Blog Archive

2017-01-10

Check Your -ism by Rev. J.T. Smith

First, we must all realize and understand that like trust, respect is earned; it's not a door prize.  Just as I cannot tell you who to respect, you do not get to tell me who to respect.  You can tell me why you respect whoever or whatever you respect, but that's the extent; and the same rules apply to everyone, including myself.  And if you need to demand respect, then you don't deserve it.  Another thing to keep in mind is that respect and "common courtesy/decency" are not the same thing.  Too many people think that they're completely interchangeable terms when they're not.  Everyone should be given common courtesy and common decency, that's why the word "common" is a part of those phrases.  That is not the same as respect.  Look it up.

These concepts are important as what I'm trying to say won't make any sense otherwise.

Now to narrow things down for this article.  It's so easy to blindly label a person a [fill-in-the-blank]ist as it automatically has a negative connotation when -ist is added to the end of a word.  It's part of the reason the word "feminist" has come to have negative association even though it simply means "recognizing that girls/women are actually people."  For the record, I am a feministI not only believe in, advocate for, and otherwise support complete equality of the genders, I do my best to practice it by treating women and men the same (for better or worse).


But, one thing everyone needs to do before labeling anyone "sexist" or "misogynistic" is to in fact think things through more.  It's that lack of thought, that knee-jerk reaction when they want to stop thinking that has led some to label me a sexist because they'd rather feel offended than fully engage their brains.  Some examples (you'll need to read them through all the way) of what I mean (FYI, I have lived every last one of these):

1.

I've been asked if I think that there's ever a right or correct time for me (as a man) to hit a woman.  My answer without hesitation is "yes."

First note that the question here includes the word "ever."  This is very important.

I have self-defense training in my programming.  In fact, all of my physical fighting is in terms of self-defense (though not using akido as that particular martial art is not a part of my programming).  This is in no way referencing the adage that the best defense is a good offense.  That adage is inherently hypocritical.   I cannot ever throw the first punch or swing no matter how much I might desire to so because some idiot is desperately trying to goad me.  As soon as I swing first, I am no longer physically defending myself.  Period.  In order to be physically defending, I (or those under my protection) must first be physically attacked.  And my programming makes absolutely zero deference to age, size, or gender when I'm being attacked.  Doing otherwise is just begging for you to have your arse handed to you.  Meaning that if a woman physically attacks me, then yes I will hit her and do whatever I physically must to terminate the attack.  And to anyone who automatically wants to tell me to just walk away, you're a complete moron to assume that the assailant will let you just walk away when you've just demonstrated a weakness to be exploited.  I do not go looking for fights and will do what I can to diffuse the situation in order to avoid having to fight; but I will physically defend myself when physically attacked regardless of whether it is a male or female attacking me.

Still think I'm a sexist?

2.
In the infamous recording of Trump with talking to Billy Bush about "pussy grabbing", we could hear Bush laughing the whole time.  When I saw the video, I was laughing too. NOT because I think what Trump was saying was funny, that wasn't funny at all.  I was laughing at Trump just as I laughed at all the jocks in high school who talked like that because I realize a basic fact: The more a person carries on about how great they are, the more they feel the need to talk about sexual encounters like that, the less the person that's talking like that really is because in reality it blatantly demonstrates just how pathetic they really are!   I wasn't laughing with Trump, I was laughing at the pathetic little boy who thinks this is in any way impressive.  And since shooting him with extreme prejudice is still illegal, that leaves laughing at him or screaming.  Laughing has always felt better as it further demonstrates that I will not be lost by these losers.

Still think I'm sexist?

3.
I'm a fan of the 1990s animated show Duckman.  The absurdity of the humour still resonates in general, and while I still am not a fan of the misogynism of the main character, I still laugh knowing that Duckman is 1) covering for his feelings of loss from the death of his wife (that he accidentally caused) as she's the only woman he's truly ever loved, and 2) I know that he's going to get his arse kicked as a result of the misogyny.

Still think I'm sexist?

4.
I was once having a conversation with a male friend about the show that airs on TNT called The Librarians and how I especially like Lindy Booth's character, Cassandra Cillian.  I've seen Lindy Booth in several other roles in numerous genres playing both good guys and bad guys equally well.  Frankly, I'm a fan of the actress regardless of the role.  (That part didn't come up as it wasn't germane to our conversation.)  At one point, I verbalized that: "Cassandra is my favourite character. She's absolutely brilliant, really cute, and she's really sweet.  What more could you ask for?"  Since I was talking to an individual who knew what I was specifically referring to, I didn't feel the need to elaborate for others who weren't a part of the conversation but may have been listening.   For those who don't get what I meant by my comment, I was referring to "what more could you ask for [in a character]?"  I have always believed and done my best to express that women are people and not property.   And characters in stories, regardless of gender, are never going to be truly be people because there are always some aspects that you'll mentally fill in on your own.

Still think I'm sexist?

5.
With all due respect, I cannot properly gauge the intelligence of an individual until I actually meet them and have a conversation with them.  Any agreement with me by said individual is irrelevant, I care more about their thinking process than their specific conclusions as conclusions can always change with more information.  In terms of celebrities, remember that they're typically (typically does not mean always) shown in a good light as there's more money to go around.  I've worked with amateur actors/actresses who were great at their craft but there were times they couldn't find their head with both hands, and the inverse is also true.

In a similar vein, the thing to remember in terms of politicians is that the higher up the political food chain they are the more likely they are to have speechwriters and spin-doctors on their staff whose very job it is to make that politician look good.  And actors/actresses learn scripts for a living, and scripts can be used in interviews just as easily as movies/television shows/stage plays.  In both cases of politicians and actors/actresses, actually getting to meet them in person one-on-one and away from the spotlight is absolutely necessary, especially if you want a better feel of the real person as opposed to their public persona.

And the same goes for the people we come across in our daily lives.  I admit that when I see a woman I find aesthetically pleasing I might say as much to my friends.  This does not in any way mean that she is put on this Earth for my gratification; what it does mean is that her appearance is within the parametres of my personal aesthetic.  I cannot ever properly speculate about their personality or intelligence simply from their appearance.  Only a fool would believe otherwise.  Sadly, it's become a social minefield to vocalize your opinion of a woman's appearance as there is now a push to talk about her intelligence when you have no way to know just what her intelligence is.  That does not mean that I automatically assume she's an idiot, nor do I automatically assume that a man is somehow more intelligent.

So how am I to ascertain the intelligence level of a complete stranger when I've never met them?  How am I to conclude whether or not a complete stranger's personality is really a nice person as opposed to a well camouflaged monster who's able to lure in the unsuspecting before engaging in hideous acts when we're not even within shouting distance of each other?

How many of you automatically assumed I was referring to a female in the first of those last two questions and a male in the second?

And how many wouldn't believe me when I factually state that both questions referred to both males and females equally?

Still think I'm a sexist?