MISOGYNY – Why women trash successful women

Michelle Goldberg has a good article up at CNN that discusses a common form of women-on-women misogyny, the tendency to slam women who stand out. Although she appears at times to veer into “blaming men for the shit women do” territory, that appearance is more an artifact of the cultural vocabulary available to her than anything she is actually saying.

In fact she is quite explicit that she is not blaming men here:

“Not all the critiques of “Lean In” have been unfair or unduly personal, but there has been enough viciousness directed toward Sandberg to indicate that a lot of women, some self-described feminists among them, still have a problem with female power.”

She points out that this is not a new thing or just newly noticed:

“In 1976, Jo Freeman published an essay in Ms. Magazine titled, “Trashing: The Dark Side of Sisterhood,” which described how groups of women within the feminist movement attacked and ostracized those seen as too visible or ambitious.

“To do something significant, to be recognized, to achieve, is to imply that one is ‘making it off other women’s oppression’ or that one thinks oneself better than other women,” she wrote. The piece struck a chord, receiving more letters in response than anything else the magazine had printed.”

This is not specifically a gendered thing. You see this same kind of norming in any group that values solidarity over individual achievement.

“Unconsciously echoing Freeman’s essay, Grant wrote that there is “simply no way for women to lean in without leaning on the backs of other women.”

Well yes. It’s called apexuality. Remember apexuality, otherwise known as “male privilege” eg. “The majority of legislators are men” or “Men control most of the world’s resources” etc. climbing the ladder implies that other people are the rungs. That’s how societies work. This only comes as a surprise to those whose privilege has sheltered them from this reality.

“Why are women so much harder on other women than they are on men? Part of it seems to be because they expect so much more.”

Yes. And perhaps if Goldberg were a man, she would see the other side of this that men are likewise much harder on other men than on women. In fact the evidence is all around her if she were too look – this male leniency on women is the core of everything the MRM is complaining about – male disposability, female sentencing discount, all sorts of inequalities in the justice and family court systems…. Including the resistance of male bosses to extend the same support to male employees who are parents as to female employers, the life-work balance issue that is at the bottom of this current discussion about Sandberg’s book.

“When women have the temerity to marshal power on their own behalf, the response is much more negative, and one can’t always tell the difference between those who resent women and those who resent power.”

Women report this over and over, and it is unfair. I wonder though if they are also reporting whether they simultaneously try to retain their gender-specific model of interaction, the more conciliatory, manipulative model – in other words, if they are trying to have it both ways and this is what is provoking the negative reaction.

This kind of downward norming is an interesting puzzle. My sense is that it occurs in groups that feel subordinated, subordinated and disempowered to the point that solidarity and the feeble protection it can provide is valued higher than the freedom to achieve.

I can understand this mentality in groups that are truly held down, by either law or custom. How does that apply to women, especially white women, in the US? Are they actually being held down, or do they just believe that they are? And if in fact they are being held down, what is doing that? Their own enforcement of solidarity? But then how long would that last before opportunity called more loudly than security and the appeal of solidarity and downward norming faded? Can it be that being subordinate is just part of an overall gender role that some, most perhaps, are too identified with to reject?

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  • TheBiboSez

    One woman’s success automatically disempowers any and every other feminist because the feminist narrative of the perpetual victim is all they have – the happy woman, the blushing bride, the contented wife and the nursing mom are shitty feminists and are seen as a privileged traitors to those who cling to pat(riarchy) theories of male oppressiveness.

    Therefore, feminists seek to destroy successful individual women first and foremost, unwittingly driving away the accomplished women and talented girls who should be their natural allies. Feminists seem to be waking up to this, finally, but too little and too late:

    Hannah “The End of Men” Rosen:

    “If someone as smart and successful as Mayer, someone who tours the country speaking to young women, can’t comfortably call herself a feminist, then maybe we need to take her objection seriously. Maybe feminism is a term too freighted with history and it’s time to move on.”

    http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/sunday-commentary/20130308-hannah-rosin-marissa-mayer-sheryl-sandberg-and-what-comes-after-feminism.ece

    Jessica Valenti:

    “Sandberg is providing feminists with an incredible opportunity to add to her ideas about women, work and ambition. Do we really want to discard it in favor of unproductive ideological one-upmanship?…I found it fitting that, toward the end of ‘Lean In,’ Sandberg addresses how women cutting each other down can undercut our progress as individuals and as a movement.”

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-03-01/opinions/37366536_1_sheryl-sandberg-jessica-valenti-vanity-project/2

    Emma Teitel:

    “Going into the talk last night I wasn’t convinced women’s studies needed overhauling. Now I’m positive that it does. Not because I believe fighting misandry is a legitimate humanitarian cause (LOL) or because Dr. Fiamengo’s speech was particularly insightful, but because her detractors—presumably, women’s studies’ finest—were so profoundly, not.”

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/03/08/why-womens-studies-needs-an-extreme-makeover/

    It is no wonder that feminists see misogyny everywhere – they are the instigators and perpetuators of it. The painters are blaming the walls for the paint.

    This is certainly fuel for those who equate feminism with communism.

  • Schala

    One woman’s success automatically disempowers any and every other feminist because the feminist narrative of the perpetual victim is all they have – the happy woman, the blushing bride, the contented wife and the nursing mom are shitty feminists and are seen as a privileged traitors to those who cling to pat(riarchy) theories of male oppressiveness.

    I’m not certain where I heard this story, probably a videogame.

    It tells about a village and there a shepherd has a golden sheep, it gives golden wool.

    A good genie goes to the village and speaks to the other villagers. Asks them what they want, anything can be theirs.

    You would think they ask for a golden sheep of their own? No, they ask for the shepherd who has one to have it dead, so no one has it.

  • TheBiboSez

    Indeed, @Schala – the question of how to build community – reward success, or defame the successful – in the primary conflict/drama of modern human society. The brand new Pope – a very modest man who cooked his own meals until today – avoid the defaming through a relentless commitment to modesty.

    Feminists are incapable of rewarding successful women with honest praise…I would argue that those feminists who seem to be trying to deny this and suck up to successful women are as gold-digging as any lap-dancer is to a wealthy man in a strip club, except that the lap-dancer is much more likely to be honest about their craft.

  • http://danipettas.com Dani Pettas

    Great post. I liked this Hanna Rosin piece on Slate about the Sandberg book, http://slate.me/14mXzqw.

  • Aych

    TheBibo: Feminists are incapable of rewarding successful women with honest praise…

    Not true. They ARE capable of rewarding women who’ve explicitly done something for feminism.

    It’s kind of weird. Feminists love female generals, but they hate the military. They love female directors, but they hate the entertainment industry. They love female priests, but they hate the church. They love female CEOs, but they hate corporations. They love female athletes, but they hate athletics. They love female scientists but they hate the sciences which reach non-feminist conclusions.

