Manipulation, or: Words Used to Attack and Discredit Women Pretty Much Exclusively.

During a social conflict that I was involved with recently, I was called manipulative. Actually, the phrase used to describe me was “intensely manipulative.”

Now, on a personal level, this is laughable. Anyone who has spent at least fifteen minutes interacting with my ADD self knows that I am far too busy attempting to control my own thought process to even vaguely attempt to control someone else’s.

But it did get me thinking. “Manipulative” is an adjective that I’ve heard applied almost exclusively to the female gender. I had thought, for a while, that manipulation was essentially a gendered construct that exists simply because women are socialized away from pursuing their needs and desires directly, and therefore must manifest their own destinies through indirect means.

And that may be true, but in terms of a characterization of any particular woman, I think it’s far more simple. Think of it like a formula.

A person is referred to as “manipulative” if she:

(1) Is a woman, and

(2) Is smarter than the person she is interacting with.

I shall forthwith consider “manipulative” as a descriptor to be a compliment.

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2 Responses to Manipulation, or: Words Used to Attack and Discredit Women Pretty Much Exclusively.

  1. macoafi says:

    I generally figure the male version of “manipulative” is “emotionally and psychologically abusive.” At least, when I refer to a particular person in my life as “manipulative,” that’s what I mean, though I acknowledge that when a man spent 6 months doing that to me, I called him “emotionally abusive.”

    • cecilykane says:

      You know, when I do make the occasional reference to someone being manipulative, this is what I mean, as well.

      But I’ve often heard the word tossed out to basically mean “puppeteering other people’s emotions,” and that’s what I’m calling BS on. That’s a superpower, and I don’t know anyone with those. We’re only in control of our own emotions, not other people’s.

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