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Aug 20 2007

The Fucking Pedantic Asshole Chronicles

bert_niagara.jpg
Unrelated Hill Country Flood photo of the day: My critically-acclaimed golden retriever Bert taunts fate at the brink of deluge. El Rancho Deluxe, August 2007.

You know how you’re sauntering along through your life minding your own beeswax, and some sexist shit goes down, and you, a feminist, naturally respond as one who is sick and tired of sexist shit, perhaps saying aloud in mixed company “that’s some pretty sexist shit, yo,” and your unwillingness to just laugh it off with the rest of the ladies raises the hackles of some asshole pedantic dude who then, out of his profound concern for your well-being, tries to rescue you from pariah-dom, lavishing you with the benefit of his superior grasp of the human condition by setting you straight on the distaste with which every other rational person on Earth regards ‘feminism’? Perhaps even adding that if you really want to get anywhere with your arguments, you’ll get better at appeasing your oppressor with a more solicitous, more conciliatory, more sexyfun tone?

It’s time to stop suffering these ‘intellectual’ arguments with our dudely ‘friends’. They are unwinnable. This is not because the feminist position is flawed. In fact, the premise from which radical feminism proceeds, that women are human, is unassailable by any but the most fanatical, deluded, small-minded swine. No, these dude-arguments are unwinnable because it’s not a fair fight. The fucking pedantic assholes hold the advantage in every respect. Not the least of which is that they get to argue for the dominant paradigm from a cushy, privileged spot within the dominant paradigm, whereas the feminist must simultaneously argue for a wholly imaginary model (a surreal bizarro-world where she is fully human), from that wholly imaginary model, all the while resisting the overwhelming pull exerted by the old familiar patriarchal exemplar — making smiling, head-tilting concessions.

But the fucking pedantic asshole’s primary advantage is that he is motivated not by intellectual curiosity, but by the vulgar patriarchal domination imperative. He’s not really about discourse at all. He fakes you out by getting you to intone your feminist manifesto, but he’s really just baiting you for the old put-a-sock-in-it-or-the-consequences-will-be-dire gambit. The fucking pedantic asshole has made the exciting discovery that he can dominate the women in his midst merely by threatening to revoke that most golden and priceless of gifts: his favor. In generously condescending to converse with a member of the sex caste, these putzes pretend to want to engage in serious philosoph-socio-political debate, but their only real interest lies in forcing the uppity feminist to submit to their awesome power.

Fortunately, (perhaps because it doesn’t exist), nowhere in the Handbook of Radical Feminist Etiquette does it state that one is obligated to try to convince or win over or convert or reassure aggressively antifeminist dudes. The path to enlightenment is, for such amoral lost-cause pricks, beyond the purview of women. We’ve got our own problems.

“Not interested, Fucking Pedantic Asshole. Your argument is too unsophisticated for me to take seriously.”

It turns out I’m not the only one who holds this view. A kindly blamer suggested I check out blogger Dizzy’s account of an encounter with one of these cretinous antifeminist buttmunches. Some chump at a party actually passed her a note explaining her shortcomings as a feminist. Read the whole post. It will resonate. It sounded so familiar I had to check to make sure I hadn’t written it myself. Quoth Dizzy:

I know it must be hard to fathom that a girl doesn’t care what a smart man thinks about the thing that she cares most about in the world, or that there’s a movement that exists that doesn’t much take into consideration what men have to say on the topic. I know I’m supposed to 1) nod thoughtfully as I process your wisdom, asking clarifying questions about your points just in case I don’t immediately understand something you say, and then 2) offer up some powerful and intelligent argument on why feminism is important, and then 3) try to prove my point with examples from women in politics and a few stories about my grandmother, but of course, in the end, 4) concede that yes, you have some very good points that I will certainly think about, and thank you for educating me about feminism and correcting me on those things I didn’t fully understand about women and the world.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the patriarchal position is irrelevant to feminist theory, and the substance of feminism, the value of the liberation of women, is not itself a legitimate subject for debate among rational beings.

75 comments

8 pings

  1. Jodie

    Gawd, is Bert ever cute!

