Men's Rights Activists, Anti-Feminists, And Other Misogynists Comment On George Sodini

I’m really hesitant to post this, because it is so ugly and so disturbing. But… here’s a list of some of the worst quotes I’ve seen from (people I think are) MRAs and anti-feminists, commenting on George Sodini, the woman-hating racist who shot 12 women, 3 of whom died, in a health club earlier this week. There’s a bunch of quotes here, but I’m sure I could have found 2 or 3 times as many if I hadn’t gotten sick of reading.

By no means do I suggest that the quotes in this post represent the most common, centrist views in the MRA, anti-feminist and “pick up artist” communities. In most of the forums where I read these quotes, I did see occasional disagreements with the kind of thing I’m quoting — although all too often, not — and of course many condemned Sodini. And, obviously, I’ve cherry-picked the most offensive comments, not the most typical comments.

Nonetheless, most of these views are, in a way, accepted within those communities. No one is shocked to see these views posted; no one is banned or modded for posting these views; and the disagreements are, in many cases, rare and mild, if they come at all. In other words, the most vilely misogynistic garbage, even to the point of sympathizing with murder, is part of the spectrum of ordinary opinion, within these movements. And that’s both a cause for concern, and illustrates what’s so fucked about about the “men’s rights” movement and community.

MRAs aside, though, I think that George Sodini had a lot in common with attitudes in our society generally. As Amanda says, Sodini’s blog was full of absolutely typical “nice guy ™” bitterness and entitlement. Mass violence is what’s unusual about Sodini, not his sense of entitlement to sex with attractive women, nor his resentful misogyny. That sense of frustrated entitlement, I suspect, motivates most mass shooters like Sodini (which is probably why nearly all of them are white men — no one else in our society feels so entitled).

For more on anti-feminist reactions to Sodini, see Amanda, Elizabitchez, Lisa at PunkAssBlog, and Jezabel.

Quotes under the fold. Trigger warning.

George Sodini is an MRA hero as much a reason to learn game. Finally a mass murderer writes a relatively coherent manifesto. Could be better, but at least it is implied that feminism is to blame and he is taking a last stand. I had been waiting for this (almost thinking I had to do it myself) and I am impressed. Kudos.

Women are treated much better than men in America. This is merely the blowback from feminism.

Women have to accept this incident as a tax on their freeloading. Women get men to buy them drinks, dinners, and bridezilla weddings, all in return for virtually nothing. Once in a while, a few women get shot up. Given the $500 billion a year that women mooch off of men each year, that is a relatively small tax to pay.

Women, particularly the feminazis, have a good deal of introspection to do. Better they do it now before Islam forces them to do it on Islam’s terms.

…he had every reason to lash out at the society that screwed him over and make its denizens feel some of the pain that they had inflicted on him. There are millions, tens of millions of men in this country who have been deceived in a similar fashion, and there are numerous Sodinis amongst their ranks who will react violently and murderously once they uncover the truth.

What amuses me is how the women of this country and the West don’t realize the role they have in creating men like Sodini.

One thing that might help prevent future incidents of this sort is repealing IMBRA, the federal law that essentially put the mail order bride industry out of business.

His last girlfriend was around twenty years ago. After twenty years of rejection by women, he finally had the courage to take his revenge by shooting at members of the sex who rejected him and made him feel like a loser.

I am calling him a hero for being a symbol for the consequences of denying men sex, not for killing those women. Obviously they didn’t personally deserve it. But something like this has to happen, perhaps hundreds of times over again, before feminists get the message. [...]

I know the feminist media will try to emphasize his other issues and downplay the sexual frustration. Even so, his other issues mostly seem to result from an absent father (who was just a “sperm donor” in his words), and that is not supposed to be a problem according to the feminists either. So either way this is good press for the MRA movement.

I think every man DOES deserve to get laid.

For every nerdy, smelly, fat, or otherwise socially undesirable man out there, there is an equally unattractive woman walking around. (more than one actually because there are more women than men on the planet)

The problem is, our feminized society has given every woman the power to hold out for higher quality men than they deserve.

This creates an imbalance that leads to tragedies like the one in PA.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Newton’s 3rd Law)

If empowered women keep applying pressure, they will create an explosion.

Import ten, twenty million nubile, lithe, young women to America and repeal the prohibition on prostitution and it would go a long way towards eliminating these sort of incidents and the anger brewing inside of millions of men like Sodini, not so much because they could get safe, affordable blow jobs, but it would result in the lowering of the bitch shields of millions of women by orders of magnitude if they had to compete with those millions of nubile, lithe, young women.

A decent looking man who earns a good living and does not abuse women DESERVES to get laid. Period.

The fact that so many do not, is a crime.

And in a just society, all crimes are eventually punished.

Because of feminism, sexual harassment, political correctness, and the MSM, men have become neutered and sterile. [...]

As an aside:
Have you guys noticed a trend in fat women? Some of the ones I have spoken to actually believe they can get alpha cock. They don’t want to hook up with beta men either. This is a troubling development.

If 99% of women weren’t so damn shallow If 99% of women weren’t so damn shallow, shit like this wouldn’t occur.

[And then, in response to that comment:]

Not one single woman is capable of understanding this. This is why women should not vote.

my advice to men in this country after this incident
stock up on ammo, learn the art of being a reloader, and buy you a revolver, a shotgun, a high powered rifle that fires something equivilant to a .308, and an “assault weapon” that fires 7.62′s
the grabbers are gonna jump on this

you are right, the way this story is covered is proof of institutional misandry

A man deserves to get laid, just a a person who walks into Starbucks with $5 deserves a drink.

Men do everything women ask them to do, in pursuit of sex, and when it comes time for women to give it up, they don’t.

So just like that guy with $5, men have followed the rules to create the value that women have demanded in exchange for sex, and after they pay, many of them walk away empty handed.

In any other place in ‘the world’ a crime like this would not be tolerated. But is is perfectly OK in the sexual market to extract value from a man for years and never fuck him. (Hello, paging Lady Raine!)

Women (like LR and others) enjoy love, affection, and devotion of men and then reneg on the sex.

As long as they can afford it, women will go for the best men, and they won’t give up their equality, largely backed by affirmative action, without massive violence perpetrated by the minority of men who are left sexless under feminism.

Therefore I applaud rape and purposeful violence against women where it is made clear that embittered men are hurting and killing them for not putting out. Only then will women hopefully abandon their equality and be forced to settle monogamously by sheer economic necessity.

[Response to the "applaud rape" comment:]

Ok, that I don’t cosign with… but I do find it hilarious!

[The only other response to the "applaud rape" comment:]

While I don’t approve of this, I fully understand that when a person has been so heavily subjugated, abused, and dehumanized, they will root for something, anything, that strikes back.

Urban women today, are sowing the seeds of violence against themselves. From guys that seem harmless today (like Sodini was until last week).

Women simply have to accept this incident as a tax.

Women get men to buy them drinks, dinners, etc. their whole lives. Women have no moral restraints about being moochers while doing nothing for the man in return.

Every now and then, a few women will get shot up by a man. That is the tax on the freebies women gladly accept with no reciprocity.

It is a very minor tax if just 3 women die in return for the $100 billion or whatever than men pay to women each year (if you count divorce court theft, the number is much higher).

Murder is always wrong, but women are not willing to accept their own hand in creating this backlash.

I saw the news today, Jeb, and I knew that those stuck-up B’s at MSNBC would be going on and on about him hating women, when they don’t know the whole story. I first thought about those frigid harpies at the exercise studio who were too up-tight to give a guy a chance on a date. I bet when the lights went out and they felt those warm bullets entering their bodies they wished that they had been a little nicer to the guys out there who just needed a date.

WOMEN need to realize something, beauty is only skin deep and a very flimsy asset. Men are scared, scarred, angry and push agains the wall. A man can not complete in this media drive word of flash, glitz and the right thing to have to impress the right women. A woman in this culture has vary little sense of loyalty and no sense of reasoning towards what a decent man can be. Even the most timid of dogs, when pushed so far will bear thier teeth and strick back. I think that is what happened here. [...]

Women need to wake up and stop being so vindictive, but it is hard to wrest power away from someone, especially when they are granted that power by ill-gotten means.

Again, I understand why this has happened completely.

He is 100% right about the cruelty of women. He should’ve written a book, i guess too many feminazis would’ve protested his book, so he had to use this final method.

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199 Responses to Men's Rights Activists, Anti-Feminists, And Other Misogynists Comment On George Sodini

  1. 101
    PG says:

    I am unaware of any data supporting your assertion about adult authorities protecting bullied girls. Do you have any?

    Particularly if we take seriously Daran’s claim that “Worse was the unrelenting taunting and social ostracisation from both girls and boys.” Maybe things have changed recently, but when I was in school, adults were much more likely to intervene to stop physical violence than they were to do anything about emotional abuse. Kids who went home with bruises and black eyes, even if they lied and said it was from sports or an accident, would incur a certain number of angry phone calls to the school from parents. Kids who went home and cried in their rooms or cut themselves or developed eating disorders in response to being called fat rarely did. I had a horrible time socially from about 4th through 9th grades, and no one ever did anything about it. Kids would taunt me about my religion and ethnicity and appearance, and teachers were conveniently deaf to it. Did anyone here go to a school where teachers intervened to stop the taunting and social ostracism of girls, but not of boys?

