How Men and Women Argue

Recently I posted a politically related comment on an online journal. It was not, by the way, anything remotely as controversial or inflammatory as what is on this blog, but rather very standard beliefs held by nearly half the people in this country. Two total strangers, a man and a woman, replied.

The man disputed an assertion I had made, though not rudely. I supplied links proving that my facts were correct and he conceded that they were, but maintained that he believed things should be different from how I believe they should be. In the process, he courteously acknowledged that I have every right to my differing opinion.

The woman’s first comment I shall post here verbatim:

*hysterical laughter*

Even a hardened male chauvinist such as myself seldom sees a woman so brazenly embodying sexist stereotypes. She actually described herself as having hysterics as a debating tool.

I took a guess that she was also disputing my facts, so I gave her the same links I had given the man. She responded with a few nasty insults which were totally irrelevant to the subject under discussion. I could see that was going to be useless, so I announced that I wasn’t going to play flame war with her.

She was outraged. How dare I not stick around to listen to her vent her spleen on me! In the frenzy of bile that she posted in the next few hours, aside from the numerous uncomplimentary names she called me, the two main points were these: one, she denounced me for citing a movie which not only did I not cite, I have never even heard of it; two, she announced that I have no right to my beliefs because their practice makes/would make her “feel like a second-class citizen”.

Again, this female was busily embodying sexist stereotypes. She didn’t even try to dispute my facts. She cited no facts of her own. Her only reference was to a movie, a work of fiction. Aside from the fact that people do not have a right to be shielded from “feeling like second-class citizens” because they are engaging in bad behavior, she did not try to prove that what I was advocating was unconstitutional, harmful to society, or immoral; her sole objection was the way it made her feel. Because, you know, it’s the government’s job, society’s job, to make her feel good, and her feelings are of paramount importance, trumping law, truth and morals.

Her behavior aroused my curiosity, so I Googled her username and discovered that she spends a great deal of time denouncing other people in various fora. She doesn’t seem to have created a website of her own, nor does she keep a blog of her own to be her own personal soapbox; she just attacks other people, without producing anything herself online. In addition, the sheer number and length of comments she’s made heaping vituperation upon people lead me to conclude that she probably doesn’t have a job. Whether it’s a husband or the taxpayers, someone else is paying her bills so that she can devote her waking hours to calling people names on the internet.

The man who disagreed with me, by the way, after seeing her antics, emailed me privately to express his sympathy and to further discuss the reasons for our different stances in cordial terms. We are still in contact and have discovered we have many mutual, nonpolitical interests.

I don’t have any scientific data on this – such data probably doesn’t even exist – but most of the flame wars I’ve seen or heard of were caused by female culprits. (Though there is at least one man on Usenet who has dedicated so much time to flaming people that there are at least four newsgroups where his victims can commiserate.) In thinking this over, I realized that, generally speaking, men and women argue differently, and for different reasons.

Sometimes men argue to demonstrate dominance, of course, though they mostly do this with other men – an ancient game with tacitly understood rules. But male arguments are far more likely than female ones to be about the actual subject under discussion. The male brain is more geared to “problem-solving”, which is why most scientists have always been and will always be men. This is why they bring out facts, figures, and reasoned arguments.

Most women do not argue this way. Recently I was asked how I became a female misogynist, and my bewilderment at female arguments was a big part of it. I have had many close female friends and girlfriends to whom I gave a great deal, and who led me to believe that they cared for me deeply. Sooner or later, nearly all of them would one day become enraged over some incredibly trivial matter, throw a tantrum, refuse my baffled attempts to explain, apologize, or atone, and sever all relations with me, leaving me stunned and bereft. This must be how those men whose wives split on them with no warning feel, or the men who spend the night with an enthusiastic bed partner and wake up to find themselves charged with date rape because the bimbo decided later that she wished she hadn’t done it, and being female, she can’t possibly be responsible for making her own decisions!

Not all women are incapable of rational arguments. I’m a male chauvinist and a misogynist, but that much is clearly true. But I have had so many women do this to me – friends, girlfriends, my mother, teachers, coworkers – and now I finally understand what they were doing. They weren’t trying to convince me to change my beliefs. They were, unconsciously, engaging in a standard female tactic for controlling other people’s behavior, one which in a saner era had constructive uses. Your husband starts losing too much at the racetrack? Don’t reason with him about why this is a bad idea; stage a soap opera about it and he’ll stop going because he won’t want to listen to your hysterics about it. Your daughter tries to go out in a too-revealing dress? Have an attack of the vapours and she’ll change her clothes to keep peace in the family.

But modern women rarely have any constructive uses for this tactic, so they apply it inappropriately. People on the internet say things about politics you disagree with? Have hysterics until they say, “Fine, okay, you’re right,” so that you’ll stop your shrieking. (For just one of thousands of possible illustrations, see Larry Summers.) As if we needed another reason to keep women out of politics.

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8 Responses to “How Men and Women Argue”

  1. Mr Zopo Says:

    Modern women have a destructive use for this tactic.

  2. Mr Zopo Says:

    Modern women have a destructive use for this tactic.

  3. Mr Zopo Says:

    Modern women have a destructive use for this tactic.

  4. BlkBond Says:

    I will use this link continuously as a retort to incoherent rants, answers, etc. Thank you for this.

    Bond.

  5. Female Misogynist Says:

    Bond,

    You are very welcome!

  6. Hitman726 Says:

    I came across your blog only this night while searching the internet for evidence that men, on average, have a higher IQ than women. I keep telling people that fact but surprisingly few (or maybe not so surprisingly, I've come to discover) of them believe this. In essence, I just wanted numbers to use to end debates on the topic quickly. But, I digress.

    I too have recognised the differing tactics applied by men and women. I find that when I'm having an argument with a female friend, they just talk and talk and talk and I can't get a word of reason in. It's very frustrating. In fact, often enough, the arguments I'm having are about misogyny. Funny that.

    To finish, I think you are doing good work here and are presenting your arguments and evidence in a very eloquent and logical way. You have my full support, thank you for giving me some reassurance that all hope is not lost.

  7. Billy Says:

    Wow you are so right on. What do you call a woman that does not respond like you said?A new girlfriend.Just give em time

  8. Chris Says:

    I like you and your blog, well, since for me the reader you ARE your blog.This topic would be an excellent one for you to drill into further.I read some things about forensics and debating (is that redundant) and it made a sort of statistical analysis of female and male debating (arguing too because it wasn't limited to formal structured debate)and some conclusions fell out.You touch them with the problem solver vs histrionic stuff, but as a geek engineer and requisite stickler for logic when its about math, one of the main things I CANNOT get past is the substitution of anecdote for valid generality.Ive seen it even in otherwise soundly logical female responders to your blog, "well X cant be true because my neighbors dog was a paisley zebra and he didnt do X" Drives my bonkersThe other one is the tendency to kumbaya.Women will make some macro soft speak general statement that anyone would agree to, dust their rhetorical hands, and leave…like "well yes we all have difficulties between genders" as a response to ANY gender discourse, as if that SAYS anything!Please afford us the pleasure of your "bromidic (sic)" take on this matter further!!

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