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What are the cultural and emotional factors that make the idea of women speaking for themselves seem threatening?

In the first minutes after this video was posted on the TED Facebook page, misogynistic comments poured in. Clearly, the title and blurb for the talk inspired such an immediate negative reaction that quite a few men felt the need to demonize women without even watching the video.

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  • Jun 19 2012: DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT ALL MEN HERE, BUT RATHER A FEW IGNORANT MEN.

    Privilege. When men had the right to vote on our behalf taken away, they lost privilege. When men lost the ability to be the sole income earners, they lost privilege. When men were expected to pay their female employees as much as they were expected to pay their male employees, they lost privilege. When a group loses privilege, some within that group feel like they are being attacked, rather than simply ceding some of their extraneous privilege towards the underprivileged.

    So, the irrational members of the group that feel this way attack back by trying to limit the underprivileged group's new found freedoms through intimidation. Thus, misogyny in response to feminism.
    • Jun 20 2012: Very good contribution.

      I suspect most of the misogynistic responses are from men who have a completely emotional, personal basis for their misogyny. Perhaps it was a misogynistic father, or a bad mother, or bad experiences with girls in high school. Misogynists of this kind have absolutely nothing to contribute to any discussion regarding women.
      • J M

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        Jun 23 2012: Actually the victimized by the problem have the most to contribute to a talk about the problem. (Do you actually listen to yourself when you speak?)

        Number two where are the "misogynists" in this thread when you first posted this comment here? ...That right there exposes the delusion of people like you.

        Then that gets us into why people like you are delusional.

        One answer is female sexual value.
        • Jun 23 2012: J M - I suspect that Barry was talking about the responses on Facebook, which is what the original poster specifically referenced.
    • J M

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      Jun 23 2012: The word "privilege" is a made up sound that does not explain actual reality accurately.

      The phrase "female sexual value" does.
      • Jun 23 2012: I do not want to assume I know what you're talking about. Can you please elucidate?
        • J M

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          Jun 25 2012: "female sexual value" is the reason for the male competition --manifesting in jobs-- in the first place: The females don't need the "jobs", for sex and food and shelter is given free, unlike the males with their caste of slim minority winners and absolute losers at bottom.

          (When's the last time you / your gals stayed in 'relationships' with men/boys who earned less and had lesser "social affect"? And what ever deceptive anecdote femi offers in challenge doesn't trump the statistics that show quite clearly that few are pair bonding anymore (in the west). That is happening specifically because the males have nothing to offer the female vibe of mercenary discrimination. duh.)

          Work is not just a big show of dress up. It is males fighting each other over female perfidious dalliance. This life and death competition over females has for humans "optimized" over generations (of anti barbarian civil wars) into "jobs" as a way of dampening the acute fatality between the males.

          Just because the creationists* were not smart enough to enter the "fem sex value is the reason for male status positions where only SOME win" challenge to female lib doesn't mean I won't.

          (*Note that puritanism was the radical liberalism --meaning ill educated children in a cult-- of its day.)

          This snowball of ill educated leisure class children --now called Journalism-- has to be the worst *monkey house keepers* in the history of monkey house keeping. They are oblivious to even rudimentary FACTS of how monkeys work.

          There is NO evidence at all that humans are "rising above their instincts". The things that we call "rising above" are simply our deterministic instincts as manifesting here and now.

          It is truly odd that humans think they are free willed rather than glandular automatons in large bird flock synergies (conformity turning).
        • J M

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          Jun 25 2012: The problem is civilization but most specifically democracy is dysgenic. It has flipped this species from a tournament mammal species to a bird like display species. (A fairly big deal evolutionarily.)

          This situation will continue to breed males that cannot fit (for whatever nature/nurture reasons --but mostly nurture, induced by political activism) into female caprice's cyclical nature (ie ovulation's ups and downs) into extinction, until immortality techno or artificial womb techno negates *fem sexual value.* (Or until a civil war takes the species --temporarily--back to a tourny mammal species; that would still be a high male cull of course --just like the display type spp have too-- but at least the incongruent double talk and endlessly moving goal posts and improperly lensed equations called "equality" would cease.)

