valleyofwind: Princess Nausicaa with her face dirtied from battle, looking determined.  (Default)
[personal profile] valleyofwind
I'm thinking that there are some concepts that are common to many different kinds of oppression, whether on a personal or an institutional scale.

One example is toning. To be toned means to be told that you're speaking too harshly or angrily or otherwise with too much emotion, especially in the context of "we'd listen to you if you could be rational about it". Your tone is being criticized and your words are being ignored.

When people of colour get angry about racial injustice, white people may tell them that they shouldn't get so upset, that their words would be worth hearing if they were spoken calmly. This ignores the fact that the issue likely is something to be upset about and something that the angry person has good reason to take personally.

Women are often criticized for being 'bitches' or 'uppity' if they take a no-nonsense or brusque tone. Somehow it's believed that they would be better women or better at whatever they're doing (running a business, commanding a military division, etc.) if they were nicer and sweeter about it.

Those are both examples of toning. What about when an individual woman is told by an emotionally abusive spouse that she's too loud or too opinionated? What about a bullied kid being told that the bullies 'don't really mean it' or 'do it because they like you'?

Toning is a way of targeting someone's emotional response to shame and manipulate them into abandoning what they're saying. Do the individual cases count as toning as much as the institutional examples of racism and sexism?


valleyofwind: Princess Nausicaa with her face dirtied from battle, looking determined.  (Default)

April 2010

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