Childish Men and Angry Women

If you’re an outspoken man, and disagree with the feminist consensus, Dominic Falcao writes, there’s maelstrom coming—but it’s OK to be bewildered.

I recently read an article by Hugo Schwyzer on why he resigned from the GMP. The article was depressing because it suggested to me that people of differing ideological stances cannot work in the same publication, especially not on gender topics. Since I read it, I’ve also been concerned to work out why so much internet discussion on feminism is dedicated to the elaboration of tactics used by each side to “derail” one other. Each new article posted is followed by a vicious comment war, trolls unintelligible from the naive but for Bright’s Law, and the tactics being used appearing to get filthier by the day.

And I am beginning to realize why. Someone I respect recently reminded me that “the biggest problem we have to address is the fact that feminism, as much as anything else, is a way of thinking about things, a way of critiquing and a way of analyzing things.”

I suddenly realized why it is so important to me to be right, and why I will do anything to stay on track. The case is best illustrated by an event which has given me cause to feel a level of empathy for Tom Matlack.

♦◊♦

I don’t even know how it happened. I just sort of became aware of sexism. As a mixed-race kid growing up in London I had been preoccupied by racism and other forms of discrimination for most of my life. University introduced me to people who noticed these things and stridently made others aware of them: the arbitrary lack of a women’s football team, the overwhelming lack of female performers at local gigs, the absence of female democratic representatives on our student union. This was something illogical, irrational, arbitrary: something I objected to and was eager to change. This was something, which once brought to my attention, hovered just in front of my eyes regardless of what I was looking at.

Of course, I started talking about it. Repeating the observations of my feminist friends, adding to them with my own insights as I discovered my own ability to uncover these rotten bouts of illogicality nestled insidiously into the framework of university life.

I, perhaps foolishly, started a feminist website. It seemed the obvious thing to do—there was no-one talking about this stuff in public. And then? The most surreal intellectual experience of my life. There was a group of people who believed very much the same things as I did, who hated that people could not see gender inequality even when it manifested in the most blatant manner, who loved talking about it and who campaigned for change.

But they were so incredibly hostile. I wandered around like a newborn horse, stumbling home to read reams of esoteric feminist academia to work out why anyone would be so angry that a man was trying to affect change on feminist issues. I felt I had to defend the idea that men could be feminists, I felt that I had to go on a crusade about the tone of arguments used in debates, I felt, and I expressed those feelings.

I have to be right because when I talk about these issues it is too important to be mistaken and risk being wrong about my own identity and manner of perceiving the world. These are debates in which we swap observations about each other. Where perceptions of other people really come out. It is not because I have a “genuine fear of being challenged and confronted”—in fact, I go out of my way to have my views challenged. (How else will I know I’m really right but if for the fact that nobody is able to persuade me otherwise?) No. It’s not this.

♦◊♦

I have come to the conclusion that it is because it really is a mindset that has roots deep within our identities. And for men, it’s so much harder than most women seem to appreciate. It is a two-step process of realizing that parts of your personality that you valued and which are useful to you are genuinely harmful to society: we are (blamelessly) toxic, and it is then rejecting those pieces of yourself and persuading others to do the same. It involves realizing that you are born into a dominant position, and giving it up. Men involved in feminism have to preach their own deconstruction.

So when Hugo says that “one of those childish things adult men put away is the need to deflect, belittle, or exaggerate women’s anger,” it does serious damage to the self-esteem of men who are brave enough to admit that they have had their feelings hurt. Tom is labelled childish for being confused and hurt by the strength of views against his position, about the personal tone of the attacks. He expressed thoughts from a place that most men don’t access in public—and was reminded with force why this is so.

I have two constructive conclusions. Firstly, I do not think that the idea of the “angry feminist” is a myth. I think it is a necessary truth. Secondly, the man who is “hurt” by feminist anger needs to be taken more seriously. If you want change, then you will have to accept emotional honesty from men, one part of which will inevitably be bewilderment at the whirlwind of gnashing words that decimates those who disagree with the feminist consensus. And there will always be disagreement; it’s what comes just before understanding amongst those with curious minds. I agree with Hugo on one point: I think that the “grown-up virtues of self-control, responsibility, and manifested empathy” are incredibly important, and it is the lack thereof which shows when the tone used is heavy-handed enough to be labelled “wrath.”

I have one final musing. Hugo’s argument assumes that all feminists criticised for getting angry are women. Without this assumption, lines like “It’s a key anti-feminist strategy … it forces women to become conscious caretakers of their male peers by subduing their own frustration and anger. It reminds young women that they should strive to avoid being one of those ‘angry feminists’ who (literally) scares men off and drives them away” simply don’t make sense. I don’t know if Hugo thinks that female feminists are the only ones who get angry, or whether he thinks that they are the only ones criticised for getting angry—but I assure you, neither of these things is remotely true.

