When Angry Commenters Find Common Ground

Joanna Schroeder and David Byron thought they’d never get past their differences as commenters. Now, as friendly allies, they discuss how they got there.


JS: So, David, you and I have a pretty interesting history, don’t we?

DB: I have talked with feminists on-line for years, and been thrown off hundreds of feminist sites.  I am always looking for someone I can talk to, but I didn’t think you were a good prospect at first.

JS: Yeah, maybe I wasn’t at first. I have always been open-minded, but I started off pretty righteous.

As far as I remember it, you and I first met online at The Good Men Project in the comments section of a piece I wrote called The (Quiet) FeministRevolution. I was pretty sure I had written something so deeply based in common sense, that the whole world would read it and say, “Oh wow, now I get it!”. I was truly flabbergasted at the reaction I received.

It was very naive and short-sighted of me. 

My basic assertions in the piece were that people do acts of feminism which counter Rape Culture every day, probably without knowing it. I used two examples, one which was of my father explaining to me why he would’ve been cautious asking the woman whom we’d just seen on the side of the road in a snowstorm if she needed help, had I not been with him. And he told me not to get into cars with men I didn’t know.

DB: The article continued a discussion about women’s fear of men that had been going on at the Good Men Project for a little while and perhaps dating back to a flap in the atheist community on-line over “Elevatorgate”.  Elevatorgate was a discussion about an incident where a woman was approached by a man in an elevator at an atheist conference.

It became a discussion about whether it is legitimate for women to treat the strange men they meet as if they were “potential rapists.”  Although the Men’s Rights Movement usually talks about legal rights and not emotional issues, I have always seen the fear and suspicion levelled at men as a huge burden.  Even if it is private feelings, it is profiling to think, “I know who the dangerous people are — they are the men”.

JS: At first you leveled some pretty strong opinions toward me and my piece, including “This piece should come with a warning: Not all women are like this!”  And I basically totally ignored you and every other commenter who was saying anything negative. I wasn’t in a place yet in my development to hear past the anger to your issues.

Finally, you said something that truly shocked me. At first I laughed, and even posted it on my Facebook wall. Then I was confused and offended, and wondered, Even if you disagree, why would you throw so much hate at me?

This was it:

DavidByron: “…I come away from reading this very angry indeed at women. And it isn’t their fault. It’s not all women who are this disgusting and sexist. You know what? If it was me in the car and Joanna was the one stuck in the snow going to freeze to death I think I’d tell her.  “Oh what? There’s no nice woman to save you today? You want to get rescued by the potential rapist do you? Oh I am sorry but I couldn’t possibly put you through that risk. No, no, you can stay out here waiting for a woman. I wouldn’t want to contribute to the rape culture.”

And then drive off.”

JS:  So, tell us what happened there, David?

DB:  I got angry with someone on the Internet. I didn’t know you and I didn’t respect you. Just another feminist attacking men. When trust falls below a bare minimum, there’s no give in the conversation. There’s no more energy to be patient. I don’t mean trust you with my bank account. I mean trust you to be a genuine participant in the conversation.

You replied asking, “Don’t you realize that you are talking to a human being?” But that was just what I had been trying to say to you. Just as you disliked being on the receiving end of anger, men don’t like being on the receiving end of fear. Even when you know it’s completely unwarranted, it can still stab at you.

JS: I think I understand that now, but your anger (and very loud distaste for me) overwhelmed my ability to take you seriously, which now I really regret.  

And then something interesting happened in those comments… I was asked by my editor, Lisa Hickey, to pay attention to one man’s statement, a guy named Archy who was also royally peeved with me.

DB: I do recall thinking about Archy’s piece, “Well at least my explosion made everyone ELSE look moderate and sane. Maybe people will be able to get it from what he says.”

JS: Yeah, and it was when you said this that I started to pay attention:

DavidByron: “You think I LIKE beating up on people? It makes me feel like shit actually. But I know if I don’t do it nobody will. You could have said all that same stuff and you could have done it much nicer because it would have been from you. Instead it was left to me so I had to be the “asshole” (which is also in part because a man “attacking” a woman always looks like an asshole).

You think it’s easy to go around telling people they SUCK all the time?”

JS: And suddenly I was able to see the man behind what I saw as senseless rage. It took me a while, I had to read it through a few times and maybe I still thought you were a little overwhelming, but most importantly, what you were saying was no longer senseless. When you softened, I became able to hear you. Even though I still disagreed. It seemed very sad that you felt you had to revert to that.

DB:  THAT was the comment you liked?  That was awful. If there had been a delete button that would have gone. I guess it can help to take a step back sometimes and say who you are… that’s not always worked well for me. In the past that has got me called creepy.

JS: I didn’t think it was creepy. I thought it was very real. Yeah, it was intense, and sorta sad, but I guess it showed me that you weren’t a jerk, you were a guy who just wanted to be heard.

So, the thing I’ve been really curious about lately, and what I hope you can help me with, is looking the nature of human beings and our need to get others to agree with us, even when we intellectually may recognize that the ideological chasm is probably too large to bridge. Have you felt that?

The thing I’ve been really curious about lately is looking the nature of human beings and our need to get others to agree with us, even when we intellectually may recognize that the ideological chasm is probably too large to bridge.



DB: Of course. I spent years and years talking to feminists! At some point you start thinking about what’s going on underneath it all. You start trying to see patterns.


JS: How do you now combat the fatigue that comes from engaging in a conversation with someone whom you know may never agree, like me?  Do you still hold out hope that I will denounce feminism and find a new label to call myself?

DB:  It was never about that to begin with. It started with wanting to really know what the other side to the story was. I don’t think you can have an assurance of your own views without understanding your opponents. But the conversations are gladiatorial. Everyone wants to “win.”  I know a lot of people shrink from that but I think it is fun and a really good way to advance your knowledge.

For me it stops being fun when you lose respect for the other person. So sometimes I am hardest on the people I think the best of.

JS: Is there a part of you that still wants to leave me in the snow to freeze to death?  😉

DB: There never was. My subconscious offers up some weird stuff. Hey boss, what about this idea?  Normally that sort of idea gets sent back. On that day I thought, “maybe that could work”.  Uh…as a rhetorical device.  But yeah, I was pretty angry.


JS: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you don’t identify as a Men’s Rights Activist, right? Is there any label you’re more comfortable with?

DB: Anti-feminist. I studied the facts about feminism, and came to be a critic from the left after seeing sexism in the movement. MRAs have a more pragmatic angle. They often have specific issues affecting those near them. They see a common enemy in feminism.

JS: Do you see any way in which feminists can move forward with guys who are against feminism, like you?

DB: I think most feminists don’t want to move forward with their critics. It’s an odd experience for me to feel like most of the feminists here do. Maybe it is because the web site is about men.

JS: Yeah, so we are more likely to be Pro-man feminists at the Good Men Project because otherwise we’d be off with others who hold exactly the same beliefs and never question us. But I don’t think that’s how anything changes. Things change when your opponents start to hear your voice, and you hear theirs.

DB: Also, this feminist founded men’s site is ‘neutral territory’. When I talk to feminists on a regular feminist site they see me as an invading enemy. That’s not a good way to start a conversation.

JS: Definitely not. And I know that some men think feminists like myself are on GMP just to attack them, and sometimes no matter what I do, I feel I cannot bridge that chasm between me and them. Every once in a while that really bums me out, but most of the time I think of the greater good we’re doing and I’m reassured that even if my individual voice doesn’t make a difference, our project as a whole does.

For instance, I wish you guys could’ve heard the good stuff I was saying about men in my piece. I wished you could’ve heard me say that every day men respect me, and that combats Rape Culture, and teaches me to trust men. I used my new friend Jacob, who was once a stranger in a restaurant, as an example.

DB: See, you said “rape culture” and everyone went into fight mode. Well I know I did. You were writing a non-combative piece so you thought, but from the other point of view you were sneaking in a big argument about male guilt. If you’d actually had ten lines going on about male guilt in that article you’d have seen it and said “that bit feels wrong there”, but because it’s just a short phrase you don’t see it.

JS: Do you think that I’m totally off-base in wishing people were more able to hear the complexities of human discussion, even from their adversaries? Is it impossible?

DB: Feminists and MRAs often have two different goals in the same conversation. The feminists want to move forward with the “greater good” as you say. MRAs do too but there’s a problem. They don’t trust you. Now both sides have given a little to get here. Any feminist becoming a regular at a site about men has split away from the “whatabouttehmenz” and “mansplaining” attitude. Any MRA who comes here is taking a risk in supporting a feminist founded web site.

But the trust isn’t a symmetrical problem. The feminists seem to think, “Well we’re talking about men’s issues here not women’s — doesn’t that show I’m one of the good guys? Why can’t the MRAs quit being so contentious and, well, … can’t we all just get along?”

JS: Yeah, why are they so quick to hate us?

DB: The MRAs have to move more slowly because they see that the feminists have a lot of baggage. Wait a second, they say, we need to talk about that baggage first. You want to talk about helping men? That’s fine but from our point of view the biggest single problem facing men is feminism itself. Now here you are saying you want to help, but also saying you’re a feminist.  So how are we supposed to react to that?

JS: Why can’t we be both?

DB: This is where the disconnect happens. The feminists don’t recognise themselves in that image. As you say they don’t see any contradiction between helping men and their feminism. They either deny there is a bad feminism or say it is not important. “Oh no!  You’re just wrong! Feminism means equality!”

Dismissing concerns doesn’t build trust. The concerns are still there but now you’ve shown that you won’t take them seriously. The MRAs are trying to figure out if you really are different so they are looking for the usual signs. And you are giving off those signs because there’s a lot of jargon within the feminist movement. Words like “patriarchy” and “male privilege” that trigger responses.

Dismissing concerns doesn’t build trust. The concerns are still there but now you’ve shown that you won’t take them seriously. The MRAs are trying to figure out if you really are different so they are looking for the usual signs. And you are giving off those signs because there’s a lot of jargon within the feminist movement. Words like “patriarchy” and “male privilege” that trigger responses.



JS: But those are just words, and you can say they trigger the MRAs into thinking we are all the same, but as far as I can tell, there isn’t another good way to convey the idea of privilege without using the term. If I made up a word for it… Say… Shit that’s hard to do… Say, we call it Natural Havey-ness (one of the dumber things I have ever said and it took me ten minutes to think of, good lord), it still means the same thing. But maybe not the “jargon” that sets people off?

Why can’t so many people discuss their Havey-ness? Do they really think there is no way, in any way, that society favors them? Isn’t everyone favored by some group in some way? If we take out the term, does it make it easier to discuss it?

DB: Well if you want to talk “politics” and have an argument about the merits of feminism then go for it. You’ll be sure to find people willing to debate. I’d say it is still a good idea to get rid of jargon, because it helps to clear your thoughts if you have to explain what you mean.

But for the discussions that you don’t want turned into a fight, using a piece of jargon or a feminist slogan like “women earn less than men”, is like a debate argument compacted into a couple of words. It might be only a couple of words to you, but you are making very specific claims and shouldn’t be surprised if the other side says, well we get to argue back now, right?  You started it.

JS: So what you’re saying is that when we make statements that we think reflect given “truths” like “white male privilege” or “rape culture”, we’re actually raising entire arguments with just a couple words?

I never thought of it that way. I can see now why it triggers whole attacks. To others, these aren’t simple truths.

DB: The feminists feel under attack by a lot of angry sounding people. They think, this is exhausting. I am really trying here, and I never get any credit. This is hopeless. The MRAs react with, See? We were right to be suspicious. You say you are different but you sound just the same to us.

JS: And this is because of that jargon? I hate to say “trigger words” but they do seem to function like that.

DB: I think they are a big part of the problem. More than compact arguments, they are familiar patterns in our brains. The brain says, I recognize this situation. Seen it before many times. This is an argument about X.  I should say Y. People can get extremely good about seeing one side of the story. I think that’s fine in a debate. I want to hear the best argument from the other side.  I want you to be an expert on your point of view. But if you don’t want to argue politics that triggering gets in the way.

JS: And anti-feminists need to stay away from saying things about “all feminists” because that frustrates us just the same way.

DB: Fair enough.

There’s a flip side to the MRAs caution about trust. They need to give credit when it is due. It is really tough to be accused all the time. To constantly have to prove you’re not one of the bad feminists. At some point you have to say, OK well we still disagree on a LOT.  But I respect you. I trust you. And yes, that goes both ways but it’s much more important for the MRAs to say it. They are the ones starting from, I don’t trust you. You have to prove yourself to me before we can really talk.

You and I managed to get to that point (although I wouldn’t recommend the path we took). 

JS: So what does this all come down to? I mean, is it really as simple as respecting one another and being willing to be challenged?

DB: What?  You think I know the answers? 🙂

photo: mikemol / flickr

About Joanna Schroeder and David Byron

Joanna Schroeder is a regular columnist at The Good Men Project. David Byron is a frequent commenter.


  1. Really great conversation. Frankly I’m amazed and dumbfounded by the things that feminists say on here.

    “I never thought of it that way. I can see now why it triggers whole attacks. To others, these aren’t simple truths.”

    Correct. As a feminist you hold many things as self-evident truths that we don’t believe exist at all based on factual data.

  2. What I see happening a lot on GMP and other places where there are debates about gender is a struggle to monopolize a representative position, like people fighting over who gets to carry the flag or use the name _____. Insert whatever word you want into the blank: feminist, men’s rights activist, good father, good mother, real man, average woman.

