Valerie Keefe tells a fellow feminist some home truths about what MRAs think of feminism and why

Commenter Valerie Keefe, a feminist, posted this comment to an article here. It was a re-post of a comment at the site she mentions below, where the blogger had posted a list of supposedly pro-male posts by feminists.

Most of the comment thread is interesting, worth a read, although in the end it dissolves into a bunch of puerility.

Valerie Keefe on October 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm said:

It’s politically and anthropologically interesting to find an anti-oppression group that’s still at the stage where they are willing to engage in intersectional oppressions with people they don’t like. It’s not a good habit, by the way.

Oh, you guys might find this interesting. I got asked by a feminist about how to find ‘legitimate MRAs’ with which to ally. Here is my slightly edited reply from http://brutereason.net/2012/09/20/in-brief-do-feminists-care-about-mens-issues-a-handy-list/#comment-4934

Thing is, my unidirectional-feminist friend, there’ve been a lot of burned bridges. Finding MRAs who don’t have an instinctual (and well-earned) distrust of feminism as currently presented would be like trying to find trans radfems… you can, but even most third-wave feminists find their output suspect. Just like with the second-wave and those in the third-wave that give them a pass, and trans women, don’t expect feminism to get a pass.

You want MRAs to ally with you? Good. I do too. But expect that they’ll disagree with you on some things, and expect to agree or at least dialogue non-dismissively with them on some core points:

1. We erase a fucktonne of male victims of rape (and CAMAB victims of rape) and female perpetrators of rape (and CAMAB [CAFAB?] perpetrators of rape)

2. The workplace-related death gap, the overtime gap, the elemental exposure gap, etc. All get erased in discussion of the wage gap. If you’re going to blame men for creating an environment where 83% of workplace-related fatalities (that’s about 43,000 extra men than women per year), are men, then you’ve done so in ignorance of safety-oriented unions, and women making up a majority of the electorate since 1964.

3. Our justice system relies on a lot of sexist assumptions about fitness of a parent, danger of an offender, veracity of a victim’s account, and exacerbates and reinforces those assumptions by maintaining social attitudes that make men less likely to report assault, sexual and aggravated, of any level of severity, even those assaults that should require medical attention. Of adults who were sexually assaulted as children, 64% of cis women describe what happened to be a sexual assault. 16% of men do. So if you can’t manage to be horrified that someone who was raped at thirteen (and thirteen-year-olds cannot consent, nor can one retroactively consent to what happened to oneself at thirteen) is made to pay child support to maintain his rapist’s child, you probably won’t get very far with MRAs.

4. Recognize, and here’s something you can do for your trans sisters too, so we’re not erased until the day that a slim minority of us finally come out: It’s not female presentation that invites femmephobic abuse. It’s femininity, the less socially acceptable the better, and that femmephobia intersects with cissexist norms, so if you think femininity is policed and derided in female-presenting people, you should try having the exact same attitudes, mannerisms, and speaking style, and then present male. Don’t worry, I’ll be there to pull you out of the trash can, and teach you which way to look at your nails so you won’t get abused (actually happened to me).

You should be concerned about what’s directed at cis men, if for no other reason than because a disproportionate amount of it happens to trans women (intersectionality again), and in a way that keeps many of us closeted. When someone is told to shut up, they’re taking too much space, and that silencing is followed by gendering someone as their presentation, they’re going to be more likely to focus any gender angst they have outwards, instead of being able to go on questioning who they are… but you don’t need to hear about my college years…

5. Don’t compare Western men to non-Western women when making the case for the rights of Western women. Just don’t. If you’re going to dismiss US circumcision of boys (and some girls, there’s another reminder, don’t erase trans people before they identify as such) then don’t compare that to what happens in Burundi or Cameroon or Afghanistan. There’s a lot of repression in those places that flows from economic privation. Compare Western circumcision to Western infantile clitoroplasty… even if it weakens your argument.

6. You’re going to have to drop the idea that straight cis men unidirectionally oppress straight cis women. That doesn’t mean there’s not choking clouds of institutionalized misogyny right now, but it’s not the only sexism in town, nor, is it really clearly the most prominent… it’s just the one you see most, because, well, you’ve trained yourself to see it. There’s a lot of confirmation bias in ciscentric feminism, and a lot of trans women learn to use that model, because, well, among other things, cis privilege means never having your gender questioned when you disagree with predominant feminist theory. My favorite example comes from a job I had, working overnights, where I had to say no to a lot of people.

I transitioned ‘in boymode’, which means I didn’t change a stitch of clothing as I transitioned, just took spironolactone until people started gendering me female. After that happened, the usual pleading-to-venom cycle went, “Can you help me sweetheart?” or dear or some other slotting form of address designed to gain my acquiescence, trying to make me be ‘nice’. Followed by calling me a fat bitch or cunt. Before I was gendered female, it was, “Can you help me buddy?” or pal, or some other slotting form of address designed to remind me that real men don’t let bureaucracy get in the way of being functional and potent… then when I had to say no again, they called me a fat prick, sometimes made reference to my lack of sexual prowess, etc… So what we saw was classism: Customers expecting service… but cloaked in sexist language.

7. Finally: Expect a lot of groping about. There’s no MRA canon.

Well, there’s Warren Farrell, but we’ve seen the impressive amount of effort expended in taking a thirty-five year old interview out of context… but seriously. There’s Spreading Misandry but that’s not really a work of theory… there’s Cocksure but that’s not really MRA stuff… just Richler taking the piss out of identity politics. While man may have got the default pronoun and been considered the default citizen in most works of the enlightenment canon, they were meant to be universal, and largely remain that way. Further, those that don’t, didn’t anticipate the extension of citizenship to the female-presenting, a change which occurred roughly 100 years ago, and, like those voting Republican now, was not a solely male exercise, so they’re hardly going to be relevant to men’s rights in a liberal-democratic society with a universal franchise.

