I’ve decided that one weekday a week, I need to devote my time on working on my next books, and not write a whole new blog post. So for that day, I’m going to point to other blog posts that other people have written, comment on them briefly, and open them up for discussion.
A few days ago, Stephanie Zvan wrote an excellent piece called Elisions. I’ve been citing it a lot in comment threads, so I want to take a moment to post about it.
The gist of the piece: In discussions of sexist or sexually harassing incidents, when people say that feminists are over-reacting, they often leave out the very details that make the incident in question problematic. Quote:
It’s always fascinating to watch a tale be retold and see what gets left out. It says almost as much about the storyteller as what is left in.
In the case of the infamous elevator, sometimes all that has been left in is the coffee. Even the elevator itself is sometimes elided. The hours of opportunity for a single word of conversation generally disappear. Certainly all the hours of discussion of being tired of being hit on are gone. So is the expressed desire for sleep. That one never makes it into the story.
It’s not just conversations about sexism or harassment where this happens, of course. It happens in conversations about race, about class, about atheism. Homophobia. Transphobia. Etc. Pretty much any time people from a marginalized group speak out about their/ our marginalization, the story will get re-told in a way that omits the most pertinent details, the very details that form the foundation of the protest — thus making the protest look trivial and ridiculous.
Thoughts? Have other people noticed this? If so, what other examples have you seen? Will you now be linking to this piece every single freaking time someone says, “Sheesh, the poor guy just asked the woman for coffee”? Your time starts… now!