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“Men are scum” | “women like money”

These are statements that many people make casually but are deeply rooted in fundamental assumptions about the two genders.

I’ve found, after years of quiet observation that people who make these statements fall into 3 categories. They:
1. are Incredibly ignorant
2. have a deep personal experience
3. hold a belief system

The very ignorant ones are mostly ignorant about many things but are usually quick to jump on the bandwagons, generally to appear trendy or be seen as supporting a seemingly popular faction.
The ignorant tends not to test assumptions, ask clarifying questions or attempt to understand why a popular belief is held so tightly. Usually when you ask, why do you believe that “women like money or are materialistic?”, the common response is “everybody knows so”. Which is
another very general statement. In essence, the ignorant tends to graduate from one level of ignorance to another. The idea that given a population sample, testing their assumptions or generalization, it could turn out false, is mostly alien to them. I see those a lot online.
I’m usually deeply drawn to people who make general statements like “men are scum”, from a deep personal experience that they’ve had with men; especially as a man myself. Not to defend the boys, but to understand why the “Male Brand” has been hugely decimated by this statement.
For this class of people, you must first understand that they’re neither naive nor ignorant. They are usually extremely intelligent and/or highly educated, so approach carefully.
I know that if I engage them, we could have an intelligent conversation without me or them feeling attacked or the whole chat degenerating into one big fiasco. With this category, 3 things are required:

1. Show empathy
2. Ask clarifying questions
3. Don’t defend men or women
The idea is to jointly test the assumption around the statements, men are scum or women like money. My 1st response is “Oh! That’s a major statement. A lot of people seem to think this, but why do you think so?” Firstly, you’ve won them over by saying “they’re not alone in
the thought”. It’s an ice breaker to ask why they think so. You see, you can hardly blame people for believing what they believe because of hard “evidence”. If a lady has been raped by a man or two, or she saw her father beat her mum and her husband has cheated on her, of course
to her all men her scum! Until you help test the assumption, not by saying well I am a man and I’m not a scum; but by showing her samples, however few, of men who are not scums. She may move from “men are scum”, to “most men are scum” and maybe end up in “some men”. Same goes for
men who believe that women like money. By the time I help them test the assumptions with countless examples of women (including my wife) who are made and sorted for life, and money is the last thing they want from a man, they they’d always generalize.
Finally, those with deep beliefs. These are usually fanatics and they’re very hard to engage. They are either extremely traditional and believe all the stories that grandma told them about men or what their dad said about their mum who left him because he didn’t have money.
With this last category, I don’t know how to help them test their assumptions yet. But I pray for them 😀

On a more serious note, I find that letting them know that “wow, a lot of people believe this and I may be inclined to believe too, if you can prove it”.
What that does is it makes them feel like they’re about to win over a new “convert” and so they get to “work” on you. Be ready for major arguments, because they’re not like category one. They’re intelligent and hold a deep belief, it’s a deadly combination. I wish you well 😀
I am not here to convince you that men are not scum or that all women don’t like money, I’m simply here to say that, just as there’s a great danger in single stories, there’s also a grave danger in generalizations. Test your assumptions, adjust your statements. Have a great week!
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