MEN’S MOVEMENT – Feminism is a men’s rights issue, Part II

M

“And so since feminism is tradcon, it is going to be part of the target package for the MRM.”

 

A post over at the Mensrights subreddit consisted of this question alone:

What does it mean when feminists say men’s issues are feminist issues?

 

This is one lobe of that discussion:

[–]bladesire -16 points-15 points-14 points 1 day ago

OP, please, please, PLEASE ask Feminists this question – not because they will provide the “right” answer, but because many of the answers you’ve gotten here are definitely wrong.

Many of the responses shown here are filled with loaded language and thinly-veiled hate (not of women, but of feminism).

Feminism doesn’t discuss men’s issues as something that they’ll “eventually sort out” – it discusses men’s issues as gender inequalities that, through the application of feminist ideals, will also be eliminated. They work for gender equality, but because women were clearly the more disadvantaged when the movement developed, it’s focused on women’s issues. And I think that’s fair – they don’t need to concern themselves with dude issues just because they acknowledge them. I wouldn’t expect the MRM to be organizing rallies for Planned Parenthood, though I would expect it to understand the gender issues that make a PP rally a priority for feminists and women.

Nowadays, as Feminism has made some great strides, it is more difficult to decipher “inequality.” This happens with racism, too – people think PoCs are “equal now,” that women are “equal now,” when really, the theories behind these ideas point to a much more pervasive, systemic influence that doesn’t quite disappear so easily as people think. there’s a “new”-issh buzzword that’s been floating around: Kyriarchy. It’s this idea that there are many different axes of oppression and that simplifying it based on one aspect of a given person is highly problematic. Though this kyriarchy thing picked up steam mostly from internal struggles regarding PoC, I think that it can be applied for men’s rights as well.

Finally, I recommend that you actually do some scholarly reading on Feminism and not just use Reddit (or the internet) as your source. The actual theory behind feminist thought is well-thought out and actually makes a lot of sense – but “armchair feminists” that like to shout from atop their blogs and “identity feminists” (those who cling to Feminism due to their experiences in oppression ONLY and not to work towards gender equality).

P.S. – /u/seenloitering had a few good criticisms of feminism, though it’s important to remember that “feminism” is a BROAD category, and no one opinion on “what feminiss wants” will ever actually be right – even if it’s a feminist that’s telling you what Feminism wants.

Response:

[–]blueoak9 5 points6 points7 points 1 day ago

“Finally, I recommend that you actually do some scholarly reading on Feminism and not just use Reddit (or the internet) as your source. The actual theory behind feminist thought is well-thought out and actually makes a lot of sense – but “armchair feminists” that like to shout from atop their blogs and “identity feminists” (those who cling to Feminism due to their experiences in oppression ONLY and not to work towards gender equality). ”

This is a huge problem in feminism. The feminism of gender equality and uplift for all of us has been co-opted and then drowned out by the female chauvinists who want to increase the privileges patriarchal society grants women, IOW they are tradcon as hell, destroy the ones it gives men, and call it egalitarianism.

Very often it is clear their motivation is psychological rather than ideological, as in having a lot of emotional issues they ascribe to gender, and try to address throguh feminism and you see this in the way they argue – logic is useless in debating with them because they are not speaking from a logical but rather an emotional basis, and debating with them is experienced as an attack on their pshohological reality rather than an attempt to explore the issue. So to the extent logic undermines thier positions, they denounce it as more patriarchal oppression etc.

Response:

[–]bladesire -4 points-3 points-2 points 20 hours ago

“This is a huge problem in feminism. The feminism of gender equality and uplift for all of us has been co-opted and then drowned out by the female chauvinists who want to increase the privileges patriarchal society grants women, IOW they are tradcon as hell, destroy the ones it gives men, and call it egalitarianism.”

I think that this is mostly for “Internet Feminism.” Once Feminism leaked out of academia and into the rather inept hands of, well, everyone else on the internet, minority opinions became louder, miscontrued theories more pervasive, and “armchair” analysis the norm. I think that this is a relatively recent development, and that Feminism is in the process of sorting out its own meta.

“Very often it is clear their motivation is psychological rather than ideological,”

While I agree with this, I also have to admit that I’m not a psychologist – so I can’t rightly say whether I can truly dismiss an argument given by such a person. Additionally, I think it’s important to focus on the end result of these more “emotional thinkers'” ideas – though they may be spewing passion-driven drivel, perhaps their ideas do deserve merit.

“So to the extent logic undermines their positions, they denounce it as more patriarchal oppression etc.”

In threads like this, a lot of “us and them” comes up – I just prefer to not make this about the fight between two movements. I just see no reason why two ideologies who claim to want gender equality have to fight with each other – let feminism work for women and the MRM work for men, ya know? Avoid the “them and us” entirely. I’m not sure why anyone but a feminist should be arguing about feminism to a feminist. Even in areas where one might suggest they are in opposition (parental rights, for example), I don’t believe arguing is necessary – state the stakes, and come to a compromise based on each sides’ concerns. Though I suppose if anything were ever that easy, there’d be world peace already.

Response:

[–]blueoak9 2 points3 points4 points 20 hours ago

“I think that this is mostly for “Internet Feminism.” Once Feminism leaked out of academia and into the rather inept hands of, well, everyone else on the internet,”

I think that is largely true except that academic feminism has some poo-poo on its hands too. Standards of scholarship have been lax and some really distorted memes have grown legs in feminism – Susan Brownmiller’s pronouncement about the 2% incidence of false rape accusations being on well-known example.

But the distinction you seem to be making is true as far as this goes – you do get the sense of some kind of actual seriousness there, as opposed to the foam-flecked true believer certainties you see on the internet.

“and that Feminism is in the process of sorting out its own meta. ”

If the feminists who post here – post here as opposed to just swooping in to downvote – are at all representative, you may very well be right. We shall see.

I am not at all encouraged though by most feminists’ reception of the MRM or their treatment of it or their apparent need to lie about it and mischaracterize it, as a prelude to declaring it unnecessary because these matters – men’s issues – are better left in their hands anyway. That is not at all an encouraging sign. That is not self-examination and self-assessment in the movement, that is defense of turf, cliquishness and partisanship.

“perhaps their ideas do deserve merit. ”

You evaluate an idea on its merit, regardless of its source or the method by which it was reached.