    There’s this constant bickering over who is really authentic or really representative and bickering over what counts and what doesn’t. As if carrying the flag is the most important role in a complex, fluid situation, as if the only reason to carry a flag is because there’s a battle going on. The more simple-minded the argument, the more simplistic the characterization, the more emotionally charged the position, the stupider the language becomes. “All you feminists are just like ___!” “All you men are just like ____!” “Why are you picking on me? He/She/They started it!” “Did not!” “Did too!”

    I can imagine being a GMP moderator and being a parent of young children have quite a bit of overlap. No wonder there are so many articles about parenthood.

  3. wellokaythen says:

    I tend to think that the best way to arrive at the truth is to be as objective as possible. To be as objective as possible, I have to recognize that I could be wrong. I have to be willing to put my assertions to some kind of test, and the test has to have the theoretical possibility of having a “yes” or “no” or “maybe” outcome. I believe that’s called “falsifiability” – if I refuse to accept anything that would disprove my assertion, then I am not being rational or objective or seeking the truth collaboratively. If I say “nothing you can say will ever convince me otherwise,” then I am not really interested in a constructive conversation.

    This doesn’t mean I can’t have confidence in my point of view or defend it vigorously, but, realistically, I admit I could be wrong. (I was wrong one time in when I was seven years old. It’s possible I’ll be wrong again someday. Highly unlikely, but hey it could happen….)

    To be objective, I also have to recognize that I may have some assumptions that are not borne out by reality. I have to recognize that my individual experience may not be easily generalized to many other people. I have to have some intellectual caution about using words like always, never, none, all, etc. That’s just being realistic about inductive thinking, going from the particulars to the general. I have to be clear with myself and others about what my operating definitions are: “to me, equality means ___,” or “by ‘feminism,’ I mean ____.”

    For example, I often post commentary with the assumption that I am having a rational conversation with someone who is looking to find some sort of truth. When, in fact, the other person is really there for some other compelling reason which transcends questions of objectivity, truth, or rational exchange of viewpoints. Silly me, bringing a bundt cake to a gunfight.

    • NickMostly says:

      Funny, I was wrong once as well. I think it was in 2007, and I didn’t remember the new Daylight Savings Time dates had gone into effect, so I was off by an hour in telling someone the time. I hope neither of us disagrees with the other, because it may lead to catastrophe. I have an easy way out of this though: if you just agree now that I’m always right, we’ll both be right from here on out.

    • NickMostly says:

      Also, to be a bit more precise, a falsifiable statement is one that can be shown to be true or – more importantly – false. I could, for example, make the claim that there is an invisible pink unicorn in my living room at this very moment, and that unicorn has properties such that it can’t be detected by any of our scientific methods. The only way you can perceive the invisible pink unicorn is by believing in its existence, at which point it will make its presence known to you.

      For most purposes, statements that aren’t falsifiable can be ignored. The late Christopher Hitchens once wrote, “what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence” which is purported to be (liberally) taken from the Latin, “quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.”

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Joanna. I don’t have to be afraid of you suing me. If I see you by the side of the road, I’ll stop.
    Hell’s bells. I waited for three hours in a blizzard with a woman in the car. Three mortal hours while the infjury accidents were taken care of and the wrecker and the cop could get to us. At night. Fortunately, my wife was with me/us.
    For you, I’ll make an exception. I might, anyway. But if I do, I’ll be taking a risk.

  5. Lisa:
    Joanna never meant to imply YOU had used those words, I’ve just been called that (and plenty of other things) publicly — all for helping to start a conversation about “good” and “men”. It’s been eye-opening.
    Oh I’m certain she didn’t mean me specifically. Its just that she was talking about pain and anger in that comment I thought it a good chance to comment on it but I didn’t want to just cut that part out so I figured I needed to say something towards it.

  6. Richard Aubrey says:

    Julie. I do help people, the woman in the rain being the first exception I can think of. Had my wife been with me, I’d have stopped.
    The time I didn’t have witnesses was sort of an accident. I stopped to help a woman with a flat tire. Found the nice, new, shiny, unused spare had large holes in it. Soft plugs in the sidewall. You don’t put soft plugs in the sidewall. Took it and her to a service station to see if the thing would hold air. Blew the soft plugs all over. Took her to a cut-rate tire shop I knew of. Got the new tire on the wheel, back to her car, got the tire on and insisted on hearing what the dealer said when she or her husband counseled with him.
    If she’d been of a different frame of mind, I’d have had plenty of opportunity to be up the creek.
    Didn’t expect the complications and if I had, I might have made provisions. She was a black woman and, seeing the Duke hoax, the narrative was right out there, waiting for a chump. Didn’t happen, but I get nervous thinking about it.

    Various folks talk about the necessity for men to “call out” other men. Here’s a scenario. Dorm or apartment or club or break room and a woman makes a passing reference to a fake assault charge. Every woman listening should say, with the greatest seriousness they can muster, “If I ever hear you’ve made a charge of assault, I’ll volunteer to testify for the defense that you’ve said you like to make this stuff up just for grits and shins.”

    Nah. Never happen. See feminist blogs about what to do with women who make maliciously false claims of assault or rape.

    • i don't believe you says:

      “Women can stop false rape”????
      Nah, not gonna happen!

    • Interesting that you said you’d stop if your wife were in the car. It is so evocative of my story about my father stopping because I was in the car.

      DB doesn’t want people being unjustly afraid, well neither do I? Why do you get to discriminate and I don’t? You don’t have to be afraid of me suing you if you let me in your car when I need help. So don’t assume I will.

      That’s FEAR CULTURE and we should rename it all, maybe. Fear of being raped, fear of being physically hurt, fear of being sued, fear of being slandered and libeled.

      And no, “Women can stop false rape” but the false claims of rape lead to disbelief of actual real rape victims. So women can stop rape by making it easier to prosecute people who DO rape but not claiming false rape. That’s why “YOU Can Stop Rape” is so effective on many levels. Everyone needs to play their part.

      • And no, “Women can stop false rape” but the false claims of rape lead to disbelief of actual real rape victims.
        I think that may be what bothers people when it comes to feminists talking about false rape claims. While false rape claims do in fact lead to a desbelief of actual claims of rape there seems to be a skipping over other victims with that line of thought. When talking about the victims of crimes most people talk about the actual victims of crimes. But when it comes to false claims of rape, a crime in itself, instead of talking about the people that were falsely accused (ie the victims of false rape claims, mostly men) the concern goes straight to the victims of actual rapes.

        To a lot a men that feels like a they and their experiences are being disregarded.

        False rape claims need to be treated like the actual crime that it is rather than being treated like an off shoot of rape claims. Just like rape false rape claims have an action (making a false accusation), a victim (the falsely accused), and a criminal (the false accuser). Its a crime in itself and trying to pretend that believing actual victims (mostly women) will make it magically resolve the problems of the falsely accused (mostly men) is seen as erasure. Its like telling those men that the only reason their lives were torn apart is because people don’t beleive women who are raped. Well if the only reason they had their lives torn apart is becuase people don’t believe women who are raped then doesn’t that line of logic mean that the women that falsely accused them would not have been believed and they would not have gone through such a terrible experience?

        • I have to agree with Danny here. When talking about false rape, I’ve seen some feminists simply cry victim again and try derail the conversation by saying well “if we stop rape we’ll stop false rape claims”, or real rape is more important to deal with, laws punishing false-rape accusers will scare off real victims, etc. If a law to punish false-accusers was brought in, even real victims who may not get justice in court should not be punished by that law. But which is better, potentially scare off a victim or actually put in place measures to discourage false accusations? It needs to be balanced but no one should get off lightly for false accusations, especially false accusations of child sexual abuse which have a scarlet letter effect no matter the judge’s finding. An accusation of rape is harmful instantly to the male, an accusation of child rape is a death sentence to the male.

          Do we simply say “False rape accusations occur less often than actual rape” and just ignore the FRA perps? Slap on the wrist, goodbye, have a nice day? Both are victims, both need support and we need punishment for those who are proven to make a false accusation of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is treated differently in society, especially when it involves children. It’s one of the worst things a reputation could have, vigilantes target them, they are trusted less around others and especially children. One of the most direly needed laws is the shut the F up until after conviction law, there should be a complete media blackout on names of the ACCUSED. If they aren’t guilty, they have a better chance at getting back to their life, if they are guilty then go all out, name n shame them.

          • Archy:
            …laws punishing false-rape accusers will scare off real victims, etc.
            Which is an odd belief. What other crime is there were people would advocate to not punish false accusers under the idea that punishing them would scare off victims of the crime said person is being falsely accused of?

            Do we stop criminalizing insurance fraud because people would be scared to enact their insurance poilicies when they really need it?

            … if they are guilty then go all out, name n shame them.
            And maybe this is the revenge in my talking but when that happens and its later shown that they really were innocent I wish there was some way to insure that their innocence is as widely published as their conviction.

        • DavidByron says:

          Actually falsely accusing someone of rape isn’t a crime is it? At best – and its really REALLY rare this happens – someone might be charged with wasting police time which is pretty much a slap on the wrist. Since the effects of false rape accusations are far worse than actual rape that’s a bit messed up.

          • You could easily sue the person who accused you for defamation of character or for slander/libel.

            Thing is, imagine the evidence they’d have to have to charge you with an actual crime for false accusation… Which is GOOD because there are probably many cases where you can’t prove rape, but that doesn’t mean it was a false accusation. If that immediately became a crime, there would be a lot of women in jail for not being able to “prove” it. Having to show evidence that there was an actual intent to commit a crime against a person by falsely accusing them is an important distinction.

            Either way, yes, the false accuser should be in big trouble. For everyone’s sake.

            • no man of importance says:

              “You could easily sue the person who accused you for defamation of character or for slander/libel. ”

              Hard to do that from prison. There are men in prison right now for the crime of rape that they did not commit. The False Rape Society documents new cases on a regular basis. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. Civil suits don’t seem to be much of a factor. Maybe you should learn something before making assumptions?

              What’s more, in prison there is a ranking, a hierarchy of prisoners. Guess what group ranks very, very low? Rapists. What do high ranking prisoners, typically violent felons who committed armed robbery, even murder, do to low ranking prisoners?

              They beat them. And they rape them. For real, violently, not “oh, he didn’t text me in the morning like he said he would and I was drunk so I was raped”. The kind of rape that feminists claim they oppose – violence, bruises, blood, missing teeth, broken bones. It happens. Over and over again.

              So right now, somewhere in America, a man may well being raped anally as a result of a false rape accusation.

              Feminists, in the aggregate, have no problem with false rape accusation. They downplay it, they minimize it, deny it, they even laugh at it. Therefore, feminists have no problem with innocent men in prison being anally raped.

              Therefore, feminists are opposed to the rape of women. But they have no problem with the rape of men. And that is one reason I oppose feminism. Not the only one. But I think it is a solid reason.

              • NickMostly says:

                I don’t believe Joanna was talking about wrongfully convicted people falsely accused of rape bringing a civil action; I believe she was talking about an allegation that was shown to be false (not merely unsuccessfully prosecuted) exposing the accuser to civil suit in addition to criminal charges of filing a false police report.

                • no man of consequence says:

                  “I believe she was talking about an allegation that was shown to be false (not merely unsuccessfully prosecuted) exposing the accuser to civil suit in addition to criminal charges of filing a false police report.”

                  It might be possible in theory. But it will never happen. The majority of false rape accusations are not even charged in criminal court with filing a false police report. Of course, filing a false police report is a misdemeanor at most anyway.

                  So a woman who is angry, or jealous, or bored, or for some other reason runs essentially no risk in a deliberately false accusation of rape. She’s not likely to be arrested for any crime. If she’s arrested, she’s not likely to be indicted. If she’s indicted, most likely she won’t have to go to trial. In the event of a trial, even if found guilty, jail time is not at all likely.

                  False rape accusation can send a man to prison for 5 or more years, and basically carries no cost for the woman who commits it. Feminists see no problem with this. What conclusion should be drawn about feminism?

                  • NickMostly says:

                    It might be possible in theory. But it will never happen.

                    Not true. It happened to my brother, his (ex) wife went to jail for it.

                    The majority of false rape accusations are not even charged in criminal court with filing a false police report.

                    Possibly true, but I suspect this is conjecture on your part.

                    Of course, filing a false police report is a misdemeanor at most anyway.

                    Also not true – the severity of the charge often matches the nature of the false report and the extent to which it hindered the peace officer. If you file a false report for a felony, you can be charged with felony false report to a peace officer.

                    So a woman who is angry, or jealous, or bored, or for some other reason runs essentially no risk in a deliberately false accusation of rape. She’s not likely to be arrested for any crime. If she’s arrested, she’s not likely to be indicted. If she’s indicted, most likely she won’t have to go to trial. In the event of a trial, even if found guilty, jail time is not at all likely.

                    Again, I don’t know the likelihood numbers, but given your other statements I suspect this is conjecture on your part, which isn’t to say it’s not close to reality.

                    False rape accusation can send a man to prison for 5 or more years, and basically carries no cost for the woman who commits it. Feminists see no problem with this. What conclusion should be drawn about feminism?

                    There is a difference between not sufficiently condemning false reports of rape and being okay with the conviction of an innocent man. You may not see that difference, but it’s there.