  2. 102
    Mandolin says:

    Another girl who suffered school bullying bad enough to develop eating disorders, panic attacks and depression by ages 11-13.

    I was lucky enough to have a teacher for 5th and 6th grades who not only failed to defend, but instigated the attacks. She was later fired for doing things like this. However, someone stupidly released her name and the reason she was fired to the media, and so she was able to successfully sue the school district for much more than she would have ever made in salary.

    At least she was out of the classroom, though.

  3. 103
    Dianne says:

    I am unaware of any data supporting your assertion about adult authorities protecting bullied girls. Do you have any?

    Anecdotally, no adult protected me when I was bullied as a child. As I remember, if I complained, the adults usually told me that a boy bullying me meant that he liked me. I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess that a boy being bullied at least was spared that little mind game from the adults. On the other hand, I never got physically beat up as badly as Daran did so maybe it’s a wash.

    I don’t really like this comparison anyway. It’s way too Oppression Olympics. It’s bad for a child of any gender to be bullied and its entirely appalling that adults don’t intervene, no matter whether their excuse is that the boy should learn to be tougher or they don’t want to get in the way of the girl finding true love with her abuser.

  4. 104
    ballgame says:

    Jake, partially this is a function of enforced gender segregation. I mean, are you seriously going to contend that when a boy bully starts beating up a girl, authorities are no more likely to intervene than when boys start beating up other boys? When I was growing up — admittedly a while ago — boys hitting boys was just a fact of life, while boys hitting girls was verboten. Though I imagine that’s changed some, I’m skeptical as to how much; I’ve seen stories where adults came down hard on a very young boy for kissing a girl classmate (i.e. it was considered harassment). I suspect that had the boy punched the girl instead, they would not have simply instructed the girl to learn how to defend herself (which was — is? — the standard response for when a boy is victimized).

    Now, the question is, what about when girls bully other girls? Girls certainly have their own dominance hierarchies, but they’re far less likely to be violent (for reasons too complicated to get into here). I don’t know to what extent that ‘girls violently abusing other girls’ gets a blind eye from authorities, but girl-on-girl violence is much less likely to occur than boy-on-boy violence.

    The whole question of emotional abuse is a valid one, PG & Mandolin*, but such exchanges are extraordinarily more difficult to analyze than violent interactions. At any rate, I’m unaware of any data that would establish that boys are less likely to emotionally abuse other boys than girls are to emotionally abuse other girls (though I think it’s plausible). And, rightly or wrongly, we generally consider violence to be worse than emotional abuse. I mean, I can scarcely imagine a typical feminist approving of a man charged with domestic violence who would say, “It’s true I hit her, your Honor, but it was self defense … she was emotionally abusing me!”

    Let me re-emphasize: I’m not saying that emotional abuse isn’t potentially quite serious, only pointing out that we put it in a different category than violence, which is generally considered more serious … whether or not the victims of the abuse (like Daran) consider it to be worse than the violence they’ve experienced. (Of course, in the case of many boy victims, neither the violence nor the emotional abuse will be considered to be “serious” by the relevant authorities.)

    *Mandolin, I realize that I’m assuming you were referring to being emotionally bullied (like PG), but if you were talking about being physically bullied, it would be relevant to know the context of that, i.e. were you actually beaten up by a gang of girls (or boys) and the assault ignored by the teachers?

  5. 105
    PG says:

    I don’t really like this comparison anyway. It’s way too Oppression Olympics.

    I don’t think it’s meant to be Oppression Olympics; rather, it’s an effort to see if there’s any truth whatsoever to ballgame’s claim @ 98 that

    feminists will claim that the male victim of bullying is still “privileged,” even though he is getting hammered with no effective intervention from adult authorities, who would (generally) act to protect girls who might be similarly victimized.

    There seems to be a consensus that these adult authorities who would act to protect girls from the the ‘similar victimization’ that Daran described as the worst part of his experience, i.e., the social ostracism and taunting, are not residing in the United States of America, whatever may be the practice in other countries.

    So ballgame is now saying that “we generally consider violence to be worse than emotional abuse … whether or not the victims of the abuse (like Daran) consider it to be worse than the violence they’ve experienced.”

    But then that undercuts the point Daran was making by raising the emotional abuse in the first place, which is that both boys and girls inflicted it on him. If we look only at physical violence, then it’s back to “This is what boys do to other boys,” which is what Daran did not want to be saying.

  6. 106
    Dianne says:

    PG: As far as whether boys or girls are bullied more, this study suggests that, in general, girls are more likely to be victims of bullying and boys more likely to be bullies than the other way around. (Though one could criticize it on the basis of its being a self-report study and maybe boys are encouraged to deny being bullied.)

    As far as how boys and girls are bullied and whether adults intervene, I didn’t find anything directly, but this study found that girls, but not boys, who are bullied are more likely to have serious mental issues later in life, suggesting that the damage being done to girls is worse than the damage being done to boys.

    Of course, I didn’t make a systematic study of the issue and would be interested to see if anyone had other data to bring up.

  7. 107
    ballgame says:

    As far as whether boys or girls are bullied more, this study suggests that, in general, girls are more likely to be victims of bullying and boys more likely to be bullies than the other way around. (Though one could criticize it on the basis of its being a self-report study and maybe boys are encouraged to deny being bullied.)

    A more important criticism would be that my points are confined to life in the U.S. (and to some extent to the rest of the First World, though in many respects the violence issue is worse in the U.S. than in those other countries AFAICT). Studies that look at developing nations wouldn’t be relevant to the points I’m trying to make, Dianne … we might, in fact, be in ‘violent agreement’ about the oppression girls experience in those countries in certain areas of life.

    (BTW, your second link appears to be borked.)

    So ballgame is now saying that “we generally consider violence to be worse than emotional abuse … whether or not the victims of the abuse (like Daran) consider it to be worse than the violence they’ve experienced.”

    But then that undercuts the point Daran was making by raising the emotional abuse in the first place, which is that both boys and girls inflicted it on him. If we look only at physical violence, then it’s back to “This is what boys do to other boys,” which is what Daran did not want to be saying.

    I don’t agree at all, PG. Daran appeared to me to be making the point that an assertion that males are ‘universally privileged’ is pretty ludicrous if a subset of males is violently and socially victimized, particularly when that victimization is even (partially) at the hands of the ostensibly “oppressed” group.

    While I do appreciate your noting the U.S.-focused nature of my comments, I’m agnostic on whether authorities would be more likely to intervene in the social ostracization of girls than they would be for boys. I think the conceptual difficulties in dealing with this kind of thing make it awkward for authorities to intervene at all, frankly. I do believe (based on my experience and general knowledge) that authorities have been and remain far more likely to intervene to protect girls from violence than boys.

  8. 108
    Crys T says:

    Maybe from actual physical violence, ballgame, but certainly not from emotional abuse.

    And not from physical abuse that isn’t necessarily violent in the sense of kicks and punches. For example, I never remember a teacher/authority figure ever intervening when the boys on the playground would form their little raiding parties and charge around pulling girls’ skirts up. Oh no, that was just amusing “boys will be boys” fun. And no adults seemed to be too anxious to intervene later on in junior high, when the boys would start grabbing boobs and asses.

    And of course, at all stages, this would be accompanied by overt psychological abuse, often delivered in the classroom, in clear hearing range of the teacher.

    Yes, some girls also engaged in verbal abuse, but in my experience that was never really a big problem until junior high. And, also in my experience, girls were far, far more likely to get told off by an adult for making a rude crack about someone than the boys were. That may have been due to time (mid to late 70s) and place (Ohio), though.

    And yes, the boys who were bullies didn’t only target girls, they also picked on other boys they considered weak. If anything, I think adults colluded with them in this.

  9. 109
    PG says:

    I do believe (based on my experience and general knowledge) that authorities have been and remain far more likely to intervene to protect girls from violence than boys.

    I don’t think that’s true either. Girls who “fought like girls” (pinching, slapping, hair-pulling) rarely got into trouble at my schools, because it was not the type of violence that adults in authority found threatening to the maintenance of order. A girl getting pinched by an unknown assailant while she’s in the shower after gym class, or on a nighttime bus trip in the dark, isn’t violence that poses a threat to maintaining the activity that’s supposed to be occurring at the time (getting all the girls showered and dressed in time to return to the classroom; getting the children safely back home after a field trip).

    In contrast, girls who “fought like boys” — openly, publicly, drawing a crowd, possibly with weapons — were very heavily penalized, and moreover treated as freakish and abnormal. Girls who participated in a fight that looked like a “boys’ fight” were derogated as not just violent but as “crazy.” Maybe contrary to appearances, the people where I grew up were actually great about gender equality, because boys who fought like boys also got into trouble. I definitely witnessed more examples at school of boys’ getting into trouble for fighting other boys than I did of boys’ getting into trouble for how they treated their girlfriends. Again, the difference was in the threat to order: the boys’ abuse of girls happened quickly, a shove into the lockers when she talked back or bending her arm behind her back if she tried to walk away from an argument.