    It’s a deeply conflicted crowd, is it not?

  • Theodmann

    It’s interesting to me, Ginkgo, that you think this kind of thing isn’t gendered. In my experience it’s much more prevalent among girls and women than among boys and men. The notion of Mean Girls comes immediately to mind, but if there’s a relevant male analogue I don’t know about it. I admittedly don’t have much relevant experience with groups that feel subordinated (due to race or sexual orientation or gender assignment or what have you), but I haven’t really seen anything like it in the M(H)RM in my year or more of lurking around its internet presence, and if they (we?) don’t feel subordinated I don’t know who does.

    Because I have always considered it a gendered phenomenon, I concluded a while ago that it comes out of the old idea that men do, while women are. That is, since men have to continually prove their manhood, it makes perfect intuitive sense that they should compete against each other and that only a few should rise to the top. Thus successful men are targets not because they had the audacity to succeed where others fail, but rather because other people (other men, usually) see that success as transferable and want to take it for their own.

    Womanhood, however, is bestowed on a female human being at puberty, can never be taken away, and is the same for every individual who has it–it makes no sense to refer to one female person as “more of a woman” than another, whereas people speak of one male person being “more of a man” than another all the time. Since any woman already has all the womanhood she’s ever going to have at the beginning of adulthood, there’s little notion of her being able to gain anything for herself through her actions. Since she can’t build herself up, the only way for her to become equal to more successful women is to tear them down. Female success, like womanhood, is seen as both unearned and nontransferable.

    This is, of course, completely irrational when the successful women got where they did through their own hard work. Indeed, these days “success” can mean much the same thing for a woman as it always has for men: winning out in competition with others through hard work or talent or both. It seems that the few women who become CEOs or successful politicians must both shake off this instinctual aversion to open competition and actually excel at the kind of work required for those jobs. Is it any wonder that there are fewer women than men in positions of power, when power is defined as the kind that men are just naturally predisposed to seek and enjoy and women are predisposed to avoid?

  • http://paddybrown.co.uk Patrick Brown

    David Thompson, a British libertarian right blogger I follow, likes to mock what he calls “the agonies of the left”. In a recent such post, he’d found the enfant terrible of British left-wing journalism, Laurie Penny, tweeting “I’m uninterested in equality between women and men within a dehumanising capitalist system. I want global work- and gender-revolution”. Her all-or-nothing attutude seems relevant to this discussion.

  • Aych

    Patrick: Thank God that the farms and factories in non-capitalist economic systems aren’t dehumanizing as well, eh?

  • EquilibriumShift

    Ginkgo, this is a really great article. Your analysis is spot on, in my estimation.

    Men are othered by the feminist movement, so that issues that the in-group cause for themselves are blamed on the others. This is exactly one of those instances. Mediocrity dragging excellence down because of the fear or perhaps true understanding that mediocrity often means wasted potential.

    It reminds me of I quote I have heard floating around the internet recently, via Marianne Williamson:

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

    Essentially, I take that to mean that we are capable of great things, and that our deepest fear is that our normal, every day lives are not the product of inadequacies of ability, but inadequacies of will.

    At any rate, as per the status quo, the greatest misogynists are those that claim to free women from their bonds. Instead they simply want to rewrite the rules in their benefit.

  • Schala

    This is, of course, completely irrational when the successful women got where they did through their own hard work. Indeed, these days “success” can mean much the same thing for a woman as it always has for men: winning out in competition with others through hard work or talent or both. It seems that the few women who become CEOs or successful politicians must both shake off this instinctual aversion to open competition and actually excel at the kind of work required for those jobs.

    Some go so far as to call the success of a female CEO as “masculine success”, as in inherently male success. That is, female success would mean reaching CEO without needing to go into competition and tackle dog-eats-dog I-spit-on-people-below ethics (if you feel too empathetic about those below, you’re unlikely to even want to go above, because of what it would mean for those below – and this isn’t a female trait, but it’s incredibly discouraged, as a weakness, in men).

    Kindness and niceness in men, for example.

  • Ginkgo

    “Laurie Penny, tweeting “I’m uninterested in equality between women and men within a dehumanising capitalist system. I want global work- and gender-revolution”. Her all-or-nothing attutude seems relevant to this discussion.”

    “Tweeting” seems the only description of Laurie Penny, although she has written the occassional sensible thing.

    Purism like hers is only ever an expression of privilege.

  • http://paddybrown.co.uk Patrick Brown

    The only thing I can remember agreeing with Laurie Penny over is the superiority of the Ulster Fry over the Full English Breakfast, the difference being potato bread, which is far better for mopping up stray egg yolk than fried bread.

  • Ginkgo

    It’s interesting to me, Ginkgo, that you think this kind of thing isn’t gendered. In my experience it’s much more prevalent among girls and women than among boys and men.”

    Theodman, I do think it’s gendered in this particular occurrence. But I have seen the same mechanism at work among enlisted men. The commonality is the valuing of solidarity over individual success.

    You are right that this is part of whats happening here:
    “Because I have always considered it a gendered phenomenon, I concluded a while ago that it comes out of the old idea that men do, while women are.”

    But that hyperagency/hypoagency dichotomy is not binary, it’s a spectrum. Low status men are attributed less agency, and often in fact do have less, than high status men. and those are the men you see acting like this too.

  • Ginkgo

    Schala,
    “Some go so far as to call the success of a female CEO as “masculine success”, as in inherently male success. ”

    Thank you for reminding me of this piece of it, degendering women because of their success in an open field. Toxic.

    And it isn’t just women doing thios to successful women.

    Patrick, you and she are right. How can you mop anything up with anything soaked with grease? My personal favorite is garlic fried rice to moosh around in the egg yolks

  • Kenny

    A Norwegian government supported organisation that works with mens issues (and is solidly feminist controlled) has made a report on antifeminism and called for measures to combat it, inlcuding changing the law to make hateful and sexist utterances online illegal. What that actually will entail in practice is uncertain but judging from reading the report their standard for what type of speach is sexist is incredibly narrow. Maybe someone else that reads scandinavian languages would like to read it and share some more about it. Anyway, it is a clear sign that people are noticing growing oposition.

    http://reform.no/images/stories/Antifeminisme.pdf

  • dungone

    I for one think that Hannah Rosin et. all are trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. They fail to appreciably criticize feminism in any are making it out as if it’s solely a branding issue. Just change the name and suddenly these highly intelligent, successful women will march lockstep with the same exact dogma that feminists like them have been peddling. It’s like Blackwater changing their name to Xe or ValueJet to AirTrain. It’s just propaganda.

