There’s an argument that I’ve frequently seen lampooned in SJ circles. It’s defending Disney-style movies, based on old fairy tales, when they are criticised for having an almost entirely white cast.
“But there weren’t any people of colour in medieval Scotland!”
Immediately, SJers will jump in with “oh, so there were magic lamps and giants, were there?”. It’s a decent argument. You can’t argue for being realistic if the whole story is fantasy.
These same SJers, though, will commit the fallacy themselves where it suits them. The impractical poses and costumes of super-heroines are always branded “unrealistic”. “What, and magical powers are?” is the response that they conveniently forget.
The costumes aren’t even that impractical. Super-heroines are unlikely to match their male rivals when it comes to brute strength, due to sexual dimorphism, and so often they instead specialise in being flexible - in recent blockbusters Mystique, Catwoman and Black Widow all do this. Now, what outfit is practical for this? Clue: it’s not baggy clothes which completely cover the body. In fact, it’s more practical to have minimal coverage, and skintight clothing where it is necessary. The 2012 Olympics are going on as I type, and they allow me to test this theory. What do the best gymnasts in the world - who, we can be assured, have researched this into some depth to get an edge on their competitors - think is the most practical outfit?
Ah. But super-heroines also need to be fast. I’m sure that the fastest sprinters in the world realise that these outfits aren’t practic-
Ah. Well, there goes that argument. Tight clothing, and little of it, are actually practical. Go figure.
We’ve demonstrated two points already: that super-heroine costumes are actually often practical, and that whether they are realistically practical or not is irrelevant (by SJ’s own logic). Now to demonstrate some more.
Are women objectified in this sort of film? Yes. A lot. But not everything is related to that - as we’ve just shown, there are very sensible reasons for Black Widow or Catwoman to wear tight and revealing clothing. Their success relies on being fast and flexible, but also on being able to manipulate men who find them desirable. Such costumes help with both. It is not all male gaze.
Supporting this is the fact that male super-heroes who also need to be flexible also wear tight clothing. Spiderman’s suit, for instance, leaves very little to the imagination.
…and yes, a quick Google reveals plenty of sites obsessing over the ‘spider-bulge’. Either both are objectification, or both are practical. Either way, it’s not male gaze, because it’s almost entirely women drooling over Andrew Garfield. SJers can’t have it both ways. Personally, I think that both are both.
In fact, when I went to see the film, there were a lot more women talking about how attractive Garfield was than men doing the same for Emma Stone. It was the same for Avengers: RDJ and Hiddlestone had the looks, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth had the bodies. Even Scarlett Johansson, famous sex symbol, couldn’t compete. A large proportion of theatre-goers are female, and they objectify just as much as the men do. Film-makers know this.
Evans wore a skintight costume, Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner had their biceps on full display. You can’t deny that this doesn’t happen to men, just as it happens to women. When it comes to unrealistic bodies, of course, I’ll just point you in the direction of the Hulk.
All of the actors were physically attractive, of course. We can’t even have a realistic nerd to play Peter Parker - instead we are given the handsome and charismatic Garfield. Why? If a man isn’t attractive, we won’t want to watch him. It’s objectification all of the way.
Costumes don’t have to be tight or revealing, anyway. As this excellent post on the subject puts it:
If you threw Batman into a belly shirt and short-shorts, that wouldn’t make his character more sexually appealing by virtue of the fact that you get a better look at the skin of his rippling abs and toned legs.
Of course, Christian Bale also has plenty of chance to flash his muscles to us out of costume. The Dark Knight Rises, then, is another superhero film where the heroes are objectified. Bane’s costume is another obvious one, showing off Tom Hardy’s body as much as possible.
Anne Hathaway shows as much under tight clothing, and there’s no doubt that this is objectification, but as we showed earlier this is practical both for her physical and psychological fighting styles. It’s baffling that SJers would focus entirely on her, and ignore the clear objectification of other characters. Finally on the “super-heroines are objectified super-heroes aren’t” front, I’ll link a couple of pictures from the X-men films.
Go and count how many times Hugh Jackman gets naked or at least topless in those films.
Anyway, moving on. Comic books are usually concerned with physically perfect super-people anyway,
and usually targeted towards sexually frustrated young men, so we can expect a lot of objectification there. What about in other popular films? Twilight and the Hunger Games are both about a sullen, angsty teenage girl who gets frustrated that two of the best looking guys around are in love with her (the difference being that THG actually has a very decent plot to go with it). If we look at the films, we see very little objectification of the female character, but men showing off their muscles left right and centre. That this is blatant objectification can be seen in the fact that women and girls watching these films will speak at some length about how attractive the male characters are, and completely ignore their worth as characters.
Television programmes which shouldn’t even be about romance, such as Doctor Who and Sherlock, nevertheless are swamped by female fans obsessing over the attractiveness of their male characters. I, along with all of the men I know, appreciate such programmes for their plots. We don’t even mention how good the female characters look, because we appreciate them first and foremost as characters. Many of the women I know, though, never stop going on about the men - especially here on Tumblr, where erotic fanfiction, and spamposting of people’s faces with “unffffggg” commentary attached, and even a blog devoted the sound of Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice, are the norm. Recently I’ve watched films starring Clooney, Craig, Fassbender and Gosling, and the women around me have spent the whole time talking about how good looking they are, and the men haven’t objectified the female stars at all. Films such as Magic Mike and it’s ilk don’t require any commentary: the objectification is there for all to see. People who say that it only happens the other way are asleep and dreaming.
Romantic comedies are possibly even worse when it comes to making these same women objectify and drool, even though Hugh Grant usually keeps his clothes on. To explain this, we need to go back to gender roles. The gender binary expects men to be powerful, to protect women and children from other men, and women to be attractive, to mate with the most powerful men, and thus have successful children and ensure the long-term survival of their genes. We don’t then, objectify men on looks the same was as we do women. We like our men to be strong, influential, wealthy or famous, whilst these aren’t generally things we look for in our women. That’s why we objectify the wealthy, well-dressed male lead in these films, even though he doesn’t throw his body around. It’s just a different type of objectification.
In it’s simplest form: women like powerful men, men like beautiful women. Obviously this is a massive generalisation, and you can fill in the disclaimers concerning sexual minorities, non-binaries, and people who just have different tastes. But, if we go back to the bare essentials - how nature intended it - the simplification would work fine. It’s how we evolved to be. I’m talking about what the patriarchy wants us to find attractive, and the patriarchy intended for there to be two rigid genders in rigid gender roles and for us all to be cis and hetero and so on - that’s the context I’m speaking in, and so that’s the language I’m using. That does not mean that other genders and other sexualities, aren’t equally valid, and I can’t stress that enough. The patriarchy, natural as it may have been, does not function well in modern society. If I speak in such black and white terms in this post, then, that is not be condoning that world view. I’m just speaking in the context of that world view, because it is this system of patriarchal gender roles that have shaped our world today, and so we need to explore the past if we are going to understand the present. That’s the only reason I am using those terms. Please don’t try to call me out on it, because you’ll be attacking a strawman, and will subsequently look more than a bit silly.
Moving on. An important point is that these impossibly sexy women aren’t just shown to those interested, and neither are these impossibly strong men. In fact, most superheroes are by men, for men. Young boys are encouraged to look up to athletes, whilst young girls are encouraged to look up to models. Boys are taught that they must be powerful, and should be ridiculously ambitious, should exercise lots, should aim to accumulate wealth above all else, and generally destroy themselves chasing these impossible standards. We don’t, or didn’t use to, teach our girls these things, instead telling them that they must be beautiful, and should be self-conscious and diet and generally destroy themselves chasing these impossible standards.
Super-heroes are terrible for this: could there be a more impossible standard? Sure, girls are taught that they should be able to display both their chest and their rump at the same time on the sexy standards, but boys are taught that they should be able to throw cars about and fly. Even if we ignore the fact that men are now objectified on the way they look in these films, and are also forced to wear revealing clothing, we have to accept that superpowers are themselves a form of objectification for men. Men are historically supposed to be society’s leaders, fighters, protectors, to bear almost the entirety of society’s burdens, to own property and buy food and work twice as hard to provide financially not just for ourselves but for women who aren’t expected to work at all, to fight twice as hard to protect just not ourselves but women who aren’t expected to have to defend themselves, and so on. We are disposable objects for this function, just as women are objects for the function of sex and childcare. A superhero saving the world, then, is objectification as much as any number of revealing costumes is.
Complaining that superheroes are being unrealistically objectified, then, is futile. They were unrealistic objects from the start.
Complaining that super-heroines alone are being unrealistically objectified is, as we have shown here in several ways, wilfully ignorant.
Everyone is objectified. It’s less to do with misogyny from men, as the ‘male gaze’ commentary would like us to believe, and more to do with the gender binary forcing unrealistic standards on all of us - unrealistic standards for who we should be, and unrealistic standards for who we should be mating with. That this is so prominent is not a commentary on any gender in particular, but more an indicator of a general cultural shallowness. It is healthy and natural to enjoy looking at somebody attractive; SJers need to remember this before condemning all sexualisation. This shallowness, though, is something more. We only want to see films if the characters are attractive, and regard the overall film as somehow worse if they aren’t. Sometimes we rate this so highly that we’d rather have good-looking stars than a better plot. As gender roles are breaking down in our modern society, men are being objectified in the same way as women. In this case, however, the equality is not good. We have become equally bad.
