Opinions about branding by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal

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Friday, July 10, 2015

"Rational vs. Emotional" = Sexism

Ladies, I hate to be the one to break it to you, if you hadn't heard.
But a lot of men think we are "naturally insane."
They may not tell you this. But they're thinking it. 
Have you seen this popular video, "Wife Zone Chart," online? Even if you haven't there's a good chance someone you know has heard of it. 
It's got 1,873,088 views as of this morning.
The guy in the video purports to give advice to other men as to how they can reliably choose a life partner.
His beginning premise? Some women are attractive and some women are not. But one thing you can be sure of is that all women are "crazy."
"This is the universal hot-crazy matrix, it's everything a young man needs to know about women. I've developed this on my own after 46 years of living on the earth. This is how it works. You have your crazy axis and your hot axis. Hot is as usual measured from 0 to 10, we're all familiar with that. Crazy is measured from 4 to 10 because of course there's no such thing as a woman who's not at least a 4 crazy."
I share this information, although I'm sure it isn't new to most of you, for a couple of reasons.
The first is to acknowledge, in a public forum, that the stereotype does exist. That it is not only common but pervasive. Even overwhelming. And that although it may be tempting to doubt yourself -- because we are so very good at doubting ourselves -- please do not do it. 
Because insane people do not know they are insane. In fact, being out of touch with reality is the very definition of insanity. ("Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result," as the popular saying goes.)
The second is to share a word of caution. Insanity is not only a legal defense. It is also a weapon, regularly used to discredit people. It is a tool of sexism. Lots of literature available on that.
Third, there is a connection between sexism, and other forms of class warfare (for example racism and classism) and actual disconnection from reality. Again, you don't have to look very far - voluminous evidence. 
We are so used to popular movies, and television shows, with their images of emotional-meaning-irrational women. Contrasted with images of men, who are composed and logical thinkers. 
We've gotten used to the seeming dichotomy, the polar opposites, represented loosely as "feelings" versus "thought."
But the truth is, as an increasing amount of studies show, that it is the synthesis of emotional literacy and ordered thinking (linear or not linear) that represents a higher level of human intelligence. 
I would add humility as the third element to that mix. You just don't know what you don't know, do you?
So here is intelligence:
  • The ability to feel, to take in those feelings, to process them. Without the feelings overwhelming you.
  • The ability to think, to explain how you got from Point A to Point B, without getting frustrated when other people disagree or misunderstand.
  • The ability to admit that you do not know all things and that your capacity for knowing is limited.
If you have all those things, I think, you're a very smart person indeed.
And if you're smart, you don't put down women -- or men -- or anyone.
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Photo by Petras Gagilas via Flickr (Creative Commons). Meme via Quickmeme. All opinions are my own and do not represent those of my agency or the federal government as a whole.