—Photo alexbrn/Flickr

NOW TRENDING ON GMP TV

Super Villain or Not, Parenting Paranoia Ensues
The Garbage Man Explains Happiness
How To Not Suck At Dating

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Dominic Falcao

Naive British undergraduate, co-founder of the new national student feminist website www.shrillblog.co.uk, frequently criticizing straw men for being straw.

Comments

  1. pillowinhell says:

    Seriously, this whole debacle has left me wondering if I really want to participate in gender anything these days…

    I like Tom Matlock and what he writes, he brings a great deal of insight and empathy to mens issues. Some of the things he’s written about are so far outside my experience that it requires some real thinking. Okay, so the part of his article where he explains that his friend totally caves to his wife is disturbing…I wonder just how toxic that relationship has become and whether his wife is abusing him. There were some unflattering words to a feminists (my) ears. Yet, when I look at the totality of Toms work, I see that its balanced and that he’s writing about mens concerns. On a mens site even! So perhaps a quick post stating why I found a particular part of the post offensive *might* be reasonable, but the attacks he’s endured from certain feminists were not. What I find even sadder, is that he’s getting hell from feminists and certain non feminist men as well. seems he can’t win. On the other hand, I think he’s tough enough to take it.

    As for Hugo…some of his articles I agreed with, but I’m not sorry to see him leave. But then, I don’t think he and I see eye to eye on feminism.

    What astounds me is that so many people have so much invested in their respective gender identity that no common ground can be found, no empathy spared, and certainly no solutions to the sexism surrounding both genders. This is detrimental (in my eyes) to everyone, especially our children.

  2. What is “the feminist consensus?” Which feminists are you talking about: 2nd-wavers, standpoint epistemologists, lesbian feminists, women of color feminists, womanists, xicana feminists, riot grrrls, sex-positive feminists, anti-porn feminists, liberal feminists, marxist feminists, etc.?

    I’ve noticed that a lot of GMP writers assume feminists are a homogenous group, that one of us speaks for all of us. I don’t know a group of feminists who has really come to a consensus about anything (ie. name a feminist issue and I can think of feminists who sit on any and all sides of the fence)…

  3. Wirbelwind says:

    Well, it’s kinda easy to understand Marie. You see, when anything remotely good or connected with “girl power” happens, then feminists pose as a single, unified group.
    Of course, when something bad happens then suddenly they are not united, there are many fractions, etc.

  4. Hat tip to Quiet Riot girl: Helen Lewis in New Statesman clarifies and narrows the bucket list.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/helen-lewis-hasteley/2011/12/feminism-women-rights

    ‘The battles that remain involve telling people — often, but not exclusively, men — that I don’t like things they like, and I wish they didn’t like them either.”

    Maybe she does not speak for all of feminism, but nonetheless, I do appreciate her honesty. The job will be done when men are much more like women. It’s refreshing to read such blatant stupidity catering to the comforts of the fairer sex.

    • Feminism does indeed need to justify its existence but I’ve never met a feminist who was willing to concede that.

  5. Jean Valjean says:

    “the arbitrary lack of a women’s football team, the overwhelming lack of female performers at local gigs, the absence of female democratic representatives on our student union. ”

    Allow me to help you with this.

    1. Creating a college level sports team is expensive. It can be a lot less expensive if the sport is popular and people support it. You not only need talent, investment, but also a fan base. Fans want to watch the best players play. Fewer women want to play football. Fewer people want to watch women play football. And yes, women are not as dynamic or athletic in comparison to male football players. maybe instead of pondering the unfairness of a lack of a female football team you should have looked at intramural sports and counted the number of female football teams and tournaments compared to that of male. I think what you would find is that there are a lot fewer female intramural teams than male. But hey, why don’t you and your feminists buddies stop complaining and come up with the investment yourself.

    2. Arbitrary lack of female performers? There’s nothing arbitrary about it. Females make choices and I guarantee you there were fewer females who wanted to work long hours late into the night for very little money. You know why men do it? Because they want to meet women. Maybe, if women wanted to meet men they think it’s easier to go to clubs and watch the men play and then talk to them after the set rather than spending 30 hours a week practicing and squandering all their weekend nights promoting a career whose only likely result is getting them laid. And getting laid is something they can probably already do with ease.

    3. Arbitrary lack of female representatives? The only thing arbitrary about that was your unwillingness to count the number of women who were running for student council. How many was that exactly? If women don’t run then people can’t vote for them. Most students are female. It’s close to 60% here in the U.S. (I call that feminist equality– 60/40). If there are just as many female candidates then it’s clear that women aren’t voting for them. Is that arbitrary? No. Because it’s decided by the many rather than some capricious unilateral decision made by the few. Run for office already.

