Thursday, September 19, 2013

Slate Sorority Slam

Update: It occurred to me later "Which one of these women actually knows something about living in a culture where there are hundreds of lesbians who play a large part?" The writer from Slate knows much more about what progressive people are supposed to believe and supposed to say about the interaction of lesbian and straight culture - no contest there - but the student has actual knowledge.  Slate doesn't say where Kate is from, but let's guess recent Arts & Humanities grad from a coeducational school.  Maybe an Ivy wannabee. That doesn't make the latter right nor the former wrong, but it is a significant credibility marker.  (Also, some editing below, as I rethought in the paragraph beginning Fifth, the photo what was really being said.)

Kate Waldman over at Slate has provided considerable evidence that the woman she is criticising made a good point. The young woman at Smith may indeed be annoying or wrong, but the irony is how Waldman's criticism proceeds.

Via the Steve Sailer post about the Smith student's proposed sorority coming under heavy attack is the odd, almost deranged girlish stereotypy.  First, an internal discussion among the women at Smith must, simply must, rise to the level of being corrected in national publications.  No, sorry. First was EWW, your taste in clothes, Lily Pulitzer? OMG I can't believe I'm even talking to you! So, second - is the reasoning and argument part. No wait, maybe further down...that's funny...she doesn't seem to get to the reasoning part at all...Third, because the Smith girl is talking about sororities, then everything else that I hate about sororities - because those girls are just ARRGGH! - is fair game for Ms. Waldman to add in.

Well yeah, that's logical.

Fourth, because straight women may outnumber lesbians at Smith, then there can't possibly be an validity to her impression of being treated as an unheard minority, can there?  Unless you are Mitt Romney or the 1% or Hollywood directors, or South Africa, or whatever.  Then it's just obvious that the minority unfairly oppresses the minority.  It's just impossible for a minority to exert cultural dominance over a majority, and any complaining must be - well, let me put on my x-ray glasses and read out the Motiv-o-Meter and discern that this is just disguised hate speech.  Against the wrong kind of women by the wrong kind of woman.  Is it ultimately true that our political and social discussions come down to arguments among women about how women should acts?

My very liberal brother used to be a lecturer at Smith and joked that marxism was the center-right position there.

Fifth, the photo and the rhetoric solidify the impression that those who don't buy into the authoresses's definition of proper female behavior must be ultrafeminine parodies. They can't possibly be real people with ideas, intelligence, and opinions, so we will just talk down to them as if they are little girls instead of reasoning with them.  Who knew that Mean Girls had such broad application?

Okay, I'm not the first to notice that broad application.

I've written dialogue at times, and I write dialogue for characters like this in my head from time to time as well, thinking how perfect it would be if they actually were such obvious stereotypes and fools and put such words in their mouths.  But after about fifteen minutes, I chastise myself for being so unfair.  Real people don't really think like this.

Then the Kate Waldman's of the world come along, writing for a publication with some following and prestige and thus, representative of some solid slice of humanity and I have to admit, shaking my head, "Yeah, some of them really are that bad."


Sam L. said...

"Then the Kate Waldman's of the world come along, writing for a publication with some following and prestige and thus, representative of some solid slice of humanity and I have to admit, shaking my head, "Yeah, some of them really are that bad." "

And don't you just hate it when that happens? When stereotypes just fit so perfectly?

bs king said...

My brother (the liberal one) said he went to a multi group conference once, and he watched with annoyance as the first HALF of the day was taken up with each group explaining why they were worried their voice wouldn't be heard because they were the most oppressed minority in the room. He left when someone actually got up to announce "I'm feeling unsafe here because there seems to be a lot of microaggression going on in this room".

His comment to me: "Five hours later we hadn't even started to talk about the topic. I just thought "I'm not liberal enough for this".

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Things like this seem to happen - though nowhere near that dramatically - whenever I have just had it with conservatives and their paranoias and oversimplifications. I get reminded where the other choice leads.

bs king said...

There should be word for that feeling.

bs king said...

Weirdly enough, in a totally different context, I just came across what likely happened at the group my brother was at: