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May 25, 2006

Comments

bmmg39

I'm still blinking my eyes over how a meek "I hope I don't get killed for this" is being construed as a misogynist, "keep the women quiet" sort of phrase. Isn't it brutally obvious that saying "I hope I don't get killed for this" is a sign that the SPEAKER is used to not having a say, of being in the minority, of having a tendency of being shouted down?

Do you think your classroom is the only one where someone will say, "I know I'll catch hell for saying this, but..."? It's a common introduction in any atmosphere in which a person perceives that (s)he is in the minority. A classroom full of women talking about the so-called "patriarchy" and holding men accountable for both the problems of women and the problems of men might just alienate a man just a tad, don't you think?

No, I don't find "male-bashing" to be a "cute" accusation, because male-bashing ITSELF isn't cute: it's pure, naked sexism, and that to me isn't the least bit funny at all. If I call someone a male-basher, I'm not merely calling the person annoying and miserable; it's a FAR more serious charge than that.

"Gonz, you're conflating violence against men off campus with violence on it (and in the classroom). I'll grant that women do physically assault men, just as I'll grant that people sometimes bite their dogs. But as with dogs and biting, the reverse is far more common (and know, I'm setting the rule here, this is not a thread to revisit DV statistics)."

Just a tip: if you do not wish a topic to be discussed in a thread, it is unwise to bring it up, or else you appear as one who throws a rock and then hides behind a tree, declaring the war as over.

"(By contrast, imagine the same scenario but for a woman in a roomful of men: if she pretended to don a football helmet and beat a path to the door it would be far less funny, and that's because of the looming spectre of all those women who DO get beaten for having contrary opinions)."

What classrooms have YOU been frequenting?

"But it isn't helpful to try and posit yourself as the potential victim when you're a member of the dominant group."

You aren't in the dominant group when there are six of you and 32 of the other.

"My corner of the world is a heck of a lot more like Planet Hugo. The 'don't upset people,' 'don't rock the boat,' 'don't hurt other people's feelings,' 'be nice' sentiments are directed overwhelmingly at women vis a vis men *and* the group as a whole."

Count me among those who apparently have never visited the aforementioned Planet. I've seen the complete opposite: women encouraged to make their thoughts known (which is fine with me), while men are discouraged from arguing with a woman (for the sake of being "gentlemen").

Dr E

So some anger is worthy and some is to be banned? How can you tell the difference?

constantly telling me over and over again that I'm a mindless misandrist perpetuating a double standard that hurts men and boys is, frankly, getting old.

I said nothing of the sort. I simply said that what you are doing reminds me of bigotry. You seem to treat women and girls by one standard and men and boys with another.

Now what about mr bad? Can he be re-instated if the Duke accuser is proven to be a liar?

unPCdad

" ...constantly telling me over and over again that I'm a mindless misandrist perpetuating a double standard that hurts men and boys is, frankly, getting old."

Crap Dr. E!

I thought that was Hugo's objection to MY post!

So now, we have to duel, right?

Who got most insulted by Hugo?

This is starting to read like SYG!

Just kidding....


Well, maybe.....

evil_fizz

I've seen the complete opposite: women encouraged to make their thoughts known (which is fine with me), while men are discouraged from arguing with a woman (for the sake of being "gentlemen").

A new phenomenon, to be sure. And women with strong opinions are still derided as bitchy and shrill because that's unladylike. Also, Gonz refers to this "letting the girl win" mentality, which doesn't strike me as telling me to be nice as much as it strikes me as telling men to be patronizing. I'm pretty sure we disagree on this point, but I tend to find that a lot of being gentlemanly/chivalrous and the associated rhetoric is about exactly that: patronization and this pretend shaking off of privilege. It's not actual deference, just indulgence.

And man, am I bad at not getting sucked into the thread drift. A question for you Hugo: when you get such prefaced remarks, what tends to follow them? Views that are actually not popular in the class or just legitimately different ideas?

Dr E

en garde unpcdad!

bmmg39 - Very nice post. Thank you for taking the time and effort to explain as you did.