    • There are no MEN’s football teams or WOMEN’s football teams. Football is a co-ed sport. Women are free to try-out for any football team, and a number of women have made college team rosters.

    • Jean Valjean – Just to clarify, and address some Differences between USA and UK:

      1) when Dominic uses the term “Football” it means Soccer!

      2) The Operation of Sports in UK higher ED is nothing like the USA. You don’t get to a UK university on a sporting scholarship – they don’t exist. You do not have the College Sports Scene as in the USA – there is no equivalent of the ‘Big Ten Championship’ or other forms of warfare! P^)

      3) You don’t need big money to have a female Football/Soccer team, just players, maybe coaching and the facilities to play on ( A Soccer Pitch ) are generally available though the Higher Ed Institutions freely provided services. The Available services can be viewed http://www.york.ac.uk/univ/sports/

  6. The entire issue is that feminism blamed men for the supposed oppression of women. Reality is far from it.

    Men did not oppress women. Survival did. In the pre-industrial world, the human species’ primary objective was to survive.

    The female was able to produce children to help with that survival. Because she was closer to her children, having given them birth, than her husband, she was in a better position to raise them. This took 18-19 years of her life. She had to produce more than one child to ensure survival of the species. Add to that the absence of modern appliances, and she had to cook, feed, wash, care for, etc her children. With shorter life-spans in the pre-industrial society, if her role was the above, it was more efficient to teach her the skills needed to give birth, mother her children and take care of the home.

    If the female’s role was the above, the role left for the male was to go out and earn the money/food to feed his wife and child. He was taught to do that. He was also taught to protect his wife, while she protected her children.

    If you believe that women had low value in pre-industrial society, men had even lesser value. Men were supposed to die before his wife were ever hurt. Heck, men were supposed to give up their lives to protect any and every woman, regardless of her affiliation to him. His life was supposed to be completely disposable, to work in mines and to fight in wars.

    Just as with the Soviet Union and North Korea and Communist China, the less you know you are a slave, the harder you work to support the structure of society. Men were encouraged to believe that they had power, which maintained that structure of society.

    So in the pre-industrial era, men and women had roles, not rights. When you have roles, you have no rights and no power. You are merely a cog in the wheel of survival. Your only job is to ensure that you and your family in tow survive to the best of your abilities.

    For women, the industrial pre-WW2 era brought some comforts, with pre-modern appliances. That reduced the amount of time she had to devote to the menial tasks meant for survival. And she began to wonder about more their rights. And feminists in the era began to believe that men had better rights because the currency of access to resources was money and money was in the hands of men. It appeared to them that men oppressed women by having the privilege to that money.

    It was very beneficial to the feminist movement that you had an enemy you could point to – MEN. It’s like having a Russian enemy during the Cold War. It’s easier to organize against an enemy which can be seen. It’s harder to organize against an enemy called “the terrorists” because they can be anywhere and everywhere and they can be anyone. Likewise, although survival was the enemy, feminists pointed to men as their enemy, and the stripping away of men’s rights as a result continues to this day.

    The reality is that today men are blamed for something most men have never done. How many of you men have ever oppressed women? How many of you have better or easier access to anything – employment, education, wealth, etc?

    You men are also blamed for starting wars and creating violence in society, while most of you never ever have. Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi started wars too you know! While I do not know if they were transsexual men, I think I would consider them women. Most men drafted into wars were drafted before they had the right to vote. If women were the only ones drafted into wars and if Margaret Thatcher sent them to a battle after which they returned with bullets in their spines, would we say that women are violent and start all wars?

  7. I hit the “Post Comment” button too soon …

    Men, in general, aren’t to blame for women’s oppression. Yes, there are idiots everywhere, men and women. There are violent men and gold digging women, both of whom make our lives miserable. However, the feminist movement benefited greatly, not by getting rights for women, but by taking them away from men. It became a zero-sum game for them.

    So today we have women proudly saying on day-time television how awesome it was for some woman to cut off her husband’s penis because he wants a divorce. And the women proclaim on the same television show that it is very funny because the penis would probably flop around after it is cut. And the audience cheers and the ratings go up.

    Barbarism by women is considered empowering. Let’s see how many women are happy if I cut off a woman’s breasts and talk about how floppy they were. However, that would be considered uncouth.

    I notice this stark contrast between how men and women are treated in society today because I’ve been on both sides. I think we need rights for men and for women, not by stripping away the rights of the other, but by providing truly equal rights. And that requires us to treat our children, regardless of sex, as equal. We need to stop the nonsense of the expectation from men to be providers and protectors, and the expectation from women to be perfectly feminine housewives to have babies.

