Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Men who Explain Things

I got a profile response today that left me absolutely laughing (and not in a good way!)

I picked my online dating profile name for a reason, because the name has a historical significance, and there's a body of literature pertaining to the name. (It's not Hypatia, but that name has significance as well.) The way my profile name is set up is to DIRECTLY reference the historical context of the name. (For Example-not just "Hypatia" but Hypatia_of_Alexandria --Note, this is not the name I use, but you get the gist.) There's really no confusion as to what I'm referencing.

And yet... I got an email that was very pompous in tone from a man who obviously considered himself quite erudite, explaining to me--at length-- what that name meant, and the history behind it, and the literature behind it, etc. etc. etc.

Dude. No date for YOU.

Bwhahaha! Honestly, why do men do this? And I have found that this is a gendered trait. I think women just aren't brought up to be this bombastically sure of themselves in this society.

The entire letter reminded me of a great article I read awhile back. Go read it. It's great.

"...the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered.

Men explain things to me, and to other women, whether or not they know what they're talking about. Some men. Every woman knows what I mean. It's the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men's unsupported overconfidence. "


arf said...

I totally do that, and I'm a woman.

SINgleGIRL said...

Well everyone knows any given man is smarter than any given woman. He just wanted to make sure you understood, because as a woman you were sure to be misinformed or confused.

Jerk. Him and all his friends.

Hypatia said...

Hi arf! Longtime no see. I *sometimes* do that, but I have to be supremely sure of my self--like, I just looked it up in the encyclopedia-- to feel confident enough to school someone. I don't think *most* men feel the need to be that certain of what they're saying before they feel at liberty to say it.

SINgleGIRL- Absolutely! My little lady brain has trouble sometimes. Have you seen this, btw? Women, know your limits! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjxY9rZwNGU

arf said...

My computer died in the fall and it took me a while to remember what all the blogs were that I loved reading.

My sister sent me a link to this Episode of "This American Life" called Modern Jackass because she knew I am totally guilty of pontificating.

Hypatia said...

Glad to have you back, arf!