“In threads like this, a lot of “us and them” comes up – I just prefer to not make this about the fight between two movements.’

I see how my comment would sound like that, of course it might, but I only referred to feminists here because we were talking about feminism. Don’t get me started on exactly the same dynamic in the man-o-sphere! It’s one source of the divide between the man-o-sphere and the MRM.

Response:

[–]bladesire -3 points-2 points-1 points 19 hours ago

I am not at all encouraged though by most feminists’ reception of the MRM

Personally, I think the real issue with the reception of the MRM is its own lack of the 40+ year history of theory. The only reason I separate myself from the MRM is because, well, it just seems filled with hate. Those Identity Feminists we were talking about? It feels like most self-confessed MRA’s I’ve encountered fit the bill EXACTLY, defensively responding to a perceived usurping of “rights men are entitled to.” The most voiced complaints from MRAs seem to be circumcision and custody battles, with “hitting women in self-defense” as a distant third. Compare this to feminists who have a body of literature that is entirely focused on womanhood, discussing what it means to be a woman and examining structures of privilege. Even assuming the MRAs are right and these violations are equal in scope and severity to Feminism’s list of complaints, they’re missing out on the theoretical exploration of power structures and kyriarchy. From what I’ve seen, the MRM has a higher percentage of “squeaky wheels” than Feminism does – that is, a higher percentage of individuals who have the basic idea, but are too defensive (and as a result sometimes OFFENSIVE) and lacking in a basic philosophical foundation for their beliefs.

Feminism says women are not viewed as equal by society, and then has hundreds of years of practical evidence and decades of theoretical exploration to back it up. The Mens’ Rights Movement says women are equal and Feminism is hurting men, and then pulls out the Intro to Semantics 101 syllabus as they read the last internet article they’ve found.* Note how, in this example, Feminism is about women, and the MRM is about Feminism.

*This is not how I actually view the two movements, but it IS how I feel the MRM is represented by its squeaky wheels. That the MRM has a higher percentage of squeaky wheels (in my observation) means that the movement is discrediting itself inadvertently.

TL;DR – The MRM doesn’t have the historical or theoretical mass that Feminism does, and until it does, the perception of MRAs at large will be butchered by those who feel the most defensive and thus shout the loudest.

Response:

[–]blueoak9 -1 points0 points1 point 53 milliseconds ago

‘Feminism says women are not viewed as equal by society, and then has hundreds of years of practical evidence and decades of theoretical exploration to back it up.”

If a lack of theory is what is holding the MRM, then a track record of lies and distortions of this sort is what has discredited feminism. Almost every instance feminists cana show of these inequalities is either a misrepepresentation of an benefit to women (at the epxense of men) as an inequality or else is the result of dependency chosen and perpetuated by women fomr the very beginning, so ancient it has even resulted in physical dimorphisms.

“From what I’ve seen, the MRM has a higher percentage of “squeaky wheels” than Feminism does – that is, a higher percentage of individuals who have the basic idea, but are too defensive (and as a result sometimes OFFENSIVE) and lacking in a basic philosophical foundation for their beliefs.”

This criticism comes up regularly. One reason for this is that there are far meore men in society who are genuinely wounded, as opposed to imagining they are wounded in accordance with a toxic gender role that mandates victimhood, than there are women. So a lot of MRAs are quite strident.

But you must not be looking very closely at feminism if you don’t see the same thing in its formative years, when genuinely wounded women were crying out and people were listening.

“That the MRM has a higher percentage of squeaky wheels (in my observation) means that the movement is discrediting itself inadvertently.”

How much of a problem that actually is depends entirely who it is that is seeing the MRM as discredited. IOW, the opinion of some people matters and of some not so much.

“Note how, in this example, Feminism is about women, and the MRM is about Feminism.”

Refinement on that, if I may? Feminism may be about women (I think in the beginning it had much higher goals, more universalist, but it has indeed degenerated into chivalrous, patriarchal female advocacy and female chauvinism), but the MRM is about upending traditional gender roles entirely. And while feminism claims to be about the same project, in effect it builds on and reinforces those gender roles and expectations. And so since feminism is tradcon, it is going to be part of the target package for the MRM.

 

 

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Jim Doyle

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="3561 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=3561">51 comments</span>

  • I don’t know if I’m missing some things, but… a large amount of this is a shrieking hall of mirrors straight from an SJW’s haunted psyche. A lot of it is “If you really knew what you were talking about, this wouldn’t be being said! Stop being so stupid!” or “If only you understood philosophy!” I don’t, and that’s how I know I haven’t lost my ‘actually thinks for himself’ card. Could anyone help me out though with what this is all driving at? These people seem to have difficulty articulating something more useful than vituperation and passive aggression.

  • Oh for crying out loud.
    Apparently everything was fine with feminism until the unwashed masses pillaged the ivory tower of academia and started misapplying it, as they do with everything they get their beastly uneducated mits on.

    Hey Daisy, I have new appreciation for everything you’ve ever said about academic feminism screwing over boots on the ground feminism! Arrogant fucking snobbery.

    I’ve also got to love how men’s rights are totally a feminist issue, but it would be unfair to expect them to do anything about them. It’s like when you hear about established companies buying up patents for technology that could undermine their industry, then doing nothing with it. Feminism is only claiming men’s rights so that other people can’t use it.

    Finally, apparently the MRM talks about infant circumcision, child custody rights, and the rights of victims of DV to self defence, while feminists concentrate on discussing the meaning of womanhood…

    And this is supposed to be a criticism of the MRM!?

    If this was actipually true the “war” would already be won!
    🙂

  • “Hey Daisy, I have new appreciation for everything you’ve ever said about academic feminism screwing over boots on the ground feminism! Arrogant fucking snobbery.”

    Daisy is a Living Treasure of historical background on all this. She has paid her dues, hard dues – she is a flaming liberal in deepest South Carolina – in all directions and if sometimes she comes off as a little hair-trigger confrontational, it’s no mystery how she would have developed those instincts.

  • Thank you Gingko and Sans! You are so sweet… additionally, I wish I had Gingko to go thru all the Reddit threads and edit out the detritus. These comments are interesting, but I get distracted by all the drive-bys.

    If a lack of theory is what is holding the MRM, then a track record of lies and distortions of this sort is what has discredited feminism. Almost every instance feminists cana show of these inequalities is either a misrepepresentation of an benefit to women (at the epxense of men) as an inequality or else is the result of dependency chosen and perpetuated by women fomr the very beginning, so ancient it has even resulted in physical dimorphisms.

