NAFALT – not all feminists are like that – is a frequently offered counter to discussion about the hatred and bigotry that permeates modern feminist activism. It’s used to hold up people who identify as feminist, subscribe to feminist ideology, and support mainstream feminist organizations, but don’t consider themselves misandrist, as a shield to protect the movement from scrutiny. “Nice” feminists are offered as evidence that activist attacks on men’s human rights are not characteristic of feminism itself, but instead the actions of radical extremists. That argument is in turn used to admonish against any criticism of feminist actions, no matter how legitimate or relevant the criticism may be.
To understand the role of the “nice” feminist, one has to first understand some things about the Men’s Human Rights Advocate (MHRA) / Feminist conflict within the area of gender issues as they relate to human rights activism.
- Gender issues are not as cut and dried as feminist advocates make them out to be. Both sides of the gender conflict perceive and accuse issue causes within the other side’s influence on overall society. It is therefore vital for an individual to seek out the facts behind these claims before judging their validity.
Feminists blame the existing power structure, which they see as male-dominated, for issues related to both sexes. They accuse men’s human rights activists of undermining feminist efforts to “fight the patriarchy.”
However, history shows that certain aspects of discrimination faced by men in modern society are the result of feminist influence on the very power structure they’re trying to blame. Decades of feminist efforts have led to denial of assistance for male victims of female intimate partner and sexual violence. It was women’s activism which led to the use of the Tender Years Doctrine in family court to limit fathers’ custody rights over young children. Feminists have opposed the efforts of father’s rights groups to seek a more even-handed method of handling child custody following divorce. In fact, they used efforts to demonize fathers as abusers and deadbeats in order to make their arguments.
- Gender issues between the sexes are intimately connected to (but not entirely caused by) the effects of entitlement politics on overall society. Feminist involvement has created a subset of entitlement politics specific to women.
One area where this can be seen is in Obamacare’s extensive coverage of elective drugs and procedures for women, while denying similar coverage to men. Another is the way rape laws have changed during the last century, going beyond the reasonable goal of preventing social attitudes and irrelevant factors from affecting rape cases, and becoming an attack on due process, so that an accused defendant is left with the burden of proving his innocence even in the absence of evidence of his guilt, yet may be denied the tools to do so. At the same time, the feminist effort to exclude male victims from the legal definition of rape has left men raped by women with less recourse than women raped by men had before society’s attitude toward rape was ever addressed. This is also an example of the next factor to understand:
- Based on their specific entitlement politics mentality, feminist leadership is willing to advocate for the sacrifice of the human/civil rights of the opposite gender (men) in order to further the agenda of feminism.
This can be seen in every area of feminist advocacy, as they scramble to exclude men from any consideration, any benefit, any recognition of humanity which they demand that society offer women. One of the most disgusting examples of this is the way feminist debaters scramble to differentiate between infant genital mutilation committed against boys, and childhood genital mutilation committed against girls. First world feminists are so bent on their predatory exploitation of proxy victim status related to the issue of female genital mutilation that they’re willing to actively hold back the movement to protect baby boys from the same abuse, lest their pilfered spotlight be diminished when the focus is widened to include all of the victims.
- There is a gaping chasm of disconnect between current and historical influential feminists (leadership, academics,) and the current grassroots of the movement, wherein the hands and feet of the body have little knowledge of what the head is doing.
Feminists in media and education spoon feed their young charges false statistics, unsupported theory, and political rhetoric. Students get the edited version of feminist history, with emphasis on male society as an oppressive force and female society as the helpless victim. They aren’t taught about the destructive and controlling behavior of early feminists, including suffragette violence, early female activist bigotry, and their involvement in the temperance movement. Resentment toward men is presented as a rational response to the way society evolved before women began changing their social roles.
The combination of these factors has caused the movement to become a living propaganda machine, where those influential few at the top push their agenda, and the response goes through the ranks to the grassroots, who react with little understanding and less concern for the effects of their actions.
The other effect of the disconnect, which supports the machine, is that at the grassroots level, loyalty outweighs logic. This is due to that tendency to want more to perceive oneself as right rather than to be right. It’s a loyalty you see in politics all the time, treating an ideology the same way one treats one’s favorite university’s athletic clubs. They’re not feminists – they’re supporters of team feminist, many of whom don’t have any real grasp on the mechanics or method of the game.