Technocracygirl

I don't know if this is at all similar, but I am very insecure in my knowledge of my chosen field. When I ask a question about why someone is doing something scientific, or if I proffer a suggustion, I tend to preface with with, "I know this is a dumb question/suggestion, but..." It's a tactic designed to make the listener pre-judge the statement so that if I do say something dumb/ignorant/whatever, I'm not discounted as much because I've previously admitted my stupidity. No, it's not a good idea, and yes, it probably doesn't help. But it's a defensive mechanism that I now use whenever I'm in a situation where I feel out of my league academically. And now I add it in without realizing that I'm doing it, which is worse.

So I can see that maybe the guys in your class are uncomfortable. Maybe they don't think that they're actually going to get hurt, just like I don't actually think my comments are dumb. But they need to get a pre-emptive shield up, just in case.

Dr E

Nicely said Technocracygirl. It is a common maneuver that comes from a "one down" position. When we feel unsure and intimidated. Assuming it is to control women is a huge and unsupported leap.

evil_fizz

I think an opinion perceived by the speaker to be unpopular as opposed to uniformed is a bit different.

Technocracygirl

This is kind of long-winded, and it may be off-topic, so it's perfectly okay to delete this.

From Gonzman:

It's my experience, rather, that far too many women know that they can get in the face of a man, thump fingers in their chests, slap, smack, kick and the like that would get their butts kicked if they were men - and often it is done deliberately to put men in the fight or flight mode, and since they are programmed to never, ever, hit a woman back, that they will run, or shut up and take it.

I do live action role-playing, where you pretend to be someone and act it out with a bunch of other people. Think of it as improv theatre, only with long-term stories.

There was a new player who came into our game. He engaged in outrageously crass behaviour. Nothing he did was per se bad, but he knew how to manipulate his behaviour so as to make all the women there feel cowed and scared of him. I left for a while (only partially because of this person) because it took so much mental energy to not fall into my natural beta submission with him, I just didn't want to deal with it.

I came back one night just to hang out with people and read the books I'd gotten that evening. I was sitting on the bench and chatting when this person came up to me and said, as if he actually wanted me to come back, "Hey, Technocracygirl! When are you going to stop being a dumbass and come back to game?"

I actually had to think, "That was not appropriate. You do not have to put up with that rude behaviour." So, something like five or ten seconds after he said that, I swatted him very gently on the backside with my comic book and said, "I don't appreciate that."

Do you have any idea how much effort it took for me to stand up to someone who insulted me in the face? Do you have any idea how many mental blocks I had to wade through in order to engage in the small amount of chatisement that I did? Make no mistake, that was it -- I simply didn't talk to him after that comment that night, and he left the game shortly thereafter. But for me to tell a man that I hated very, very much that I didn't appreciate him insulting me to my face took a lot of mental rearranging.

What is the point of this horrifically long post? I don't know the women Gonzman hangs around with. I know that most of the people I hang around with are beta personalities who don't particularly like alphas, so that may have something to do with it. But most of the women I know would never dream of getting into a man's face, hitting him, slapping him, what have you. To do so takes a lot of mental rearranging, and most haven't had the need for it. Maybe once you've rearranged your thinking so that it's okay to hit the one guy who insults you, it's okay to hit them all. But I don't know. I just know that I know of a whole lot more anecdotal evidence of men as aggressors than as women as aggressors.

unPCdad

So, is this thread about mutual gender insecurities?

It started with Dr. Hugo's honest concerns about dialogue in his women's studies classes.
(He's always honest. Even when he's 100% wrong. That's a really good quality in a feminist.)

The thread morphed into a broader chat about power and self-effacing strategies and the consequences that people experience when they become fodder in the gender wars.

It all began in Hugo's classroom.

Much to be respected.

And feared?

Just my interpretation.

Probably marginal.....

unPCdad

(Dr. E.) -- "en garde unpcdad!"

Oh, I've been there, done that, got the --

BANNED FROM SYG tee-shirt!

Silly man.

I have learned to RUN AWAY when it is appropriate!

Though I do miss the meaningless testosterone combat, and the occasional genius.

Yours, actually.

Antigone

The "I know this is dumb, but" is a tactic used with expectancy violation. People tend to judge a person stronger (for good or ill) who violate their expectations. If you then say something dumb, it doesn't violate their expectations, they judge you less strictly. If you say something brilliant, you'll either get judged better(positive violation) or you'll get judged worse (negative violation). Positive violation may be along the thought process of "Oh, look: s/he thought it was dumb, but it was actually GENIUS. Imagine what s/he will produce when it's intelligent". Negative violation may go along the lines of "Oh, s/he's being patronizing: s/he insults my intelligence by thinking this is stupid when s/he really knows it's brilliant, along with the implication that it should have been obvious".

