Calling out Miss Conduct, Part I

The blog “Feminists with Disabilities” called out my May 2nd column, about the mother who insists that her toddler have vegetables with every meal, pretty harshly. I have certain reservations about that blog overall, and I don’t agree with their analysis of my advice, obviously, but the discussion is fascinating, and the comments are really worth a read. Even if you disagree, there are points being made that are definitely worthy of consideration. Eventually someone did come in and defend my point of view.

(Side note: I was amused that one of the most indignant commenters referred to me as “Miss Demeanor.” I’ve always said if I’d gotten to name the column myself, that’s what I would have preferred!)

A particular dynamic that I find intriguing, and that comes up a lot, is that I will say in my column — either implicitly or explicitly — “X is something controversial that people are passionate and not wholly rational about.” And then I will get a slew of angry letters or comments disagreeing with me, by people who apparently don’t realize that the very nature of their passionate, judgmental, highly personal disagreement validates my point. I get this sometimes over gender-related etiquette (especially the use of “ma’am,” honorifics, “you guys” or any other term to address women), but I don’t think anything brings it out quite as much as food or religion.

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