My point is that MRAs don’t have universal positions on questions like abortion, not because they don’t buy the idea of personal bodily autonomy, but because they’re trying to reconcile a system of child rearing where one party has all the rights as to deciding when to commence a pregnancy (Mississippi excluded, but again, that exception’s not relevant to most of the Western world. See Rule 5), and the other bears all the responsibility for that decision (Save for a physical risk which is lower than that of taking low-dose aspirin for a year). They don’t have universal positions on women in combat roles, either, because, well… they note that a lot of feminists haven’t been chomping at the bit to equalize casualty rates. (I have, but it’s not high up on my list of priorities). They’ll disagree a lot, because, frankly, there’s not the intellectual uniformity that comes from having a canon and an academic discipline, where one may not have to follow the party line, but one will definitely have to reconcile one’s positions with the party line…

I think, actually, that’s where a bit of unidirectional-feminist ire at MRAs comes from… they expect MRAs to be like feminists, but they aren’t yet. The MRM grew up in the internet… the people preceded the books, and it’s not like you could get a university to help them write the books (though men are an abject minority of undergrads now) because the backlash would be more than any progressive university would want to bear. There’s not the same MRM party line that there is for feminists… there’s not the same level of intellectual coherence, and factionalism, and clearly identifiable intellectual tendencies… so when someone hears someone who calls themselves an MRA say something really disgusting, it’s not like we can slot them with the MRM equivalent of Mary Daly or Sheila Jeffreys.

You know how mad third-wavers get when someone quotes Daly or Jeffreys or Bindel, or Raymond at them, and the response is, “Most feminists aren’t like that”? Yeah… that’s the bind into which MRAs are put… only difference is, nobody in the MRM gets paid to be their noxious equivalent of a prescriptivist, trans-exterminationist, gender fascist, and moderate MRAs don’t come together as a community to mourn the loss of their Dalys… MRAs don’t have a death toll to celebrate, as Raymond did, when she got her work made into Reagan Administration policy… but I digress. They have no professional academics, no canon, and thus, there’s not the same handful of factions to point to… everyone’s a free agent in the MRM, and recognizing that is important.

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  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Valerie: Recognize, and here’s something you can do for your trans sisters too, so we’re not erased until the day that a slim minority of us finally come out: It’s not female presentation that invites femmephobic abuse.

    Valerie, I wanted to ask you about this when I first read this comment… could you expand on this excerpt?

    I’ll be honest: not sure what you mean here.

    As a child I was often punished for not being “feminine enough”–so when you say “femmephobic”–I am not sure I know what you mean.

    I have usually believed that being regarded as feminine (and femininity in general) is a privilege. (Cis feminists who are NOT feminine have most often been the brunt of anti-feminist jokes and hatred–while Gloria Steinem and the “feminine” ones were preferred for TV gigs and such.) What is your definition of “femmephobic” and who is most likely to exhibit this behavior?

    Sorry for being dense, but you never learn anything if you don’t ask. :)

  • Titfortat

    Wow, this piece made my head spin! The challenge for me is that for all the reasons I avoid the group dynamic(Im not like those guys), I now think Im going to have to reconcile the fact that I may have more in common with them than I care to admit. Thanks, I think. :)

  • gjdj

    I think Girl Writes What does a lot of good work in taking MRM ideas and explaining them in a coherent, logical way. I wouldn’t be surprised if she someday writes a canonical work.

  • http://valeriekeefe.tumblr.com Valerie Keefe

    @DaisyDeadhead

    Valerie, I wanted to ask you about this when I first read this comment… could you expand on this excerpt?

    I’ll be honest: not sure what you mean here.

    As a child I was often punished for not being “feminine enough”–so when you say “femmephobic”–I am not sure I know what you mean.

    That would be cissexism, not femmephobia that was the source of your childhood frustration.

    If you’re CAFAB, you’re supposed to not be able to help being less masculine than men… which means legal and social protections… but you’re also NOT supposed to be more masculine than men, and that’s where the policing comes in. You’re right that a cissexist society polices masculinity in the CAFAB, much as it does femininity in the CAMAB, but with an important distinction: Masculinity itself is still privileged, while deviation from assigned-sex-roles is oppressed. These two intersect in frequently infuriating ways.

    You can see this discussed when some cis feminists argue that they shouldn’t have to act like men, but of course present as feminine women, to have the same rights as men (in this I agree wholeheartedly).

    So cissexism privileges people who conform to roles based on their assigned sex, while masculosexism (or femmephobia, if you like) privileges masculine behaviors and actions… thing is, when they intersect, both of those oppressions do not distribute evenly…

    CAMAB people are expected to be masculine because of cissexism, and expected to be masculine because of masculosexism, and as a result, the rewards and punishments for adhering to a standard of masculinity are far greater for the CAMAB.

    CAFAB people are expected to be feminine because of cissexism, and expected to be masculine because of masculosexism. These contradictory expectations often cancel one another out, and often, they create frustrating double-binds of expectation, something second-wavers are correct about, but for the wrong reasons… the net effect in terms of utility would be difficult to measure, but typically, all things being equal, a group with the same resources but greater inequality has lower utility.

    This is, of course, just my model, and it would take a good deal of observation to see it hold up to scrutiny, but given my experiences, it seems to fit the facts better than the unidirectionalist model.

  • http://marjaerwin.livejournal.com Marja Erwin

    Or Julia Serano’s descriptions of traditional and oppositional sexism, the former privileging masculinity and the latter privileging gender conformity.

    But how does this fit into a society which works men to death, kills men, and jails men far more often than womyn?

  • http://valeriekeefe.tumblr.com Valerie Keefe

    Because it also puts more men in office and in boardrooms and in media. It seems a very self-destructive system, but ultimately, men individually play for much higher stakes than women. There are more rich men than rich women, and second-wavers, being largely middle-and-professional-class, cast an envious eye upwards… for those of us who are working-class and teetering on the edge of the lumpenproletariat, the fight over six-figure salaries seems rather misplaced in terms of priorities.

