Monday, June 17, 2013

Politician Opines on His "Man's Mind"

Via Echidne, we learn that the state's House Minority Leader and gender genius, Ken Fredette (R), made the following statement last week:

"As I listen to the debate today and earlier debate on this bill, I can’t help but think of a title of a book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus-
Wait! Imma let him finish, but people still actually, in serious, quote that Men Are From Mars book? No, I know they still do, of course. I know that. I also know that whenever someone quotes that book they're about to say something not super accurate about gender while also presenting their statement as a commonsensical self-evident truth that people just can't handle, and then when the inevitable shitstorm ensues proceeding to issue an "I'm sorry if people were offended" non-apology apology.

So, let's see what could possibly go wrong here:
"-And it’s a book about the fact that men sort of think one way in their own brain, in their own world. And women think another way in their own brain and in their own world. And it really talks about the way that men and women can do a better job at communicating. Because if you listen to the debate today, in my mind — a man’s mind — I hear two fundamental issues. From the other side of the aisle, I hear the conversation being about: free. ‘This is free, we need to take it, and it’s free. And we need to do it now.’ And that’s the fundamental message that my brain receives. Now, my brain, being a man’s brain, sort of thinks differently, because I say, well, it’s not — if it’s free, is it really free? Because I say, in my brain, there’s a cost to this."
Oh, how his statement is so fundamentally illogical. On the one hand, he uses this pop psychology book from 1992 to assert than men and women think differently, from a biological and essential standpoint, as men and women just have our "own brains" and our "own worlds."

Yet, he goes on to take it a step further by asserting that "the other side of the aisle," presumably Democrats and those who come down on a different side than him on this budget issue, thinks in this inferior, irrational, and essentially woman-brained way.

Which is weird, because a perusal of the Women in State Legislatures site informs us that only 29% of Maine's legislators are women and that, in fact, 67 out of 108 Democratic legislators are men. Which means that even as Fredette claims that men and women think differently because men and women have different brains, his essentialist argument only "works" if lots of men in the Maine legislature somehow have these faulty women's brains. Which would be impossible, given his "biology-based" premise.

I'd actually be surprised if he were even aware that his argument doesn't make much sense.

Most gender essentialists I run into on Internet are all, "Men and women are inherently different, man!", even as they sometimes concede, "welllll, I guess some exceptions exist." For some reason, though, the existence of gradation in gender and all of the exceptions to their binary rules often seems to only reinforce their Men are From Mars thinking. Seems to be an essential feature of the bigot brain.

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