When you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

That’s it! We’re breaking up!


My friend is an arachnophobe and she called to my attention the strange and unfortunate fact that every single damn article discussing arachnophobia tends to come with a stock picture of a tarantula or somesuch.


So true, and something I hadn’t considered. It’s irrational and inhibiting (well, that’s the definition of phobia, ain’t it?), but it’s the eyes, the legs, the hair – I can’t take it. To elucidate: At our old house we had an old, dilapidated outbuilding. A friend said it looked we were brewing crack back there. My response: “Oh, hell, no. I wouldn’t do that. There are spiders in there.”


Personally I’m not even ‘anti-spider’ per se; I’m anti- any bug that’s as big as a human fist, no matter which branch of the insect family it may come from.


Cecil Adams had a recent article covering this phenomenon and it may be evolutionary.

(ETA: No scary spider pictures at that link)


Before this conversation encourages anyone else to post pics of spiders, and I’m looking at you @ficuswhisperer:

I have another relevant story to the thread to share. I gave a guest lecture tonight on gender and negotiation in librarianship, which is particularly important in my field because we hover at ~85% female. I gave my usual caveat at the beginning. While we often we talk about gender in terms of male and female, it’s the societal constructs commonly assigned to both that I’m discussing, not the fact that you have a penis and I have a vagina (I didn’t use those words, but I figure you guys can handle it). In particular, research shows that women are perceived as more cooperative and collaborative, and given negotiation research in the past 30 years, one would think that works in our favor. But it doesn’t [maybe a conversation for another thread]. To my point, here, however, one fella predictably said, “But I’m collaborative! And I’m male!” I’ve given iterations of this presentation numerous times at conferences, to classes, to co-workers. It always happens. He failed to see that he was the recipient of privilege because when we discuss privilege it’s intimidating and causes cognitive dissonance. Privilege is not an attack on you personally. It’s about recognizing more beyond our own experiences.


I braved my fear and clicked and there were no pictures of a very, hairy, scary tarantula. My fear also includes that I’ve modeled for my children. Just one more way I get to fuck them up! So, yeah!


I see a problem here…


I actually meant to write as much before posting, but yeah, no big tarantula pics or anything at the linked article. I added an edit to that post.

Sorry for squicking you out before.


it’s okay. I’ve been squicked out by much worse. Like Donald Trump.


I’ve been refraining. There’s an image on at least 2 old BBS threads that came to mind, when you mentioned your dislike for spiders. (I’m trying to be a good person; really I am.)


True insofar as it goes, but testosterone and estrogen are both a hell of a drug. And starting around year 12 of your life you spend the rest of your existence just soaking it in, marinating in that crap.

Yeah, there is certainly variance around the mean, but it is a wee bit tougher to be collaborative when you’re juiced full of aggression drugs, 24/7. That’s all I’m saying.

I find aspects of these discussions frustrating, because I feel they go out of their way to avoid something that there is a hell of a lot of documented science on: namely, that gender is easily the biggest source of real, measurable, science & data backed differences between human beings that there is. Compare to: race, religion, etc all of which are essentially meaningless in comparison.

Gender of course is not destiny. Not by a long shot. But wiping the slate and pretending any given person could be interchangeably male or female with zero resulting difference in behavior, personality, etc is really hard for me to get behind.


While I don’t disagree with what you’re saying in broad terms [1], I’m not seeing how it’s relevant to what @Jilly posted. She stated that she was discussing non-biological gender, not that biology was irrelevant.

Slightly mis-aimed response, or am I missing something?

[1] Although it is worth noting that psych research on gender differences has historically been very, very bad at distinguishing between the influences of biology and culture.


I was speaking to this point:

There’s a whoooole lot of subtext here around what being aggressive vs. cooperative can get you, which you can dig into at http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2010/01/a-rant-about-women/

I would expect a dude to pipe up, aggressively, pointing out “hey I’m good at collaboration, damn it!”.

As Clay said:

This worry isn’t about psychology; I’m not concerned that women don’t engage in enough building of self-confidence or self-esteem. I’m worried about something much simpler: not enough women have what it takes to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks.

I wouldn’t say it is privilege in this instance, per se. Part of “not all men!” is that dudes just like to aggressively argue stuff. And, uh, point out how good they are at X, irrespective of whether they actually are. Because testosterone, because aggression, because assertion, because millions of years of biology.


Spiders are arachnids not insects.


Crap party?

Thank you for your consistent pedantry.


Absolutely. The studies that have been conducted do indicate that men and women behave differently when negotiating. If you are really interested, see this meta-analysis – https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bul-a0038184.pdf.

But to be fair, I wasn’t suggesting that biology didn’t matter. Of course it does.

It is privilege because biology isn’t the ONLY factor.


Negotiations are key. We have a spider TOS at my house. They can use any room, but they must stay out of beds, no exceptions. Webs that are old and that look abandoned may get removed if I’m feeling sufficiently motivated to clean the house. Certain areas are use-at-your-own-risk, such as in the bathroom.