    Also, sexism is not the sum total of oppression in the Western world, despite what the second-wave would have you believe. It’s the intersection of sexism with classism that produces those dead men… the most promising ways out of one’s class being through promotion, decoration, or interrment.

    The workplace-death and incarceration gaps are also higher along racial lines as well, and one could go down the list, finding that when everything else is corrected for, oppression tends to kill, except, obviously, if you’re CAMAB, at which point death is proof of privilege, because otherwise the unidirectionalist model wouldn’t work.

  • Ginkgo

    “Also, sexism is not the sum total of oppression in the Western world, despite what the second-wave would have you believe.”

    In the US the timing of when this meme arose orre-activated is very suspcious. The 2nd wave and all those proponents coincide with the success of the Civil Rights Movement. It was probably not intentional, it was probably just a result of gender enculturation, but it looks very much as if these women could not stand for very long that anyone else was grabbing the label of victim from them.

    In fact there is a parallel in the agitation for voting rights. That got energized after black men – Civil fucking War veterans, who had actually fought for their citizenship – were promised the vote (only to have it snatched back, and often with the help of white women, something that never happened ot women after they got the vote).

    “The workplace-death and incarceration gaps are also higher along racial lines as well, and one could go down the list…”

    I don’t doubt this but I would be interested in sources for this. One mechanism of differences in pay is that higher paid work is often dangerous, so privileged men got better access to it, or rather, access to that work became a type of privilege. Coal miners were white not because white men were preferred but because they were present in the region where coal deposits were found and black men mostly weren’t. The Alaska fishing fleet or the part that sails out of Seattle is predominantly Norwegian, because it was these guys’ grandfathers who pioneered and built that fishery. OTOH the fishermen who work out of Dutch Harbor are a real UN.

  • Hackberry

    Bravo Valerie! Thanks for standing up for men and boys. BTW, I think that the occupational death rate is 93% male not 83%. I’d love to be able to read the responses to this but didn’t see a link to the original post.

  • http://valeriekeefe.tumblr.com Valerie Keefe

    Hackberry, the 93% refers to worksite fatalities. I focus on workplace-related fatalities because it doesn’t matter where your job kills you, just that your job kills you.

    If you wanted to focus on worksite fatalities, though it may seem to bolster your argument, the wage gap would no longer be largely explained by the workplace death gap, as worksite fatalities make up somewhere less than 3% of workplace-related fatalities.

  • Vic

    This article is an eye opener and a heart opener; it also brings many things to paper which I already knew, but couldn’t express, like the non-consistency of MRM theory. Thank you so much, Valerie Kneef, maybe thanks to people like you “MRA” won’t be a femocratic slur anymore in the future.

  • Celtic

    Great post Valerie!

    As an MRA the type of stuff that makes me very unforgiving of feminists is this. They spread the myth women where treated more harshly by the courts and got longer sentences and in various ways was discriminated against in the criminal system. Than they got loads of resources channeled for special treatment of women in the criminal system to compensate for all this unfairness. Finally, after decades, someone actually checks the numbers and it turns out that it is the other way around. Men get about 50% longer sentences for exactly the same crime. All the other arguments about unfairness also fall to the ground when looked at. That really outrages me. They could have just checked some simple statistics but instead, for decades, they just spread lies and got extremely unfair policies implemented on top of that and crowned the whole thing with a commission suggesting prisons should be abolished for women but not men.

    Same story with domestic violence research only even worse. We have had the statistics for decades showing gender parity with women hitting first in the clear majority of cases where violence is mutual. Every good damn researcher that have dealt with those issues and talked to the press have known this for a fact because so many, probably most of the studies look at both genders. So what they did, for decade after decade, was only talk about male violence and deny female violence despite knowing full well what the real numbers where. When anyone else is taller the real numbers that makes their perspective change 180 degrees. But the women’s studies and male studies radicals and all sorts of researcher and activists that talked about this they did not care. THey only wanted to talk about the male violence and deny the female violence.

    Same story with violence against children. Statistics in my country show over 40% more children are hit by the mother than the father. Time spent with children influences that a lot of course but that is besides the point. THe point is I grew up with the belief that almost only men hit children. I did that because I was told so on TV and through newspapers that this was the case by people who knew most children where hit by women. So I internalized the view that I am somehow inherently sadistic because I am a man and women are better than me which was exactly what they were going for.

    You get the same dishonesty about pay gap, false rape accusations and a bunch of other stuff. How is it possible that thousand upon thousands of women’s studies researchers and bureaucrats can`t figure out that if you want to know if women are held back by discrimination in the corporate world you have to look at how many women in the age range of men and women that have made it to the top (40-70) or so actually took a relevant education, actually used it relevantly by getting a job in business not government and actually stayed in work full time. They reason as if women took 50% of business degrees in 1970 and all of them joined the corporate world and none of them ever stayed home with children. If you want to argue that women are discriminated against by pressure to stay home with children, not rise to the top etc. and all sorts of other stuff that is fine, as at least there you can make a case, but if you want to say that women who do the right things don`t get promoted at the same rate as men the way they argue is extremely dishonest and they really don`t have any clue wether it is true or not. The research I have seen that have looked into this question found it just wash´t true.

    It is stuff like this that makes me very, very, very unforgiving of feminists. By this I am not referring to the average woman who defines herself as a feminist I am referring to the activists. Those who read, research, argue and type. Of those I have extremely little trust.

  • Celtic

    I forgot this link about men being punished more harshly:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121016/halltext/121016h0001.htm

    If you search for Shipley on the page you will find where the relevant debate begins.

  • TheBiboSez

    My Dearest Beloveds:

    What do MRA’s think of feminists?

    A couple of weeks ago I was walking home from work at about 2:30 in the morning. I had to take a detour because of some construction issues and walk down a dimly lit street I had never walked down before. At the corner I happened upon the prone figure of an unconscious white woman, half in the sidewalk and half in the street, huddled around the right front tire of a new, cranberry red Suburu. A set of keys lay on the sidewalk about a foot from her ass – which was naked except for the tiniest of thongs.