                    • no man of consequence says:

                      Go to the False Rape Society and see for yourself how many cases there are, and what kinds of wrist slaps false rape accusers receive as “punishment”, if they receive any punishment at all. I offer support for my claims.

                      Feminists have no problem with false rape, therefore they have no problem with innocent men in prison. There is no difference. You can pretend there is, but there is no difference. Therefore feminism supports the rape of men. Given the way feminists have dehumanized men for 30 or 40 years, I suppose it should not be a surprise.

                      But do not demand that I endorse my own dehumanization, that will not work.

                    • DavidByron says:

                      Why don’t you give some more details about your brother’s ex-wife.

                    • NickMostly says:

                      I don’t want to give too many details (it’s not my story to tell) but it seems like an all too famliar story of divorce and a custody battle. She called police one day and said he beat and raped her. He was arrested and spent the next two days in jail, but his alibi was solid (wasn’t even in the state at the time). The judge and police were not amused. She got 5 years, served 3.

                    • NickMostly says:

                      Feminists have no problem with false rape, therefore they have no problem with innocent men in prison. There is no difference. You can pretend there is, but there is no difference. Therefore feminism supports the rape of men.

                      This is the allegation you haven’t supported – that feminists have no problem with false rape claims. It may not be their issue, but that’s not saying the same thing as they are fine with it.
                      I must admit, it’s tiring to engage with claims that are both repugnant and logically incoherent. I don’t know where all of your pain and anger come from, but it doesn’t sound healthy to me.

          • NickMostly says:

            Of course it varies by country, state, and locality but it is a crime. Usually the charge is “filing a false police report,” although there are other statutes that can be brought to bear. Because it’s a false report the accuser is also exposed to civil action by the accused in most jurisdictions.

            Please explain what you mean when you say the effects of a false report are far worse than those of actual rape. What effects do you mean, and how are the qualitatively or quantitatively worse?

            • Me? If I said that, about the false report being worse than rape, I mis spoke, but I think you’re talking about someone else… just not seeing it now.

              Very little is worse than rape. Even false accusation, though that has horrible fall-outs. I know most of you aren’t fans of Hugo Schwyzer but he’s going through HELL and being called a rapist based upon that article “The Accidental Rapist” (you can find it here, I believe) where he admitted something I think most of us would NOT call rape. His whole career is being yanked from him… That movement against Hugo is to me the single strongest reason I would STOP calling myself a feminist. I can hear compelling arguments about why Hugo is screwing something up, I may even agree, but this witch hunting shit these RadfFem Internet A-hole Feminists are doing is disgusting.

              Sigh. I still won’t let them take my feminism from me. Not yet, at least.

              Anyway yes, sorry, off-topic. No I do not think false accusations are worse than rape. Rape is HORRIFIC.

              • NickMostly says:

                No, I was replying to DB, as were you it appears, only your reply beat mine by 3 minutes.

                DB makes the following claim that I would request he clarify:

                Since the effects of false rape accusations are far worse than actual rape that’s a bit messed up.

                Does he mean a false rape accusation that is prosecuted successfully (i.e. an innocent person is in prison) or a false rape accusation that was exposed as a falsehood but nonetheless has had terrible consequences for the accused. Are these “effects” worse for the individual who was falsely accused, for men and/or women, or for society as a whole? What makes them far worse than the effects of rape?

                • DavidByron says:

                  I meant just being accused even without the police getting involved, let alone being convicted. Obviously if the false accusation leads to a conviction that is thousands of times worse than a rape.

                  No I just meant the usual false rape accusation case which doesn’t even get to the police (and therefore is no sort of crime at all, even in theory). Some girl spreading it about that a guy raped her.

                  Why worse? Well the immediate emotional and traumatic impact seems much the same as with rape. There’s the same potential for violence to the victim but in rape once its done it’s over. With a false accusation it’s never over and it’s not just a bad person or persons who wronged you once but all of society who are recruited on to the false accusers side and who can keep attacking you, legally, violently, emotionally … forever.

                  Seems like an easy choice to me.

              • no man of consequence says:

                Hugo is going through the same thing that thousands of other men have gone through, going back over 25 years. Go to the False Rape Society and see for yourself.

                This is feminism at work. If you call yourself a feminist, then you are part of the machine that is grinding up Hugo. You don’t like that, obviously, but that is the reality. The laws that are being brought to bear on him were passed by feminists just like you, with support of feminists just like you. You can say “Oh, I didn’t mean for this to happen” but that doesn’t mean a thing. You supported the laws, now you don’t like they way they are used? Doesn’t mean a thing. The law is the law.

                This situation is what feminism looks like. That’s reality. Deal with it.

              • I really don’t like comparing crimes, rape is bad, false rape accusations are bad, psychological abuse is bad, physical abuse is bad. There’s no black and white with violent crimes, they are horrible to commit but I object when people try to paint rape as the worst thing in existence, I’m sure the torture prisoners of war faced is extremely damaging and quite a few other crimes are. A violent beating will most likely have a severe impact on your life, a rape will most likely have a severe impact on your life, being screwed over in a divorce can have a severe impact on your life, being falsely accused of a sex crime can have a severe impact on your life.

                Why do we need to paint one worse than the other? Is a gun held to your head and someone is saying “choose the violence that will be inflicted on you” and no one chooses rape but instead a beating?

                I dislike what he has said in the past especially anything to do with male suffering as he has a knack for slapping the old “women get it worse” line in even on the cdc stats one where the 12 months was pretty much equal….I think the radfems are more angry over the attempted murder part, and what’s sad is that I heard a radfem tell me she thought this site was worse because Hugo left and I wonder if she too is now preparing the pitchfork. Oh how minds can change in a month!

                As much as I dislike him for some of the utter garbage he has written, I feel sorry for him over that wrath of the radfems but I can understand why they are angry. Hugo was from my impression, quite well respected amongst feminist communities so to hear the terrible stuff of his past he had done probably felt sickening and like a betrayal. Remember that many are probably abuse victims themselves. A past like isn’t going to be accepted especially working with youth who need role models to look up to and not have skeletons like that n the closet. It’s just too controversial for most people to handle I’m afraid. Forgiveness is hard, and the demons of our past can bite us in the ass.

                This isn’t the first and won’t be the last witchhunt, the Duke false rape case is clear evidence of that. Anger on the internet with the ease of googling people, finding their articles to tear apart, to comment with vitriol is extremely easy and it’s extremely easy to find sites where you can mix with like-minded people. I think this just amplifies the effect since the differing opinions have most likely been moderated/banned.

                • @ archy

                  “Why do we need to paint one worse than the other? Is a gun held to your head and someone is saying “choose the violence that will be inflicted on you” and no one chooses rape but instead a beating? ”

                  It is interesting when people attempt to use “Thought Experiments” with none linear – none mechanistic systems.

                  Einstein was able to use “Thought Experiments” in looking at light and relativity, because the systems were fixed and easy to explain – they are linear and mechanistic. When you attempt to apply the same rational ways to none linear and none mechanistic systems you get Chaos. It is a fundamental aspect of nature.

                  People like Simple Pendulums – they are easy to grasp – But show them a Compound pendulum and they get uneasy – it’s still a pendulum but it has moved from Linear to none Linear – and whilst it is fascinating to look at it can also be highly disturbing. People attempt to predict what will happen and can’t. They see it as bizarre, and yet it is just following basic laws of nature – even if in a chaotic and none linear manner.

                  It’s a bit like Star Trek – It’s a Pendulum Jim, But Not As We Know It! P^)

                  Have a look at a complex pendulum and see how you feel! Complex Pendulum Animation – Wikipedia

                  Ask someone if they would rather be raped or beaten up and they will treat it as linear. But if they choose say rape and then you add that it’s a gang, it all becomes very complex and chaos descends. Which is better, gang rape of being beaten up by a gang? Will the rape itself be physically violent as well as rape – will each gang member just rape, as in penetrate, or will it also involve anal rape and oral rape – will it be one at a time or even simultaneous rapes? Will the beating involve a sexual element, such as physically attacking the genitals or even verbal attack of a sexualised nature – will it be ten individual assaults or multiple and simultaneous – will the assaults be graded as to levels of physical violence or unlimited – will the levels of injury controlled and limited to just bruising or is a broken neck allowed, serious brain injury, is that an option?

                  It all becomes very NONE Linear. People even try to make it linear by saying it’s option A or B – and then someone says I choose option C, as in I want neither thank you. You get the response to try and enforce the linear – there is No Option C – and some may even say if there is no Option C then I choose option Z which is to kill myself and avoid A or B. Trying to enforce Linear thinking all too often just leads to Chaos!

                  Which is better being raped 10 times even with grave violence, or shot in the head 10 times with an explosive round and no violence – but the trigger set to fire if someone passes a door and trips a light beam on the other side of the world and has no knowledge of the consequences? There it is easy – death tends to make it very linear.

                  I was asked many years ago If I feared being raped – my answer “No”! This shocked many people and even caused uproar. I was accused of being mad – insane – and a lot worse including a most depraved sexual deviant. Only One person asked why I would say “no”! As I explained, It was not the rape that was to be feared, but how it was done, the level of potential violence, the outcome, the long term effects, physically, mentally, emotionally – It’s easy to reduce a complex matter to a simple event and reduce the complexity to a single issue to be afraid of and judge else by – it’s the complexity beyond that is were the real issues lie.

                  Should you be afraid of guns? If you choose to – but I’m more afraid of the complexity of who has the gun in their hand and reducing it all down to just a gun prevents people from dealing with the real complexity and even acting in their own interests – and even the interests of others – both in the moment of acting and also long term.

                • DavidByron says:

                  “Why do we need to paint one worse than the other?”

                  Because we were discussing sentencing.

              • Joanna – it is not a single article or net post that have caused many to question the conduct, attitudes and history of one person.

                There are many incidents, many issues, many articles, the ways matters have been and are viewed by that person, many revisions to change what has been said by that person, many versions and narrations of that person’s life, many omissions, many additions, many disclosures of other people’s lives and privacy by that person….

                And many voices asking on point questions about all the issues that are not feminist.

              • A false accusation of any crime is equal to the actual crime committed. Accusing someone of murder is just as bad as murdering someone. Accusing someone of rape is just as bad as raping them. Because then they face the punishment equal to a crime they did not commit, by your hand.

                To claim that falsely accusing someone of rape isn’t as bad as raping someone is selfish and shortsighted. It doesn’t take into account the punishment that someone will endure based on your false allegation. It assumes that punishment isn’t equal to the crime.

      • @ Joanna – The “YOU Can Stop Rape” slogan is infinitely better than “Men Can Stop Rape” and beyond infinitely better than “Only Men Can Stop Rape”.

        Unfortunately, due to mismanagement of message, advertising and bad slogan writing by what I would charitably refer to as well meaning amateurs, the “YOU Can Stop Rape” message was damaged before it was even adopted.

        If it had arrived first, as It unquestionably should have done, it would not have engendered a Gender Polarity, which anyone with any concept of basic advertising and marketing knows is a high value and fixed USP – Unique Selling Point. Re-branding to a less than USP position always damages the market share! I would estimate it will take a decade to recover, even if that is even possible.

        Given how the Internet drives language, and how early adopters of the wrong message have speared it so widely across the net, affecting search engine dynamics, page rankings and output across multiple service providers such as Content Aggregation Services – I fear that the reality is that the message is lost before it even starts. The message is so far behind it will never catch up.

      • DavidByron says:

        Yes it’s about the same from the point of view of the offender. It’s different from the point of view of the victim because of the volume of incidents. Just about no man is going around thinking like Richard, and none are told to. It seems like most women seem to think that way and it is a position that is promoted.

        While you could argue that false rape accusations are bad for prosecuting rape, the feminist movement has embraced exactly the opposite strategy of never ever admitting that false rapes happen or that they are a significant issue. Not even while discussing very high profile cases of false accusation such as the Duke case.

        • David – it’s not even that false rape claims are not addressed, it’s that Situational False Rape Claims are not addressed, but then again that would be the thin edge of the wedge on some of the Tropes being reduced or debunked.

          I still find the whole US focus around rape quite bizzare. It’s the “Rape Is Rape” banner being applied even when people have admitted that they made false report in an attempt to avoid other Social Pressures and Conditions.

          But then, again when emotions are involved reason does go out of the window and both deafness and irrationality descend!

          It all remands me of “recognition threshold for the incongruous” and the work of Bruner & Postman – Harvard (1949). If people have decided what has been presented agrees with reality as they understand it, they will identify it as correct even when evidently not correct – it’s only by prolonging exposure, increasing levels of exposure and increased clarity to the issue, that does not agree with the persons reality, that can facilitate change – but the incongruity causes great distress, cognitive dissonance and a profound inability to see, recognise or articulate the incongruity. There are four recognised reactions:

          1. Dominance reaction – It is essentially “perceptual denial”, the issue is ignored and denied to exist, nothing that can articulate the incongruence is allowed to penetrate and be assimilated. You will often see this on the net – Drive by – ignoring information – avoidance of exposure – even the ad hominem to move away from the issue and avoid the incongruity .
          2. Compromise – the person starts to shift and re-frame the issue, even to the point of changing whole underlying assumptions and ideas to support and make the existing belief valid. This can lead to quite bizarre claims and assertions which the person attempts to rationalise the shifts and which again can become even more bizarre. It can also lead to multiple fallacies and highly emotional reactions.
          3. Disruption – the person quite literally continues with the belief or idea, whilst at the same time claiming they can’t explain it or the incongruence that is evident. At this stage psychological distress and emotional distress can be more than evident and high level. They can literally present alternate realities and argue that these do exists even when they are aware of the absurdity of the claims.
          4. Recognition – the person recognises the incongruous and it able to act on it logically and rationally, if they choose to, and then resolve the incongruous and integrate it into reality and a new world view.