    As far as the OP, it’s hard for me to make a judgement call on it. I don’t know if it’s tribalism so much as petty jealousy. Either way, the inflexible ideology to which feminists subscribe make them incredibly hostile to anyone who disagrees It doesn’t necessarily have to be high status women. The interesting part is that what they say about a highly educated and successful CEO is the same exact thing that they would say about a prostitute – that they’re just being manipulated by the evil menz who plant submissive thoughts into their heads.

  • Jupp

    In some of the cases of successful women, their success might look like a betrayal of the sisterhood, because it is independent from the opinions of women and only rests on the approval of (some) men. To me it looks similar like the tomboy in high school, who has a much easier time relating to the guys although she is seen as weird by the girls, and the slut in college, who swoops all the male attention, whether she is deemed worthy of it or not by her peers.
    In our societies on average men and women judge people differently, add the common belief in male power and female weakness and it is not surprising that groups of women are suspicious of women who succeed in a man’s world.

  • debaser71

    Just gonna say that the comments in the CNN link were pretty good.

  • JE

    @Kenny:

    Didn’t have time to read all of it, but it looks like they only suggested that things that were already illegal in print media should be illegal on the internet.

    I was also struck by the fact that most of what I’d consider anti-feminism doesn’t match their description of what anti-feminism is. A Voice for Men doesn’t for example (has prominent women, anti-gender stereotypes, features sexual and gender identity minorities)

  • Schala

    As far as the OP, it’s hard for me to make a judgement call on it. I don’t know if it’s tribalism so much as petty jealousy.

    I vote for jealousy. People who derive value from being “the same as others” (say, the 1%) might want more power, but it’s just one-upmanship at this point. It’s not that relevant to their power or how rich they are. At their level its like having 2 billion vs 1.9 billion, either way is super rich and won’t make a difference, but the higher one can brag.

  • Ginkgo

    Jupp,
    “In some of the cases of successful women, their success might look like a betrayal of the sisterhood, because it is independent from the opinions of women and only rests on the approval of (some) men.”

    E.g. Sarah Palin.

    You said a mouthful there, Jupp. This really happens, and women can have solid reasons for resenting it. It seems like every women has known at least one of these, usually from thier teenage years, and they hate them.

    dungone,
    “As far as the OP, it’s hard for me to make a judgement call on it. I don’t know if it’s tribalism so much as petty jealousy.”

    It amounts to the same thing, doesn’t it?

  • ČerniLabut

    One thing that I find that has been unmentioned this entire time is how radical/2nd-wave gender feminists, in addition to undermining successful women, are opposed to transgendered people joining their movement and likewise how the transgendered reject the concept of a “Universal Sisterhood” as well as femininity as a complete social construct.

    The usual arguments from 2nd-wavers is usually something along the lines of men transitioning to women are appropriating femininity for themselves and/or infiltrating spaces that are supposed to be safe for women, while those women transitioning to men are seen as rejecting the sisterhood. However, if those were the only reasons, then it would seem weird that they would fixate on disengaging transitioning people and their experiences, instead of say, gay men who enjoy genderbending/drag. After all, men in drag now are not only appropriating femininity, but keeping their male privilege and sexually oppressive tendencies!

    I think this article and your commentary however provide the missing link; radical feminists hate transgendered individuals not only because they reject or appropriate femininity, but because they have accomplished something as an individual far more daunting then any of these shriekers ever will, and continue to carry it with them post transition for life. They have managed, despite growing up in the wrong body, and enduring shame and rejection from a multitude of groups, to persevere and claim the identity they truly are, and started normalizing themselves among society. If that isn’t true empowerment, then what is?

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com stonerwithaboner
  • Ginkgo

    Cerni,
    “I think this article and your commentary however provide the missing link;…”

    You’re right; I didn’t go that far. But I agree with your comment. In fact it may end up above the line because it is as you say, a matter of solidarity versus individual self-determination. In this case the self-appointed queens of femininity, the radical 2nd-wavers, demanded everyone else fall in line with them; they were the arbiters of what was and was not solidaritous, and trnas people were never going to fit in that box, ever.

  • http://! DaisyDeadhead

    Aych: It’s kind of weird. Feminists love female generals, but they hate the military. They love female directors, but they hate the entertainment industry. They love female priests, but they hate the church. They love female CEOs, but they hate corporations. They love female athletes, but they hate athletics. They love female scientists but they hate the sciences which reach non-feminist conclusions.

    You’ve talked to every single feminist, and you know this for sure? Who hates the entertainment industry? Are you serious?

    Let me know when the conversation has transcended, “oh, feminists are all _____” and I might participate.

    Men are all _________. Men hate _______. MRAs are, every single one of them: _______! I know they are!!

    Just fill in the stereotype of your choice and pretend I said it, then argue with yourself. Saves me the trouble.

    Theodmann: Womanhood, however, is bestowed on a female human being at puberty, can never be taken away.

    PS: trans people exist. Yes, it can be taken away. Also, people who never ‘properly’ experienced this can transition to female, too.

    Beside that, many infertile cis women would strongly disagree with you.

    ČerniLabut: One thing that I find that has been unmentioned this entire time is how radical/2nd-wave gender feminists, in addition to undermining successful women, are opposed to transgendered people joining their movement and likewise how the transgendered reject the concept of a “Universal Sisterhood” as well as femininity as a complete social construct.

    Unmentioned where? Somebody never heard of tumblr. (I am the one who just corrected Theodmann, don’t see where you did.)

    Want pro-trans links from my Second Wave blog? Go to margin and click on “transgender” link.

    Poof, I proved you wrong.

    Dungone: Just change the name and suddenly these highly intelligent, successful women will march lockstep with the same exact dogma that feminists like them have been peddling

    Prove it.

    Well, that was easy!

    Gingko, didya see where my friend won his Pope bet? 😉

  • Schala

    Theodmann: Womanhood, however, is bestowed on a female human being at puberty, can never be taken away.

    PS: trans people exist. Yes, it can be taken away. Also, people who never ‘properly’ experienced this can transition to female, too.

    But Daisy, this notion than womanhood is bestowed at puberty and can never taken away is a big part of conservative and TERF essentialism denial that trans women are women.

    Trans women are seen as usurpers, imposters. Only those who can bleed, or who have a vagina since birth, count. Others are just trying to cash in on femaleness.

  • TDOM

    I think what you are speaking of here is a basic part of human nature. Each of us has an innate desire to feel powerful. If we cannot make ourselves feel powerful through our own actions, we can gain a false since of empowerment by tearing down those who we perceive as powerful. this basic need to feel powerful forms the basis for all victim ideologies like Marxism, socialism, communism, feminism, etc. Each of these -isms identify groups that have power and pit them against those that don’t in class or group warfare that is always about power.