  2. PhysioProf

    Is that Bert’s tongue hanging out trying to lick the water, or is that a toy in his mouth? And yes, he sure is cute!

  3. Marytracy9

    Oh, Twisty, you hit the nail on the head so well that the nail now is part of another dimension. I couldn’t agree more with you, nor could I possibly ever put it in the way you had. Thank you for expressing what was on my heart. And congratulations once again.

    One more thing: I think you meant “PARIAH-DOOM”

  4. thebewilderness

    That’s it, right there. Submit, die, or pariah-doom. Thank you.

  5. Toonces

    Glorious post, Ms. Twisty.

    A lingering, pitying look coupled with a tired and condescending smile while saying “Enjoy your privlege while you have it. Have a great day.” also dismisses and enrages the asshats beautifully.

  6. Sean

    IBTP for small apartments that don’t let you have dog-friends (as in, IBTP specifically for the small apartments which, by the way, cost me over half my income; NOT for small apartments not being allowed pets since the opposite would be cruel to the pet).

  7. Emily

    “Your argument is too unsophisticated for me to take seriously.”

    I shall tuck this into my arsenal and use it as needed. Thanks, Twisty.

  8. RunJaneRun

    I think I love you.

    I love when this particular type of dude will define feminism for you. If I never again have a man tell me what “real feminists” believe, I will die happy.

  9. coyote

    My response is usually something along the lines of, “It’s hard to believe that you managed to take over the world with that brilliant logic.”

  10. Yatima

    RunJaneRun: “If I never again have a man tell me what “real feminists” believe, I will die happy.”

    TESTIFY!!!

  11. Aerik

    Ugh. You’re so right.

    On my blog, I’ve been tackling feminist issues and atheist issues simultaneously. I recently had to speak out against DJ Grothe of Point of Inquiry and Matt Nisbet of framing science (at scienceblogs.com) for similar bullshit against atheists. The last time I spoke of it, I titled it “closing words.”

    But when I read this and remembered the parallels, I just can’t leave it the way I did. I have to do some more. And I’m going to reference this post.

  12. Ganza

    Because that’s what we all want, isn’t it? To reach a point where patriarchy’s finest defenders can find us agreeable, even with our cute ideas.

  13. Beth

    This post makes me feel worlds better. Thank you Twisty. Here I was thinking I was just being antisocial. I feel this way when I talk to men about, well, just about anything. A genuinely intellectually curious male is hard to find.

  14. Krinn DNZ

    One: Yay, Bert is cute!

    Two: God that argument is tiresome. Worst I’ve seen is someone citing the freaking Letter From Birmingham Jail as an example of how oppressed groups should be nicer! perkier! politer! when addressing their oppressors.

    Three: A note? Is it one for the archives ?

  15. TravelerOfTheWays

    “Fortunately, (perhaps because it doesn’t exist), nowhere in the Handbook of Radical Feminist Etiquette does it state that one is obligated to try to convince or win over or convert or reassure aggressively antifeminist dudes.”

    I fall down, weeping tears of gratitude. Every time I refuse to enter into a stupid and, as you explain, unwinnable argument like that, I feel a twinge or two of guilt, like I really should expend my emotional energy at the drop of the antifeminist hat and fluster myself into near hysteria because some smug jerk holds women to a weird subhuman standard.

    Then again, I don’t want to be a passive enabler. Dammit. IBTP and thank you, Twisty.

  16. A

    You write beautiful poetry. Love it.

  17. Selma

    I hear ya.
    Usually when I try to defend my feminist position some guy asks me if I’m having my period. So frustrating.
    I love you, Bert. You are a real cutie!

  18. Carpenter

    Ah yes.
    When I see this coming I often preemptively accuse such assholes of letting their personal feelings get in the way of the facts and logical reasoning, and suggest they no get too excited or emotional. Basically I out asshole them first, except I am right. They get sooooo mad.

  19. tigtog

    Oh, I needed to read this. It’s been the week of pedantic arseholes over at the Feminism 101 blog, and it’s nice to be reminded that it really is OK just to refuse to be drawn into their games of refining and refining an argument until the broad inarguable point is just drown in layers of their bullshit. Ta.

