Monday, November 26, 2012

Alpha Mail: in which we learn how to criticize women

Szopen tries to claim I have made a logical error by claiming that X-Y is equal to X, for certain values of Y.
Your logic is wrong.  I am not native English speaker so I accept that I may not express myself clearly in English and you might misunderstood me. But I still cannot understand how it is possible that you have misunderstood me.

"Y" is not criticism, is a statement which is considered a priori stupid by readers. In OTOH, it is a statement which is considered so absurd, that no one will even care to listen to arguments.

"and what do women find offensive? Well, from both her comments and our mutual experience at HUS, we know that women find criticism, among many other things, to be inherently offensive to them."

This part is blatantly false.  My experience that you can state criticism in a way that is offensive to females (or males), or in a way that is not offensive....

I rest my case. You, VD, have made logical error, and it seems to me that you are unable to understand this error because you have some assumption (based on selective experiences) that you are not aware that may be false. Hence, you interpreted my statement in a way that fit your assumptions. Just exchange "females" with "males" in my statement and think whether you would think in such a case that I wrote that "males are incapable of logic"
In fact, there is no logical error, there is merely a substantive disagreement concerning the facts in evidence.  I say his distinction is a theoretical one with little basis in reality; most women consider criticism to be a priori stupid, if not evil.  Now, if Szopen wants to defend the position that women are not intrinsically offended by criticism qua criticism, he is certainly welcome to do so.  Perhaps he could put the question to the empirical test and politely criticize every single female commenter at Jezebel or HUS over the next month and see what percentage of them do not take any offense.

Forget taking offense.  I'll imagine there would be numerous threats to never comment again and a general call to have him banned from both sites.

Now, obviously some women can handle criticism without giving any sign of taking offense, but you can rest assured that they still feel offended on some level, they simply have learned to control their emotional reaction.  But light of the possibility that I could be wrong, I welcome any  input from women to explain the magic formula involved in order to criticize a woman in a manner that will never cause her to take any offense.

31 comments:

szopeno said...

Damn, I really wish there is an EDIT button on posts. When I read my post I realised how moronic some sentences sound.... "In OTOH..." instead of "In other words". That's what I get when I am writing in foreign language and then submitting it without previewing it.

But challenge is interesting I will gladly accept it.

Angel said...

Ah, yeah, I got nothing. Oh wait, tell her that her hair looks amazing first.

At least that is how they rip you apart in the south, with a little sugar.

szopeno said...

is jezebel referring to jezebel.com and blogs there? Because I started to read it and I am thinking this is some kind of cruel black humour on VD's side.

Anonymous said...

Few women take criticism well, constructive or otherwise. Even when they ask for criticism ("no, tell me the truth." Right).

Disagreeing with many women is the same as being 'offensive'. Not all, but most. The debate lasts a short while before dissolving in labelling and ah hominem attacks ('misogynist', 'racist', '*ssh*le', etc). Followed by appeals to banning.

Apollyon

taterearl said...

I was banned from Jezebel the first time I made a criticism...granted it was sarcastic but they didn't see it that way.

Trust said...

One of my favorite posts of VD's was how some will watch relationship drama on TV and see it much the same way as men see sports, ie strategy etc.

Women do not see hypocrisy in their tendency to dish out criticism but not take it any more than an NBA star sees hypocrisy in dropping 30 points while holding the guy he is guarding to 4.

papabear said...

Funny how even women in academia can get offended by arguments criticizing their claims. I couldn't believe that a grad student in history would respond "like a woman" when I criticized some claim she made about the lack of academic consensus regarding the Founding Fathers and the Constitution.

VD said...

is jezebel referring to jezebel.com and blogs there? Because I started to read it and I am thinking this is some kind of cruel black humour on VD's side.

That would be yes. And yes....

But challenge is interesting I will gladly accept it.

We shall follow your future career with interest.

taterearl said...

Isn't getting butthurt about criticism harken back to solipsism anyway? If you make an attack on something she feels in her heart is true...it means you are attacking her. It's as much a reason why women can't get enough compliments. That's probably why women shouldn't let loose their opinions anyway because when somebody challenges them...they get all hurt about it.

Now as a man, I prefer criticism by my peers to ass kissing. I get a lot farther in life that way.

Stingray said...

I welcome any input from women to explain the magic formula involved in order to criticize a woman in a manner that will never cause her to take any offense.

There is no magical formula, as you said. I don't feel offense at every single criticism as often times, I ask for it and it is necessary to learn from it. However, things that are more dear to me, things of a personal nature, even when the criticism is helpful and I will not show emotion to it, it will sting every single time.