    In terms of gender warfare, Freud hit the nail right on the head when he talked about penis envy. Men were seen to have power that women did not have and the penis was held out to be the symbol of that power. (Where Freud went wrong is that he took this quite literally, young girls wanted an actual penis, not the power the penis represented.) I think it is no accident that the above mentioned -isms, the women’s movement, and Freud more or less coincided.

    Women have been taught that they are powerless and women who break that norm make easy targets. A woman who feels powerless can easily tear down another woman she perceives has power in much the same way that many feminists tear down men via “the Patriarchy” and “male privilege.” You identified that quite well.

    I guess what I’m saying is that while this phenomenon has certain gendered aspects and is sometimes expressed in gendered terms, it is not necessarily gendered in and of itself. It is more universal.

  • Theodmann

    I hope I’ve done these html tags properly.

    Schala:

    Some go so far as to call the success of a female CEO as “masculine success”, as in inherently male success.

    I don’t think I’d encountered this notion before writing my comment above, but now I remember recently hearing a similar idea attributed to Anita Sarkeesian by someone on youtube. Ginkgo is right; it’s toxic.

    Ginkgo, you’re undoubtedly also right about enlisted men and others of low status. In fact now that I think about it I have read a bit about that kind of thing happening in the British military of the early 19th century, but somehow I didn’t connect that with current gender relations.

    Daisy:

    PS: trans people exist. Yes, it can be taken away. Also, people who never ‘properly’ experienced this can transition to female, too.

    Beside that, many infertile cis women would strongly disagree with you.

    I was describing the gross generalizations that occur somewhat unconsciously in the popular psyche. That exceptions to the rule are ignored is part of the nature of a generalization. As Schala says, it’s really only TERFs and conservatives who still hold on to the idea with regard to trans people, since they don’t consider trans women female due to their having “outie” genitalia, or perhaps due to their lack of “innie” genitalia; it’s hard for me to tell quite how those minds work.

  • Schala

    As Schala says, it’s really only TERFs and conservatives who still hold on to the idea with regard to trans people, since they don’t consider trans women female due to their having “outie” genitalia, or perhaps due to their lack of “innie” genitalia; it’s hard for me to tell quite how those minds work.

    TERFs usually say it’s about being socialized to be viewed as inferior from birth, and that not having that makes you unable to empathize with women.

    Because you see, radfem theory says the very definition of femaleness is inferiority (more or less exactly as stated).

    And being viewed as too superior gives you such self-esteem and entitlement that it outright makes you evil (forever)…or something (possible logical conclusion).

    Personally, I think they see femaleness as superior and want to guard it for themselves. TERFs might also have a martyr complex. I just think it’s a front.

    If it was a slave position, what slave would do everything in their power to prevent the adding of other slaves from non-slaves? A martyr…or someone saying their position is “slave” when it’s an enviable position instead.

  • Ginkgo

    On achieving manhood as opposed ot not having to achieve womanhood,
    “PS: trans people exist. Yes, it can be taken away. Also, people who never ‘properly’ experienced this can transition to female, too.”

    Trans women do have to achieve their womanhood. The point is that *all* cis men have to achieve their manhood. It is not soemthing that socety just starts recognizing when they passively pass through puberty.

    This varies by culture. In Saudi Arabia, a girl starts wearing an abaya when at menarche. That’s passive. For the nvajos and other apachean peoples, and apprently in other Athapaskan cultures too, a girl has to go through an elaborate and beautiful coming out ceremony. Come to think of it, “coming out” was the rite of passage for girls in Anglo culture, though maybe only in certain classes, and it was a lot of work.

    In a lot of European countries the equivalent for boys was military service, for all classes. The same was true in the US for a period around WWII up until the 70s.

  • Adiabat

    With regards to the OP, I can think of a couple of reasons that haven’t been mentioned. The first is that class may be a stronger identity than ‘womanhood’, and women are rightly pointing out that the most successful women are almost certainly upper-middle to upper class, just like successful men. Perhaps your typical woman may feel more disadvantaged by her class than her gender; maybe it’s just feminists who get too hung up on gender all the time.

    As for feminists trashing successful women, I imagine for many (most?) of them the whole ‘patriarchy’ thing is a comforting mental crutch to explain why they are not as successful as they hoped to be. It’s often easier to blame our failures on some outside force than facing up to the possibility that we may just not be good enough. Seeing successful women shatters this self-delusion and this may lead to resentment.

  • http://! DaisyDeadhead

    Schala: But Daisy, this notion than womanhood is bestowed at puberty and can never taken away is a big part of conservative and TERF essentialism denial that trans women are women.

    I know that. (?) Why do you find it necessary to tell me this?

    So are you disagreeing or agreeing with my comment? (Or just informing me that I am not allowed to make the comment at all, because I am feminist?)

  • Adiabat

    Daisy: I’ve not being paying as much attention to the gendersphere for a while so forgive me, but I thought you stopped calling yourself a feminist after they gave you weeks of abuse for disagreeing with them on something? Or am I misremembering?

  • Schala

    I know that. (?) Why do you find it necessary to tell me this?

    So are you disagreeing or agreeing with my comment? (Or just informing me that I am not allowed to make the comment at all, because I am feminist?)

    Well, just saying that most people don’t think femaleness can be earned, but conservative people and TERFs are just more obsessed about it. The others are not all open-minded “trans women are real women, leave them alone”, but more of a “bah, live and let live, even the weirdos”, or regardless of opinion, can’t be bothered (they don’t care).

    Most people also don’t think maleness can be earned, and it seems only a minority care about “being a real man” and who qualifies (might be more than a minority in teen years, but not in adulthood). Except NO ONE sees trans men as evil predators who will rape and destroy, because penis. So no one even talks about it.

    Masculinity is heavily policed, but that’s not entry into maleness. It’s also less policed the older you get. You’d get beaten to a pulp for a pink shirt in elementary, laughed at in high school, found daring in college, and found “normal” at 30+ (by peers).

    Same for long hair, but the degree to which you get crap depends on fashion: if very short, more crap, if longer to very long (like the 70s), then no crap because you pass under the radar. And by 30+, its seen as personal expression and how badly its seen depends on subculture (even of employment – army being the worst), though it can probably cause more employment issues than a pink t-shirt – and long hair takes a long time to grow.

    The army and prisons have a double standard of the “men get a buzzcut, no choice while women get to tie it in pre-approved ways (braided, bun etc)” variety for no reason than what culture mandates, and how long hair on men is seen as anti-authority while short hair on men is seen as submissive and enslaved (historically, you could emasculate a man by cutting his hair).

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

    Adiabat: I’ve not being paying as much attention to the gendersphere for a while so forgive me, but I thought you stopped calling yourself a feminist after they gave you weeks of abuse for disagreeing with them on something?

