On winning the argument

A good friend of mine (otherwise seemingly rational. I don’t know what the fuck this was about) has it in his head that girls should have long hair, be willing to wear skirts or dresses or whatever-the-fuck sometimes, and generally submit to the dainty little expectations people have. He says “sometimes we just have to please other people.” I personally love my pixie cut and boyishness, but I’m not very eloquent. What’s a great way to tell him to go fuck himself while at the same time explaining that it’s important to have some self-respect when it comes to style (and that people who don’t conform to his standards aren’t all rebellious teens, but rather people with individual personalities they’re trying to project, just like the rest of the world)? Normally I’d quiet this kind of bullshit by ignoring the utter stupidity it presents, but he has potential for understanding. I just don’t know how to get it into his head.

First, get the chip off your shoulder. You may very well love your pixie cut and boyishness, but you’re coming off as a tad militant.

A go-fuck-yourself attitude is fine if you don’t care what the other person thinks, but here you do, so unfold your arms and get rid of the combative tone. Stop taking it personally.

You’ll never win your argument with this guy from a defensive position. In fact, argument is worthless. This is a sales job. You’ve got to sell him on a better way of looking at the world.

In a discussion about traditional gender roles, make your position about freedom and his position about oppression. It’s not about teenage rebellion or personal expression. It’s about a social contract that allows people the freedom to groom themselves in whatever manner they please.

In his mind, submitting to expectations is no big deal because he’s just talking about long hair and skirts, but what about Chinese foot binding or Islamic Burqas? It’s all just a matter of degree.

His notion that “sometimes we just have to please other people” is a misrepresentation of the social contract. Sure, we all have to put up with a certain level of bullshit to get along in the world, but enlightened cultures spread the bullshit around evenly regardless of race, color, creed, and gender.

If a certain type of attire becomes culturally mandatory for one class of citizens and not another, that’s an erosion of freedom. You’re selling equality here, and equality should never be confused with conformity.


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