    People in authority mostly care about violence to the extent that it is disruptive of order. This is part of the greater level of enforcement against lower class men early on of laws against domestic violence; their abuse of their wives was more likely to be public, to draw the neighbors’ attention, etc. because they lived more of their lives in public spaces and close quarters, and so authorities cared more about it. We’re seeing schoolteachers venture into policing emotional abuse because it’s starting to be understood as threat to students’ ability to be taught — which means the school may not achieve its mission.

  10. 110
    Redisca says:

    I was surprised by CrysT’s post because it so accurately reflects my experiences of growing up in another country in the 1980′s. Yes, I would say the school authorities were much more likely to protect girls than boys from being punched or kicked. But other forms of violence — cutting off a lock of a girl’s hair, putting chewing gum in her hair, yanking her braid, pulling up her skirt, grabbing her breasts — were dismissed as mere “boys will be boys” behavior. And a girl was far more likely to be punished for physically retaliating against such forms of violence than a boy for perpetrating it in the girls place. Of course, making lewd and filthy comments about girls was par for the course; girls who retaliated with similar language were almost invariably punished. My impression was that bullying was tolerated as long as it was “gender-appropriate”: in other words, if you are a bully and your intended victim is male, you punch or kick him; if your intended victim is female, you pull her hair, grab her breasts. As long as you make those distinctions, you won’t have any trouble with the school.

  11. 111
    fidelbogen says:

    If you mean that you back the horse which says “gendered behaviour is a result of the complex interaction between essential differences and cultural forces” over the one that says “gendered behaviour is a result of cultural forces. There are no essential differences”, then I agree with you.

    If you mean that you back the horse which says “gendered behaviour is a result of essential differences only” then I strongly disagree.

    @Daran: Excellent, I see that we have no appreciable differences here. (Although I might quibble on a few points.)

    I think it is patently absurd to say that ALL observed behavior differences between men and women are essentialistically driven. Of COURSE culture plays a role. Duh! But. . how much of a role, remains to be ascertained. So I would say. . . let science sort it out.

    But that a lot of critically important areas of behavior per male v. female are biogenetically rooted, is not a claim I would care to dispute.

    Essentialism, at its core, is ‘essentially’ correct. IMHO. ;)

    The bare existence of these underlying differences is not, IMHO, at issue.

    And of course, to pretend that they don’t exist, and make that pretext a driver of law, public policy, or any form of ‘future-sculpting’ . . . would be the height of folly.

  12. 112
    Daran says:

    Supporting quotes and links, please, for your claim that feminists ubiquitously claim that being beaten up for being not masculine enough is a privilege?

    Of course feminists do not say literally “being beaten up … is a privilege”. It is, however, a logical consequence of what feminists do ubiqutiously say.

    When someone posits a dynamic that purportedly victimises or harms men in particular or more than women, or even which particularly harmed an individual man, it is a ubiquitous response of feminists to say “Patriarchy hurts men too” Do you dispute that? Do you really want citations?

    Now lets look at a defintion of “Patriarchy”. Here’s one you commended to me:

    Patriarchal social structures are:

    1. Male dominated–which doesn’t mean that all men are powerful or all women are powerless–only that the most powerful roles in most sectors of society are held predominantly by men, and the least powerful roles are held predominantly by women

    2. Organized around an obsession with control, with men elevated in the social structure because of their presumed ability to exert control (whether rationally or through violence or the threat of violence) and women devalued for their supposed lack of control–women are assumed to need men’s supervision, protection, or control

    3. Male identified: aspects of society and personal attributes that are highly valued are associated with men, while devalued attributes and social activities are associated with women. There is a sense of threat to the social structure of patriarchies when these gendered associations are destabilized–and the response in patriarchy is to increase the level of control, often by exerting control over women (as well as groups who are devalued by virtue of race, ethnicity, sexuality, or class).

    4. Male centered: It is taken for granted that the center of attention is the natural place for men and boys, and that women should occupy the margins. Public attention is focused on men. (To test this, take a look at any daily newspaper; what do you find on the front page about men? about women?)

    So, Patriarchal social structures are male-dominated. In other words males dominate. It does not say that males are dominated. Indeed males are noticeably absent from the list of those whom Patriarchy “exert[s] control over”. Now look at the other words and phrase it uses to describe the male condition in a Patriarchy: … most powerful … elevated … highly valued … centered … focus [of] public attention.

    I’m not asking about your bullys’ experiences, but about yours. Where you most powerful? Were you elevated? Highly valued? Centered? Do those words describe your experience?

    There is nothing in that definition that says Patriarchy hurts men, nothing in it could even lead to men being hurt. The concept of hurting men is entirely absent. Feminists invoke PHMT in one and only one circumstance – whenever there is an inconvenient fact which if treated properly would tend to refute Patriarchy as defined. PHMT does two things. It is a false claim made by feminists, that the inconvenient fact is encompassed by the theoretical framework of Patriarchy. And it serves as a kind of conceptual dustbin into which the inconvenient fact can be stowed. Once that is done, both bin and fact are forgotten.

    Taking Patriarchy as defined as our starting point, we can immediately infer universal male privilege. Universal male privilege implies, as a particular instance, Ampersand’s personal privilege.

    To summarise: Amp being bullied –> Patriarchy –> Universal male privilege –> Ampersand’s personal privilege.

  13. 113
    Jake Squid says:

    I do believe (based on my experience and general knowledge) that authorities have been and remain far more likely to intervene to protect girls from violence than boys.

    That’s what I thought. My anecdotal experience and that of many of my friends differs significantly from yours. Since I don’t have any data to support my anecdotes I make no such claim. I’m willing to say that, IME, the authorities are no more likely to intervene to protect girls from violence than boys. I am not, however, willing to make the claim that this is generally true since I have no studies supporting my position at hand. I would appreciate it if you were to do the same and make clear from the outset that that is merely your opinion and not a statement of fact.

  14. 114
    Daran says:

    Daisy Deadhead:

    the talk about schoolyard bullies. MALE bullies, right?

    God forbid that we should ever focus upon male victims. Quick! Look at something else. Women! Male perpetrators! Anything but the male victim.

    There is the contradiction, Daran. Men don’t make war?

    No.

    Who made war on you?

    Everyone.

  15. 115
    Daran says:

    I’m willing to say that, IME, the authorities are no more likely to intervene to protect girls from violence than boys. I am not, however, willing to make the claim that this is generally true since I have no studies supporting my position at hand. I would appreciate it if you were to do the same and make clear from the outset that that is merely your opinion and not a statement of fact.

    I don’t have studies concerning bullying, but I know of another context in which it is a fact that the authorities intervened to protect women from violence even though men were objectively more vulnerable. Early on in the Balkan conflict, a pattern was established that when a town fell, the conquering forces would separate women, girls, young boys and sometimes old men from older boys and men up to middle age. The former would be expelled en mass into neighbouring uncontested territory. The latter would be murdered. All of them.

    Despite this factual background, on several occasions, most notable in Srebrenca in 1993, the UN organised evacuations from vulnerable towns. Able-bodied men up to middle age were explicitly excluded. In 1995 Srebrenica fell. As had happened in other towns, most of the remaining women and children were expelled, quite literally bussed out by the Serb attackers. The only men who survived were those who made a three-day journey to safety, on foot, across country, without supplies, many of them without weapons, harried and attacked all the way.

    The reasons for the decision to exclude men are complex, and include the attitudes of the belligerents and international players. One significant factor was the gender construction of women as “vulnerable”, contrafactually in the particular situation at hand. It wasn’t that the organisers of the evacuations didn’t know at a factual level, than men were typically targeted for murder, it was that these facts simply didn’t inform their conceptual framework of just who was “vulnerable”.

    The UN’s own report into the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre summarised the 1993 actions as an evacuation of “vulnerable” people, without so much as a trace of irony.

    Another factor was the construction of men as presumptive combatants, and therefore not entitled to the protections afforded to civilians.

    These two notions – of “vulnerable” females and “combatant” males – are universal gender norms. While this doesn’t prove that females are in all cases (such as schoolyard bullying) better protected than males, it would be surprising if it were not the case.

  16. 116
    Ampersand says:

    Daran, you explicitly claimed that “According to feminists, the word for” a boy “having the crap beaten out of [him] by people wanting to enforce sexist ideas of masculinity” “is ‘privilege.’” If you didn’t mean that, then maybe you shouldn’t have written it.

    But it’s not like this is the first time an anti-feminist — oh, excuse me, a “feminist critic” — has lied about what feminists say.

    Surprise surprise, upon being challenged, you rapidly shifted goalposts:

    Of course feminists do not say literally “being beaten up … is a privilege”. It is, however, a logical consequence of what feminists do ubiqutiously say.

    “Logical consequence,” in this case, seems to mean that you can force a chain of associations that doesn’t bear much resemblance to how most actual feminists talk about these things in real life, to support your statement. But it’s bullshit. That kind of chain-of-links thinking works okay if your goal is to act like a high school debator proving that the inevitable outcome of fill-in-the-blank is nuclear war, but as a realistic way of honestly comprehending how people you disagree with think conceive of the world, it’s completely useless.

