from the original illustrations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland
Problem minitiuarizers are usually one-uppers. They always have a bigger problem than you, their pain is more important than yours, no one has ever gone through what they have gone through. In my experience, these are usually women – and their intent is more directly non-benign. In men’s case, they are completely unaware of how horrible they are: the unsupportive crap they say to me usually comes from centuries of looking at women as a set of ovaries with boobs rather than considering each woman might have unique talents. While men can see a short guy as equal to a tall guy on a philosophical level, their incapacity to use this same train of thought for women is due to their own ability to break their social programming.
Women, on the other hand, are forced to be universally subversive. This is why so many women are problem-minituarizers.
As long as we’re locked in patriarchy – a land where men persuade themselves that a)women are all the same and b)women all have universal personality traits that we most certainly do not, we women are are all stuck operating as subversives. On some level we do all see each other as equals, but power – i.e. having choices – is still in genuinely short supply for women of all walks. Women often do see each other equally – and all too often that means “equally a threat.” From there they either try to make their own system of social violence where women are as unequal as possible or they try to build each other up. The latter is the rougher path with fewer visible immediate compensations – so less women, in my experience, take this road. Sometimes it’s a conscious choice to play dirty with other women. Usually it’s one side of a constant panic state.
When you ask, “Well what about feminism and the equal rights amendment?” I have to say this:
1)to the women my age and the young women coming after me: it’s our own goddamn fault we’re still in this mess. A lot of women my age decided to declare feminism “done” since Patrick Henry’s “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance” went flying over their heads. Now we get cutesie pseudo-intellectual bullshit like “post-feminism” and gradations of feminism that are really just new layers of philosophy in the machinations of female social violence. The women my age that said they weren’t feminist because it “wasn’t sexy” are forcing us all to pay a price for their lazy thinking and constant attempts to bring one another down. We are watching the rights that women have fought for since the 1700s erode before our eyes. Men don’t need to be pleased or coddled; the delicate male ego is simply men avoiding taking responsibility. A good man is one who is equal to you – and who gets why your being equal to him is good for both of you and for your family.
2)Women need to stop fucking assholes. Actually, EVERYONE needs to stop fucking assholes. I don’t know why this concept is difficult. It’s like we’re adopting the patriarchal male sensibility that we are not in control of or responsible for sensations in our parts. We are. Hookup culture may be fun but some personality screening can go a long way in preventing more evil in the world. That’s what old school, no sex makeout sessions in semi-public locations were for – this way you knew who you were dealing with before you ever got naked in private.
Getting the tingles is not an obligation to pursue it. Find out who you’re dealing with before you take your pants – or his – off.
So, these two problems contribute heavily to the morass of female-female relations today. Sadly, we’re actually doing far, far better than previous generations. Most women my age and younger don’t feel obligated to stay friendly with that petty bitch that makes you grit your teeth every time you hear her speak…or in my case, the petty bitch who kept harassing me at my father’s funeral because she wanted gossip.
Even so, we still pick bad friends and we are still surrounded by the generations we learned our culture from – including the culture of women that competed/belittled the problems of others. My mother was a minimizer – the worst of the worst. No problem I had was ever serious enough for her to listen to. In junior high school, despite constant bullying, I just “had to learn to deal with it” and “honey attracted more flies than vinegar.” (The problem being that these were flies. Who wants to attract flies???) In college, when it became steadily clear that administration at my first college really was out to get me, my mother actually said, “Oh, college hasn’t changed since I was there. Same old problems.”
Yes. My mother, who graduated from college in the 1960s, actually tried telling me my college experience in 1995 was EXACTLY THE SAME AS HERS. Right. Her father paid $500 a YEAR for her including tuition, room and board. I had to pay $6000 a year minimum from my own funds – while dealing with parents that did NOT want to pay for school, did NOT support me working to earn money for school and who would NOT even help me get a car so I could work, chanting “Your first job is school,” while obviously trying to sabotage me right out of my fought-for college education; this while I had spent the previous four years watching them supply my sister room, board, a car, car insurance and book money – all while my sister heartily resented paying tuition.
That up there, “exactly the same” – that one is minimizing.
There’s always some woman on some forum doing it. A few years ago, I went on a social outing with one woman who talked about herself nonstop from the moment she saw me. I finally stopped her when she said something presumptuous about me and I said, “Well, actually, I’ve been dealing with some depression.”
Her response? “Well, you seem fine.”
Minimizing. And really, unbelievably, female social violent and shitty.
This woman often says things that show signs of strong patriarchal brainwashing and things my mother used to say. I am not fond of her. She shows signs of malignant narcissism.
Another minimizer came about my freshman/sophomore year of college. What was interesting is that it was very, very targeted minimizing. When the school tried to have a residence hall council and I expressed interest in running, this girl immediately spoke up: “Well, we should leave the freshman out. They just don’t have the experience.”
Yet the next year, when the council started its candidacy rounds again, new freshman ran – and she had absolutely no problem with it. She just hadn’t wanted me to run. To her mind, I was a threat that the new freshman were not.
Later, in a political brouhaha that I was dragged in on because the people on that residence hall council were for the most part abusive little shits and were allowed to be, she actually tried to undermine any statement I made with “Well, you [and the friend that dragged me into the mess] are only sophomores.” Yet she had had no problem with the freshman running in the very election I was sitting in that boardroom for – freshman that had less experience with campus life than myself or my friend.
That time I actually stood up in the middle of her carrying on, said “You have no authority over me,” and walked out as everyone stared after me open-mouthed.
My friend found me later – he was laughing at what I had done, shocked that I had done it.
But c’mon – that was some minimizing bullshit we were being subjected to.