Nothing to see here…except deeply ingrained sexism

23 May

I came across this a few days ago, and I was thinking about what about the editor’s apology bothered me so:

“I want to sincerely apologize for the distress the report caused the authors, and to make clear that we completely oppose the sentiments it expressed,” Pattinson wrote. “The report contained objectionable language, and the authors were understandably upset.”

And then it hit me.

Here it is again, with emphasis added:

“I want to sincerely apologize for the distress the report caused the authors, and to make clear that we completely oppose the sentiments it expressed,” Pattinson wrote. “The report contained objectionable language, and the authors were understandably upset.”

Would this man have apologized to another man by saying, “I want to sincerely apologize for the distress the report caused you, and to make clear that we completely oppose the sentiments it expressed.”  Would he have told another man, “The report contained objectionable language, and you were understandably upset“?

I submit that no, he would not have addressed feelings when apologizing to a male peer for asshattery–because the only time a man refers to another man’s feelings is to mock the second man, to make him seem weak.

A man will use “oh, well, I’m sorry your feeeeeelings got hurt” when trying to make the other man’s complaints seem irrelevant, childish, baseless.

And so, considering the breathtaking misogyny of the original incident, the apology felt to me like a second, backhanded, dismissive statement. “There, there, you poor sensitive things.”

A true apology, in my opinion, would have said, “I want to apologize for the offensive behaviour of the editor who sent that report to Drs Ingleby and Head.”

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3 Responses to “Nothing to see here…except deeply ingrained sexism”

  1. Lori 24/05/2015 at 2:11 AM #

    I didn’t see it that way, especially reading that they dismissed the man who wrote the remarks originally. Although I think your apology is better, I don’t really see this apology as misogynist.

    What bothered me is that they didn’t do anything until the Twitter backlash. Now that to me was the problem.

    • azteclady 12/06/2015 at 11:59 AM #

      The fact that the editor didn’t even see the problem until there was backlash in social media is the most obvious problem, I agree.

      The fact that we so often accept men referring to women as emotional–otherwise, why talk about their feelings at all?–as something so normal and acceptable, that we don’t realize that women should not be treated or referred to, or apologize to, differently than men in the same situation, is the more insidious issue.

      We cannot change what we don’t see.

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