    * * *

    I’m going to be going on vacation until the 22nd (to Massachusetts, in the Amherst area), and I expect extremely limited internet access during that time.

  17. 117
    Jake Squid says:

    While this doesn’t prove that females are in all cases (such as schoolyard bullying) better protected than males…

    No, no it doesn’t. I’m not sure why you’re certain that there is a connection between warcrimes & the UN and childhood bullying and adult authorities. I find the analogy to be problematic at best. I’d be interested in studies, though, that connect treatment of men and women in war to treatment of men and women who bully and have been bullied.

    Although we can discuss the different treatment of men and women in both armed forces and armed conflict and have many agreements and disagreements, I think it detracts from the earlier established conversation about whether or not bullying and protection from bullying are gendered.

    I suspect, based on my experience, that bullying and protection from bullying are not generally divided by gender. I’m willing to reconsider that, though, should anybody be able to provide proof beyond their own experiences.

    I’m willing to have a conversation about this new subject once we’ve determined that the subject of bullying is closed.

  18. 118
    Daran says:

    Dianne:

    (Though one could criticize it on the basis of its being a self-report study and maybe boys are encouraged to deny being bullied.)

    I absolutely think that boys are inhibited from disclosure. I was. In spades. I did everything I could to conceal it from my parents. To admit to it would have been to admit to failing them. I did not protect myself as they had told me to. As an adult, I can see that this was because their advice was counterproductive and harmful, but as a child, I felt nothing but shame.

    For a boy to be bullied is also for him to fail masculinity. To admit to it is to admit to failure. To be bullied as a girl doesn’t look from here to be quite the same level of failure at femininity, but I totally concede this might be just the grass looking greener.

    As far as how boys and girls are bullied and whether adults intervene, I didn’t find anything directly, but this study found that girls, but not boys, who are bullied are more likely to have serious mental issues later in life, suggesting that the damage being done to girls is worse than the damage being done to boys.

    As ballgame pointed out, the link is broken, so I can’t comment.

  19. 119
    Ruchama says:

    In school, I can recall quite a few times that a teacher witnessed a boy be violent toward a girl and do nothing about it. If a boy assaulted another boy, then most teacher seemed to intervene only if it seemed like it was becoming a fight. If a kid assaulted another kid, and the victim did not fight back, then the incident was seen as “over” and didn’t need to be dealt with. If the victim did fight back, then both kids got in trouble for fighting. There really was no good way for the victim to respond to the bullying. I never saw a girl fight back, so the bullying that was ignored by authorities was much more likely to have a girl as the victim. The bullying that got the victim in trouble was more likely to have a boy as the victim.

    In terms of the actual form that the bullying took, there were specific ways that girls tended to be targeted (sexual violence, targeted for not being “feminine” enough, things that happened more privately) and specific ways that boys tended to be targeted (accused of being gay, bullying designed to humiliate publicly, targeted for not being “masculine” enough) which both grew out of essentialist ideas of gender.

  20. 120
    Daran says:

    Daran, you explicitly claimed that “According to feminists, the word for” a boy “having the crap beaten out of [him] by people wanting to enforce sexist ideas of masculinity” “is ‘privilege.’” If you didn’t mean that, then maybe you shouldn’t have written it.

    But it’s not like this is the first time an anti-feminist — oh, excuse me, a “feminist critic” — has lied about what feminists say.

    Surprise surprise, upon being challenged, you rapidly shifted goalposts:

    According to“:

    –preposition
    1. in agreement or accord with: according to his judgment.
    2. consistent with; in conformity with: to be paid according to one’s experience.
    3. on the authority of; as stated or reported by: According to her, they have gone.
    4. in proportion to: He’ll be charged according to his ability to pay.
    5. contingent on: According to the number of winners, the judges will award duplicate prizes.

    Only one of those definitions, number 3, is equivalent to “feminists say”, and only the latter part. What I actually meant would be covered by definitions 1 and 2.

    So you misunderstood. That’s OK. People misunderstand each other on the internet all the time. It’s a bit arrogant of you, though, to insist that you, rather than I are the authority on what I actually meant. Frankly, it looks like an intellectually desperate attempt to avoid what I did actually mean.

    Of course feminists do not say literally “being beaten up … is a privilege”. It is, however, a logical consequence of what feminists do ubiqutiously say.

    I do not think it unreasonable to say that a logical consequence of certain premises is “in agreement or accord” or “consistent, in conformity” with them.

    “Logical consequence,” in this case, seems to mean that you can force a chain of associations that doesn’t bear much resemblance to how most actual feminists talk about these things in real life, to support your statement.

    To be honest, Amp, I think trotting out PHMT whenever there is an inconvenient fact to be fielded is a very accurate description of how most actual feminists talk, but I can see that we’re never going to agree on that. I do agree, however, that feminists make all kinds of statements, but decline to infer the inconvenient conclusions that validly follow from those premises. Their intellectual cowardice, however, doesn’t invalidate those conclusion, nor render them not “in agreement or accord” or “consistent, in conformity” with the premises.

    But it’s bullshit. That kind of chain-of-links thinking works okay if your goal is to act like a high school debator proving that the inevitable outcome of fill-in-the-blank is nuclear war, but as a realistic way of honestly comprehending how people you disagree with think conceive of the world, it’s completely useless.

    I comprehend how feminists conceive of the world just fine. Feminist conceive of it, more or less, as described in the definition of Patriarchy I cited – a system which unidirectionally empowers, elevates, values and centres men. Feminists are also aware that vast numbers of men are subject to gender forces which disempower, deelevate, devalue and marginalise them. These ideas are mutually contradictory, but feminists believe them both:

    The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies…

  21. 121
    ballgame says:

    I’m willing to have a conversation about this new subject once we’ve determined that the subject of bullying is closed.

    Jake, I’m a little fuzzy about the moderating structure at Alas, both in terms of “who” and “how”. I’ve seen your name pop up often enough at Alas that I can’t help but wonder if you’re one of the co-moderators, even though you don’t appear to be listed as an “author.” Could you clarify? If you’re expressing your own personal preference for how you’ll respond in this thread, that’s one thing, but I don’t want to misunderstand if a moderator here is issuing a Gentle Directive.

  22. 122
    Daran says:

    No, no it doesn’t. I’m not sure why you’re certain that there is a connection between warcrimes & the UN and childhood bullying and adult authorities. I find the analogy to be problematic at best.

    Perhaps I can summarise my arguement as follows:

    1. Premiss: There are universal gender norms which construe males as presumptively combatant and females as presumptively vulnerable.
    2. Conclusion: Gender norms which construe boys as presumptively combatant and girls as presumptively vulnerable apply in the schoolyard.
    3. Premiss: Those in authority will protect from violence those deemed non-combatants and vulnerable in preference to those deemed combatant and less vulnerable.
    4. Premiss: There are no confounding factors, or, if there are, they are insufficient to invalidate 5.
    5. Conclusion: Those in authority will protect from schoolyard violence boys in preference to girls.

    UN evacuation policy is more than just an analogy. It provides (weak) inductive support for premisses 1 and 3.

    Do you agree that my argument is at least valid, that is to say, that the conclusion follows from the premisses? I would expect you to disagree with the premisses.

  23. 123
    Daran says:

    ballgame:

    Daran … s, I believe, saying that feminists will claim that the male victim of bullying is still “privileged,” even though he is getting hammered with no effective intervention from adult authorities, who would (generally) act to protect girls who might be similarly victimized.

    Whether or not girls are or are not more likely to be protected or whether or not women have it worst isn’t the point.

    The point is that when you were subject to gender-based violence so severe that it wrecked your life, it just fucking sucks to be told that you’re privileged.

  24. 124
    Ampersand says:

    I’m not sure at what point an anti-feminist poster is going beyond reasonable commenting to simply trying to dominate a feminist board, but Daran, you’ve made 5 of the last 10 comments on “Alas.” Please try to slow it down.

    If I begin to feel that the character of “Alas” is being changed from a board with some liberals and some conservatives and some feminists and some anti-feminists [*], to a board where the anti-feminists dominate conversation, then I will ban people, either temporarily or permanently.

    [*] Whatever term you make up for yourself, your comments here are firmly and unmistakably anti-feminist.

    * * *

    No, Jake isn’t a moderator, although he is a real swell guy. The currently active moderators are Myself, Mandolin, Myca, Maia (although I think she only reads her own threads — she’s very busy), and sometimes Mharles — I mean, Charles.

  25. 125
    Daran says:

    ballgame:

    …when boys start beating up other boys?…

    1. Boys beat up other boys.
    2. Boys beat up each other.
    3. Boys beat up themselves.

    I’ve seen all three framings applied to male on male violence of various kinds. It is, I hope, obvious, or at least obvious-when-you-think-about-it, how problematic framings 2 and 3 are.

    There’s a much more subtle problem with 1. The perpetrators are “boys”. The victims are “other boys”. The perpetrators are centred and universalised. the victims are “othered”.

    Edited to add: Did not see the immediately preceding comment by Ampersand before posting this.

