Recently came across this article on this blog thanks to a friend of mine. Was I ever impressed! I so appreciate that it's written by a man who cares about the current treatment of women in Western societies. Not many men speak up about these issues, let alone view them as issues at all. It's a bit of a read, so I'll sum it up. It basically talks about the extent to which women are dismissed as crazy, stupid, too sensitive, and irrational in a patriarchal attempt to emotionally manipulate them. The author calls this gaslighting and describes it like this:
"Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction—whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness—in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren’t rational or normal."
So, gaslighting dismisses an individual's feelings and reactions as illegitimate in order to avoid taking responsibility for the her/his own actions. Although the author states that this may not occur to all women, which may be true, I've definitely seen a pattern of this occurring mostly to women, and often at the hands of men. At the same time, I know I do this, too. With that in mind, I understand and firmly believe that sometimes this happens; individuals fight, get angry, want revenge for hurt feelings. We are all human, so we should ALL take responsibility for our actions. It's when this is used as a way to FURTHER oppress and subordinate women that I draw the line. The author claims that this occurs most to women because:
"women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men."
Furthermore, as a result of sexist and oppressive ideologies, "we have come to accept the idea that women are unbalanced, irrational individuals, especially in times of anger and frustration." So it's just easy to blame women, right?
Although I don't really like that this article victimizes women to the extent that he does (does it really render women "emotionally mute"????), I nonetheless believe it to be important because it calls attention to (and takes responsibility for!) naturalized and normalized sexism, sexism that is do discreet that it does not appear to be sexism at all. And, I'm so so SO sick of being dismissed in such a way. Aren't you?
*photo taken from this website