Sunday, September 09, 2007

Am I a sexist insensitive caveman ?

Lately, a couple of female commentors on this site have accused me of being insensitive, and even worse, sexist. One former regular--I think her name is kitty---said she was taking a hiatus from the fields, because she found my elephant donkey pic to be offensive and sexist.

Now I have to be honest, as someone who considers himself pretty forward thinking and tolerant, these accusations have thrown me off a little bit. I mean, part of the reason I blog is to inform and expose. And I can't sit here and blog on my high horse if I am guilty of the things I accuse other people of doing.

I have actually posted my own version of a racism quiz here before, because I think this type of exercise can be important. So in order to find out if I was actually too insensitive to the opposite sex, I took the quiz I posted below, which I happened to jack from Xy online. I think you should take it too---even if you are a woman---because although it might not be 100% accurate, I think it will give you an idea of how much work you need---or don't need---in this area.

Hey, it's football season, guys, this is the perfect time to see where we stack up. I will tell you my score later ;)

1. Your boss puts up a Playboy centrefold at work. You
a) blush and ignore it.
b) graffiti it or pull it down.
c) find the afternoons aren't as boring as they used to be.
d) put up a male pin-up.
2. How many erogenous zones are there on a man's body?
a) None.
b) One.
c) Eight.
d) An infinite number.
e) She decides.
3. Using condoms is
a) the greatest gift a man can give.
b) a last resort.
c) blocking the natural flow.
d) like having a shower in a raincoat.
e) not a problem.
4. You're having a drink with a friend and he starts talking about problems with his wife or girlfriend. You
a) tell him to get a grip on himself.
b) buy him another beer.
c) buy him another beer.
d) tell him "your shout."
e) feel much better about the fact that you've been sleeping with him.
5. Safe sex is
a) doing it in a Volvo wearing a seat-belt.
b) the only sex.
c) keeping your juices to yourself.
d) when she's on the Pill.
6. It's the middle of the night and the baby is crying. Do you
a) snore extra-loudly?
b) toss for it?
c) get up? She carried the kid for 9 months, it's the least I can do.
d) wake your partner up to tell her?
7. When a woman says "no" she means
a) you're on the right track, try harder.
b) no.
c) whatever she means, she said no.
d) she's a lesbian.
e) I'm oppressing her.
8. You find out one of your work-mates is gay. You
a) welcome him with open arms.
b) start wearing rubber gloves.
c) look to him for total guidance.
d) tell everyone.
e) sweat every time he smiles at you.
9. How would you describe your penis?
a) It's kinda cute.
b) My love-pump.
c) Inevitably oppressive.
d) Fun.
10. You hit your thumb with a hammer. You
a) break the hammer.
b) whistle 'Que Sera Sera' as you nonchalantly hammer in the next nail.
c) give up.
d) run crying to the nearest woman.
11. The vacuuming?
a) What vacuuming? The house looks fine to me.
b) is penance for the patriarchy.
c) just seems to happen.
d) is a sort of meditation.
12. You're accused of sexism. How do you respond?
a) Apologise. Keep apologising. Get on your knees.
b) Slap her.
c) Listen, give it some thought.
13. The film "Deep Throat" is
a) a manifesto for rape and exploitation.
b) in the top ten.
c) a dentist's training video.
d) the sequel to "Jaws".
14. A male friend hugs you. You
a) hug him back, bury your face in his shoulder and groan softly.
b) pat him on the back and get it over with.
c) flatten him.
d) assume he wants sex.
15. Women's periods are
a) sweeter than wine.
b) artistic styles, like Picasso's "blue" period.
c) disgusting.
d) like red rags to a bull.
e) not a problem at all.

To find out how sensitive you are, circle your answer for each question, add up your score and match it with the descriptions.
1. a. 5, b. 4, c. 0, d. 4
2. a. 0, b. 1, c. 4, d. 4, e. 10
3. a. 6, b. 0, c. 2, d. 3, e. 5
4. a. 1, b. 0, c. 0, d. 0, e. 3
5. a. 0, b. 4, c. 3, d. 1
6. a. 0, b. 3, c. 4, d. 1
7. a. 0, b. 4, b. 4, d. 0, e. 6
8. a. 5, b. -2, c. 8, d. 1, e. 2
9. a. 4, b. 0, c. 15, d. 4
10. a. 0, b. 4, c. 2, d. 6
11. a. 1, b. 5, c. 0, d. 3
12. a. 10, b. 0, c. 4
13. a. 4, b. -2, c. 1, d. 1
14. a. 4, b. 2, c. -1, d. 0
15. a. 6, b. 1, c. 0, d. 3, e. 4

