But to go back to what I noted above, it is the combination of women and politics (or some other highly emotional topic) that triggers the abuse. A woman who is vociferously agreeing with you is not exactly violating the patriarchal dynamic, is she? The fact that women on your side do not trigger your atavistic instincts does not mean that there isn’t residual sexism lurking in your behavior. And before the guys go and get all defensive, let me be clear: I am not singling out guys. Women do it, too, including feminists, many of whom are nastier and more judgmental about women who disagree with them than they are about men who do, even as they are incredibly solidaristic with fellow feminists. I don’t think it’s hypocrisy; I don’t think they know they’re doing it.
What I’m saying is that I think all people are unfairly hard on women and minorities on the other side than they are on opponents who are men. I’m not calling on men to flagellate themselves for what a terrible burden white men are on the human race. I’m pointing out that we have an unconscious and unfair double standard. Sometimes it manifests itself in sheer crazy. More often it manifests in dismissing women on the grounds that they couldn’t possibly have anything to add to the conversation.
In my experience, what’s the first thing anyone says about a woman who disagrees with them on an issue? “She’s such an idiot.” I’ll be honest and say I’ve caught myself doing it. Yes, undoubtedly some of them are idiots. But it seems statistically unlikely that all the women on the other side are idiots, and your side happened to get all the good ones. Men get accused of a wide range of sins, from deliberate mendacity to wanting to maintain their privilege, but almost all of the women are foolish and should shut their mouths. Their hysterical mouths.