I see the same problem happening with the anger thing. They are trying to reduce expectation violation. But, what the problem is that they are assuming the mindset is to be angry. Expectation violation is only an effective communication tool if you can resonably acertain what a reaction is going to be, and I don't think it's fair to reasonably acertain that these women would attack anyone. But, I do think it's fair to suggest that they think this will be helpful in controlling the outcome: this makes sure that they will be defensive.

The Gonzman

Views that are actually not popular in the class or just legitimately different ideas?

Are unpopular views somehow illegitimate then?

There's the rub. If someone states in a class that Holy Roman Emperor Joe's Conflicts with Pope Fred were more a result of personal dislike than political vying for power, I don't take it personal. But if I were to stand up in a feminist studies class and argue that I find, for instance, the whole "gender as a construct" premise to be faulty, and by extensions the conclusions a waste of time as they beg the question, I'd likely as not be considered "hostile" no matter how civil I was.

Hence, if I had to take another type of class like that (And as part of my studies when I was teaching, I did, in the name of "Diversity Training") I'd do what I did there - shut up, not my head, regurgitate the expected responses, collect my "A" and move on.

Another Jeff

Do you think your classroom is the only one where someone will say, "I know I'll catch hell for saying this, but..."? It's a common introduction in any atmosphere in which a person perceives that (s)he is in the minority.

bmmg: I've never heard this from any unprivileged minority - i.e., anyone who legitimately *could* catch hell for saying what they said. I've only heard it from privileged people who happen to be a numerical minority in the group they're addressing.

When I ask a question about why someone is doing something scientific, or if I proffer a suggustion, I tend to preface with with, "I know this is a dumb question/suggestion, but..." It's a tactic designed to make the listener pre-judge the statement so that if I do say something dumb/ignorant/whatever, I'm not discounted as much because I've previously admitted my stupidity.

Technocracygirl: I don't think it's quite the same thing, though it is similar. I see the self-effacing statement as a verbal hedge that works in the manner you described. The "I know I'll catch hell for this" statement, on the other hand, is a preemptive strike against criticism. There's a reason why that and not "This may sound dumb, but..." is used -

t is a common maneuver that comes from a "one down" position. When we feel unsure and intimidated. Assuming it is to control women is a huge and unsupported leap.

Dr E: I'm not sure I buy it. At best, it's not consciously used to that effect - it's just an easy habit to fall into since it works so well - but it *does* serve as a way to control women, and it's used very often (and I've seen it a lot more often in discussions of feminism than in similar political discussions that aren't as divided by gender). But I think that if these men *did* feel unsure and intimidated (and didn't respond to that feeling by trying to dominate the discussion by any means) - they wouldn't simply tack a preamble onto their statements. I know that when I feel unsure and intimidated in a discussion, I simply don't say anything.

evil_fizz

Curses, Gonz, I was rewriting that sentence several times and it clearly missed the final edit. My question is really are they saying stuff that is unquestionably unpopular or stuff that that's just a bit different from the current discussion.

Glitch

Technocracygirl: Fascinating post! I've never LARPed myself, I'm more of a PnP role-player.

I can relate to your opinion of identifying as a "beta" personality. I am avoidant, and with that comes a great reluctance to engage in forceful interaction with other people, even if it's friendly in nature. I tend to let my friends, be they male or female, take the lead in interaction. I guess I'm just a follower at heart, not a leader. I wonder if Hugo's male students, at least a few, aren't the same way. I spent a lot of time in my undergraduate years second guessing myself when it came to classroom interaction. I had a tendancy to want to be a contrarian. Partially because I identified myself as a conservative in my collegiate years (which was definetly against the grain of both the faculty and student body) though I've since renounced that affiliation. Also, partially because I came from a much different socio-economic and family background than most of my classmates. I constantly felt the need to say, "No, that's not necessarily the case...," yet I also felt and urge to just be quiet and fade into the background.