    We need to stop the nonsense of chivalry, and the expectation that men should kneel before his potential wife to ask her to marry him, because right there you have an unequal start of a relationship. And we need to stop the talk about the low-educated low-earning woman who calls herself “independent”, because independence for such women only means independence to screw around while her husband works hard to earn a living for her.

    We also need to stop the expectation from men to never cry, never show any feelings, to live up to the masculine myths. Unless men and women see each other as equals and seek egalitarian relationships that are egalitarian in every way, you are not going to get over this stupid battle of the sexes.

    • I’d like to add to your list, Transy.

      We need to put to pasture the idea that when men are hurt, especially by women, that they are less of a man if they speak out on it. That if they are raped or sexually assaulted, again especially by women, they deserve to share their story without telling them they’re “Lucky”, how “Men are the majority abusers”, that they’re still at the top of the power ladder regardless of their pain, or have their story scrutinized and twisted by non-believers into blaming them for the incident just like we abhor anyone who twists a female victim’s story into blaming her for the incident.

      We need to stop being afraid of giving support for these men, quit justifying turning them away by lamenting any potential support for women being re-directed or lost due to this (which is a tiring myth, by the way).

      We need to stop calling men who speak out against the women who harmed them “misogynists”, “Potential Wife Beaters”, and a pox on equal rights.

      We need to stop celebrating female protagonists in stories and media being developed at the expense of the male supporting characters. To call out whenever someone has their female protagonists getting away with deginerating and hurting the supporting male portagonists. Also celebrate three-dimensional, well-rounded male characters as well.

      We also need to quit labeling domestic abuse done to men by their wives as “Self-defense” and bring the “Size” argument into it as to minimise the harm. Abuse is abuse, period.

      We need to stop saying that men and boys are a minority when it comes to being bullied and hurt by girls and women. See my “Bullied By Girls And Women: One Man’s Account” on this and more.

      There. Now the list is more complete.

  8. DavidByron says:

    Dominic, in our discussion on representation, there are two assumptions you are making.
    (1) that if women don’t have 50% representation it must be caused by discrimination
    (2) that if women don’t have 50% representation it must be bad (in particular that it must cause discrimination against women).

    The 2nd assumption is called the Frontman Fallacy.

    “The Frontman Fallacy” is a term I invented myself. What happened was that someone on the Usenet newsgroup (i.e. discussion group) alt.mens-rights asked for help in devising a term. The term was to encapsulate the wrongheadedness of a common Feminist assumption. This was the assumption that the fact that men held most of the positions of power in the world meant that men ruled the world principally for their own benefit — i.e. they “oppressed” women.

    http://nzmera.orconhosting.net.nz/14frntmn.html

    By feminists assumption 2 is called “the patriarchy“.

    You don’t present any evidence for either assumption. In fact you say (2) is “uncontroversial” when it was the exact thing we were talking about!

    Considering (1) first then. Do you actually have any idea at all if female candidates have a greater or smaller chance of winning an election than a man? Any idea at all? I haven’t heard much about it. My impression is that it can depend on the circumstances of the race. Here’s a report from the Barbara Lee Family Foundation which is set up to basically com-lain about women not getting a good deal in this area — ie they are on your “side” — and their research says women can do better than men.

    Gender can be a strategic asset for women candidates

    http://www.barbaraleefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Turning-Point-FACT-SHEET-Sept-2011.pdf

    Their report says eg. women candidates are seen as more honest than male candidates. This is a report based on US governors races. Maybe you can find something from the UK.

    In general there’s simply no reason to believe there’s discrimination. The most obvious cause of why there are few women elected is that few women become candidates. I imagine the same is true of the other issues that you raised. Why few women playing football? Because they don’t like playing football. Why few women performers? Because they are doing other things. What other things? And why are you not complaining about how few men are in those other things? Or how few women are in prisons or homeless? It seems like you are very selective about what areas of society you care about.

    The usual feminist response here is to change the topic subtly. Instead of continuing to argue that there is discrimination at the level of the election itself you’ll say well surely there is discrimination at the level before that. Women are discriminated against in becoming candidates. But is that true either? And if I were to Google evidence that it is not true would that satisfy you? Surely not. You’d not concede any loss, but simply change the inquiry yet again.

    Is there any evidence to suggest sexism at ANY stage? As far as I can see it’s far more sensible to note that men and women make different decisions (on average) and preferences create different results. Now you might argue that the way the system is set up tends to encourage or discourage women. For example this article suggests that if instead of electing a single representative, a team of two people were elected, more women would enter the competition.

