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

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. PursuitAce says:

    One definite thing I’ve learned from this site….absolutely definitively, is that it’s OK for women to be angry and it’s not OK for men to be angry. That is a defining principle of our current culture.

  2. Dominic,

    I find it funny that the fallout between Tom and Hugo occurred during the same week that I had a disagreement with several of my feminist friends very publicly online as well. The argument revolved around the PA Liquor Advisory Board’s (PLAB) ad campaign which was recently pulled. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that the ad was poorly done, what I had attempted to focus my comments around in the discussion was that the tirade of yelling and screaming and forcing the to pull the ad completely was not constructive and that this was an opportunity for two groups both focused on good causes to work together on something better. I attempted to make clear that my critique was not on the message, but on the fact that the shouting, screaming, and yelling and slogans like “don’t rape” is off-putting and alienates the same men that the movement and the MRA movement both need to become active in order to effectively reach gender equality.

    The result was typical: accusations of not knowing what I was talking about, pandering to a masculine preconception, believing that all feminists are man-haters, etc. I attempted to reiterate several times that I never said any of those things that all I was suggesting was that in order to rally someone to your way of thinking you need to begin at their level of understanding and then slowly expand that understanding as they grasp more and more.

    I highly support your concern about men being able to express “hurt.” After all, no one likes to have their ego hurt, and you certainly can’t create trusting alliances and friendships with those who we continue to hurt. There will always be trolls like the Kevin in Hugo’s story who are purposely trying to create trouble, and it is unfortunate that the message Hugo got from this experience was “this is the technique they are using to shut out our voice” rather than “wait, maybe these men are genuinely a little afraid and don’t understand what we are really about, how can we better communicate our message to them from a place of comfort so they won’t feel the need to be defensive?”

    The one place I have a disagreement with, Dominic, is the comment that men have to “preach their own deconstruction.” As in my previous discussion, it is not because I believe in a different mission, it is because I believe that a different path is a more effective way of accomplishing the same mission. “Deconstruction” is asking men to reject themselves and believe that we are “toxic.” Regardless of whether or not it is blameless, the very notion is unappealing and will drive people away from our cause. Rather we need to define and preach the qualities that need to embody manhood as we move forward. We need to show men that by joining in the mission for gender equality they have just as much to gain as women and that they don’t have their voices or identity by doing so.

    • Edit:

      “and that they DON’T have to lose their voices or identity by doing so.”

      Sorry about that GMP refreshed on me in the middle of writing my comment and I seem to have lost that word in the process.

    • I see where you’re coming from when you disagree with labelling this process “toxic” or “deconstruction”; it is a difficult message, and there’s a guy further down the comment stream kicking off about it already. I wrote that because I thought it was true, not because I was trying to sell the process, and to have softened my presentation of that process in this article would have betrayed the point – that it is a really difficult and unappealing change that men in society have to make. A lot of the article I find on this brilliant site are the sounds people make as they transition, or contemplate the exigencies of transitions. MRAs tend to stand and look at what has been asked of them and say that it is too much to ask of somebody, other try to find a halfway house and are stranded in purgatory, jostled between angry extremes. Some, like Hugo perhaps, make it all the way to become a full-fledged feminist, but forget how hard it was to undergo that metamorphosis.

      • MRAs tend to stand and look at what has been asked of them and say that it is too much to ask of somebody, other try to find a halfway house and are stranded in purgatory, jostled between angry extremes. Some, like Hugo perhaps, make it all the way to become a full-fledged feminist, but forget how hard it was to undergo that metamorphosis.
        Maybe I’m reading too much into this but you almost sound like you’re saying that in order undergo the needing changes one must become a feminist or they are going to either bounce between extremes or complain.

        Is that what you’re saying?

  3. Tom Matlack says:

    Thanks for this wonderfully thoughtful piece Dominic (and your empathy). Of course I too consider myself a feminist but that seems to have gotten completely lost in the litmus test which I failed. You are right that I was hurt by what seemed to me to be unnecessarily personal atttacks. I don’t call that gas lighting I call that too bad.

    I really appreciate the way you reframed this whole thing.

    • From what I could tell, Tom I think that you where being called a closet racist by the ladies in of the incident. As an African American I know when people are impugning someones character to gain debate points. I think you let your frustration get the best of you by comparing them to MRA’s.