They are always beautiful and hilarious and sexy to me.
Because the thing is, they are always in context.
Prison is perhaps the only setting on Earth where a heterosexual white male actually feels uncomfortable, powerless, and maybe even threatened.
And that, my friends, is social justice.
Despite the fact that this is a ridiculously stupid post, that men do face significant discrimination and gender related issues simply for being male, and that this person honestly thinks making people suffer will ever bring about social justice, I find it hilarious that this fucking bimbo seems to think that there is a significant amount of white males in prison, when in fact the majority of those in prison are POC, and the majority of those that experience prison rape are in prison for victimless crimes like drug use, so they aren’t actually a danger to society or women, and you’re saying they deserve rape simply because they have a penis and so do some rapists.
Keep doing your cute little dance bitch. You’re a racist, sexist, uneducated piece of shit.
Prison is perhaps the only setting on Earth where a heterosexual white male actually feels uncomfortable, powerless, and maybe even threatened.
Outside of prison, men are the overwhelming victims of stranger violence, violent crime in general, pretty much all violence, and they’re more likely to be injured or killed as a result of that violence. Men have the most right to feel threatened walking down any street in the world, and they also have as much right to feel threatened by their partner. They are also powerless and threatened by law enforcement officers, in a process of discrimination and profiling which goes all the way to the top. They can feel threatened by the media and by the state. Finally, men have the right to feel threatened by bigots like you, happy to mock them for their suffering, trigger them, erase them, and enable their rapists. Bigots like you are everywhere, on every level. You contribute to and perpetuate a system of sexism, pain, and rape apologism. You call that justice. Because I was born a certain shape, and having never met me, you are wholly in support of my rape. You think that my father, who is the nicest guy I’ve ever met, deserves to me raped. You think my future sons will deserve to be raped, from the moment they open their little eyes. You are what we human beings call a monster.
Just because you say things alluding to the fact that you think female privilege is a thing and try to back up those statements with links to your own shitty, poorly written posts rifled with sexism doesn’t mean that female privilege is actually a thing. Please shut the fuck up and then die slowly.
Aww look, it’s another uninformed human being who hopes people die because they don’t agree with their dogma. How violent and sad, boo hoo.
Females are privileged because they get shorter sentences for the same crimes.
Females are privileged because even if they’re a sex offender they still get shorter sentences than their male counterparts.
Females are privileged because if they have a child the father doesn’t want anything to do with, they can force them into paying child support up the ass.
Females are privileged because even though 295,000 rapes of men occur in jail, their rapes aren’t counted because they aren’t “real”.
Females are privileged because they will not be mocked if they report a rape.
Females are privileged because if they accuse someone of rape, they are automatically believed.
Females are privileged because if they are raped by a man, the man can be charged with rape; but if a woman rapes a man by enveloping him, she cannot be charged with rape but only a lesser charge.
Females are privileged because men account for the vast majority victims in most violent crimes.
Females are privileged because they are not required to register for Selective Service when they turn 18. (in other words, they cannot be drafted)
Females are privileged because they have access to an abundance of shelters, while men have very few.
Females are privileged because both men and women are biased towards them.
Females are privileged because they’re more likely to go to university.
Females are privileged because they have a considerable amount of more birth control options.
Females are privileged because breast cancer receives twice as much funding as prostate cancer.
Females are privileged because in western society they do not have to worry about genital mutilation, while young boys do (circumcision)
Females are privileged because of instances where FGM does take place, there is an extreme uproar, but never for young boys.
Females are privileged because their genital mutilation is not protected as a religious practice in western society, but the genital mutilation of boys are.
Females are privileged because the negative sexualization and objectification of them results in an uproar, while the negative objectification and sexualization of men is normalized and doesn’t “do any harm.”
That’s just a few.
In England a parent can claim child benefit until the child reaches the age of 16. As soon as I (the youngest) reached this age my mother suddenly moved out, she didn’t bother to transfer the tenancy which would only have taken minutes and we were served with an eviction notice. We went to the CAB where a woman told us that we, as vulnerable young women, would be entitled to go to a hostel for women who need emergency accommodation, the kind which lets you stay indefinitely and with immediate effect until you find permanent housing, of which there was no male equivalent despite higher rates of homelessness and equal rates of domestic abuse.
You know what we did?
We said that the fact that these particular shelters were only available to women was unfair and biased and that if men had to go it alone so would we. But thanked her for trying.
Was it foolish? Maybe. Potentially disastrous? Definitely. But we got to keep the house in the end anyway thanks to the incompetence of the housing association so it was just as well. I only hope that it at least got the CAB lady thinking.
Everyone who has discussed this with mouthynaut has linked a decent number of sources, as well as explaining them and backing them up with reason.
The entirety of the mouthynaut response?
I disagree with everything you have to say. Female privilege isn’t a thing. Just go the fuck home. Don’t even tell me that I need to be more open minded. You obviously have no clue what you are talking about.
Just because you say things alluding to the fact that you think female privilege is a thing and try to back up those statements with links to your own shitty, poorly written posts rifled with sexism doesn’t mean that female privilege is actually a thing. Please shut the fuck up and then die slowly.Fuck off and die you shit eaters.
Can I just take a heavy object to the faces of every single sexist piece of shit [all men who talk about their own experiences] in the world?
Just because you say things alluding to the fact that you don’t think female privilege is a thing and don’t even try to back up those statements, definitely doesn’t mean that female privilege isn’t actually a thing. As I’ve said: check it.
In fact, if we’ve provided evidence and you have absolutely no argument against it apart from to attack us personally and get violent, it does actually mean that any reasonable person would have to accept our case. How’s that for a happy ending?
Female privilege is being able to walk around without your shirt on in public without being arrested for indecent exposure… oh, wait.
Are you feeling okay? Because that didn’t make a lot of sense.
I don’t think that anybody is trying to say that male privileges don’t exist. The existence of male privilege doesn’t negate the existence of female privileges. In fact, they feed into each other. Because male privilege is evidence of a gender double standard, the existence of male privileges such as this actually confirm the existence of female privileges. If men are privileged in being allowed into the male role, and not being expected to be in the female role, then women are privileged in being allowed into the female role, and not being expected to be in the male role. Be careful with those two words. It was a privilege to be allowed to work, but also a privilege to not be expected to work. It was a privilege to be allowed to fight, but also a privilege to not be expected to fight. They come in pairs: it isn’t an either/or situation.
Female privilege does exist, as does male privilege, and it’s silly to deny either of them simply because you haven’t personally experienced them yourself! The picture is a lot bigger than your own experience, and that’s something you have to accept if you’re going to be in this business for long. It’s not all about what you have or haven’t seen with your own eyes, and so (if you haven’t already) you really need to start opening your mind and listening to other people’s experiences. That is, after all, how privilege gets checked in the first place :)
If femininity is seen as so weak,
then why aren’t all of you guys dating, marrying, and having kids with butch, manly women.
It’s only logical.
BECAUSE WOMEN ARE ALSO SEEN AS WEAK, AND SO WOMEN SHOULD BE FEMININE
Cis men are conditioned to seek to “protect” cis women and find reasons to view women as weak in order to cultivate and justify that “protection.” It’s benevolent sexism.
They’re not supposed to see masculinity as in needing protection, so women exhibiting masculinity are not as desirable to them.
It was a joke, I wasn’t being completely serious.
But it isn’t sexism, it’s survival instinct. Women are more important to reproduction than men are, while men are more disposable. In harsher civilizations and in dangerous circumstances, it’s pretty damn stupid to allow women to put themselves at risk if reproduction is at all important to men. Even in societies like ours, where women are safer and can live independently, men are still going to have that instinct, whether it’s necessary or not.
Stop calling it ‘benevolent’ sexism when men suffer from it. Sure, it’s benevolent for you, but only because it sucks so much for them. If it hurts men but is ‘benevolent’ for women, then it disadvantages men and privileges women. Don’t then call it ‘benevolent sexism against women’, but instead call it ‘normal, bad sexism against men’. Call it by its proper name: misandry.
The whole idea of benevolent sexism is the worst re-framing of the issue that I have ever seen. It’s bad enough when you’re pretending that these examples don’t exist, or trying to suggest that somehow women are the only real victims (because these men are being tortured because they are seen as strong, which must be a good thing, and not being seen as strong has made the women who weren’t ‘allowed’ to be tortured feel bad, and so men are clearly the privileged ones here). But when you find an example of something disadvantaging men and privileging women that you can’t just ignore, you say “this still isn’t bad sexism against men, it’s just good sexism against women!” This just goes to show that there are some bigots who will never be persuaded, no matter how much evidence we produce, because they will always be able to re-frame it.