    Nearly two-thirds of the “gender competition gap” – the gap between the likelihood of men or women to enter a competition – disappears when people are offered the chance to compete in two-person teams rather than as individuals.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/11/women-equality-competition-gender
    Although there’s still a big gap. (Also I wonder if a lot of women who are spouses of male candidates think that entering a competition as a team is exactly what they are already doing).

    Clearly nobody rigged the rules of elections to have only one person elected instead of teams because they wanted to discriminate against women. Should the rules be changed anyway, to encourage women? That’s an open question but the motivation for that would NOT be the elimination of discrimination or an attempt to make the system “fair”, but the belief that there is inherent value in a having more women elected as an end result. And that is exactly your 2nd assumption.

    continued…

  9. So on to the Frontman Fallacy itself, your 2nd assumption. You claimed,

    The frontman fallacy is a strawman argument and is generally accepted to be so.

    Btw you don’t actually mean a strawman here do you? You’re just saying you think it is wrong? A strawman argument is one that attacks a statement not supported by the other side. But the Frontman Fallacy attacks one of the most utterly basic concepts of feminism, namely “the patriarchy“.

    The feminist concept of “the patriarchy” is (1) men run the world, (2) men do so for the benefit of men and to the disadvantage of women and (3) all men are guilty because of the patriarchy.

    The first statement is true, and is the original non-feminist non-derogatory meaning of the word “patriarchy”. The third statement is an example of collective punishment or collective guilt and is therefore immoral and an example of feminist anti-male sexism. The second statement is the one that the Frontman Fallacy says is false.

    Feminists have always framed the relationship between the sexes as a war. Their idea is that men are always hating on women and oppressing them while women are on their own team trying to fight back like a David vs Goliath fight. The concept is utter rubbish, enormously destructive and incredibly sexist. Feminists say that if men are in charge then women are necessarily oppressed — because all men hate all women and team up to oppress them. Regardless of the disgusting “reasoning” behind their conclusion we can ask if that conclusion is actually true or not. When men are in charge do they discriminate against women? or do they discriminate against men? or do they not discriminate in any reliable pattern at all? The same might be asked of women when they are in charge.

    From what I can see the answer is that both men and women when they are in charge, discriminate in favour of women, but women tend to do so less.

    I’ve never seen a feminist present any evidence for their sex war frame. It’s simply assumed that men in charge must mean women oppressed. Dominic’s position is stated much less darkly,

    I think it is uncontroversial to say that one gender being under-represented is a bad thing.

    A bad thing how?

    If I actually had the power to put in government whoever I wanted I sure wouldn’t worry about their sex. I’d be worried about their politics. I’d want people who would represent the 99% and not the 1% for example. While feminist groups like EMILY’s List originally campaigned for any candidate with a womb, these days even they have come to the conclusion that having a male candidate that supports feminism might further their goals more than a conservative woman. I guess that they didn’t always think this is a sign of how extreme their anti-male sexism is (reminds me of the “can men be feminists?” debate).

    If the question is specifically narrowed to “what gender mix would best address sex discrimination?” then the evidence suggests that would be an all woman parliament (because women tend to discriminate in favour of women less than men do). But how ridiculous a question. If you want representatives who will fight sex discrimination then it would be better to vote for them directly and get the best people regardless of their sex.

    (Btw, for the sake of argument I’m assuming above that voting makes a difference to government. I don’t think that’s actually true although it’s a different sort of debate. You’d be a fool to believe in electoral democracy these days, especially in the US but not much less in the UK after that whole New Labor fiasco and then the Liberals stabbing their electorate in the back. The electoral process is entirely corrupted by the ruling class. OTOH originally Dominic discussed voting for student union representatives I think.)

    • The feminist concept of “the patriarchy” is (1) men run the world, (2) men do so for the benefit of men and to the disadvantage of women and (3) all men are guilty because of the patriarchy.
      The first statement is true… The second statement is the one that the Frontman Fallacy says is false.
      You agree that men rule the world. This, established, you give as a reason that women are not ruling the world because they are doing other things.

      Maybe I am changing the subject, but I think this is still an interesting question – why are women doing things other than ruling the world? I feel as though the assumption that your argument is based on is gender essentialist in nature. Women do other things, because they like doing other things, because they are women, and women like doing other things. So if I accept this argument (which in practice I do not, I argue sexist occurs all the way up the chain) we are left asking: “nature or nurture?” – do women have no interest in leadership because they are biologically disposed to be led (as Aristotle might put it) or because they are socialised to be disposed to be led? I would proceed along this discussion, but I will wait for your answer first.

      I do not hold the third premise. The second premise I do not agree with all of, at least not in that form, and negating it makes up part of my argument.