          Even at the final stage of recognition there is no guarantee that a person will, as it were, change their mind. If there is a high level of emotional attachment to the Subject and Incongruity the person will address this by removing themselves from the challenge to the incongruity as a defence strategy. That same strategy of withdrawal and Reification can occur at any stage. The psychological defence mechanisms and tactics used can be wide ranging and highly deceptive.

          One of the most bizarre manifestations is when a person has in fact dealt with the incongruity, rationalised it and integrated it into a new world view – and then denies that they ever held a different view in the first place. As they say – there is nowt as queer as folk! P^)

  7. Richard Aubrey says:

    It’s nice that JS and DB have started to communicate. But that’s an issue internal to the Project. What about leaving somebody to freeze? That’s the point.
    I’ve helped women in various circumstances and, now that I think about it, there have always been witnesses, except in one case where I was so charged up with adrenalin–God bless the age of all balls and no judgment–that i didn’t and didn’t think about it until later.
    I have, recently, left a woman walking down the road in sheeting rain in a business suit. Didn’t even slow down. Saw my life and family and career going down the tubes, even if I were not charged. “Something odd about that. Aubrey must have had a hell of a lawyer.” Never get your rep back.
    If I were to stop by myself to help a woman with a flat tire–why should I, when women are so empowered and strong and so forth?–I think my first goal, before approaching her, would be to flag down a third party who could sit nice and warm in the car and be a witness.
    I would prefer it not be this way, but it wasn’t my idea.

    Somebody, maybe on TGMP, made an observation about false rape claims. If you have a stoplight and pedestrian crossing–I think I’m close to his explanation–and one hundred people an hour cross the street during the business day. And two are hit by cars each hour, 2% wouldn’t seem all that “rare”, would it?
    As I say, this wasn’t my idea, but it’s the world I live in and failing to take notice of it would be stupid.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      I’m replying to you Richard, but this comment isn’t really directed at you, if that makes sense. It’s general.

      I don’t suppose anyone is required to help a stuck person on the side of the road, though some states do have Good Samaritan laws on the books. And many of us pass people by every day that we see on the side of the road. I suppose the middle ground would be to call the police and alert them that a person is broken down, in trouble etc and will need a tow. That way one doesn’t have to risk their own safety.

      I do believe that people of all genders have found themselves in bad straits (assault etc). And I do believe that there are false accusations out there. But I don’t want to live in a world where everyone decides to let everyone else fuck off due to whatever this particular emotion is. Self preservation? Paranoia (and I mean from women and men both)?

      A sense of “me firstedness?”

      I keep saying it, and it seems rational to me. We’ve got three choices-
      1) Trust completely blindly
      2) Be completely paranoid
      3) Assess each situation as best we can with the information on hand, make decisions with a level of empathy and altruism (while holding a piece of caution in place) and then making the best of those decisions. Which includes dealing with bad situations when they happen, and also checking your own stuff when bad stuff DOESN”T happen and you expected it.

      3) would include accepting help from a stranger given the risks are low, or helping a stranger in some way (calling the police, getting other drivers to stop so there is a crowd, etc).

      People do help each other all the time. And it’s a good thing.

      • YES Julie!

        The other day my husband and two little boys and I were walking through the Target parking lot. Two girls, probably 17 or 19 were struggling to change a flat. I said, “We should help them.” Which of course meant *he* should help them and I would stand around and make jokes and observations about society as a whole, as is my role in this relationship 😉 …

        Anyway so my husband was helping and teaching my kids what he was doing and everything. It was just so NOT a big deal. He would’ve done it even if I wasn’t there. But here are the things these girls (hopefully) assessed before accepting his help: public setting, daylight, man with family, and then probably something about his nature which is blindingly pure and almost aww-shucks (how did I marry an aww-shucks husband? one does wonder…).

        Now, does him being with me and the kids make any difference to how safe he is? No, not in general, but in that setting it does. SURE there’s a possibility that he’s going to try to rape and murder them and that me and my 7 and 4 year old will help. But it’s awfully damn slim.

        I hope that they are assessing situations based upon all factors, sex being just a small one (if any at all), because a woman who seemed unstable or shifty could’ve been way worse, out to rob them, hurt them, and/or steal their car. And to trust the woman over this man with a family would be stupid.

        This is the common sense Julie’s saying. And we need to teach this to our kids.

        • NickMostly says:

          It appears we’ve convinced ourselves we have more control than we actually have. I think that illusion of control is really just another manifestation of fear; a belief that through small behaviors we can drastically change our exposure to harm. In turn, that leads us to be distrustful of each other, and to treat each other as potential threats.

          This might seem like the right decision for ourselves, and for our families. I suspect that it actually does much more harm and undermines our goals for security. It creates a mentality of “us vs. the world” and prevents us from acknowledging and connecting with others.
          This in turn leads to alienation and ultimately enables the type of antisocial behaviors we’re trying to prevent.

        • Joanna:
          I hope that they are assessing situations based upon all factors, sex being just a small one (if any at all), because a woman who seemed unstable or shifty could’ve been way worse, out to rob them, hurt them, and/or steal their car. And to trust the woman over this man with a family would be stupid.
          Unfortunately people do just that. And this is now you end up with:

          1. Male criminials that have female accomplices sometimes for the express purpose of lowering the defenses of potential victims.

          2. People literally think that women simply cannot commit certain crimes. For example if you recall back in 2009 or so when Shandra Cantu (don’t recall specific age but she was elementary school age) went missing and was later found sexaully assaulted and killed. The cops spent days focusing only on male suspects. Turns out the lead suspect ended up being a woman, Melissa Huckaby. And even after she was arrested people who supported her were saying that she was innocent because, “No woman, especially a mother, would never do such a thing.”

          3. Just about every crime drama show on TV having at least one episode where the crime happens the detectives assume a male perp and even refer to the perp as “him” and then about part way through the episode there is a big shocking, “OMFG! The criminal is a woman!” moment. Afterward there is almost always a “I can’t believe a woman would so such a thing.” moment as well.

          Sure one could argue that since women are less likely to commit violent crimes than men it makes sense to look for male suspects first. But when that presumption gets to the point where female suspects aren’t even considered in crimes that don’t have any gender specific evidence (like traces of semen or some other DNA that turns out to be male) its gone too far.

        • DavidByron says:

          I thought the point Richard made was that men should avoid helping women because of the risk of them subsequently suffering from some sort of false accusation of sexual misconduct.

  8. I am yet to come across a single characteristic that distinguishes feminists from non-feminists.
    Why some people take the label of feminism? What does it mean to them?

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      An interest in women’s rights is common to all feminists. Whether they’re willing to fight for men’s rights or not is another question.

      • Sometimes I feel that even women’s rights are not common to all feminists, they are just trying to create some feminist utopia.

        • Rapses, what does this “feminist utopia” look like in your conjecture?

          • @Joanna

            To further my argument on feminist’s complete contempt for women’s rights and attempt to create a feminist utopia, I would like to highlight a famous quote by very prominent feminist Simone de Beauvoir.
            “No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”
            Examining the closely the words used in this quote, it hardly seems to be advocating for more choices for women. The tone of this quote is rather dictatorial.
            The book “Le Deuxième Sexe (Eng: The Second Sex),” by Simone de Beauvoir describes the feminist utopia which would be something very similar to the communist rule of the Soviet Union.

            • i don't believe you says:

              Lol. I am familiar with that quote as well. It’s very damning and is impossible to spin though feminists try anyway.

              • She was a reactionary. I’ve never said, “Yes! I agree with de Beauvoir!” it’s almost an historical text at this point. Has almost no relevance in the movement except as history now.

                The MRM is young, still, and there will be people in a generation or two who denounce what the earliest founders were doing. Hell, there are people denouncing what the founders are doing NOW. That doesn’t discredit a movement.

                • @Joanna
                  If I try a bit harder I can cite hundreds of quotes from several prominent feminist leaders and theorists which are not only anti-men but also hostile to women and children, oxymoron and nonsensical. Probably, you would disagree with them and still stick with feminism. Therefore, I request you to kindly provide me with a clear and definite boundary separating feminism and non-feminism.

                • “The MRM is young, still, and there will be people in a generation or two who denounce what the earliest founders were doing. Hell, there are people denouncing what the founders are doing NOW. That doesn’t discredit a movement.”

                  Tell that to that “boobs” guy

  9. ‘JS: And anti-feminists need to stay away from saying things about “all feminists” because that frustrates us just the same way.’

    David said ‘fair enough’ to that point.

    But I don’t think it is fair enough. I am an anti-feminist because I disagree with the whole of feminism. If I didn’t, I would call myself a feminist and just explain what kind. So if I disagree with the whole of feminism I also disagree with ‘all feminists’ and feel able to generalise about them and their views.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      There’s the thing though, Warren Farrell calls himself a feminist, do you disagree with all of his arguments? Alot of them are the same as yours. I know (a few) feminists who absolutely accept male oppression and female privilege. Presumably you don’t disagree with them?

      • Feminist has become such an ambiguous term that it can mean anything and anybody can start calling herself/himself a feminist which muddles the discussion over feminism.

      • I don’t think Farrell identifies as a feminist anymore. I’d be surprised if he did. If he does then I am still not a feminist I think he is misguided to use that term in the name of gender equality and men’s ‘rights’

    • QRG:

      What “whole” of feminism do you disagree with?

      What’s so funny about being online is that I feel I must qualify this question by saying “I”m seriously asking, not leading”…

      But I am genuinely curious.

      • I disagree that women’s ‘rights’ need to be prioritised over men’s. So I disagree with the ‘fem’ prefix to ‘feminism’.

        I disagree that there is such a thing as ‘patriarchy’

        I disagree that women suffer more violence in society than men.

        I disagree that the gender pay gap, what’s left of it, is the result of sexism any more than people’s individual choices in life.

        I disagree that men need to always be answerable to feminism’s version of them.

        • That is a good list and really interesting.

          And I totally agree about the gap in hiring and the way that people’s choices are now affecting outcomes.

          I do believe there is still a patriarchal system in place that impacts women now, but I think that is changing and will change even more, until Patriarchy is extinct. And soon. Due to feminism.

          I agree that men’s rights shouldn’t be deprioritized.

          I think the violence numbers are very complicated, probably beyond our understanding. All issues of violence need to be addressed equally, but one reason women can speak about battering and rape is because of the work that the Women’s Movement does.

          And men don’t need to always be answerable to feminism’s view of them, but feminism probably needs to shift its view on men rather than go away.

          I guess my challenge is this: Should we stop worrying about colon cancer and funding it, studying it individually when other cancers collectively are also important? Shouldn’t funding and study of cancer just be one big umbrella? Why do I, personally, need to take on the issue of Colon Cancer when I should be addressing all and any cancers at once?

          • Julie Gillis says:

            Should be both/and as different cancers behave/are caused by/develop in different ways.

          • DavidByron says:

            I think “patriarchy” is a bad term but if you mean by that the Victorian era gender roles then IMO feminism isn’t and never did try to eliminate them but instead used them and enhanced them to achieve its goals. As a result I would say feminism has become the face of “patriarchy” as you put it. Again it’s a terrible term.

            • NickMostly says:

              I think patriarchy was a useful term that has since become dilute to the point of being nearly meaningless. But if we narrow its scope a bit to describe a society organized around the principle of men (specifically white, land-holding men) holding power to the near exclusion of all others, I do think it apropos.

              Over time that power imbalance has shrunk (due in no small part to the efforts of early feminists), and comparatively the privileges men have today are but shadows of what they once were. While some privileges remain, most that do appear to be largely due to lingering effects (e.g. there’s no law preventing women from becoming CEOs, but antiquated attitudes keep some women out of the job).

              At the outset feminism did (and still does, theoretically) have as its goal a more egalitarian society. The idea that “Women Are People Too” is more than mere platitude. But women are people too, and this is one problem with feminism as a movement. It has its rifts, its factions, and its extremists. And while in the main feminists try to pursue a more egalitarian society, they do so having been socialized in the society they are attempting to change. Meanwhile the more radical elements are pursuing an altogether different agenda, one that is explicitly about inverting the balance of power rather than equalizing it.

              It shouldn’t come as a surprise that women are at both extremes – at one policing the gender norms in society, and at the other trying to transform those norms to their advantage. After all, they’re just people.

              • DavidByron says:

                What “privileges remain”?
                You understand how insulting that is to keep up with that?

                The word “patriarchy” is a good way to spread hatred and division between men and women, which presumably is why it is in use by feminists so much, but if you want equality and peace you’d never use it because it’s a taunt at men and an invitation towards women to hate men.

                • NickMostly says:

                  As with many terms that come out of academia, their colloquial use becomes problematic. Things like “patriarchy” and “male gaze” have specific and valid meanings in a gender theory class, but become weaponized when used in civil discourse. Instead of discussing the ways societies might be organized, and how our own has changed, the terms are often used to shut down an argument and dismiss the other’s point of view. “Check your privilege” is just a shorter way of saying, “fuck you, I’m not interested in understanding your point of view or helping you understand mine.”