Observe Flew’s Parable of the Invisible Gardener:
Two people return to their long neglected garden and find, among the weeds, that a few of the old plants are surprisingly vigorous. One says to the other, ‘It must be that a gardener has been coming and doing something about these weeds.’ The other disagrees and an argument ensues. They pitch their tents and set a watch. No gardener is ever seen. The believer wonders if there is an invisible gardener, so they patrol with bloodhounds but the bloodhounds never give a cry. Yet the believer remains unconvinced, and insists that the gardener is invisible, has no scent and gives no sound. The skeptic doesn’t agree, and asks how a so-called invisible, intangible, elusive gardener differs from an imaginary gardener, or even no gardener at all.
Your theory of sexism, with no misandry, is unfalsifiable. Dogmatic. You will never accept any evidence of misandry because, like the believer in the Parable, you can always find a way to ignore it. Once you’ve got to that stage, there is no hope for you. Your mind is closed for business, and you will never use it - let alone let in new ideas. Once you’ve got to that stage, you shouldn’t even be showing up for debate, because you already know what the conclusion will be.
Okay, feministsaresexist, I needed more context.
And, again, misandry as a concept is not necessarily fake but the constant comparisons to misogyny and the treatment like it is a part of sexism the way misogyny is is just incorrect and we’ve had this conversation before yadda yadda yadda. I don’t deny misandry exists but I don’t believe in its presence as much because what is termed misandry is often just the implementation of patriarchal ideals. Being weak and needing protection is not a privilege; patriarchy invented the standards that see women as victims, which is something mainly upholded by men who who complicit in those thoughts. Women didn’t choose to define themselves as weak, it is something pushed onto them.
Plus comparing feminism to dogma is just wrong and suggesting that my mind is closed makes me laugh because it’s exactly the opposite since feminism actually goes against most of what I thought about gender and gender differences since when I was a kid and so my mind has actually been “opened” for a while, buuuuuuut personal assumptions aside, it’s still not a good comparison.
“I don’t believe in its presence as much because what is termed misandry is often just the implementation of patriarchal ideals”
Yes. Yes it is. That’s what we’re claiming it is. Misogyny is the implementation of patriarchal ideals on women, misandry is the implementation of patriarchal ideals on men. That’s what we’ve been saying. ‘Ah, but it mostly comes from patriarchal ideals’ is in no way a refutation of anything, unless you have a circular view of what ‘patriarchal ideals’ means (i.e. if you’ve already assumed that they are along the lines of ‘men good, women bad’, when the science says otherwise).
“Women didn’t choose to define themselves as weak, it is something pushed onto them”
Yes. Yes it is. That’s what we’re claiming happens. The female gender role is pushed onto women, the male gender role is pushed onto men. Feminine stereotypes, including ‘weak’, are pushed onto women. Masculine stereotypes, including ‘strong’, are pushed onto men. Nobody chooses these things, it’s the subconscious enforcement of a natural binary which we’ve had since before we were human. The binary assigns roles based on these stereotypes, and our average physical capabilities. We are sexually dimorphic. Women have the ability to carry and feed children, and so it makes sense that they were given the task of looking after the child, because they are the parent guaranteed to be there at its birth and through its infancy, as well as the one it will be most familiar with. Men are significantly bigger and stronger than women on average. Men do not have the burden of child-bearing and caring. Men are therefore given most of the other social burdens. Men have to protect the women and children, fight each other to the death, lead the group, hunt food, work themselves into injury. This division was evolved naturally, because it was efficient and so increased the chance of the group surviving. These are duties that were forced on men, just as they were forced away from women. Men did not ‘choose’ to be seen as strong. Men did not ‘choose’ to be killed because of it. Men are privileged to be allowed to fight and work and lead, women are privileged not to be expected to fight and work and lead. These things worth both ways. It is the enforcement which is institutional and systematic, and so both of the ways are institutional and systematic. Misandry and misogyny are intimately connected, and yes: they both come from the enforcement of a patriarchal gender binary.
‘Patriarchal’, by the way, just means that men got the leader role. We have to call different systems of gender roles something, and using this one role to define them is as good a way as any. It just means that this one role, out of the thousands, comes under the male section in our species. Men are still forced into and expected to take this role, just as much as women are forced not to. ‘Patriarchal’ doesn’t mean that men have chosen this role. It doesn’t mean that men have chosen the other roles. It doesn’t mean that an evil conspiracy of men got together and invented the system. This was a system that evolved independent of our desires. Nature chose this system, simply because it was the one which fitted best to our surroundings and our physical anatomies. It is the system which helped us survive. Nobody created it. If anything, it is what created us. We started developing it when we first became social animals - before we were human - and, as the system which helped us survive, there is no denying that it has shaped us. So no, ‘patriarchal’ doesn’t mean ‘made by men’ or ‘men get it better’ or ‘men good, women bad’. It just means that one particular role, by which we arbitrarily decided to name the system, happens to be in the male role - because that is what nature found to be the best fit.
Everybody still has the binary forced on them, nobody has a choice, nobody is favoured. The patriarchy likes masculine men and feminine women, and hates feminine men and masculine women, because it wants everyone to fit its system. It doesn’t have a favourite between men and women, though, because at some point a similar process of natural selected decided that it was best to have two distinct genders. Both men and women are needed for the patriarchy to work. It loves both of them when they are in their place, and hates both of them when they are out of their place. The patriarchy prefers men and women to non-binaries, but it certainly does not prefer men over women or vice versa. It relies on both of us to even exist. Likewise, there is no favouring of masculinity over femininity or vice versa. Both are wonderful in their place, and an abomination out of it. All ‘patriarchy’ means is that it is men’s place to make decisions about the group’s survival, because somebody had to do it, it would be more efficient if this role was pre-assigned, and a combination of physical strength and lack of other commitments meant that men were the best fit. Men make the decisions about survival, they do not make the decisions about gender roles. The gender roles are what put men in that position in the first place, and that decision was not made by a human at all. It was made by natural selection.
“Plus comparing feminism to dogma is just wrong”
Yes. Yes it is. I am a feminist, and I don’t find it dogmatic. What I am calling dogmatic is the old-fashion model of how gender roles work. Written decades ago. By women. After listening to only women’s experiences. Without the science we now have. Without the statistical evidence we now have. Without the accounts of men and non-binaries which we now have. What I am saying is that the modern model, which takes these things into account, is much better. It explains all of these things. What I am saying is that defending the old model, by first assuming its validity, is bigoted. I’ll illustrate using Theory T and Process P:
- There is evidence for P
- T doesn’t account for P
- We can be certain that T is objectively true
- P must not exist, because T says it doesn’t
- The evidence can therefore be dismissed as invalid, even if we cannot explain why.
- There is evidence for P
- T doesn’t account for P
- We can’t be certain that T is objectively true
- T must be false, because it doesn’t fit the evidence
- We can be proper scientists about this and maybe the academic community will start taking us seriously.
The issue is with premise 3. People don’t realise, or don’t care, that they’ve assumed it.
“The model (written from the perspective of women) says that sexism is only against women”.
“But look: these statistics show that men are discriminated against for being men!”
“That can’t be right. The model says that sexism cannot be against men, so that’s not a thing”.
How do we know that the model is correct? There is no evidence against it.
How do we know that this evidence isn’t valid? The model says it is.
Circular Logic 101:
1. Assume women are victims of gendered oppression and men are not.
2. Discount evidence that men are victims of gendered oppression, because only women are victims of gendered oppression.
3. Conclude that only women are the victims of gendered oppression, because there is no evidence to the contrary.
If it’s not circular, it’s simply unfalsifiable.
How do we know that the gardener exists? There is no evidence against it.
Can there be any evidence against it, that can’t be twisted or ignored? No. So it’s as good as circular, because it’s impossible to disprove. It’s dogma.
How do we know that the gardener exists? There is no evidence against it.
Can there be any evidence against it, that can’t be twisted or ignored? No. So it’s as good as circular, because it’s impossible to disprove. It’s dogma.
Dogma means that you can’t change your mind. You can’t, therefore, believe strongly in dogma and not be narrow-minded. It’s irrelevant what you believed before the dogma convinced you, because that belief won’t have been dogma, and so proving that you had an open mind then (when you didn’t believe in dogma) doesn’t prove that you have an open mind now (when you do).
But go on, tell me that misandry is part of the patriarchy or linked to misogyny. Tell me that not all feminists are man-haters. Patronise me more by saying something that I completely agree with. Misunderstand and assume your way into completely misrepresenting my position. That’s cool, right?
No. No it isn’t.
There’s this one term that’s on a few occasions been applied to me that’s always bothered me; pussy whipped. If you really give this term any thought at all, you’ll find that what it really is an insult for a man who does nice things for his girlfriend/wife. You’d think that feminists would be all over a word like that, since it’s quite obviously a sign of a culture that’s abusive to women. But, to my knowledge, it hasn’t ONCE been talked about over any feminist campfire I’ve ever even heard of. Not long ago I heard a feminist (who I greatly respect) laugh with her feminist friend (who I ALSO greatly respect) about feminist number 2’s “whipped” boyfriend. The reason he was “SO WHIPPED LOLOLOLOL” was because she asked him to go get ice cream for her and he did. I later pointed out to feminist number one how feminist number two just used that word to shame her boyfriend for doing something nice for her, and she immediately saw that word for what it was. So I wonder why it is that no one’s ever talked about “pussy-whipped” before. It seems to me that it’s a term that’s quite easy to explain why it’s bad and how it’s a sign of a misogynist culture; a perfect little gem of feminist thought. I imagine after being passed around a while on tumblr a clever feminist would come up with a way to sum up the idea in a very powerful way with less than 20 words. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that the feminist community on tumblr LOVES. The reason no feminists before me noticed it? It shames MEN and even puts women (momentarily) in this place of power. The woman gets to assert her dominance because he’s being servile to her. How ironic right? A man being servile to a woman is totally backwards!