    Weeks, nothing. Its still going on. Cathy Brennan announced on Facebook that I am stupid. I am thinking of adding it to the margins of my blog, with all my other reviews: “Stupid!”–Cathy Brennan.
    “Interesting!” –Noam Chomsky
    “Dedicated!”–Jill Stein.
    Etc.
    Someday, I will figure out how to do that, and I will immortalize Cathy and all my other insults from similar, um, cultural commentators. :)

    As for no longer being a feminist, its a lot like trying to stop being a Jew, Catholic or Deadhead… good luck with that. 😉 Is it even possible, really? It gets engraved on your cerebellum someplace. I think after a decade of wholeheartedly (not half-assedly) doing something (anything), it becomes a ‘habit of being’ — as Flannery O’Connor so poetically and memorably put it.

    If I had not been a feminist from such a young age, I could probably let it go. But it is an area of my expertise and experience, and I am unwilling to let it go as one of my favorite subjects. I am okay NOT calling myself a contemporary or Third Wave feminist and that is not a problem… but their colonizing of “who is a feminist” blah blah (while simultaneously announcing that its wrong to say who is and is not a feminist… how does that work, exactly?) is just offensive, and I feel like I have to speak up, as when the Left is criticized for shit we didn’t do, or (more accurately) for things not intrinsic to Left politics.

    I find that the more the self-righteous Tumblr gals trash Second Wavers as stupid, the more I want to say, I am Second Wave and you are dumb as dirt. And then I explain it and upset them and make them call me names like ‘stupid’… but it is notable that they cannot reply in any other way.

    This is probably due to some stubborn streak, has nothing to do with feminism but with my hell raisin personality. LOL

  • Schala

    Cathy Brennan announced on Facebook that I am stupid.

    The same Cathy who thinks trans women are men, and that men are by definition evil? (I saw a post about ‘the cotton ceiling’ on a trans woman’s blog, and I think she replied there).

    Is that even feminist?

  • Ginkgo

    “I find that the more the self-righteous Tumblr gals trash Second Wavers as stupid, the more I want to say, I am Second Wave and you are dumb as dirt. ”

    Keep at it; they need tot hear it.

    “but it is notable that they cannot reply in any other way.”

    I am pleasantly surprised that it is a notch above “poopyhead”.

    Schala,
    “Most people also don’t think maleness can be earned, and it seems only a minority care about “being a real man” .

    maleness =/= Real man.

    It’s insufficient, and something I have found to be universally the case in feminst commentary on masculinity is that the writers conflate masculinity with manhood, probably by analogy to femininity and womanhood. The diffenrence and the inbalance is that manhood, unlike womanhood, apparently, reuqires an element of adulthood, which does indeed have ot be earned. A girl effortlessly becomes a woman, but a boy has to earn his manhood. Neither one has to eran their femaleness or maleness.

    Femininty and masculinity can be lost – at least socially. A female looses feminninity by being low starus (Ain’t I a woman?) either by reason of race or class, and this is where female privilege does not operate for these women, or by being fat. Fat defeminizes. It also emasculates. And males can lose masculine status all kinds of ways, not just by physical appaerance but also by reason of the interests they take up.

  • Schala

    A female looses feminninity by being low starus (Ain’t I a woman?) either by reason of race or class, and this is where female privilege does not operate for these women

    Fun enough but “being low status” as per feminity is basically being judged “too masculine”.

    Consider that asian women gain more feminity points because they’re assumed to be more feminine culturally and physically (compared to white culture), while black women lose feminity as they gain masculinity, because, like black men, they’re assumed to be more masculine/violent/sexual than white people. For asian men, they lose masculinity points as they’re considered too obedient, docile and feminine cultutrally.

    So you could say that masculinity wise, for “best points” you need to be a black man, for feminity you need to be an asian woman, and for best quality of life (and concern for your issues), a caucasian woman.

    Being masculine for a woman is acceptable (in a way being feminine for a man is not), but it still has social consequences. Some might treat you just like they treat other men, meaning without special treatment due to presumed frailty and being presumed afraid of all men (Schrodinger). “One of the boys” comes to mind.

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  • Kenny

    An article has been published in one of the key Norwegian newspapers that criticizes the report I linked to above and also writes about the blocking of MRA sites by O2. It also gives attention to the swedish
    MRAs who call themselves Jämstäldister which means something like equalists (Pellebilling.com is one of the foremost amongst the jämstäldister). They
    have been completely unknown in Norway but now they are given positive attention
    that gives them massive blog hits. The article also draws attention to extremist
    fractions within feminism and writes about avoiceformen and Erin Pizzey. The comment
    field is boiling with commentary and it is apparent that it is a shock to many
    people to discover how extreme many feminists actually are. Swedish feminism gets
    branded as pure extremism and hatred of men (it really is dominated by hardcore gender studies radicals and is nothing like Norwegian feminism which is very moderate in many respects. MRAs have used the comment field to
    document feminist hate and link to various MRA blogs including avoiceformen and
    genderratic.com. I think this is an important breakthrough in many respects. People
    are almost unison in their critique of feminist attempts at censorship. The
    feminists really shot themselves in the foot with this one and I think this opens up
    for more articles. Certainly some feminists will now have to write something to
    defend themselves. This also opens up the opportunity to create a wedge between the
    extreme and moderate fractions by making associating with the extreme very bad for
    your reputation. I haven`t had this much fun in years.

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

    Schala, yeah, thats the one.

    I have no idea what the hell she is on about… she likes to say “trans women aren’t female”–she has granted the word ‘woman’ as acceptable. To Cathy Brennan, ‘woman’ is the socially-constructed word, but female is biological and means uteri and XX chromosomes. She is very picky picky picky about the words!

    Her blog is all about attacking trans women and reproducing very personal photos from Facebook and elsewhere. Ugh :(

  • Schala

    I keep little info on Facebook, as I don’t use it much, don’t like it, don’t post statuses, and stopped playing games after the novelty wore off (and they’re flash games, horrifying usage of computer resources).

    Having to get 200 friends to progress in a game is fucked up.

    I’m generally asocial (I definitely do not seek to be social, and avoid pretty much all opportunities to do so unless I have nothing better to do – like a work break/lunch), so getting lots of ‘friends’ meant adding random people (as otherwise, my FB people are family and long-time acquaintances, meaning a big total of maybe 30).

    Only friends (and not the game ones) can see my info, what little I put there, probably also my profile picture.

    I’m glad I don’t have to deal with the backlash against trans women in the lesbian community, spearheaded by assholes like Cathy, saying they have the right to be prejudiced about trans women, defending it as if it was righteous instead of base hatred (you can genuinely not be attracted to an individual, but you rarely write off an entire sub-category of a group you’re attracted to – like me writing off Jewish men for example).

    TERFs like her try to justify their position by saying cis women are also a sub-group of women, and have the right to organize on their own, like black women, Jewish women, disable women, trans women. See, “everyone except trans women” is a group that has the right to exist and it’s not-at-all bigotry for it to exist and want to own the concept of ‘woman’ without any modifier and define it as “obviously excluding trans women”.