      What I took from the incident was that;
      1) Tom, you might have insinuated that Masculinity was Thee ideal for goodness.
      2) The ladies were petitioning that you see them as both imperfect and “good” people.
      3) You should have apologized for the MRA comment sooner, but you didn’t.
      4) Rosanne Bar had nothing of substance to say.

      Either way I hope we could get past this. I’ll miss Hugo, he had some pretty good incite.

  4. Lisa Hickey says:

    Dominic, thanks for this.

    There were two “wows” for me:

    1) “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.”

    2) “There will always be disagreement; it’s what comes just before understanding amongst those with curious minds.”

    You are so right. It’s too important to be mistaken, and we, too, are curious. And there will always be disagreement.

    It’s nice to know it’s all part of the process.

    • Thankyou for posting my article.. for some reason though, I feel as though I will re-read this in a year’s time and realise that I am again in a completely different place. It’s nerve-racking to have any strong opinions published, because just reading the comments makes me want to re-write it constantly to reflect what I really think.

      But thanks again for this opportunity to test my views

  5. I have to be right because when I talk about these issues [because] it is too important to be mistaken and risk being wrong about my own identity and manner of perceiving the world.

    Yet there is a good chance your manner of perceiving the world is wrong. After all, feminism is at best a limited ideology narrowly focus on a specific group of people. It is going to be wrong on many issues.

    I think the problem is a genuine fear of being challenged and confronted for precisely the reason you described: many feminists’ identities are tied up with how they view the world. And I think you showed that when you wrote that you would not know if you were “really right” unless someone could “persuade [you] otherwise.” That essentially asks people to prove you wrong, which is another way of saying that you assume you are inherently right. That is where the conflict comes from.

    Secondly, the man who is “hurt” by feminist anger needs to be taken more seriously.

    You cannot taken that man more seriously if you put his hurt in scare quotes. The problem is not just a tone heavy-handed enough to be labelled wrath, but also one disingenuous enough to be labelled as condescending.

    • Thanks for this comment – the scare quotes were definitely poorly thought-through. Obviously they were not included to question how genuine that feeling was, but to somehow protect the word from the fact that “hurt” isn’t a word men use so often and to try to keep together all of the connotations from the first time I used it, rather than allowing it to be coloured by the damaging idea that those who get are those who are weak.

      In terms of how needing to be right relates to fear of confrontation,I have to defend my point – that I need to be right leads me into confrontation in the most passionate way, and I always come away with a changed opinion when I can rely on others to do the same. It seems contradictory, but I think this is one of those contradictions that I just accept and use to help me develop my thought. I think the confusion is resident to the idea that “having to be right” can be equated to close-mindedness.

      I assume that I am right, and there is a degree of inherency in this (because many of these debates have a premise in them somewhere on whether those having experienced something are always right about their experiences), but I do not assume that others are not right to – this process seems to be one of incorporation of truths into your viewpoint rather than switching between diametric oppositions.

      • There is a difference between individual experiences and broader experiences, and I think it is the latter that you are really talking about. Of course one is right about one’s individual experiences. Short of a memory lapse or lying, people know more about their personal lives than some random stranger.

        However, broader experiences are more subjective. It is easier to miss, mistake, downplay or ignore things that do not fit into one’s worldview. In those situations it is less likely that both groups can be right. There is an inherent truth, there is what people think is true, and then there is want people want to be true. Most ideologies fall into the latter two, especially the last, and that reveals a major problem. If one already assumes that one is inherently right, which many feminists do, then how one can be open to new information? How can you actually include that information?

        It sounds as if you are not so much acknowledging the other stuff as true as you are picking out the parts that you can make fit into your existing view. In that sense, it is sort of like a religious person accepting evolution by saying God caused it.

  6. I don’t care a bit about feminism. Feminism in this country is a movement defined by it’s political and legal advocacy, much of which is extremely sexist and aligned against civil liberties for men.

    Feminism is for people who cannot think for themselves. I have worked with women and for women, and I have daughters.

    If they identified with the feminist movement in the US, I would be greatly disappointed in them.