      On the second premise, I do not believe that men intend to rule only in terms of their advantage, and I do not think that this also the effect either. My argument hit somewhere between those two points, for some reason you chose not to respond to it the first two times – please re-read it, it essentially refers to the idea that we lose talent, experience and so on. In answer to the question above which I have asked you, I personally believe that it is a socialisation thing, not a biological/essentialism (at the very least, I think socialisation makes up the vast difference in the discrepancy between men and women in leadership, there is almost certainly an overlap where biological difference created the differences in traditional roles, which then created the socialisation process).

      Obviously this becomes a chicken and egg thing, but my evidence for that socialisation comes from things like the father as the traditional father figure, as the religious leader. The male virtues that men aspire to are conducive to leadership – strength, dominance, etc., whilst virtues of femininity are conducive to submission and include meekness, gentleness, beauty etc. and all of these things are reflected in the myriad public and private activities and associations of society, they creep into literature, films and so on, advertising clothing etc., and most damagingly penetrate into politics, law and so on(this is not an exhaustive list)

      These differences affect how we view candidates, and how we view ourselves in deciding whether to run for office or not. At all times, both sides of the differences should be seen, both effects on our view of ourselves and our view of others.

      • Julie Gillis says:

        Would you expand on varying types of leadership as well? Women do lead tribes, families, and have lead countries. Do women lead differently? Is it easier for a woman to rise through the power ranks in a highly militaristic society/culture that might value physical strength and domination more than collaboration?
        If women are doing other things, is it possible that they find the style of power and leadership required in the US (lets say) exceptionally unappealing? These are questions I ponder late at night. Don’t have any good answers yet.

  10. Can we end the idea that hugo is some great example of feminism? As much as i would love to have hugo be the representative of feminism because it would probably mean feminists looking like idiots but i must point out that on feministe.us there are few comments that would appear to show Hugo less qualified than what he claims to be. The support that he claims to have that justifies his prominence is quite fragile at this point. And the criticism of him is circling around the “blogoshpere” (i felt like vomiting as I wrote that word).

    I think it appears soon that feminists will realise that Hugo does make them look stupid. Something readers of feminist critics and toysolder had noticed for years. I don’t think it was a case of mass stupidity of feminists part but rather of ignorance about his writing and behaviours when taken in total.

  11. Wirbelwind says:

    Well, his position is beginning to erode because some of them FINALLY visited his blog and read about some of his “accomplishments” like, hey, trying to murder someone.

    MODERATOR’S NOTE: This comment is an ad hominem attack and not allowed under our commenting policy. This is a warning. Further comments that are in violation will be removed. See complete commenting guidelines here.

  12. It is absurd that men cannot be feminists. Unfortunately some women get so absorbed into feminism that they think all men are a threat, and not the asset that men can be. I have always tried to include men into feminist discussions, and if given a fair chance, there are many men who are willing to join the cause.

    Great article!

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Well said

    • I agree – I wrote about it a while back; http://shrillblog.co.uk/2011/lived-experience-men-feminists/

      I don’t think it’s the case that feminists necessarily view men as a threat, but that some strands have as a theoretical basis the idea that members of an oppressed group are best positioned, in terms of their unique experiences as members of that group, to lead their own struggles. In this rendering of the discussion, men cannot be feminists because they have no experience as women. Empathy is said to be an illegitimate argument for male creative participation – there are so many women with actual substantive experience, it is argued that it hardly makes sense for men to use so imperfect a faculty as empathy to contribute, and to contribute in a way that seems to frequently cause conflict. Obviously I strongly disagree for the reasons laid out in the article!

      Thankyou for your comment x

  13. Peter Houlihan says:

    “And for men, it’s so much harder than most women seem to appreciate. It is a two-step process of realizing that parts of your personality that you valued and which are useful to you are genuinely harmful to society”

    Correct me I’m wrong, but are you suggesting that only men should be expected to desconstruct their own gender role in terms of how it harms others. Men acknowledging their privilege is vital, but if women aren’t willing to take the same brave step then its rather meaningless. If re-examining gender roles is harder for one gender than the other it suggests to me that they’re not being examined properly.

    • Both do need to re-examine, but I’m a feminist – I believe that women are oppressed in many ways – please don’t ask me to justify this here, but it follows from this that it is largely the role of the oppressors to de-construct; changes for women are of a different kind, I think of these as equally taxing, but not necessarily painful, they are more like reconstruction, a building up.

      • “I believe that women are oppressed in many ways – please don’t ask me to justify this here. . .”

        Why not?  It should be easy to do if it supported by data. How about explaining in what way educated western white women are oppressed?  Do you believe that they are more oppressed than undocumented immigrant men or black men in general?

