Everybody knows the thread I’m referring to, so I’ll just get right into it.
I had a great time today breathlessly discussing all the interrelated issues related to sexism and gender (in)equality. It was really fast-paced, and I had to type as fast as I could to try to make my points before ten more people had posted something and the conversation had moved on. It was a pretty fun adrenaline rush! Everybody was passionate and strongly defended their opinions, but there was no name-calling, and I didn’t think anything said was uncalled for.
But a number of people said that the thread was “ruined” and “ugly,” and I’m not really sure where that comes from. I suppose you could say that people were attacking other people’s points or ideas, but I didn’t think there were any personal attacks, because it was always a discussion of ideas, not of the people themselves. So I was surprised that some people thought the discussion was ugly, since I enjoyed it so much and thought that everybody was very well-behaved.
So where is the line between passionate and ugly? Is it acceptable to have passionate discussions about controversial issues? Is it acceptable for people to be up-in-arms and defensive about their beliefs, so long as they’re respectful? Or maybe we should talk about the definition of “respectful.” Did you guys think anybody in that thread was ever disrespectful?
TLDR: I love Mubi and I think you all are great and I love having passionate discussions with you guys!
Hard to say where that line is, but when someone is told to go suck a cock, the line has been crossed.
i can tell u it isn’t much fun being one of the only women in that conversation. i don’t think it got too out of hand but i’m not sure what jazz intended. i said in my first post it seemed like a borderline sexist topic so i wasn’t too surprised where it went
i can tell u it isn’t much fun being one of the only women in that conversation.
But why is that? It’s fine if you’re just not interested in arguing about such things, but throughout that discussion, and most discussions on Mubi, I feel that there’s always room to make some kind of point about what you think and have it thoughtfully considered, even if you have the minority viewpoint, which I know I’ve had here from time to time.
if and when it stoops to “Yo mama is so fat” insults then you know it’s gone to hell.
LOL yeah I agree with Roscoe and Girlfriend. I would definitely consider those to be personal attacks, cause they’re attacking the person, not the ideas. Mostly I’m interested in what circumstances you think it’s inappropriate to attack someone’s ideas.
i don’t mind arguing or i wouldn’t be here, and i felt i had to defend our side, but it isn’t always easy at odds of like 10-1. luckily there are plenty of broad minded males here, some of whom came to our defense :)
i don’t think it’s ever inappropriate to attack someone’s ideas, but racism and sexism are pretty tough to defend
>>Mostly I’m interested in what circumstances you think it’s inappropriate to attack someone’s ideas.<<
That would be never. So long as you’re not attacking the person holding the idea, all ideas should be up for debate (even this one.)
There’s got to be a difference between “attacking” someone’s ideas and just plain “disagreeing” with someone’s ideas. Folks do get defensive rather easily I think.
But a number of people said that the thread was “ruined” and “ugly,” and I’m not really sure where that comes from. I suppose you could say that people were attacking other people’s points or ideas, but I didn’t think there were any personal attacks, because it was always a discussion of ideas, not of the people themselves.
I’ve always supported and encouraged passionate discussions—as long as it’s thoughtful and civil. To me, vigorously challenges ideas while supporting others is completely acceptable. But my objections in that thread stemmed from not wanting the discussion to go into certain directions—directions that really would derail the discussion from the topic I wanted to discuss. Moreover, I thought the direction would easily get out of control. It was very similar to a thread I started about the way Christians watch films. The conversation started heading into an attack/defense about Christianity, the existence of God, etc. I really didn’t want to have that discussion, in that thread and it stifled and ultimately prevented the original topic—how the beliefs of Christians affect the way they watch movies. The same sort of thing happened in that men and women thread. And in both cases, I was pretty disappointed and annoyed.
i can tell u it isn’t much fun being one of the only women in that conversation. i don’t think it got too out of hand but i’m not sure what jazz intended.
