Saturday, February 8, 2014

On Mediocre White Male Syndrome.

By Ana CL

As a creative person, I am naturally friends with a lot of other creative folk-- all of whom comprise a diverse range of perspectives that constantly energize and elevate me.
 Because writing like all other arts, is hard work-- (which I do for free) and because community is everything when you're a struggling blogger, I rely on these perspectives for solidarity and guidance.

The one group of people who I get the least acknowledgement and support from however, are creative white guys-- who routinely dismiss, and overlook my contributions, while expecting me to fall all over their artistic/activist endeavors (to the point where they literally interrupt, and talk over me, whenever I bring up my projects.)

In their defense, this behavior is a symptom of a much larger societal ill I like to call:  "mediocre white male syndrome--" a condition wherein the affected white man sports an inflated sense of talent and worth, at the expense of women and people of color.

And this behavior isn't even limited to a mere disregard for women's perspectives--it's also made plain in the aggressive and active belittling of our work. (through a process called "mansplaining")

It isn't enough that in a would-be-dialogue about writing, a creative white guy will dominate our discussion with superfluous self-aggrandizing details about his personal "search for truth" (gag)   Nay, he will also go out of his way to  "show me my place" most notably by referring to my blog as a "fun project." (unlike his pieces, which he simply refers to as his "work")

Then, in an attempt to appear gentlemanly, he'll give me "advice" I didn't ask for-- which coincidentally also functions as thinly disguised disdain for my efforts:
For starters he'll imply my writing doesn't serve a purpose, by mentioning how pop culture's influence is overhyped. Get it? Everyone knows its bullshit, so why bother trying to analyze it?
(except I don't think it's bullshit, which is why I'm the one writing this blog, and not you.)

Then he'll suggest doing some more "original work" (like he does, since he's never been influenced by anybody, ever,)-- a hint he'll  follow up with a patronizing observation about the feeble repetitiveness of online feminism. (Funny, I was going to say I find his insights repetitive and feeble.) Then when my annoyance becomes obvious, he'll tell me to lighten up. Because clearly, I'm the problem in this conversation.

I don't have one particular person in mind, as I write this. And i didn't jump into this post fresh off of an infuriating conversation. What I am describing here is in fact a pervasive attitude  held by many of my white male peers. Not all of them reach the heights of entitlement i've just described, but nearly all of them have (consciously or not) positioned themselves as a figure of creative authority over me.
And I'm sick of it.
Guys:  You don't know better than me. Your ideas aren't better than mine. Your work isn't more original than mine. And you don't know more about feminism than I do.  So.
Stop. talking. down. to. me.

Society has conditioned women to want to appear nice, and you've taken advantage of that, every time I felt compelled to indulge another self-absorbed tangent  about your craft with appreciative receptivity. I don't ever regret being thoughtful, and supportive-- and i'm certainly not going to adopt your method of rudeness instead. (I have my own standards, thank you.) But while I will continue to be fair, I will stop insisting on being nice. 

You think this won't affect you dudes, but it will. Because you rely  a lot on the support and admiration of women. (much more than you think.)



  1. My name is Trez and I've been diagnosed with stage four "mediocre white male syndrome". They say that the only way this can be cured is a heavy regimen of Celine Dion and Reese's Pieces.

    I don't really know what the hell I'm talking about.

    I'm sorry that dudes neglect to take you seriously. Their loss.

  2. "Blame issues" only hold you down....