  20. ew_nc

    Thank you once again Twisty, for taking the jumble of thoughts and feelings in my mind and putting them into such eloquent words. Today’s essay is one of your finest.

  21. PhysioProf

    “It’s been the week of pedantic arseholes over at the Feminism 101 blog[.]”

    I thought the whole point of Feminism 101 was to be a honey pot for pedantic assholes?

  22. magickitty

    Carpenter, that’s effing brilliant. I’m totally going to do that with the next stupid argument I get drawn into.

  23. CafeSiren

    One of the most interesting things about the responses to Dizzy’s post was the fact that it attracted – gasp! – fucking pedantic assholes who tried to correct her. Missing the point entirely.

    Happily, Dizzy told them (and I believe I’m quoting directly): “GET THE FUCK OFF MY BLOG.”

  24. Shira

    I had an argument with a fucking pedantic asshole right after I read this post, which began when I had the audacity to compare this “study” supposedly showing that “People with lighter eyes ‘more likely to achieve’” and positing some “unexplored link between eye colour and academic achievement” with phrenology, in both intent and effect.

    My questioning the purity of the researcher’s heart was just as silly as Kanye West suggesting that Bush doesn’t care about people he lets drown, he said! Also, Condoleeza! Colin Powell!!1!one! He went on to describe West’s comment as an ‘apoplectic outburst’ (snort), so you can see “Fucking Pedantic Asshole” is pretty damn appropriate. And of course, FPA was speaking out of deep concern for me, since ascribing motivations such as racism or sexism “looks bad” and “hurts my position” (apparently stating my position is enough to hurt it!).

    Twisty, you’ve given me so much in the way of understanding the world. You’re like a Bodhisattva combined with Thor, enlightening the commentariat and smashing the patriarchy out of a deep and abiding hatred for fucking pedantic assholes and the crap they try to pull.

  25. Ivan Raikov

    That is one amazing photo! Which lens did you use for it?

  26. Edith

    Ahhhh, I can’t even deal with how amazingly right on this post is. Diety, diety expletive. I’ve been trying to tell myself that this is all going to get better once I leave school, but I know that’s sadly, sadly untrue.

    You can NEVER EVER win when you are arguing with some DUDE speaking on behalf of “common sense.” I’ve taken to being very condescending because, unfortunately, calling people dumb or unsophisticated has given me a reputation for not ONLY being a bitch, but actually unsophisticated and dumb myself (“she won’t even engage in a discussion! If she won’t do that, she clearly can’t back up her assertions. She’s young and naive, what can you do. She just needs some more education”). So now I say things like, “I know it’s very, very complicated but don’t worry, lots of people don’t understand how sexism works at first. Is there anything in particular that’s confusing you?”

  27. Catherine Martell

    I am printing out this post and Dizzy’s, framing them, and nailing them to the inside of my front door. To be read as a reminder not to engage every time I sally forth into the world of menz.

    If I could somehow add up all the hours I’ve spent patiently tilting my head and listening to FPAs gas on about why they don’t like feminism, I’d probably have been able to figure out a cure for patriarchy by now.

    Dammit, I’m just not going to engage any more. Though I might out-asshole a few a la Carpenter. Thank you! Thank you all!

  28. delphyne

    If only all sexist assholes would confine expression of their anti-feminism to notes passed at parties which could then be politely passed back.

    As an aside, apologies for being a pedant, but is pedantic actually the right word for these nitwits? I thought pedantry meant insistently nit-picking at minor details whilst ignoring the larger picture. I wouldn’t complain but I’ve had pedantic thrown at me recently when I was making feminist arguments and I’ve also seen someone who was putting the radical feminist case against prostitution apologising (yes apologising) for her pedantry. Or does it have an additional meaning in the US?

  29. Panic

    Thank you for this post, and thank you for the link. I particularly enjoyed this.

    Honestly, if you really truly think feminism is wrong, or that women just have it made these days and that we should suck it up and be grateful for the rights men have already granted us, then you’re a complete fucking tool. Period. No discussion necessary. I won’t ever entertain the notion, no matter how passionately you argue or how solid you think your points are.