Anyway, I was very reluctant to speak, even though I often felt a strong urge to dissent from what seemed to me to be the almost lockstep opinion of the rest of class. I admit to qualifying many of my more extreme pronouncements with variations of, "I know this won't make me too popular around here, but...". I just didn't feel comfortable doing that felt like the equivalent of walking into uncharted territory. I was completely against my nature, even though I really wanted to contribute. It's hard for many undergraduates, I think, to say things that might makes them unpopular with their peers. Everyone wants to be liked and many people are probably willing to either qualify their statements or simply go unheard rather than rock the boat.

I think it's entirely possible that the male students in Hugo's class are perhaps not the go-getter, alpha-male leadership types that men are often assumed to either be or aspire to be. It could very well be that they would rather just do I found myself doing in classes with less inspiring professors, which was just shut up, parrot what the professor wanted to hear and get a decent grade. I think it's to your credit, Hugo, that your male students are willing to speak at all. It can be very intimidating to be in the minority and yet put a dissenting opinion out there, even though it might make one unpopular or even disrespected.

As a word of advice, Hugo, I would like to tell you about one of my favorite undergrad professors. I took an interdisciplinary course my freshman year at Hamilton that dealt with the history, physics, ethics and literature associated with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I was also an ROTC cadet (the only one in my entire class year of about 400 students, though the class itself was less than 20) and also probably the only student who self-identifed as a supply-side conservative and lower-middle class. My professor, who taught comparative literature, really pushed me hard to speak my mind, even though we both knew that I was often the lone dissenter from the majority view. I related my reluctance to speak with him, as well as my feelings of being totally alone in class and he told me just how much he admired my courage to speak my mind, even when I was clearly the minority. Maybe, should you decide to crack down on the weasel-speak, you should try to speak to the male students one-on-one and let them know that you appreciate their input. It made a real difference to me.

What really moved me was when I happened to miss class one day. There was only one barber in town who could do a military-regulation high-and-tight haircut. There was a line that day and I didn't make it back to campus until after class (I had my ROTC military science class later that evening, which was a 45 minute drive away in at Syracuse U., so I had no choice but to miss class for a mugh-needed haircut). Apparently, nothing happened in class. Nothing. The professor would plead with the other students to at least pretend to disagree, just for the sake of argument and no one would do it. The class was graded entirelty on papers and class participation, so it behooved everyone to at least try to argue about something. Yet no one did. He at one point lamented out loud, "Where the hell is Greg! This is so dull without him!"

I was really moved to hear that later. I didn't feel like my contributions were valued until I knew that I was perhaps the one person who was willing to be a contrarian, if only to make things interesting!

moderate_man

The painful thing about all this, of course, is that no man is in any real physical danger in the classroom -- or even outside of it -- from feminists.

Of course, Hugo. They're not cowering from any potential physical violence, they're cowering from the angry verbal avalanche they will invoke. From women in their regular class. Who wants to get on the wrong side of people you mix with regularly? He can be ostracised - may even need to leave the course.

Now, you mention something interesting on your update that is entirely to do with why men don't speak up:-

This is not a free speech zone, nor need it be.

This is precisely why men cannot speak up in your class. Feminism in itself prevents the free speech that your male students require in order to express themselves.

Hugo, how many messageboards on the internet do you know that are run by feminists? I know a handful. How many messageboards run by MRAs? Hundreds, thousands.

My point?

Feminism struggles in an open debate.

It regularly turns into a verbal fight whenever somebody counters a feminist statement. Tempers escalate. Debate is closed down. People are called all sorts of names. It's ridiculous. If feminism has nothing to fear (i.e. have truth on its side), it should embrace and welcome open debate. Truth gets to ridicule falsehoods and kick them to the curb. What's to fear? Feminism should be able to prevail in an open debate if truth is on its side.

The Gonzman

I do live action role-playing, where you pretend to be someone and act it out with a bunch of other people. Think of it as improv theatre, only with long-term stories.

Yeah, I know LARP. Society for Creative Anachronism. Hi dere! BAck in the day when I was still performing at Ren Faires, I was playing the early version of Amtgard in the off season. What you doing now? World of Darkness appears the be the 800# gorilla in the LARP world last I checked, but I haven't done any of that in years and years. (Yeah, Gonzo's a D&D geek. And if you play to this day ... you may even have some of my work....)

Anyway, at the risk of being flip, I will be succint: Not that I don't feel for you, or don't congratulate you for overcoming your block, it's a very ancedotal story.