        I know many educated white women who don’t believe they are oppressed, and don’t behave as if they are oppressed.   Do you contend that they really are oppressed but just too stupid to realize it?
        For example, my boss’ boss runs a $1.2B business but doesn’t believe that she is oppressed.  So, even though she’s smart enough to run a $1.2B business, she’s too stupid to realize that she’s oppressed?  Have you thought this through?

        How could she be the one who is oppressed but not the male Mexican fruit picker and young black boy from a drug infested inner city project development are not oppressed?  Is it because they enjoy “male privilege?”

        I have seen no evidence that your argument has any basis in fact as a general statement.

      • So women just need to be built up properly while men need to be broken down and rebuilt properly?

        My only problem with your line of thought here is that you seem to have all men neatly categorized as oppressors and all women neatly categorized as oppressed. I don’t think that’s going to cut it when it comes to getting rid of the dangerous ideas that men and women have. There is some reconstructing and deconstructing that needs to be done on both sides.

      • DavidByron says:

        Would it be fair to say that male privilege – if it exists at all – is so small you need a microscope to find it? Because if someone asked me to name some privileges that eg. rich people have over the poor, I could do that in about one half a second or less.

        • DB, I have raised this issue a number of times and have consistently found that no one who claims that male privilege exists that is willing to quantify it with any real data, especially when asked to compare white women’s “privilege”, and eve more expecially in comparison to minority males.

          • I also dislike the idea of male privilege, it’s easily the hardest thing for men joining this discussion to grasp – that’s a lot what my article was about. But I don’t dislike it because it’s wrong, I dislike it because it is true.

            In terms of what male privilege is, I found these sites helpful – http://www.amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist/ and http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/faq-female-privilege/.

            Obviously neither of these have “data”. A lot of feminism is based on personal experience. Data will have difficulty measuring the bias in a certain situation if it is not accompanied by deep statistical evidence describing a situation. This objection clearly works both ways (if I can’t prove it, I can’t disprove it).

            Eric – someone being successful does not mean that they are in other ways oppressed, and people being oppressed does not mean that they are not in some ways privileged – check the concept of kyriarchy; there is a lot of stuff online about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyriarchy and it clarifies some things very well. Also, being oppressed without realising does not equate to stupidity, as a particularly simple example, many kids whilst bright, are not aware they are being bullied, many men/women, despite being bright do not realise that they are being sexually harassed, and on the other side, those bullying/oppressing/harassing are not fully aware of what they are doing. You have to be acquainted with the concept to know that it is relevant to you, and to realise that you quality of life may have something to do with it.

            Again, I really am not going to justify my feminism here, a good many people have done so much better than I ever could myself. These people make up mainstream feminism. If you want to lay out a comprehensive case against the idea of male privilege (either of you) I would be happy to write a response – you could email an article to my site and I will publish it so long as it abides by rules (in general: article avoids logical fallacies, over-hyped rhetoric, is not too long, does not mis-use statistics. The site is http://www.shrillblog.co.uk, all contact and publishing info is there. Please be aware that our readership is mostly moderate, university students, and feminists make up a minority at the University of York and other participating unis.

            Thankyou for taking the time to respond to my article

            • “ But I don’t dislike it because it’s wrong, I dislike it because it is true.”

              How do you know it to be true without objective data?  You believe it’s true because amptoons.com and finallyfeminism101.com say it is?  Those are your sources?

              If your argument has facts behind it, you could cite any number of .gov sites as data sources.  Have you ever done any actual research based on data from .gov sites?

              With views based on personal impressions of experiences, you have merely an opinion of a relatively small minority.  Clearly nothing to establish anything credible.

              “Data will have difficulty measuring the bias in a certain situation if it is not accompanied by deep statistical evidence describing a situation. This objection clearly works both ways (if I can’t prove it, I can’t disprove it).”

              .gov data often describes critically important issues very clearly.  For example, who is being educated and graduating and who is not?  Who has higher unemployment?   Who are the majority of victims of crime?  All such data is publicly available and current.

              “Eric – someone being successful does not mean that they are in other ways oppressed, and people being oppressed does not mean that they are not in some ways privileged.”

              So, then, if everyone is oppressed in some way, why do you single women out as the only oppressed group?  Further, what is your basis for insisting that intelligent people are oppressed if they claim they are not?  How can you possibly know their lives better than they do?  Are you more intelligent than they are?

              “Also, being oppressed without realising does not equate to stupidity, as a particularly simple example, many kids whilst bright, are not aware they are being bullied,”

              To state the obvious, we are talking about adult women, not children.  How is it not insulting and disrespectful to claim that women are no more aware of their environment than children?

              “Again, I really am not going to justify my feminism here, “

              You don’t need to.  I was just wondering if you had actually done any real research using .gov data upon which to base your feminism.   Evidently not.

              “If you want to lay out a comprehensive case against the idea of male privilege (either of you) I would be happy to write a response.”