  7. Twtr: Boston_wren says:

    This is bullshit. I don’t know how many times I’ve read this assertion of a male feminist. Really? Because if you read the early writings of Pre-First Wave Feminists(before Friedan, Steinem, and even Paglia to a certain extent), as well as the writings of Chicana and Black Feminists, as well as Chilean Feminists of the later 20th Century, there is one Truth that is evident… Feminists are WOMEN asserting a basic Humanitarian Right to Parity and Equality of Intellect, Economic and Social recognition. To be a Man and call yourself a Feminist is really antithetical to the tenets on which Feminism was base. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great that men support women…. but why should you get recognition for doing something within the constructs of society that you SHOULD be doing? Perhaps you should say you support Andrism – the rejection of any distinctions between men and woman that surpass the interpersonal relationships and the boundaries that have been set up between each person in these proper relationships – whether it be personal, professional or political. I don’t know. I’m not an angry feminist, or even someone who calls herself a Feminist. I live my life embracing the thinking set forth by feminists – freedom to make choices for my life and the assertion and belief that I have the right to the same limits or lack thereof afforded to men. All too often, I see so many people talking about Feminism based on online articles and commentaries, but so few have actually made the time to read exactly what it is constructed of, as well the global socioeconomic changes and philosophers (men and women) that serve as the bedrock for what it is we are discussing. It’s like trying to be a therapist because you read Dear Abby, Ann Landers and the occasional Psych article in the NYT and Google news. Things are getting very lost in translation.

    • PursuitAce says:

      Wait, what? If you’re a man you can’t be a feminist? So again I ask, what’s the real truth? No one ever answers me, but I’m sure Tom would like to know.

  8. Hilarious that this site is still making attempts to paint it as something other than “converting men into feminism and destroying the idea that gender issues should be viewed from the perspective of men”

    This site is about feminism and nothing else. Also, its sleazy tactics perpetuate the notion that women are manipulative.

    • i thought gender issues were a woman’s things and a non-issue for men who just pretend to care to 1. get out of HR training in time for lunch, 2. to get into office, or 3. get laid? Having a daughert reframed my semi-sexist exhusband’s world view. Don’t know too many Fathers who encourage their daughters to defer to men to understand themselves…, no one who doesn’t want them to end up on a pole or with Daddy issues.

    • ED says

      “Hilarious that this site is still making attempts to paint it as something other than “converting men into feminism and destroying the idea that gender issues should be viewed from the perspective of men”

      This site is about feminism and nothing else.”

      ED, if you had been paying attention in the last two weeks you would know the truth.
      While TGMP has never lied about having feminist leanings, they have still tried to make this sight primarily about men.

      They have recently drew their line in the sand against (what I would call) a fundemantalist feminist zealot. That contributor (Hugo) left TGMP. Just so you know Hugo’s articles regularly pull down 300+ comments and who knows how many page views (which generates revenue indirectly for the webpage).

      TGMP has proven that they put their money where their mouth is when they say they support men. They put this ideology over $$$$$.

      • I doubt they are making much money on any of this.

        • Assman:
          I wouldn’t have any idea how much or little tgmp makes (and is really besides the point). One thing I suspect is that blogs make their money through their advertisement banners.

          The more posts & views they have the likelier that somebody will post on an ad. For Lisa and Tom to draw their ideological line in the sand and say they can live without Hugo is to turn away $$$$ to stick to the ideology of helping men.

          Few of the other contributors drew a crowd like Hugo did.

          Lisa and Tom deserve congratulations for sticking to their guns. Hugo brought a lot of feminist “creds” to the page. Unless a similar contributor (but maybe less of a stickler for feminist dogma) is found this is going to create a shift to an MRA audience. MRA’s are really a fledgling org compared to the crowd that would be drawn due to Hugo and Marcotte posting here.

          If Hugo is gone, you can probably figure most of Marcotte’s fans won’t post here anymore either.

          My point is they deserve an acknowledgement of their proper actions in this regard.

          Ed kind of reminds me of the “ex leper” in life of brian. There’s no pleasing some people.

  9. I love the incredible delusional tone of this article, trying to paint the author as reasonable and open minded: “why can’t you men just make the simple leap that you have all of the power and are incredibly evil? Why is this such a challenge to communicate to you?”

  10. Why can’t you feminists get through to your delusional minds (you have to get by the privileged emotion of being blameless) that:

    The politicians serve the voters(mostly women)
    The corporations serve the consumers(mostly women)
    Television serves the viewers(mostly women) and advertising agencies(who serve consumers – women)
    Spending carries less power than earning

    No patriarchy. No privilege.

    Women traditionally were imprisoned to the family, but men were enslaved to the family. Men worked horrific jobs as sole bread earners. Men, starting as hunters, bore the main brunt of shaping society and of conflict resolution which had to include baring the brunt of extreme violence. You’re smaller, slower, and weaker out of privilege. Because men of your physical characteristics died out – worse gender role.