I know some mousey, milquetoast men. I know men who talk a hell of a tough guy stance, and are easily pushed around. And I know some very assertive women, split about half with real bitches who just shout louder than others to get their way, and some with genuine strength.

I don't find beta and alpha connected to X and Y chromosomes. And we could trade stories al day long - and that's the thing with such stories, I see that type of woman, the submissive one who gets all intimidated by men - and I also see the male version of it. I worked for a woman in a history department as a TA back when who was as soft spoken and indirect as they come. She phrased everything as a suggestion. God help you if you took it that way, though. The examples are countless.

Now I have never taken any of Hugo's classes. I claim no clairvoyance. But I will say this: If Hugo runs a class where a man can dissent from the prevailing wisdom, and Hugo will move to halt any attacks on him, these guys with the helmets are assbags, and I would have been far less nice than him - I'd have felt personally insulted.

If the issue never came up - probably diffusing behavior, but I'd still invoke Occam's razor - the simplest explanation of it isn't conspiracy, but that it was their prior experience.

BUT - if there ever was uncivil behavior, and that behavior was excused or rationalized away, on gender lines - they were perfectly justified in breaking out the helmets - and there are no grounds for complaint about it.

The Gonzman

Of course, Hugo. They're not cowering from any potential physical violence, they're cowering from the angry verbal avalanche they will invoke.

A good point. I witnessed what happened to one such guy who spoke up in a ideologically slanted class, and disagreed, and was brought up before the student senate on "intimidating speech" charges. I saw him have to drop/fail (That's you drop the class, get an F, but can expnge it if you retake the class in the next year) and fall below the 12 credit hours required to keep his financioal aid, and ahost of other things.

It's as effective a way to intimidate someone as a fat lip.

(And the "Itimidating speech" was a intemperate comment about another student's mouth writing checks their brain couldn't cash, which followed over a month of political and religious slurs against him, with the instructor piously claiming to "not be a referee.")

Glitch

Gonzman: Your last point strikes home. Many colleges have "judiciary boards" which are little more than the academic equivalent of star chambers and it does quite a bit to stifle discussion. It's one thing to be afraid to speak your mind for fear of being seen as a jerk, it's quite another to put your GPA or financial aid on the line for what you believe in. Many colleges and universities have adopted "speech codes" in which giving offense is considered to be a form of harassment. Just look around at the institutions that have "free-speech zones", in lieu of the rest of the U.S., where being able to speak your mind is taken for granted. Even though you cannot be prosecuted for a criminal charge, you could be stuck with a disciplinary record, have your financial aid revoked or even expelled.

I've experienced first-hand the effects of becoming a red-headed step-child to a professor who has both tenure and an agenda. It's not pleasant. It hurt my GPA, was tremendously intimidating and really put me off further class participation. It just wasn't worth the risk, after awhile.

The Gonzman

Curses, Gonz, I was rewriting that sentence several times and it clearly missed the final edit. My question is really are they saying stuff that is unquestionably unpopular or stuff that that's just a bit different from the current discussion.

I had hoped so, it seemed uncharacteristic of you.

Still - what if I were in a class, and challenged what I felt were a priori assumptions?

Arwen

Well, I might get killed here, but....

I sort of agree with Gonz, although perhaps for different reasons.

I understand your argument. It is similar in some ways to the argument that Daly made for female only classes. I also understand the entrenched cultural caretaking ideal.

On the other hand, I really think it cuts the intellectual legs out from under women to ... well, to worry about their ability to handle this kind of verbal frippery, however loaded it may sound. Frankly, if a guy in a class said something like "I know I'm going to be killed here, but I think women are generally braindead morons", the appropriate response is to prove otherwise. Or, dismiss the argument: no one asks a physics professor to prove basic number theory before accepting mechanics equations. If universities and colleges are where we sharpen our ability to do critical analysis, then my response to this sort of dynamic is to instruct around it if it's a real issue, but let it play out.

In the real world, we're going to run into that sort of statement. If we women are all shrinking wallflowers unable to handle the urge to caretake under such a challenge, then we're probably not being intellectually rigorous enough; I would hope that a women's studies class would provide a space for intellectually meeting these demons.