  26. Daran, you wrote

    For a boy to be bullied is also for him to fail masculinity. To admit to it is to admit to failure.

    I would just like to point out that this is a quintessentially feminist statement, that it–at least implicitly, whether you meant it to or not–gets at the quintessentially feminist insight that male on male violence and the definition of men as “violence-objects” (analogous to the way that women are defined as sexual objects) are inherent to patriarchy, are the infrastructure of patriarchy. I agree with you that PHMT is too often used dismissively–especially when talking about ways in which men are victimized by by violence, sexual and otherwise, regardless of who perpetrates the violence–but it is, for example, quintessentially patriarchal to see women and children as vulnerable in all situations and men as correspondingly not-vulnerable (I am pulling from your example of Srebrenica.) The whole “save-the-women-and-children-first” mentality is also part of the infrastructure of patriarchy, as feminists understand it, and it sure as hell does hurt men, in all kinds of ways.

  27. 127
    ballgame says:

    Speaking for myself, Richard, I agree with a great deal of what you just wrote. It’s one of the reasons why I’m a feminist, and why allegations that I’m “anti-feminist” fall so wide of the mark. (I believe they are also inaccurately applied to Daran as well, although he doesn’t embrace the feminist label.)

    The problem is that much of gynocentric feminism — at least as I’ve seen it expressed in the blogs I read — actually encourages the preservation of patriarchal attitudes. Hugo Schwyzer’s endlessly repeated and highly misleading ‘myth of male weakness’ meme reinforces the patriarchal value of male stoicism, it doesn’t challenge it. The nearly ubiquitous assertion that men (as a group) are responsible for the anti-female misdeeds of a minority of males plays to the patriarchal values of chivalry and gender segregation. And the vilification of feminist critics is not infrequently done in highly patriarchal terms (i.e. that they’re sexually inadequate losers, etc.).

  28. 128
    Ampersand says:

    Admittedly, I haven’t read much of Hugo’s posts on this subject. But Mandolin recently pointed this post out to me. (You commented on the post, so presumably you read it. :-P ) The post contains this passage:

    The notion that women are responsible for “inviting” harassment by the way they dress is rooted in the belief that male sexual desire is a problem that is women’s to manage. It’s the old myth of male weakness, a myth that suggests that those of us who are incarnate as males simply lack the capacity to control our urges. Therefore, it is women’s job to set boundaries and to “help us” overcome temptations that we are incapable of overcoming on our own. It’s a myth that’s damaging to women, but Micah can point out that it’s incredibly insulting to men.

    To borrow a phrase of which conservatives are over-fond, it’s a variation on the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” It’s a complex bigotry to be sure, as the real victims of the myth of male weakness are not those presumed to be weak but those who are, because they are presumed to be morally strong, forced to assume the role of sexual gatekeepers. In the sexual harassment dynamic, the myth insults men by suggesting that all of the be-penised are knuckle-dragging, simple-minded thugs who would never get anything done at all if it weren’t for women’s careful encouragement and cajoling.

    Unless you think the only alternative to “men are not knuckle-dragging, simple-minded thugs” is “men must be stoic,” I don’t see how “the myth of male weakness,” as Hugo describes it above, reinforces male stoicism. Saying that men are capable of controlling ourselves and not raping every pretty woman we see, is not saying that we must repress emotion in every situation.

    (I do disagree with Hugo’s phrase “the real victims,” since — as the rest of the passage explains — this creates badness for both women and men, so saying that either sex is “the” real victim seems misplaced.)

    The nearly ubiquitous assertion that men (as a group) are responsible for the anti-female misdeeds of a minority of males plays to the patriarchal values of chivalry and gender segregation.

    Yes, because if there’s one value feminism embodies, it’s the value of women sitting around and doing nothing for social justice, while men take over the fight completely. (Insert rolling eyes here.)

    It’s true, of course, that feminists want men more involved with stopping rape. (I’m guessing that’s the issue you’re referring to; hard to tell for sure.) This is because many feminists believe (rightly or wrongly) that men can be more effective anti-rape advocates than women, because those boys and men who are most likely to commit rape, also have attitudes that make them more likely to listen to men than to women.

    It’s also out of an absolutely true belief that anti-rape work up until now has been overwhelmingly done by women, and it would be therefore be fairer if men did a share too.

    And the vilification of feminist critics is not infrequently done in highly patriarchal terms (i.e. that they’re sexually inadequate losers, etc.).

    This is true, alas.

    It’s also true that “not infrequently,” other feminists object to the sexism of that.

  29. 129
    Dianne says:

    A more important criticism would be that my points are confined to life in the U.S.

    Isn’t Daran British? If you’re confining your data to events in the US then you really shouldn’t consider his experience either.

    Second try at the link: Does this work?

  30. 130
    Ampersand says:

    By the way, as far as I can tell the term “gyrocentric feminism” is a made-up term used entirely by people who are strongly focused on what’s good for men, but who don’t call themselves “androcentric.”

    The point of the term is, as I understand it, is to contrast the allegedly “egalitarian” views of feminists like you with the allegedly “gyrocentric” views of feminists like me. (Since iirc you’ve referred to me as a “gyrocentric feminist,” I’m comfortable referring to myself as an example.)

    However, if we are to accept that Feminist Critics is “egalitarian,” then “egalitarian” must mean “focused far more on harms to men than on harms to women.” You hardly ever post to object to women being harmed, but you’ve posted multiple times against men being harmed.

    There’s nothing wrong with that; having a focus on men is fine. Just because you very rarely post against harms to women doesn’t mean that you’re not against harming women. (I know you know that, but for obvious reasons I wanted to be clear).

    But I’ve posted against sexism against men far more often than you’ve posted against sexism against women. So in what reasonable sense can you claim that you are “egalitarian” whereas I am “gynocentric”? As far as I can tell, if we must play the “more egalitarian than thou” game — and I think we shouldn’t, but you’re insisting — I could certainly argue that I’m a lot more egalitarian than you are.

    I think that “gynocentric feminism” is, much like Christina Hoff Sommers’ term “gender feminism,” a faux-academic term made up to smear mainstream feminism. The fact that you don’t describe yourself as an “androcentric feminist” is telling; it makes it clear that your terminology doesn’t describe positions fairly, but instead marks mainstream feminists as non-egalitarian, and male-focused feminists as egalitarian.

  31. 131
    ballgame says:

    Amp, thanks for giving me the opportunity to clear up what I’m guessing is probably a common misconception about the terms, “gynocentric feminist” and “egalitarian feminist.” The terms are not intended as descriptions of the particular feminist’s focus of discussion or activism. A woman could be focused entirely on preserving women’s right to access abortion … and be an egalitarian feminist. A man could be focused on male bonding a la Robert Bly and yet still be a gynocentric feminist.

    The terms actually get at the principles of the feminist in question. If a feminist believes that men are universally privileged by gender and women are not, or that women have inherently superior insights into questions of gender than men, or that women are entitled to define the terms of gender discussions and that men must ‘check their privilege’ before entering into those discussions (and women don’t have to check theirs), or believes that men oppressing other men is an example of men ‘oppressing themselves’ (or other similar ‘men are Borg’ type notions), or has a habit of vilifying reasonable and respectful critics of feminist misandry, then that person is a gynocentric feminist.

    If, on the other hand, a feminist believes that both men and women are oppressed by gender, and believes that everyone struggling against gender oppression deserves respect (regardless of which gender’s oppression they’re working against), then that person would more likely be an egalitarian feminist. (I say “more likely” because I’m tired and I suspect my ‘egalitarian’ definition here is probably pretty incomplete.)

    I’ll address your question about the ‘myth of male weakness’ meme when I’ve had time to recharge.

  32. ballgame:

    The problem is that much of gynocentric feminism — at least as I’ve seen it expressed in the blogs I read — actually encourages the preservation of patriarchal attitudes. Hugo Schwyzer’s endlessly repeated and highly misleading ‘myth of male weakness’ meme reinforces the patriarchal value of male stoicism, it doesn’t challenge it. The nearly ubiquitous assertion that men (as a group) are responsible for the anti-female misdeeds of a minority of males plays to the patriarchal values of chivalry and gender segregation. And the vilification of feminist critics is not infrequently done in highly patriarchal terms (i.e. that they’re sexually inadequate losers, etc.)

    I have edited this for clarity: In addition to what Amp has said in his two recent comments, I would add this: There is a big difference between critiquing feminists and representing, in your critique, those individuals as embodying the entirety of even one kind of the feminisms that there are. (By the way, I also find the term “gynocentric feminism” problematic. That there are feminisms–Mary Daly, for example–which posit a gynocentric analysis as the only way of getting at the root of patriarchy and of empowering women is, of course, true.) It’s not just the obvious point that feminism is not monolithic; it’s the intellectual dishonesty of setting feminism, even just one kind of feminism, up as if it were one, unified, whole thing in order to discredit it using, frankly–if bloggers are your primary exposure to feminist theory–a very narrow sampling of what feminists actually have to say about the topics you are discussing.

  33. 133
    Jake Squid says:

    ballgame,

    As Amp has already said, I am not a moderator. I was expressing what I was willing to discuss and not giving you or Daran a directive with respect to your comments on Alas.

