Do you argue with people online who you’ve never met? If you do, are those arguments mud-fests with names flying? If not, why not?
Most people I know who are on facebook have at least one I-shouldn’t-have-made-that-comment experience. If not that, then a I-can’t-believe-X-left that-comment experience. Haven’t you?
If you decide to pick a fight or take the bait for one, why? What triggers your I’ll-show-’em response?
Maybe you’ve never given in to the impulse–but haven’t you wanted to? Don’t some people deserve a good telling off?
I’m a diplomat by nature. Confrontation makes me tremble, literally. Nonetheless, every once in a while, I argue. Is that always wrong?
Just yesterday I ended up in a shouting match of sorts on Facebook on a friend’s thread. Part of me says that’s like going to a friend’s house and picking a fight with a fellow party guest. Rude. Unnecessary.
But another part of me–the part that won out in this case–thought that certain people will keep making sexist remarks if no one ever calls them on it. I decided to call him on it. I might not have said anything, but my fb friend had told him to “shut up” and he still made another comment. So. I told him he was being sexist.
He told me I had no sense of humor.
I told him that was the defense of a bully.
Now, maybe I don’t have a sense of humor. Maybe I’m the most unfunny woman on the planet. But I know that you-don’t-have-sense-of-humor is what people say when they make an unfunny, hurtful, or rude remark. Throw the blame on someone. I didn’t say anything wrong. You just don’t get it. As if the person’s unhappy response can be explained only in this way.
I explained clearly why I thought his comment was sexist. He said nothing about any of the points I made. Not one thing. He said he bet that I get called a shrew and a b*tch a lot.
I think it has been 20 years since anyone has called me a b*tch. No one has ever before called me a shrew. Not so as I heard anyway.
I told him that name-calling wasn’t much of a defense.
Someone else on the thread said that this guy wasn’t really that bad. He just said crazy things when he was bored.
Then I sent a message to my fb friend apologizing for the scene in her thread. She told me he’d been asked many times not to say certain rude things, but he always just replied that she didn’t have a sense of humor. She couldn’t unfriend him because he was the husband of a good friend. She understood how I felt, but I was wasting my time.
She deleted the post, which was probably for the best.
I’m sure I didn’t get this guy to change his mind. So why bother to say anything?
But why not call him out? Why not let him know that not everyone thinks he’s funny. If the other women in the post had stood up to him, maybe at the very least he’d have slunk away.
People have the right to say obnoxious things. Other people have the right to say, Hey, what you said was obnoxious.
The gist of his comment that irritated me had to do with women needing Oprah to tell them what to read while men could make decisions for themselves. And the original facebook post my friend made was about a mutual friend getting her novel chosen for Oprah’s book list. (That’s another post.)
So, do you argue or do you let things go?