                  Do you deny that Western civilization was founded along patriarchal principles? I haven’t presumed that to be your belief. If we are quibbling about when people use the term “patriarchy” I think it’s a lost cause. It’s out there, people are going to use it (good and bad), and I think the better approach is probably to reframe the discussion when it’s encountered. That’s why I see the issue as being one of not whether or not there is a patriarchy, but rather what vestiges of that patriarchy remain, how important they are, and who benefits.

                  For example, alimony is one of the remnants of our patriarchal common law origins. With women unable to work (except in that oldest profession) and unable to own land, a husband that divorced his wyfe was required to pay for her keep unless and until some other man were to marry her (which was not permissible if you were Catholic, but that’s another story). Until very recently, here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts permanent alimony was the default judgement, almost always against the man, even if the wife was able to work, even if there were no kids involved, even if the wife was living with and supported by her boyfriend, even if the wife was now earning more than her former husband. In fact, there was a case recently where a man wanted to retire and a judge ruled he was required to keep paying his wife alimony, even though they had split all of the assets 50/50 (including the retirement accounts), even though he had been paying her alimony for 35 years when only having been married for 5. Something that had been conceived as a way to level the playing field in a patriarchal society suddenly becomes skewed in one that is moving away from those origins.

                  I don’t think it’s productive to discuss patriarchy from the perspective of whether women still have it worse than men, or if perhaps it’s now been reversed. This sort of “Oppression Olympics” only serves to create more division between us, rather than bringing us together to work on common problems. (This was a common problem among my black and latino friends, jockeying to see who had it worse rather than working together to make it better.) But I do find it useful to look at where structural sexism has existed and continues to exist in our society, so that we can understand its origins and reduce inequity. Part of that work will undoubtedly mean revisiting family law which was one of the few areas that favored women in a society that was organized around the needs of men.

                  • DavidByron says:

                    “patriarchy” doesn’t exist and never did exist. It’s like saying to me surely you must agree that the Jews run Hollywood? Well no I don’t agree and as I find it very offensive. It’s a term of hate created by feminists.

                    Now you claimed that men had privileges so what are they? You claim society is organised around the needs of men and you keep making offensive remarks like that constantly so put up or shut up. I’m a man. Where’s my privilege?

                    And don’t pull that rubbish about “oh patriarchy hurts men too”. A law like the one you mention would only be surviving because of feminist influence shoring it up. It’s because of feminism that the US SC doesn’t recognise sexism against men in that sort of law. If the sexes were reversed it would be thrown out as many older laws were that reflected the realities of centuries past. Why didn’t that happen here? Feminism. Not “patriarchy” which doesn’t exist except as a tool of feminist propaganda.

                    • NickMostly says:

                      I’m really not sure what Joanna likes about you, because I don’t see any good faith effort on your part to engage in dialog; all I see is you angrily asking me to defend something I didn’t write. Where did I say “patriarchy hurts men too?” Where did I say you have privilege? Quote my words back at me please. I’m trying to agree with you that the discourse is all wrong and you’re too busy erecting straw men to see it.

                      Here’s what I did say. I said western civilization (that would be Europe and the US) was (past tense which implies something that happened in the past) organized around men. There were laws and customs that said only men could inherit land, only men could hold non-domestic jobs, only men could vote, only men could own property and wealth. Those things are simply historical fact (and in some Middle Eastern societies they are also the present reality). Those things may no longer be true in our society, but if you are denying they ever were then there really is no way we can have any type of conversation. I may as well spend my time arguing with Young Earth Creationists, Moon Landing deniers, and birthers (and believe me, they’re much more entertaining partners than ranting anti-feminists).

                      As for your claim that “patriarchy” is a “term of hate created by feminists” that’s also demonstrably false. It’s not even a matter of interpretation or that the word is of questionable parentage. Good god, it’s over four hundred years old and the best selling book of all time is the very embodiment of it’s definition. It’s not even like patriarchy was something that only existed centuries ago. Do you even know when the 19th amendment to the US Constitution was ratified? I must say I’m at a loss to explain your shocking lack of reading comprehension, apparent ignorance of recent history let alone Judeo-Christian history, and remarkable inability to Google.

                      I don’t know why you’re angry, but you’ve made certain that I don’t care either. You seem preoccupied with hating on feminism and seeing it as the great evil tool of the oppressor keeping you down. Sadly I don’t have time to help people afflicted with rage-induced myopia, but good luck with it and I hope it works out for you.

                    • Okay men. First, I like you both very much. Nick, you’ve been blowing my mind lately with comments and this one is no exception.

                      Second, I don’t always agree with David and in this case I deeply disagree about patriarchy. YES patriarchy exists! You can’t say it doesn’t exist, even if it just exists in one family or in other cultures, it is REAL! There are matriarchies, too.

                      To call out patriarchy as never having existed is being extremist and not realistic. Oppression exists, this form of oppression did exist. No one’s saying women didn’t benefit from it to some degree, and it shouldn’t be used as a weapon against men now, but it existed.

                      But you both agree that bringing patriarchy into a conversation now and to use it as a way to “win” or to belittle men or make them feel guilty, that isn’t right.

                      You guys aren’t that far from agreeing. You actually agree on a lot. And I’m sorry that this contention arose.

        • i don't believe you says:

          Very nice list.

    • DavidByron says:

      I kind of explained better what I meant by that in reply to the first comment on this article.

      I absolutely agree that you can characterise feminism as a movement. What’s more, feminists do it all the time. Every time they say feminism is about equality.

      But the other thing that’s going on here is that it is really hard to not take it personally. It’s really hard to NOT think “well if they think feminism is X then they are saying that I am X”. And it’s harder because, yes, there is some personal culpability, and yes, people are telling you that you need to change your views. And also people do sometimes say “All feminists are X” when they mean it as a short hand for “considered as a group, all feminists are X”. That is a common English usage.

      So let’s say you believe that “feminism hurts men”. Another way to say that is “feminists hurt men”. That can sound a lot like “So if you are a feminist that means you like to go around hurting men”. But that was not what was intended by saying “feminism hurts men”, and it isn’t actually true. Someone gave the example of Warren Farrell. If he does still call himself a feminist then I wish he’d quit, but I am not prepared to say “Warren Farrell hurts men”.

      So basically “all feminists are X” is an ambiguous phrasing. Is the author describing individuals or a collective? MRAs probably intend to mean the latter and feminists tend to understand the former.

  10. John Anderson says:

    Two of the memories I had of my youth was watching a fragment of a seminar and reading an interview. One thing they had in common was that the person conducting the seminar was a woman as was the person being interviewed. The other thing they had in common was that they both brought up the concept of courage.

    They didn’t preach the false courage that my friends and I practiced. We often got into fights where we were significantly numerically disadvantaged. We were kick boxing, weight lifters. We knew we would win and usually did. We never lost as a group. I lost a fight when I got jumped by eight guys. Had three on the ground, but forgot about the one behind me. I hurt for about three days, mostly day two when I barely got out of bed.

    Was I scared? No, does that mean that I was courageous? No, there was an odd detached calm of recognizing that I wasn’t getting out of the situation (it was a mile away from my neighborhood and the worst thing that could happen was getting run down from behind) and the formulation of a plan to win the fight. Master Chang always said that if you stepped on the mat thinking you’ll lose, you have already lost. To this day, it irritates me to have forgotten about the guy behind me.

    That wasn’t the courage they were talking about. They were talking about the courage to become vulnerable, the courage to trust and the courage to forgive. I wish I remembered who they were so I could give them the proper credit, but I think that the concept and conversation is too important to allow that to derail it. The concept was that in order to truly forgive someone, at some level we needed to trust that they weren’t making amends just to stay out of trouble and were secretly plotting their revenge.

    I think that dialogue starts with trust and trust starts with courage.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Wow, I love that point John!

      “Dialogue starts with trust and trust starts with courage.”

    • Awesomeness:

      They were talking about the courage to become vulnerable, the courage to trust and the courage to forgive.

    • “To this day, it irritates me to have forgotten about the guy behind me.”
      Something I felt from your comment is a sense of male competition, that drive to win ALWAYS, never lose, that losers are seen as weak and winners are seen as great. It’s a side note of course but it does illustrate that drive men face (women may face it too but I only know the male experience mostly) and how troubling it can be. That false sense of courage lands you getting into fights to prove your courage, am I right? That desire to prove yourself causes sooo many fights and we really do need to teach people it’s actually ok to lose, ok to be vulnerable, it’s ok (from the courage standpoint, violence itself isn’t ok) that you got beat up by 8 guys or 1 because you’re human and humans win some fights, lose some fights ESPECIALLY against the odds like that.

      The courage to forgive, hell yes, and probably one I find the hardest. Sooo many fights are from that lack of forgiveness in humans. The courage to trust, again, sooo many fights and problems are directly caused by fear, preemptive strikes, a feeling of needing to control the people that you fear.

      “They were talking about the courage to become vulnerable, the courage to trust and the courage to forgive. ”
      That is most definitely awesome as Joanna says. Thank-you. 😀

  11. This was an excellent discussion. Congratulations to both participants, and especially to Joanna for recognizing and acknowledging that some assumptions are ‘baked into’ seemingly obvious and accepted “truths” which actually should be challenged and re-examined.

    • When I meet people who say “This is truth. If you don’t accept it, I cannot converse with you,” I feel that person doesn’t want a discussion, they just want a billboard to advertise their beliefs.

      If I believe something is true, I can hear everything David says and think about it. I’m not scared to think about it. Sometimes David’s right, and I think, “Man, I think David Byron is right!” and it’s a little scary. Other times I think, “I really disagree with David here.” But I still like him and respect him.

      He said the same thing, above. He wants to be challenged.

  12. I find it interesting that there has been a tacit admission of what is referred to as Trigger words phrases exist and get used – which in fact are “Thought Terminating Clichés”.

    A thought-terminating cliché is a short, definitive-sounding expression thrown into a debate to end all discussion or thought about the topic of that debate. It is used in totalitarian societies to quell dissent and more generally to mask the fact that the person using it cannot mount an effective argument or effectively address the counter-argument.

    Some examples that play out on GMP

    … there is overwhelming evidence…
    … You’re a rape apologist…
    … that’s a strawman argument…
    … I have read a study that says….

    There are so many and they are being used with increasing levels of sophistication. They but cover up the failures of the person using the Cliché to actually have grasped the subject, know what they are talking about – and they act as a self justification to be unhappy, self-righteous and dialogue averse.

    There are the gross assumptions and misrepresentation that get thrown about – in the last 48 hours it has been stated and implied

    1) That men in general enjoy Child Pornography and use it, even though it is illegal
    2) That evidence of Matriarchy have “NEVER” existed – response showing that to be false still in moderation.
    3) That it is justified to see all men as rapists and anyone who does not agree with that is a bad man and even mentally defective
    4) Board members have been told to check facts by using a study that can only be viewed by paying a subscription – ie The evidence which supposedly supports the claims being made are behind a “pay wall”.

    All of the above, and so much more, have been done by people who identify as Feminist. And those are just the one’s I have noted in passing and even addressed directly.

    People who have objected have been called Trolls, accused of bad faith, denigrated and subjected to public ad hominem as to their personal character and nature. Even when the fallacies and false claims have been pointed out directly to the person who has made them – they have ignored the responses.

    The OP may be valuable as a start – but given the last 48 hours it’s clear that a great deal more has to be done.

    The funniest thing I have read in the last 48 hours is this;

    “Only see the situations in which women are disadvantaged never notice situations where women are advantaged then conclude only women have disadvantages. That’s not insight that’s bias.

    Why do i have to keep pointing out the stupidity of that argument over and over again.”

    The answer is easy – because it’s BIAS and PREJUDICE. I refer to those as Logical Vampires – the only way to deal with them involves Stakes, Crucifixes, Garlic – and best of all Very Bright Sunlight that turns it into Irredeemable Dust.

    The OP shows just how hard they are to deal with and just why sometimes the only way to get them addressed is through anger and inverting arguments to show just how extreme they are – and the fallacies that they are built upon, supported by “Thought Terminating Clichés”.

    I have even said repeatedly that some words need to be banned – Conflate – Trope – and much other jargon.

    When people are denied “Thought Terminating Clichés”, Loaded Jargon and easy escape routes it makes them think and they can’t use just One Word to disguise a whole set of Biases, Prejudices and Presumptions of Power, Authority and Self Justification – and then have the temerity to tell others that they are bad and even Bad Men when they know that to counter such misused language will take hours!

    Time to redefine “Troll” I believe – one who attends to use “Thought Terminating Clichés” to express power and by so doing to abuse and deny other people’s reality.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      “The answer is easy – because it’s BIAS and PREJUDICE. I refer to those as Logical Vampires – the only way to deal with them involves Stakes, Crucifixes, Garlic – and best of all Very Bright Sunlight that turns it into Irredeemable Dust.”

      Unfortunately some of the new breed merely sparkle in strong sunlight.

      • “Unfortunately some of the new breed merely sparkle in strong sunlight.”

        You mean they have been allowed to breed – Damn!

        Just when you think it’s safe to go back on the net….

