Always, always, always.

2011-09-06 17:40

A person I know recently sent an email to me, on another topic. One sentence really stuck out to me:

Men always, always, always refuse to take “no” at face value.

Wow. The reason, I think, that this stuck out so much was the obvious pointlessness of reading any further. This… This is some fucked up shit. This is not a sane thing. This is not a thing that is compatible with living in a world containing both men and women. This is a pean to sexism that makes Schopenhauer’s On Women seem like a radical call to equality between the sexes.

No, I did not misread this. No, I am not reading too much into it. If someone says “X are always Y”, it is quite reasonable to say “this is mere hyperbole, not a true absolute”. At “always, always”, you are still within the realm of things you could handwave as some kind of figure of speech. But at three “always,” you have entered the realm of absolute statements.

There are not many absolute statements you can make about “men” or “women”. I think I could be persuaded that “Men are always, always, always male humans” would be a defensible position. I wouldn’t grant anything about X or Y chromosomes, or self-identification, because I’ve met the exceptions, and they’re pretty cool people.

Once you get to the point where you can’t be happy unless you categorically deny the humanity and individuality of half of your species, you’re fucked up. We can’t help you from there, least of all those of us you consider “men”. You are out there in your own private hell, and the worst of it is of your own making. Nothing anyone ever did to you was as destructive as the years you have spent or will spend fearing and hating half of humanity. You’re an adult, you have free will, you have the ability to think. You could accept that humans are full of variety, and treat them as individuals. You choose not to.

It’s always weird realizing that someone’s not-sane. Not the kind of weird craziness I’m used to in my friends, but the kind of denial of reality that lets people form thoughts like “all those people over there are worthless”. And once you can claim that men, or women, or whites, or blacks, or autistics, or neurotypicals, or gays, or straights, or Christians, or Muslims, always do some thing… You have declared them to be, at the very least, less-real than yourself. That is not sane, and it is a kind of insanity that is dangerous not just to you, but to other people.

Scary stuff.

Peter Seebach