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Gisela McKay

President and Co-Founder, pixcode

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Are there any merits to the idea that Communism is "feminine"?

Evolving out of another TED conversation where the discussion turned toward the idea that women mostly want people to "share" whereas men mostly want to watch people get defeated, in a manner where there is a clear victor. (Technically, the phrasing was that most women are secretly communists.)

Now if you know me, you probably realize I don't actually agree with the premise, but it is an interesting topic of discussion. First off, I would replace communism with socialism, followed by pointing out that there is a greater range of difference within a sex than between them.

I'm willing to be swayed, though, if you have a persuasive argument that supports the idea, please feel free to share it.

I am going to ask the mods to let this thread stand as a thought experiment rather than as a definitive description of the world around us.

So, go for it - persuade away!

EDIT: Definitely communism in theory, not in the way we have seen it implemented.

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      Feb 3 2012: I would actually argue that by talking about our fears and differences... We can overcome them... and change our minds. I don't think that by ignoring our gender predjudice, or our own ignorance, we protect anyone. I actually think silence breeds contempt.
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          Feb 3 2012: Interesting... Obviously, in some ways, I see this as a good thing. I think perceptions need to change, and I see an ultra competitive and intellectual woman, a natural outgrowth of a capitalist economy... and, honestly... Something very attractive, and positive for society.

          It is of course sad, that there seems to be less of a comradery and sisterhood among working women... whereas the boys club... is pretty strong. I would only argue, that the boys club tends to emerge from what I would call a "spirit of friendly competition". I think in some ways, women aren't used to that relationship yet. The idea that you can spar 10 rounds with someone, and like them more afterwards, is one that may be biological. I think it is more likely a learned behavior though.

          My only point about silence breeding contempt, was that if you feel strongly about these issues and they bother you on an emotional level, it is healthy to talk about them. I think talking with people you disagree with, is a great way to learn. I certainly understand how you could see visciously competitive women, as a negative... Personally... I think it's cool.

          Maybe that is biological programming that I need to rise above. It is certainly possible, that I'm just an idiot : p

          I'll have that conversation though, it sounds like fun.
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      Feb 3 2012: Oh dear. Is someone stealing your spotlight?

      Is there fun being had that doesn't involve you?
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          Feb 3 2012: And here I was not wanting to point out that women were perfectly capable of being competitive - just usually in petty and indirect ways. But then you felt the need to illustrate.
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          Feb 3 2012: Been dancing since before you were born, I suspect.

          It's called a "thought experiment" (Gedankenexperiment). You don't have to believe the premise (I don't), it's just an exercise. You can also look upon it as an exercise in shredding the underlying assumptions.

          Or, you can look upon it as an opportunity to be a condescending such-and-such. Whatever best suits your personality.
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          Feb 3 2012: Wow.

          It's like you're having this entire conversation with someone who only exists in your brain. Only out loud (typed) and with my name on it.

          The problem with attempting this manoeuvre is you actually have to understand the specific issues/concerns of the person you are speaking to. Substituting generic social/psychosexual vulnerabilities doesn't actually work.

          The first couple of jabs are used to find the weak spots and then you target. You'll learn one day.
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          Feb 3 2012: OK, I'll admit it. I am totally missing your point and I am moderately curious. Your phantom image of me is intriguing.

          Do you imagine I have some deep inner city vibe? That I am so tied to proving this topic that...?

          Your jabs are getting farther and farther away. I feel like I should be saying "cold", "colder", "warmer" only I don't actually get the purpose of this exercise.
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          Feb 3 2012: Chalk it up to my head cold.

          So, what is it you are hoping to achieve here other than projecting your fantasy onto me as though I am a blank slate and then claiming the higher moral ground? (Yep, I did just pull the "pot calling the kettle black" card.)

          You have my attention.

          What great lesson would you like to impart, oh wise one?
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        • Feb 3 2012: Maybe you can not categorize economic theories in terms of gender.

          But can we atleast agree that only two females could have engaged in the conversation the two of you just shared?

          SEP
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          Feb 4 2012: @Anja - I don't know. I think there have been several really interesting posts, often from people who have lived under communist regimes (even though we were talking about the theory of communism as opposed to the practice). We've heard about the physically demanding nature of the implementation - something that would never have occurred to me.

          I think there is something of value in letting people attempt to change your stance.

          As for whether these "important and complex economic theories" deserve better than to be treated this way, I used the word "pantheon" in describing the array of theories quite deliberately. That's exactly what we have done -- we've set them up as gods.Not only are they not unassailable, I think they need to be assailed regularly.

          @Seth - I don't know any man who would have had that particular discussion, but I also don't know too many women who wouldn't have backed down from that early on. Had it started on a different footing - actually, thinking more about it, I can think of a couple of males who would have had that argument (maybe minus the lesson in being a bigger bitch), but the escalation, definitely.
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          Feb 4 2012: By turning them into funny sound bites and euphemisms, and talking about it on basic emotional levels... We can explain it to our friends that don't watch ted : p
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          Feb 4 2012: what just happened? I can feel a film script coming on.
      • Feb 4 2012: "But the escalation, definitely"

        I was speaking to the fact that 'derailing' is not something you are likely to find a man engaging in, and he certainly would not have mastered the art of it.

        I agree that guys can get into pissing matches - but that was bait for a specific kind of fish.

        SEP
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          Feb 4 2012: Oh I get it. We should clearly leave the floor to those "qualified" to carry this weighty debate. No one else should even attempt a discussion on the topic.

          This is the second time in as many days I wished TED had rolly-eyed emoticons. Who knew?
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      Feb 3 2012: i agree with you. gender, age or how one looks does not matter much. if someone uses a fake name, false gender, and a profile picture taken from the internet, what difference does it make to the opinion of this person?

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