Friday 22 July 2011

No Seriously, What About teh Man-Hatrz?

Okay, I just read something kind of encouraging on No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?

I mean, I do indeed believe it's time that the Sisterhood aimed some of its missiles at a few of the loonies who march(ed) in its ranks. It's long past time someone called out Mary Daly's misandry, transphobia and racism, her delusions of female supremacy and superiority, and her paranoid equation of Man = Oppressor.

But I'm sorry, ladies. It's too little, too late. I don't understand how you can't see this. You can't revoke anyone else's Feminism Card, and you certainly can't revoke it after their death. This is because, as I've been told time and again by feminists, Feminism is not a club with rules of membership, it's not a political party, it's not an ideological monolith with a rigid set of beliefs and ideals that are required of every member. Every single self-identifying feminist has a right to define "what feminism means to them". This is something I hear ALL THE TIME from, you guessed it, self-identified feminists.

Mary Daly was a feminist. She was a feminist because she said so. That is literally ALL it takes to be a feminist. And what's more, she had every right to label herself a feminist. And you, Doctormindbeam, have no right to take that label away from her. Neither by consensus, nor by fiat.

I mean, sure, it's a step in the right direction to try to distance a movement whose members--some of them, anyway--are in favor of gender equality, from those who are bigoted, hate-filled, intellectually dishonest and batshit fucking insane. But it's as ineffectual as the constant refrain I hear from other self-identified feminists that "not all feminists are like that!" or "no true feminist would advocate for such a thing."

The only thing that makes a feminist a feminist is an interest in women's issues and the self-applied label of feminist. A person advocating mass chemical castration of males for the protection of women is a feminist if he/she decides that's what to call him/herself. This is the way it works.

I mean, it's really nice of you gals to think about cleaning house, but, frankly, the place has turned into an episode of hoarders over the last several decades. What started out as a gorgeous mansion built on a foundation of equality, fairness and humanity, now looks more like Monster House. No matter how hard all of you work, and how many cans of Febreze you use, the place is still going to be filled with the lingering stench of the rotting corpses of dozens of bigoted, man-hating, self-labeled feminists and their cats. Mary Daly should have been evicted the first night everyone sat around the dinner table and heard her spouting her bullshit, not 40 years after she first started leaving her shit lying around and cluttering up the place with effigies of dead men. Certainly not a year after her body went cold.

Sometimes shit gets left to fall apart for so long, that the job of clean-up and repair is either impossible or not worth the investment. Sometimes the place has been left in disrepair for so long, the floorboards are rotted, the foundation is sinking, and there's nothing for it but to condemn the place and move.

And seriously, it's not as if you don't have your share of undesirable squatters sharing the house with you even now, stinking up the place with their more modern style of bigotry and misandry.

Some things feminists have been up to of late:

  • Arguing to keep the gender-profiling and discrimination against male DV victims in VAWA unchanged.
  • Lobbying--and succeeding--in mandating lighter sentences for female criminals in the UK.
  • Lobbying for a shut-down of women's prisons in the UK.
  • Asserting that Women as a group feel--and should feel--threatened by Men as a group.
  • Arguing that despite women comprising 60% of university enrolment, that it's both "too soon" to do away with women-only scholarships, and sexist to consider men-only scholarships.
  • Opposing the changing of retirement age for women in the UK to bring it in line with retirement age for men.
  • Lobbying to lower the amount of child support arrearage that will result in jail time.
  • Opposing a presumption of shared parenting after divorce, using language that demonizes men as abusers and portrays women as victims.
  • Defending the practice of routine infant male genital mutilation, citing that it is NOTHING like female genital mutilation.
  • Freaking right the fuck out because milk producers implied in their ads that men are the primary victims of PMS, because they have to live with PMSing women, while cheering Hillary Clinton's assertion that the wives, daughters and mothers of men who are dead, are the primary victims of war

These people can't be evicted, ladies. There's no feminist landlord to evict them, no condo association, no property management company, because feminism doesn't work like that. They get to live in Feminist House with you for as long as they choose to call themselves feminists.

