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One thing I’ve trained myself to notice more often in the past year is the loudness of a man’s voice when you (a woman) are debating or arguing with him. In most cases, when you disagree with him or he feels challenged, his voice gets louder and louder as he tries to reassert his opinions, sometimes interrupting or trying to talk over you.
And a lot of people, when I mention this, play the devil’s advocate and insist that all people do this naturally when trying to get their point across or prove themselves right. They tell me I’m too sensitive, that I’m just trying to demonize men for my “feminist agenda.”
But if you’re a woman (especially one without a deeper voice), you probably don’t subconsciously do this while arguing, especially with men. I know I don’t. Because when women get loud, especially in passioned, emotional ways, we are not more likely to be listened to. We are called hysterical or shrill, told to calm down, regarded as “bitches,” and our words are disregarded. I know that when I argue with men, I go out of my way to keep my voice even and calm even when my blood is boiling. Even when their voices escalate, even when I’ve been talked over for the fifth time. Because otherwise, I will be discredited for using the same tactics that are being used against me.
That’s without mentioning the fear so many women have of shouting, loud men. An overwhelming amount of violence women face is from men, and when they become loud or belligerent, we don’t know what to expect, and many of us fear the worst. Because to be weary is to be concerned with our survival.
A shouting man may not realize that he is forcing any woman with which he argues into a battle to subdue her own emotions while flaunting the systematic power he holds over her, but he is. And if you don’t think that’s a mechanism of the patriarchy and its silencing of women, you need to open your eyes.
I ship rationality/good debate technique.
Many, many, many of my anons do not, nor do many people who engage many of my friends in discussion. So I thought I’d give a brief refresher in things that do not a good argument make, but instead give the unfortunate impression - which I’m sure no one wants to accidentally convey - that one is a complete jackass pounding one’s putrid excuse for social skills against a keyboard until it spits things back which can be mistaken for validation of existence by a very damaged individual.
I am using the framework of shipping for the examples here because those are some of the most recent ones I’ve received, but it can be applied to any form of debate where one is attempting to convey an opinion or position or defend same. Use it to analyze how you make your own arguments, the arguments you get for others, as an exercise in the scroll function, or a prompt for the unfollow button.
The choice is yours.
The arguments hopefully aren’t.
Inductive Arguments (stereotype fail): Most people on Tumblr are teenagers. You are on Tumblr. You are a teenager.
Factual Errors (just plain wrong): Jensen has never played a non-heteronormative character.
Deductive Fallacy (someone flunked algebra): If Destiel becomes canon there will be unhappy people. Some shows are canceled because people are unhappy. If Destiel becomes canon, the show will be canceled.
Unsupported Arguments (because of reasons): If Destiel became canon, the show’s ratings would tank.
Opinion as Fact (I think therefore it is): Destiel is wrong, it makes me sick!
Inductive Fallacy (seen one, seen ‘em all): I know a Destiel shipper who hates Sam. Destiel shippers hate Sam.
Ad Hominem (attack on the person rather than the position): Of course you’re a Destiel shipper, you’ve got no friends!
Ad Hominem Tu Quoque (hypocrite and so wrong): If you ship Destiel but not Johnlock you’re full of shit!/If you said they were just friends in seasons 4 and 5 you can’t ship them now!
Appeal to Authority (9 out of 10 doctors* agree! *Doctors of history totally count for a study on vitamins): I know someone who wrote for Buffy back in the day and they say there’s no way Destiel will ever be canon!
Appeal to Belief (all these people can’t be wrong!): I’ve got 1,000 Tumblr followers and they all hate Destiel, so it’s obviously not going to happen.
Appeal to Common Practice (If everyone else jumped off a bridge): There’s nothing wrong with sending Anon hate about shipping; everyone does it!
Appeal to Consequences of a Belief (If you believe that, bad things will happen!): Why would you ship Destiel and want to have Vicki and Danneel be forced to watch their husbands suck each other’s cocks against their will!
Appeal to Emotion (I’ve got a good feeling about this one…): Destiel can’t be canon, it was so sweet and felt so right to see Dean with Lisa!