              First “male privilege” would need to be shown to exist based on something other than personal opinion.  The male Mexican fruit picker and his son would need to be shown to be more privileged than my white female millionaire boss and her daughter.

              I would encourage you to consider real data from a .gov source, not a feminist or MRA site (e.g. finallyfeminism101.com). 

              Do yourself a favour and compare data regarding white women and minority men, and see if you still believe in “male privilege.”

            • First some corrections (because your response was a systematic attempt to mis-interpret me – I did not (anywhere at all) suggest women were the only oppressed group.

              I did not suggest that women were no more aware of their environment then children, and if I did, then I also suggested that most men were too. In the same sentence I made other direct comparisons. One could easily say that I made out that children were aware of their environment as adults. Neither interpretation gets to the idea that our relation to a certain concept may remain unknown to us without implying our stupidity.

              Furthermore, I have not cited any data other than my personal experience. The two sites were explanations of the concepts I am talking about. You are extrapolating from a claim I have not made (namely the requirement that in order to have a belief/observation it must be supported by .gov data).

              I would respond to your substantive points, but they seem to largely consist of the above mis-characterisations. I was proceeding in this discussion in the light of a belief in your rationality, please, prove to me statistical evidence of your rationality on a .gov site, otherwise I may begin to suspect that I am wasting my time here, and may have to scrap that belief.

            • “First some corrections (because your response was a systematic attempt to mis-interpret me – I did not (anywhere at all) suggest women were the only oppressed group.”

              Where in your comments did you state that men were oppressed?

              “I did not suggest that women were no more aware of their environment then children, and if I did, then I also suggested that most men were too.”

              Where did you state that men were were no more aware of their environment than children?

              Let’s review:

              I said this: “my boss’ boss runs a $1.2B business but doesn’t believe that she is oppressed. So, even though she’s smart enough to run a $1.2B business, she’s too stupid to realize that she’s oppressed?”

              In response to my statement about my female boss not believe that she is oppressed, you said this:

              “Also, being oppressed without realising does not equate to stupidity, as a particularly simple example, many kids whilst bright, are not aware they are being bullied,”

              You compared adult women such as my boss to children, who are unaware of their environment because they are immature. Comparing adult women to children is insulting. Sorry, it just is.

              “Furthermore, I have not cited any data other than my personal experience. The two sites were explanations of the concepts I am talking about. You are extrapolating from a claim I have not made (namely the requirement that in order to have a belief/observation it must be supported by .gov data).”

              Fair enough. That male privilege exists is your opinion but that idea has no basis in fact. That is a key point here.

              “I was proceeding in this discussion in the light of a belief in your rationality,”

              I was hoping that you had interest in factual information, not baseless personal opinions that contradict unbiased data sources (.gov).

              “Please, prove to me statistical evidence of your rationality on a .gov site, otherwise I may begin to suspect that I am wasting my time here, and may have to scrap that belief.”

              If you are going to respond with more personal opinions, feel free but your opinion is no more valid than anyone else’s.

              I can offer you statistical evidence that white women are far, far more privileged than minority males in many tangible, measurable ways (reported by the US Federal government), and even more privileged than majority males in many tangible, measurable ways. However, I very seriously doubt if you want to even see such facts, as feminists are usually loathe to acknowledge data that flies in the fact of their “male privilege” fantasy.

            • *correction – someone being successful does not mean that they are NOT in other ways oppressed

            • John Sctoll says:

              I am going to reply to your links about male priv.

              31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)

              When in recent history have men asked for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men, because with the exception of sexual violence, all other type of violence happen mostly (majority) to men. Plus how is it a priv to NOT get special interest help. If it wasn’t for special interest VAWA would not exist and a fair number of people believe that VAWA is wrong and against the concept of fair treatment. And BTW, it is women (mostly) who wanted DV and Acq Rape as definitions and they even want those definitions expanded beyond belief. Personally I as a man would love to have some special interest acting on my behalf to get me more protection under that law , and because there isn’t one doing it, that isn’t a priv but a detriment.

            • John Sctoll says:

              I just read that second link you provided. And all I can say is WOW, another feminist site that just changes the definition of a word to suit the writers POV and then goes on to justify that definition.

  14. All hail Hugos’ replacement!

  15. van Rooinek says:

    for men, it’s so much harder than most women seem to appreciate…. parts of your personality that you valued and which are useful to you are genuinely harmful to society

    Speak for yourself. My personality isn’t harmful to society. You assume all men have something toxic inside that needs to go, just because (taking you at your word) you do.

    This is a mistake. Most men aren’t like you, we don’t have anything wrong with us — at least, not anything that feminism could fix, or has any business trying to change.

Speak Your Mind

*