When exposed to information that contradicts their blind devotion to their movement, these loyalists start riding the Change Curve: Shock, Denial, Anger, with the insertion of Bargaining (that being the attempt to rationalize compatibility of the movements) as the 4th step. There, they stop, and instead of going through the rest of the ride (Depression, Acceptance, Integration) they return to an earlier stage, or get stuck in a Bargaining loop, because the desire to not have integrated into their lives a wrong ideology is stronger than the desire to progress intellectually and socially. They’re so loyal to ‘team feminist’ that they cannot accept reality, but must instead try to impose their perception where reality does not suit them.
This apparently willful ignorance is not an individual trait. It’s not a character flaw. It’s an experience common to the grassroots segment of the movement, and there’s a reason for it. It’s the same reason for the “willful” ignorance that led other hate based political movements throughout history to remain cohesive and determined in the face of contradictory evidence, and in the face of evidence that their overt behaviors were abusive toward their fellow humans.
The tendency occurs in response to dehumanization campaigns; efforts by a political movement’s influential members and leadership to reduce the perception (by the target audience) of the humanity of a target population segment, not based on exhibited behavior, but based on generalized flaws insinuated upon that segment defined by a common trait or common traits. At the same time, these movements make a concurrent effort to increase the perception of their own humanity and that of their similarly defined allied segment of the population using the exact opposite of the dehumanization effort – the application of positively viewed characteristics, often combined with an unsubstantiated or ideologically (but not factually) substantiated claim by the leadership that the promoted population has been or is being helplessly victimized by the supposedly malicious target population.
This isn’t simply the “these people do these things with which we disagree, and we oppose those behaviors because (reasons related to behavioral effects)” kind of rivalry seen in political disagreements. Describing this phenomenon of politics does not justify characterizing all forms of dissent as dehumanization efforts. Dissent is justified where the practical application of an ideological push causes damage to a group’s ability to freely exercise their human rights. Dehumanization efforts occur when the target group’s free exercise of their human rights interferes or would interfere with the perpetrator group’s ideological push for or hold on political or social power.
The method exercised in dehumanization efforts is more “members of this group are inherently (insert negative characteristic here) and (insert type of power here,) while we are inherently (insert positive characteristic here) and (insert related vulnerability here), and therefore we have the right and responsibility to treat them as lower life forms because our traits are nicer than theirs, and their traits have led them to victimize us.” This is a direct play on the human team-loyalty and self-loyalty tendencies – exploitation of an us-vs-them mentality, and natural human sympathy for anyone perceived as having been wronged.
That treatment begins with taking a bigoted attitude toward the group, then progresses into villainization, discrimination, degradation, subjugation, exploitation, and sometimes eventually targeted efforts at extermination. The pattern has repeated itself throughout human history.
Ethnicity has been the common characteristic of groups most famously targeted (using characterization of blacks as childlike and unable to take care of themselves to excuse the slavery system, characterization of American Natives as “dangerous savages” by white immigrants to justify their eviction from their lands, and the near extermination of their race… demonization of ethnic Jews and Gypsies prior to and during the Holocaust) but such targeting is not unique to ethnic populations. Other groups have suffered similarly (as in the targeting of homosexuals throughout modern history including the Holocaust, the use of the label “Witch” to justify all manner of human atrocities in Europe during what today’s neopagans refer to as “the burning times,” or the use of the label “Kulak” to facilitate Stalin’s murder of anyone he viewed as an enemy, or the treatment of “Christian” and “bigot” or “Muslim” and “terrorist” as synonymous by certain modern groups to justify hatred of and discrimination against either.) Each of these targeted groups were dehumanized using the insinuation of disapproved traits as character traits universal to the group.
This same technique can be seen in the anti-male campaign within feminism, in messages such as “men are inherently predatory,” “men are inherently violent,” and “male society has dominated female society throughout history.”
These messages are fundamentally identical to the propaganda of ethnic and religious bigotry movements. They contain the population-wide application of characteristics, the nature of which provide a rationale for purportedly respondent discrimination against that population. If men are inherently predatory and violent, then it’s acceptable to compromise on men’s freedoms to protect women and children from being victimized by predatory male violence. Combining the three promoted factors (predation, violence, and dominance), feminist ideology and advocacy can rationalize claiming that women are at a disadvantage, and damseling for preferential treatment to make up for it.
Treating destructive traits as inherently male traits allows influential feminists and feminist leaders to level a perpetual, consistent and ever-escalating attack on male society. No matter what women achieve, because they’re claiming to have achieved it in the shadow of a predatory, violent, domineering segment of society, they can still also claim a disadvantage. This is how every political hate movement throughout history has justified the slow descent from animosity to atrocity. It’s also how feminism is able to survive its own successes. Even as feminist activists achieve victory after victory, as long as they can claim that men naturally oppress women just by being men, they can rationalize continuing to damsel and push no matter how much power and privilege they’ve won.