    I always get drawn into arguing with them. It’s the combative side of me, that can’t let go, can’t let them think they scored a point on me, you know. But this way is better, and will cause me less stress, and torn out hair.

  30. teffie-phd

    Twisty and Dizzy–you’re both awesome.

    When I get tempted to try to defend feminism, I will remember this post and save myself all that grief and all the windbaggery these assholes get into.

  31. sbf

    De-lurking to say: thanks for this. I recently ended an argument with a particularly ill-informed FPA with “I’d continue this conversation, but you really can’t hold up your end of it.” He responded that he’s not actually sexist–he just thought it was fun to make me angry. And yet, I still feel bad for ending the discussion in a mean way. IBTP.

  32. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Bert has truly fulfilled the promise of his puppyhood cuteness. What a handsome dog.

    There are days when I am just too weary, pissed off and fed up to argue about feminism with pedantic assholes. But I’m no Twisty Faster.

    She can simply refuse to engage in a battle of wits with unarmed opponents.

  33. TP

    This reminds me of my own education as to whether I, a man, could properly call myself a feminist. After a great deal of tortured consideration, I accepted the undeniable fact that a man raised in a misogynist world could be as sympathetic to feminism as he could, and could seek to improve himself as mightily as possible, but at the end of the day he will always comfortably remain outside the quotidian and visceral fears and slurs of being a woman, and therefore could never understand the problems as thoroughly as he would need to call himself a feminist.

    I have to admit also that I don’t understand completely why I am so indifferent to the privileges of manhood, and so willing to lose them. I have had a lifelong distaste for dominance, submission and competition, so maybe it’s just an inclination of my character.

    Any man who will argue feminism with a woman is a complete and total tool of the patriarchy. The only proper response to a woman informing you that you have said something sexist is an apology and perhaps a request to understand the deeper inclinations that our training has inflicted on us.

    I blame all of my sexism on the patriarchy. I know that I was born without a sexist bone in my body, and every bit of it was cultural conditioning. Denying that I am sexist is just a way of defending the patriarchy; refusing to try to unlearn it is joining it completely.

    It seems like an important point to make quickly if a man asks about feminism in an open manner, that it is a cultural norm imposed on us all. If a man can’t even understand that, he can just fuck off. He is the patriarchy in his mind, and there’s no way to reason with the patriarchy, is there?

  34. Theriomorph

    I am so taken with Bert’s fancy and elegant tail.

    Dogs have given me one of my tried and true responses to pedantic antifeminist swine getting in my face and correcting my intellect, affect, or both. When the inevitable instruction to make myself more appealing and acceptable and less upsetting and more hire-able, promote-able, date-able, and generally malleable comes via an exhortation to ‘smile,’ I occasionally do, as hugely as I can, and say: isn’t it interesting that in the animal world, bared teeth mean ‘I’m going to rip your throat out right now if you don’t back off?’

    I love how they sort of scuttle away backwards, laughing nervously.

    (For the fact that I can only do this when I have little or nothing at stake, IBTP.)

    delpyne, agree with your definition, and, round these parts (northeastern US, or at least my attitude-ridden circles of it), pedantic has a common usage connotation of patronizing arrogance geared to maintain supremacy over the pedant’s target, as much as the habit of nitpicking trees at expense of forest. Seen and heard it used against feminists, too, without regard for either definition. I think it’s mostly whipped out by the ones who have heard they maybe shouldn’t say ‘shrill’ or ‘strident’ to get precisely the same effect.

  35. camipco

    This rarely happens to me, as a feminist man. My guess is that this is partly because I like fucking pedantic arguments but mostly because other men assume my opinions are worthy of respect and not the result of an emotional hot flush.

    Time for my first what-about-the-men argument. I don’t think women bear any responsibility whatsoever for educating men or defending feminism. But I do think, from time to time, there are men who are a little open to some education. A lot of men have no idea that feminism doesn’t mean female-domination, and a quick trip to the dictionary normally clears that one up.

  36. Twisty

    Campico says, “Time for my first what-about-the-men argument.”

    Let it be your last.

