also, is in the process of a divorce. Look, divorce happens--can we please stop penalizing women like it's all their fault? It takes two people to make a relationship work.

Personally, no, I wouldn't announce my engagement if I was public figure going through a divorce, but they did. Both of them. Together. Not just her.

And while we are at it:

This is a real damned if you do, damned if you don't. If we don't date guys we don't find attractive, we're stuck up and shallow. If we date guys that people think aren't attractive enough for us, we're stuck up and shallow.

Try this instead: "Oh, Mariah Carey is engaged."

2. Don't imply that a governor who is female should up her sex appeal to deal with government business.

The governor of my state is embroiled in a battle with the Department of Energy:

I disagree with Haley on a lot. I'm a liberal, she's a conservative. That's a pretty basic difference. However, I disagree with this comment more:

I...I can't even with this comment. On what planet is that okay? I can't imagine any governor who was male being subjected to such degradation.

Try this instead: "Oh. I hope that this gets worked out soon so it doesn't impact jobs in our state."

3. Don't assume that pregnant women should dress a certain way.

Chrissy Teigen is pregnant, folks, and I am delighted. I like her a lot. Here's the headline from a recent outing:

Okay, yeah, it seemed impractical to me, mostly because I struggle to walk in heels when not pregnant and in the snow. But it's up to Teigen to make the call on what's practical, what she can wear, and what she feels good in. If she wasn't pregnant, this wouldn't be a headline.

And the comments...

Now, as far as I can tell, this outfit isn't any different from what Teigen wears when not pregnant. Is it trashy and attention-seeking then too, or...?

Try this instead: "Those are some nice shoes and a pretty dress. Also, Lip Sync Battles is the shit!"

4. Don't dispense medical advice.

Here's the headline:

Okay, so, I don't know that I would have chosen to take this story to the internet, because I would have worried it brought more embarrassment to my kid. I dunno. I don't have all the details, so I don't know if this was something the daughter agreed to or not.

What I was shocked at was the number of apparent doctors in this news station's commenters:

If you are not a doctor, please don't dispense medical advice. If you are a doctor, please don't do it on the internet for people you don't know and treat personally. If you are a doctor who knows and treats them personally, I'd sincerely hope you'd be professional enough not to behave like this on the internet.

Oh, and one more comment from this story:

DUDE, this is a thirteen year old girl. Really?

Try this instead: "Man, I don't know if I'd have put this on the internet if I were the mom, but maybe don't suggest Spanx to 13 year olds."

5. Don't imply that there are right and wrong times for someone to be outside.

Here's the headline:

Here's the comment:

What does this even mean? Yes, this younger person was out after 3:00 in the morning. There are many reasons for that--she's a college student in a college town where there are even many jobs that would have someone out at that hour.

Also, why does it matter? You should be able to walk down the street without fear of being sexually assaulted. Would it somehow be more of an assault if she'd been raped at noon?

Try this instead: "I hope the victim gets treatment and recovers as well as she can."

6. Don't call rape "sex".

Here's the headline:

This is not sex. This is rape.

Please stop calling rape "sex"--it's not. You cannot have sex with infant, you can only rape an infant. That's it. Full stop.

I have no comments for this one, because the headline is horrendous enough on its own.

Try this instead: "Ohio Seminary student arrested, charged with trying to rape infants"

7. Don't blame assault victims.

The story:

"Teen told sheriff that in September 2015, a male friend of her mother's struck her in the hand while demonstrating what he said was a military maneuver. The teen was later taken to the hospital and x-rays confirmed a fracture. 
The mother told investigators that she demanded the man leave the residence after he offered to have sex with both the mother and daughter.  The man is said to go by the name "Derrick" and may have resided in the Neeses area, or could be in Sumter."

The comments:

First, there's no way to know from the information provided that this woman only knew him by his first name. That's the name police have released, yes, but that doesn't mean that it's the whole name.

And even it was, I have plenty of neighbors that I would gladly allow into my home that I only know by their first names.

I'm not sure why this information is just making the news now, but from the story itself:

According to deputies, an Orangeburg high school student notified deputies after being struck by a man her mother met through an online dating site.

So perhaps this indicates that they were notified at the time and all leads have been exhausted and the police are asking the public for help, or perhaps there was a reason that the teenager--TEENAGER, as in child--couldn't come forward before.

 Try this instead: "I hope they catch this guy. He broke a someone's hand!"


It's really not that difficult. I know it's hard for people to put themselves in some of these situations, but dayum, a little empathy goes a very long way.

No comments:

Post a Comment