Kopf: An Old Male Judge’s Reflections On A Supposed #MeToo Moment

Ever since the Kozinski horror, I have been more intently reading[i] and listening[ii] to the stories of female lawyers who have suffered various kinds of abuse or disrespect from male lawyers because of their gender. I was, and am, not so much interested in assaults or explicit sexual harassment because it is obvious that no one should suffer such things.

I was, and am, more interested in the interactions (sometimes subtle) of male and female lawyers in the courtroom. Taxonomy is important. There is, at least to me, an important distinction between incivility writ large and sexism. In my view, it is important to distinguish between the two if only to avoid confusion, but as this post illustrates (I hope), that can be difficult. People of good will can easily conflate the two and the resulting uncertainty may cause us to talk past each other.

I stumbled across a twitter thread from a female lawyer, perhaps a CDL given her twitter handle (@CriminelleLaw), that I encourage you to read.[iii] I want you to assume, as I do, that CriminelleLaw and the lawyers who later responded in the twitter exchange are all well-intentioned.

CriminelleLaw describes her interactions with a male opponent in a court case. She begins this way:

She then supplements her complaint with this addition about her opponent’s behavior in the courtroom:

Another female lawyer responded: “Oh, this makes me incandescent with rage.”

A youngish male lawyer was not entirely buying it.[iv] He tweeted: “For real though: Accusing an opponent of being emotional – without more – isn’t necessarily gendered. The most emotional adversary I’ve ever had was a 42 year old man.”

CriminelleLaw responded: “I never mentioned it was gendered. It’s highly inappropriate in this context, in this scenario, no matter gender. I would never say something like this because it’s obvious deflection. Resorting to this type of litigation is for the poorly prepared/ those lacking confidence.”

The skeptical male lawyer’s response did not sit well with others. Another female lawyer, who refers to herself as the “bitchy barrister,” responded in part this way: “The irony of mansplaining the intent as gender-neutral isn’t lost on me.”

The first male lawyer, not to be outdone, tweeted: “Let me get this straight: By suggesting that a lawyer accusing opposing counsel of being emotional isn’t necessarily gendered I’m ‘mansplaining’. Is it possible that a man can have an opinion on something without being accused of mansplaining? Apparently not.”

The “bitchy barrister” responded and in part wrote: “99% of dudes don’t get what it’s like to be a woman in this profession.”

In another twit, the skeptical youngish male lawyer added, “Interrupting like that is classic old man lawyer behavior. Classic. Old man lawyers did that to me in state court when I was younger. They don’t just do it to women. They do it to younger men as well.”

Later on, a second male lawyer saw sexism and responded: “I hate to mansplain men to a man, but while I agree this guy is an unprofessional jerk and if there’s any justice in the world that will bite him hard, I don’t see this as lack of confidence. I see this as clueless mediocrity + sexism. ‘Hur, hur, hur, wimmen sure do get excited.’”[v]

And the thread goes on. It extends this way almost ad infinitum.

What do I think? Well, that is truly a problem. I honestly don’t know what I think.

My initial inclination was to read the complaints of CriminelleLaw with skepticism to the extent, if at all, that her grievances alleged sexism. Long ago, Aristotle taught us that the three methods of persuasion are ethos (the ethical appeal), pathos (the emotional appeal) and logos (the logical appeal).

There is nothing inherently gendered about any of those methods.

More specifically, I understood from CriminelleLaw’s first tweet that the reference to emotion by her male opponent dealt with a motion to dismiss. If that was so, and without further context that she fails to provide, the fact that opposing counsel lodged an objection to an emotional appeal regarding what is customarily a straight up legal question did not strike me as facially sexist in nature. Indeed, as CriminelleLaw at one point in the discussion emphasized, “I never mentioned it was gendered.”

As for interruptions, lawyers of all genders interrupt each other (to my displeasure) all the time. “So what,” I said to myself.