When I talk about the problem of rape, I sometimes speak of the inherent value of what many perceive to be "victim-blaming".  That is, if there were decisions a woman made that led to her being easily victimized, it is not only appropriate to examine them, it's beneficial (arguably necessary) to the recovery process. And I've argued that expecting society to protect women while refusing to expect women to take some responsibility for their own safety, is a disempowerment of women. It is taking power from them as individuals, stripping them of agency. It is telling them they are objects that shit just happens to, rather than participants in their lives, and that this is the way the world should work.

I believe the way I do because if there's no other lesson life has taught me, it's that we cannot control the actions, behavior, thoughts, motivations, goals and emotions of other people--we can only control our own. And because of the nature of feminism as a self-applied, self-defined label, no individual feminist has any control over what other feminists will do in the name of feminism. You can't kick anyone else out of the club. The only membership you can revoke is your own.

I mean, how much time and energy are you people going to waste trying to sweep up after these people? How much time and energy are you willing to put into arguing amongst yourselves, trying to throw people out who won't go, tidying up their trash, running damage control, and picking their empties up from the yard so the neighbors won't think you're all a bunch of irresponsible jerks? Isn't there something more useful you could be doing?

And why the hell are you so attached to the word, anyway? Words mean things, people. And while the connotations and even denotations of words evolve over time, right now, in common parlance, feminism doesn't mean what you think it means. It has come to mean something else to a growing number of people who aren't feminists, even if they believe in equality.

By your stubborn and single-minded attachment to the label "feminism", you do more harm than you can possibly know. By refusing to abandon the house, you give every man-hating kook who lives there more legitimacy than they deserve.

Let me put it this way. Here's the Senate Judiciary Committee, listening to testimony regarding whether to change VAWA or leave its bigoted, anti-male legislation as it is. Many people are testifying as "experts" on domestic violence, and many of these people are in favor of leaving VAWA unchanged. Many of them are feminists. And they're saying, "Women must be protected. As a feminist, I implore you to keep VAWA as it is."

Then the head of the Committee looks out his metaphorical window and sees millions upon millions of other feminists crowded under a banner that says "WE ARE FEMINISTS". Unbeknownst to him, they are debating and arguing and nitpicking each other, and some of them may even be strenuously trying to convince the others that VAWA is wrongheaded and must be changed. But all he sees are millions of feminists, and some people in front of him who claim to be speaking as feminists, and all those millions of feminists on the street outside his window add weight to every single word those few feminists have said before the Committee. Even if he knows not every feminist is in agreement on every issue, their association with THESE feminists, in front of him today, add to the credibility of what they've said.

By calling yourselves the same thing that these misandric, sexist, intellectually dishonest assholes call themselves, you are giving a perception of unity of purpose with them, whether you like it or not. Every single self-identified feminist provided the ballast that a few feminist-identified nutbars needed to ram their mandatory lower sentencing for women through in the UK.

I hold a lot of beliefs that could be said to be feminist beliefs. I've written articles on women's issues that were lauded by feminists. But I see a lot of harm done in the name of feminism, too. I choose not to call myself feminist, because I don't want my presence under the banner to add any weight to the efforts of those who would do harm in feminism's name. If I call myself feminist, I throw my vote in with the defenders of VAWA, whether I want to or not.

I won't do that. Why are you?


  1. Looks like they have pulled that blogpost out. I cant find it even by browsing through the archives for that month.
    Advertising Sins: Summer’s Eve
    Posted on July 22, 2011 by noahbrand
    Moving Beyond Privilege
    Posted on July 21, 2011 by aliarasthedaydreamer

  2. Lovely list, I'll keep it handy next time someone tells me that there's no need to fight for men's issues because they rule the world.

    If you ever decide to consider polyandry, I'd like to marry you ;)


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