  37. wiggles

    A lot of men have no idea that feminism doesn’t mean female-domination, and a quick trip to the dictionary normally clears that one up.

    No it doesn’t. It may be different in your experience, since you’re male and therefore generally presumed to have noble intentions and some idea what you’re talking about, but the type of guy who thinks feminism means female domination is practically never swayed by clarification from a woman on any matter. If you’re a female feminist talking about feminism to a male anti-feminist, you’re just trying to push your anti-man agenda.

  38. wiggles

    And Bert is the bomb-diggity!

  39. Kali

    After several years of frustrating discussions with fucking pedantic assholes (FPAs) where every statement made by the FPA was followed by a thought balloon over my head saying something along the lines of “WTF”, I have realized that feminists (especially radical feminists) and FPAs are operating on very different frequencies and therefore there can be no meaningful discussions between them. We don’t speak the same language. Feminists speak the language of equality, justice and fairness. FPAs speak the language of “might is right” which they euphemistically label as rationality and logic. So feminists demand justice and fairness, and FPAs respond with advice on how to suck up to the guy with the big stick in order to receive a few crumbs.

    FPAs are best ignored. Give them as little airtime or bandwidth as possible.

  40. whyme63

    I’m so smitten with Bert. He’s gorgeous.

  41. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    This rarely happens to me, as a feminist man. My guess is that this is partly because I like fucking pedantic arguments but mostly because other men assume my opinions are worthy of respect and not the result of an emotional hot flush.

    Wait – what? “An emotional hot flush.” So the only opinions that are worthy are the ones that are *not* based on emotions? And how do you get that your opinions are not emotion-driven?

    *All* opinions are emotion-driven. We care about something because it elicits feelings in us one way or another – excitement, fear, anger, shame, happiness. We then use our logic to explain *why* something moves us as it does. But that’s nothing more than spin, after the fact. The emotion is the original impetus that makes us care enough to make the argument in the first place.

    Just because you’re not aware of your emotions doesn’t mean you don’t have ‘em and aren’t driven by them.

    The reason men are so in love with pedantry is that it lets them off the emotional hook. Because we all know emotions = womanly = wussy. So the more pedantic a man is, the more ‘manly’.

    If you’re using pedantry to impress other men, you’re still playing the patriarchal one-up game. As long as you continue to consciously benefit from patriarchal privilege, you’re no feminist.

  42. slythwolf

    I don’t engage with FPAs. I just–as soon as it becomes clear that it’s an FPA I’m talking to, I leave the conversation. Like the time I was patiently explaining to some people on LiveJournal that I think it’s wrong to jerk off to images of women being harmed, and some FPA said, “Wait. Who said anything about harming women? I thought we were talking about pornography.” Or the time two college-football-team dudes sitting behind me in speech class started talking about how hilarious rape porn was–although that time I stayed in the conversation long enough to say, “I can’t control what you find funny, but I’ve asked you to stop talking about it, so if you keep talking about it, it’s sexual harassment, and your asses are getting reported.” Really it was already sexual harassment but in school I usually give them a warning–learned that one the hard way; you report them without warning them first and you get the runaround about “Well did you ask them to stop?” “Well if you didn’t ask them to stop how could they know they were bothering you?” which, if I may go on a bit of a tangent, is really fucking similar to “If you didn’t actively claw his balls off how could he know he was raping you?”

    He responded that he’s not actually sexist–he just thought it was fun to make me angry.

    Which is a total lie. If you think it’s fun to make feminists angry, you’re sexist.

  43. afm

    I’ve been blogging at oomph.net lately. kukuberra Just has similar “threat” situation. And watching other women gather the wagons, how quickly feminists were blamed for a perceived slight on the male ego. I try very hard not to let things slide by me. It’s not that I am trying to teach them but I demand they notice it like I do. My head will explode if I don’t keep prodding the people around me. There is too much around us. I laugh a lot about it though. I had one thinks he’s a nice guy confess he feels slightly ashamed of being a guy around me, hoping to be absolved. I smiled benevolently and said, “good” and walked away.

  44. yankee transplant

    Bert is SPECTACULAR!!! What a photo! And yeah, this post is a Twisty classic. Suitable for framing.

