something I’ve noticed, usually in feminist spaces

March 9, 2011 ginginbonbon

A writer will say, “so this happened to me once.” And then they start to etch out a theory, probably just about a lightbulb moment in their own personal development, and it becomes a Thing. Heaven forbid, a Feminist Thing. And there is bound to be one or two commenters, usually only one (or none) that is articulate enough to get their point across without getting held up in moderation, who says, PROVE IT. Like, I don’t care how many women self-report having this exact thing done to them, you can’t prove that it’s a gender thing rather than a dynamic between two individuals that has nothing to do with their gender.

That’s the thing with social sciences though. It’s observation based, and like behavioural sciences, you can’t go and “prove” that something tends to happen specifically because of a social force (say, sexism) rather than oh, Totally random, Every time. You can even take it a step farther and say that women just complain about it more, but that it happens to men roughly equally. Iunno! Maybe some women’s nerves are just rubbed raw from EVERYTHING FUCKING ELSE.

So I think that is just pretty insulting, and it goes along with so many of those preconceptions about feminists that they are always making shit about gender that isn’t, and they are looking for stuff to get mad about. But also, and here I wonder if people who pull the stupid “prove it” move know how oppressive they are being, it kind of _is_ a perfect way to shut down a conversation because THERE IS NO WAY to provide the evidence. I’m not sure if they know it, but people actually do make it impossible to move forward when they behave like this. It’s more than like what they say on derailing for dummies, that you have to submit a certain kind of peer-reviewed scientifically documented phenomenon (as if that were even possible) for them to think over and determine whether or not you are actually being discriminated against (remember, they are objective! You are not!) Because there is no such thing. In addition to being a dick to the person who makes the observations in the first place, you are out-of-hand dismissing the entire realm of social theory. You could pop up in absolutely any discussion relating to social sciences and say “prove it! Can’t? I win. BOOYA”

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