An Intellectual Being
September 21, 2016
Via the comments, AnotherFred steers us to an outpouring of note by Melissa Fabello, managing editor of Everyday Feminism. In this potentially classic piece, from September last year, Ms Fabello rails against those who presume to question her feminist gospel and its charmless lamentations:
If you’re a feminist who spends any amount of time on the internet, you know exactly what I’m talking about: You post that article about the wage gap on Facebook, and all of a sudden, all of these cis, white, straight dudes come out of the woodwork to remind you that the statistics are faulty, that women take more time off of work, that women just don’t like STEM fields.
Well, yes, that will happen if you publicly assert as fact things that aren’t true and which have been repeatedly debunked. And labelling the people who correct those zombie misconceptions, the ones that refuse to die, as “cis, white, straight dudes,” even when they’re ladies, as in the links above, is an evasion, not an argument. Curiously, Ms Fabello depicts those who dare to disagree as merely “playing devil’s advocate,” which seems just a tad presumptuous.
Whenever someone responds to my critique of the culture in which we live with what they believe to be a deep conundrum or contradiction, my first thought is, “Wow. You have absolutely no respect for me as an intellectual being.”
You see, those aren’t load-bearing arguments. They’re just for show. If you poke at those buggers the whole roof could fall in. This is followed, almost instantly, by a twitch of political self-correction:
I don’t think we should value intellect… as a trait (hi, that’s ableist)
Whew. Nice save.
but I do think that we should respect one another for whichever way our smarts show up for us.
Ms Fabello’s smarts are manifest via the medium of rhetorical dance:
When you regurgitate the status quo to us
I.e., when you point out a mistake or point of contention, this is,
interrupting our thought processes
How very dare you.
in asking us to reconsider ideas that we’ve already contemplated deeply.
Yes, deeply, which apparently means perfectly, with no possibility of error. Furthermore, these beastly interruptions are,
Again, the temerity. And so,
You’re signalling to us that you don’t trust our ability to think critically.
This, remember, from the woman who praises “intersectional feminism” for the realisation that “what had gone wrong” in her life, all of it, was - and I quote - “never my fault.” Ms Fabello goes on to hurl great handfuls of straw into the air, before telling us, quite firmly, that,
Your thoughts [as a man] – no matter how well-intentioned, well-thought-out, or well-researched they are – simply pale in comparison to living in a marginalised body that experiences the trauma of oppression.
By which she means being a middle-class female in twenty-first century America. Despite all this trauma and bodily marginalisation, she somehow, heroically, finds the strength to explain just how tiresome it is for a feminist, a bearer of enlightenment, such as herself, to debate with a mere
layperson (especially one who is a straight, cis man).
Oh, the indignity. She has robes and an amulet. Do they mean nothing to you heathens?
Of course, respect for Ms Fabello “as an intellectual being” might be easier to sustain if her articles weren’t dense with question-begging and neurotically incoherent. Likewise, modern feminist “theory” might command more deference if it didn’t appear to operate according to random, somewhat bewildering standards. Such that statistics can be inflated arbitrarily, by orders of magnitude, and such that mythological figures – say, Romulus, the wolf-suckled son of Mars - are presented as real people who were involved in feminist politics.
Ms Fabello responds, bearing down with the full weight of her intellectual being.