    Now apologize for all the appalling lack of gratitude for the horror show of a sacrifice men have done. And start treating men like human beings. The pre-60’s gender roles were terrible in their own ways for both sexes. We can work with today’s idea of equality if you stop emotionally and bludgeoning men.

    • Henru Vandenburgh says:

      Ed, your comment is rudely phrased, but I basically agree with it. I think women and men operate out of somewhat different physical templates, not that there can’t be overlap. The risk with feminist men is that they may become passive-aggressive (one of the traits of women in groups all too often.) Not good. Each gender has had privileges, which perhaps should go by the boards as much as possible. But I think that men taking charge of feminist projects is suspicious. I’m sure I never want to see women’s football, although I think women in martial arts are great. I’ll miss Hugo here, partly because he seemed so masochistic, and needing therapy. So I was always flabbergasted at his meta self-exposure, and, I guess, could enjoy getting mad at his misandry. I don’t think he liked women much either. But occasionally, when he was a humanist (only,) I agreed with him.

  11. To sum up, your article is hypocritical and baselessly patronizing. Men know full well what modern feminism is all about. We know the red pill you took in college, choosing to focus SOLELY where women are disadvantaged – and greatly exaggerating everything. You de-humanize men by observing them only as forces who affect women. All your talk about empathy and open mindedness is a lie.

  12. Ed. you are an embarrassment to any man who isn’t an asshole, but can’t get the credit. you are to decent men,.what angry feminists are to women on the grind.

  13. thats said…. is you were hot, i’d likely bang you.

  14. edit from before: spending carries *MORE power than earning.

    • of course.. just ask the families who lost their asses and houses with mortgages they couldn’t afford.

      • Typical feminist bigotry. Use the most disadvantaged example of women to represent women, and the most privileged example of men to represent men.

        • considering im a newly divorced, single mom to a toddler about to start an MBA program, who currently lives on about $2500 a month since… I think I’m pretty qualified to call myself A Woman On Her Grind! :)

  15. “Childish men.” Thanks for the empathy, O open minded one who must be right because she debates with people and stuff.

  16. It does seem to be a clash of methodologies between the essence of the feminine and masculine. Those polarities are not always as dramatic as they have been in the past. But I think the art of war concept for the masculine to grasp is that it’s not about changing ‘her’ mind. It’s about changing her ‘mood’.

  17. To say that we were incredibly hostile in WomCom is to ignore the context of our feelings. Namely, I don’t think we showed any hostility at all until you posted an article in a feminist Facebook group that was “feminist satire” written by a man, something I think most of us still find really offensive. You’re being one-sided by writing about how hurt your feelings were despite your best intentions, when I really think you need to put it into the context of WHY we were “hostile”, and the fact that we DID have reason to be upset by the article.

    Besides that I whole-heartedly agree with the need for mutual respect in feminist discourse, but it’s a problem when we don’t take into consideration the reasons behind why one side of the debate is upset. In the same way that feminist women don’t deserve sympathy for isolating their hurt feelings from their hurtful words and actions towards male feminists, male feminists only warrant sympathy for their hurt once we’ve examined the actions of both sides of the debate. Being hurt is only meaningful if it was unprovoked and an illegitimate attack. It is still my opinion that many attacks on feminists – calling them “hostile” or “feminazis” for example – ARE unprovoked, and ARE the sort of “key anti-feminist strategy” that Hugo referred to.

    • Ophelia – let me apologise – my comment is a generalisation (many womcommers showed understanding rather than anger).

      My use of “hostility” was not, however, an exaggeration or an anti-feminist strategy, I did not use it in order to undermine feminism, and I do not think that my use here can possibly construed as anti-feminist, at the most it can be construed as anti-Ophelia. For a start, this article should be read as a frame of reference to explain reactions and attitudes. You are still not inside that frame, and still choose to see any criticism of feminism as an attack, a personal attack. This is a phenomenon that I explicitly talk about in the article. Instead of reading it holistically, you have zoomed in on the only negative word I had to say, and ignored the fact that given context, my interpretation of feminist hostility lacked full understanding of what I was involved in. This is an article justifying what seemed to be hostility so long as I am justified in being bewildered.

      In an attempt at clarification, what hostility there was has since been more or less resolved, and I take blame for the naive decisions made around the publication of Tim’s article, but I maintain the integrity of expressing what seemed to be the case to me at the time.

