or: Why you have to be careful about click bait lists.
[What follows is a satirical parody of the sort of thing that seems useful at first, but which in fact relies on misrepresentation, assuming both bad faith and that the essence of something can be equated with its weakest representation. The effect, then, is to cast dispersion on and create distrust of the subject, in the guise of seeking to assist. Some closing thoughts will follow.]
Men: they’re everywhere, and on their better days they sometime make a positive contribution to the world. There are some things about men, though, that make it hard to take them seriously, even though I’m one of them. Here are five things I wish men would consider.
1. Feelings are not a sign of weakness to be hidden, denied, and ignored. I’m not expecting males to sit around for hours with their friends and analyze their feelings from every possible angle, but really, guys, once in awhile it’s good to recognize how you’re feeling, ponder the reasons and effect it’s having on you, and make sure you’re reacting on the basis of sound judgment and not buried emotion.
2. Food includes more than pizza, wings, and beer. I’ve made some seriously good pizza from scratch on many occasions, I’ve had the wings where they were first served in Buffalo, NY, and I’ve learned to appreciate a well-crafted brew, so I’m not saying they are bad as such, but too many guys seem to think those are the limits of what to serve. Get with it.
3. Watching football is not the only way to spend the afternoons between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This one is somewhat connected to the prior one, with a popular food chain’s tagline of “Wings. Beer. Sports.” Do you really need to see two mediocre 7-5 teams in the Grand Rapids Toilet Bowl, sponsored by Tidy Bowl?
4. Farting and belching are natural bodily functions, not art forms to be practiced and performed. Granted, belching the alphabet and burning farts in a darkened room are mildly entertaining the first time, but trust me, no one is really impressed, especially the women you know.
and speaking of the women you know,
5. There is more to appreciate about females than their breasts. I’m not saying there is something wrong with physical attraction and beauty, but from the way men behave, you’d think that women exist to be ogled. Relate to them as real people, or you’ll be missing out on the wonderful things women offer.
Summary: So there’s the technique. Take either a stereotypical characteristic of the group you’re “hoping to help” or a feature of a small, immature segment of the group, position it as an essential characteristic of the group, and take a stand against it. This has the benefit of gaining the adherence of your reader, because no one really makes the claim you’ve opposed, or, in the case of a behavior, they wouldn’t want anyone to think it’s something that defines them. Add a few modifiers and a couple of indicators that you’ve been there and can relate, but have moved beyond them. Voila! You’ve presented yourself as the mature voice of wisdom, given your readers an incentive to align themselves with your position, and undermined the entire group.