          ----
          Studies (and studiers) showing females are disparaged by this or that venue (eg only 10% of fems in military) don't start at biology and build a logic flowchart up to human issues. They start with a political presupposition and then look to find evidence. And since anything can be true in a complex species of billions they find what the look for while ignoring other issues that would be obvious if they approached the equation from the biologic, rather political/sociological perspective.
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    Gail . 50+

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    Jul 16 2012: About 20 yrs ago, my best friend's son was having problems with phonics in kindergarten. After a note from his teacher, his mother sat down to work with him. She discovered that the problem was that he didn't like vowels. "Well, why", she asked. "Because the vowels are girls", he answered. "Well, what's wrong with that" she asked in surprise. "Because they're all sick and weak.

    Turns out that the consonants were strong and powerful - Toothy Tommy, Fighting Freddy, Courageous Carmen, and the like. The girls were the opposite - Ailing Annie, ill Irene, and so on. My friend went to the teacher to ask about this and heard that in 20 years of teaching the same course, she had never had a complaint like that.

    A few years ago, one of the televised news magazines conducted a study about teacher bias in favor of boys. They featured two elementary teachers who insisted that they had no bias, so they invited cameras in their classrooms. Turned out that teacher bias was everywhere. As the teacher went up and down the aisle while students were working, she would point out wrong answers by girls but would help the boys properly solve the problems. The teachers, to their credit, were horrified. The damage to the children was already done.

    But the problem doesn't begin or end with education. Religions traditionally disparage women. Parents have lower standards for daughters than sons. I know that I was prepared to be a mother, and it wasn't conceivable that someone - no matter how smart ad able I was - could do much better than to get a good husband.

    The deck is still stacked against women - whether in the USA (where I live) or in a 3rd world country.
  • Jun 18 2012: First, we need to focus more on why women are reluctant to speak and less on trying to convince men to invite women to the conversation. We don't need an invitation - we just need to show up at the party (or start throwing our own.)

    Second, I think women are reluctant to speak because we often think that we have more power if men don't know what we are thinking. If we speak and a man disagrees then we feel like we have to put all kinds of energy into changing his mind or we have to change our own opinion to match his. We need to stop valuing harmony so much. If silence is the price of that harmony, then the price is too high.
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    Jun 17 2012: I can't say what accounts for the nature of comments that sometimes attach to news stories other than that it can give people a platform for saying shocking things under cover of anonymity or a free venue for selling Some people enjoy each of these.
    I do think there is a difference between women speaking for themselves, as in your speaking for yourself, and an assumption that gender is the most important basis for who should research or present an issue. Women's challenges in the world are of public concern and deserve attention from thinking people of both genders. I would have no problem with a man or a women studying or reporting on women's issues. I am happy also for medical researchers of both genders to study cures for women's cancers as well as men's cancers.
    I can imagine people being sensitive about a presumption that men might be the only people able to discuss issues with male protagonists or women being the only ones suitable to discuss issues about women.
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    Jul 16 2012: I am not sure Kim but maybe we could get a clue from those who take strong exception to me.
    My fisrt question to the TED community was to ask why women are so often rated as obnoxious after their talks. I think we are observing the same phenomenon. Interestingly, even though I got a lot of flack for that question, fewer women speakers now appear to me to get that rating. Win/Win?

    {PS -Dating is an interesting place to learn about this. Even though I have earned an MA and an MBA, my most recent date told me he had dated accomplished woman before. My retort was that marrying a doctor is NOT a personal achievement in my books.

    Addition: I do think that some of this is rooted in the fact that every boy has a mother who seems powerful and big when they are young. Most people resent feeling powerless and some blame the closest person for that feeling.
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    Jun 18 2012: Well, throughout history, women have obviously been neglected. Everyone knows that and it still happens today, so when men(personally not my self) see or hear a women making a difference or doing something signifigant, it makes them feel jealous or beat down in a way. At least, that's what I think.
  • Jun 18 2012: You can pick any hot topic subject and you can take two perfectly reasonable people who have well considered statements to make and you can see the conversation degrade quickly into a something which resembles a flame war.

    This is something that I have seen happen and personally experienced many times when participating in online discussion.