    Daran,

    I think that your premises are faulty and, therefore, so are your conclusions. Unless I have a different definition of “universal, ” I cannot agree with your first premise.

    I also find myself unable to accept the conclusion at 2 – even if I were to accept that the premise at 1 is true. My own experiences, experiences of others who have commented here and who I know IRL contradict the conclusion at 2. Without any non-anecdotal data to go by I am forced to go with what my experiences tell me. As a result, even if the premise at 1 were true, the conclusion at 2 is not. On rereading it, your conclusion at 2 seems like it is a premise and not a conclusion. I don’t see how premise 1 logically leads to 2 as a conclusion.

    Premise 3 seems far from universal. Sometimes it’s true and sometimes it isn’t.

    As to your premise at 4, if we’re doing a simple logic puzzle rather than attempting to describe the real world, sure. By it’s own definition it makes the conclusion at 5 valid. I find myself unable to accept premise 4 as valid, though.

    To summarize:
    I disagree with the premises at 1, 2 (which you label a conclusion) and 3. I find the premise at 4 to not be a useful one. Therefore I disagree with the conclusion at 5.

  34. 134
    Daran says:

    I think that your premises are faulty and, therefore, so are your conclusions. Unless I have a different definition of “universal, ” I cannot agree with your first premise.

    Universal – applicable in every subculture of every culture in every situation where human interactions construed as “violent” are prevalent. That’s a very strong claim, and clearly a much weaker one could also suffice.

    I also find myself unable to accept the conclusion at 2 – even if I were to accept that the premise at 1 is true. My own experiences, experiences of others who have commented here and who I know IRL contradict the conclusion at 2. Without any non-anecdotal data to go by I am forced to go with what my experiences tell me. As a result, even if the premise at 1 were true, the conclusion at 2 is not. On rereading it, your conclusion at 2 seems like it is a premise and not a conclusion. I don’t see how premise 1 logically leads to 2 as a conclusion.

    The rule of inference that leads from 1 to 2 is that universalities may be particularised, so long as the particular lies within the scope of the universality. All men are mortal. Therefore Socrates the man is mortal.

    You are correct that 2, the conclusion inferred from 1 is also premiss which together with 3 and 4, lead to 5.

  35. 135
    Daran says:

    There is a big difference between critiquing feminists and representing, in your critique, those individuals as embodying the entirety of even one kind of the feminisms that there are … It’s not just the obvious point that feminism is not monolithic; it’s the intellectual dishonesty of setting feminism, even just one kind of feminism, up as if it were one, unified, whole thing in order to discredit it…

    The standard response to this objection is that there doesn’t appear to be any objection to representing positive claims as embodying the entirety of feminism. for example, your assertion that:

    [Daran's remark] is a quintessentially feminist statement, that it–at least implicitly, whether you meant it to or not–gets at the quintessentially feminist insight that male on male violence and the definition of men as “violence-objects” (analogous to the way that women are defined as sexual objects) are inherent to patriarchy, are the infrastructure of patriarchy.

    Which of the many feminisms is this quintessential too? It doesn’t appear to be quintessential to Allan G. Johnson’s feminism, whose definition of Patriarchy I quoted earlier, which makes no reference at all to males in any other role that of dominator. Men are notably not included in the list of those whom Patriarchy “exert[s] control over”.

    Patriarchy is not monolithic. MRAs are not monolithic. Men are not monolithic. That feminists, make broadbrush critiques of these things if they were unified whole things in order to discredit them, and then demand that we not treat feminism the same way is special pleading.

    …using, frankly–if bloggers are your primary exposure to feminist theory–a very narrow sampling of what feminists actually have to say about the topics you are discussing.

    I agree that blog feminism is unlikely to be statistically representative of all feminism. I would consider it an extraordinary claim, demanding extraordinary evidence that there are any significant substantive positions within non-blog feminism not also manifested in blog-feminism, and vice versa.

  36. Daran:

    I don’t have much time and so I’m going to respond only quickly to a couple of things.

    The standard response to this objection is that there doesn’t appear to be any objection to representing positive claims as embodying the entirety of feminism.

    I don’t have any problems with accurate negative claims about feminism in its entirety, i.e., To the degree that feminism places women’s subjectivity at its center, it cannot accurately–or adequately–represent men’s subjectivity, even within a feminist analysis.

    [The statements about men that I said were quintessentially feminist don't] appear to be quintessential to Allan G. Johnson’s feminism, whose definition of Patriarchy I quoted earlier, which makes no reference at all to males in any other role that of dominator.

    Item #1 from that definition (my emphasis added):

    Male dominated–which doesn’t mean that all men are powerful or all women are powerless–only that the most powerful roles in most sectors of society are held predominantly by men, and the least powerful roles are held predominantly by women

    There is a hell of a lot of room in what I have put in boldface for the kind of understanding that I called quintessentially feminist.

    I wish I had time to write more, but I have a student at my door. I will try to come back later.

  37. 137
    Elusis says:

    when you were subject to gender-based violence so severe that it wrecked your life, it just fucking sucks to be told that you’re privileged.

    It sure does.

    “Intersectionality” is the term that’s relevant here, and yes, it’s very hard to sit with the idea that one can be simultaneously privileged and marginalized when one is much more familiar with (painfully familiar with) the ways one is marginalized.

    But discussions like this will go nowhere unless all parties are willing to acknowledge that privilege/marginalization is not an either/or thing. What I hear the MRA/”feminist critic” types advocating is that they had experiences of marginalization, ergo, they cannot possibly have privilege. Which just makes me tired and I wonder “why bother?” because at that point it’s like arguing with a brick wall.

  38. 138
    PG says:

    Elusis,

    In fairness to Daran’s particular plaint, I think intersectionality isn’t obviously relevant because it’s superficially more about how different kinds of privilege and oppression play off each other: e.g., I’m somewhat oppressed due to my sex, race and religion (and these overlap in how I am Othered and my existence ignored), but I’m also very privileged due to my class, non-disabled, hetero and cis-gender statuses (which also overlap in how I am treated as “normal” and worthy of full participation in our society). What he’s saying is that the exact thing that is supposed to privilege him, his sex, was actually a site of oppression: he’s convinced that he wouldn’t have been treated this way if he hadn’t been male, or that it would have been stopped or cared about more if he’d been female.

  39. 139
    Crys T says:

    it would have been stopped or cared about more if he’d been female

    Yeah, cos he would’ve LOVED being surrounded on the playground by a gang of girls who forcibly pulled his trousers down.

    Or, when he got older– say about 10 or 11–being accosted by adult women strangers who made aggressive sexual comments to him. Or waved their naked vulvas at him. Or, a couple of years after that, having his balls and ass grabbed by the popular girls when he walked down the hall at school, knowing that there was absolutely no one he could tell who would make it stop.

    Yeah, being female is sooooooo fantastic: I’ve EVERY MINUTE of the past 46 years, in which I’ve been told at least once a day (and often more than once) that I am a subhuman piece of shit. That I am worthless. That my human value totals zero.

    Yeah, Daran’s a fucking genius.

  40. PG wrote:

    or that it would have been stopped or cared about more if he’d been female. (emphasis mine)

    I hope it is clear that I do not agree with Daran’s analysis, but I do want to say that, in my own experience as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, this statement is true, and I would not be surprised if it is true, in general, for boys who experienced physical and other kinds of non-sexual abuse as well. I also want to be clear that I do not mean this as an attempt to invalidate Crys T @139.

  41. 141
    Daran says:

    What he’s saying is that the exact thing that is supposed to privilege him, his sex, was actually a site of oppression:…

    Yes. Thank you.

    he’s convinced that he wouldn’t have been treated this way if he hadn’t been male, or that it would have been stopped or cared about more if he’d been female.

    I don’t know what would have happened to me if I’d not been male, or if I’d been female. All I know is that what did happen would not have happened.

    I’m not even convinced that we can meaningfully talk about what would have happened. Is there some definite hypothetical world we’re talking about here? Or are there multiple worlds in quantum superposition? And how could we say anything definite about it/them, other than “not what really did happen”?

    All I’m saying is that, for me, being male has been one long unmitigated source of suck. I haven’t been empowered. I haven’t been elevated, valued, centred, or the focus of any kind of attention that anyone would want to have.

    Crys T:

    Yeah, Daran’s a fucking genius.

    If you’re going to criticise me, criticise me for what I have said, not for something someone else has said, however sympathic to me they may be.

    I’m sorry you’ve suffered what you did. It really is not clear to me, though, in what way your life experiences are relevent to what I was talking about, which was quite clearly about my own.

  42. 142
    Daran says:

    What I hear the MRA/”feminist critic” types advocating is that they had experiences of marginalization, ergo, they cannot possibly have privilege. Which just makes me tired and I wonder “why bother?” because at that point it’s like arguing with a brick wall.

    It’s not entirely clear what straw man position you’re attributing to me here.

    If you’re saying that I don’t acknowledge unidirectional, society-wide white, het, cis, able-bodied, English-speaking, western, country-with-a-health-care-system-which-doesn’t-suck-as-much-as-yours privilege, then you are simply wrong. I absolutely do acknowledge that I enjoy these privileges and others.

