Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Snippity" = "sniping" + "uppity"

I thought I'd disabused everyone on that theology blog of the idea that I was male, but the blog owner didn't get the message. I finally had to post point-blank to a post directed toward me in the masculine as such: "I am female."

I think it got through.

I was ignored for some time, apparently because I called this theologian a "dumbass" on another blog. Well, hey if the shoe fits...

Then I got a mention, and one of my posts was referred to as "snippity," whatever that means. It can't be nice, and I admit I'm not always nice but the brevity of my posts leaves the reader to fill in my intent much of the time. It's a variant of Poe's law: "it is hard to tell parodies of fundamentalism (or, more generally, any crackpot theory) from the real thing."

This Poe's corollary would go something like this: Christianity has so little basis in reality that when you repeat back to a Christian what they have said, or summarize it briefly, or even question it at all, you are presumed to be sniping. When they hear their own words or rationalizations they put up whatever defense is closest at hand.

Or.... is it a variant on the principle that women are bitchy whenever they're not bending over backward to be nice (heh, pardon the visual imagery - most men would probably prefer us to bend over frontward anyway).

Online posting being what it is, we can all be taken to be male or female, nice or "snippity" depending on the preconceived notions of the reader. You have to spell out your intentions if you don't want them to be misconstrued.

I like posting anonymously because of the expectation that women must always be polite, deferential, and never take the offense in an argument. I don't really want to be "feminine" when debating about religion. I want the same freedom as a man to say that the Bible is nonsense, that believers believe because they want to, etc. In the online environment, I can join in the fray without worrying that I'll be labeled a "bitch" or "uppity" by some man... until they discover I'm female.

Perhaps this is why the female voice has been all but silent in real life debates. We are either obeying our sociological command to be "nice" and conciliatory, or we have been silenced by accusations that have misogynistic undertones.

You can call Dawkins a lot of things, but would he be called "snippity?" Would you call Hitchens "shrill?"

I keep my posts short & to the point (usually) because I want to get to the heart of things. It's too easy for a believer to sidetrack into non-issues and ad hominems. They don't do it intentionally. They have to, because they would risk losing their identity as Christians if they really faced the ridiculousness of their claims head-on. The directness of my questions has evolved over a few months of pointless debate, and it is very much not a feminine style of communication. I'll reserve that for my face-to-face interactions with believers. They already know I'm female.

1 comment:

Ross said...

Some women find Christopher Hitchens charming, apparently.

PS: I'm not sexist.