The Only Good Answer to a Stupid Question is Silence

I have been meaning to write about this idea for a while: Men tend to ask questions, and women tend to answer them. This can be a very problematic pattern for a woman, even in cases where there is no malice aforethought or intent on his part to be predatory or otherwise ill behaved.

But, now I am pissed off because some asshole asked me a stupid question and I was dumb enough to answer it. The result: He began attacking and insulting me because I made the mistake of trying to reply in good faith to some asshole who was too lazy to click into my profile.

The cherry on top: At the end, he justifies his right to not bother to check my profile rather than admitting he was in error and it was his lazy ass choice to write out a comment rather than click on my profile. Because, like a lot of men, he is an overprivileged asshole who expects the world to serve his needs at his convenience.

And, also, it is pretty standard for men who don't think they are sexist pigs to feel tremendous need to put a woman in her place if she gets too uppity or something. But the way that comes out tends to be impossible to prove. Still, if you are a woman, you probably know what I am talking about.

This starts off innocently enough with me remarking (among other things):

I was a homemaker for a lot of years. I also happened to be too sick to hold down a job during that time, but homemaker sounds so much better on a resume.
So, in reply to that, someone asks my gender and then makes some comment about how it is problematic for a man to put "homemaker" on his resume. I stupidly replied, even though that had me feeling like "There is no good way to reply to this person. A lot of people here know I am female and you can easily determine my gender by clicking into my profile, which he clearly did not do."

Part of my reply was to the effect that I didn't understand the point of his comment. He described that as hostility. I said it wasn't and he comes back with calling me disingenuous and not mature, while swearing he is a nice person and was agreeing with me and blah blah blah. Oy.

There is no good reply at all to this bullshit, which is part of why I am pissed off and blogging about it. Replying just adds to the drama instead of letting it die and makes me part of the problem. Furthermore, since it is a male dominated forum, taking too firm of a stand in my own defense can easily turn into a beat down, and never mind that the other person is the one entirely in the wrong here from the get go.

So, this is just a stupid question on the face of it that I really should not have answered. Over the years, I have gotten better at not replying and not feeling obligated to answer every single question aimed at me.

I raised two special needs kids, so I tend to default to taking people very literally and assuming they just honestly don't know their behavior is dumb and problematic or the answer is easily found or whatever. That makes me prone to defaulting to answering any and all questions aimed at me.

This is not the first time that habit has gone bad places. It probably won't be the last either. But I am getting better about handling things differently, and I did want to note this pattern on my website and talk about it in hopes that both men and women will start behaving differently and this pattern will become less entrenched and women will find themselves cornered in this way less often.

For some years, I talked with an older, middle eastern man who used to say "The only good answer to stupid people is silence." I thought that was too judgy and harsh, but I assumed it was some saying from his culture since I had not previously heard it.

I adapted it to "The only good answer to a stupid question is silence." That metric is one I need to remember more often and apply more consistently.

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