So let me reframe this issue for a second; men are being shamed for being nice. Because REALLY. We are. That comes straight out of not being allowed to feel. See how menz being allowed to feel is relevant to your interests, tumblr feminists? So maybe it’s time you stop shaming men for having “fee fees”, and since you’re apparently blind to the times when our interests are aligned how about you just leave us alone when someone cares more than you do “about teh menz”? This isn’t the first time men have been shamed for being nice, being called the term ‘nice guy’ made my stomach turn even before tumblr feminists got their hands on it. That’s right, just after I made a point that you’re happy to hear (since it supports your belief structure, not because you’re masochists of course) I’m abruptly segueing to things that you’re going to disagree with before you read about Nice Guy Syndrome.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that the guy that thinks if he patiently listens to you and is “nice” to you, will then feel like you owe him sex is totally a real guy, but let me just highlight some of the rhetoric that feminists are using to talk about “Nice Guy Syndrome”. First thing you need to know is when you’re talking about a man with nice guy syndrome, you can, at your convenience, drop the syndrome part and just call him a “Nice Guy”. Put it in quotation marks though. Or don’t. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. Second thing you need to know is that all nice guys feel entitled to having sex with you, so if a man is being nice anywhere within like 30 feet of you he’s probably objectifying you, too.
Let me just clear something up real quick. Just because a man is complaining about not being able to find a date, or a girlfriend, or says he’s in the friendzone or something DOES NOT NECESSARILY mean that he feels entitled to your body or that he feels entitled to a date. It COULD simply be an immature way of handling loneliness. It COULD be his way of joking about a really painful case of unrequited love. Several months ago my friend Katie was interested in me. She had a lot going on; she was really cute, really nice, and had a good sense of humor. But when we went out there was a problem; for whatever reason, the whole time I just felt really awkward. Despite her having a bunch of qualities I really like, we just didn’t fit together. Like so many posts about the friendzone have said, you can’t force a connection. So I stopped seeing her. Now she hates me and I can see it on her face every time I see her or try to say something to her. She’s angry at me for not dating her. OH. MY. GOD. WHY DOES SHE FEEL SO ENTITLED TO MY DICK?! SHE HAS NICE GIRL SYNDROME AND HATES MEN! MISANDRIST! Katie’s response isn’t an uncommon one. I see women respond to rejection this way all the freakin’ time, but is it a sign that misandry is running rampant in our culture? Is it inherently a sign that she felt like all she had to do was insert niceness tokens and sex would fall out of my butt? NO. STOP BEING STUPID. This is more likely an immature reaction of SELF DEFENSE. I mean that, so often when people are rejected they feel like it’s because there’s a problem, and the problem is either you or them, so the mind places the blame on the other person instead of burdening itself. I see where this gets hazy though; where this could start to blur the line from being angry with one woman to being angry with all women. Sometimes that happens. Just like it sometimes happens with women. And assuming that an immaturely formed “I hate this guy” really means “I hate all men” is just as ridiculous as interpreting “I hate this woman” to mean “I hate all women”. Frankly most of the times I see men talking about the friendzone happen after a woman says something like “All men are dicks”. No, we get it, you don’t want to date us. But just because you put you aren’t into someone doesn’t mean he’s not a man.
Which makes me think of this post I’ve seen that distinguishes between the “nice guy” and the nice man. Granted this post supports men being nice and distinguishes the difference between false kindness and genuine, it further muddles the term “nice guy”, which will ALWAYS be tied to men who are nice. But what really troubles me about this post is how people are defining someone else’s gender, and not respecting the idea that gender identity is determined on an individual basis.
I’m not against talking about the asshole who feels entitled to you in any way. What I’m really against though, is this term “Nice Guy Syndrome”. I see this term as a way to shame men for being nice; I feel like this term is making men feel a greater repulsion towards being seen as nice. Please PLEASE don’t use the word nice to describe these men, even if that’s how they’re trying to portray themselves. Even if that’s how they think about themselves. And I get it, REALLY. But OP, It’s the syndrome, we’re not shaming men who are actually nice! Just the ones who pretend to be! But just look at how every time a tumblr feminist is referring to a man with Nice Guy Syndrome she calls him a nice guy, and that’s just so fucking inevitable. So what should you call him? I don’t care. Wait yeah I do. I bet you could come up with something more destructive than Nice Guy Syndrome if I left you to your devices. So how about we call him what he is? Entitled Ass Hat. Then all I’ll have to fight is the individual morons who misuse this term. If you want to be tumblr-hip and have that badass IDGAF tude’ and add the word syndrome, or a TM sign, be my fucking guest.
After all this I know that many people will still think, as damaging as it may be, “Nice Guy Syndrome” is still the best descriptor for this “condition”. For those who think that, I would simply ask which do you think is more damaging? Go ahead and keep thinking about how this affects women exclusively, but consider the side effects of a version of masculinity EVEN MORE hesitant to treat women with kindness. Just keep in mind women have things at stake here too.
I think I might have found an adequate paradigm for what the Nice Guy Syndrome does. I’ve seen many a “feminist” shame men for being inadequate. This is bigger than just Juilienne Smolinski’s piece-of-trash-body-shaming article about penis size and all of the “feminists” who agreed with her, or debated with her on what size made the best penis. Nor is this even just about the thousand feminist run misandry blogs that also shame men for having bodies that aren’t to their liking. This is about every time “feminists” shame men for not knowing what to do in bed. We’ve all seen this stuff before, and it’s always bothered me when a “feminist” talks about someone, maybe an ex-lover, who “couldn’t get the job done”. This is a “feminist’s” easy button; if they feel like making a man feel like shit or look like shit they talk about his sexual “skills”. I’m here to say it though; if a man can’t make you orgasm that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with him. Just because he is a man and you are attracted to him does NOT mean his body owes you a god damn thing. It’s one of two things; you haven’t explained what you want well enough, or you have and he doesn’t want to do that. A man’s purpose is not to please you, and if what you want him to do makes him uncomfortable and he doesn’t want to do it, as a decent human being I would think that you wouldn’t want to pressure him into doing it. I would think you wouldn’t want to shame him for not doing it. And that should go double for someone those who assert the importance of enthusiastic consent. This is rudimentary objectification, a concept that is quite widely recognized as a feminist one, so maybe for women who pressure men into doing things for them (sexual or otherwise) by means of shaming them or their bodies, and refer to themselves as feminists, we should start saying they have Feminist Syndrome. For short, we’ll call them “feminists”. With or without the quotation marks. Maybe we should dirty up the term feminism a little more. “The reason I like it is because it describes who they think they are!” It fits SO perfectly, doesn’t it?
I really REALLY Feel a strong urge to start doing this, but I know it’s wrong so I’m NOT going to. That’s the fucking difference I guess. I mean the difference between a legitimately good person, and someone who claims to be a good person. Even though right now I’m angry and so it would feel SO gratifying to disgrace feminism as a whole, a good person WOULDN’T do that.
srsly though, having to remind feminists of these things makes me want to flip a mathing table. Y’ALL FUCKING TAUGHT ME THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE. It’s just like. WAT. If I could only just make things explode with my mind, you know? or maybe I should just get homeowner’s insurance and then throw my fist through this wall.
But OP! Men do this to us too! And I thought you became a feminist because you thought it was wrong to pressure someone into sex, and because you understood the importance of enthusiastic consent. I would think this isn’t some service you would extend to only the people who “earn it”, but that you just wouldn’t want to pressure someone into sex or shame someone for not servicing you as well as you’d like because it’s disgusting behavior.
I’ve spoken about Friend Zones and Nice Guys, and I agree with the problem, but I’ve always been keen to point out that this isn’t just men. Tumblr is full of girls who have adopted Taylor Swift’s ‘You Belong With Me’ as their theme song, screaming ‘she wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts’ and complaining that men always go for the airheads when really they should go for a Nice Girl (on my dash the other day, actually). Feminists will criticise these girls, calling them ‘Special Snowflakes’, but they won’t notice the parallel. They’ll still talk about Nice Guy Syndrome as something that only men do. In fact, it isn’t even exclusive to relationships: this feeling of entitlement due to some self-professed quality can turn up in a friendship group or a work environment. It’s not that gendered an issue at all.