  13. Lisa Hickey says:

    Joanna and David, thanks for this, it was extraordinarily helpful to hear the back and forth between two people who started out as opposed to each others views.

    David, I remember when you first commented on my piece “When women fear men” — I was truly taken aback, almost startled by what seemed to me like viciousness. But once I calmed down, I realized you were just challenging me to think through my argument more coherently, and I deserved to be challenged.

    And then I had a turning point when you left the following comment:
    from DavidBryon
    This is a sexist comment in the original article. Does the author see why?

    “As a woman, I’ve seen “The Presumption of Male Guilt” get played out in the workplace all the time. Sure, sexism still exists. There’s individual sexism and there’s institutional sexism (which sometimes gets called “Teh Patriarchy”). I don’t deny its existence. But I often think that as women, we’re taught so much to look out for sexism that that’s all we see.”

    You have NOT been taught to see sexism. You have been taught only to “see” sexism against women. To understand that “sexism” only ever means “sexism against women”. A falsehood you just repeated here. In fact you’ve been taught to NOT see sexism – against men.

    You literally got me to see that I had previously thought that sexism was ONLY something that happened to women. It was such a wow of an insight that I thought to myself, “Ok, this guy gets me to SEE things differently. That’s awesome!”

    So there *were* times when other authors or commenters were asking to have you banned — they hadn’t gotten to an insight point like that yet. And I just kept fighting for your value here, and I’m glad I did.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      I think there are a number of ways to challenge each other without being vicious. In any learning environment there are various ways to push, question, and disagree. Sometimes, a guns blazin’ kind of approach works for shock value. Sometimes it just shuts people down.

      Now, of course it depends on who you are trying to reach and who you are working with, but I don’t find the style easy to navigate. And I’m not saying anything here that I haven’t said to David myself.

      I don’t react well to snark. For various reasons, most of them entirely personal and not relevant here, I shut down and disregard the other person when I’m in that particular kind of back and forth, especially if I try to communicate collaboratively and keep getting the hard core push back. Question me, ask for clarification, point out where I am wrong, but if it’s a head on drive, I’ll probably just fall down. Now, does that mean I don’t have an argument? Maybe. It could also mean that my particular communication and conflict style just shorts out. Some folks thrive on it, like David.

      I’ve found, interestingly enough, that I can argue more effectively and with “heat” in person because I can actually SEE and experience the person enough to get information that for me is woefully missing on the page.

      I also don’t think it’s necessarily wrong for you Lisa or Joanna to just dislike a certain kind of argument style. It doesn’t mean you deserved or didn’t deserve to be challenged. Why not challenge? For me it’s in the how. Do you want to get an ally or do you want to spar hard. Both can be possible with some folks. I don’t spar for fun. I seek clarity and allies and I realize some arguments are part of that, but I don’t enjoy the fight part as much as I do the understanding part.

      I think it wastes energy personally, at least for me. And since I”m highly empathic, I can’t spend my energy on feeling angry/bad/etc when I’d rather use it for collaborative efforts. To each their own challenge and I”m very glad that so much was gained.

      • DavidByron says:

        Btw Julie, could you say something about your experience with using the experimental “NO HOSTILITY” flag that you were the first to use on your essay about sex the other week:
        So basically my view here is that you were trying to have an article where folks would discuss a pretty loaded concept (“when does sex become rape”) , a concept that tends to be a triggering one, but you wanted to do so without triggering a big feminist / anti-feminist fight. At the time the thread started it seemed like a number of comments were going off the rails, with more moderation called for because of the NO HOSTILITY flag, although looking back now it seems they are a minority, so perhaps it quietened down.

        I wonder if even the word “rape” itself has become so loaded down with meaning in the feminist debate that its worth avoiding. Pretty hard to talk about rape without using the word rape. Maybe “when does sex go from mutual to selfish”

        • Julie Gillis says:

          Well, except I don’t think selfish sex is the same thing as rape at all, but I get your meaning. I’d put “selfish” sex as one of the points on the continuum from Great Sex to Horrible Rape.

          Anyway, the no hostility tag was a new thing we’d come up with and it had been used prior to my piece I believe only without so much fanfare. Maybe no one noticed on the other pieces. I wanted to use it to see how it would work, to allow people to share stories about gray area sex without fear, and to try to keep the discussion on the topic not my sex life. Things didn’t go so well in that regard and even though my piece got lots of hits and comments, the comments were much more about the tag itself and less about how do we talk about sex.

          Lesson learned I suppose. Is a post like a bar where brawls break out? Or is it like my dining room where I invite people in to have very passionate conversation, but over food and friendly connection. Or both. Or neither?

          • Well Jargon does get in the way – but it can be managed! It just needs re-framing! P^)

          • Julie, David and I talked a bit about how your piece was derailed… And it was a bummer because both he and I thought it was an important piece.

            (Speaking for you again, DB, sorry for that).

            It’s just so hard when you have passionate commenters to keep the core issues out and just look at one aspect. But that one aspect, taken out of the context of oppression or “rape culture” or triggering words or jargon, is IMPORTANT for everyone, men and women, het, cis, LGBT, it doesn’t matter. This is the conversation that will change things, I think.

            And yet it was so hard for people to take oppression (by men or women) out of the conversation.

            We should try it again someday…

          • I believe DB’s snark came from dealing with some feminists, various popular feminist sites are absolutely chock full of snark, even feminists I’ve seen comment here and other places drop in the snark. 1 side snarks another, they react. On a facebook group for feminism the majority of comments were a few serious discussions, quite a few trolls but worse was a hell of a lot of snarkyness by the feminists, they literally encouraged trolls, threw out privilege and whataboutthemenz, I found their attitude worse than the trolls because they were acting serious whist the trolls simply wanted to stir shit.

            “Attitude” kills intelligent debate, the only reason Joanna actually tried to “feel” my comment and not DB’s I believe was because I left out the snark n dropped the anger down a notch. As soon as you get the other party angry, defensive, annoyed, offended, upset in any way the chances of them actually listening drop. You can see that in real life arguments, both sides can be logical and have a point except the way they word it can be antagonizing and tone of voice can trigger the above. What happens? Either someone walks away, or the fight escalates.

            Then comes in the “I’m right, you’re wrong attitude” and everything goes to shit. I have no idea if I am right, I believe I am on some points but I am willing to admit I am wrong if I am. My knowledge CONSTANTLY evolves, things I believed last year I do not believe now, when I get proven wrong I learn the truth. Thing is, stuff like patriarchy I believe is still a theory (correct me if I am wrong), and some people don’t see the proof in it but they feel there is proof in other theories, both sides have a theory they believe in but don’t want to budge on.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          “I wonder if even the word “rape” itself has become so loaded down with meaning in the feminist debate that its worth avoiding.”

          Oh, big time. Especially when it comes down to the “this is rape” “this is not rape” end of things. No matter where you draw the line in the gray area between sex and sexual assault you’re going to be alienating someone. Whether by denying someone’s victimhood or making false comparisons.

          • @Peter – words and their uses and how people react to them are just a symptom of conflict.

            Conflict Comes In A Box Marked Handle With Care !

            All you need is the right labelling – though round here, it may need to be multilingual and in a dozen dialects P^)

          • DavidByron says:

            Joanna says in the article isn’t it a bit silly just avoiding one word for another, but I think it might help even if it was a direct substitute of “don’t say rape” and say something like “when does sex go from consensual to coercive”. That’s especially true of the date rape stuff Julie was talking about.

            • Peter Houlihan says:

              “Sexual violence” seems like a good term to me.

              The word “rape” implies to me, and I think most people, a certain level of severity that somehow doesn’t apply to more general words like “violence”:

              If you get beaten to a pulp and I get slapped in the face, we can both accurately say that we’ve experienced violence, and saying that doesn’t imply that one experience was the same as the other.

              Rape, on the other hand, only exists at one end of the scale. It feels a bit wrong to describe being pinched on the bum in a supermarket as rape, or shouting something horrible across the street at someone. Both those things have happened to me, but I can’t really say I’m a rape victim.

              Theres also the issue of drawing lines that I mentioned above. No matter where you draw it you’re going to be hurting someone. “Sexual Violence” applies to the whole scale without making comparisons or ruling out categories of victimhood. It just seems to be a more compassionate term to use.

      • Lisa Hickey says:

        But — question. So in the comment David left for me, above, would that be one you said was “heated” or “snarky” or “argumentative”? Is there a different way he could have worded it and still be as effective?

        To me, the reason it worked was because he very clearly said to me, personally (he even called me out as “author”) “You are sexist.” And, according to our commenting policy, that’s not even allowed. But I don’t think I would have gotten the insight I did if wasn’t so clear about it.

        On the other hand — I tried to comment over the weekend on “A Voice for Men.” Talk about a wow in the other direction. I couldn’t do it. I felt, literally, like a pinata. I know exactly what that is like now. No one comment was all that bad, but when 20 or 30 of them in a row, it sure as heck felt like a battering.

        In fact, when someone told me that it wasn’t that they hated me, it was just that I didn’t take criticism well, I tried to make a joke out of it. Amazingly, that did not go over well at all:

        –comment by Lisa Hickey on A Voice for Men —-
        Before I posted [the link to my response to Paul] here, I took a quick look at what the commenters were saying, and found The Good Men Project described with words such as “creepy”, “makes me sick”, “you can stick it”, “insipid”, “left for dead”, “frauds”, “unethical”, “mealy-mouthed”.

        So yeah, “hate” was a short-cut for describing the sum total of all of those words.

        If it was love, you sure have a funny way of showing it. 🙂

        Now, Paul came in after and explained that people over there didn’t trust me. Fair enough. But that’s the one thing I can’t have — if you don’t trust my intentions, if you don’t trust that I am coming in peace, I am not going to listen to you. In fact, I’m not going to go to your house for supper, and I’m not going to invite you to mine.

        So I do see both sides. For whatever reason, I felt as if David Byron wasn’t judging me as a person, and wasn’t judging our intentions here on GMP, but simply wanted me to see the world differently. And I’m always game to do that.

        • @ lisa – “If it was love, you sure have a funny way of showing it.”

          I think that looking for Luv is a bit to much to ask. P^)

          Respect comes first, then friendship and after that Luv can have it’s way and play!

          • Lisa Hickey says:

            Well — sort of. But that was the joke. (Of course, if you have to explain the joke, it’s never as funny.)

            Truly though, MediaHound? — I like living my life love first. I just do. People can criticize me all they want, but I would rather love first than any other order of things.

            • @ Lisa – Oh Lisa I did get the Joke!

              Did you get mine! Maybe it’s that Trans-Atlantic translation issue getting in the way! P^)

              A common language that divides – but then again, I do remember witnessing a conversation between a New Yorker and an Angelino. I was thinking of contacting NASA – it just seemed so extra-terrestrial!

              Language is so situational and environmental – and it can also create both too! P^)

              As we say on this side of the pond “More Tea Vicar?”.

            • And yes, Lisa, how can you dialogue in an environment where people are amped up to hate you?

              • Joanna – there are specific and well known techniques to achieve just that. Lisa seems to follow them naturally which is a great asset. It may not be easy, but I keep seeing her walk the walk!

                …It may be through fire – but then again, nothing is perfect! P^)

              • Julie Gillis says:

                That’s a hard thing. I know I have been struggling with it lately. I want to communicate and collaborate, but I see the same conversations (even with the same people) over and over again in threads. As if, if I post once, I have to continue to post disclaimers and caveats prior to getting to my point. It takes a toll, on me at least.

                • What if there was just one disclaimer?

                  • Julie Gillis says:

                    What do you mean? If I just said it once? I’d love to be known enough so that I could say it once. But it never seems to work that way. I should put it my sig line with a link to my personal mission statement 😉

                    • Nah – your thinking too legalisticly and not practically!

                      Besides – having to start each post with a disclaimer and telling all readers they have to read your personal mission statement before reading and responding …..Imagine that at a Dinner Party or other social interaction?

                      Hell – you would only have masochists turning up and they would still bitch over the menu! P^)

                      Your idea would just stifle communication and not re-frame it!

                      Think Advertising and Impact!

                • Lisa Hickey says:

                  Julie, I simply walk away from a conversation that I do not feel invited to. Why would you try to continue it if it is taking a toll? (I am asking that seriously and respectfully.)

                  • “Julie, I simply walk away from a conversation that I do not feel invited to. Why would you try to continue it if it is taking a toll? (I am asking that seriously and respectfully.)”
                    That’s probably the exact same feeling men feel in feminist areas, just wanted to point that out to help understanding. I felt like that 99% of the time when on feminist sites.

          • Lisa, you do realized that you can be seen as making a joke about their FEELINGS toward the site, which makes them feel invalidated or that you don’t care, and looks like snark? Of course I don’t know the context around the comment, but it’s possibly what they would see. Sarcasm online can be real hit n miss, joking about feelings can end up in people really disliking you heaps, “whataboutthemenz” is a joke on a persons feelings and tries to invalidate their feelings, it’s why I find it extremely offensive and lost respect for people when it’s used.

            I know the never articles of MRA’s after the MRA’s were invited to talk did a huge credibility hit and could see why they lost trust, it really did look like inviting group x to talk about a serious issue then have your own group blast the hell out of them for it.

            Recently though there have been quite a few changes, MRA’s don’t seem to be treated like extremists but more as a variety of people, like feminism (I’ll probably cop flack for that). I think we’re seeing far more egalitarians here now, at least I am noticing them. Hi 5 egalitarians!