  45. Rainbow Girl

    Interesting that many of us are using the term “fucking pedantic asshole”. As I understand it, pedantry is when you pick apart an issue, split hairs, go for exact definitions and strive for accuracy. And yet these moronic discussions we keep getting dragged into have nothing to do with that.

    These dudes are ill-informed goons whose idea of an incisive argument is a broad, culturally buttressed generalization. Their “intellectual curiosity” is usually focused on questions that could be answered with the aid of Google or Wikipedia.

    When we say pedantic, we are referring to the way they come across as patronizing, condescending schoolteachers. But it’s not because they actually know anything-it’s because they think they do in the face of all logic. My having studied gender issues at a university level is only a liability; I’m fatally biased, while they have the neutral, authoritative stance of status quo backing them up. And you don’t have to read a single god damn book to understand status quo. This is why it’s so hard to win these ones: a scalpel can’t fight a baseball bat.

  46. Lara

    I have officially entered Fucking Pedantic Asshole (FPA) to my everyday vocabulary. You have put down in letters everything I felt deep down but could not express. Thankyou thankyou thankyou!
    Bert is probably one of the only males that is not an FPA with you Twisty…
    I sometimes let these FPAs actually convince me that I am antisocial, or “overanalyzing” or living a “sad” existence…but no more! I now know there are others out there that feel the same way I do and even though we will probably never meet face-to-face at least we are not completely alone.
    IBTP!

  47. Lara

    By the way Twisty what type of camera and lens do you use? Your photos are awesome. I am an amateur photographer so I am curious ;)

  48. metamanda

    OK, so, what about the womenz?

    It’s a question I’ve been thinking on. Sometimes I hear women argue that man-alienating-feminism is unpragmatic and can’t we all just get along? And these are women who are mostly aware of the patriarchy and how much it sucks (though still experiencing moments of denial) and who are perfectly capable of opening up a can of feminist whup-ass when they want to. It’s easy to understand that FPAs are best ignored, but I’m not entirely sure how to engage smart feminist-inclined female friends who are overly inclined to be nice to FPAs.

    Well, actually that describes me fairly well, but I’m getting less nice as I age.

    Perhaps I will just start sending more of my friends to read this blog.

  49. thebewilderness

    metamanda,
    After hundreds of years of asking politely, feminists have decided to try demanding that men stop with the rape, pillage, and plunder, and wake up to the fact that half the population is more than a little tired of doing all the getting along. Submit, die, or pariah-doom doesn’t leave much room for getting along.

  50. metamanda

    thebewilderness,

    I agree with you, which is why I am getting less nice, in life. I’m overcoming a tendency to avoid conflict, but at least I no longer feel like it’s my job to handhold and educate every guy who doesn’t get it.

    I guess I’m just lamenting that too many of my friends who have the ability to put FPAs in their place as yet lack the inclination. I’m perfectly happy to blame away and alienate assholes, but it’s a real bummer to feel that hint of discord with another woman who just moments ago was blaming along with me.

    In the future, I think I’ll point out what you said, that half the population is doing all the getting along.

  51. Cath

    At first I thought Bert was standing in one of those little falls in the woods off of 360. Then I realized Bert was probably standing in someone’s DRIVEWAY considering how much rain Texas has gotten lately. Either way, Bert needs a snugglin’! Pronto!

    As for the actual topic of the post, Twisty rocks my world, as usual.

  52. Bubamarenya

    I really enjoy disengaging. I used to think it was my obligation to have the argument. I should have just waited to read this blog. It doesn’t matter what I say because I am obviously coming from a “flawed” point of view. How many hours of reading I could have saved if I just didn’t feel my little urge to rebel taking over? I don’t even say anything anymore. I just shoot judgmental looks until the (I know what feminism is, and it is not you) individual realizes he is really not that interesting.

  53. Theriomorph

    Bert needs a snugglin’! Pronto!

    Or some spawning salmon.

  54. CoolAunt

    CuriouserAndCuriouser

    “Just because you’re not aware of your emotions doesn’t mean you don’t have ‘em and aren’t driven by them.”

    So true and straight to the point.