    It was clear that she was in danger – any crackhead, ruffian, thug, rogue or third-waver in this inner-city neighborhood could have grabbed her keys and driven the car away, in the process crushing her skull, legs and pelvis. After raping her, of course.

    I was unsure of whether she was a feminist or not, so despite the danger to myself I summoned the police and waited long enough for them to arrive and to try to rouse the woman. Then, after she sat up and started grunting, I finished my walk home. Five hours later, as I returned to work, I noted the Suburu was gone.

    Now, had I somehow magically known that the woman was a feminist, then instead of summoning the police, I would have ignored her and continued walking home without breaking stride. Why? Many good reasons…

    1. Respect for her victim credibility. Feminists thrive on their perpetual victimhood and their credibility as feminists often depends on how badly they’ve been victimized. Understanding this, the only way for me, a man, to help a feminist is to increase her level of victimization, or at a minimum, not interfere with whatever pathetically stupid choices she might make – if she chooses to butt-naked cuddle in the street with a steel-belted radial tire, then you go, grrrrl.

    2. Fish, meet bicycle. Since a feminist needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, she surely didn’t need nor want my help to avoid a brutal death by car tire.

    3. Avoidance of victim-blaming. Feminists grow shit-spitting angry when you offer them personal safety advice, because that is just blaming the victim, dontchaknow. Perhaps being helpless and naked at 2:30 in the morning in the fucking street was just her way of practicing for the next slut walk. Who was I, a mere man, to judge her?

    4. Avoidance of toxic gazing. Watching out for her well-being necessarily meant that I had to check on her breathing every few moments, and also make sure that she wasn’t choking to death on her own vomit. Since feminists are enraged by that sort of oppressive male attention and presumption, I would have been better off just walking away from one.

    5. Fear of feminism’s androcidal action plans. Since feminists gleefully applaud men being murdered or mutilated, it only seems prudent for a man not to interfere when feminists voluntarily place themselves in mortal danger. Or indeed, interact with them at all.

    6. The wage gap. Every minute spent helping a feminist is one less minute I was earning money. This loss of income would tend to close the wage gap, and the smaller the gap, the less feminists have to bitch about – so, by working my ass off, I am helping a feminist talking point.

    7. Patriarchy.

    8. Male privilege.

    To conclude:

    Men and women are in this difficult and dangerous life together; our strengths complement each others’; we are stronger working together than apart and helping each other when help is needed.

    However, if men are disposable, and feminists demand equality with men, then feminists are disposable, too.

    And that is what the Bibo Sez.

    Bless you!

  • Clarence

    TheBiboSez:

    Can I quote you on my Facebook, for truth?

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Valerie, very interesting and informative reply, thanks so much.

    I get “cissexism” and “transphobia” all mixed up. I frequently take one for the other, and vice versa… then Serrano threw in “trans misogyny” just to make it even more confusing.

    For instance: In an old “Law and Order” episode featuring a plot w/ a trans woman, Olivia called her “amazing” –all because she had passed successfully and nobody knew. (This is not amazing, I thought, its relatively common.) But it was considered “amazing” because Olivia and the other cops are supposed to ‘know everything’, even more than us regular clueless non-cops.

    But I found myself all confused… was that an example of cissexism, transphobia or trans misogyny? (the latter because Olivia had obviously judged the trans woman as pretty and “appropriately” feminine, so she then became “amazing”)

    I wouldn’t necessarily say it was transphobia, since she was not disapproving or negative in any way. She was just amazed.

    I realized I didn’t know what the word was, that I was looking for.

  • Ginkgo

    Vic, Welcome!

    Celtic, welcome!

    BiboSez, you are an absolute bitch, of the kind I like best. Blessings!

  • Ginkgo

    “But I found myself all confused… was that an example of cissexism, transphobia or trans misogyny?”

    Daisy. Daisy!

    Step.Away.From.the.Cathoicism.

    Does it really matter whether it’s transubstantiation or consubstantiation or wolfmanjackradiostation?

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Bibo, if I had written the line:

    Now, had I somehow magically known that the man was a MRA, then instead of summoning the police, I would have ignored him and continued walking home without breaking stride. Why? Many good reasons…

    I would be eviscerated here within an inch of my life.

    Just sayin.

    And no, I would never write such a thing. Or even think it. Much less do it.

    So maybe there IS a big difference between MRAs and feminists, after all…

  • Clarence

    *pats Daisy on the head*
    He was being tongue-in-cheek, just so you know.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Gingko: Daisy. Daisy!

    Step.Away.From.the.Cathoicism.

    Does it really matter whether it’s transubstantiation or consubstantiation or wolfmanjackradiostation?

    LOL, Gingko… I am actually working on a theoretical piece about “cisgender as default setting” (working title).. and this is all background research. I like to get things exact. Because if you don’t, you will get comments/emails calling you an idiot Second-waver and blah blah blah…. some of us have to be better (and more thorough) than those brilliant college grads, to be treated as even half as good. 😉

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Clarence: He was being tongue-in-cheek, just so you know.

    You sure? I’m not.

    I’m glad he is not expecting replies from chickens anymore though… that is *totally* a waste of time.

  • axe-sunshi

    The Bibosez:
    I almost wanted to comment that your post does not encourage the possibility of intelligent, reasonable discussion. But the point is that some feminists already killed it for many people.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Valerie, and I don’t know from tumblr, it makes no sense to me at all (and consequently, I have no tumblr acct) or I would reply to you on your tumblr, where the term “second waver” is used all the time… but you also said it here:

    something second-wavers are correct about, but for the wrong reasons

    PLEASE stop using “second waver” as a catch-all term for “old bad feminist”–okay? It simply refers to age, the time/era one entered the movement. It does not refer to ideological lockstep.

    All Second Wavers do not agree–and I would think that *I* would be proof enough of that. It simply refers to age, and that’s all.

    One’s age does not determine one’s politics. And your post about Rosanne Barr vs Jill Stein is proof of that… both are Second Wavers, but only one is the transphobe.