            • Lisa Hickey says:

              Archy — I did realize that afterwards, but at the time I was just looking for ANY way into the conversation that I could find. I thought if I could just reflect the very words they were saying, and to make a point that I was OK with all that, that I had still shown up to the conversation, that maybe I would be invited in.

              And later, Paul Elam came on and said the exact same thing about the MRA’s losing trust, and so I apologized, as clearly as I could. We hadn’t framed that initial conversation right. But at the time — I really didn’t even understand what the dynamics were between the MRA’s and Feminists. Hadn’t a clue. I had never once been on a feminist blog or site, and my only encounter with an MRA had been a phone conversation where the guy said “I hate women, you know?” And it was hard to pay attention after that. I’ve learned a ton about both sides, obviously, since then, and really I see MRA’s not so much as a group but as individuals who care deeply about certain issues related to men. And feminists are individuals who care deeply about certain issues related to women. That’s it. I like that there is a core group of us who do seem to be more of egalitarians. But I also don’t want to deny either side their ability to care deeply about either men or women, if they so choose. As long as it’s not at the expense of the other group.

              Thanks for all your great comments and discussion around these difficult issues, Archy.

              • Thank-you, I had a similar experience and though most MRA’s were woman’hatin misogynistic assholes and then I got to know them more and saw most are individuals trying to fix the world’s wrongs against men, same with my initial experiences of feminism, thought they were man’hatin misandrist assholes and then got to know feminism more and saw most are individuals trying to fix the world’s wrongs against women!

                It’s terrible what some people say under the the banner of their movement and if you aren’t exposed to the good in that movement then many people would question that movement AS a whole based off the few experiences that are only negative. Many feminists don’t seem to trust mra’s, and many mra’s don’t seem to trust feminism, and I wonder how much of that is because of misunderstandings over language, ideas. Intelligent debate is sorely needed!

        • Exactly, Lisa, I thought DB’s comment about you only *seeing* sexism against women wasn’t mean or anything… It was just very specific and pointed. And I thought calling you “author” actually depersonalized it enough for you to see yourself outside yourself.

          That’s just me, though.

          And YES about feeling like a pinata! Now we know we need to think about those pile-ons and try to find a way to keep people engaged. As David says, if you don’t have anyone listening to you (for various reasons) then you’re just talking to people whom already agree with you. And that’s what they don’t like about the feminists just talking to one another and not hearing them.

          What’s the point in battering someone until they won’t come back? Won’t listen? Nothing but making them hate MRAs even more (or in the case of other sites, the feminists battering the men).

          • Joanna – what David did was simply place the communication in a totally different “Frame Of Reference”.

            He’s very good at it and it’s why I admire him so much!

            There is an easy way to achieve that more consistently and directly!

          • Julie Gillis says:

            Sometimes (verbal, online) battering is done for the benefit of the batterer? Because there is pain and anger and it needs to be released? Or its a point scoring thing. I hate it no matter what site I’m on.

        • Julie Gillis says:

          I think this is where things wind up being filtered through our personal role at the site, frame of reference, and personal history.

          Because this “I felt as if David Byron wasn’t judging me as a person, and wasn’t judging our intentions here on GMP, but simply wanted me to see the world differently. And I’m always game to do that.”

          Didn’t always ring true from me from David. Mostly because the tone I read (meaning he might not have been mad or angry, I don’t know) read that way to me and I immediately didn’t see/hear the question “Will you please see the world differently.”

          I remember the part of that dialogue where you, David, said “You think I LIKE beating up on people? It makes me feel like shit actually. But I know if I don’t do it nobody will. You could have said all that same stuff and you could have done it much nicer because it would have been from you. Instead it was left to me so I had to be the “asshole” (which is also in part because a man “attacking” a woman always looks like an asshole).

          You think it’s easy to go around telling people they SUCK all the time?””

          And while Joanna saw that in a crystalizing way, it helped her understand you, David, for me it did the opposite. I had a much harder time trusting you (because of my own history).

          I don’t have to be the asshole when I see people behaving in ways I dislike. In that moment, I did believe that you actually DID like beating up on people. Because that’s how I was raised. With people who enjoyed verbally beating up on people and turning it around to have it be my fault. Or my mother’s fault. And they did it in a very subtle long term way and in ways that were truly gaslighting.

          FYI, these were not men doing that beating up mind you. It was women. So when I say I’m a feminist it isn’t because I think women are better. I actually think women can be worse at times than men. It’s because I think women deserve equal rights and feminism was a way that started happening. Not because I want a gynocratic regime. I grew up in one of those,David. It was toxic.

          Though probably because it was just plain toxic.

          So when I see language like “do you think I like having to be this mean and beat you up? Now I have to be the asshole!” all I see is really deeply manipulative language, because I was raised with that. And I know how to use it and I will NEVER use it, never blame others for my desire to smack them around. Never try to trick people into feeling like they caused ME to school them.

          I realize you probably were using that as a turn of phrase but man….it did a number on me. I probably shouldn’t even post it here, but it brings up the truth for me, which is CONTEXT MATTERS when people are trying to make peace happen.

          That was my context. I knew it. David didn’t know it. Joanna and Lisa didn’t know it.

          My family history is a lens through which I can’t often help but view things. My culture, my gender, my race, my age.

          So I’m sorry if I misjudged you David, I truly am. I’m sorry if I read your words (which in person and in a different context might have made me go…oh well sure!) and saw childhood and teen ghosts, but this is what happens when we do this online, hell in person.

          We are all influenced and we all react and if we don’t keep trying to find that path to peace in ourselves, with one another, with the group it’s all just hopeless. It’s messy and hard.

          • Yeah, and no matter how much I like DB now, there are moments when I am thinking, “dude, settle down”… Here’s the thing about our conversation above… He says the same thing.

            That’s the thing for me now, I hear him saying that, saying that he knows those moments are anger-propelled moments and even recently I’ve seen him say, “That came out 40% meaner than I meant it” (or some such).

            Sorry I’m talking about you like you’re not listening, DB. I just have to choose 3rd or 2nd person and run with it 😉

            Also, that thing about making him feel like shit, that you quoted, that was a little scary, but I saw a sort of desperation to get his point across. I do think there could’ve been an air of manipulation to it, so I kept a guard up in other conversations with him until I saw the complex man behind the different tones of speech.

            Julie, I know all about growing up with manipulative arguers. YOu’ll notice I don’t engage with about 80% of the guys who try to engage me on here. I know the difference, or am learning the difference (imperfectly) between who wants to discuss and who wants to just verbally beat the shit out of someone.

            I don’t stick around to be beaten up.

            • DavidByron says:

              That’s fine. You’re really talking about me-the -GMP-commentator anyway. So as me-the-GMP-meta-analyzer I’m fine with that of course. That David Byron can sure be a bit of an ass sometimes! Still he can make good points……. 😉

            • Joanna, that’s exactly why I use the word curious so much, I genuinely am curious and don’t want to appear like a troll and get ignored. I’m here to learn, I spend quite a few hours a week here learning and building on my knowledge of humanity but between the groups even simple questions can be seen as trolling.

              • Julie Gillis says:

                I do like you Archy. Not just for that, but because you do what you say, fella. I dig it.

                • Thank-you, it took a mental breakdown of epic proportions during the teenager to adult merge over to make me understand it all, the process of healing meant to question everything and learn all you can, drop past bitterness and have an open mind. I am utterly ashamed of what I did when younger, in school I was racist like most people here even though I had black friends and thought of them as 2 different groups (weird I know). I was sexist even though I had female friends, because I never questioned anything. I just believed what others said and for my experiences others were pretty damn negative, and especially in the youth I see this blind following of hatred, ignorance, and I don’t think many actually know why they do it. It’s very very hard to admit this, even anonymously, because I feel so much shame over it.

                  When I took the time to study others, I realized the stereotypes of black people here are complete n utter shit and are more based on illusory correlation due to previous generations being racist.

                  I saw women weren’t all the same when I stopped focusing on the bad women I knew n realized there were a lot of good ones I knew that were just outside of my vision. I was actually misanthropic for a while n hated pretty much everyone due to traumatic experiences by certain people sculpting the lens I saw the world in. The image from women had more of an effect because I was not a woman, I am a man and can generally spot bad men better but women are a mystery to me and not knowing women well simply elevated that fear, bitterness n hatred. I realized that the impact of pain I got from a few women and men jaded my view n made me bitter, once I saw that I could remove it. Fear and anger cause so much pain in this world!

                  Women like you 3 and a few others here reinforce my belief there are good women, men like DavidByron, Mediahound and others here reinforce my belief there are good men. We all may not agree on everything but you’re at least willing to listen, learn, debate, and not just snark each other out of existence. You see the errors in your ways and correct them, that’s an awesome trait.

          • Lisa Hickey says:

            Julie, thank you for giving us all that context. It is actually really important.

            I appreciate your being frank about the words being manipulative — trying to make other people think it was *their fault* for causing the anger. That was an important thing for me to hear, not just in this case, but I can see that I haven’t always understood *how* people can be emotionally manipulative. I’m sure I’ve done it myself. The way I was looking at it was different — I have been in jobs where I’ve been almost fired for being “too nice” (I’ve heard that in more than one review). And what people were really saying was that because I was so afraid of hurting people’s feelings that I wasn’t clear enough. I wasn’t direct enough. And so people never really understood what my point was. And so when I read those same words, that was how I saw it — in light of my own personal failings.

            And I remember one boss saying to me “I like it when you get angry. At least I know where you stand.”

            So when I see words that may have anger within them, I usually look at whether there is a clarifying point that I should be seeing. And I ignore the anger part of it. But maybe I shouldn’t.

            I think, too, that’s a reason I don’t see the comments here as being as “aggressive” as some people think they are — in part because I try to see through the anger, and in part because I do feel as if I know the people behind the words, and I do think believe that overall everyone that comes here regularly is of value and their intentions are good.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              That’s a great point and I can see the point of a boss who needs that particular clarity. I prefer to find a path towards that because I am attuned to the manipulation around the anger (or what I feel is manipulation) but that is a great way for me to frame things.

              The thing about family of origin work is that it’s not just that “anger” per say is the (forgive me for this word) trigger. It’s possibly too long for me to go into here, but see…Media Hound has never tripped my switch. He says things all the time I disagree with, but I somehow can read him differently. I know very strong women that do not remind me of my family and I know men that do. It’s strange thing, emotional fields, projection, etc.

              As for your question about staying engaged in conversations that are difficult for me? Because I’m not always sure it’s them (it could be me) because often I see shifts in words and arguments that make me think I can communicate, and because peace work/this work is important.

              And there are other reasons, but I’ll email you off list about that.

              • Thing is, in life, we all have those “family of origin” triggers.

                My triggers are really weird – and are somewhat gender-based – I have a problem with men who dominate conversations and ignore social cues of when to stop talking and let others speak. It drives me INSANE. It makes me rageful.

                I have a trigger about women who do the exact same thing, but for some reason I’m very skilled at shutting women down when they do that. I realize this is a *sexist* thing, to react differently to a man than a woman, but our gut emotional reactions are not intellectual or highly developed. I have to take my brain and make it talk to my gut and say, “This person isn’t trying to hurt you or stomp on you or take away your voice. They probably just have trouble understanding social cues. You need to step away.”

                And I need to do the same thing with women who do that because usually I am not very nice to them when I shut them down.

                So it’s good that you know some of what happens with you in these conversations are that you’re being triggered. Then you start to question yourself, but don’t be afraid of the questioning. The questioning is good. Just be compassionate to yourself in that questioning. Like a good mother to a child, us to ourselves, challenging ourselves. And like a good mother to ourselves, helping us know when to walk away.

                I remember hearing about this doctor who did all this amazing work with starving children in some horrific war or famine. I was quite young. This doctor was being called out for having a clean house and a baby grand piano. He explained that if he didn’t have those things for himself, he wouldn’t be able to go out into the world and do all the good he does. And the world needed him not to burn out. The world needed him to be able to go home late at night and play at his fancy piano.

                We all need our metaphorical fancy pianos so we can get back to doing the work of life.

                • Julie Gillis says:

                  “gut emotional reactions are not intellectual or highly developed” Oh hell yes. And it isn’t rational. Why men, why not women? Why race, why class? Because it’s all this mobile, mosaic four dimensional house of mirrors our little inner consciousness has developed. It takes time to untangle.

                  Such a profoundly important post and comment thread here. These contexts ARE our stories, they make us who we are, and they are quite possibly built into our guts and emotions, yeah?

                  Amazing stuff.

                  • Yes, it is healing to recognize the shit we carry into every room we walk into. I remember being so afraid of saying, “this is my shit and it probably has nothing to do with you.” I’m still a little afraid of it.

                    Our guts are so powerful, so primal. We need to listen to them and also question them.

                    That is why so many times with commenters, I just want to say, “I know you’re angry, but you’re not angry at -me- so stop f’ing taking your hurt and anger out on me!”.

                    But to be that wounded that you want to call someone like Lisa “lying feminist scum” in such a public forum speaks to an immense amount of pain within him. If a person can’t recognize that pain is the root of their anger, I can’t dialogue with them. That’s why DB saying that about it making him feel like shit resonated with me. He wasn’t speakingofhis own pain there, but it was palpable and I could see that he saw it.