  55. XtinaS

    This… this is fantastic.  A million blessings upon you for this post, and a million pattings for your doggie, who is a cutiepie.

  56. magickitty

    Ah, but Theriomorph, he’s standing in the wrong place if he wants to catch the salmon. Maybe he’s there to encourage them instead. :)

  57. miscellanneous

    The following is required reading for any fem theory class and may be my new tattoo.

    Not the least of which is that they get to argue for the dominant paradigm from a cushy, privileged spot within the dominant paradigm, whereas the feminist must simultaneously argue for a wholly imaginary model (a surreal bizarro-world where she is fully human), from that wholly imaginary model, all the while resisting the overwhelming pull exerted by the old familiar patriarchal exemplar — making smiling, head-tilting concessions.

    I probably need a longer upper arm to fit it all, but, damn, that arm could do some major FPA intervention.

  58. kreepyk

    A tried and true favorite of mine that I used when confronted with freeper crazies (fabulous logic like “the real enviro. problem is Hmong frefugees breeding too much!” or “enviro problems will be moot after the Rapture.”):
    “Sounds like we disagree. Have a good night!” Then walk away.

    Of course, I was paid to disengage while remaining polite. Politeness is optional on your personal time.

  59. Crabby

    gosh, Twisty, have you been talking to my ex recently? the first man I had the misfortune to sleep with on a regular basis (no worries, though, have reformed my ways and save that for the womenfolk now) was, in fact, an incarnation of Fucking Pedantic Asshole. no wonder he never seemed to listen to anything I said, no matter how thoughtful, brilliant, and/or right I was.

  60. Sarah

    This post makes me feel less guilty about the times I refuse to “get into it” with some guy. And it is funny you wrote this now, as something along those lines happened to me on the weekend.
    I was helping out at an event at my son’s school with my sister, when she got talking to some dude who is doing a PHD at the same university as her. She asked if he knew one of her lecturers, which he didn’t. He then said, “Is she a feminist?” to which my sister replied yes, and he shot back, “Yeah, no wonder I don’t know her, I will have nothing to do with feminists”. My sister laughed sort of nervously, and then joked, “You better keep away from my sister then”. He then tried to justify his position by telling her that feminism is no different to misogyny.

    So I had not even met this dude at this point, was busy with my own stuff and didn’t feel like getting into an argument when he turns to me and says, “You really need to look at it from an educated point of view, NOT just your own personal point of view”.
    Because of course, this guy assumed that because I am 25 and have a child in school I couldn’t possibly have a brain in my head. Too bad for him I have TWO university degrees, so I shot back, “I have two degrees, I AM looking at it from an educated point of view”, then walked away.

    Strange thing is, he then spent the rest of the night trying to suck up. Dickhead.

  61. Blamerella

    Two: God that argument is tiresome. Worst I’ve seen is someone citing the freaking Letter From Birmingham Jail as an example of how oppressed groups should be nicer! perkier! politer! when addressing their oppressors.

    OMG! That’s heinous. My personal worst is when a guy used Eleanor Roosevelt’s “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” quote to attack my feminist argument. The subject was porn. He used Eleanor Roosevelt to defend porn.

  62. delphyne

    I’ve always disliked that Eleanor Roosevelt quotation (particularly as assholes are always so drawn to it). It probably is quite hard to make the First Lady of the US of A feel inferior whether she “consents” to it or not. Maybe she should have tried living at the bottom end of the social scale for a while and then thought a little harder about what she was saying.

  63. sopka

    I have found a superior smirk and a terse thank you for sharing usually helps.

  64. Amberbug

    Many times if you smirk you are a snob, if you walk away you’re a hysteric, or can’t stand a good intellectual debate, you’re weak. Sometimes they spin it like you are actually a “spunky female” and that’s your way of trying to attract men. It’s harrassment happening even as you analyse it for them, in front of them and their attendant audience. They presume that you are, or for shitssake should be, desperately trying to win their personal respect. That’s a kicker. They intentionally insist you feel like their local red-cross lady asking for donations. They like walking up to someone and demanding “Convince me why I should respect you”. They know you don’t like them, even when your face hurts from smiling and keeping your mouth shut in hopes they will shut up sooner. Feminists are usually in an “inferior” (isolated) social position and everybody knows it, bullies love it. Horrible and all too common situation to be in. IBTP.