    Sincerely,
    Jill Stein supporter (proud to say: I interviewed her on my radio show!)

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    And damn, that IS depressing (Rosanne retweeting Brennan)– gross. I’m glad they kept her out of the Chicago debate, in that case. Resources are limited enough.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/telaran JDCyran

    @axe-sunshi:

    I almost wanted to comment that your post does not encourage the possibility of intelligent, reasonable discussion. But the point is that some feminists already killed it for many people.

    I almost said the same thing, but yeah, regarding number 3 especially:

    Feminists grow shit-spitting angry when you offer them personal safety advice, because that is just blaming the victim, dontchaknow. Perhaps being helpless and naked at 2:30 in the morning in the fucking street was just her way of practicing for the next slut walk. Who was I, a mere man, to judge her?

    I have had numerous, infuriating conversations with some feminists about this very topic that all end up with them making the following point: Women (often heavily implied as “and only women”) should be able to go wherever they want, do whatever they want, not have to pay any attention to anything nor think of the consequences of what they say or do, and if anything happens to them, it’s someone else’s fault, often including uninvolved men (but not women) who should have stopped what was happening (even if they weren’t physically present).

    And I’m not talking just about sexual assault here, though the first thought that pops into someone’s head is probably a rape scenario. It can be just about anything.

    This is an extreme example and obviously not representative of the typical argument, but it’s still an example. One of my first encounters with that type of argument was back in 1998, at a local gaming store where a bunch of friends and I used to host game nights. A particularly fiery and antagonistic girl was berating the hell out of this boy who had beaten her at a game of Magic. I forget the entire context of the game, but she was really upset at having lost and was pelting him with insults and trying to pick a fight (including calling him a pussy and grabbing his shirt). He let it go on for a long time (and admittedly, so did we, and as hosts should have stopped it much earlier – as soon as her voice escalated, though I’m not sure that would have helped what followed), trying to talk to her, even apologizing for having won(!!), but he eventually, loudly, called her a bitch.

    And she it. She immediately started crying, which embarrassed the guy, who was obviously already close to tears himself, further, and came to us to demand, through her dramatically wracking sobs, that he be removed from the premise for being sexist and because she felt threatened by his anger. We told her that we would not, obviously, because we had witnessed what was going on, that she was provoking him, and thus had her removed instead. We ended up talking to the guy, too, telling him that, even if someone else was getting way out of hand, it would have been better to let us know so we could have dealt with it.

    Well, that wasn’t the end of the kerfuffle. She decided that we were so wrong in not punishing him and instead removing her that she contacted the owner of the gaming store (who we were good friends with, and thus why we were allowed to hold gaming nights there without a fee) and the women’s resource center at the nearby college, which I assume she went to; she also threatened to call report the incident to the police, but we never ended up hearing from them. The store owner essentially told her to screw off, but the women’s resource center actually staged some small pickets in front of the store holding signs that said things like “unsafe for women” and “Welcome back to the ’50s. Men Only!” (despite having a significant number of women who came to every session).

    We had several encounters with the group for a couple of weeks (it blew over relatively quickly, thankfully), and when we tried to explain what happened, we got many of the above arguments. To them, she should never have had to fear a man calling her a bitch, even if she antagonized and provoked him using gendered insults and was physically attacking him. It was also, apparently, the responsibility of the men present to have shut him down the moment he did anything as a response to her, and she would only have gotten so mad if he had done something to deserve it (which was apparently fine. To them, it was cool for her to rage all she wanted if she felt justified, but not for him to do the same).

    I was frustrated by that to no end. It took me a while to separate the actions of that group with the actions of less radical and ridiculous feminists. But it still seems like that kind of sentiment is out there in a big way, even if it’s just a little more subtle.

    To bring the example back in circle to the original quote there, no amount of reasonable, intelligent discussion would have solved that. There was no way, at least that I could determine, to convince that group that she was in the wrong at all. We couldn’t offer advice, such as, you know, not starting fights, because then we were blaming her for having a part in what happened. Anything less than declaring the guy a monster and prostrating ourselves before them wouldn’t have done anything (and I’m not even sure that would have satisfied them).

    So yeah, rather extreme example, I know, but I still. Somehow that same sentiment gets applied to so many things.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/telaran JDCyran

    Arg… I proofread that post like four times but I still missed an edit! Ahem. Well, probably more than one /sigh.

    And she it. She immediately started crying,

    And she lost it.

  • http://valeriekeefe.tumblr.com Valerie Keefe

    Couple of points:

    you have to look at how many women in the age range of men and women that have made it to the top (40-70) or so actually took a relevant education, actually used it relevantly by getting a job in business not government and actually stayed in work full time.

    Um… public sector work tends to qualify one for higher-level private sector work… government is far more than basket weaving…

    And number two: Why the hell did so many people take the opportunity of a feminist saying something positive about the MRM and the issues it focuses on to then bash feminists WITHOUT QUALIFICATION?! I don’t even.

    and finally

    @DaisyDeadhead

    PLEASE stop using “second waver” as a catch-all term for “old bad feminist”–okay? It simply refers to age, the time/era one entered the movement. It does not refer to ideological lockstep.

    No, it doesn’t, really… just as one can be a classical conservative today, or a Roosevelet Republican (McCain pre-soul-selling). And by all means, show me some authors from the second-wave who weren’t blazingly transmisogynistic, who didn’t treat men as the unidirectional oppressors of women, and who didn’t police women’s sexuality generally. I use the term to refer to an intellectual tendency, and most feminists who reject Greer, Jeffreys, Dworkin, Daly, Solanas, et al, use the term in the same way.

    As to the term transphobia: It’s pathologizing a belief that cis identities are more legitimate than trans identities, ergo, cissexism, just as heterosexism is more accurate and less pejorative than homophobia. I’m not going to assign motive when someone treats me as less-than.

    Cissexism is a better term than transphobia, but both mean the same thing.