    If by “male privilege” you mean that there is society-wide suck that women have to put up with, and men don’t, and which men are often oblivious to, then yeah, I’ll happily acknowledge that too, just as soon as you acknowledge as “female privilege” the society-wide suck that men have to put up with and women don’t, and which women are often oblivious to.

    But that’s not what I understand feminists to mean when they say “male privilege”. It seems to me that they are claiming that men are privileged and simultaneously that women are not. That gender privilege unidirectionally favours males, that I individually have unidirectionally benefited from it.

    This is no less than a demand that I acknowledge that my life as I experienced it never happened.

    You mentioned intersectionality. Sure there’s been intersectionality. I am an aspie, and that has had a big part to play in why I got targeted in the first place, and why I can’t work now*. But if you’re going to try to argue that it was Aspieness, not masculinity that crushed me (and you wouldn’t be the first feminist to argue this), then 1. That’s not how I experienced it, and 2. Who the hell gave you the authority to interpret my life?

    *I don’t believe that healthy Aspieness would not stop or hinder me from doing suitable work for an employer who granted me accommodations comparable to the accommodations neurotypical people automatically get, or even if they didn’t. I am a damaged Aspie, which manifests as an inability to control or direct my hyperfocus. Coping with a worker who cannot focus on the job at hand is an accommodation too far for most employers.

  43. 143
    Daran says:

    I don’t have any problems with accurate negative claims about feminism in its entirety

    You’ve not addressed my point about “special pleading”. It’s not as though feminisms negative claims about patriarchy, men, the Patriarchy, etc., are accurate in their entirety.

    There is a hell of a lot of room in what I have put in boldface for the kind of understanding that I called quintessentially feminist.

    I really don’t think room for itis enough for it to be deemed quintessential. I think it actually has to be there.

    It’s not as though its even a particularly good fit to the room. A more natural interpretation of the part you boldfaced is that it acknowledges that factors other than gender (including possibly random chance) also play a part, positive or negative, in determining how empowered any particular man is. The idea that gender itself may operate to disempower men, is not only completely absent from that definition, but goes against the whole thrust of it.

    Yes, you could ram your square peg into that round hole, but it doesn’t appear to be a quintessentially good fit.

  44. Daran,

    We will, as usual, have to agree to disagree. The fact is that I find in feminism precisely what you don’t: a way of talking about how men are effected, shaped, othered, rendered invisible, killed (in the sense that the current gender system makes men the more appropriate object of violence in a patriarchal culture) etc.–all of it to our detriment by gender. I don’t call it oppression–and I’m really not interested in getting once again into the debate about the definition of oppression–because I don’t think there is a systematic, systemic oppression of men, a point about which I think we will, again, have to agree to disagree. Two points, though (and I will confess not have followed your special pleadings link, because I just don’t have the time right now):

    Seems to me that the negative example I gave is precisely to the point of

    It’s not as though feminisms negative claims about patriarchy, men, the Patriarchy, etc., are accurate in their entirety.

    though what I wrote would have to be revised to include patriarchy. (Since you were arguing with what I wrote, I am limiting myself to the nature of what I wrote. I have neither the time nor the inclination to get into the question of whether any feminist anywhere engages in whatever you meant by “special pleading.”)

    And what you call ramming a square peg into a round hole, is to me a “natural” interpretation, especially given the context of the reading in feminism, and in critiques of feminism, from various perspectives both within and without feminism, I have been doing for the past nearly 30 years. Hence, my conclusion that we will have to agree to disagree.

  45. 145
    Silenced is Foo says:

    I think fundamentally what Daran’s getting at here is this:

    There exists female privilege.

    Now, without getting into “oppression Olympics” about its scale compared to male privilege or white privilege, or each of us airing our own grievances… I don’t think that should be controversial. Fundamentally, that’s what PHMT gets at, an idea that has some consensus on this blog.

    Most of the details after that are semantics, arguing over definitions of feminism as they relate to feminist organizations, and whether the feminist movement itself helps or hinders any problems related to “The Patriarchy Hurts Men Too”.

  46. 146
    Mandolin says:

    That patriarchy hurts men is not an argument for female privilege. White privilege hurts white people, too (for evidence of how this assertion plays out, just read any of the slave memoirs, all of which make moral arguments about how slavery twists white people. No one could be bothered to care about how slavery hurt black people, but how it hurt white people? That’s important.) — that doesn’t mean that people of color are privileged over white people. It means white people are hurting themselves or other white people.

  47. 147
    Ampersand says:

    If, on the other hand, a feminist believes that both men and women are oppressed by gender, and believes that everyone struggling against gender oppression deserves respect (regardless of which gender’s oppression they’re working against), then that person would more likely be an egalitarian feminist.

    Every word of that describes me, Ballgame. But I’m not an “egalitarian feminist” in your view.

    I think the final clause of your description of the term “gyrocentric feminist” is the most telling: any harsh criticism of your or Daran’s anti-feminist views makes someone non-egalitarian, in your view. An “egalitarian feminist” is ones whose views march lockstep with your own; a “gynocentric feminist” is any feminist who disagrees with you. That’s all the terms mean, the way you’re using them.

  48. 148
    Mandolin says:

    The concept of female privilege is sociologically incoherent. It suggests a lack of understanding of the concept of privilege, and a confusion of the sociological term with the vernacular.

    If women are privileged because, say, they are considered safe around small children when men aren’t (because of assumptions about women as mothers, women as passive entities, women as inherently incapable of violence, women as associated with children themselves), then one should be equally able to argue that gay men are privileged over heterosexual men because they’re seen as being able to dress better.

    That doesn’t mean that the assumption that men aren’t safe to care for small children doesn’t hurt some men. It does, and that’s bad, and it should be addressed. But referring to the flip side of it as privilege is reductive and inaccurate.

    People wishing to make these arguments might do better to look at the intersection of sexism and homophobia. Men are often targeted as substitutes for the feminine under the auspices of misogyny or of homophobia.

  49. 149
    Ampersand says:

    I think the constant wrangling over “privilege” and “oppression” comes down to the question of, can men be oppressed as men?

    I don’t actually care much about the answer; it seems to me to be a question entirely of definitions, with very little connection to real-world policies or questions that might help change things.

    To reuse an example, I’ve seen plenty of MRAs who will be the first to say that men are oppressed as men, but who also strongly oppose many real-world policies that would do the most to help men, and support policies which do great harm to men. (For instance, opposing reforms to make workplace injuries less likely, while supporting policies that lead to more men in prison.) In general, if I want to find someone who supports policies that will greatly improve the lot of men, I’m a lot better off looking among feminists than I am looking among MRAs.

    I think that the advantage of saying “both men and women are hurt by sexism, but women are oppressed” is that it highlights how our society as a whole is systematically predisposed to make sure that those who rule the system are male. That strikes me as a good and useful thing to highlight.

    I think the advantage of saying “both men and women are oppressed by sexism” is that it highlights how society systematically harms both sexes. That strikes me as a good and useful thing to highlight.

    I frankly don’t see the distinction, in and of itself, as an issue of high importance. To me, this seems like a fairly semantic argument. I don’t have time for MRAs not because they think men are oppressed, but because they by and large support policies that I think are incredibly hurtful to men and to women, and are hostile to policies that are helpful. (There are other reasons, as well.)

    I’m a feminist because feminists believe in policies that I think are helpful (by and large). I don’t agree with the mainstream feminist hostility to ever referring to men as “oppressed” as men, but despite that disagreement, the more important agreement to me is that on policies — including policies about fighting the many ways that sexism and cultural “masculinity” harms men — mainstream feminists are overwhelmingly anti-sexism.

  50. 150
    Crys T says:

    being male has been one long unmitigated source of suck

    I believe that completely. However, if that’s the way you feel, you might consider then supporting those people who are trying to dismantle the system that has made your life so miserable. Instead, you choose to complain and demonise feminism and feminists every time you comment.

    We aren’t the ones who made your life an unmitigated source of suck, anti-feminist ideas of gender/sex/sexuality/etc. are. If anything, we’re trying to help.

  51. 151
    Danny says:

    Mandolin:
    That doesn’t mean that the assumption that men aren’t safe to care for small children doesn’t hurt some men.
    But what it does do is favor women. Not free of dark sides but it does favor women.

    The thing about the various privileges is that often times there is a dark side that hurts the people that are supposely being benefitted by the privielge in question. In regards to women being considered safe around children you mentioned:

    (because of assumptions about women as mothers, women as passive entities, women as inherently incapable of violence, women as associated with children themselves)

    meaning that women are assumed to be safe around children because women are not supposed to be violent and so forth.

    Same thing with some male privileges. When it comes to men being favored over women in the workforce a part of that favor comes from the assumption that men are assumed to be external providers (providing with sources from outside the home whereas women are assumed to be internal providers i.e. stay at home moms). The assumptions and favors don’t cancel each other out but they do both exist.

  52. A review of a book that is, at least tangentially, related to this discussion: Review: ‘Spots of a Leopard: on being a man in Africa’.