But as surely as I thought (and typed) the foregoing words, I reflexively drew back.    While Aristotle’s methods may not be inherently gendered, that old Greek also thought that “women’s voices were proof of their wickedness.” Parul Sehgal, From Ancient Myths to Modern Day, Women and the Struggle for Power, New York Times (December 5, 2017) (book review of Cambridge classicist Mary Beard’s book Women & Power).  In that same vein, CriminelleLaw’s male opponent used the word “characteristically” before the word “emotional,” thus perhaps snidely referring to the stereotype of women as mostly emotional beings.

Still further, I remembered that a recent study, conducted by a Northwestern law professor, found that female Supreme Court justices are interrupted about three times more frequently than their male counterparts. Tonja Jacobi and Dylan Schweers, Legal scholarship highlight: Justice, interrupted – Gender, ideology and seniority at the Supreme Court, SCOTUS Blog (April 5, 2017). If that is so for female Supreme Court Justices, then perhaps CriminelleLaw’s complaint about interruptions by her male opponent had merit beyond the question of civility, as the interruptions could be seen as driven by sexism.

So, I will put the question to you, the readers of Simple Justice. Were the male lawyer’s actions (using the words “characteristically emotional” in a brief and the interruptions in the courtroom) sexist?[vi]

Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska)

[i] For example, read the #LadyLawyerDiaries.

[ii] Also, listen to the podcast hosted by Dahlia Lithwick interviewing Heidi Bond, Emily Murphy, and Leah Litman entitled #MeToo in the Courts.

[iii] I found this thread because of a tweet, dated December 28, 2017, at #LadyLawyerDiaries written by Ellie Margolis, a law professor and critical legal theorist at Temple.

[iv] It is clear though that this youngish male lawyer thought CriminelleLaw’s male opponent was a jerk.

[v] Unhelpfully I thought, the “Dean of #appellatetwitter” then added his two cents.  “[W]ow, this is awful.” Exactly what was “awful” was not made clear.

[vi] Let us stipulate that incivility is to be opposed and that I am not referring to incivility without sexism. One can be an ass but not a sexist ass. As I said in the beginning, a proper taxonomy is important if only to be precise in our language and to avoid misunderstandings between people of good will.

62 comments on “Kopf: An Old Male Judge’s Reflections On A Supposed #MeToo Moment

  1. Beth

    As I’ve tried to teach my daughters, sometimes you’re not because you’re a woman. Sometimes you’re just wrong.
    Not everything is sexist. Claiming it is diminishes the real problem.

  2. Jim Ryan

    Absolutely! But what is not known is the intent. Is the male lawyer’s just totally clueless, or is his action designed to get a response from @CriminelleLaw?
    Whatever.
    But she hasn’t taken the bait.
    Or has she?

  3. John Hawkinson

    Your Honor, you ask, “Were the male lawyer’s actions (using the words “characteristically emotional” in a brief and the interruptions in the courtroom) sexist?”

    I think this is the wrong question, and it leads us to the wrong answer (“Who knows? Insufficient context.”)

    How about: Does a pattern and practice of male lawyers using uncivil language that can be construed as referring to gendered stereotypes (e.g. “characteristically emotional”) represent sexism?

    Then I can comfortably answer that yes, I think such a pattern and practice is sexist, and then it’s easy to say this is an example of such a pattern and practice and needs to be addressed for that reason.

    The question is a little tougher for the interruption, but I’d say the same principle holds.

    Another question is what precedents we have.

    The only example of judicial action on this that I’m aware of was then-USMJ Paul Grewal (N.D. Cal) in 2016:
    [Ed. Note: Link deleted per rules. Had you linked to the decision, I wouldn’t have deleted it.]

    It would be good to know of other situations where this has been adjudicated seriously, recognizing of course that the real problems may not individually rise to the level of meriting a judicial response. Indeed, that is the pernicious nature of the problem. (And also that even if it rises to the level of meriting such a response, raising it has negative collateral consequences for attorney who does so, and therefore it is often not pursued.)

    1. SHG

      While Judge Kopf can respond however he wants, the fact that you don’t care for the question asked and instead make up your own question and then give your answer defeats the point.

      Judge: How does the defendant plead, guilty or not guilty?
      Hawk: Judge, I don’t think that’s really the question. The question is whether the defendant is before this court because of a pattern and practice of systemic racism by the criminal justice system.
      Judge: 20 years. Next case.

