In Defense of Being Obnoxious

Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law.

Scenario: A female supervisor gives a short presentation during a meeting covering certain topics. Then a male supervisor speaks and needlessly reiterates what was already said as if she hadn’t said anything at all. Then later, the female supervisor mentions something really important and none of the men in the room pay any attention to her.

This is a situation I was told about by someone I know. It was something that happened at their job. I’ve omitted the names and other irrelevant context to focus on the core issue at hand.

People often act like I’m being unreasonable when I’m obnoxious about things but this exact kind of behavior is exactly why I do it. Men are known to often be utterly oblivious to the words, actions, and ideas of women and it is a social mold that persists into the present age despite all our great steps forward. There’s still a ways to go.

Reports of this issue most often is reported to be the case in a corporate environment and of course the ever-present and oft-discussed phenomenon of “mansplaining” is part of that.

I do think it’s worth noting that I do think we shouldn’t just be throwing “mansplaining” around as willy nilly as we sometimes do. When we do it looks bad on all of us and cheapens the term when trivialized. I think a lot of them are well meaning and just don’t realize what they’re doing. After all, in schools we’re taught to reiterate the question before answering it in order to ensure you understood the question correctly. Of course often that’s not even applicable but sometimes it could well be an example of that handled poorly. In any case, beyond that there’s also the autistic tendency to info-dump about the things they’re excited about and this shouldn’t be seen as a character flaw as such. I’m sure there are other valid scenarios too but these are the only two that come to mind. Still, even if justified, it’s a good idea for people to make a conscious effort to reduce such things as much as humanly possible.

In any case, many people for one reason or another won’t pay attention to you until you effectively force them to. It’s something I’ve had develop in my subconscious for my entire life.

Now, I recognize the above given example focuses on misogyny, and that’s absolutely a problem, but so much has been said on the topic elsewhere that I hardly feel like I have anything meaningful to contribute that hasn’t already been said ad nauseam so now I’m going to focus more on the other form of discrimination I’ve noticed that’s far less talked about.

My be-obnoxious-to-be-noticed strategy started as a child due to so often not getting listened to when I had what I considered to be valuable input to contribute. I think it’s probably not an uncommon experience for adults to ignore taking anything seriously that comes out of the mouth of a minor regardless of its merit, but I think that attitude is rather short-sided. Granted, I’ve been guilty of that in the past but I’m trying to change because I recognize when I was a teen I still had good ideas too, yet they often never got listened to purely due to age. It was absurd honestly. I mean, in any given group of random adults I’m usually one of if not the smartest people in the room, and that didn’t just start when I turned 18. If you took a room of 10 random adults and compared their IQs to a “gifted” teen it’s pretty likely that for several of them their IQ would be found to be lower than the minor.*

Even as a teen, I could come up with stuff other people simply can’t and I can formulate it into meaningful feedback with ease. I did so regardless of my gender or age. Pretentiousness has no boundaries.

I hate ageism in both its forms. Ignoring someone’s input simply for age related reasons is ridiculous. I have more than a few elderly friends and you’d better bet I’d stand up for them if called for by the situation and I do so without hesitation. Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you should just be dismissed without a second thought. Granted, I recognize senility is a factor to consider in many cases, but I think people overvalue that excuse and ignore things that otherwise have merit not out of a genuine concern for their failing cognitive abilities but rather out of convenience. It’s the content that matters, not the one presenting it. I mean, that’s essentially the genetic fallacy in action. When I get that old, I hope people will still listen to me when I have valuable input to contribute regardless of my age. I will assuredly try to do the same while I’m still relatively young. Obviously I’m not saying the crazy Christian fundamentalist in the street corner is worth listening to but there’s certainly people that age that are and we should respect and protect that. Some of our best beloved people are elderly and have good things to say and we should do a better job of not just respecting that but accepting it full stop.

Love is the law, love under will.


*Yes, I recognize IQ is considered by some to be problematic, but that isn’t relevant to the point I’m trying to make.