EDITORIAL: GENDERS think differently

Recently the section of BOOKz COOKz NOOKz, Elections Pickering experienced a kefuffle of criticism and commentary. What was very noticeable was the difference in tone and important points between the female and male commentors.

The issue was about a temporary biographical data holder to be used to describe each political candidate in the campaign. The temporary post was not published for public viewing at the time, but rather it was available to the candidates only. The reactions from the females commentors and the one lone male were significant and very interesting.

The female based comments
The females saw the ‘phantom post’ as an assault on women, a denigration of the work that women do in the home. It was criticized as offensive, insulting and sexist. These women commenters added that they were withdrawing support from the site and would never visit BOOKz COOKz NOOKz again. Quite a leap from critiquing, criticising and commenting.

The lone male commenter
The lone male who responded to the growing kerfuffle took a different approach. He acknowledged the view that the phantom post could be seen as offensive but added the crucial point: the particular section of the site is supposed to be a “safe” place for candidates to visit, express their views and read other ones. The section was not intended to be a target area or an attack zone.

Editorial comment
Firstly, the publisher acknowledges the posts were offensive but it was unintentional, again emphasizing that they were temporary, designed as place holders. Instead of using “Ipsum Ipsum,”  more common text was used to facilitate message clarity.

Secondly, the posts were private, sent to the candidates privately with the explanation that this was an approximation of the final publishing.

It seems the explanation and the temporary nature of the posts fell on female deaf ears. The male read beyond the prima facia text understating the posts in the practical way they were intended. The females reacted emotionally seemingly without consideration of website development or design comprehension. The female reaction seems to have been, “Your comments are wrong FULL STOP. No excuse or justification can be acceptable.”

Puzzled and stumped
The publisher is stumped as to how what seemed innocent and practical on the surface could come to such extreme interpretations. The rationale behind all this may be much deeper than first glance. Women have been abused for so long, a more vitriolic reaction is foremost in them. Is that a possibility? Women are deep thinkers and see more into the written word than just mere words. Is that a possibility? Women are more sensitive than men after a history of abuse and insult and so rise up in defence quickly. Is that a possibility? Men have been sitting in the ‘old boys’ club chairs for so long, they are blind and insensitive to the sexism and insult that was being discussed. Is that a possibility? Men have dominated society in positions of power for so long that they are less sensitive to text that is offensive and sexist. Is that a possibility?

It is a loss that these women commentators have withdrawn their support from the site and the Elections Pickering section. They are were valuable site visitors as seen by their bringing this issue to our attention. Their withdrawal of support is a great loss to the potential richness and developmental improvement of Elections Pickering. We are saddened by their loss.

However, the point of their comments is not lost. It is well taken and the sexist commentary has been removed completely, leaving the placeholder empty with the hope that candidates will still understand where their bio information is needed.

Thank you ladies for your valuable oversight.

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