Even certain ‘feminists’ will complain that men don’t go for them because they’re scared of empowered women, that they should stop liking the anti-feminist self-hating women who want to stick to traditional roles and instead go exclusively for the decent women who deserve their love and respect. There doesn’t go a day without a self-described ‘feminist’ posting about how much they hate all men, often because of a love affair that hasn’t worked out for them. This is what provokes Nice Guy syndrome in the first place! If a girl goes for guys that a third party can see are just going to hurt her, and then lashes out against all guys, it’s only logical self-defence if a guy says “actually, nice guys do exist, you shouldn’t go out with nasty guys if you don’t want to get hurt”. That’s how a lot of this started. That then gets taken out of context by our angry man-hating ‘feminist’, and bam. There is a problem with entitlement, but not all people who think they are entitled are men, and not all people who call themselves nice guys think that they are entitled.
Moving on to the point about sex, I’ve also seen ‘feminist’ posts about how a man must be sexist if he doesn’t want to go down on a woman. There are variations on this: a man must be misogynist if he isn’t comfortable with a woman dominating him and so on. Then they go and talk about how women shouldn’t be pressured into doing things they aren’t comfortable with, and how consent is the most important thing in the universe.
This post deals with a lot of issues within the SJ community which aren’t talked about much, and so it’s worth a read.
I’ve seen so many posts about misandry during my time here, and most of them over-simplify it, not to mention failing to understand what the word does and doesn’t mean. This is me trying to make it a little bit clearer.
To begin, it’s always nice to bring out a dictionary definition. The standard one you’ll find will be:
Misandry: The hatred of men
Recognise it? Good. So this means that if you don’t openly hate men, you can’t be misandric. We can also conclude that, as feminists want gender equality, no true feminist can be misandric.
Likewise, you can’t be misogynist if you don’t actively hate women and, as men’s right’s activists want gender equality, not true MRA can be misogynistic. Right?
Well, no. You don’t have to explicitly loathe women to be a misogynist, even though the dictionary definition you will find is stunningly similar. For the record:
Misogyny: The hatred of women
You see, you don’t have to knowingly hate women to slut-shame a few of them, but that’s still misogyny. You don’t have to hate them to expect them to conform to a gender role, but that’s still misogyny. You don’t have to hate them to treat them like sex objects, but that’s still misogyny. You can think that you love women, and still be a raging misogynist. It’s a subtle thing, and the dictionary definition really doesn’t tell the whole story.
We can all imagine the old imperialist who is perfectly in favour of ethnic minorities - in their proper place. Thinking them inferior is not hating them, but our character here can still be racist as hell. Speaking of which, the same goes for over-zealous Christians who might pray for trans people to be ‘cured’. They don’t act out of hate. If anything, it’s for love. But that doesn’t mean that their views aren’t problematic, offensive, and cissexist.
So yes: you can be a misandrist and not know it. You can be a misandrist and not think that you hate men. Like any other form of prejudice, it can be much more subtle; so subtle that you don’t even notice it. With that common sense established, let’s move on to feminists. Can feminists be misandric? Yes, of course. Not all of them are (and I hope I can count myself in that number) but there is no reason why it shouldn’t be possible. Firstly, I have been unfortunate enough to encounter a number who genuinely and unashamedly hate men. So yes, feminists man-haters exist. Are there many of them? No. They are a vocal minority, but a small minority nonetheless - thank goodness. But feminist misandry is a whole other kettle of fish. As we’ve seen, misandry can be subtle, and you can find it hiding in all sorts of places.
Let’s return to our example of the religious bigot, because it and the feminist bigot form a lovely parallel. Not all feminists are bigots, by the way: just as not all religious people are bigots. Most of them just believe passionately in a good cause based around love and helping over people. Unfortunately, this means that a surprising number of them feel the need to share this cause through hate and violence. It also means that they often reject evidence for faith in their ideology, becoming dogmatic. Both are prime examples of how good ideals can be twisted and selectively ignored to fill personal preferences.
We’ve all marvelled at the headlines after a natural disaster hits an area: “it was god punishing the gay people who lived there”. Well, I certainly have, and even if you haven’t you can instantly recognise that attitude as heterosexist (homophobia without the phobia). But why is it? Let’s break it down. Firstly, it’s showing clear prejudice against gay people. Like dictionary definition misandry, this is pure hate, with no subtlety. Secondly, it’s heterosexist because it shows no care for the gay people’s suffering, and even acts as if they deserve it. Thirdly, it’s heterosexist because it unfairly blames the gay community for pain they didn’t commit, and even suffered from themselves.
Now, the thing is that the first part isn’t necessary. You don’t have to outwardly hate gay people to have anti-gay prejudice. You could be just as heterosexist just doing the second and third bits. If you were part of charity caring for that stricken region, you would be horribly heterosexist if you said that you had nothing against gay people, but that you weren’t going to help them as you didn’t recognise them as real victims - and you’d be even worse if you explained that this was because you thought the disaster was their fault. You don’t have to hate gay people, and you might even pray for their souls vigorously, but you still have a massive and unavoidable prejudice.
The point I’m getting at is this: if you’re in an equality movement, self-proclaiming to be the only equality movement necessary, you damn well better be handing all equality.
If you refuse to help men because they’re men, you’re a misandrist feminist. If you ignore evidence of male suffering because it’s an inconvenient truth to your ideology, you’re a misandrist feminist. Ignoring male suffering from a natural force they can’t control is not more justified than withholding help from gay earthquake victims.
If you blame men for sexism and patriarchy, you’re a misandrist feminist. If you ignore evidence that it evolved naturally in pre-human civilisations because it’s an inconvenient truth to your ideology, you’re a misandrist feminist. An evil conspiracy of men invented sexism just as much as gay people are to blame for earthquakes; and your prejudice shows just as much when you say either.
If you speak over men’s experiences, as a woman, you’re a misandrist feminist. If you refuse to even consider that you might have some privileges, you’re a misandrist feminist. If you use double standards when discussing gender issues to suit your own agenda, you’re a misandrist feminist. Hating men does not even come into it.
I said this with more words here and here, and a basic introduction to misandry and the counter-arguments can be found here (my first impressions, which have changed slightly since) and here respectively. No more excuses.
If you’re a third or second wave feminist, listen up.
You probably know about male privilege. Allow me to summarise:
- Men aren’t women
- Therefore they don’t experience misogyny
- Therefore they cannot be experts on misogyny
- Therefore they cannot comment on the extent of misogyny
- Therefore they cannot speak over or invalidate the experiences of women on misogyny
- Therefore they cannot know whether misogyny exists, and how significant it is
- Therefore they also cannot say whether male privilege exists, and how significant it is
- Therefore it is possible for misogyny to exist without them noticing
- Therefore it is possible for male privilege to exist without them noticing
So, what happens when men are talking about misandry? Are they allowed to do that? Many female feminists don’t think so. They have intervened and told the men that their experiences aren’t valid. But look:
- Women aren’t men
- Therefore they don’t experience misandry
- Therefore they cannot be experts on misandry
- Therefore they cannot comment on the extent of misandry
- Therefore they cannot speak over or invalidate the experiences of men on misandry
- Therefore they cannot know whether misandry exists, and how significant it is
- Therefore they also cannot say whether female privilege exists, and how significant it is
- Therefore it is possible for misandry to exist without them noticing
- Therefore it is possible for female privilege to exist without them noticing
That’s only logical, and it’s the sort of thing fourth-wave feminists accept. They don’t want a double standard, they don’t have an ulterior motive, and they just want progress and equality for everyone.
Unfortunately, the previous waves don’t agree. They’ll come back to this with comments like ‘but misandry isn’t the same as misogyny, so you can’t just substitute it in’. But that’s something that we’ve established as being potentially affected by female privilege. It’s speaking over men’s experiences on misandry. It’s commenting on the extent of misandry. It’s not okay.
So that objection is akin to just saying ‘well my claim that misandry doesn’t exist is valid, because misandry doesn’t exist’. You’re using your conclusion as a justification for your premise, and you’re arguing in circles. It would be just as valid for a man to say that misogyny wasn’t a problem, you to object that he was privileged not to see that it was, and him to justify it by reaffirming that it ‘doesn’t work like that’ and that it isn’t a problem. That is exactly what you are doing with misandry.
The same goes for objections that ‘female privilege doesn’t exist’ - if it did exist than you may very well not notice it, and so saying that you don’t notice it does nothing to disprove its existence. Again using the counterexample, a man could just as validly state that male privilege doesn’t exist because he hasn’t noticed it. You can see how that it again circular, and again nonsense.
When he starts erasing women’s experiences with his privilege denial, it becomes a big problem. That is exactly what you are doing with your privilege denial, which is only as valid as his. You are talking over men’s experiences on male suffering, and making blanket statements about something which, by your own logic, you know nothing about. When your only justification to being called out is ‘but you can’t say that they are the same, because they’re different’ or ‘but you as a man can’t say that men are oppressed, because as a privilege woman my viewpoint is that they’re not’, a justification which you would yourself find offensive if it was pointing the other way.
This is why we need the fourth wave. A new generation of people who are more accepting to the suffering of others, and who are prepared to move with advances in the study of how the patriarchy formed naturally and enforces gender roles equally and oppositely on both men and women (something which evidence from biology, psychology and history all support). People who don’t have a hidden agenda, don’t just want to harass people or cling on to a victim monopoly, and actually care about working from a place of love rather than a place of hate. This is about making the world better for everyone, rather than getting revenge on a group which you have a personal grudge against. This is feminism for the 21st century, and it is a feminism which welcomes people from all races, creeds, genders, sexual identities, abilities, and so on and so forth.
