I’ve learned a lot from my partner in crime Audrey Watters. Not just directly from her, but indirectly from watching the way people engage with her. I’ve learned a lot about my own behavior, and how I have been programmed as a white male by watching other men engage with her–mostly via Twitter, but also in person. As I have the time, I like to break down what I’m learning on my blog to help reprogram myself, and shift how I behave, and treat others around me.
One common approach I see men try to engage with Audrey involves the opening line, “I normally respect your work”. No, no you didn’t. If you ever respected her work, you wouldn’t lead with that. You are attacking her. Period. You are taking her down, and immediately attempting to strip her of any respect, while still being “nice”, because of some bullshit code of white niceness you’ve developed over the years. If you ever respected her work, you’d let it stand on its own. You wouldn’t open a “conversation” with an attack, and I’m guessing an attack you rarely ever target other men with, saving them only for those special sexist moments where you put women in their place.
Regardless of what she has published, if you had any sort of sincere, intelligent argument, you wouldn’t even need to come at her. You’d simply write it in your notebook, journal, or maybe publish it to your blog, or Twitter as she has. You wouldn’t need to “come at her”, and challenge her ideas in her timeline, or comments (if they existed). The mere fact you feel compelled to let her know how you feel, demonstrates your lack of substance. You are just being a dude. It has nothing to do with the subject matter. You are just putting a woman in her place, and it is all about you, and has nothing to do with her, or her work.
I saw two separate men do this to her in the last couple days. Same line. Same approach. I see it so often, it has become routine for me, and has become a lesson for me in how not to act. Learning from these lessons has showed me the value of being confident in who I am, strong in my storytelling, and silent in the face of this activity. I gain nothing from engaging these men. I don’t need to be seen as right. It doesn’t make me stronger to defend my girlfriend. I have no obligation to show these ass clowns the door. I guarantee they would never say these things to her face, they only have this “strength” on Twitter. It is up to them to find their own doorway. I am going to focus on defining my own path, and improving myself, and supporting her work.
There are many injustices I come across on a daily basis. I rarely feel the need anymore to inject my opinion on these injustices in other people’s timelines. All I ever do is write down my thoughts and feelings in my notebook, and publish via my blog if necessary, and share via my timelines. If people want to tune in and learn from them, great! If they want to share their views via their blog and their timelines, great! We can subscribe, tune-in, learn from each other, and even disagree. However, if we are in the business of shutting others down, attacking them, stripping them of respect as an opening line, we should be looking in the mirror. Asking ourselves, is all this worth it? Or are we just feeding the social media engine with our hate, unchecked emotion, and baggage. Something we should just be working on ourselves, and not feeding the beast–it is what they want.