    But being able to throw out a figure like, “Only 17% of US Congress members are women” (this is true) has a lot of impact. Because that is a pathetic damn figure.

    It will be up to MRAs to either 1) help us elect more women to achieve representational parity and/or 2) explain that the number of women representatives (etc) is not important, and why. Does it matter there has never been a woman president, a woman pope, a woman Ayatollah… as Virginia Woolf said, no “female Chaucer”? I think it does. These are not fictions or distortions, these are facts. And speaking of what Sans is saying, I think these facts are what appeal to mainstream, non-academic people and why feminism seems equitable. People want their own daughters to be more successful than women in the past were permitted to be, and feminism appeals to this desire, too. People will increasingly come up with their own such lists about what they want for their sons.

    On our radio show, the sentencing discrepancy-issue took off, and I realized, it’s because of the existence of cold, hard facts. One (female) participant in the discussion said it was BAD for young women to think they can get away with anything because they are girls and won’t have to pay for it (or pay AS MUCH), and took pains to explain how this disparity hurt everyone.

    I’d like to have more of those kinds of discussions.

    And BTW, I consider the recent investigation into how football causes brain damage to be the male gender equivalent of investigating eating disorders in the fashion industry. I think the MRM should claim some credit, as feminists claim credit re: raising awareness about eating disorders.
    If we think men are just big dumb apes ramming into each other out on the gridiron, we will not care what happens to their brains. (if models are just silly dumb chicks, who cares if they starve?) When we start caring more, these issues suddenly start jumping right out at us. Suddenly, we are alarmed at the emaciated model AND the older football player who seems obviously confused during a simple interview.

    GIVE YOURSELVES A ROUND OF APPLAUSE, they are now taking men’s brains seriously! http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/04/health/football-brain-disease/

  • “I think that this is mostly for “Internet Feminism.” Once Feminism leaked out of academia and into the rather inept hands of, well, everyone else on the internet, minority opinions became louder, miscontrued theories more pervasive, and “armchair” analysis the norm.”

    Don’t any feminist bloggers have college degrees?

  • “I’ve also got to love how men’s rights are totally a feminist issue, but it would be unfair to expect them to do anything about them.”

    Exactly. A law might be passed to limit abortion? Feminists pack the halls, yell and shout and filibuster, and fight to get their way. Violence Against Women Act up for renewal? Time to campaign and write letters and ring Congress’s phones off the hook. But problems faced by men? “Eh, let us do our thing and it will work itself out, eventually, somehow.”

  • Daisy, there is a lot there!

    Re: politics – I think the MRM’s noise about the lack f female garbage collectors applies to politics too. Women have to do their share of all the shit jobs that make civilization possible and that includes politics. OTOH I think the MRM is also making progress getting people to recognize how power is actually exercised and that front men don’t tell the whole story.

    So the facts are the facts, but they are not explanatory. And the story they do tell may not be the tale of woe we are used to but another. It may have to do with women’s satisfaction with getting others to do this particular kind of dirty work. Or whatever.

    That radio show – this reminds me of an exchange over n Reddit with a really great feminist, Chocoboat, who said “All this female privilege y’all are talking about is benevolent sexism!” Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s the kind of breakthrough I’m looking for. Yeah that shit is sexist. (How benevolent depends on whether your on the receiving end or the conscripted-into-giving end.) So in a way hat radio show is MRAs bringing feminists back to the feminism everyone professed back in the early 2nd wave days.

    So you se the sports/fashion equivalence too! It’s not just me! Strong post to follow.

  • I think the MRM is quite rightly concerned with feminism, because feminism has poisoned relations between the sexes. Men are considered inherently up to no good in everything we say and do, and I put the blame for that squarely on feminists and their “theories”. They rely on older attitudes like the damsel in distress reflex and the obligation on to speak carefully when ladies are present, but “patriarchy” and “objectification” and “rape culture” are all their own work, and the product of academia, not random bloggers. Feminism doesn’t have to do anything about men’s issues. But it does need to stop spreading hate and prejudice against men and our intentions.

  • That radio show – this reminds me of an exchange over n Reddit with a really great feminist, Chocoboat, who said “All this female privilege y’all are talking about is benevolent sexism!” Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s the kind of breakthrough I’m looking for.

    “All this male privilege feminists are talking about is benevolent sexism”, anyone expecting to hear that from feminists anytime soon?

    I recently came across a blog where the author wrote (my emphasis):

    Although I think MRA’s can gtfo, and I am a firm believer in male privilege, this article makes a valid point about why we need to talk about misandry (although this term is quite loaded and I do prefer to call it toxic masculinity – semantics).

    Does anyone think calling misogyny for toxic femininity would fly?

  • A good suggestion might be to take a fundamental academic feminist text and swap every instance of “misogyny” for “toxic femininity” and see how it looks. It at least might be illuminating to that twit blogger.

  • One point that stuck out to me was that, when the first feminists voiced their complaints and outrage, people listened.

    Now that men are voicing their own complaints, the overwhelming response is to tell them to shut up, nobody wants to hear it, stop whining, “man up,” etc.

    THEN the feminists argue that men’s rights advocates are too angry and bitter, which is why nobody should listen to them! Kind of a vicious cycle, don’t you think?

  • “Benevolent sexism”, give me a break. Any woman who thinks its an insult that she can’t be drafted is welcome to blow off her own legs with a hand grenade. Any woman who thinks she’s living in a gilded cage by having a longer life expectancy than men is welcome to shorten her life with suicide. Put your money where your mouth is.

  • I see the one side as full of No True Scotsman fallacies and the other side as too eager to accept and appease too many weak arguments and one-sided framing of the issues. Both sides lose this debate IMO.

    In terms of history, feminism had always been anti-male and always sought unearned privilege for women. A lot of the ways in which the history gets retold by feminists is very slanted and self serving. I see very little parallels between early feminism and the MRM. There are numerous reasons why people had opposed feminism, beyond the black and white story where you either buy into feminism or you hate women. Beyond tradcon feminists and tradcon fundamentalists bickering among themselves, there have always been other sides of the story, including a very distinct and separate side that actually sought equality and fairness.

  • “Does anyone think calling misogyny for toxic femininity would fly?”