If that sounds good to you, then sign up. If it doesn’t, and you’d prefer to incorporate patriarchal double standards and biases in your work, then please don’t do so whilst calling yourself a feminist. With Chris Martin, you’re going to have to ask yourself: are you part of the cure, or are you part of the disease? If you’re not prepared to apply the same logic and standards to yourself as you do others, then have a good think about whether the equality business is right for you.
“…therefore they don’t exist.”
Too many times.
You know where else I’ve heard this argument?
No, not just from every other feminist on the internet.
Try creationists: “but I can’t see evolution, so it isn’t happening”.
How about …
This comparison to holocaust-deniers and creationists is flat-out wrong.
When people say things about feminists being man-haters or say things like “Well, a feminist would say this and that’s why they suck,” they’re engaging in a strawman fallacy. Feminists who respond, “I’ve never seen a feminist like that so I don’t know what you’re talking about” don’t deny it exists because they haven’t seen it, they simply are expressing the fact that the burden of proof is on you to prove that there are feminists like this and that they are the majority/express the overall consensus of the movement.
Creationists say, “I haven’t seen evolution so it doesn’t exist.” You provide them with scientific proof and they continue to say, “Well I’ve never seen it so it doesn’t exist.” Feminists, on the other hand, respond to the man-hating feminist stereotype by saying, “I haven’t seen any feminists like that. In fact, that stereotype is contrary to the entire idea behind the feminist movement which I am engaged in. I’d like to see some proof that this is a true stereotype.” If you could respond with proof here, and we saw that man-hating feminists exist, we would go to said man-hating feminists and say “Feminism: Yer doing it wrong.” and then we’d educate them about why so everyone would be happy. You’re just engaging in a strawman here.
Good points. I’ll make two additions:
From my experience other feminists tend to get far too defensive of one another, probably in reaction to the stereotypes, but in failing to do some weeding of extremists they probably aren’t helping them. Generally, again from experience, feminists don’t like to see other feminists criticised, and so will viciously deny any cases of man-hating. I’m guessing they are very cautious because they don’t want the movement to look bad, but I think most people would see it in a better light if they started questioning themselves more and actually attacked the man-haters for themselves.
The second, bigger problem is that a lot of the man-hate is subtle. I’ve seen the type who think men have no emotions and should be castrated and so on, yeah. They’re obvious. But misandry, like misogyny, can be hidden anywhere. I’ll quote from another post:
I think that discussions like this confuse the meanings of the term ‘misandry’.
Feminists should know better. ‘Misogyny’, though literally translated to the hatred of women, is not simply men going ‘I hate women’. Otherwise examples of misogyny would be much rarer. Instead, misogyny can be a stereotype, a double standard, or an action/policy which leaves women worse off, intentions regardless. Feminists attempt to recognise and fight misogyny in all of its forms, including those which may be less obvious.
Likewise, ‘misandry’ is not just women going ‘I hate men’. Misandry, like misogyny, can be everywhere and anywhere. Somebody expecting chivalry might not knowingly hate men or women, but they are being misandric and misogynistic. Somebody enforcing patriarchal norms may not realise that what they are doing in misandry and misogyny, but it is. You see?
So, ‘misandry in feminism’ can mean a lot more than the minority of feminists who literally do hate men, and are proud of it. This minority are a problem of their own - they are vocal, face little opposition from within the movement, and are therefore known as influential ‘feminists’. This is obviously offensive to men, and hypocritical coming from supposed egalitarians, but if nothing else these extremists are bad because they give a bad name to real feminism, which suffers as a result. Fight them at every turn.
Although man-hating radicals are bad enough, the problem of feminist misandry is a much deeper one. It concerns the vast majority of feminists, the moderates, the ones who would never describe themselves as a ‘man-hater’, and who will claim to fight sexism in all of its forms.
But it’s misandry when they exclude men from discussions on gender equality, as if ‘women’s issues’ with men weren’t ‘men’s issues’ as well.
It’s misandry when they use ‘male privilege’ as a way to silence male viewpoints as invalid, without actually acknowledging the logical value of any arguments made.
It’s misandry when they use ‘male privilege’ to speak over male suffering as unimportant, as if the world is a ‘safe space’ for men, and thus unintentionally suppress the voices of male victims.
It’s misandry when they use ‘male privilege’ without accepting that they have an equal and opposite ‘female privilege’.
It’s misandry when they accuse a man of ‘mansplaining’, invalidating his point simply because they don’t want to be corrected, as if men can hypocritically never be right where equality is concerned.
It’s misandry when they blame men for misogyny, as if sexist men consciously created the natural patriarchy and its gender roles which hurt men just as much.
It’s misandry when they say misandry doesn’t exist, or laugh about it in a victim’s face.
It’s misandry when they say misandry is just a side effect of misogyny, and that male sufferers are ‘confused’, and the real oppressors.
It’s misandry when they assume that women can never be sexist, whereas all men are sexist whether they know it or not.
It’s misandry when they talk about ‘Nice Guys (tm)’ and other negative male behaviours, without realising that these behaviours are equally as evident in women.
It’s misandry when they talk about issues that negatively affect women without considering how they negatively affect men, and therefore treat them as ‘women’s issues’.
It’s misandry when they talk about issues which negatively affect men, and either reframe them as only affecting women or act as if they are some ‘privilege’ that men should be thankful for.
It’s misandry when they say that only misogyny can be sexism, or relegate misandry to ‘benevolent sexism’, as if it’s only bad when it affects women.
It’s misandry when they perpetuate the sexist stereotype that women are always victims, and men are always the oppressor.
It’s misandry when they blame sexist men for any and all discomforts they face in their life, many of which are not sexist at all, or are discomforts which men face too.
It’s misandry when they ignore men to such an extent that they stop being pro-equality, and begin just being pro-women.
It’s misandry when they are part of a ‘women’s movement’, exclude male ‘allies’ from having power in that movement, and then act as if it is the only movement we need for equality.
It’s misandry when they suppress the masculist movement as unnecessary, necessarily sexist, or a joke, and derail all discussions on men’s rights.
It’s misandry when they use false statistics and facts, for example on domestic violence, to create a negative depiction of men, whilst discouraging male survivors from speaking up.
It’s misandry when they suggest that all men are potential rapists, or that only men should be taught not to rape, or that only men rape.
It’s misandry when they suggest that only women can be rape victims, and that only women should be protected from rape, and only support women speaking up against it.
It’s misandry when they play the sex card on issues where it isn’t needed, as if men can never make the better argument, and must always have an ulterior motive or be blinded by privilege, whereas women aren’t.
It’s misandry when they suggest that women and feminists are immune to criticism, and automatically name-call anybody who disagrees with them, or treat all anti-feminists or masculists as misogynists and rape-apologists simply out of bigotry.
It’s misandry when they think that ‘misogynist’ and ‘rape apologist’ are the same thing, or that certain positions on abortion or promiscuity are necessarily misogynistic, when they may be benign, whilst ignoring all positions which disadvantage men.
It’s misandry so often that I encounter it every day as a male feminist, and struggle to find feminists who don’t do most of the above. There’s your ‘vast majority’.
As for judging the movement on the behaviour of those invoking its name, you have a point; but when such a bulk of members behave in such ways, it’s hard not to take that as a reflection on the label itself. Feminism would be nothing without feminists, and it evolves with them. They are, after all, its voice.
It is easy to simply say ‘well they weren’t a real feminist’ when somebody slips up, but that is far from satisfactory. Nobody is perfect, and so under this method nobody is a feminist. I can’t criticise what Christianity has done in the past, because if they did wrong then they ‘weren’t real Christians’. Nobody is. I can’t complain about oppressive Communist regimes, because they probably ‘weren’t real Communists’. It’s a tempting cop-out, but it doesn’t hold up when applied thoroughly.
As for looking at the fundamentals of the movement, nothing could be more fundamental than the name itself. Feminism. A woman’s movement. Feminism is based on the assumption that women are oppressed and men aren’t, an assumption which has proved very harmful to men, and continues to make a great deal of difficulty for men’s rights movements. There is a way around this, in calling yourself both a feminist and a masculist, but the majority of feminists don’t do that. The majority of feminists, and the sole beacon of feminism that they cling to, are therefore subtly misandric. Until they embrace masculism - or ditch both for the simpler label of ‘egalitarian’ - that is.
So you can see why it can be hard to get feminists to call other feminists out. Remember that a lot of feminists I’ve met don’t even believe that misandry exists, and even more wouldn’t recognise it if they saw it. That’s understandable, because they aren’t men, and so are privileged not to be affected by casual misandry - just as privileged men may need casual misogyny pointing out to them. There’s this too:
Feminism has also made it easier to be sexist against men and get away with it, as the public has been taught to see this as ‘empowerment’. This combines with existing stereotypes (men are strong and therefore can’t be victims) to create cases such as the one a while back where a Russian woman trapped her burglar, starved him and repeatedly raped him, and the media reports just laughed about how he ‘got what was coming to him’. If a man had done this to a woman it would have been completely unacceptable, but today that post is still getting notes praising her for being a strong woman and a feminist role model. So maybe it isn’t the hardcore feminists who are the problem as much as the general public have come to interpret ‘feminism’ incorrectly, to mean ‘being a strong woman’ or ‘standing up to men’. That sort of definition allows for a lot of misandry.