    It would be similar to a group of disable people or disable women specifically saying they want to have a group of “all disabled women but not black ones” and made up a term for that, or “all disabled women but not Jewish ones”, and called it disabled Gentile women and said that it should have legitimacy on an equal footing to “disabled Jewish women” groups who can exclude others.

    I generally can’t fathom people who defend the definition of womanhood and femaleness as being-oppressed-from-birth (VRR’s definition, probably from Sheila Jeffreys). To me it’s like identifying as the “being spat on” sex.

    Now consider with how much zeal they defend femaleness’s entry, and consider slavery, like in the Roman Antique era, think Spartacus series.

    Spartacus and his wife got abducted and sold into slavery for (him) daring to go back to save his people from the tribes warring against them, but that was against the wish of power-hungry Roman people (well, mostly one officer) who wanted the glory of killing some bigger fish.

    Now, Spartacus is “new” into that slavery thing. He’s shown right off that “he’s not all that” as much as he thinks and that his fighting style is too crude to work in the arena…buy at which point do other slaves shun him, give him the cold shoulder, and go on about how “he couldn’t know what it’s like” and how he’s not a slave since birth, so what does he know? And that he has used-to-be-civilian privilege and that makes him unable to have empathy for “real” slaves.

    NOBODY except the most martyr-complex slave would do that, unless the ‘new’ slave was so narcissistic that it was offensive.

    So it’s something else at play.

    I’ve said so on FC, but since you can’t comment there, I’ll say it again here:

    Men are the default, and that makes them also have no positive special identity they can call their own. They’re just generic, defined on merit or on what they own or do, but never on what they are, because maleness is nothing. Maleness is also defined as non-femaleness, in the same way that masculinity is defined as non-feminity.

    You have unisex t-shirts, and women’s t-shirts. Men’s t-shirts do not exist.

    Options for men: unisex only
    Options for women: unisex and women’s

    The whole men are generic women are special (a TV trope too) makes women have something to identify with. Even outside biology, child-bearing, menarche etc, the identity itself is considered worthy of praise.

    So women will defend entry into this special place, even if they hold it in contempt (say its pure oppression), because its special, and better than the alternative (ie maleness, the social void of identity). So in short, TERFs consider femaleness to be superior, and them saying otherwise is part of a martyr complex (for some), or just a facade to defend entrance from rational actors. Also, being considered a victim, frail, weak, etc is considered to heighten feminity (an entirely cultural construct), and might heighten identity association for insecure people (people who need constant reassurance that they are the sex they say they are, but this might be biological).

    I consider that my unifying theory of sexism starts with insecurity over one’s sex, by the way.

    It’s why we have sex-differentiated anything – to convince other people we are that sex. If it was merely self-expression, it would NEVER need to be explicitly sex-separated, as we are all individuals.

    Sex-differentiated clothing, toys, marketing, purported interests, and it has INCREASED over the years, as different-but-equal social treatment waned, and people are apparently less secure about who they are.

    Ironically, I became the most secure about my femaleness (and have no qualms about appearing androgyne and sometimes seen as male) because I felt validated in my mind enough to not second-guess myself, forever. And all I needed was a boyfriend accepting me unconditionally just as I was.

  • Schala

    I think insecurity about one’s sex comes about from marketing being more aggressive (and more aggressively gendered – I’m looking at you “Kinder for girls”), people being uninformed about sex, people lacking critical thinking skills (and even moreso nowadays) and parents being paranoid about children not acting from a mold, especially male children.

    The whole “I want to be normal” (meaning a conformist) seems a recent phenomenon. We value the outlier (Facebook founder for example), but still don’t want to stand out, for some weird reason, probably to do with social exclusion. It’s pushed on children aggressively on the premise that it’s so they won’t be discriminated against, but it’s also repressing them into pure stereotype (think princess culture).

  • Schala

    Weirdly on-topic with the Adria think, I heard girls don’t want to go into IT and related stuff because it’s “for nerds”. So the whole “nerds are losers” meme is alive and well.

    Why it affects women more than men is something I don’t really get, though.

    I’m a geek/nerd because I like technical stuff, I like analyzing stuff. I like gaming. I always did. The social stigma never entered the “pro and con” of being a geek/nerd. But then I’m probably aspie, which apparently means unable to be un-genuine (or lying convincingly) regardless of consequences.

  • Tamen

    Kenny: I missed that, do you happen to have a link to the newaper article you refer to. I am norwegian so it being in norwegian shouldn’t be a problem :)

  • Ginkgo

    Kenny, welcome, and that is very welcome news. I am going to lift that to a post and Tamen if you can give me that link, that would be great.

    Wonderful news. And it is wonderful that A Voice for Men is having so much influence. They are now drawing more traffic than The Good Man Project and Feministing. Feministing is a major, major feminist site.

    I am especially glad to see a wedge between the radfems and the moderates. Great news for the moderates.

    Schala, that comment of yours is pure gold. I am lifting that one to a post too.

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

    Schala, Cathy Brennan seems totally focused on the lesbian trans women, so I doubt you would be in her cross-hairs. (she has already targeted Valerie, for instance) However, she does make a few exceptions for heterosexual trans women she especially dislikes.
    But the lesbians flip her out, big time. (Example: she calls her blog Pretendbians.) Its all out of proportion to their numbers; she seems to believe the lesbian community is under siege. Its part and parcel of that whole Janice Raymond theory that lesbian trans women are some ‘deliberate patriarchal conspiracy’ to invade women’s spaces.

    No mention of trans men, ever.

  • Schala

    Its all out of proportion to their numbers; she seems to believe the lesbian community is under siege. Its part and parcel of that whole Janice Raymond theory that lesbian trans women are some ‘deliberate patriarchal conspiracy’ to invade women’s spaces.

    No mention of trans men, ever.

    And the usual canard to explain this has been that “maleness and masculinity is more valued” so that it’s self-evident that people would think it’s rational to want to transition to maleness.

    Well it’s not.

    Part of the non-defense of manhood is that it’s the lack of a social identity, so there’s no coherence to defend to start with.

    Then that manhood is defined as doing, and everyone can ‘do’. Women who are “one of the boys” because they’ve proven themselves (ie in gaming and such), are often admired just like the guys in the same domain. Bonus points for not being offended more than the average guy (ie not like Adria).

    And why womanhood is defended by conservatives and TERFs with such zeal, is that it’s like being a princess. It’s not earned, it can’t be earned. You’re “born with it”. And even if Cathy tells me until she’s blue that womanhood is this horrible curse, she’s defending it anyways, which makes zero sense if it’s that bad.

