Julia Penelope on Argument

cactflorIn our society, we’re taught the metaphorical concept ARGUMENT IS WAR. Consequently, when we talk about arguments, we say things like, “I tried to defend my position but she outflanked me,” “I really shot down her objections,” “her arguments were right on target.” No wonder we feel so good when we win arguments and so bad when we lose them. Our thought patterns mold our behaviors so that our arguments are “dangerous,” “threatening,” and “risky” for us. Suppose, instead, that we came up with new ways of thinking about arguments, ways that helped us learn less painful and destructive ways of behaving during arguments.

 

 

How about:

  • ARGUING IS A SCAVENGER HUNT
  • ARGUMENT IS QUILTING
  • ARGUING IS WORKING A PUZZLE
  • ARGUMENT IS DANCING, or
  • ARGUMENT IS SURFING?

If we don’t teach ourselves new ways to argue with each other, the alternative is to learn to agree with whatever another womon says, regardless of what we really think. That’s lying, and I think, still, that we deserve better from each other.

~Julia Penelope, “Mystery of Lesbians: II,” in Lesbian Ethics Volume 1 No. 2, Spring 1985.

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