The influence of a dehumanization campaign on the target audience – those in whose view they want to dehumanize the target group – molds both intellect and attitude. The target audience is slowly trained to view the target group only as a group and a set of characteristics, rather than as individuals with unique and broadly varied personal traits. This leads to a subtly and eventually overtly bigoted perception of and response to members of the target group. The result is a combination of ‘team’ loyalty, an unsupported us-vs-them mentality, and a distorted view and growing hatred and fear of the targeted group. That, in turn, leads to being disposed to accept legal, political, and social treatment of anyone perceived to be part of that group in ways the individual would otherwise consider unfair, unjust, immoral, unethical, and inhumane.
Once mistreatment of members of the target group becomes accepted, the grassroots of the perpetrator group becomes the vehicle of the group’s own dehumanization, using language, display of attitude, and discriminatory rules to attack the target group’s sense of equal status within society. The loyalty tendency lends itself to unquestioning rationalizing of dehumanizing and discriminatory treatment of the target group on the basis of the perpetrator group’s claims about them.
This is seen in various aspects of feminist discourse, advocacy, and activism. The language aspect manifests in labeling, such as calling men “male oppressors,” and “potential rapists.” The attitude manifests in double standards, such as attributing gender specificity to genderless behaviors like objectification, partner-violence, and rape, in dismissal of value by treating men’s well being and welfare as less important, and men’s experiences as having less personal and social impact than those of women. The application of discriminatory rules manifests in agitation for legal and social privilege, including impositions of the aforementioned double standards, such as combining the inference of perversion on male sexuality and predation on men’s sexual behaviors, while celebrating female sexuality and encouraging women to exhibit the same behaviors condemned in men.
In law, this translates into gender-specific criminalization of some behaviors, and to gender-specific amplification of the criminalization of some behaviors. One example is the double standard applied to rape. It can also be seen in unequal treatment in the criminal court system, where male convicts are punished more severely and for longer periods than female convicts with the same case factors. It’s also seen in social responses to crimes such as statutory rape, where there is outrage over male perpetration, but many people balk at the suggestion that female offenders should even be considered offenders, much less face the same level of penalty as male offenders.
One role played by the grassroots in this involves being the mouthpiece for the propaganda and mentality of the leadership by repeating terms, catchphrases, and other rhetoric, citing essay writing and published reports based on biased and otherwise flawed research, responding to leadership initiatives. Another is the use of shaming language to try to silence anyone who disagrees. It also includes providing false credibility to the movement’s leadership by virtue of numbers – the more people call themselves “feminist,” and assert feminist theory, ideology, and goals, the more people will think of established feminist leadership as a benevolent entity which guides and advocates for a good cause. This leads to people in authority positions treating feminist leaders as experts as well as activists. The result of this combined promotion of ideology and credibility is the increased ability of feminist lobbyists and other advocates to persuade individuals and groups in positions of authority to accept their counsel and enact their ideological perspective into practical application through law and policy.
Additionally, the grassroots of the movement acts as a social cushion between the public’s view of the movement, and the activism of its leadership; a wide-eyed innocent mask to hide the movement’s malignant soul. By presenting a “nice” face attached to the label, grassroots feminists draw attention away from the practical application of the movement’s ideology, and create the false impression that they are representative of the movement, rather than the movement being about the real-world actions taken in its name. This is a reason for the leadership to use advocacy and propagandized “education” initiatives (like Women’s Studies courses, and the insertion of political rhetoric into other areas of study) to cultivate a grassroots movement well armed with rhetoric and resentment, but low on detailed knowledge of the issues presented to them in their training.
This creates a population of brainwashed twits whose attachment to the label “feminist” is based on fluff and feelings. Being in agreement with each other in the belief that feminism is about fighting for equality, they view themselves as the movement’s mainstream even though their overt participation in the movement is mostly limited to providing it with free marketing for its name. As long as activist groups make effective use of the grassroots without becoming so overzealous as to make obvious the exploitative nature of the leadership’s relationship to the them, feminists will be able to continue to use their grassroots to filter otherwise socially unacceptable dogma, rhetoric, and terms into public discourse. They’ll be able to continue to point to that as evidence of their credibility when lobbying for discriminatory law and policy. In this way, leadership influence over the grassroots may be one of feminism’s strongest weapons:
“Nice” feminists are feminism’s propaganda drones – mindless of purpose and careless of the carnage they cause.