      Is there a pattern and practice of male lawyers using uncivil language? One anecdote doesn’t prove it. Believing in a narrative doesn’t prove it. Creating a fictional scenario in contrast to the issue raised in a post doesn’t mean you get to hijack the question to suit your feelz. This was a seriously dumb comment, Hawk.

      1. Richard Kopf

        John,

        Thanks for the citation. I have read the Magistrate Judge’s opinion.

        The MJ’s opinion illustrates something that is implicit in my post. That is, Twitter may be a good way of blowing off steam and commiserating with others about the travails of being a trial lawyer, but it is a horrible way of getting at serious questions such as the ones you raised and would have preferred I asked.

        All the best.

        RGK

  4. Scott Jacobs

    My advisor and one of his mentors (Timothy Johnson) have a paper either soon-to-be published or just recently published about interruption rates for male and female advocates at Supreme Court oral argument by male and female justices. I got to read an pre-publication version, and it was quite interesting.

    But to the point, there is a reason I’ve got the two named accounts blocked on Twitter – they are not honest debaters. Bitchy especially is a disingenuous dolt, eager to explain any of her failings as the result of sexism, not her own ineptitude.

      1. losingtrader

        “A straight up legal question” could be construed as homophobic.”

        Or it could more likely be construed as an erectile dysfunction question.

  5. B. McLeod

    I think it depends on whether the male lawyer in question has prior experience with Criminelle which informs his view that her pitch was “characteristically emotional” (her own posts suggest probably so). If so, the “characteristically” is about her, not about her gender, and she might have been well-served to extend that moment of clarity in which she considered whether the statement was true.

    1. SHG

      Therein lies the conundrum I keep noting: Characterizing women as emotional or crazy can be used as a stereotypical sexist put down, or can be an accurate statement. Some people are unduly emotion or crazy. Some of those people are women. They do not enjoy impunity from their actions based on gender any more than they should suffer unwarranted sexist attacks for it.

      1. davep

        SHG: “Characterizing women as emotional or crazy can be used as a stereotypical sexist put down, or can be an accurate statement. Some people are unduly emotion or crazy. ”

        The phrase “characteristically emotional” is poor since it’s not clear what it is a character of.

        It seems the phrase is commonly used as a “sexist put down”. If so, people are often going to recall that when hearing the phrase.

        Did the male lawyer have any way to know whether the female lawyer, herself, was “characteristically emotional”?

        1. SHG

          It seems the phrase is commonly used as a “sexist put down”.

          Could you stick any more wiggle words in there? Assuming that’s correct, does that make it inaccurate in a specific instance? The “commonly used” narrative is a bullshit argument. The salient question is whether it’s accurate or not in any particular instance. If not, then it’s wrong, regardless of whether it’s “commonly used” or not. If accurate, then what difference does it make that others “commonly use” it for improper purposes?

          Given that the lawyers were engaged in litigation, it would appear plain that he had opportunity to determine if the female lawyer was “characteristically emotional.” But even so, that doesn’t make it accurate. We’re not in a position to know any more than appears from the twit.

          1. davep

            SHG: “Could you stick any more wiggle words in there?”

            Given that the phrase “characteristically emotional” forces you to guess the subject, the “wiggling” starts there. “Characteristically” is another “wiggle word”.

            SHG: “The “commonly used” narrative is a bullshit argument. The salient question is whether it’s accurate or not in any particular instance.”

            We are stuck guessing what the object is.

            The “salient question” is unanswerable.

            Anyway….

            One theory of language is that it more ambiguous than people expect and that people can fill-in the missing details based on commonly-shared “frames”.

            If I say “I drove into work today”, you’ll probably imagine I used a car rather than a dump truck.

            1. SHG

              Not sure your dump truck analogy does you much good. A coupe v. a sedan would have been better. But even so, it can be used to make the point: if it mattered what you drove to work today, the way to find out is to ask, not to assume at all. That, my dear davep, is the way to get an accurate answer if the question is salient.

