PAUL F. TOMPKINS IS ONLINE

This was quite a journey! I spent the better part of a day going back and forth with a guy that I was not entirely sure was for real at first, then I absolutely got fooled, and then I realized I got fooled. It was fun. The guy said some LEGITIMATELY funny stuff when he was “in character.” And it all ended in a way that I felt good about.

It’s pretty much all laid out in the screencaps, But let me elaborate here:

HEY YOUNG MEN! I know it seems like women complain a lot about how they are represented in media, including fiction, and how it seems like they want entertainment tailored specifically to them, and how they seem to want ALL of pop culture to be politically correct or feminist-ized or whatever it is you think they want, but really, what’s happening is that women are tired of seeing garbage women characters in most of our entertainment. And they’re wondering, Would it really be so much trouble to make more realized female characters? You could still have all your CGI and action and science fiction and drama and swords and stuff, but the female characters could be a little more fleshed out and interesting. And the entertainment would still be good and would, in fact, be better.

Guys, instead of  thinking, “Hey, not everything has to be politicized,” try thinking, “I wonder what it would be like for me if the situation were reversed, and how I’d feel if in the vast majority of the entertainment I consumed, the male characters were few and far between and then mostly used as talking props & plot devices. I wonder if I’d get kinda tired of that and occasionally I’d say something, even a little joke, just to ease the annoyance a little.”

Fellows. Listen to the women in your lives. Ask them questions. It will change your perspective for the better. Years ago, I got into a brief argument with two female friends of mine about a movie— it does not even matter which movie— that they viewed as sexist and I did not. I couldn;t even fathom how they could see it that way. I tried to argue that it was not sexist. In recounting our discussion to another party, it was pointed out to me that they might have a different viewpoint based on their life experiences, and that it was not for me to tell them that their interpretation was incorrect. And that I was probably getting defensive about it because if the movie was sexist, it followed that my liking it would make me appear sexist. And that’s when I realized that none of this was about me, and maybe I should shut up and listen and try to understand. And also to be more aware of things like this and develop not just my sympathy, but my empathy.

I will only ever be able to empathize so much with women, because my experience as a white male in America is vastly different from that of anyone who is not that. But I can relate to:

  • not being taken seriously
  • not being listened to
  • being dismissed
  • being condescended to
  • having something explained to me that I already understand

And I having had those experiences, I am now more inclined to TRY to understand where someone is coming from if they are telling me they are having a similar experience with our culture.

So guys: just try. You don’t even really have to dig that deep. Think about your own experiences as a person, then apply that to someone else. It gets easier the more you do it, and it makes your life better.

Anyway, I hear Dawn of The Planet of The Apes is pretty good! 

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    Love.
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