Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pretty Lady Heartily Concurs

It may surprise the Radical Feminist contingent that Pretty Lady has no quarrel with the actions, or lack thereof, of a feminist lady who declines to participate in Forced Debate:

I was recently informed by a friend, via a note passed to me at a party after I had reacted negatively (or, as he explained, like a chihuahua) to some sexist comment he made, that feminists are “bored and abused” chauvinists who have nothing better to do than to attack men and that I should not let anti-woman words have any kind of power over me. To be offended by misogyny is my choice and to do so makes me weak, apparently. (Now there’s a topic for another day).

And because I did not want to hear the same defensive, woman-hating bullshit that I’ve heard a thousand times by yet another man who claims absolute wisdom and righteousness in all matters human, I stopped reading about halfway through and gave the note back to him. I was then told that, by not being open to his opinions about feminism, I am essentially unwilling to grow and evolve and that I will tragically fail to achieve in my life the full and rich human experience because I refused to give credence to and appreciate his anti-feminist viewpoint.

Pardon Pretty Lady's editing; it seemed that this rightfully angry lady expended excess energy on fundamentally irrelevant topics.

For, whatever one's professed political or ideological affiliations, religion, ethnicity, or sexual preference, the fact remains that a person is never under the obligation to submit to unsolicited insults in a social situation, full stop. The male person in question behaved in a manner which is unquestionably Rude. The rules of polite society do not, and have never, demanded that such a person be treated with patient respect, or accorded an additional jot of one's time after the initial insult has been recorded.
I know I’m supposed to 1) nod thoughtfully as I process your wisdom, asking clarifying questions about your points just in case I don’t immediately understand something you say, and then 2) offer up some powerful and intelligent argument on why feminism is important, and then 3) try to prove my point with examples from women in politics and a few stories about my grandmother, but of course, in the end, 4) concede that yes, you have some very good points that I will certainly think about
Dear feminist lady, this is a lovely description of a most excellent conversation that a person has with a dear friend whom she respects and wishes to understand better, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that the two of you do not see eye to eye upon certain issues. A person who passes you an insulting note at a party does not fall into this category. Therefore there is no social code requiring you to engage in such a conversation, and there never has been.

For it never ceases to astonish Pretty Lady, the way persons continually re-invent the wheel of Common Courtesy, complete with excessively self-justifying gyrations, based upon some passionate ideology or other. The rules of etiquette are not there to establish the innate superiority of those who follow them, to disempower others, or deny anyone a voice; they are there solely and entirely to assist radically different persons to coexist without killing one another. And Pretty Lady dismisses out of hand any ideologist who does not subscribe to this fundamental principle.

So, to recapitulate the obvious: Making racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks is Rude. Making derogatory remarks about a person's religion, or lack thereof, is Rude. Making statements which deride the members of any particular political party, as a whole, is Rude. Providing unsolicited advice is Rude.

When a person makes a Rude remark, the only necessary response is a cold, 'I beg your pardon?' accompanied by a steely gaze. If the Rude person in question chooses to acknowledge his offense and apologize, well and good. If not, you may ignore his existence without compuction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But we all know that etiquette (like all else in this poisonously Patriarchal society) is merely a tool of the establishment to enslave the masses and maintain the status quo. Don't we?

Power to the people! Rude up!