            2. Skink

              If you “drove into work today,” I’d wonder what you struck.

              I have to go back to work. In all writings today, I’ve decided to call the other parties “nitwits.” Is that neutral enough?

            3. davep

              SHG: ” if it mattered what you drove to work today, the way to find out is to ask, not to assume at all.”

              Asking isn’t the only option.

              If it mattered what I drove to work today, I would have made that clear. That is, the phrase “characteristically emotional” starts out as failure to communicate.

              I realize that courtroom stuff is somewhat different but “filling in” is unavoidable.

              The problem with using “sedan” or “coupe” is it would have left you wondering why it would have mattered.

              The subject in “characteristically emotional” always matters.

            4. Sgt. Schultz

              I thought davep reached the gibberish stage about a half dozen comments ago. We got it. He believes “characteristically emotional” is a “commonly used” sexist insult, and the burden of proving otherwise is on people who don’t share his belief. Like every other person who believes in an ideology.

            5. SHG

              In fairness, the phrase is far more loaded than many others. I have never used it, and can’t imagine doing so. That doesn’t mean I’m ready to leap to conclusions about someone who does, and the burden of proving someone is being sexist still calls on the accuser. But given how the easily-offended tend to seek out reasons to shriek misogynist at every turn, there are worse reasons than this one.

  6. Skink

    Judge–nope. I read emotional pleadings all the time, and they are especially useless on any MTD. Reading the rest of her posts, it’s very clear that a logical mind does not occupy her skull. On the other hand, she could give tips on how to dress and cook. That’s not sexist, it’s the general theme of the posts.

    But I have two wonderings. I’m not sure, even given her handle, that this was a criminal case. Multiple defendants and a MTD is at least as likely civil, and we have a whole bunch of emotional lawyers occupying our part of the dockets.

    Second, I wonder why she redacted the phrase following “characteristically emotional.” What were those words? Aren’t they likely something like “the motion argues. . . “?

  7. Richard Kopf

    Skink,

    You may be right that the case was a civil matter. And, yes, I agree that I see far more snide posturing on the civil side than on the criminal side. It makes me crazy.

    As for the redactions, that struck me as odd too. But, again, the nature of Twitter invites those who tweet to avoid specifics. And in circumstances like this, where nerves are very raw, the medium makes reasoned discussions–or even reasoned accusations–nearly impossible.

    All the best.

    RGK

    1. SHG

      The medium has it’s serious limitations, but the responses seem to be a far greater inhibition to reasoned discourse. Can’t blame the twitters for the way reactions from the echo chamber.

        1. SHG

          The redaction wasn’t done by twitter, but the person who twitted the redacted image. I appreciate redaction when done to conceal the identities of clients, but then, if the redaction makes it impossible to ascertain the validity of the accusation, then maybe it’s not a good accusation to broadcast publicly at all.

  8. davep

    Kopf: “In that same vein, CriminelleLaw’s male opponent used the word “characteristically” before the word “emotional,” thus perhaps snidely referring to the stereotype of women as mostly emotional beings.”

    It’s the two words together, “characteristically emotional”, that are the issue since it leaves the “of what?” unspecified.

    I’d say that phrase is typically sexist (how it’s commonly used) but the man layer might not have intended that (there’s no way of telling). It seems like an odd phrase to use in the current context.

    “Emotional”, by itself, might be odd in the same context but the people in the discussion would (presumably) be able to know whether it was appropriate. But how could they know whether it was “characteristic”?

    1. SHG

      What if “characteristically emotional” referred not to women in general, but to one person in particular? If the former, I would be gleeful at the opportunity to use that against him and rip him a new one for proffering a vapid, sexist aseertion. But what if it’s the latter?

      1. davep

        The phrase carries some baggage (how it is commonly used). We are stuck guessing the subject. People will often assume the first one that comes to mind (based on prior experiences of hearing the phrase).

        The subject could be women, the particular lawyer, or dismissals.

        1. SHG

          You keep saying that it’s “commonly used.” I’ve never seen it used in papers ever. Have you? Do you see it all the time? Do you see it used to besmirch womanhood? How have I managed to never see this in 35 years?