  65. maggie

    What a relief it is to finally be a old crone! I haven’t had the opportunity to argue with an asshole about feminism for quite some time. Perhaps assholes are forewarned by my grey hair, straight back, surgically untouched face and steely glare. No man has dared to approach me with that bullshit for a long, long time. I must give off a subtle signal that says, “Say one patronizing word to me you little shit-for-brains and I will eat your nuts for lunch with mango chutney and a nice glass of Chardonnay.”

  66. TwissB

    I have always found it useful to reply before turning away, “You are telling more about your sexual anxieties than I really care to hear.”

    I hate to admit it, but I have not been able to figure out what “MRA” means.

  67. Feminist Avatar

    Men’s Right Activist. It got me for ages too.

  68. Vicki

    This blog entry rings so true to me. I hate it so much when I inaverdently (yet it’s getting rarer and rarer) start to smile and nod “Making smiling, head-tilting concessions”
    Actually, I stop just before the head-tilting..
    I refuse to let any man make me feel this way.
    It’s not that easy for me..being the “radical feminist” that I am in my relative’s eyes (family too).
    Let me just say I’m a first generation American and that my family hails from a country where it is unthinkable to feel this way. Oh and throw in a bit of misinformed Christian fundamentalism (I believe that Jesus was a feminist and that the Church corrupted everything…priests/prophets/etc., male of course, tried to shut down female equality since the middle ages, and everything is so skewed up that people actually believe that Christians should never be feminists and that Jesus (for some reason) hates them too.) No one has the RIGHT to make me feel ashamed as a woman, I claim the right to believe I am fearfully and wonderfully made, NO less than a man..and NO FPA shall make me feel inferior with his stupid arguments anymore.

  69. Not a Whisper

    I’ve only just seen this. You are the most awesome person alive.

  70. Ell

    Fucking THANK YOU for this post!

  71. FM

    Camipco says that the Pedantic Assholes never try to argue feminism with him, since he is a “feminist man”.

    That is untrue. The Patriarchy opposes feminism, no matter what gender the speaker is. I’ve always had people look askance at my Patriarchy-blaming. The difference is, when you’re male, the P will try to nicely BRIBE you away from feminism with the benefits of misogyny, while cooing to your ego*. And when you’re female, they’ll THREATEN you with disapproval, condescension, and violence. Yet another example of male privilege under the awful Patriarchy.

    * Actual reply to a recent blaming post of mine: “you seem like you’re a good man. Don’t beat yourself up just b/c some girls want you to—you don’t deserve it.” I don’t ‘deserve’ to give a damn about my female loved ones when they live under a constant threat of violence, because I am a ‘good’ man? I guess I need to look up ‘good’ in the dictionary again, because the definition must have changed since last time I checked.

  72. Jaffee

    I have been taking a class with a FPA (didn’t realize he was one till I’d already signed up and paid my money)…and coming across your fucking perfect article…well, it was so inspiring…there’s no telling what will happen now…I feel like I am Tootsie in that old movie when he was about to give it to them, and the cameras were rolling, and the peeps in the booths and behind the cameras were beginning to shit in their pants wondering what Toots would say next.

    I just can’t wait. To hear. What. Will come out of my mouth. THANKS FOR A TRULY GREAT PIECE. As the saying goes:

    The revolution

    is

    now.

    And I am once again, ecstatically happy.

  73. tinyweasel

    Are you implying that men’s opinions on feminism don’t matter? You say that feminists aren’t obligated to convince and win over anti-feminist men, but surely that is entirely the point of feminism. If women are being oppressed by misogynistic men, is it not the duty of the feminist movement to change the minds of these men so that they will change their anti-feminist ways?

  74. Jill

    I do not imply it, I state it categorically. Why does nobody grasp the meaning of the word “imply” anymore?

  75. Comrade Svilova

    But Jill, is it not your duty to listen to men and win them over to feminism with your winsome ways? Just make sure you are confident in your daintiness first!

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