    Of course not. That would be blaming the victim! And as feminism teaches us, women are always the victims and men are just doing it to themselves, because Patriarchy. A feminist would see no double standards because their theories beg the question to begin with.

  • I also think blue oak conceded the “academic feminism” stuff too easily.

    The junk that comes out of acedemic feminism is a large part of the problem. If feminism as a whole ditched all the “patriarchy, rape culture etc” shite and truly began to look at issues without the “SJW identity politics” lens then it may become possible for men’s issues to truly be feminist issues.

  • Tamen,
    “All this male privilege feminists are talking about is benevolent sexism”, anyone expecting to hear that from feminists anytime soon?”

    No, but it would be a breakthrough in the discussion. I thought feminists wanted to get rid of all sexism. Apparently only a very few.

    dungone,
    ” I see very little parallels between early feminism and the MRM.”

    Class background is the big difference. (I know how much you disapprove of the term; bear with me – it has explanantory power). The suffragettes and first wavers were all women of greta relative privielge and this comes out in their voting activism – they opposed giving the vote to working class men, and this is parallel to suffragtte activism in the US where the line was that giving the vote to white women who counter-balance giving it to black men.

    The class background of 2nd wavers like Friedan and steinem is also privileged – Ivy League schools, the kind of financial security that enabled them to turn a hobby into celebrity.

    The feminist insistence on inclusion is driven by the need to balance this basic problem, the problem of instinctively treating working class and minority women like auxiliaries to be tolerated as long as they were useful and then turfed out of the sorority on this pretext or that.

    Contrast that with MRAs, many of whom are working class and even socially marginal people. Contrast the experience of women and minorities in the MRM with those of men and minorities in feminism.

  • “Benevolent sexism”, give me a break. Any woman who thinks its an insult that she can’t be drafted is welcome to blow off her own legs with a hand grenade. Any woman who thinks she’s living in a gilded cage by having a longer life expectancy than men is welcome to shorten her life with suicide.”

    Peterman – oh that’s all sexist as shit. How benevolent it is depends on you being the one born with that draft deferment between your legs.

  • Patrick, thanks for the post you just wrote. Excellent points.

    Is your blog stil going, the one that had that article about Burchill?

  • @Adiabat, but if you start pointing out what “academic” feminism is and does, they’ll switch back to telling you how important the boots-on-the-ground activism has been to women and to society. The neat trick here is that there’s really no such thing as “academic” feminism; it’s the same said ideology taken “off the streets” and institutionalized. They teach you about the Dworkins, Friedans, Steinems, Solanas, and hundreds of other self-made feminist “street” activists in an “academic” setting and throw in a bunch of studies based on self-selected samples where they throw out any data that doesn’t fit their predefined expectations. And then of course the “street” activists parrot the academics verbatim, but everyone denies it whenever they need a convenient NAFALT argument. The whole thing reminds me of the way in which religious believers attempt to differentiate between the “religion” and “faith” and bucket all the embarrassing evil things under whichever one they feel like disassociating themselves with.

  • “I also think blue oak conceded the “academic feminism” stuff too easily.’

    Bluoeak9 thought about that, but decided to leave that as an ambush. You know the Murphy’s law of Land Warfare item that says “If the attack is going well, you have walked inot an ambush.”?

    That was being held in reserve. Guess where all those rabid, foaming supposedly uninformed internet feminists come from – university Women’s Studies programs. Her whole argument is an own goal.

  • @Tamen:

    I recently came across a blog where the author wrote (my emphasis):

    Although I think MRA’s can gtfo, and I am a firm believer in male privilege, this article makes a valid point about why we need to talk about misandry (although this term is quite loaded and I do prefer to call it toxic masculinity – semantics).

    Does anyone think calling misogyny for toxic femininity would fly?

    Let me guess; the term is loaded because it implies women are responsible to a significant/exclusive degree (thought it doesn’t imply the latter when it comes to actual usage), while the most popular version of “toxic masculinity” doesn’t blame women at all?

    @Peterman

    “Benevolent sexism”, give me a break. Any woman who thinks its an insult that she can’t be drafted is welcome to blow off her own legs with a hand grenade. Any woman who thinks she’s living in a gilded cage by having a longer life expectancy than men is welcome to shorten her life with suicide. Put your money where your mouth is.

    I maintain that people like that are mentally incapable of acknowledging gender issues unless they’re about women. In fact, the entire term “benevolent sexism” is a gynocentric. Note also how the claims that intent don’ matter are suddenly forgotten when it comes to that term.

    @Ginkgo

    No, but it would be a breakthrough in the discussion. I thought feminists wanted to get rid of all sexism. Apparently only a very few.

    I recently asked someone what feminism did to fight female privilege. They said that was more of MRA’s wheelhouse. I pointed out that feminism couldn’t call itself for equality if it wasn’t working on removing women’s benefits too. They claimed that said benefits were the “side effects” of sexism against women, and would be removed while working for women’s rights. I provided several examples where they were direct results of feminist actions, directly aimed at men, and pointed out how silly it is to say that a movement that’s about protecting and gaining rights for women would remove them. Then I left the argument.

    @dungone:

    And then of course the “street” activists parrot the academics verbatim, but everyone denies it whenever they need a convenient NAFALT argument.

    I once saw a tumblr radfem insist that her misandry was just a joke, and misandrists don’t have real power. Later on, she took a gender studies class, and the instructor wanted to kill all men, but she couldn’t be fired. Tenure. Oddly enough, said radfem still reblogged claims that misandrists don’t have any real power later, IIRC.

  • Oh boy this hits on a confusing topic: expertise, top-down academic control of theory and thought and how things have changed now that charisma is more important than insight.

    I get goaded a lot in discussions elsewhere for being “classist”, which I find funny in a way because I identify, politically, as a Post-Left Anarchist and probably couldn’t get further to the left if I tried. But the inherent irony is that any movement and any desire for change requires a vanguard and for people who may not fit the mold of “oppressed” to champion the cause. It used to be that Academics were a measure of being taken seriously. Not that we have the internet and any schmuck with a computer and a little charm can influence uncountable individuals, we’re falling into a lowest-common-denominator problem.

    What is being called out in these posts, from both sides, is the uneducated and emotional adherent to both Feminism and the MRM. “Identity Feminists”, one may call them but I generally find that those are the ones with the least ability to actually understand the issues and think critically about them. They’re also the people who get defensive the quickest because they often realize how outclassed they are in the thinking department.