I've never really felt that therapy to deal with internalized misogyny or even straight up fear is really appropriate for the classroom. I'd be all for the statement of access to resources - women spaces on campus, theraputic services, and office hours - but in the *classroom*, my feeling is that intellect must prevail. I believe in the intellectual abilities of women and men equally (so very Platonic), but a rigorous education and the ability to *think* about an emotionally charged issue is incredibly important to that. If the girls are unable to think around their intimidation, what are they learning?

I believe women more capable then that: I believe women have the capable of being confrontational if necessary. But I *also* believe there's not an inherent wrong in trying to come to middle ground or understanding (in short, caretaking).

You're a very caretaking guy; I also often respond to challenge through finding the middle ground; there's nothing wrong with that communicative style.

I took a Native Studies intensive course in my first year. Occasionally, white classmates had very serious questions which, to someone studying First Nations/First Contact seemed, well, frustrating. ("Why should we have to pay for the sins of our forefathers? Etc.)

The thing is, most everybody in the room could tell if the person was coming from genuine conflict or knee-jerk entitlement. You know? And the discussions almost always dealt with the first in a patient way and the second in a rhetorical beat-down. So it goes.

Anyway, it may make an interesting lecture point (if it fits) to ask if there's a caretaking reaction or an intimidation in the women, and let various people examine their responses.

I suppose it doesn't do much to me; I'd find it perfectly reasonable in someone obviously trying to build a bridge or discuss a different worldview, and an annoying rhetorical smokescreen in someone trying to pick a fight.

Beppie

I enjoyed reading your post Hugo, and as I was reading it, it made a lot of sense to me, but reading the comments, I came to realise that the whole prefixing thing is something that I find myself doing an awful lot when trying to make a feminist point among people who don't accept my feminism (and this is on pretty basic points, such as points about "no" meaing "no"-- nothing radical). I wouldn't say something like "I know I'm going to get killed here," but I will say something that effectively apologises for my feminism, which is I think very similar to what these men in your class are doing in terms of their own biases.

I think perhaps the most effective course of action might be to simply ask your class, particularly the men in your class, WHY they react in this way, and analyse what it is about feminism that makes them feel threatened. As you've noticed, feminism can feel threatening to many men (and indeed to many women) simply because it requires them to reconsider their worldview. Perhaps the way to approach this is to get them to analyse the way in which they react to that "threat."

I'm curious-- you have in the past, I think, referred to female students of yours who do not come from a feminist perspective-- do these women pre-fix any of their comments in a similar way?

Dr E

Yet no one did. He at one point lamented out loud, "Where the hell is Greg! This is so dull without him!"

Yes. That sounds like a university environment. Wanting and seeking counterpoint to expand the discussion. Contrast that with Hugo interpreting mousey and obsequious behavior of the young men as injurious to women. God forbid these young men get loud and expressive! Feminism, as Gonz has pointed out, has a tough time existing in an open debate. It seems to need to hide and gather its strength among adherants.

I am certain that Hugo would not treat the young women in a similar manner if the situation were reversed. He would find a way to protect them and give them special treatment. Hugo doesn't seem to treat males and females equally, he seems to try and protect the women from these evil males. This is just another form of chivalry. What Marc Rudov calls BS (benevolent sexism).

Emily H.

I for one don't interpret it as "mousey and obsequious" at all. "I know I'm going to get killed for saying this, but (statement)" means that, in addition to addressing the original statement, I'm expected to reassure the speaker and respond to him in a way that couldn't possibly, in any realm of discourse ever, be construed as an attack, both to not hurt the feelings of *this particular* individual, and in order to prove that my "group" (feminists, or Christians, or whatever) is not all mean and attacky. So, in effect, such a statement nudges me to the realm of obsequious and mousy, which is a terrain from which it's harder to defend ideas. Not because my ideas are weaker--but because I'm working double-time trying to think of the most inoffensive way to phrase them.

It also frames the opposing opinion as the cool, maverick, rebellious, "un-PC" idea that you have to be very brave to say, and when you try to explain why you disagree, you're "stamping out the discourse."

But on the other hand, it IS a way to defuse tension with humor, and to acknowledge the groupthink that can, indeed, develop in classes with ideological foundations.

I don't have a class to teach, or anything like that, but I've let myself be intimidated (without my even realizing it) by that kind of "poor me I disagree with you" act (which I don't believe any of the people involved were consciously using as a debating tactic) and--I think the best I can do is to recognize what's going on and not let myself be intimidated by it.

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