I can tell you that my intent wasn’t to start a debate about gender inequality in society, the pros and cons of feminism or encouraging males to oogle over hot female actors. Men respond to beautiful female actors, and women respond to good looking male actors—but I wanted to probe deeper. Do they respond in different ways? Why do certain actors evoke such a negative response—given that many good looking actors don’t evoke the same response?
i said in my first post it seemed like a borderline sexist topic so i wasn’t too surprised where it went
The irony is that your response and Odis acted like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Had you not raised these objections—had you either ignored some of the comments or just talked about other issues, I don’t think the conversation would have moved in the direction that made you uncomfortable. What’s frustrating is that I didn’t really want the conversation to go in that direction anyway!
^ Yeah, that all makes sense Jazz. I feel guilty for participating in derailing the thread. And even worse for having enjoyed it. :(
Roscoe said, There’s got to be a difference between “attacking” someone’s ideas and just plain “disagreeing” with someone’s ideas. Folks do get defensive rather easily I think.
I think the difficulty lies in the gray area between attacking a person’s ideas and attacking the person. Clearly, personal insults and threats cross the line, but sometimes challenging ideas can also come close to a personal attack. I’m thinking of instances when the tone of a post implies that the person holding the ideas is an idiot. Knowing where that line is can be tricky, and it’s something we should be cognizant of when talking to others.
Having said that, if we can avoid explicit personal attacks (e.g., name calling, use of profanity in a hostile or insulting way) that should take care most of the problem.
“So long as you’re not attacking the person holding the idea, all ideas should be up for debate”
Well, sorta. There’s also a matter of how you go about this. If, for example, one’s argument is perceived as as sexist, racist, anti-Semitic (not saying that anyone was doing any of this in the situation in question, I haven’t read through the last several pages of the thread), etc., then you have to expect that people will get upset even though there may not technically be an attack on someone personally.
That’s the hazards of starting very general, open-ended topics—they can go any which way.
jazz, i don’t believe u intended it but i think the thread title (why do women hate zooey deschanel?) was offensive or at least that’s how odi and i took it
Matt said, Well, sorta. There’s also a matter of how you go about this. If, for example, one’s argument is perceived as as sexist, racist, anti-Semitic (not saying that anyone was doing any of this in the situation in question, I haven’t read through the last several pages of the thread), etc., then you have to expect that people will get upset even though there may not technically be an attack on someone personally.
That’s a valid point.
1. Let’s not pretend that writing an OP with specific and well-defined parameters would make a significant difference. People often ignore the specific intentions and topics of a thread. (Again, this isn’t always a bad thing—and it’s generally OK, imo.)
2. General topics can veer off in directions that the thread starter did not want or intend, but that shouldn’t be an issue if the thread starter explicitly requests that the topic not go in certain directions. In this case, I think there were really good reasons for this request, and I mentioned them above. I wanted to explore the way gender affects the reactions to actors—without getting into a debate about gender politics, etc. That’s reasonable, right? Or must I resign myself to not being able to have that discussion? (The answer might be yes, I guess, but that’s still a bit annoying.)
In any event, #2 relates to #1. The intentions of the thread starter isn’t seen as important, and, in most cases, I don’t think it is. Now, if the thread starter explicitly objects to the off-topic discussions, I personally think we should respect that. After all, no one is preventing the conversation from taking place in another thread. So asking people to refrain from a direction the OP didn’t want isn’t unreasonable, imo.
Ruby said, jazz, i don’t believe u intended it but i think the thread title (why do women hate zooey deschanel?) was offensive or at least that’s how odi and i took it
I honestly had no idea that portion would be offensive. I considered including, “And Why Men Hate George Clooney,” but then I thought this mostly applied to Den. I couldn’t think of a male equivalent, and it’s not like I give these thread titles a whole lot of thought. In any event, I apologize if the title offended you.
so you’re saying all women hate zooey deschanel? and only den hates george clooney. u don’t see why we might take offense? i have nothing against zooey and i think i qualify as a woman
I bet none of this would have happened if I hadn’t posted Zooey’s iPhone commercial yesterday…….
“Let’s not pretend that writing an OP with specific and well-defined parameters would make a significant difference.”
Sure, but the more open-ended you start, the potential for the thread going awry increases proportionately. Sometimes this is going to work out well and sometimes it’s not. And once you get past the first page, it’s likely that people aren’t even going to read the OP, they’re just going to respond to the last thing posted or whatever they perceive the thread title to be asking/saying.
Who gets tomato soup delivered?