Herein lies the problem for people working with women. Many , many women take offense at any type of criticism so people will always hesitate to offer it. When criticism is needed so one can learn and it is asked for (from a woman) it is extremely difficult to get a straight answer as people are afraid to hurt your feelings.

I can only ask for criticism from certain people and get a straight answer. I've tried to ask others and they beat around the bush, never arriving at any kind of answer as they wish to spare me. It makes it terribly difficult to figure things out, but it is understood why people do this.

Cloud William said...

As always, there is truth in humor.

There is a reason why everyone laughs when the girl asks, "Does this dress make me look fat?"

Anonymous said...

this seems like a hypothesis that could be quantified with psychological research. surely some enterprising beta out there has done the work already???

Michael said...

Anonymous: "surely some enterprising beta out there has done the work already???"

I'd be surprised. It's not as if doing research that might women look bad is a career enhancer.

And most of us have known this intuitively for so long we've stopped thinking about it.

---
BTW, what ever happened to the ban on posting anonymous? Or is that only in the other building?

SarahsDaughter said...

"Isn't getting butthurt about criticism harken back to solipsism anyway?" - taterearl

Yes.

The challenge, as a woman, is to be able to recognize this and deal accordingly - pause, take time for the physiological reaction (heart rate) to settle down, think of it in terms outside of yourself, and proceed rationally.

Over time the process becomes easier and faster relative to the source of the criticism. There are times it can occur almost simultaneously. Other times a wise woman knows to give herself a time out before trying to do anything especially responding to the criticism.

VD said...

BTW, what ever happened to the ban on posting anonymous? Or is that only in the other building?

The latter. We don't have the same troll problem here and some commenters have an actual need to remain anonymous here given the subject matter.

Josh said...

Even if what you're saying isn't criticism, women may very well interpret it as such.

Example:

Man: "where did you get the steak?"
Man: "publix (or whatever store)"
Woman: "why, what's wrong with it?"

Greg said...

Jezebel.com would feature the women who are most likely to be offended by criticism (at least from a man).

It might be interesting to criticize 20 women at jezebel and 20 women on other sites and see what percentage are offended.

Greg said...

It might also be interesting to compare how often often men take offence to criticism.

I'm not convinced that most men who are criticized on the internet won't be offended. Maybe after extensive interaction and one proves that one is kind and looking out for others, criticism can be easily accepted. But some random dude on the internet - people are often going to react negatively.

I have written mild criticisms of manosphere blog posts and been attacked in a very negative way. In my opinion, well out of proportion to the criticism.

Trust said...

Women's actions and utterances tend to be based in emotion far more often than men's, and a natural consequences is to take criticism more personally.

Even in the political non-personal Delmar this happens. An example is abortion. Despite the horrible death of babies, women (the more maternal and self described more compassionate sex) tend to be pro abortion due to solipsisms... nevermind the baby, it might benefit ME someday. So, tell a prochoice woman that you are proliferation and she will accuse you of violating HER specific body even though she was never a consideration. Personalization is a parent of offense.

Trust said...

Apologies... auto complete turned "realm" to Delmar.

Michael said...

Greg "I'm not convinced that most men who are criticized on the internet won't be offended."

It's not obvious to me that the question is specifically related to the Internet, other than as an easy place to conduct some tests.

It is far more useful to know how it works in person-to-person contexts.

Before this thread I would never have imagined it controversial to say that women are far more easily offended by criticism (real or perceived) than men.

Dare I assert that some of this stuff is obvious to anyone paying attention.

ar10308 said...

As someone who used to routinely troll the shit out of Jezebians (I used to comment regularly on Gawker sites), I can confirm that absolutely NONE of them can handle criticism in any manner whatsoever. Oh, and I was banned from the Jezecunts, MULTIPLE TIMES.

Stingray said...

Over time the process becomes easier and faster relative to the source of the criticism. There are times it can occur almost simultaneously. Other times a wise woman knows to give herself a time out before trying to do anything especially responding to the criticism.

Absolutely, this. It sad that we aren't taught to do this as children. Instead it seems we are taught to take offense at every little thing as some form of warped power. "Stand up for yourself as a woman!" Getting one's panties in a bunch over criticism is not standing up for yourself. It makes one miss out on many opportunities to learn and grow.

taterearl said...

"The challenge, as a woman, is to be able to recognize this and deal accordingly - pause, take time for the physiological reaction (heart rate) to settle down, think of it in terms outside of yourself, and proceed rationally."