    • I have taken your observation on board though, and I can see that this is a one-sided account, but that is because I largely assume feminist anger to be justified (and necessary). I hope that I did not imply otherwise. Besides, I don’t think the truth or legitimacy of the claim backing the anger is important, because as I have said, both sides always think that they are right – at the time, this makes anger on both sides always legitimate, with no 3rd ground to stand on and judge.

      Just for the record, in a later edit of the article adapted to fit the YUSU discussion more closely, I have changed the word “hostile” to the phrase “unforgiving of anybody trying but failing to be involved on their side of the debate” because I did feel “hostile” was an unfair characterisation of my impression of the reaction. Right now, I think I was wrong to see the reaction as in any way aggressive, but this article records my impression at the time, not my retrospective appraisal.

  18. Why is this site called ” The Good Men Project”? From a branding standpoint, that sounds like you want to separate the philosophy here from that espoused by men in general.

    It sounds apologetic in nature, in the way feminist-submissive men seem to present themselves to women who paint all men with the “rape culture”, “patriarchy”, etc. brush.

  19. Supremacist ideology require dissent.

  20. Good article. I thought it was fair.

    I’m a man I just recently got interested in feminism. I don’t believe in the ideology (at least not the 2nd or 3rd wave) but I just find it interesting to read.

    One example of why I’m against the current feminism.

    In the book “Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape” a book of essays by feminists my jaw dropped when I read a feminist defending how the Duke Lacrosse players falsely accused of rape were treated saying even if they weren’t guilty it was ok since they had white privilege to fall back on and that millions of black men were falsey accused of rape in the past and nobody cared for them.

    If I still had the book (I borrowed it from the library) I would quote you the entire paragraph in its entirety to show I’m not exaggerating or using a strawman, this was what an actual feminist wrote in a book which had the name of well known feminist Jessica Valenti at the front of it. Go read it yourself if you don’t believe me.

    • In the book “Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape” a book of essays by feminists my jaw dropped when I read a feminist defending how the Duke Lacrosse players falsely accused of rape were treated saying even if they weren’t guilty it was ok since they had white privilege to fall back on and that millions of black men were falsey accused of rape in the past and nobody cared for them.
      I never read that book but about that case I do recall folks on feminist sites defending the accusations against them by declaring that even if they didn’t rape her on that night they more than likely did “something” that they needed to be punished for.

      So apparently privilege is bad when it bring something positive but when it something negative its okay for privilege to exist?

      But question them about it and all of a sudden they are being attacked unprovoked? Cry me a damn river…

  21. Dominic

    I am intrigued by your post and comments. It articulates much, but I do fear that there is more at play than just Gender Politics.

    I do agree with how you succinctly summed up so much when you said:

    “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. ”

    You make two basic observations that resonate with so much with what is happening socially, and even being amplified via the Cyber-Spheres.

    I do welcome you highlighting the lazy use of language which assumes or implies that feminist = woman, therefore only women are angry or entitled to anger. It is the same lazy logic and language which is used to try and put down “Uppity Disabled People” and even “Uppity None Heterosexuals” and even “Uppity Racial Minorities”.

    It just promotes the view that Minorities who say “that is not correct”, “that is not just” and “that is not equal” are dismissed as angry and not correct. I’ve seen it play out far to many times.

    It is rather Anti-social and limited. It just perpetuates Sex/Gender stereotyping and mythology and does not advance matters.

    You quote Hugo:

    “I agree with Hugo on one point: I think that the “grown-up virtues of self-control, responsibility, and manifested empathy” ”

    I have a personal quibble with the term “manifested empathy”. It implies a perfect state. It even can be seen as Privilege that gets in the way and is misused.

    Someone who views themselves as possessing “manifested empathy” can all too easily fall into the trap of not looking at a situation in real time and manifesting empathy which fits that situation. It can be a very large blind spot, even arrogance, which views another as lesser from a position of presumed and faulty superiority.

    Linking it to being a virtue also runs the risk of those who view themselves as having “manifested empathy” being far less than virtuous when empathy is a factor to be brought freely into play. I posses “manifested empathy” is not the same as being Empathetic.

    Those who see themselves as endowed with “Virtue” do run the risk of being more than arrogant and thereby causing much damage which they refuse to accept responsibility for. Why should they? They have made themselves perfectly endowed. They can’t be wrong or be responsible for any fault.

    The manipulation of the term “Empathy” has more to do with “Pathos” than any reality rather than manifesting empathy in the situation as it exists. You can even see this played out to Dramatic Effect in such plays as Shakespeare’s “Julius Cesar”; Mark Antony’s funeral oration for Cesar where he supposedly praises Brutus whilst actually damning him.