    I can’t say it’s a diehard rule, but it seems somewhat correlating to a clear consistency. That you have less-than-intelligent but really charismatic individuals who are driving the conversations, often to the detriment of exploration and solution.

    You can’t slam the door and say, “you can’t talk” obviously. But we do have to come to terms with the fact that actual mental ability and intelligence means next to nothing anymore. It’s why we can’t have nice things.

    I can’t see a solution that isn’t terrible for someone.

  • Crow, you raise na important question. Let me think about that a while. It is going to take some time to digest.

    SYABM,
    “They claimed that said benefits were the “side effects” of sexism against women, ”

    A side benefit as opposed to a direct effect. So a secondary matter to address at some later time. With all deliberate haste.

    Translation: some sexism is to be opposed, some to be enjoyed.

    And Tumblr fems wonder why they are a laughingstock.

  • @Gingko:

    this reminds me of an exchange over n Reddit with a really great feminist, Chocoboat, who said “All this female privilege y’all are talking about is benevolent sexism!” Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s the kind of breakthrough I’m looking for. Yeah that shit is sexist.

    Out of context, I don’t see how this is a breakthrough. I can (incorrectly?) infer from the quote that Chocoboat was saying “You’re wrong: due to systemic oppression women don’t have privilege on a gender axis.” To me, a breakthrough would be explicitly recognizing that the primary difference between “gender privilege” and “benevolent sexism” is connotation.

    That was being held in reserve. Guess where all those rabid, foaming supposedly uninformed internet feminists come from – university Women’s Studies programs. Her whole argument is an own goal.

    Like those UofT Feminists who hold “strategy meetings” about stalking MRAs and “making them uncomfortable”? I think that was UofT, anyway.

    @Adiabat:

    The junk that comes out of acedemic feminism is a large part of the problem. If feminism as a whole ditched all the “patriarchy, rape culture etc” shite and truly began to look at issues without the “SJW identity politics” lens then it may become possible for men’s issues to truly be feminist issues.

    Without a devil, I think Feminism’s membership would shrivel up. I’m thinking it’s easier to motivate people through anger, outrage, or hate rather than strictly through logic or compassion.

    To be fair, MRAs more or less use the awful things said and done by Feminists the same way. At least “Feminist” is a voluntary association.

  • @Ginkgo

    I have no answers. I think we’re rushing toward a “dumbing down” in order to be inclusive. I think we’re desiring to give everyone a voice (good) by dismissing those who may be on a different level (less good).

    There’s no good answer. I don’t think that restricting speech is a good thing. I also don’t think that creating a lower-expectation as normal is a good thing, either. And, to be honest, those who can get attention are often the new vanguard because they’re hugely extroverted and that’s the baseline, not ability or critical thought.

    It’s not easy, and it makes me feel really uneasy even considering it because someone is going to get shat on by the end regardless.

  • LogSotot! Long time no see!

    “Out of context, I don’t see how this is a breakthrough. I can (incorrectly?) infer from the quote that Chocoboat was saying “You’re wrong: due to systemic oppression women don’t have privilege on a gender axis.” To me, a breakthrough would be explicitly recognizing that the primary difference between “gender privilege” and “benevolent sexism” is connotation.”

    The context was she agreed this stuff existed and that it was what feminists call benevolent sexism, not that women don’t have these privielges. she was really tryiong to say that this was one point where MRAs and feminsts might agree. Would that it were and area where they might agree, that it has to be removed.

    Crow,
    “I have no answers. I think we’re rushing toward a “dumbing down” in order to be inclusive. I think we’re desiring to give everyone a voice (good) by dismissing those who may be on a different level (less good).”

    Here’s a hopeful note by analogy. When I was growing up,the 50s/60s, the mass market was the relaity for consumers. there was enough of everything, but in a rather restricted variety. There were three network TV stations, PBS and one local station, and that was it. It was simple to buy clothes becasue boys wore jeans and sports shirts or T-shirts, girls too if they wanted, and men wore blue chanbray and demin or dark suits with white shirts. Everyone read Readers Digets and Time and Life and Look and knew which articles had just come out and would discuss them. I remember vividly the buzz when businessmen started wearing pink or beefsteak striped dressshirts. I remember clearly when first nappa cabbage and then bok choy became available in the vegetable section. Get the picture – mass market – big and bland and lowest common demoninator.

    Well once people had experienced this plenty, for the first time ever, they got tired of the blandness and continued to enjoy the plenty. People moan about the fragmentation of popular culture. There used to be a time when there really was a Top Forty and everyone listened, and this was one reason my parent’s generation hated rock; they thought they would have nothing else to listen to.

    The diviersity in TV and music and readng material we have now was unimaginable.

    We are seeing the beginnings of that now on the political side. we have the fragmentation already – the FOXniverse versus the people who watch MSNBC. this will inevitably lead to the same result as we see with consumer goods. Where once ther ewere four brands of mediocre coffee in the supermarket, we now have God knows how many local roasters, all tasting appreciably different and all competing like shark fetuses. there no longer is any one up-to-the-minute style of dress, no one talks about hem lengths anymore, because people wear whatever, and from whatever period they are retroing now.

    And you can get real quality in consumer goods now, not just the balnd, mediocre mass market crap that was the big and rela achievement of the post-war era.

    And this will happen in our politcal and cultural life too. So hang on and wait for it. You are bringing it into exoistence.

  • @logSoto

    “To me, a breakthrough would be explicitly recognizing that the primary difference between “gender privilege” and “benevolent sexism” is connotation.”

    I think the difference is the emphasis on who is doing the acting. In both male privilege and benevolent sexism, the emphasis is on men as actors and women as acted upon.

  • @Gingko

    “competing like shark fetuses.”

    I am stealing this phrase.

    You may consider this comment your receipt for taxation purposes.

  • The neat trick here is that there’s really no such thing as “academic” feminism; it’s the same said ideology taken “off the streets” and institutionalized.

    Are you kidding? Not hardly.

    If you can understand a single word of Judith Butler, please translate.

