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Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Lisa Williams

Indeed, the "politeness = dishonesty" and the take-no-prisoners crowd of technological commentary may be one reason why womena are less visible in that arena: because we're socialized to avoid hostility, and when we do engage in it, people don't judge us the same way they would if we were men. They're "honest and forthright," we're "word-that-rhymes-with-witches."

Just expecting one gender to "get over" their socialization is unreasonable (and sexist). Women shouldn't have to act more like men to participate in a dialogue; ditto men should not have to act more like women or feel disenfranchised when talking about subjects our culture considers feminized such as child-rearing. If the dialogue unintentionally but systematically excludes whole ranges of people based on how they were raised, then the dialogue is busted and in need of repair!

BTW, ready to go to BlogHer II?

Irritated Sales Associate

Being in contact with the general public on a daily basis, the deterioration of common civility is clearly visible. Is it so much to expect a "Thank You" for the time I've given to help someone find the best possible shoe? Sometimes it must be as I am continually plagued by ungrateful customers. Sure, being a salesman is my job, but being pleasant and accomodating is a part of the job that I take to extreme. I don't think it's too much to ask that my kindness and gratitude be reciprocated. Instead I get a woman who talks on her cell phone during the entire transaction and acts like I am intruding... What is wrong with this picture?


What's missing is the lost art of debate - logically examining and pointing out the flawed assumptions and weak evidence rather than denigrating the intelligence or morality of the person presenting the argument. The pace is geared towards the sound bite, which does not allow for much careful examination of anything. Plus, we just don't have time to carefully consider or even take in all the information that's out there, so we prefer to have issues pre-digested and simplified into forms that are quick and easy.

I don't think it's possible to have full individual rights without guaranteeing at least some degree of collective respect and cooperation. When it's every person for him/herself (or his/her little enclave or interest group) no one wins. We are so completely interdependent on one another for basic necessities, safety, information, and skills that one would think we would take better care to show respect for one another.

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