So misandry can be implicit instead of explicit, and even passive rather than active.
Finally, although this is more straw-man-like than the other examples, they are all part of the same confabulation fallacy, which is what I was drawing attention to. They were the one making the claim, so it was they who were making the fallacy. Sort of the reverse straw man.
But thanks for the intelligent (and peaceful!) reaction, all the same. I’ve missed them.
j-s has taken this on from an evidentiary perspective, but I’m going to look at the logic. I’ll boil it down and look at the chain of reasoning.
First, j-s makes a claim: “There are man-hating/misandric feminists.”
lawra says: “Your claim is in invalid, because I’ve never seen one and it’s against what I consider the tenets of feminism.”
As j-s said, this is a confabulation fallacy, specifically the anecdotal and hasty generalization fallacies. Just because you’ve never seen one doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I’ve never seen a platypus up-close, but I acknowledge their existence because people, photos and video tell me they do. Additionally, because of the particular case it may be that you’re not equipped to notice. For example, if you look around with regards to the list j-s gave you you’ll find literally dozens of examples in everyday life, and just as many here on tumblr.
While j-s’ original post might appear to be a strawman, it’s not. It would have been a strawman if he tried to claim that “all feminists believe this” or that “you believe this” but he didn’t do that. His claim, rather, was that “some feminists believe this”. Now, the burden of proof is on him, but he has to produce evidence of only one or two man-hating feminists to prove that they exist. It’s not hard. In fact, just because he didn’t I’ll give you a few links: One Two Three Four Five
That took me all of five minutes on Google. I doubt you’d try to deny that these are indeed man-hating and misandric feminists, but you certainly can’t deny all of them and even one proves the existence of the beast.
Once evidence is provided that man-hating/misandric feminists do indeed exist, you shift tone, asserting that “well, these feminists aren’t real feminists”.
This is the all-too common “no true Scotsman” fallacy. Basically, you’re shifting the original definition (someone who calls themselves a feminist) to a new one to exclude the cases I’ve mentioned. This doesn’t work for a variety of reasons, the most primary being that many of the feminists from the “quotes” page are acknowledged feminist icons. If the leaders of the movement don’t represent it, who does?
If feminists vigorously policed the movement to silence, shame and eject man-haters then you would have a point, but that’s simply not the case. Feminism is notoriously unwilling to self-police and often defends its most bigoted members in the name of “solidarity”. Because of this these women must be accepted as feminists because….well, feminism accepts them.
As such the two necessary assertions have been proven: One, there are man-haters who consider themselves feminists. Two, these people must be accepted as being part of the feminist movement and thus form part of its face.
j-s’ argument that there are man-hating feminists stands.
His argument that most feminists express misandry isn’t as simple and I won’t deal with it here, but my belief is that if you accurately, impartially and honestly examine the people you know in terms of the examples he suggested, you’ll find that most feminists you know do indeed express misandry. It must be stressed that just because someone expresses casual misandry the should not be considered a horrible person. It’s about conditioning, culture and ignorance. While some people are genuinely malicious, most are simply misinformed and can indeed be educated. It’s a statement of fact, just like how a man who would give up his seat for a woman but not a man is sexist: not malicious, not horrible, not even bad, but wrong and in need of correction. It’s not just feminists, it’s society as a whole.
You probably do it yourself.
Just an aside (and I apologize if this is off-topic a bit) but the misogyny/misandry that is part and parcel of our modern culture is not only attached to sex, but to genders and gender roles, which leads to a putrid blossoming of intolerance. I’m not speaking just of transpeople and homosexuals, who are judged for being outside a binary norm. I’m also speaking of classic attributes as seen in men or women. Hatred of men and women is only part of it; there’s the hatred of the masculine and feminine. Men are just as trapped by misogyny as women since in women such traits are seen as justification for oppression, but in men it’s seen as a justification of emasculation. If you don’t act like a super macho guy, society will literally refuse to recognize your manhood. Let’s not forget that the reverse is true, too. A woman acting like a man (such as enjoying her sexuality) is labelled as a tom boy or a bro ho or a slut. The feminine is weak and the masculine is dumb. These are gross generalizations, I know, but outline the profoundly negative foundations that our modern views of sex and gender are based on.
We have an adversarial gender binary. Our culture, by nature, splits us into separate groups with varying privileges and oppressions. It’s the ultimate false dichotomy. If you don’t act like a woman then you’re a man. If you don’t act like a man then you’re a woman. If you don’t fit into either slot, you’re abnormal, lacking, and should be tossed aside. The emancipation of men and women (and those who identify as neither) are inextricably linked. We’re not separate, we’re part of a whole. We simply cannot have one freedom without the other.
Pretty much endorsing all of this commentary. PoN finishes off nicely where I started, and FFF makes the point that we can’t have equality for all without discussing it with all. There is no ‘oppression of women’ versus ‘oppression of men’, because it’s all ultimately just the patriarchy enforcing a strict gender binary, which restricts and suppresses all of us. It is a relevant point, because it emphasises that feminists who choose to blame men for oppression, assume men can’t be oppressed, and even exclude men from discussions of ‘women’s issues’ completely (look out for: ‘privilege-denying’, ‘mansplaining’ and ‘what about the menz?!’) are not only misandric and bad for men, but perpetuate the same patriarchal problems that they are supposedly fighting. Misogyny and misandry are necessarily interlinked, and so feminist misandrists are eventually shooting themselves in the foot.
“Penises are gross.”
It makes me sad every time I hear my female friends talking about how awkward men look naked, even in jest.
I always call them out on it, and they always amend it with “I mean, if he’s really fit and clean then it’s okay.” But, you know, that’s even worse. By clean they mean hairless, and by fit they mean muscular, or thin and toned.
Nothing is inherently beautiful or ugly.* You could socialize a child to be terrified or repulsed by a sunset and brim with joy at the sight of a turd. It all has to do with the values and assumptions that a society is built upon.
It just so happens that because our society is based on thousands of years of men ruling, the message of “the female body is beautiful” absolutely oozes out of everything, from medieval poems and sculptures and paintings to the scores of pop and rock ballads devoted to praising girls ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErPsx8zdnX4&t=36 ).
I call this gynephilic media. (‘Gynephile’ is a term used to describe people who are attracted to women.)
During the transition from the relatively balanced appreciation for male and female forms in ancient Greece/Rome into the Dark Ages, the appreciation for the male form was lost. The Bible came along and condemned homosexual impulses, and proponents of the bible killed off and conquered everyone else.
We ended up in Medieval times with the strict heterosexual binary that brought us chivalry. Men put women on a pedestal, which was restrictive to both of them. Lots of women enjoyed/enjoy being on a pedestal, but it’s often equivalent to being locked in a tower. And while a lot of men enjoyed being able to serve women, nobody would ever rush into battle and face death to defend a lock of an attractive man’s hair, m’lady.
This system stayed in place for a long time (we were given the Gothic novel as a response to the evolution of this dynamic; the men are out having adventures and the women are confined to their homes, but they end up exploring the dingy manors in which they dwell and having adventures of their own), and we’ve certainly come a long way since then as far as women having the freedom to be more than simply adored for their beauty.
BUT, a relic of this ages-old inequality is the revulsion that the male body inspires.
There’s a classic Seinfeld scene in which Jerry’s girlfriend is permitted to walk around naked but Jerry isn’t. (The photo above is comprised of two frames from the episode.)
Elaine: “Whoa! Walking around naked? Ahh… that is not a good look for a man.”
George: “Why not? It’s a good look for a woman.”
Elaine: “Well, the female body is a…a work of art. The male body is
utilitarian, it’s for gettin’ around, like a jeep.”
Jerry: “So you don’t think it’s attractive?”
Elaine: “It’s hideous. The hair, the… the lumpiness. It’s simian.”
George: “Well, some women like it.”
Elaine: “Eugh. Sickies.”
Now, we all know this is meant to be humor.
But we also know that humor hits home when it’s rooted in truth. Larry David (co-creator of Seinfeld, for those who don’t know) is a master of exposing the weird inconsistencies in the social structure by twisting circumstances.
This is a very real mentality, and the hundreds of campaigns to help young girls and women of all ages love their bodies and feel beautiful stand in stark contrast to the utter lack of attention paid to the gross-ification of the male form.
What I’m trying to say is, guys: spend some of your alone time naked. Get acquainted/comfortable with your nudity. Your body is as much of a miracle, as much a work of art composed by [nature/the divine] as anyone else’s.
What makes me sad is that I feel like I’m the only person that’s telling you this.
* I’m aware that assessment of mate fitness via symmetry and other phenotypical expressions of resistance to mutation exists. We’re talking about the element of human beauty that is socialized. It’s obvious to anyone who knows their way around evolutionary psychology that not only is the dynamic I’m describing an entirely socialized thing, but that it’s actually maladaptive.