  • Random example from Judith Butler’s Wikipedia page. Judith explains gender performance for you:

    Performativity cannot be understood outside of a process of iterability, a regularized and constrained repetition of norms. And this repetition is not performed by a subject; this repetition is what enables a subject and constitutes the temporal condition for the subject. This iterability implies that ‘performance’ is not a singular ‘act’ or event, but a ritualized production, a ritual reiterated under and through constraint, under and through the force of prohibition and taboo, with the threat of ostracism and even death controlling and compelling the shape of the production, but not, I will insist, determining it fully in advance

    Blazing Saddles mayor voice: “NOW WHO CAN ARGUE WITH THAT?!”

    Butler is de rigueur and requiring reading. Those poor kids.

    No, I have never heard a street activist talk this kinda bullshit, and thank God.

  • Daisy:

    That really isn’t that hard to make out, but it’s also not half as smart as she’s trying to make it sound. Like many things in academia, it could easily be half as long and twice as readable. I imagine that, if it were put into plain English, most people would just call that common sense. The really tricky academics are the small handful who actually need big words and neologisms to articulate their ideas.

    Oh well, at least Judith Butler isn’t one of those old Persian historians. I hear from the people unfortunate enough to have to decipher them that one of the most famous ones once read a passage of his work to the royal court (this was under the Mongol ilkhanate), and no one in the room understood a word of it.

  • Daisy: She’s saying that men and women act like ‘men’ and ‘women’ because society encouraged them to behave that way through consistent societal shaming and taboo. That’s pretty much it.

    Or summed up even more simply: Our upbringing in a society influences how we behave as adults.

    The thing with the vast majority of postmodern claptrap is that when you do translate it into plain English it usually boils down to some inane claim. It’s just wrapped in “academese” which fools some people into thinking it’s really deep and insightful.

    It’s even funnier that she only mentions ‘prohibition and taboo’ as the factors at work, when in all likelihood it’s a whole range of stuff which influences people behaviour, including positive reinforcement. Not only is she saying something that’s “common sense”, but most people’s “common sense” would actually go into more detail and provide a more accurate assessment than she does!

    Paul: “is “iterability” even a word?”

    If by ‘word’ you mean something that’s accepted through common usage as part of the English lexicon then no. She’s created an “academese” bastardisation of the word “iteration” to make her point sound more intelligent and insightful than it actually is. By “process of iterability” she means “something done bit by bit”, but of course if she just wrote things like “bit by bit” she couldn’t justify her salary or position. Or her books, work and entire academic subject.

    P.S Did anyone else notice the “I will insist” bit at the end? She’s trying to give the impression that what she’s arguing is so contentious (and hence, not inane and ‘common sense’) that she has to passionately “insist” on her viewpoint, lol. I find these academics to be rather pathetic tbh.

  • Adiabat, the “I will insist” makes me think of a fundie preacher here in the South, so I steer clear instinctively. (You will insist, huh? Sounds serious.)

    I hate this postmod babble. And to make it more annoying, the 3rd wave feminists self-righteously talk up “intersectionality” (hands down, its THE favorite new feminist academic word used online) but don’t seem to understand that if you deliberately talk over people’s heads in this fashion, using the esoteric, highfalutin foreign language that Butler uses, that is HARDLY “INTERSECTIONAL” (i.e. appealing to everyone). “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit!” is the new rallying cry. Nice sentiment, but in that case, flush this gibberish down the toilet, please.

    But they are still teaching it and quoting it. I initially thought Butler/Butlerism was a fad, but no, obviously here for good.

  • Daisy:

    Intersectionality isn’t about ‘appealing to everyone.’ I think anyone who is using it to mean that must be rather odd, to be honest. It’s a feminist sociology theory about the interconnected-ness of different forms of oppression. I believe it got started with people writing that black women don’t just experience one set of things for being women and then another, separate set of things for being black. The idea is that you’re supposed to address all kinds of discrimination together, instead of focusing on one, but it seems to frequently get bogged down in the same binary models we’re all used to.

    To be honest, though, a large part of postmodernism really has been a real dead-end, seriously lacking in substance. It often reminds me of the scene in The Man Who Was Thursday, where in order to out-do a brilliant professor who advances arguments that only he is able to understand, an impostor proclaims complex-sounding nonsense that not even he understands. The crowd assumes that the less comprehensible statement is the more learned and throws the real professor out as an impostor.

  • “Butler is de rigueur and requiring reading. Those poor kids.”

    De rigueur mortis. Yes she is required and her shit is as turgid as Chomsky and his catamite chorus that we we required to read. Every third time he would say something lucid, and every sixth somethig valid, but it was always a very mundane observation so he had tot art it up in contrarian, brash sounding twaddlese.

    In fact there was a period in the 70s and 80s when the non-Chomskyans took to titleing and writing their papers in a very clear non-academic style, a kind of anti-academese, with whimsical punning titles.

    ““My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit!” is the new rallying cry”

    Which turns out to be a CYA ploy so they can go back to their in-group cant that intersects with no one but the other cool kids.

    SanS – you like “comptetive as shark fetuses?” You can have “catamite chorus” too.

  • Also, the ‘I will insist’ sounds more to me like that paragraph is from an introduction. It’s fairly standard practice to say something to that effect when introducing the position one is about to argue for in a paper or longer academic work. I see it as more stylistic convention than a pretension on Butler’s part.

  • @Daisy
    @Ginkgo

    “I hate this postmod babble. And to make it more annoying, the 3rd wave feminists self-righteously talk up “intersectionality” … but don’t seem to understand that if you deliberately talk over people’s heads in this fashion, using the esoteric, highfalutin foreign language that Butler uses, that is HARDLY “INTERSECTIONAL” (i.e. appealing to everyone). “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit!” is the new rallying cry. Nice sentiment, but in that case, flush this gibberish down the toilet, please” (Daisy).

    I have a similar, if different, issue with the postmodern “babble” in that it is almost never properly applied. I’ve received a lot of shit in some Feminist spaces where I engage for correctly applying Foucault as a descriptive, not prescriptive, philosophy. It also dovetails with my conversation here with Ginkgo.

    In simplest terms, Foucault (on which all postmodernism is founded upon) made no moral judgement in a prescriptive way (i.e. he didn’t say “do x, y and z and things will improve”) within his work. Instead, Foucault employed his focus as a historian to explore the WHY of power and how it becomes cemented in a process of normalization and in ways that we wouldn’t normally guess.

