Thursday, November 15, 2012

The failed brain-to-mouth filter

I have this folder on my computer of finished blog posts just sitting around to be published. I don't publish these posts for different reasons. This post is one of those posts. It's been sitting on my computer doing nothing for a while now, and I finally decided I'd publish it. I had my reservations, because I think this post is a bit personal, but it deserves to see the light of day, so I'll get over it.

So here it is, my erstwhile rejected post:

So, I have in the past labeled myself as a Torah-Observant Christian. Whether I still am now is neither here nor there for the purposes of this post. It is necessary to acknowledge that “Torah-observant Christian” is something I have called myself, because this post involves a dialogue surrounding this belief system.

I do enjoy frequenting forums, though I have not frequented them as often as I used to. During my more active forum days, I noticed that when debating with Christians online (as opposed to in-person. People seem to actually have a brain-to-mouth filter in real life), once people discovered I follow Torah, their default argument against anything I said would be, “Well, do you follow such-and-such law in such-in-such scripture?” I do believe that the suppressed premise in such a question is that if I do not follow such-and-such law, then my entire argument is bunk. Because it makes complete sense to base an argument’s validity off of the failings of a simple human being (that was sarcasm).

While I did learn to tolerate such asinine questions (that is not to say I appreciated them), there are still specific questions that I find completely inappropriate, and I am not sure why any person would think it is okay to ask such questions. In order to explain what I am talking about, I will present you with a common scenario.

Thread Title: Are Tattoos sinful?
My answer: Yes, because Leviticus 19:28 tells us not to tattoo ourselves.
Response to my answer: Well, do you follow all of the Torah, or are you just picking and choosing verses in order to form an argument?
My answer: I follow all of Torah that applies to me as a woman.
Response to my answer: Oh yeah? Well do you put sticky notes on chairs during your period to let people know not to sit there?
My answer: [no reply]

Other questions include: “Do you immerse yourself in a Mikvah after your period”, “do you not hug people while on your period”, and then a question about my sexual practices during my cycle that I think was the rudest and most invasive of them all. Do keep in mind, these were questions asked by Christians.

Basically, people seem to think that it is suddenly okay to ask me personal questions about my life just so they can prove a point in an argument. At first, I would answer such questions, because I was stupid. But then I realized I was not obligated to answer such invasive questions, and I no longer do. It is not the business of some random person online what sort of personal habits I have during certain times of the month. The only person whose business that is, besides mine, is any doctor I visit that needs to know such things for medical reasons.

I am not certain what is going on inside a person’s head when they ask such a question, because it is not like people just generally go around asking women “What personal practices do you have during your menstrual cycle?” That’s obscene and rude. No one has ever asked me such a question in real life, and, odd note of fact, the only people that ask me online are men. No woman has felt compelled to ask me that in order to try to prove a point in an argument. So… why on earth do men think it would be okay to ask me that?

So, the point of all of this is to discuss how tactless and rude people can be. Maybe in some circles it isn’t rude to ask women private questions about things that happen behind closed doors, but in my world it’s not acceptable. It seems to be a very pervasive problem, even beyond my little sphere of men online asking about my private practices. I read a blog recently where a woman was complaining about some stranger asking about her alleged tattoos she had underneath her clothes. The blogger said it was such a rude question, because people should not be asking strangers about private tattoos. It’s like asking about their underclothes.

In today’s society perhaps such interaction is acceptable. I do not know. I may be behind the times, but I would like to think there are still private subjects in this world that people simply are not entitled to know about and have no business asking about.

I really do think it is partially because people lack a brain-to-mouth filter. They were most probably never fully taught how to filter what is prudent or imprudent to say. And so they will say what comes to their mind without thinking it through first.

Whether we want to acknowledge it or not in this anything-goes society, there is certain social etiquette by which you need to adhere. Just as it is rude to say to a fat stranger with a look of disgust “You’re morbidly obese,” it is also wrong to ask someone personal questions about what goes on behind closed doors, what they have tattooed to themselves underneath their clothes, what they are wearing underneath their clothes, and anything relating to their private members.

Which reminds me… I should make a rant about men and PMS comments


  1. Psht, I'll ask about peoples' periods all the time. :)

  2. "Basically, people seem to think that it is suddenly okay to ask me personal questions about my life just so they can prove a point in an argument. At first, I would answer such questions, because I was stupid. But then I realized I was not obligated to answer such invasive questions, and I no longer do."

    Summing it up, you don't have an answer, or you dont want to answer.

    So do you go around and kill homosexual people or supporting that hey are killed (Leviticus 20:13)? Or is this question also too personal for you?

  3. Nathan, and I would expect nothing less from you haha

    luis_v_silva, the question on Lev 20:13 is irrelevant to the point of this post: the failed brain-to-mouth filter. And yes, I had answers, but why would I answer invasive questions that would neither prove nor disprove a point of an argument? That was the point, you see; people asked rude questions without stopping to think about what they were saying. The whole discussion on Torah in this post was just a very long example to show how people have a failed brain-to-mouth filter.

    I will say though, that asking about Lev 20:13 is amazingly better than asking about menstrual cycles. I can't imagine why more people didn't think to bring that verse up. It would have been much less rude and invasive.