Appeal to Fear (Be afraid, be very afraid…): If you think I’m bad, just wait and see how much more anon hate you’ll get if you keep shipping Destiel…
Appeal to Flattery (giving the point a reach-around): I love your blog! Someone as funny and brilliant and sexy and charming as you obviously understands that Destiel is never really going to happen!
Appeal to Novelty (oooh, shiny!): Destiel was one thing in Season 6, but the hot new ship is Denny.
Appeal to Pity (What is love, baby don’t hurt me…): If I have to watch the Destiel shippers celebrate when I know Wincest will never happen, it’s going to break my heart, and you don’t want to hurt me, right?
Appeal to Ridicule (just point and laugh until you feel better about yourself): You seriously, actually ship DESTIEL?!? WERE YOU DROPPED ON YOUR HEAD?!? OMFG…brb, lemme go get some popcorn and come back when I can stop laughing!!
Appeal to Spite (If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy): You know, shipping Destiel puts you on the side of that blogger you say you hate so much, and if they go canon, she wins.
Appeal to Tradition (oldies are goodies): Increasing Castiel’s role would ruin the show; it’s been just the Winchester brothers since the pilot episode!
Appeal to Identity (no true Scotsman): If you’re a real Supernatural fan, you don’t want the boys to be with anyone but each other.
Begging the Question (it is because it says it is): If Destiel was meant to be canon, it would be canon.
Biased Sample (picking your battles): All the Destiel shippers in the kink meme exchange write porn; that’s all this ship is.
Ad Ignorantiam (Burden of Proof): You can’t prove they’re not going to bring in a new love interest for Dean.
Circumstantial Ad Hominem (You would say that…): Of course you ship Destiel. You’re a “queer activist.”
Compositional Fallacy (We R who we R): Destiel shippers are constantly having feels. Destiel is just about feels.
Correlation is not Causation (if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, sometimes it’s a standup comic): A lot of Destiel shippers are struggling with depression; maybe you should stop shipping something that hurts you.
False Dilemma (how about none of the above?): Either you stop shipping Destiel or you want Sam written off the show.
Genetic Fallacy (what’s a ship like you doing in a place like this?): Destiel will never be canon; the CW has a horrible history with queer characters.
Fallacy of Middle Ground (not good not bad just nice): Why do you have to take it to an extreme like Destiel being a romantic or sexual thing? I’m not saying they should hate each other. Can’t you just be satisfied that they’re very close?
Ad Hominem Abusive (sticks and stones): You’re just a sick, twisted, shallow, perverted fetishist!
Post Hoc Fallacy (cause and effect fail): Misha came back on the set and the whole cast and crew got the flu; why would you want Castiel on the show more often if he just makes everyone sick?
Red Herring Fallacy (pay no attention to the logic behind the curtain): I can’t believe you’re going on about Destiel when they still haven’t resolved things with Benny and there are spoilers suggesting they’re going to kill Kevin!
Relativist Fallacy (memememememememeeee): Destiel wouldn’t matter at all to queer people. I’m queer and I couldn’t care less who Dean is with.
Slippery Slope (and then everyone married their toaster): If they make Destiel canon, next thing you know it won’t be Supernatural any more, it’ll just be Glee with monsters!
Spotlight Fallacy (everyone in Georgia is Honey Boo Boo): Destiel is a sick obsession because none of the big Destiel bloggers ever write about anything else; it’s all you people ever think about.
Strawman Argument (pick on something your own size): You’ll never get anything between Dean and Cas because they’ll never show graphic anal sex on prime time network TV!
Quite a variety! And there are even more if you start looking into educational sites about rhetoric and debate! But for all that it’s nice to have convenient little names and niches to put on them, they all have one simple thing in common: they’re techniques used to avoid directly engaging the substance of an argument - the actual data and reasons being presented as the basis behind an opinion or, in the case of pure opinion, that opinion’s right to exist - and the only way they can win a debate is to just derail it or hurt the person debating until they stop.
And just remember, there’s a term for that too: Cadmean Victory (aka, not actually winning at all).
- person with one belief: I believe that _____, and your ignorant for thinking otherwise.
- person with a different belief: Well, you're actually wrong, and your argument sucks.
- no one ever: I disagree with your view, but we can still be friends.
- Jesus: I still love you, and I still died for you, whether your belief is wrong or right.