                    As he says above, it comes from the hurt of being inherently mistrusted.

                    • But to be that wounded that you want to call someone like Lisa “lying feminist scum” in such a public forum speaks to an immense amount of pain within him. If a person can’t recognize that pain is the root of their anger, I can’t dialogue with them.
                      While I’ve never called anyone “lying feminist scum” I will say that such hurtful remarks (public or private) do hint to a lot of pain. But recognizing that pain is not an easy process, especially if one had already given in to the hatred that pain can breed. And even after recognizing that’s not the end. Its entirely possible to be aware of the pain that you are causing, the way you are shutting people out, the way you are lashing out, etc. and still continue to do so without missing a beat. That’s a sign that the hate has taken over.

                      That’s what I’m getting at in the post I’m working on and will submit to Lisa once I can get it finished.

                    • Lisa Hickey says:

                      That post sounds great Danny, and very important.

                      Joanna never meant to imply YOU had used those words, I’ve just been called that (and plenty of other things) publicly — all for helping to start a conversation about “good” and “men”. It’s been eye-opening.

                • “I have a problem with men who dominate conversations and ignore social cues of when to stop talking and let others speak.”
                  PLLLEASSEEE remember this: Not all humans have a good grasp of social cues. I don’t talk to people face to face much so I personally didn’t get much practice on social cues, I am learning much of it in my 20’s. It might appear as though I want to dominate the convo, but I have no desire to. I also grew up around sicilians who the rule seems to be, whoever speaks loudest get’s to speak at times, they talk over each other and it’s pretty annoying but when you grow up with that you have to unlearn it. And then there are some people who have major difficulty or can’t read social cues, I believe that is a part of Asperger syndrome and autism.

                  Some people are jerks and want to control the convo though, they make me rage too. I do believe a lot probably do it unconsciously, I really wouldn’t be surprised if I do even though I really want to know the other person’s side too.

              • Lisa Hickey says:

                Just a funny story about MediaHound — MediaHound, you here? I’m talking about you. 🙂

                MediaHound and I didn’t get off to such a great start. I ran a comment of his as a post, he called me out on some edits I had made, we had a back and forth of emails that quickly disintegrated into bad vibes on both sides. At that time, everyone was talking about how bad our commenters were, someone else raised a flag about MH, and all of a sudden I found myself saying “All hands on deck! Block MediaHound from the site!” It was instinctive, it was profound, it felt like exactly the right thing to do at the time. But as DB mentions above — it wasn’t that MH was attacking me, personally, it was that I was afraid he was going to somehow do harm to the site.

                I’m not sure where the turning point was, but gradually I got more information about MediaHound that explained some of the things that previously had given me fear. The way that he really, truly looks at words, not just MY words but all words. The way he does likewise for statistics. His own history and life circumstances. The fact that he uses speech to text software that doesn’t always translate words exactly. His sense of humor. His caring deeply to get it right.

                And now, like so many others that I have gotten to know over the past few months, I can see the deep and lasting value that he brings to the community.

                • @ Lisa – what now? P^/

                  Can’t a Ludicrous Meddling Rational Archivist have even 20 minutes peace to dissect yet another study – check sample sizes – run all the stats through an already over worked server – and then call the fire services as me poor server expires in flames and frustration? P^)

                  And – I have to say my favourite Voice Recognition Faux Pas was picked up by David – and it still makes me laugh! I still look at it and think “Serendipity”!


                  And me care about getting it right? 8^0

                  I remember Tom asking why people were here and why they posted – If I remember correctly I said “GMP is a microcosm of so much – I almost think of it as a fish bowl and I feed according to whim and need”!

                  If that’s getting it right, we are all in trouble! P^)

        • DavidByron says:

          Another difference is that I made a criticism about the text of your article and they were making criticism about the Good Men Project.

          • Lisa Hickey says:

            Good point David. I’m fine if someone attacks my ideas (nothing is lost by either holding onto ideas or letting go of them.) But The Good Men Project? That is something I value an extraordinary amount, and will fight for as hard as I can when needed.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          Just to say, I don’t get behind this at all, and if I’ve done it to you I’m sorry. I’ve also definitely been there with feminist friends of mine.

          I really value the contributions of yourself, Julie and Joanna. Its always intelligent discussion with a genuine desire to learn. So bloody rare in gender debates 🙂

          • Julie Gillis says:

            I have always loved talking with you Peter. That’s the thing. Even in all the difficult conversation, I’ve found great value in you and David and Mediahound and others. I’ve learned about myself and about you all and men. That’s the goal.

          • Amen to that, Lisa, Julia, and Joanna (in no particular order, you all get the medal), are the 3 women here I consistently find engage in thoughtful and intelligent debate, and are actually willing to listen.

          • Lisa Hickey says:

            Peter — you’ve been great! No worries!

    • This comment you quoted from David, above, Lisa, is such a great example of how we can talk to one another that allows for real growth.

  14. DB: Well if you want to talk “politics” and have an argument about the merits of feminism then go for it. You’ll be sure to find people willing to debate. I’d say it is still a good idea to get rid of jargon, because it helps to clear your thoughts if you have to explain what you mean.
    Yes the jargon can be very damaging and can get in the way of otherwise useful conversation. About a week ago I was talking to Renee from Womanist Musings. It was a long conversation on many subjects and at some point we got to talking about -isms.

    She is of the mind that when it comes to sexism instituational power is a part of the very definition of it and from there makes the distinction that due to a lack of institutional power for women there is no such thing as female against male sexism (and while she is not a feminist this is a VERY common belief among feminists, in fact commong enough it appears at FinallyFeminism101). By this line of logic at best it would female against male prejudice or discrimination, but never sexism.

    Personally I think the concept of institutional power, while it does exist, has no business being forefully inserted into the definition of sexism. To me doing so is nothing but a cop out to grant women immunity from being called on their sexism. I say this because calling something or someone sexist carries a serious emotional charge and its understandable that people would try to avoid that charge at all costs.

    In the end we basically just agreed to disagree and acknowledge that while we don’t call them the same thing such things do happen.

    (This also comes up with talking about male/female privilege. Look at how the “I Have Female Privilege” post has blown up with people arguing that female privilege doesn’t exist. And yes FinallyFeminism101 also has an article attempted to prove that there is no such thing as female privilege.)

    My point is while common ground can be found it will take a lot of effort to find it. Its going to be hard and we will have to fight for it. And since it takes fighting to find it its very easy to forget that objective and get lost in the fray. In fact you could probably argue that fighting for common ground is a much harder fight that fighting to “win” (ie – beat the other side).

    • NickMostly says:

      She is of the mind that when it comes to sexism instituational power is a part of the very definition of it and from there makes the distinction that due to a lack of institutional power for women there is no such thing as female against male sexism

      Whenever you have to redefine a word to make a point, you’ve lost the argument. Sexism, like racism, is a form of prejudice. It involves pre-judging a person or group of people about something unrelated to their gender. Therefore it is entirely possible for a woman to be sexist, just as it is for a man.

      That’s not to say that there aren’t examples of institutionalized discrimination against women – I very much believe there are. But I also believe there is institutionalized discrimination against men as well, and when I call myself a “feminist” it is with the (oft-stated) goal in mind of identifying and eliminating all institutionalized discrimination.

      (and while she is not a feminist this is a VERY common belief among feminists, in fact commong enough it appears at FinallyFeminism101).

      Just as with Christianity, I’ve come to believe there are as many feminisms as there are feminists. Each person projects their attitudes and beliefs onto the term ‘feminism’ to create a personal relationship with the word. I have no doubt that my feminism is different than Joanna’s, and that there are plenty of feminists who wouldn’t recognize either of us as such.

  15. After all the interactions with feminists both online and offline, and referring to dictionaries, I have come to the conclusion that feminism is simply doctrine that advocates for women and associating it with egalitarianism is just a camouflage. The central theme of feminism is to secure all rights and immunity for women at the cost of the others i.e. men. In past, when women had fewer legal rights in certain areas than men, feminism seemed like a struggle for equality, but with changed legal landscape where equality can be taken for granted, feminism is working to get women all advantages over in every field by getting sexist laws passed using concepts like oppression by patriarchy, rape culture etc.

    • DavidByron says:

      And I have a worse assessment of feminism than you do, but that is the movement as a whole. The problem is individual people in it seem to be good people and pretty naive about all that. And so how do you react to that? I know my first reaction is, “Really? You really don’t know anything about the dark side? Really???” I’m very suspicious.

      But I guess the way that works from the other side is a feminist who genuinely supports men comes here and gets whacked on the head with all that suspicion. So how do you handle that sort of situation? I mean how do YOU handle that?

      • No company is better than bad company.
        If tomorrow I come to know that my friends were part of a criminal gang, I would immediately dissociate myself with them. Our responsibility is only to inform the good individuals in the movement about its dark and ugly side. After that whether they want to remain associated with the movement or not is their personal choice. In case they choose to remain associated with the movement, then they are part of the problem and not solution.

        • DavidByron says:

          I’m not talking about the feminists who are “whatabouttehmen”, but the ones who (after some discussion) seem genuinely pro-male. You reach an impasse. They don’t want to drop the label “feminist” and you don’t want to concede anything to that label that might empower it. But what about on the personal level?

          • I appreciate individuals like Joanna and Julie (though we don’t agree on anything) who are trying to understand the male POV on feminism, but feminism is what it is. I am completely against the feminist doctrine which is based on false assumptions and lies.

            • Notice how they’re trying to understand the male POV only with regard to femenism as opposed to trying to understand the male POV intrinsically, as something independent of femenism.
              Still it’s better than complete indifference towards the male POV altogether, something I’ve become quite used to from femenists and women in general. It’s as if they’re incapable of grasping that a male POV exists in the first place without seeing it in relation to something else.

  16. This also underscores how hard it is to get the male POV on the table in feminist publications, this one is supposed to be about men, yet it is still a shit fight to get basic truths through the layers of feminist mythology, misandry and gender slopism.

  17. Good post and wonderful comments, good wedding site.

  18. Loved this, it explains the problems between the 2 quite good. When I read DB’s angry piece, I felt a similar anger at being prejudiced over being male, I could understand that anger but also realized that the anger itself triggered a response that kills the credibility as not many people will read past the snark.

    I’ve seen great arguments in a comment, but to see it I have to ignore misogyny, misandry, hatred n bitterness, just totally throw away the generalizing language they use and think of it in a case where SOME women do this, SOME men do that. Everyone should try that, many comments actually make more sense, some people can be quite dramatic in their speech and toss generalizations around like candy without actually realizing they’re doing it. Others both know and purposely do it, so they could be simply angry and annoyed at things some women do, or they could truly believe all women do that.

    Generalizations are everywhere, I constantly catch myself about to make one and probably do let quite a few slip through, I’m not sure exactly why it happens but I am guessing it’s so common that it’s been passed along generation to generation. I hear female friends tell me men are such pricks, some of them believe ALL men are, some are just pissed off at one or 2, some of them have been cheated on by multiple male partners and may believe all potential partners will do this. They can still absolutely love their father, brother, etc deeply and know not all men are pricks but the ones she is romantically interested in have a high chance of being one.

    I guess it’s lazy communication and I see this sooo much more now that I am aware of it, when challenged many people don’t actually believe what they just said but were simply angry, annoyed, in the heat of the moment they hated men, hated women, because their mind was probably focused on BAD men, BAD women.

    I also believe generalizations are quite complex and have many reasons. I see illusory correlation and confirmation bias quite a lot regarding feminism n mras.
    ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
    ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_correlation

    I wonder how much of an effect having people only reading about equality issues for men only (masculism generally), or females only (feminism generally) can have on peoples perception of the world. I know that when I was only reading and hearing about feminism I had NO idea the sheer level of suffering men had. If I was only reading about masculism I’m sure I would have had no idea on the sheer level of suffering women have either. This is why I prefer to read both masculism and feminism to balance my views to try avoid a biased perception.

    So many fights are caused from people both having trouble communicating their idea and misinterpreting each other. A common language between the 2 groups whilst avoiding triggers or finding a way to lessen the impact of those triggers is very much needed. Finally I’ll say, question everything! An opinion being popular doesn’t make it right and it’s up to each us to find out the truth.

  19. I’ve never seen a feminist become aware that their ideology might not be infallible truth like that.

    I defend the generalizing of feminists.

    For example, I can say all feminists support excluding male abuse victims and misandric ideology, and most feminists will think I’m generalizing and wrong, but ask the same feminists if they support VAWA and rape culture ideology, and they will generally say that they do.

    • DavidByron says:

      Excellent example of a negative generalisation about feminists that can be backed up with evidence. I use it all the time. I point out that in the 90s I could find only one feminist web site on the net opposed to VAWA and that belonged to Wendy McElroy of Fox News, a dissident feminist that most feminists would say was no feminist at all.

      And that’s a fine thing to say in a debate / argument on the merits of feminism. But I think the point in the article is that if you are NOT having that sort of argument then saying, “all feminists are…” is going to start one. Same if a feminist just casually threw out a line saying “well women are paid less than men”. And if the article is some guy pouring his heart out with a very personal story — well it might be inappropriate.

      One of the things we’ve been talking about recently at GMP is how can we stop these political fights taking over threads where they are off-topic or just rude, but at the same time allow the fights to happen and not make people feel censored or anything.


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