  • http://marjaerwin.livejournal.com Marja Erwin

    Daisy,

    I agree. It’s a time and a phase in the movement. I wasn’t there. I’m just glad I’ve read some of the literature of the time, because the second wave sometimes got things the third wave has forgotten, just as the first wave – if we include Emma Goldman – sometimes got things the second wave has forgotten.

    But some purists see themselves as the last defenders of the true second wave against the traitors of the third wave. And their actions have given a bad name to the second wave.

    I would be happy to help with the theoretical piece if you want.

    Ginkgo,

    It’s usually cissubstantiation isn’t it?

  • TheBiboSez

    @Clarence – thank you for asking. Yes, you may quote me on facebook.

    @Gingko – in deference to the cis/trans binary, I am happy to be called either a bitch or a bastard, as the situation might warrant.

    @Daisy – if I at all respected any of the eight feminist claims I addressed, then yes, I should’ve just walked on and left her to whatever fate awaited her that night. But damn, I’m too much of a cheeky boyscout to ignore someone in trouble, even a feminist who would hate me for helping her, and even though the boyscouts tossed me out at 8 years of age for being an atheist. If you are too much the fragile flower to write about why one might avoid helping a helpless MRA, then I suppose I could respond to your damselling by drafting the paper for you. Point one would be: Respect for MRA victim denialism. Continue. Oh, and eat mor chikn.

    @axe-sunshi & @JDCyran – every day I seem to lose a bit more hope that constructive MRA/feminist dialogue on gender issues is possible. This blog is the only one I’ve found where a glimmer of that hope still remains.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/telaran JDCyran

    @Bibo:

    @axe-sunshi & @JDCyran – every day I seem to lose a bit more hope that constructive MRA/feminist dialogue on gender issues is possible. This blog is the only one I’ve found where a glimmer of that hope still remains.

    I’ve certainly not given up on constructive dialogue, but I find it tends to be best between people who don’t or very weakly identify as feminist or MRA (with a little more leeway on the MRA side because there’s no establishment behind it to make a conversation especially untenable). I also like GendErratic for that reason.

  • typhonblue

    JDCyran

    “She immediately started crying, which embarrassed the guy, who was obviously already close to tears himself, further, and came to us to demand, through her dramatically wracking sobs, that he be removed from the premise for being sexist and because she felt threatened by his anger.”

    And this is exactly the problem. When does a victim become a toxic victim?

    If you can’t judge her because she’s “teh victim” then she gets carte blanche to carve her angst on whomever she choses.

    And she’ll be protected from criticism by the sisterhood.

    In my darker days having been the recipient of some serious trauma–that, due to the genital configuration of the actors, has me fall firmly outside the scope of feminism’s worthy victims–the way that these women are cosseted, comforted and enabled made me seethe. (Don’t feel that way any more, now I think they’re being callously exploited by victim politics.)

    Does anyone care that she nearly put a (presumably) young man in tears? Nope. It’s all on him.

  • Paul

    Hey TB thought you might find this thread interesting since it basically confirms a lot of the things you been saying about men and women’s attitudes towards sex

    http://www.reddit.com/r/AskMen/comments/124dmp/does_having_to_think_about_baseball_washing_the/

  • typhonblue

    @ Paul

    I always find it peculiar that men are supposed to get so much more from sex then women yet many men in the west have a good half of their nerve endings stripped off through MGM.

    I imagine if we were in the habit of cutting it all off, we’d still be saying that men get more out of sex.

    “He got to touch a woman, amirite, amirite?”

  • Jupp

    Typhonblue:

    Does anyone care that she nearly put a (presumably) young man in tears? Nope. It’s all on him.

    Isn’t it a good thing, that people don’t treat men as precious flowers. Seeing the effects it has on some women, who feel victimised by a homeless guy asking them for some change, I think that panndering to every whim of a feeling and trying to alleviate every discomfort, is more harmful than useful.

  • Dungone

    the women’s resource center actually staged some small pickets in front of the store holding signs that said things like “unsafe for women” and “Welcome back to the ’50s. Men Only!”

    This is actually a huge problem for women as well as men, because a vast majority of the public never get to find out what really happened. Through a combination of white knights, feminists, and poorly mannered whiners, lots of otherwise interested people will never bother trying something new. And, of course, all of this follows a very predictable pattern according to social hierarchy. The lower status a man or activity is, the more deference they must show and abuse they must take, in order to be seen as teating women properly. it really doesnt matter if its a group of nerdy gamers in a game shop or a group of black men in a park.

    One really can’t discount the effect this can have on something like women almost completely dropping out of computer science over the past 25 years. But I will go further and say that this dynamic has happened time and again with various other professions that started out as the domain of low status men, were shunned by women, but which then became very profitable ventures replete with iconic champions of the cause. Even finance, today’s hotshot profession, was once seen as the domain of boring men and propellerheads at a time when “real men” owned coal mines and steel mills. Anyway, I guess my point is, the women’s movement had been doing things that actually hold women back for ages, based as much on reactions to the social hierarchy of men as on the actual requirements of the advancement of women. They would have been much farther along at this point in our history if they had advocated for simple inclusion instead of for deference and special protections while snubbing their noses at low status men.

  • Schala

    “To them, it was cool for her to rage all she wanted if she felt justified, but not for him to do the same).”

    and males are privileged, because they can’t do that, or something

  • Ginkgo

    “Cissubstantiation” – okay, Marja, that is brilliant.

    Say, did I see you commenting over at Language Log?

    JDCyran, thanks for that story and thank you everyone else for your comments. This kind of incident and the reactions to it reveals a lot about the gender system, complete with class intersectionality and all. Very rich discussion, even you all managed in just a few comments.

  • Eagle34

    What’s more disgusting about that incident at the game store is not only do we have women like the aforementioned getting what she wants through toxic victimhood. We now have articles, like from Dr. Nerdlove, talking about how said spaces (Magic, Comic Books, Computers) dominated by these men are misogynistic and sexist towards women.

    How interesting that these places were once refuges for men on the lower totem pole. Now that they’ve experiences surges in popularity and financial viability, now we’ve got them being scrutinized heavily by these gynocentric feminists.