    The irony is that all “Social Justice” philosophy since has been a process of trying to inject a sense of moral imperative into Foucault’s work. They’re just bending and re-shaping the philosophy for their own POLITICAL gains. And there’s so very much to gain by studying Foucault, but it diminishes when we muddy the waters of an apolitical philosophy with our momentary, blind political needs.

    Foucault, if I can remind people, knowingly infected others with HIV before his death. He also justified it because “he had the power”. When you actually look deeply at and critically read Foucault, it actually comes off closer to an Übermensch philosophy than anything else.

    And there’s an issue there. While we can bemoan the fact that “academic language” is above the heads of many, it’s also far more important than the immensely subjective emotional and small-temporal approach by those who exhibit the flip-side from academics. I guess I’d prefer to deal with twenty Butlers before I’d ever want to engage with two thousand emotionally-driven, misunderstanding individuals.

    And that’s because someone like Butler CAN be swayed by argument. You can’t really say the same of an individual who is driven by emotional anger, self-identified victimhood and vindictiveness.

    And it becomes an absolute mess (I originally wrote something else, are curses accepted here?) when we impress BIG IDEAS on small minds and when we have people who lack the ability to understand Foucault trying to tell everyone that Foucault was a Social Justice Warrior and all that, which is just not at all true.

    Because Foucault is REALLY IMPORTANT to our society today… But not in the way that Sally Social Justice has been taught. In fact, the whole thing is a somewhat ironic example of how power is gained and exercised.

    Feminists, as a political bloc, have absolute tons of social power. Yet that power is based on “given” power because of supposed inequalities. Here’s the real issue with Feminism: Their huge power (in the “West”) is based on this idea of oppression; they leverage their oppression (which was pretty real from 1939-2006ish) to gain power; once in power, they don’t know how to shift their rhetoric and aim so it can accept a gain in power without still relying on the “oppressed” justification for that power. So we get manic responses which dig into emotional power now that the political end has been gained.

    It’s really difficult to figure this all out, and if a big portion of the population didn’t think they were geniuses (which dovetails into the “everyone is special” sort of education most of these under-30 individuals received) they wouldn’t screw up the important stuffs. On one hand I feel like I try to maintain a certain level of discourse which keeps the “head above water” and avoid the emotional; on the other hand I feel kinda shitty when I write posts like this because it’s easy to take an emotional stance and call me out for my blatant elitism.

    “Too many cooks spoil the stew” right? There are so many charismatic voices that need to be quiet because charisma doesn’t equate to understanding. In fact, their limited ability to understand becomes a general human-society liability.

    So I always feel stuck between engaging with people who just don’t understand what’s actually going on and being an asshole who dismisses others. There’s a line that we seriously need to draw, as a society facing the internet, where we don’t assume the same level of discourse from everyone. For every person who understands the underlying causes and effects, we have a thousand who just want to have an outlet for their own daily struggles.

  • “I have a similar, if different, issue with the postmodern “babble” in that it is almost never properly applied”

    This happens with a lot of technical language. A perennial favorite on linguist blogs is skewering misuese of “passive voice”.

    A related abuse is the appropriation of terminology. There was atiem in late-80s feminism when you would hear sarah lawrnce feminists talking baout “speaking bitterness” (shu1 ku3) which was a term used in china to get peasants to raise their consciousness of thier own oppression. It was just nauseating to hear rich white girls use the term.

    ” I guess I’d prefer to deal with twenty Butlers before I’d ever want to engage with two thousand emotionally-driven, misunderstanding individuals.”

    I’d prefer not to have to prefer one or the other. Certainly there is a third or fourth alternative available.

    “And it becomes an absolute mess (I originally wrote something else, are curses accepted here?) ”

    Fuckin’ – A.

    You have put your finger on a problem that is never going away, that can only be managed and I think the way to mange it is by the feel or judgment you are showing in discussing it. It comes down to defining the objective of the discussion and focusing all efforts on it so that the criterion for a formulation is how well it advances or impedes those efforts.

  • Hiding: It’s a feminist sociology theory about the interconnected-ness of different forms of oppression.

    Oh I know, your definition is much more precise than mine. My point is that the word is now commonly employed ANY time someone feels “left out”–sort of like a linguist short cut, i.e. “you aren’t being intersectional!”

    In Australia, there is this term “standpoint theory”–and I actually like that term better and think it has more agency.

    Crow: The irony is that all “Social Justice” philosophy since has been a process of trying to inject a sense of moral imperative into Foucault’s work.

    Very interesting.

    Crow: Foucault, if I can remind people, knowingly infected others with HIV before his death.

    I did know that… and the Foucaultians will fiercely argue that he didn’t ‘really’ do that or was already addle-brained from the disease by then, etc. They get very defensive on moral grounds, I’ve noticed.

    Crow: And that’s because someone like Butler CAN be swayed by argument.

    But you’d have to be able to argue on her level, and most of us can’t even understand what the hell she is saying in the first place. I was pretty sure she was saying what all of you translated her as saying (haha) but I would never try to actually converse with someone like that. Elitism is built into the discourse; it is not intended (or even possible) for people who are not scholars. They can easily best you by pulling out words like “iterability”–and acting like OF COURSE everyone knows what that means.

    I think one of the attractions of Butler and Foucault, is that if you CAN understand them, well, it means you are obviously superior. People like to haul out the names and beat you over the head with them. Its a form of intellectual bragging.

    Check out Lynda Barry’s “20 Stages of Reading” comic …. go to #14 🙂
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/lynda-barry-the-20-stages-of-reading/2013/09/13/e82fd970-1cbf-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_gallery.html#photo=1
    (Pleased to say I have passed through all stages and have now arrived at #20)

  • There’s a piece on an anarchism blog that talks about “leaving the cathedral” (http://bit.ly/18pfKyp). That’s how I view some MGTOWs and MRAs in rejecting both traditionalism and feminism.

    I like what it says above: “the MRM is about upending traditional gender roles entirely.”

  • @Dani

    That’s a great article, and I think it speaks to me quite a bit as I keep circling back to Anarchism and Anarchists because they seem to be the singular progressive voice that doesn’t fall into the trap of “normalizing themselves” in response to culture. Anarchists, generally, tend to exhibit far more of an urge to explore as opposed to pass judgement. And that’s a big issue in today’s pop-cultural self-reflection.