          1. davep

            “Commonly used” might be incorrect.

            The idea that “women are (typically) emotional” seems common.

            “Characteristically emotional” is the same idea but leaves the subject unspecified.

            To interpret the phrase “characteristically emotional” you are stuck having to quickly guess what the heck the subject is.

            Given that “characteristically emotional” is some sort of “dig”, I wonder if the ambiguity was intentional.

            1. SHG

              We are stuck because we lack sufficient information to reach a valid conclusion. But that doesn’t mean the writer was being ambiguous, intentionally or otherwise. We only know as much as the twit provided. That has to do with the twit, not the original writer. We’re left to see an ambiguous assertion and told what conclusion we should draw from it. You’re blaming the writer for ambiguity rather than the twitterer for providing inadequate support for the conclusion.

    2. Richard Kopf

      davep,

      It seems to me that “characteristically emotional” may refer to female counsel’s behavior earlier in the litigation or in other cases. If that is so, the male lawyer’s reference may have been to the prior behavior rather than a reference to female counsel’s gender.

      All the best.

      RGK

      1. davep

        Yes, it could have referred to one of three things.

        The phrase is meaningless without a subject and it was left to the reader to guess what that was.

        Either the phrase was sloppily written or the ambiguity was intentional (or some other thing).

  9. tabstop

    IANAL so I am not up on courtroom etiquette, but if the lawyer does have something that (he thinks) should be brought up before this deposition dispute, doesn’t he have to barge in right at that point before the judge gets started? I’m reading that more as interrupting the judge than the other lawyer. It’s very possible that it’s not something that needs to be brought up and/or that it should have been brought up elsewhere etc., but I would expect the judge to interrupt right back in that case.

  10. Matthew S Wideman

    I have been practicing law for almost 7 years and I have more than a few bad experiences with Looney men and women opposing counsel’s. This doesn’t seem the type of thing that should get one very butthurt. I have worse stories than this and I live in Missouri. I bet it’s crazier in a big city with high stakes litigation.

    Doesn’t this just seem like something you should file under “shit you have to deal with”? I was just lectured and scolded by a judge for something I didn’t do. Should i blame the judge’s gender and the sexist world around me? Or should I just go home, shake it off, and become a better person because I dealt with this a kept my sanity?

  11. Joseph

    Both men and women who tear up easily can be described as “emotional”, but a woman who stamps and shouts (unprofessional courtroom behavior, to be sure) can be easily summed up and dismissed with the single word “emotional” whereas a man who stamps and shouts is rarely described in such terms. I think that the bar required to write off a woman as “being emotional” is much lower than the bar required to describe a man as such.

    I would be surprised if the 42-year old highly emotional male lawyer was himself ever labeled “characteristically emotional” during a motion, even if he had demonstrated a pattern of being excessively emotional during litigation. The substance of the motion might be the same but men are described as emotional under a more restricted set of circumstances.

      1. Joseph

        My first paragraph describes a pattern that is not limited to the courtroom. Accusations of being emotional are thrown around constantly outside of the legal world even if they rarely make it into motions. My assessment of how people tend to use words in society is based on my personal observations of society.

        It could certainly be that my observations of society are wrong or, if they are not, that the way language tends to be used in wider society does not substantially affect the language people use to file motions.

        1. Joseph

          Rereading the exchange, maybe I should have made it clearer for people reading the comments that I have no actual legal expertise before running my mouth off about courtrooms and motions.

        2. SHG

          Fair enough, and I think you have a point about people ascribing undue emotion to women more easily than men. Not that men are left off the hook, but the characterization isn’t “emotional,” but something else. The problem arises, then, whether it means that men should be more circumspect about calling a woman emotional such that it’s only for conduct they would call anyone “emotional” about, or whether they should be precluded from using the word at all. I reject the latter solution categorically. If it’s an accurate characterization, then precluding its use is irrational.

          As for the courtroom, I’ve never used it nor seen it used in 35 years. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe I’m just lucky. Maybe it’s not common at all. Obviously it happened (as the twit proves), but it still tells us nothing about whether it’s sexist or accurate.