    On a cultural/social note – Euro-centic.

    I have noted that there are distinct Cultural/Social differences at play here on GMP, due to the differences in laws that apply in different countries, how those laws have played out over at least the last 60 years, and as a consequence how views and experiences have diverged.

    There is often Cultural Privilege at play. P^)

    I have read around the events you speak of in connection with York University Student Union (YUSU), and I am bemused by the reports and status quo.

    You are writing from a UK/European perspective where Equality is enshrined in law under The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) since 1953. Article 8 prohibits discrimination of grounds of sex/gender- in fact any status – and that does apply to all Statutory Bodies, including Universities. I’m bemused as to why An Equality Committee is not in place and a Women’s Committee is. I thought that such debate was settled back in the 1980’s but it seems York are different.

    The University have full legal obligations in working with York University Students Union( YUSU) to not fall foul of the law. It all strikes me as very odd. P^/

    The Human Rights Act applies to all “Public Authorities” and York university recognizes that it it in fact a “Pubic Authority” via its own website.

    YUSU even acknowledges the relationship as it exists under the Eduction Act 1994 – which is subordinate to the Human Rights Act 1998. I have to wonder what is the View of the Equality And Human Rights Commission on these matters?

    • The European equality situation is not much different from the US supreme court in it’s approach to the 14th amendment’s guarantee of equal treatment. Equality of gender only works one way for these bodies. For women and against men. They will sometimes act when the discrimination against men is especially blatant but they will never act if the discrimination simply favours women. For example quotas for women are a clear example of sex discrimination which gets a big thumbs up and as you say there are a proliferation of women’s committees and women’s departments up and down government on both side of the Atlantic. All of it is discrimination which feminists and our so-called equality laws approve. Fake equality. Feminist “equality”.

      • “The European equality situation is not much different from the US supreme court in it’s approach to the 14th amendment’s guarantee of equal treatment.”

        There is a certain level of difference in that US law is open to interpretation – and that long slog to the supreme court.

        ECHR Clause 14 states it very clearly;

        “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.”

        It’s why I’m surprised that YUSU/York University is acting as it is. Unless they have committees and equivalent access to all person of all statuses they do have a legal time bomb.

        That “other status” is where you get the fighting and development. It’s where Injustice gets struck down. Also – as it’s pan European, once one state has struck down an inequality it affects other states too. It’s only taken since 1953, but change can be quicker than under US legal systems. Case Law transcends borders.

  22. The article was depressing because it suggested to me that people of differing ideological stances cannot work in the same publication

    Naaah. They had almost identical ideological stances. So it’s not depressing at all. It’s just another day on the internet. Or… if it says anything it says something about the fragility of feminism these days to any hint of criticism. Even accidental and unintended criticism by someone on the same side, someone who believes the same stuff and someone (Tom I mean) who just isn’t into arguing all that political ideological stuff to begin with.

  23. “I do not think that the idea of the “angry feminist” is a myth.”

    Obviously. Who claims it’s a myth?

    I’m not an MRA, feminist, or any other group that focuses solely on the issues of a special interest group, as if other humans don’t matter, as if only men, women, or even minorities have problems in life, and “the others” have it made. No offense but how ridiculous. I personally find ways to help whomever seems to need it the most in a given instance. Women don’t only need it, nor do men, nor do kids, nor do minorities. However, the data speaks very loudly and clearly where the biggest problems are.

    I assume the writer is sincere but he seems to have no clue as the reality of the state of majoity women vs. minority men.

    Again, no offense, but how can the author possibly consider black and immigrant men to have any advantage over white women? I wonder why he hasn’t considered the data, and chosen to work in accord with that? Were he to use government sourced data to compare white women to minority men in any measurable category of achievement or oppression, the data shows that thewhite female comes out on top virtually 100% of the time, usually by a huge margin.

    Consider unemployment, poverty, victims of violent assault and crime, education (high school and college graduation rates), suicide, drug addiction, incarceration, rate of disease (except sex specific cancers) death rates, etc.

    Considering the facts, not subjective views, who really should be angry? White women or minority men?

  24. Excellent work Mr. Falco. I’m quite pleased to see the writers on this site coming over to an increasingly moderate point of view on gender relations and I love seeing that you all are becoming brave enough to critique feminism despite the condemnation that you’ve received and will no doubt continue to receive for it. Keep up the good work and the unique insight on gender and feminism and I’m sure that this will become an increasingly popular website.