How you rate
Score of 71 to 90
You are a highly sensitive man, ever vigilant to the possibility of displaying sexist behaviour or thinking. You've given priority to the women in your life, even to the point of dependency. In fact, you're too sensitive - you've assumed a burden of guilt and self-hatred. This prevents you from developing a confident and truly non-oppressive masculinity, as you continually seek pity and forgiveness. It's time to break out of this cycle. You have real strengths, such as your ability to empathise and listen, but these must be combined with assertiveness and self-esteem.
Score of 15 to 69
You have managed to combine a healthy and pro-feminist sensitivity with self-esteem and autonomy. You've come to terms with basic issues of sexuality, and show awareness and tact. You sometimes make mistakes, but you can handle this and you learn in the process.
Score of -5 to 14
This can't be said nicely. You're a patriarchal bastard. You don't understand women, and you don't particularly care. You have less listening skills than a brick. You think gay men are punching bags. You're probably insecure and hostile. There is positive potential in your rough-edged strength, but the value of this is thwarted by your insensitivity.


Anonymous said...


I'm in the midst of building this site called It is a sort of meta blog of african american bloggers and doing so means I have to look at a lot of blogs including yours. I've added your rss feed to it. (A link back would be nice.)

As a male, I'm not offended, but if what you do offends someone, take it to heart and you just might get that reader back.

As I proceed with my project, I find myself looking at quite a few blogs and to be honest, I'm a bit thrown by the language that some people freely use in their blogs. (Language that would not make it pass the FCC.) I'm a parent and frankly the things I used to find acceptable or no longer acceptable.

Newspapers have editors for good reasons.

The perspective you bring is important, so keep bringing it. Life has taught me that I can say anything to everybody, sometimes I just have to pause long enought to say is so it can be heard in a non threatening way.



Anonymous said...

Well, I don't see the picture as insensitive or sexist, because that would be under the assumption that the donkey and the elephant are a specific gender or sex. However, as with anything, I think it's important that the person be able to express their discomfort with the picture simply because you are in the prime position of informer and polemicist. You're popular, and so you're going to get a lot of people who may not necessarily see things the way you do.

I've had a few pictures I didn't know were offensive, but once I understood the person's p.o.v., it gave me new perspective. It doesn't mean I took it down, but it does mean that I get a better world view of things.

And for the record, I'm not a sexist, insensitive caveman according to the quiz.

yabba dabba do ...

Liz Dwyer said...

It's too early in the morning for me to be laughing so hard at 5A. My brother in law just bought a Volvo and he keeps going on and on about how safe it is!

I guess I think we're all sexists in some way. We truly don't fully get gender equality as a society so of course you're going to have some unconscious or conscious gender bias. I do too, even if I don't always think about it.

I have noticed on the web that just like there's a racial divide, there's a gender divide as well. I'm generalizing a bit but I've noticed that women tend to write/comment on certain kinds of blogs. Men tend to be a little more aggressive and confrontational with their commenting/responses. I definitely see how differences in communication styles and the gender roles we take on in our day to day lives play out online.

wst... said...

heh! fn you're doing great and its nice to see that you are putting it back in their faces. dont ever fall into that trap of letting anyone push you around in what you say or believe in. keep telling your truth your own way and your readers will appreciate your strength and integrity.

the flip-side of that is your readers will instantly perceive that you have changed etc.

its ok to disagree about things and even we dont agree with you 100% of the time and anyone that agrees with someone else 100% of the time needs their heads examined - we always appreciate what you have to say and we appreciate you for saying it.

field negro said...

Phil I got ya.

Thanks for that female perpectve liz.

Jose, I think I am closer to Barney than Fred :)

Anonymous said...

I got a 62, thought I would score higher.

I thought the cartoon was sexist (many things are) but I did not think that was why you were posting it.

That would mean, I get both Kitty's point and yours.

But then again, I just got a sardonic e-mail from a miffed colleague, saying "Gee, Z, it is just so wonderful of you to always think of everybody."

So, call me: Pollyanna of the week.

Nelson said...

i scored a 28.

Francis Holland said...