I’m not saying all women hate ZD, but my sense was that a lot of them do. I couldn’t think of a male equivalent. Clooney was the first one that came to mind, but he didn’t seem to fit as I realized only one guy seemed to really be against him.
Sure, but the more open-ended you start, the potential for the thread going awry increases proportionately. Sometimes this is going to work out well and sometimes it’s not.
Right, and I didn’t want the conversation to be too narrow. At the same time, I didn’t want to get into gender politics, etc. You think explicitly stating topics I didn’t want to discuss in the OP—which would make the topic more specific and clear—would have made a big difference? Personally, I doubt it—partly for the reason you stated. People don’t eventually don’t read the OP. My point is that I don’t think defining the thread in more specific terms wouldn’t have made much of a difference, given the nature of the topic. (I imagine this probably applies to topics involving race, religion and politics as well.)
if u didn’t want to get into gender politics u shouldn’t have started with a sweeping generalization about women :)
I think I agree with Ruby on this Jazz—how could a question about one gender like X more than the other gender be anything but a matter of gender politics? I know you didn’t intend it in a hostile way, but it’s hard to envision it going any way other than the way it did.
You mean, there’s no way we could talk about the differences between the way men and women react to actors without talking about abortion rights, discrimination in the workplace, etc.? I honestly thought we could avoid getting into those issues, and I explicitly asked people to refrain and take the conversation some place else.
Now, I understand that the issue of stereotypical portrayals of men and women in film and discrimination against women in cinema would be hard to avoid—but I also thought we could go beyond the typical type of discussions involving those issues. The popularity and negative reaction to ZD doesn’t just involve her looks. There’s something more going on, and if we dug deeper would we also see differences between men and women. Is that gender politics? (Maybe I’m just using that term in the wrong way.)
1) I will admit that I get more defensive than I probably should when I am accused of things I adamantly am not. If someone told me to go fuck myself I would probably leave the conversation but I wouldn’t be as annoyed as when people I respect suggest I am racist, sexist, or anything that I hate. I’ve had some awful arguments on this site (mostly in PMs) that were more like your definition but I always found them rather laughable.
2) I’d ask the question if there are certain times where personal attacks and abbrassiveness are okay. Issues such as racism and sexism are morally objective enough in my eyes that I see no problem with someone flat out saying someone is incorrect in a passionate manner. I do not fault Ruby or Odi for being passionate about sexism. My only problem in that thread is I felt like certain opinions were misunderstood and as stated in point 1 that always touches a sore spot with me.
I will say that as hard as it may be, I should probably get better at controlling anger when talking to people who I believe are saying completely immoral things, because in the end getting angry does nothing.
The Republicans in my classes sure hate me though, and I have no shame in that. :)
Drew, if you really want a feather in your cap, do and say some things that will cause the Democrats to hate you
(that won’t take any real effort, believe me).
Do this openly, and very soon you will find some Republicans rallying to your side.
This will provide you an opportunity to alienate them on even harsher terms.
Over time, your classmates, of whatever persuasion, will begin to resist pigeonholing you in political or cultural contexts, and you will enjoy what scientists often refer to as “freedom.”
(This method works only if you associate with students who are capable of experiencing shame.)
Hahaha as fun as that would be I find it counterproductive to be apolitical. The Democratic Party aligns enough with my views that I feel fine identifying with them.
That being said I’m sure I do piss off some Democrats as is… just not nearly as often.
I honestly had no idea that portion would be offensive. I considered including, “And Why Men Hate George Clooney,
Ummm…… Jazz, please re-read that for intent.
I really think that abrasiveness and personal attacks get one absolutely nowhere in a discussion. It just gets you tagged as rude and holier than thou, not to mention unable to carry on a conversation without hitting below the belt, and complete lack of self-control.
One can certainly disagree vehemently with someone else without resorting to bullying, insults and belittling. The basic respect for the person as a human being, despite their views, however abhorrent to you and to others, should always be held in mind. That being said, you can still object strongly to how they are acting without making them appear to be a complete idiot or worse. There are ways, and there are ways.
On the other hand, I don’t advocate people not fighting back if they are personally attacked. That should never be tolerated. However, in a public forum, it’s the kind of thing you have to stop from escalating.