    I have to say, I’m really impressed.

  25. 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?)

    That is a creditable attitude to have if you really have it, but it is singularly rare in any feminist, and in fact completely unobserved by me. Your account comes off as a little disingenuous to me, because you don’t even mention any of the critics of feminism. In fact I get the impression that you are only talking about being challenged by other feminists. Surely if you only debate with people of the same ideology, that is not much of a challenge to your beliefs. You don’t mention talking to any MRAs or to any critics of feminism from the left. There’s no recognition at all that feminism is accused of sexism for example.

    When I first became interested in debating these matters it was because I’d just read Warren Farrell’s criticism of feminism in “The Myth of Male Power”. I did not form my own web site (until years later) but I went on line and I attempted to find the best answers I could by people on the other side of that debate – ie feminists. What I found was feminists had no response to Farrell’s criticisms. I didn’t quit easily but continued trying to debate these issues for about ten years over several hundred feminist sites, and then on and off for another twelve or so years.

    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 sort of argument for example is so common that it has it’s own name in the literature. It’s called the Frontman Fallacy. A term in use for forty years. Were you aware of that?

    there was no-one talking about this stuff in public

    Nobody talking about feminism? Are you kidding me? Did you just arrive from the fifteenth century? Feminism is the single party gender dictatorship of our times. It so thoroughly dominates any conversation about gender that you can feel able to make statements about having your views challenged when all you mean is to talk only to other feminists.

    The Hugo / Tom thing and your response are essentially a storm in a teacup. An argument heated not because of the ideological differences so much as despite their absence. This is a sign of a moribund movement with no real issues or ideas to talk about, closing in on itself with increasing paranoia.

    • when I say

      there was no-one talking about this stuff in public

      I was talking about what appeared to be the case to me at the time on campus, in campus media, among campus societies. Whilst it may be true that feminism dominates the gender conversation, it is certainly not true that the gender conversation in general is particular loud or well-attended. It certainly isn’t shrill enough.

      The frontman fallacy is a strawman argument and is generally accepted to be so. The low presence of women in positions of representation is an issue for many reasons, and representing other women is only one of those reasons, but it is still a valid argument. Particularly strong is the idea that if 50% of the population perceive themselves, and are perceived by others as unlikely candidates for leadership, then we lose 50% of our leadership potential.

      Oh, and don’t worry, I’m finding plenty of people who disagree with me.

      • DavidByron says:

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

        Saying “it’s generally accepted that you are wrong” is not actually an argument at all. You do understand that, right? I am trying to figure out if you are being sincere or not. Who? Who do you find that disagrees with you? You made a claim and I am testing it. You just went through a debate over keeping York SU a gender discriminatory body where you backed the discrimination and others did not — but I don’t see any opposition on your web site. Where do you talk to people you disagree with?

        Do you have any problem with women’s under representation inside prisons? Or women’s under representation among the homeless? It seems like those would be far more significant areas where women are badly under represented. Why don’t you list those as concerns for equality?

        • David you’re good at this. But you ignored the argument I put in – namely that if women are not being selected for positions of representation, if there are few “front-women”, then half of our candidates are being arbitrarily discriminated against. And this is bad (excuse me for repeating myself), because I assume it to be true that some women may make good leaders, may make effective representatives, may make brilliant front-people. It is a waste of talent, and a sign of arbitrary prejudice. It is a sign that we are not efficient in our selection processes. It is sign that this inefficiency is rooted in inequality between men and women. My assumption is, of course, that an effective democracy, one without discrimination or inequality, would elect on average, across years, 50/50 men and women. In the same way, at our major live music event, assuming the stock of talented women to be roughly the same as that of talented men, female performers on the main stage would have made up much closer to 50% of acts.

          To ask if I have a problem with women’s under-representation in prisons or among the homeless is to seemingly intentionally and drastically misunderstand me. I have not expressed an opinion on this side of things, and there is no logical continuity in my opinion that having women in public places is a good thing, and the question you have asked.

          Whilst men may have women’s interests at heart, and be their representatives, but to have women in our student union introduces a safe-guard against (perhaps unintentional) discriminatory policy. Simply look at the arguments made by those who oppose the disproportionate impact of public sector cuts in the UK on women; had there been more female voices in our parliament, the likelihood of this overlook would have been drastically decreased. The representatives do more than represent is surely true. They introduce their own opinions and experiences. Women share many experiences in common that men do not have access to, do not always have an intuitive understanding of. There is a wealth of shared experience that is simply under-prioritised when women are under-represented.