Hi, Field: I think both the men and the women may be missing the point here. What's the point in receiving a "diagnosis" of sexism if it doesn't lead to changed behavior? No point whatever!

In fact, most "diagnoses" of sexism and "racism" don't lead to changed behavior at all. Having the "sexist" label applied to us, like the "racist" label, is just something that we reluctantly learn to accept, figuring that the embarrassment and shaming we've suffered in the process is all that can be expected from us.

Wouldn't it be more constructive to just agree not to post the offensive picture again and forget the labels?

I would HOPE that we'd be more interested in changed behavior than in applying labels to people who are not expected to change.

To me it's simple: If you post the offending graphic again, you don't want the person who complained, and people like her, to come back. But, if you look at each graphic carefully and think about how women might perceive it, as well as men, then something has been accomplished that CANNOT be accomplished by wearing the label of "sexist."

It's about courageously and compassionately changing behavior, where appropriate, instead of shamefully accepting "ism" labels that are used mostly as epithets.

This one is me: "What vacuuming? The house looks fine to me."

Connecticut Man1 said...

Hi Field... Just thought you might want to know the the link on the sidebar for this seems to be broken:

Think Jena in New York. Black man walks into McDonalds to see his white girlfriend. Black man is sorrounded and beaten by seven white men. Black man is arrested and charged with a felonious assault. White men all go free, and none are charged by the DA's office.

the McDonald's link in there sends you to "page cannot be found" error.

Blinders Off said...

I don't think your sexist or insensitive…I like your blog because you keep it real.

The picture fit the subject becasue the "R" Party is effing us all.

I answered the test on how I thought my husband would have answered and he scored a 42 which describes him to me.

field negro said...

Thanks c-man, I will check that out. (I was probably going to remove that link anyway)

we saw that, I hope I don't ever get to the point when averybody starts agreeing with me,because then we would have a problem.

LJM,a 28? Damn! Hey, I guess it could be worse, but I am going to guess that's low score on this blog :)

blinders off, if you did it for your husband, I wan't to talk to that man. I think heneeds to brush up on his "man rules" :)

Francis, I really didn't mean to offend, but like we saw that says, I have to be true to myself. I can't just not post an image that I think is appropriate because it mind offend someone.

(folks if my spelling is a little f****d up, blame it on the iggles. I am watching the game and blogging at the same time.

Sybil Amber said...

hi field, i like your blog. it doesn´t seem sexist. the elephant and the donkey have a different meaning to me. osama´s movie is quite boring. subtitles lack, and the shots are only one - no star for that!

Blinders Off said...

Lol...Believe me Field, He is ALL MAN. The love of a good woman (me) made him a better man…he is more sensitive and tactful when it comes to keeping it real.

There is no higher compliment a man can receive when his daughter and step daughters tell him, "They want to marry a man like their Dad/Pop."

field negro said...

Thanks sybil! Zero starts huh?

Ok "blinders off", if daughter AND step daughter likes that man of yours, I guess he is a keeper :)

That's "man rule" number one in my book; love your family.


Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

I didn't think that quiz made any sense...
I am basically a radical feminist and I didn't think your donkey/elephant cartoon was sexist or offensive...
Sometimes when people have been traumatized though anything that reminds them of the trauma looks offensive; maybe something like that happened here.

Anonymous said...

Field - Im a fairly new reader and I am a female. In the few weeks I have been reading, you do not come across as sexist. And, even if you did and I became offended, I just wouldn't come back.

I read that chicks comment about her taking a break for a while due to that picutre - but you see she came back. And, you know what, people like her and people like me come to your site because at the end of the day, the content is what makes this site what it is, and the content is something I have been unable to find on any other blog I visit.

To her I say this: Go to a feminist blog or a complaining blog or start your own blog. Better yet, keep reading and commenting on this blog because we all enjoy hearing different perspectives.

To field I say this: Keep doing what you're doing brotha. You'll never be able to please everybody so just focus on pleasing yourself.

And I'm gone!

Nelson said...

"LJM,a 28? Damn! Hey, I guess it could be worse, but I am going to guess that's low score on this blog :)"

What can I say? Deep Throat is a classic.

Anonymous said...


Of course, I cannot see the image... That's why I feel a little weird commenting. But I will...

I think that the image may have been offensive to some women not because it is "sexist"; but because it is insensitive to those who have been victims of rape. It's certain images, sounds, and smells that remind me of certain bad experiences. But I don't expect the world around me to adjust to what makes me uncomfortable for personal reasons. But with that being said, perhaps you should try to understand her point of view, rather than jumping to defend your position.