If you’re really interested in what elements of beauty are intrinsic/evolved, Denis Dutton (recently deceased) wrote about the subject in detail, and delivered a fascinating TEDTalk on it.
Not sure if I reblogged this before, but I overheard some people talking about this the other day and it made me sit up and listen.
Beauty is certainly a complex beast. Normally I see women complaining about always being expected and pressured into being beautiful, and the effort that takes, so it’s certainly interesting to see the reverse; we want to be seen as beautiful. This reminds me of something else.
Men are expected and pressured into being powerful, so that women can find them attractive, and that takes a lot of effort. Women aren’t expected to be powerful. This is oppression against women.
Women are expected and pressured into being beautiful, so that men can find them attractive, and that takes a lot of effort. Men aren’t expected to be beautiful. This is oppression against women.
If you’re a feminist who doesn’t believe in misandry, just read the bolded part. We don’t want to risk injury to your double standards.
The expectation and competition within a gender role can hurt (Should I cook the meal just because I’m the woman? Should I pay for the meal just because I’m the man?), and so can being excluded from the role altogether. That’s two sides to the sexism of gender roles, and each side hurts two genders equally - because where one is forcibly included, the other is forcibly excluded.
The male suffering here is part of a much wider problem. It is akin to women previously not being able to work or fight for their country. But we have to remember the double-sidedness, and consider that the same gender role hurts women as well. It hurts women that they are forced into beauty, just as it hurt men to be forced into labour or combat. Two sides.
As it is, men are objectified for their looks nowadays, just as women are beginning to be objectified for their wealth or power. We’re beginning to share each other’s problems. It’s probably too much to hope that this will allow us to see the other side of the story in all of our struggles… but it’s all we have to hope for. The masculist movement - which attempts to support men in the same way that feminism supports women - is growing, but it is frequently suppressed by its female counterpart. We need an epiphany, and we need it soon.
We all have it.
I’m a cis white male.
When I say that, I feel like it’s a confession. I feel like I’m introducing myself at an AA-style rehab meeting. I feel very guilty, without being exactly able to put my finger on why.
Let’s repeat that. I’ve been made to feel guilty about my race, my gender, my sexuality - things that I cannot help. So who has driven that guilt into me? Campaigners for equality, specifically feminists. I know I’m not alone, and it’s quite easy to see how it happens. What’s harder to understand is why it does; something is obviously not right here.
Do I have privilege as a cis white male? I’m certain that I do. But the three qualities are very different, and they shouldn’t be lumped together like that. In a debate on sex feminists often bring the fact that I’m white into it to lessen my validity, in a discussion of race it is my male-ness that makes me ignorant. I can see how privilege exists, and how is can obscure views on discrimination, but really? This modern usage is simply absurd, whoever it is used on. It is simply playing the race or sex card, and a baseless attempt to personally attack the unfortunate ‘privileged’ person, and to therefore destroy their credibility by ad hominem.
To do such is more than just cowardly, it is despicable. On a personal level it is offensive and effectively discrimination based on a quality the individual didn’t choose - exactly the sort of discrimination these supposed feminists (or POC/MSGI activists) claim to fight. On a wider level this sort of behaviour discredits the entire feminist movement, and it is therefore very selfish.
This sort of behaviour scares would-be equalists away from feminism, and such exclusion and prejudice forces them to seek other options - namely anti-feminist egalitarianism. I’ve said this so many times before, but you can’t achieve equality with just one side on board. Any feminist who excludes men from her debates is a failed feminist, because she is directly increasing segregation and conflict between the genders, let alone jeopardising her individual claims for ‘equality’. You can’t create a fair and equal society with only one group drawing up the plans, no matter how victimised they are. Be reasonable.
Besides, my whiteness and my maleness and my heterosexuality and three entirely independent qualities, with no correlation between them. They are not relevant to each other, and so they should not be brought up in irrelevant debates. Race is something that is inherited, and so I do have a connection to my white ancestors - although I should by no means be made accountable for their actions. In this country I am privileged by being white, because whites have a 90% majority and are the native race. This means that the majority of the media, politics and services will be white-centric. This is not racist, because these areas naturally appeal to the majority for reasons of commercial success or democracy. It’s natural. So I do have white privilege, but only because I’m in a white dominated country. Black people have black privilege in black dominated countries. All minorities are going to feel under-represented and persecuted, and so perhaps all this really is is ‘majority privilege’.
That name isn’t so emotive or ‘us versus them’, and so I might use it more often. Sexuality-based privileges are also due to a majority, but they go further than that. Firstly, they aren’t inherited, and so MSGIs can be born anywhere from any sort of background - historical prejudices don’t affect them indirectly, though modern prejudices still harm them directly. Because of this they are even more isolated and therefore feel like even more of a minority. There are also no MSGI countries, and they are minorities everywhere - and suffer for it. Being a different sexual identity necessarily affects how you live your life (more than race should), and how others treat you. It also receives stigma for being ‘unnatural’, which it arguably is (we evolved primarily to procreate, after all).
It is still justified to show cis/heterosexual relationships as the norm (majority again), but less so than it is to show white relationships - especially as many people are becoming more fluid with their sexuality in a way that they can never be with their race.
Gender is once again different - there is no ‘natural’ gender as with race, but neither is there a clear majority. As with sexuality, there are no female or male countries, and neither gender is persecuted as a minority. This means that ‘majority privilege’ for men can’t exist, especially seeing as we are in the minority in this, and many other Western countries (mostly to do with us dying more frequently for a variety of reasons, some linked to sexism).
So no, men are not ‘privileged’ in this way. It is therefore wrong to link my privilege as a man to my privilege as a white in a white country or as a heterosexual in a heterosexual world. This is a completely different issue. It is also wrong to assume that, just because our species is naturally a patriarchy (male leaders) that men have perfect lives. The patriarchy is just as restrictive to men as it is to women (and certainly wasn’t intentionally created by male oppressors), we’ve just been taught to idealise the male (leader) role and therefore find it hard to consider that it might be a burden. As you can see from my posts (just a sample of many), that’s something I spend a lot of time explaining. Men are privileged in male roles, but only as much as women are privileged in female roles - both roles being vital to society.
So these three privileges are very different, and it is offensive for women to compare themselves to ethnic or sexual minorities in terms of oppression - so no, let’s not bring up privilege where it isn’t relevant.
The next question is whether or not it should be brought up in relevant debates. In a debate on sexism, does my being male slightly invalidate my opinion? As I’ve explained above, this sort of attitude impedes real gender equality, so I would recommend it. There may be some truth in the claim that I can’t understand a woman’s viewpoint as a man, but once we dispel the myth that only women can be victims, then it can equally said that women don’t understand the male viewpoint - and so yes, men should be allowed an equal say. Let’s put masculism and feminism on equal footing for a change.
So yes, misandry exists as much as misogyny does, and they are mostly found together. So what about the other examples? I don’t think ‘reverse racism’ exists, because the term is a suggestive one - I think normal racism can go in any direction. There’s a tendency for feminists to redefine sexism/racism as ‘prejudice + power’ and suggest that this means that only the dominant group can be sexist/racist, but this is ridiculous. Sexism/racism can be implemented with the tiniest bit of authority - and besides, women and ethnic minorities have significant enough levels of power in certain communities anyway. Sexism just needs prejudice, and any amount of power just makes it worse.
It’s also a fallacy to assume that sexism must always be against women from men (or against men from women) - it can be internalised (against women from women) or just natural restrictions based on gender roles, with no real blame involved. These sort of mistakes are what lead to ‘battle of the sexes’ scenarios and further division, and so we should keep the infantile blaming to a minimum - in most cases, nobody started it.
So I can face sexism as a man, and racism (albeit less so) as a white person. Should that not be acknowledged at all? Should I be blindly silenced by - of course - people claiming to fight for my equality? Heterophobia is even less prominent, but it still exists. I know plenty of MSGIs who find heterosexual relationships disgusting, but we don’t criticise them like we do a heterosexual judging two MSGIs. Prejudice exists everywhere, and we can all have it.
Privilege also exist everywhere, and we all have it. Some of us have it in some areas, some of us in others. Some of us even have it in the supposedly privilege-free arena of equality - and cis white men suffer as a result. There is no such thing as ‘turning the tables’, sexism is sexism is sexism is prejudice is discrimination is racism is racism is racism is intolerance is bigotry is sexuality based discrimination is sexuality based discrimination. I know it’s nice to be the only victim and to call everyone else the oppressor, but it’s not feminist. It’s not even true.
Cis white men aren’t evil, we aren’t immune to prejudice, and we have feelings and opinions too. We’re human beings. Sexuality has nothing to do with race, race has nothing to do with gender, and none of them have anything to do with our worth as people, or as equalists. Excluding us on such as basis is not just offensive and anti-equality, it is hypocritical - because in making yourself the preferred choice based on such qualities, you are making yourself privileged. You were privileged beforehand, in a million different ways. You can even be privileged in some situations by not being privileged. It’s not black and white; and it’s certainly not just white.