    You might like FeralFaun if you haven’t read him before. Just for instance, here’s a piece he wrote back in 1990 (1990!!!) which reads like the sort of critique that’s leveled twenty years later. Here’s the link: http://www.finimondo.org/node/381

    And I think that this is what makes MGTOW and Men’s Rights movements so very threatening. It isn’t about swallowing the pill whole despite the rhetoric. In most cases you have a lot of MGTOW and MRA individuals who are holding back on final judgement while they investigate these things in “the workshop” which are taken as gospel but don’t hold up to scrutiny. It’s the same issue as above where it’s intellectual vs. emotional and there’s no good middle ground that actually exists.

    @Daisy

    “standpoint theory”. I like that a lot! But I’ve also seen (as I’m sure you have as well) so many people on many topics who shout these buzzwords and employ them in means that betray a lack of understanding of the actual effects.

    And ironically enough, I often feel that people DO understand this highly-academic stuffs. I’ve seen so many people without a background wrestle with the questions raised by, say, Foucault or Butler or Said in really good ways. I think that there maybe exists a frontal STOP to academic arguments where we’re all putting ourselves down when there’s no need to do so. I really don’t believe that someone like Butler is completely incomprehensible to most people. I think there exist a number of skills that aren’t elitist that help people to parse the language and intent.

    I’d also double-down that I firmly believe that most Postmodern philosophy after Foucault has indeed been this process of trying to inject an absolutist moral thread into Foucault’s very amoral work (not that he was a monster, but that his work was about explanation and not instruction).

    I mean… I consider myself to be rather much Foucaultian. But I also don’t employ Foucault as a cudgel with which to beat others down. Foucault, despite the insane density of language, provided some really accessible ideas about the how and what of power.

    And ironically, Feminism-as-an-institution fits the bill for a wielder of Foucaultian power. Too much of Feminism is happening in places where that power is already apparent. What kills me is that as a moment they seem to have a basic understanding of Foucault but in this aspect where they are very much a source of huge power they’re still employing Foucaultian principles to try to justify more and more power.

    And part of the larger understanding is that the whole system changes to accommodate new power. Too many people see power as an inherent, unchanging thing. In fact, power is something that shifts and changes in the course of minutes, not centuries.

    “But you’d have to be able to argue on her level, and most of us can’t even understand what the hell she is saying in the first place.”

    And I think there’s a natural push and pull between accessibility and what Pound called an “economy of language”. The buzzwords that are misapplied and abused by so many are actually really loaded and worthwhile concepts to look at. The problem is more in the leap to judgement than anything else, in my opinion. There’s a certain trend now that is destructive where we insist on loading moral judgement on everything and everything seems to be approached from an emotional standpoint.

    That’s a problem, and the solution isn’t at all apparent for anyone. You need to ensure that everyone has access to information but you also can’t just dumb it down to a place where that information loses it’s meaning. In so many cases we see otherwise deep thoughts being eviscerated by people who can only see things in black and white moral terms. It’s useless to explore the nature of privilege, for example, when there comes attached an immediate and unmoving moral judgement.

    I worry, but am unconvinced, that the more recent anti-intellectual turn we’re seeing is responsible for creating a cultural norm where emotion trumps everything else. That’s a huge, huge issue for actually getting something done.

    And I hate feeling like there’s an inherent moral assignment when one engages on the level of someone like Butler. I’m thankful to have an intellectual capacity to inherently understand, and when it comes down to it is more of an opportunity to develop critically in a way where it becomes understandable — it’s a privilege that isn’t a bad thing at all.

    And that comic was golden! I loved it! But it’s also just an exercise in anxiety and it speaks to the same sort of anti-intellectual anxiety that we’re discussing. It’s always intra-personal and always a “measure”. It’s tough to find a good medium that doesn’t sacrifice something.

    That comic is about how we feel “less-than” because we don’t meet a basic idea of what’s “acceptable”. Dani’s point above is spot on, here, because we’re all now trying to fit the latest mould of what progressives decide is okay or not. And this is all in the while while those same powerful progressives make airtight rules about speech and ideas where it has far more to do with the make-believe which supports theories of victimization.

    It’s like how you’ll never have an issue if you’re respectful and understanding of POC issues. But when it comes to actually doing something to change that it’s almost always seen as a negative. Without the bad conditions the power becomes lessened and losing power is the one biggest anxiety for those who have power.

  • Daisy and Crow:

    While in concept I find standpoint theory an interesting tool and consider most of its positions fairly reasonable, in practice I find that many applications of standpoint theory, and especially standpoint feminism, use the concept simply as an excuse to exclude the perspectives of those declared to be in a position of power (or rather, to belong to a group in a position of power), or to assert the perspective of the writer regarding the experiences, behaviors, and motives of such people to be more accurate than that of the people themselves. In short, I find that many supposed practitioners of standpoint theory merely set up their own preferred standpoint as dominant within the space of their discourse, rather than attempting to give weight to all standpoints, and I find this to be frequently problematic. Basically, I do not think much of strong objectivity.

    I am probably biased when it comes to standpoint theory, however, because I am always distrustful of theories that predict outcomes or experiences for myself that I cannot identify in my own life. Every application of standpoint theory I have personally read (hardly an exhaustive study, but, I think, a fair sampling) predicts that, based on my race, gender, sexual preferences, and class, I ought experience some feeling of community or continuity with the dominant standpoint or the status quo. On the contrary, I feel intensely alienated by the world as a whole and have never yet encountered any work of academia, fiction, or philosophy that in the least approximates my perceptions, experiences, or emotional responses. I have begun a grand survey of philosophy and social theory from antiquity to the present day in every language I can manage to muddle through in (I’m in the process of teaching myself the rudiments of several more in an effort to be as inclusive as possible), but I have yet to find any clue to a solution to this problem of personal identity.

    Daisy:

    I am so very glad that the estimates of time given in that excellent comic are not set in stone; if they were, I would have to wait at least another twenty years to be ready for this contract to translate detective fiction, a scenario that would put me in rather dire straits economically.

  • @Typhon:

    “To me, a breakthrough would be explicitly recognizing that the primary difference between “gender privilege” and “benevolent sexism” is connotation.”

    I think the difference is the emphasis on who is doing the acting. In both male privilege and benevolent sexism, the emphasis is on men as actors and women as acted upon.

    It’s disturbing how they turn the passive state of holding privilege into an act of oppression. I didn’t consider that, but you’re right.

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