Commenting on blogs can be a delight and a pain.

Feminists have all sorts of ways of shutting down conversation they choose not to engage in. There is “Mansplaining”- a man explaining condescendingly what a woman already knows, or considers silly. I have seen reference to Whitesplaining, so why not Cisplaining? You saw it here first! (Though it has been found elsewhere.) Central to this idea is that men do not treat women with respect, but expect to be treated with respect themselves; because that is the patriarchal way. Feminism seeks to level out that hierarchy of respect, though black women observe a similar inability to listen to black women in whites, even those of us who think of ourselves as allies: Read this for the anger.

Then there is “derailing”. We are talking about a particular thing, and not anything else. Do not derail.

Or “What about teh Menz”. This is a particular kind of derailing, alluding to the problems men face.

That choice not to engage is valid. My time is my own. If I want to firm up my ideas I do not necessarily want to defend them, especially not to a person appointing themself judge over me. How to deal with splaining? The splainer will rarely admit that is what they do. So it is valid to block, delete or ignore splaining, as explaining to the splainer will not achieve anything. If the splainer really wants to learn, Google is their friend. I have not set myself up as a freely available educator on trans issues.

Yet some commenters are friends. Here’s Barry’s recent comment. On this matter, we have a large area of agreement. Our slightly different perspectives may help both of us to gain understanding. The agreement pleases me, any differing perspective challenges, I enjoy the encounter. My account of Aspergers was not intended as splaining: I think I just escape that, as I was giving my own subjective responses, not claiming any objective knowledge.

Some are not. ColorStorm takes the position that the Bible is literally true and internally consistent. He mocks contrary views as ridiculous, and asserts his view, using the Bible text itself as evidence. Anyone not sharing his view will not be persuaded, yet he has a constant air of triumph: I imagine he enjoys commenting, and never sees his ridiculousness: only the emperor does not see he has no clothes. A flyting between him and some atheist describing the archaeological evidence may produce amusing insults but no other useful result.

I am unsure what Higharka attempts here. It is a long, laboured pastiche of a comment about abortion but substituting smothering a baby for aborting a foetus. I get that he finds aborting a foetus the moral equivalent of murder. I do not. If he has any idea about how to reduce the number of terminations, or even an inkling that there might be better ways of preventing terminations than making them unlawful, it might be worth listening to him. As it is, he has shown no evidence that it is worth engaging with him. He can sing his song as long as he likes.

I write about being trans, here. This is my life. I write about my feelings and experiences. I have a right not to debate trans as a concept. Sometimes I do; but writing of feelings is of itself. It might be a useful comment to share yours, but not to criticise mine. Trudy, linked above, writes far more eloquently about that than I do.

Degas, The Tub

18 thoughts on “Respect

  1. There’s a hell of a lot of ‘splaining’ going on, and I think it can literally have people’s head spinning as they try not to fall into a ‘splaining’ category and completely get to grips with what it means. With friends, when you already know you share many core values, the language used is worth thinking about a little more than random strangers I think. They are already either half with you, almost with you, or all the way there. They are allies of a sort even if you don’t completely meet eye to eye.

    Good post Clare, I always enjoy reading you, but due to time and duty restrictions at present I’m unable to get to some people’s posts when they write quite frequently. This is not to say I won’t either catch up, or have a dip into the waters at some point, for I shall. nods.

    esme waving and heading up the apples and pears on the Cloud for zeds


    • My worst splaining experience was at a personal growth weekend. We sat on the Friday evening listening to the facilitators, and they started to explain what it was like to be transsexual. They knew some trans women, apparently. I listened to the twaddle for a bit, then strode to the microphone and told it like it is. After, everyone’s view of me was coloured by their first impression of me, so angry.

      (Waves back). Enjoy Uncle Ned, darling. I write a lot here, dipping in and out is welcome. Some of it is very personal, and comments there are particularly welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Because we disagree so deeply, and feel only a fool can disagree like that.

      ColorStorm was eloquent on the point, on a right wing blog: The message was an accumulation of learning, worship, study,experience, and faith. In the context then of questions asked, without a framework needed to understand this or that, no answer will ever be satisfactory to a heart looking in the other direction.


    • Why is it so hard to just get along? Because we’re human. If you look at nature, the higher a species is on the evolutionary ladder, the more cooperation and squabbling there is between individuals. Humankind, being at the top of the ladder seems to be better than most at cooperation and even better a squabbling – weapons of mass destruction come to mind.

      And then there’s people like me who others find getting along with difficult because we appear to behave and respond “oddly”. And I find practically everyone hard (exhausting) to get along with, simply because I have to follow a set of ridiculously complex and incomprehensible rules just to avoid being excluded, let alone being accepted. While getting along with others would be wonderful, I usually have to settle with being tolerated.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the characteristics I like most about you Clare is that you recognise you are on a journey. CS and his ilk got of the train before it left the station, convinced that they had reached the end of the line.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Perhaps “splaining-splaining”? Which is the state of mind in which all other thought is dismissed as some form of “splaining”? We’re all very good at creating categories that allow us to ignore what others have to say, from every direction. Keeps us from having to actually consider content and the potential challenge to our way of thinking. I recently came in for a bit of what I was tempted to dismiss as “fem-splaining.” Which, as it turned out, was actually (for the most part) a legitimate counter to my own approach to certain subjects that I needed to hear and be challenged by. I didn’t like it very much; it’s never pleasant to be called on one’s personal myopia; but it’s the only way we grow.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, sometimes I have to ignore people for my own peace of mind. Extremist Christians, the authoritarian right wing, and certain feminists say I am a man, a danger to women in toilets, etc. If I cared what they thought I could get depressed.

      But the origin of the term is that some women observe that men interrupt women more than women interrupt men and that men patronise women. Possibly, “patronising” would fit as well, though it does not include stating ideas which the woman considers false.

      It is hard to know when you need to be challenged. Growth is always easier to spot afterwards. Congratulations.

      Liked by 1 person

Talk to me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s