    And it’s aristocracy in gender role, and as such, superior to men in ‘state’ (even if often considered inferior in ‘doing’, it’s considered vastly superior in ‘being’ – and you can prove the naysayers of the ‘doing’ wrong by doing better, you can’t “be” more). It reserves the right to be more easily offended, and demands more respect than men do – simply for being born that way. It can cause resentment.

    The rich want to be few, they do lots of things to remain few at the top. They protect their position by punishing those perceived as lower or as threats to their power.

    The 1% do this, and Adria Richards did this, and the female gender role generally allows for more of this, even without wielding professional/financial/etc status because it’s considered more moral (old notion).

    And ironically, this “we’re more moral” is part of what’s holding feminism and women’s rights back.

    The 1% don’t want to be equal, they don’t care if they’re seen as unable to do manual labor as good as the blue collar guy – they’ll pay someone to do it, proving their status, instead.

    But if women generally want to be equal, they have to be willing to get down to a human standard, do stuff on their own, get dirty, and take responsibility and accountability.

    Feminism did lots for women generally, but it never uprooted this notion. This is why DV campaigns and rape campaigns and all that is one sided, women more moral, women can’t hurt men, women wouldn’t hurt men. Thus no accountability, and assumption of being unable to do stuff on their own or get dirty, or take responsibility.

  • Tamen

    Gingko: I am afraid I don’t have that link to give, hence why I asked Kenny for it :)

  • http://paddybrown.co.uk Patrick Brown

    Schala:

    The whole “I want to be normal” (meaning a conformist) seems a recent phenomenon. We value the outlier (Facebook founder for example), but still don’t want to stand out, for some weird reason, probably to do with social exclusion.

    This is an interesting question. The whole “value the outlier, but enforce conformity” is hardly new, but it seems to me it’s gendered in an interesting way. Our society seems to have the attitude that if women are underrepresented in a field, it’s because they’re not “encouraged” to go into it. But there are many fields that have plenty of male participation, but which men are actively discouraged from going into. Male peer-to-peer gender-policing in childhood and youth is practically aversion therapy for things like singing, dancing or poetry, or even academic success. Yet men continue to do these things. I wonder what the difference is?

  • Schala

    @Patrick

    For the women, this is patronizing stuff on the level of Adria saying women need encouragement from birth and onwards to go into fields like IT.

    Women who are interested in that stuff don’t need encouraging.

    At best, women who don’t *know* that stuff exists need contact with that stuff (which is usually the parent’s job providing opportunities for, by toy choices).

    And the men being discouraged from singing, dancing, poetry and academic success has had ‘success’, in making those interests generally reviled by most boys and men, to the point many consider it biological to avoid them. Those who don’t avoid them tend to be passionate people, geniuses (in their domain), and to be ostracized even more by the others for it.

    The Lean In phenomenon is not unique to women.

  • Schala

    and as for Cathy, I can’t really diagnose her problem with trans women without personally knowing her, but I presume that it’s either:

    -Insecurity about her own femaleness (a common enough thing, but usually more in children)

    -A desire to keep the moral high ground that femaleness represents without sharing it with others she sees as imposters

    -Hatred of men for personal experience reasons or due to feminism-poisoning (lots of feminist notions posit maleness as inherently or socialized evil, hence lots of men get to hate maleness – even easier if it’s The Other). Conservative notions of maleness posit maleness as this brutish thing…but then excuse it as “that’s how it is”, radfem theory blames men for it (as if making a conscious choice to be evil).

    A few TGMP articles went on about how some women who got introduced to feminism young enough and then went in girl-only schools, had a super negative opinion of men for no real-life reasons (they had swallowed whole the theory) and how it negatively impacted them.

    If a man goes all “I’m better than you”, he kinda has to prove it through showing status with money, contacts, influence, a race, a fight, having a larger swimming pool or being better at videogames. Proving yourself can be healthy competition, or cutthroat, depending on how friendly the competition is.

    If a woman (like Cathy) goes all “I’m better than you”, she thinks it’s self-evident, that those commoners would recognize her royal blood, and she needs to do nothing at all to prove her superiority. A bit of a God complex. It’s nurtured with princess culture. And all those “Because you’re worth it” advertisements.

  • Schala

    If a man takes the female attitude, he passes for a narcissistic individual (bow before me, because I’m hot). Any vain behavior or undue concern for his appearance make him appear even more so. Reggie Mantle is a good example. He cares only about Reggie Mantle, and loves himself. He seems to care about Veronica only in as much as it humiliates Archie (that Reggie ‘wins’), so he uses her to feel good. Archie is just stupid of the “I want what I can’t have” variety, not narcissistic.

    Note that rockstars probably qualify in that vein, because regardless of talent, they’re liked for their popularity status. They can “pull it off” because we expect it of them. A random guy dressing like David Bowie won’t get the same treatment.

    If a woman takes the male attitude, she passes for unladylike (which can be a plus for your status within a male peer group (IT, gaming), but is usually a minus for your status within a female peer group). It won’t make her more popular as a mate for men, generally (except probably with geeks, mostly due to geeks preferring other geeks), but will make her appear way way more appealing as a platonic friend to men (mainly because they get to treat her similarly to how they treat other peers, no special consideration or treatment).

    The Ur-example might be highly-competitive people in disciplines where skills matter most (not money or fame) – like high-level FPS game competitions in South Korea. Formula 1, your racing ‘company’ ‘s budget and your fame matter most, so it doesn’t work.

    I say FPS only because I know of few skill-based competitions that pit people against each other. It could be a high score on a snowboard/skateboard etc game I guess (just haven’t heard of competitions).

    I personally play games, and compete, but on my own terms, and not by fighting other people (also not FPS). I tend to try to outplan people over the long term. I’m just absurdly thorough. So I’m not some idol for others, but I qualify as a good gamer peer anyway.

  • http://paddybrown.co.uk Patrick Brown

    It occurs to me that the same kind of gender-policing the OP talks about among women is behind the aversion therapy among teenage boys I mentioned, and one very good example is the extraordinary hostility seen in sectors of the internet towards Justin Bieber, presumably from mostly teenage boys. Partly it’s his pretty-boy looks, but I think in large part it’s simply that he’s a teenage boy who expresses himself in a non-macho way – he sings – so in the eyes of the teenage male gender police, he loses his man card.

    This is a subject close to my heart at the moment because I’ve been taking singing classes. The subject comes up quite frequently that there’s a higher hurdle of embarrassment for men to sing than for women, but the men in the class, having cleared that hurdle, are generally more enthusiastic to sing solo than the women, who in many cases are technically better singers. Perhaps having to overcome an obstacle to doing something, even an artificial one, helps you build up the determination to do it?

  • Ginkgo

    Patrick,
    “Yet men continue to do these things. I wonder what the difference is?”

    Hyperagency.