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com Stoner With a Boner
  • Typhonblue

    @ Judd

    “Isn’t it a good thing, that people don’t treat men as precious flowers.”

    And isn’t there a difference between treating someone like a precious flower and treating them like their emotions don’t matter?

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Did anyone see this on 20/20 or TLC? I just saw it… here is a six-part series on this horrible case:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20110612/NEWS03/106120522/Family-s-life-unravels-claims-dad-raped-daughter

    AUGGGHHHH!!!!! (Aside: I didn’t know anyone still believed in “Facilitated Communication”–but apparently it is still in use in various municipalities?!)

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Bibo: If you are too much the fragile flower to write about why one might avoid helping a helpless MRA

    Huh? Please write sans trendy sarcasm, I don’t understand half of what you say/write. I thought you were serious. Are you serious now? I can’t tell.

    No, its not due to being a “fragile flower” (haha! this marks the FIRST time anyone has ever used such a term to refer to ME! ROFL–love it!).. but simply that such an opinion would never occur to me in the first place. (?) Why would it? (I’ve sponsored conservatives/Republicans in AA, too. Why wouldn’t I?) It’s never occurred to me to ask someone’s ideology before helping them in any way.

    Example: I don’t know if the 2 gallons of blood I’ve donated (the Blood Connection just sent me a “2 gallon donor” pin, which is how I know) went to men, women, MRAs or whoever. No idea. I donated it with no strings attached.

    I’m still easily shocked about some things, like what I posted above. I’m old-fashioned that way. Sorry!

  • http://marjaerwin.livejournal.com Marja Erwin

    Ginkgo,

    I’m not the first to joke about it. And I occasionally read Language Log, though I don’t remember commenting on it. I am interested in historical linguistics. I am also bad with languages and with theoretical linguistics.

  • Celtic

    OT. Just wandering if you have seen this before. Typhonblues writings on male rape changed my perspective a lot and I thought this was really interesting in that context:

    http://feck-blog.blogspot.no/2011/05/predictors-of-sexual-coercion-against.html

    The data might be skewed a bit as someone argues in the comment section.

  • Jupp

    Typhonblue:

    And isn’t there a difference between treating someone like a precious flower and treating them like their emotions don’t matter?

    Yes, there is. But this particular example was nothing special, just everyday assholishness; one better learns better to deal with it, if one wants to get through the day.
    Or, maybe I am just a callous asshole.

  • Titfortat

    I have had numerous, infuriating conversations with some feminists about this very topic that all end up with them making the following point: Women (often heavily implied as “and only women”) should be able to go wherever they want, do whatever they want, not have to pay any attention to anything nor think of the consequences of what they say or do, and if anything happens to them, it’s someone else’s fault, often including uninvolved men (but not women) who should have stopped what was happening (even if they weren’t physically present).(JDCyran)

    I discussed this idea with my daughter in regards to what she wears out, making it quite clear that the odds of her being raped because of it were almost nil. I was quick to point out though, she might get a lot of the kind of attention AC/DC talks about in this song. Though Im sure they wrote in with ‘tongue in cheek’ it does sum the idea up quite nicely. 😉

  • Typhonblue

    @ Titfortat

    Living consequence free is its own prison.

    These women have been indoctrinated to think that every time they feel pain a man should protect them from it and stop it; but that inevitably includes growing pains.

    It fosters complete and utter dependance.

    The more things change…

  • Titfortat

    @TB

    Our kids wont have that problem. They know where they stand and where they will be held accountable for their actions. They dont like it most times, but the truth is, they are already showing signs that they wont accomodate that kind of behaviour from their peers. Isnt life grand. :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/telaran JDCyran

    @Jupp:

    Or, maybe I am just a callous asshole.

    Without a doubt. I don’t know where you’re from, but very few people here where I live think yelling or screaming at someone in a place open to the public and literally grabbing and pulling someone by their clothes is “everyday assholishness.” Most places call it assault, and some would even call it battery.

    As I said, we should have stopped the situation before it got nearly that far, but pretty much all of us were non-confrontational nerds who didn’t want to be anywhere near what was happening, especially because a girl was the aggressor. I think I saw more deer-in-the-headlights looks in that place that day than I have ever seen elsewhere in my life (and I can guarantee I looked that way, too. I certainly felt that way).

    @Typhonblue:

    Does anyone care that she nearly put a (presumably) young man in tears? Nope. It’s all on him.

    What happened to him was all but completely erased in the subsequent dialogue. I’m sure some people felt bad for him, but only his friend tried to give him any support on the spot, and they left shortly afterward, not coming back to game with us for almost two months, if I recall correctly. Needless to say, the resource center made it all about her vs the game store and the gamers there, while the owner of the game shop and the rest of us were defending ourselves and our space (which was pretty much all the social life we had) more than him.

    What happened to him was never even really addressed even after he came back, which makes me feel bad to this day about telling him he should have talked to us instead of responding the way he did because:

    A) Obviously, we had seen it, he was clearly upset, and as the hosts, we should have intervened as soon as we saw it became inappropriate; personal conflicts are one thing and can be left to the participants, but what she was doing was clearly over the line. Him “telling us” would have just been redundant, but we felt like we had to say something to be “fair,”

    B) His reaction was pretty mild for what was happening, and he had every right to be angry; it seems a bit inhuman that we could have expected him to just sit there and take it/learn to “deal with it” like Jupp appears to be suggesting, or to have suggested that he be completely devoid of anger and just come to tell us,

    and C) if a guy had been yelling at a girl for that long, grabbing her clothes and getting into her face, we would have called the police and had the guy arrested.

    So you’re right, Typhon. Essentially no one cared that he’d been brought nearly to tears by her yelling and then to actual tears when she started demanding he be removed. If she had just stopped before he called her a bitch, we probably would have done nothing except be glad that the yelling stopped (though none of us would have wanted her to be there, I doubt any of us would have had the gumption to say anything to that effect and instead just hoped she never came back).