That would be nice. Or put it in terms that criticisms are actually good for a woman if she is doing something deathly wrong (such as believing in feminism). If your father had a backbone that should have been the first man you received that from.

We men are problem solvers and hate to see you ruin yourselves. Love isn't all happy feelings...but times where you have to be straight when a person is going on the path to ruin.

Just A Girl said...

Was my earlier comment deleted?

Jeigh Di said...


"Even in the political non-personal Delmar this happens. An example is abortion. Despite the horrible death of babies, women (the more maternal and self described more compassionate sex) tend to be pro abortion due to solipsisms... "

No no no! Not pro-abortion, pro-CHOICE! Odds are she doesn't even know anyone who's pro-abortion...

LP 999/Eliza said...

Nah, let them criticize the women starting with me. Sometimes women need the aggravation, laughs. Come on HUS, crack a smile and laugh once in a while.

Moving along, perhaps it was a language error but it does not appear to be so and VD appears to be correct.

Karen said...

Long time lurker here. I am a married woman, 33 years old.

I would not presume to speak for any other women.

I will admit that I do not love criticism generally. But if I ask for it, I am prepared to take it. If I ask my husband "does this dress make me look fat?" I really do want to know so I can change or not buy it. It truly is not a 'shit test' so I can freeze him out for hurting my feelings.

At work (or in school back in the day), the worst kind of criticism has been of the generalized "you suck" kind of criticism where it truly feels like my critic is talking about me in a generalized way, not about the specific task at which I failed. That has usually come from female supervisors or teachers. Getting specific - I can handle that. Especially if it is stated in the sense of "you are capable of doing so much better than this." Male supervisors/teachers have tended to criticize my work performance in that way and they also will focus on the exact issues (you've been late 3 times this month, you haven't hit your numbers since July,) that need my attention. I have never walked out of a work review or meeting with a professor conducted like that feeling anything less than inspired to do better.

About ideas or whatever that I might have (that might really and truly be stupid), for someone to say "you would have to be an idiot to believe something that stupid" will never sit well with me. I know I'm not an idiot. Saying it this way: "you are too smart to believe something that stupid" and then proceeding to explain why this is so would come across entirely different to me.

The implied compliment makes me far more receptive to what you have to tell me :) Feeling that my entire life/character/personality/appearance is being called into question makes me defensive.

Greg said...

@Michael

You're right than in real life woman do seem to get offended more easily.

My opinion is this:

Men and women are equally offended by direct criticism.

If you say something ambiguous and not intended as a criticism, it is more likely that a woman will get offended than a man.

Angel said...

There is a huge difference between the way men and women communicate. In fact, I have found I can have almost no women friends because you quite seriously cannot have a conversation without severly offending them.

Example 1/Conversation with a new female neighbor. She was commenting on how my Husband and I were teasing each other outrageously over how we were disagreeing about decorating. There were seveal threats made (all tongue in cheek). She laughed at them. I said "Hey, Divorce is for wimps!" She, then said. "I am divorced!" and took offence. Now I had just met them that week, she TOLD me that she and her Husband had been married for 20 years and are very happy.

The context of the conversation was that in my marriage we just kind of fuss at each other and threaten retaliation instead of get divorced.

Seriously, she hasn't spoken to me since.

Conversation 2. Someone walks up to me and talks about how they cannot stand someone in their family and wishes they would die already (it is an elderly member and they were truly horrid from what I understand). I just had someone who literally dropped dead on me who I loved.

I let them vent. Understood it was just a comment in a CONTEXT and had nothing to do with me.

Then I offered him a beer and he said "By the way, my condolences, what can I do for you?"

With women, it is kind of a competition. They want to take you down and one way to do it is to find a way you have "offended" them and then use it to say to try to prove you are horrible.

Also, they will also make it that you are just horrible if you do not either agree with them on everything or say "Well that is your truth" or something equally ridiculous. If you have anything concrete and especially if you can prove they are wrong...you are not wrong...you are evil.

This is why women should be married and busy. They get into big groups and all hell breaks loose.

Watch, someone will be offended by that comment LOL.

Michael said...

@Greg: "My opinion is this: Men and women are equally offended by direct criticism."

That's not been my experience at all.

With women I can almost never say something like: "I disagree, I think you're mistaken, here's why." There's a good chance she will immediately enter into some form of distress/anger. With most men we just compare facts/opinions and go on.

This is also why so many men (generally below Beta rank) walk on eggshells around their wives and girlfriends most of their lives.

Post a Comment

NO ANONYMOUS COMMENTS.