  12. James L. Smith

    As the Great Old Bard advised, “And do as adversaries do in law, strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.” [Taming of the Shrew] I can remember lawyers fistfighting on the commons in front of the courthouse during the 70’s and 80’s– all men, of course. Some got over it. Some didn’t. Some held grudges to their graves.
    Irish Alsheimers: They forget everything but the grudges.

  13. Billy Bob

    Now that you all have danced around the Mulberry Bush–accomplishing nothing much that we can discern,… We here at the House of BB are wondering why David Meyer Lindenberg is being “uncharacteristically” *unemotiional*, i.e., MIA?!? He is sitting this one out,… smart move. (No, I am not a Boy named Sue.)

    Courtroom proceedings are emotional affairs. That we have observed on more than one occasion. It can be sub rosa and seething, or overt: but still, it rises to the surface. It’s not how you play the game; it’s whether you win or loose that counts. That’s how Prez Trump views the Law and the Courts. Sexism should be irrelevant, but apparently is not always. You have to play your cards and let the chips fall where they may. If counsel says something stewpid, it is incumbent upon the co-respondents and judge to disregard, and move on. If that does not happen, you “bring it up on appeal.” See how that goes? Good luck with the rubber-stamping appellate justices who show up, yawn, go home and collect their generous pay checks–for doing nothing. (The Supremes are likely to let you down as well.)

    1. Nemo

      (I clicked ‘reply’, honest)

      This is probably more relevant than my own post, and if it was lost in the ether, perhaps it’s for the better. It raises the point that lawyers are vaguely akin to gladiators, and the courtroom’s the arena.

      If you choose to compete there, gird up your loins, because you are up against a Green Toupee’. Govern yourself accordingly.

  14. Nemo

    I think it useful to preface this with a point: No two people who speak the same language speak exactly the same language, and the tripping point is not in the unfamiliar, but the routine. Think about it; how many times have you, the reader, and a friend agree on something, only to find that the understandings were different? A time for a dinner date’s only the most obvious example of that.

    The more important point, I think, is that there are social expectations that do not hold true in a courtroom. As another example, social norms hold that deliberately making a young woman cry is a deplorable thing. But in court, it can be highly appropriate, if a lawyer is exposing her fabrications with her on the stand. Zealous representation, I gather, can require a bit of tactical rudeness.

    Which brings us to the matter at hand. The author of the twit clearly believes that the comment was sexist. Perhaps it was, but was the lawyer sexist, or pandering to a judge with a sexist bent? Was he ignorant, or was there bias involved? How can we tell why he chose to speak that way? Unless he explains, we can’t.

    While this isn’t an SJW post, IMO SJW logic informs the underlying story. Given that SJW tactics rely on injecting vagueness* into standard definitions, how can one interpret something is more flexible, more interpretive. This may be good amongst the tribe, because the tribe shares a viewpoint. This is not good when the tribe bumps into a different tribe, especially when the mutual language sounds the same, but means different things. It’s nowhere close to the domain of the Left, but the dilution of crisp definitions, while useful in the short term, undermine the argument, in the long run.

    In short, she may well have good reason to be angry; unfortunately, the wide ambiguity of what constitutes bias robs her complaint of power. Was the incident an example of something ephemeral, uncorrectable, or was it evidence of a systemic problem that ought to be corrected? I submit that we can no longer know, because the offense is decided by the offended. There is nothing that can be done to prevent giving offense.

    But aye, there’s the rub. If there is no way of prevention against offense, then the problem becomes insoluble. Taking offense has become so socially and politically useful that folks are more inclined than not to take offense over a trifle, when it seems beneficial. The trouble is that it’s the top priority fallacy coupled with “crying wolf”. If everything is top priority, nothing is, and a plethora of false alarms leads one to ignoring all alarms.

    The author may well be right, but activists have so muddied the waters that we cannot see what lies at the bottom. Positive change requires clarity, not fog.

  15. nobody

    No; she’s asking us to assume the subject is her. Could have been anybody; we have no idea because of the redactions. We don’t know who the judge was addressing or whose motion it was that from the hearing she took that little blurb out of. If it was his motion, wouldn’t it be his right to speak first and therefore her interrupting him?