    @Dungone:

    They would have been much farther along at this point in our history if they had advocated for simple inclusion instead of for deference and special protections while snubbing their noses at low status men.

    I agree. How often are girls and young women told that sciences, and especially computer science, are “traditionally men’s subjects” that “you’ll have to try very hard to compete in” followed by implications that they are rife with sexism and that they’ll need special protections or accommodations to “make it” in the field(s), in addition to the social stigma those fields have as being for uncool nerds that no one should ever be seen with? I can almost guarantee that those comments, from women, scare more girls and women away from computer science and other sciences than anything that actually happens in them, and it reminds me, again, of this article that I linked in another post.

    @Schala:

    “To them, it was cool for her to rage all she wanted if she felt justified, but not for him to do the same).”

    and males are privileged, because they can’t do that, or something

    Exactly. The “male privilege” of being expected to sit there and take it when being beaten on and not say a word in anger while accepting all the blame for the situation vs. the “female privilege” of (sometimes) having excuses automatically formulated as to why the anger – and sometimes violence – was justified and automatically having someone else be responsible.

  • YetAnotherCommenter

    Eagle34,

    I’ve noticed a lot about your point re. “nerd” spaces.

    Quoting you: “We now have articles, like from Dr. Nerdlove, talking about how said spaces (Magic, Comic Books, Computers) dominated by these men are misogynistic and sexist towards women.

    “How interesting that these places were once refuges for men on the lower totem pole. Now that they’ve experiences surges in popularity and financial viability, now we’ve got them being scrutinized heavily by these gynocentric feminists.”

    I think this is due to the whole social-constructivist “rape culture” thing…. the Foucauldian-type feminists think that language controls our thought patterns, so if people are telling rape jokes or something then they’re going to influence people to commit more rape.

    Male spaces in general, even those often associated with higher-“ranking” men, such a sports teams and fraternities (perhaps we might call this male heirarchy (I wrote a piece on it in the Masculism subreddit) the Jock-ocracy? lol), are generally being policed by feminists on these “breeding grounds for rape” rationales.

  • Jupp

    Jupp:

    Or, maybe I am just a callous asshole.

    JDCyran:

    Without a doubt.

    I am glad we have established that.
    JDCyran:

    I don’t know where you’re from, but very few people here where I live think yelling or screaming at someone in a place open to the public and literally grabbing and pulling someone by their clothes is “everyday assholishness.” Most places call it assault, and some would even call it battery.

    I am from Germany. While I see that “everyday” is an overstatement, those things happen from time to time and I think for many men and at least some women it is unreasonable to expect anybody elso to step in or offer some sympathy, when such things happen. So you have to deal with them.
    A significant question for me is if there is a danger of a more severe physical altercation with the aggressor. If you believe there is, and in the above mentioned case there could have been, then of course other people should step in. Considering this case I concede my first reaction “Let him deal with it” was wrong. I just didn’t see it as dangerous, especially as the guy could handle the girl by calling her a bitch.
    In my experience in intimate relationship some abuse (for example like the one you described) is to be expected and there it hurts way then the same abuse by a stranger. One should be prepared to cope with it.
    Btw, not to fool people, I am myself not tough, but rather sensitive; I just don’t think that is a good thing.

  • Eagle34

    Judd, the problem I have with your statement about “Toughing it out” is that you don’t know what it’s like for men like the aforementioned one in the story. Especially men on the lower totem pole here in North America.

    We live in a time where a woman can scream, yell, and hit a guy and if the guy so much as retaliates or defends himself (even calling the woman a bitch), all it takes is for the woman to cry “Misogynist!” or “Harassement” and society then clamours to defend her honor. That’s quite a lot to tough out if you ask me: One man, who never hurt a single woman in his life, against a screaming banshee and her band of merry white knights and special interest groups. It’d be like if a bully was picking on a victim and he decides to fight back physically, the bully then calls on his buddies as back up. Not to mention if the victim does retliate against the bully, HE’S the one reprimended and not his tormentor.

    Get the idea?

    Judd: “I just didn’t see it as dangerous, especially as the guy could handle the girl by calling her a bitch.”

    He just did. And look what happened.

  • John D

    Not to rain on anybody’s parade, but there are only about 5000 workplace fatalities per year: typically about 4800 men and 200 women.

  • http://valeriekeefe.tumblr.com Valerie Keefe

    John, when you include cancers, heart-attacks, and other work-attributable deaths, the number is 65,000. It’s not just job site fatalities.

  • Peter Houlihan

    Very well said.

    Just about the bit at the end. I think the terms “feminism” and “MRA” have a few fundamental differences.

    “Feminism” can be directly compared to the term “Masculism.” They’re both fairly loosely defined words and anyone can have a crack at defining them (and they do). “MRA” has a definition: Men’s Rights Advocate.

    I can pick any political activist out there and say with certainty whether they’re an MRA or not: If they advocate men’s rights, they’re an MRA, if they don’t, they don’t. I’d be stumped to say whether they’re a feminist or not. If they call themselves a feminist then it’s easy: they are. Beyond that it depends entirely on what definition we’re using this week, even then, excluding them based on one definition rather than another smacks of no true scotsman and is usually done for political convenience rather than academic rigour.

    Another difference is that where feminist and masculist refer to (somewhat) specific areas of the political spectrum, MRA doesn’t. It’s a categorisation rather than a true faction. If anyone who advocates for men’s rights is an MRA then that includes right wingers, left wingers, libertarians, traditionalists, masculists, MGTOWs, red pillers and even -gasp- some feminists. It’s a bit more like saying “political activist” than (for example) socialist or republican: It’s a term which can definitely be applied to a specific segment of society but doesn’t really imply much baggage beyond it’s etymological terms. Feminism, by comparison, can mean just about anything, much of which is pretty unsavory.

    TLDR: I think the MRM needs to name it’s factions (ideally with agreed definitions and manifestos from the get go) and feminists who want to move forward need a new name and lexicon which they can own and doesn’t have a nasty baggage compartment slowing the whole thing down.

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