          I think it is uncontroversial to say that one gender being under-represented is a bad thing. I therefore think that when the root cause of this under-representation is inherent, when it is part of our perceptions and social norms, when it is part of the socialisation process which forms expectations and definitions of masculine and feminine, that there be positive discrimination to counter-act this. I think that this too is uncontroversial if we perceive positive discrimination to be a temporary measure to correct perceptions. It is one inefficiency to correct a larger inefficiency, in much the same way that government intervention creates inefficiencies to correct larger market failures.

          • DavidByron says:

            Thanks. I am good at “this” but I hadn’t really started. I was trying to figure out if you’d been exposed to any anti-feminist criticisms. Testing the waters. I didn’t mean to be rude. I was just rather surprised when you claimed to have engaged with critics. From your web site it looks like where you are at is the level of trying to argue that men can be feminists. That suggests to me that you are associating with some extremely sexist feminists. Worse than average anyway. But you are standing up for yourself, so I applaud that.

            I guess the whole thing with Tom and Hugo and the feminist girls could be seen in terms of feminist men trying to say they have the right to be considered real feminists – you and Tom. I realise this can be a live debate within the movement but from the point of view of outsiders it just seems like a freak show. What I mean by that is that it is shocking to an outsider that a movement that bills itself as for gender equality seriously has to debate whether people of one sex are “worthy” to be members or not. To an outsider the fact that is a debate at all is strong evidence that feminism is not an equality movement.

            Now returning to what I’m good at :)
            Here at GMP we’re trying to limit this sort of debate from taking over all the threads by limiting them to articles that are tagged a certain way. This article is tagged that way. Still I don’t want to derail the topic from the direction the original author intended…. but you’re the author…. So we’re good to go!

            I will therefore respond to your arguments about representation and the Frontman Fallacy in a new comment at the bottom (instead of suggesting a new thread / article or taking the debate elsewhere).

  26. Wonderful piece — insightful, measured, and perhaps the best examination of the feminism debate on GMP. As a contributor to GMP, I have been very upset not only by the needlessly vitriolic comments on the feminism pieces and Twitter exchanges, but also by the attacks on GMP itself. So I very much appreciate the civility of your comment.

  27. Femme Fatale says:

    i’m really interested in all of this. men need be constructing their own responses to patriarchy and i’m starting to realize that this is what it is going to look like. i would argue there isn’t a man in patriarchy that hasn’t been either complicit in misogyny or actively participates; pro-feminist or not. there needs to be room for reflection, insight and redemption. i have a son so for me, it’s essential.
    i’m also intrigued by how people have conveniently shifted away from Matlack and his behaviour and focused on Schwyzer. Matlack was the culprit in this internet shit storm, yet he seems to be very shielded; just something to consider.
    i’m convinced that this is the crescendo of the “men and women in feminism” discourse and look forward to more intelligent, insightful, ethical discussions.

    • “. i would argue there isn’t a man in patriarchy that hasn’t been either complicit in misogyny or actively participates; pro-feminist or not.”

      What do you mean “a man IN patriarchy?” Is it a club in which one may gain membership? Or, do you mean that all men are IN patriarchy, which would mean that, according to you, we are all guilty of misogyny?

    • DavidByron says:

      So all men are bad. What about women? Are they all good?

    • If Tom was the culprit then the feminists who went after him (including Hugo and Marcotte) would have stayed silent and simply not played along right?

  28. I agree with you-and I think the same thing applies with some of the attitudes some racist activists have against anyone who is white, including victims of other “isms” such as sexism and heterosexism. Next time you hear someone label all white people as “racists” (not that you do) remember how this feels and remember this can apply to many groups, and that there are many kinds of privilege-just b/c you are disadvantaged in one way doesn’t mean you (and me) don’t have privilege in other ways.

  29. This article makes a case that in order to be good men we should all embrace the cognitive dissonance (Orwellian doublethink) required to believe in feminism’s patriarchy theory.

    No thanks.

  30. Yeah, Hugo was a joke, and I’m glad he’s gone. He can take the angry people with him who demand that they bludgeon us over the heads with their definitions of how we make ourselves better rather than us being able to define it for ourselves.

  31. 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.

  32. 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)…

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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/

  36. 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?

  37. 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.

  38. 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…

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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.

  44. All hail Hugos’ replacement!

  45. 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.

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