    Or she may have said the word “Honor” quietly and the stenographer didn’t hear her say it, so the steno put the double dashes. Or she didn’t say “Honor”, in which case the double dashes would be on the paper transcript despite the fact that the other attorney waited until she was done to speak, because the sentence is not complete as written, “Yes, Your”. Double dashes does not assume interruption necessarily in a transcript.

    Also, i want to say, isn’t this kind of thing like small potatoes in terms of banter back and forth? Even if you entertain that he was trying to be sexist, which is the most you could say about it, aren’t most lawyers quick enough on their feet to be able to respond in kind, “Well, that’s characteristically stupid because characteristics show that arguments calling things characteristically emotional et cetera,” or something, give as good as they get?

    I mean, sexism is so unoriginal, non-creative, and stupid that anybody who actually thinks that way deserves to have it used against them, so aren’t lawyers better equipped from learning how to argue than crying on Twitter about it? Aren’t most or all lawyers good at making other people, including other lawyers, feel stupid without ever actually calling them stupid or insulting them in any way? Don’t you go to school to learn to argue? This seems like a very easy “argument” to win or overcome and make the opposing side look bad at the same time.

  16. Stephan

    Women academics ask drastically fewer questions even in “controlled” environments. Women write drastically fewer articles on Wikipedia. There are drastically fewer female trial laywers. Similar things can be observed in debate clubs. Boys and girls self-segregate. Girls seek the presence of teachers, boys seek their absence. Boys are task-oriented, girls are relationship-oriented. Boys seek interference competition, girls avoid it. Boys establish large, somewhat impersonal networks, girls are more dyadic. Girls practice turn-taking, boys refuse to yield the floor. Girls and women strive for egalitarian relationships (with indirect aggression in the background), boys do not. Girls and women are more neurotic, tender-minded, and sensitive. They have a lower threshold of offense. Boys and men rely on humor to defuse tension and establish rapport, girls and women rely on co-rumination (also a means to establish egalitarianism).
    All of these differences and more are substantial, massive in conjunction and on a large scale (group level). They extend to professionals, including STEM women (“need to belong”), and are reflected in preference orders (work-life balance, communal strivings, etc.)

    I take it there’s a restriction on links here, so I’ll refrain from individual sources and instead point to Deborah Tannen (“You Just Don’t Understand”), Maccoby (“The Two Sexes”) and Joyce Benenson (“warriors and worriers”). Also check out the recent Pew reviews on sex differences, free speech, and harassment.

    Lastly, I encourage all men to fall into self-doubt and complain to the guys when another man calls you “emotional”. That already worked so well in boys’ groups. It’s aptly – if not with utter precision – called “acting like a girl”. For those who want to establish female friendly environments, acknowledge the sex differences (whether socially constructed [wrong], or based on evolved differences). Anything else is simply intellectually inconsistent.

      1. Stephan

        Well, thoughtful of you.

        1) When claims of unfair treatment, such as the one(s) above, omit cotext, you rely on probability and general rules. These are that.

        2) This particularly applies when a series of anecdotes is assembled with the selectiveness of a quilt. The quilt of guilt, here, is the metoo collage.

        3) Take interruptions. Men are less likely to complain about them. They are part of a male communicative style. That a woman is subjected to them does not indicate sexism. Her not being subjected to them may indicate (“benevolent”) sexism*. Of course this again needs a larger sample size than what she willing to supply. (Add the missing context, too.)

        4) Think through and apply the rest yourself. It points to distortions.

        *A discussion of the nature of sexism would be in order. Schematic identical treatment, treating different things differently? Etc. But such groundwork, naturally, “contributes nothing”.

        1. SHG

          I see that your feelz are hurt by my failure to appreciate your brilliantly murdering words for no apparent reason. Sucks. While there are places where people adore the pointless death of a great many empty words, this is not one of them. Go away.

          1. Stephan

            One can’t hurt feelings. You can be annoying, though. It was about finding out whether you pose or posit.

Comments are closed.