    The problem is that each party has a per-conception of what their opposition is and they have a strong desire to rail against it. When they encounter someone who even looks like they might possibly be the stereotypical mental image they have for a misogamist or a mis'andrist, they immediately start to look for and deliberately misinterpret every sentence in the worst possible way.

    Over the course of the conversation each party convinces themselves that the other is the embodiment of evil and uses it as an opportunity to convince themselves that they are right and invest even more emotion into their perception.

    In this case the video is the first statement to be misinterpreted so anyone which is looking for a mis'andrist to rail against is going to imagine one and then find lots of people looking for a misogamist who are willing to imagine them as one and on the cycle continues.

    There was an article I read a long time ago which gave an analysis of the liberal vs conservative mindsets and how our personal bias expresses itself.

    It was tested and shown that when people see a report which casts the thing they are against in a negative light they are willing to shift their viewpoint but when it is later revealed that the news report was false, they don't actually shift their viewpoint all the way back... (i can try to find the article if anyone is interested, it explains the cognitive bias better than i have here).

    When you have people emotionally invested in a social issue, rational discourse is all but impossible.
  • J M

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    Jun 25 2012: ...The females keep advocating dimorphism --throughout all society's venues(not just media)-- and then they blame the manifestations of dimorphism on something other than what they advocate.

    For one example, the females refuse to join the military --or push for registration inclusion-- then claim it is example of oppression of females.

    That is unwittingly a very effective propaganda strategy: femi will always have more evidence of how something is being done un to them (that they themselves are doing) and thus always have more leverage (in our political climate) to demand more from men. (And the males go along with it 'cause they are mindless automatons looking for sex without having to physically fight each other over it.)
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      Jul 17 2012: So in light of the above, because we use logic over societal madness or group think, in times of war, we have nothing worth listening to the rest of our lives?
      That is lame enough to suggest JM should never be listened to EVER!
  • J M

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    Jun 25 2012: If someone said males have a "unique perspective" (for whatever nature nurture reasons that gendered perspectives form) and should be thus covering their own issues, it would called sexism and misogyny. But when someone says 'females have a unique perspective and thus should be covering their own issues", we say "interesting point". ...Even though it is hypocrisy and "moving the goal posts" of the original stated goals of feminism/liberalism that let females in the given industry in the first place (at the expense of men who NEED the status positions to buy love and sex unlike females).

    Females are not being "KEPT" on the female only sections of newspapers and websites etc. People/females gave them the privilege /right to have their own "unique voice sections" ...after previously demanding fems to be considered the same. (hypocrisy thy name is woman.)

    Femi either wants to limit dimorphic sexuality's ramifications or it wants to continue them (while gleaning the profits that females can and always have).

    How people can't see this all for themselves speaks volumes about the PRETENSE of freewill and self awareness in humans.
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    Jun 20 2012: As a older person who lived through the "quota" era, I think that was the source of much of the problem. For years there was not promotion of the best qualified, it was the best "man for the job". He was typically white, married and "had paid his dues". Then a quota system came into being and women, blacks, histanics, and others MUST make a percentage of the total workforce, supervisors, and management teams. Had this occured naturally it would never have become the issue that forcing it has become. The question is would it have ever occured naturally? Because they were minority appointments versus earned promotions management often placed a "managable" person in the slot and told a manager of equal rank to take care of them because they were essentially unqualified to be placed in the slot (essentially hidden). The minority was often held as the "poster child" of the company saying see we hire minorities. It was a few years later that minorities actually were treated as equals and earned their way in the company. Much of the "hate or distrust" towards women was really against the forced promotional practices of the company. A lot of male ego bit the dust and many lawsuits and grivances have been filed by all parties in the times since. I do not recall any negative press about Condi Rice or other qualified women who achieved high office. It seems that some will always gripe (both men and women), some will question credentials, some will accept.

    It is entirely possible that you cannot please all of the people all of the time. Advice: Get over it.

    All the best. Bob.
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    Jun 17 2012: In my opinon, the factors making the idea of women speaking for themselves seem threatening is the (incomprehensible)fear generated by the (comprehensible) ignorance, lack of culture and close mind. Or, what else?