You know, I love the discussion that was prompted by that image. I remember Francis making some great points. I learned from that discussion. So, that's why doing what is dangerous may not be so bad. We learn when we take bold, dangerous steps. We don't learn when we are being extremely careful and scared to put forth certain symbols.

(Yes I know that the above comment was a little contredictory... LOL All I can really say is be yourself. But listen when others are talking. And don't just listen, consider what they are saying. Seek to understand, rather than to be understood. That's how I live. Well, that's how I try to live. smile)


Anonymous said...

Field: Congrats on the blogger award.

RE the phot of the blond who was told she was inappropriately dressed: None of us saw how she looked when she boarded the plane. In the photo here, her shirt is pulled down, but apparently it wasn't when she boarded. Apparently her skirt was hike up further on the plane.

When I first heard this story, I ASSUMED she was engaging in the latest skank trend as seen in some fashion magazines where women where a skirt that covers about 3/4 of their bottom and have on no underwear. Yes, you heard me. A primer for upscale white women to be as ghetto as they want to be.

I am reserving judgement until some security photos are produced that show what she looked like when she came into the airport and boarded the plane. I think there is more to this story.

On a couple of occasions you were a bit sexist and I said so. I didn't see the donkey photo so have no opinion.

west coast story (who is too lazy to go through the 5-minute huzza guzz of signing on and trying to post under my handle)

field negro said...

"I am reserving judgement until some security photos are produced that show what she looked like when she came into the airport and boarded the plane. I think there is more to this story."

WCS, that's a fair point. But I think you will find that her dress was pretty much the same as it looks in the picture on the sidebar.

There is a link to the donkey elephant picture in the first paragraph of the above post.

Muze said...

awww field, i don't think you're sexist. that donkey elephant pic was actually kinda funny to me. maybe that makes me insensitive to women?? lol.

i know a lot of sexist men (my bf being one of them) and you don't, to me at least, come off as one of them.

this quiz is hilarious though. number 15 is gross and number 6 cracked me up with the 'snore extra-loudly'. lol.

you're good with me field. :)

Anonymous said...

Donkey/elephant photo not sexist IMHO. Funny as heck but not sexist.

west coast story

Woozie said...

Says my score was 50, but I didn't answer number 13 because that question was in a way a sexist question-it assumes men are either idiots who wouldn't know what "Deep Throat" is, or boorish sex lunatics who think it's okay to run up to a woman and bury her face in his crotch.

The right answer was "a manifesto for rape and exploitation", which it isn't. And it's not in the top 10 because in this day and age it doesn't quite cut it. It's just an old porno.

DJ said...

Wow. I make everybody here look like card carrying members of NOW.

I scored a 16, just barely in the "not a scumbag" range. :)

DJ said...

Woozie, the star of Deep Throat came out a few years ago and said she was forced into doing the film because she had an abusive boyfriend-hence the "rape and exploitation" answer.

I suppose that's the right answer because they expect you to know that if you're sensitive to women's issues.

BTW, Field, what was your score?

field negro said...

"BTW, Field, what was your score?"

Damn, I was hoping everyone would forget I said that.

OK,I did just a little better than woozie.(54) So what does that say about me?

I am kind of disappointed. As a guy who considers himself in touch with his feminine side,I was hoping to hit the 75 range :)

Lola Gets said...

Ok I didnt keep score for myself, so I dont know what I am, lol.

But Field, I dont think youre sexist. I dont really think the cartoon is sexist either, but as I was TRYING to say the last time you posted that pic (my comments somehow didnt get posted), that donkey didnt look like he was enjoying himself, but thats supposed to represent how the Dems are being treated by the Repubs, so its ok.

La♥audiobooks said...

Sorry I didn't get to read all the post and the comments, but I got the drift of it. I'l read it again as soon as my contacts de-fog. Well I don't think you're sexist reallt, I actually think you're an ok kind a guy. But you could also prove it even more to these ladies by showing support (not judgment or bash) for the black females in the Dunbar Village, the recent Virginia heinousness and many others just like them (if you haven't done so already, of course).

It would be real appreciative and valiant of you and other black male bloggers to do so. Being we all black people (including black female bloggers) also give our support for the black males in the Jena 6 crisis. Keep up the great work! "dimple smile"