    “Our society seems to have the attitude that if women are underrepresented in a field, it’s because they’re not “encouraged” to go into it.”

    Hypagency – the assumption is that women don’t have enough initiative to enter these fields on their own; they need to be encouraged.

    “But there are many fields that have plenty of male participation, but which men are actively discouraged from going into..”

    Hyperagency – men are so so hyperagentic that we need to be kept out or we’ll take over.

  • Kenny

    This is the article:

    http://www.dagbladet.no/2013/03/22/kultur/debatt/lordagskommentaren/kjetil_rolness/26348198/

    This is a post on a swedish MRAish site that has links to everything written in relation to the report:

    http://genusdebatten.se/2013/03/25/reform-rapporten-som-betaktar-antifeminism-som-extremism/

    It would be awesome if someone that speaks a scandinavian language could write an article for avoiceformen on the whole thing so english speakers can get the news. Unfortunately I don`t have the time or energy for it.

  • Ginkgo

    Kenny, I scanned through the comments on the first link. I read Swedish passably well and Norwegian with some effort, and I didn’t see any comments with links to AVfM or here, but I did see that a lot of comments had been deleted. I wonder if those are one and the same, and if they are, it serves to make the OP’s point about censorship. I need to go back to find and read the comments that are expressing all this shock and amazement that you are referring to. I did see one initially so there must be more.

  • Kenny

    Ginko, there is a link to avoiceformen in the article itself and one to MRA London and two links to stuff about/by Erin Pizzey. In the comment field there are two comments that link to avoiceformen, one that link to an interview with Paul Elam and two links in a comment to videos with Erin. There is one link to genderratic. There are also several links to the Swedish sites. There might be a few more links as longer comments are only displayed half way until you open them and I did not do that to all of them. I think the censored comments are mostly people revealing emails to get in touch, which is not allowed and which happened a couple of times, and other stuff that are not really problematic. One of my comments got deleted and I could not understand why, I wrote something similar again and it still stands. So I don`t think there is a censor problem at that site really.

    A little down on this thread is a list of most of the MRAish blogs in Norway:

    http://www.diskusjon.no/index.php?showtopic=1450431&st=420

    Very thin and just starting but there is a noticeable thread. A couple of the pages have started recently and are quite active and seem ambitious. The lamegværefar blog has a facebook page with 13000 likes (more than half by women). The husband and wife that runs it have started analyzing and critiquing government information material about domestic violence and the laws and information material concerning the rights of fathers and family law etc. Sweden is, as usual, way ahead of Norway. They have a really, really extreme version of feminism though. In Sweden the radfem womens study people has taken over the whole movement. In Norway it is a more moderate feminism and there is decent opening to show concern for mens rights as long as it is seen as not a critique of feminism. Fathers rights to see their children is something you can write freely about and get a lot of support for.

    The Swedish MRA/MRAish crowd is top quality. They display very little anger and irrationality. Very little of the stuff that can make it difficult to get taken seriously. From what I can tell they have mostly just MRAish blogs and no manosphere in terms of blogs concerning themselves with masculinity and femininity etc. like in the manosphere. I might have just not found it though.

    It is very interesting to see feminists react to powershifts in the public debate. Until last summer I had been having endless debates online with some feminists. They had heard all the MRA arguments. They where on the defensive but really did not give into anything. Then suddenly Eivind Berge got arrested and that spiked a series of articles arguing for mens rights and out of the blue the online feminists seemed more conciliatory and ceded some points. Since then I have not seen them backtrack on anything until after this article. Suddenly, literally over night, they make huge concessions and say stuff like that we need to get away from the extreme parts of feminism and the extreme parts of MRA and work towards equally in a different way. They suddenly recognized a wider list of mens concern and seemed to admit that men had legitimate concerns that where not minimal compared to the concerns of women anymore. So from my observation it seems that it is the perception of power they react to. Without a shift in the perception of what was approved and not approved of in the wider public debate and a shift in their perception of the power of MRAs they would not have moved one inch.

    This is just based on my observations of a certain gang of feminists on one forum though. I haven`t really had time to observe changes in others. But I´m pretty sure this is how they are going to change step by step, mostly through the perception of the power of the other side.

    If there are any Scandinavian readers who see this then head over here:

    http://anehagen.com/2013/03/20/er-mennene-likegyldige/

    There is useful debate there I think

  • Tamen

    Thanks a lot for those links Kenny.

    I found an interesting article on genusdebatten.se (http://genusdebatten.se/2012/12/10/fundera-pa-varfor-gor-man-pa-detta-viset/) where they disscussed a report (http://www.bra.se/download/18.22a7170813a0d141d2180006189/2012_14_PTU.pdf) commisioned to look at the level of violence, threats and harassment directed at elected officials (politicians). There has also in Norway been some discussion about how female participants in public discourse have been silenced by threats and harassment.

    The Swedish survey, however, did in fact also ask men. And unsurprisingly for any misanthrope it turns out that there is a marginal difference between how man men and how many women have experienced violence, threats and harassment (16% vs 17%).
    More women than men (57% vs 16%) reported that the harassment had an impact on their everyday life. An equal number of men and women were worried about the violence, threats and violence – politicians living with children were more worried than those without.

    This again bears out the point that “common sense” that women are the most victimized and most at risk often turns out to not be so true when one actually bothers to survey men as well. We have seen this bear out in other areas where women have been considered basically the only victims – domestic violence and sexual violence comes to mind.

  • Kenny

    Someone at avoiceformen translated the article:

    http://forums.avoiceformen.com/showthread.php?tid=2971

    Yes, that swedish report is great. I was tempted to write to a newspaper about it but decided against it as the climate about online hate and all that stuff was so harsh I would be branded hard. I`m going to write softer stuff based on issues such as grade discrimination, fathers rights, domestic violence against men, wage gap etc. first for a few years to change the perception on men before I start tackling issues that will get me in trouble. The type of issues I mentioned you can get away with debating in Norway. Someone will attack you hard for stuff like writing about the wage gap myth but you can get away with it, certain other issues are untouchable.

  • Ginkgo

    Tamen, Kenny, thanak you very much for all that discussion and thsoe links.

    “This again bears out the point that “common sense” that women are the most victimized and most at risk often turns out to not be so true when one actually bothers to survey men as well. We have seen this bear out in other areas where women have been considered basically the only victims – domestic violence and sexual violence comes to mind.”

    You can manufacture any conclusion you like if you are just careful enough with the way you collect the data. Did you know that absolutely no black women were raped by white men from 1880 until 1965 in Georgia? /s

  • Kenny

    Ginko, that is hilarious, and tragic.

  • Ginkgo

    Kenny, there is so much evil shit like that….. White feminists were active in the eugenics movement in the US – we had one, the Germans were not alone in that – and also had a hand in the KKK. It’s a really nasty history.