September 9, 2018

Yes, I Am a Man

blue monster
A recent comment left in response to this post over at Atheist Revolution's Facebook page got me thinking. Here was the comment:
As a privileged white male, I don't understand the outrage. Ahhhahahaa. LeSigh.
I really enjoyed that one. I'm not sure if it would be fair to characterize it as a popular opinion, but it was consistent with a similar concern expressed on the same post a little bit earlier:
If you're not outraged by this possibility, you must be male.
Yes, I must be. It doesn't matter that the post in question indicated, "I share many of their concerns and at least some of their outrage." After all, it would be crazy to expect someone interacting with a post on social media would have actually read the post. But that isn't the point here, so let's get to the point.

I'd like to look at this one from three different angles. First, I'd like to acknowledge that I am in fact a privileged White male. I know. But sadly, it gets much worse. I am also cisgendered and heterosexual. And yes, you should be horrified. And every once in a while, I have been known to sit comfortably in public places. Yep. That's me. I'm a monster. I can't help wondering why those who have such a problem with what I am are visiting my Facebook page.

Second, it seems to me that reacting to something someone has written with accusations about his or her gender is just a bit sexist. At least, if a man were to say something similar about someone necessarily being a woman because of something they wrote, I think many of us would consider it sexist. At least, I believe I probably would. But of course, "women cannot be sexist," right? And how is that claim itself not sexist?

Third, when someone reacts this way to content encountered on social media (or real life), it looks an awful lot like an outright dismissal of the content (perhaps without bothering to read past the title). The implication would seem to be that if I am male, my opinion is not valid. Thus, it does not need to be considered. Setting aside the question of why someone would seek out content written by a man in order to publicly repudiate his gender, this looks a bit like a tactic people might use to dismiss viewpoints with which they disagree. I suppose that's easier than many of the alternatives.

In any case, I enjoyed the comments. Facebook has some of the best and most consistent outrage I've found. If I ever need to be reminded about why Trump won or why many young people hesitate when asked whether they are feminists, I can count on finding it there.