  53. 153
    ballgame says:
    If, on the other hand, a feminist believes that both men and women are oppressed by gender, and believes that everyone struggling against gender oppression deserves respect (regardless of which gender’s oppression they’re working against), then that person would more likely be an egalitarian feminist.

    Every word of that describes me, Ballgame. But I’m not an “egalitarian feminist” in your view.

    While I acknowledge that you speak out more against the harms of anti-male sexism than most other major feminist bloggers, Amp, I don’t agree that every word of the above describes you, from what I’ve seen. In all of the comments I can recall where you’ve talked about whether men are oppressed by gender, you’ve equivocated (just as you do here on this thread in comment #149). You’ve said men were “harmed” by gender or used some other word or pretended it’s a ‘non-issue’ … but you’ve consistently balked at acknowledging that men are oppressed as men:

    I think the constant wrangling over “privilege” and “oppression” comes down to the question of, can men be oppressed as men?

    I don’t actually care much about the answer; it seems to me to be a question … with very little connection to real-world policies …

    This equivocation is significant, because it allows you to sidestep the confrontation with feminist orthodoxy, which espouses — as Mandolin does in 146 and 148 — the ridiculous notions that male privilege is as unidirectional as white privilege, or that female privilege doesn’t exist.

    I think the final clause of your description of the term “gynocentric feminist” [sic] is the most telling: any harsh criticism of your or Daran’s anti-feminist views makes someone non-egalitarian, in your view. An “egalitarian feminist” is ones whose views march lockstep with your own; a “gynocentric feminist” is any feminist who disagrees with you. That’s all the terms mean, the way you’re using them.

    There’s a big difference between criticizing someone’s views — however harshly — and vilifying the person. You don’t treat everyone who struggles against gender oppression with respect. People who speak out against feminist sexism against males are often, at best, “anti-feminists”; more typically they’re “misogynists” (or MRAs, a label taken in this environment to mean much the same thing). Such labels ‘poison the well’ of whatever legitimate criticism of feminism they try to express. Why listen to them? They are Other, they are Evil, they are not on “our team.” (And once again, FTR, I’m no more “anti-feminist” than the folks who pushed for Ned Lamont were “anti-Democrat” … and your strawman reinterpretation of my terminology can hardly be called ‘respectful.’)

    I’ve seen plenty of MRAs who will be the first to say that men are oppressed as men, but who also strongly oppose many real-world policies that would do the most to help men, and support policies which do great harm to men. (For instance, opposing reforms to make workplace injuries less likely, while supporting policies that lead to more men in prison.) In general, if I want to find someone who supports policies that will greatly improve the lot of men, I’m a lot better off looking among feminists than I am looking among MRAs.

    Here I tend to agree. (Gynocentric) feminists, as a group, tend to more progressive than non-feminists AFAICT — at least outside of the gender arena. Inside that arena, their record is a bit more mixed. (And there do exist a subset of feminists of the “vote for Palin because she has a vagina” ilk, or — even weirder — think that Reagan was a “great” president.)

    Unfortunately, if gynocentric feminists had their way, the right wing-dominated MRA culture would be the only significant arena where critiques of feminist misandry would get a hearing. Driving potentially progressive males who are concerned with anti-male sexism into the arms of right wingers seems to be an acceptable risk for many of them, as long as that allows those gynocentric feminists to maintain their monopoly on gender discourse.

  54. 154
    Daran says:

    Crys T (Quoting me)

    being male has been one long unmitigated source of suck

    I believe that completely.

    Thank you.

    However, if that’s the way you feel, you might consider then supporting those people who are trying to dismantle the system that has made your life so miserable.

    Feminists are a part of that system. Feminists are working to dismantle parts of it, and that’s good. Feminists are reinforcing other parts, and that’s not good.

    We aren’t the ones who made your life an unmitigated source of suck,…

    You (not you individually, of course, you feminists) are among those who have made my life suck. Go read comment #91 again, particularly the bit about the poster campaign.

    If anything, we’re trying to help.

    If you (plural) would position yourself as an ally, stop telling me what my experience is. Stop telling me that being male is a privilege. Stop telling me that I’m not oppressed, or that if I am, it’s not because of my gender. As long as you continue to do this, you are not my ally, you’re a source of suck. If you as an individual want to position yourself as an ally – and I’d really appreciate that – in addition to not doing these things, stop defending the movement that does these things.

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t call yourself a feminist. Nor am I saying that you shouldn’t defend the feminist movement on other grounds. I’m certainly not telling you to stop focusing on your own issues, and focus upon mine instead. The primary task of an ally is to not harm the legitimate interests of those you purports to ally with. To do that, you must be willing to listen to them when they say “This is hurting us, and here’s how”.

  55. 155
    Redisca says:

    The problem I have with MRAs’ conception of “female privilege” is that it is viewed as a counterweight against “male privilege” and believed to somehow balance out in favor of equality. In other words, for example, the female “privilege” in being considered more competent to perform menial domestic tasks is thought to cancel out the male privilege in being thought the only gender fit to participate in public life. This is, of course, nonsense. What MRA’s describe as “female privilege” is more accurately dubbed “benevolent sexism” by some feminists — and no way does it level the playing field against male privilege. In fact, the benefits that women receive under the so-called “female privilege” have invariably been invoked (and some continue to be invoked today) as a justification for depriving women of liberty, agency and autonomy to the extent much greater than the benefit conferred.

  56. 156
    Daran says:

    I think the constant wrangling over “privilege” and “oppression” comes down to the question of, can men be oppressed as men?

    I don’t actually care much about the answer; it seems to me to be a question entirely of definitions, with very little connection to real-world policies or questions that might help change things.

    What ballgame said re “gynocentric”. Also I don’t agree that discourse which operates to centre some real-world problems while marginalising others has little or no connection to whether appropriate policies directed at those problems will be formulated or prioritised.

    To reuse an example, I’ve seen plenty of MRAs who will be the first to say that men are oppressed as men, but who also strongly oppose many real-world policies that would do the most to help men, and support policies which do great harm to men. (For instance, opposing reforms to make workplace injuries less likely, while supporting policies that lead to more men in prison.) In general, if I want to find someone who supports policies that will greatly improve the lot of men, I’m a lot better off looking among feminists than I am looking among MRAs.

    Here’s a policy which would greatly improve the lot of male survivors of sexual assult or domestic violence: Include them in the discourse. Make them visible. Don’t anomalise them.

    Do MRAs advocate such a policy? I don’t know. Perhaps not. MRAs suck after all. But observing that MRAs suck doesn’t alter the fact that feminists anomalise these victims. Associating me with a major source of suck by pinning the antifeminist/MRA labels on me will not help to bring about this policy. To the contrary, it just undermines my efforts.

    I think that the advantage of saying “both men and women are hurt by sexism, but women are oppressed”…

    As a matter of interest, would consider defensible the following statement in the context of Occupied Europe during the Second World War?

    “Both Germans and Non Germans were hurt by Nazism, but only Non Germans were oppressed.”

    (I realise that you did not say “only”, but I think the “only” version is orthodox within feminism:

    …is that it highlights how our society as a whole is systematically predisposed to make sure that those who rule the system are male. That strikes me as a good and useful thing to highlight.

    It is a good an useful thing to highlight. I don’t however agree that saying “both men and women are hurt by sexism, but women are oppressed” is a good way to highlight this. You could do a much better job of highlighting it by saying “our society as a whole is systematically predisposed to make sure that those who rule the system are male”.

    I think the advantage of saying “both men and women are oppressed by sexism” is that it highlights how society systematically harms both sexes. That strikes me as a good and useful thing to highlight.

    Claiming that women are oppressed, while denying that men are operates to erase the gender-dimensionality of important harmful social dynamics, such as the schools-to-prison conveyor. I think this is a bad thing to erase.

    Many feminists treat (presumed) male voices as though they were inherently less authoritative than women on the subject of gender-oppression, predicated on the notion that the men are privileged while they themselves are oppressed. This too is a bad thing.

    I don’t think that claiming that both men and women are oppressed really erases the systematic predisposition to make our rulers male, because I don’t think that claiming that only women are oppressed really highlights it. I do, however, think that a poor, uneducated black person’s additional struggle as a man to make it alive to middle age is rather more deserving of being called “oppression” than is a rich, educated, white person’s additional struggle as a women to become President by middle age. For that matter, I think the poor, uneducated black woman’s struggle to obtain childcare is more oppressive than the rich woman’s struggle to be President. Your defence of the “women only” model of oppression focuses the concept at the wrong end of the social spectrum.

    I frankly don’t see the distinction, in and of itself, as an issue of high importance. To me, this seems like a fairly semantic argument.

    It’s a framing issue. You surely understand that how issues are framed has an enormous influence upon how they are perceived and analysed. Feminist framing is prejudicial.

    mainstream feminists are overwhelmingly anti-sexism.

    I don’t agree that they are overwhelmingly so. I think they are anti- some kinds of sexim, including some kinds of misandry. I think they are largely blind to other types, including the types they perpetrate, and are extraordinarily resistant to listening to criticism and the kind of introspection required to recognise this.

  57. 157
    Daran says:

    Redisca:

    The problem I have with MRAs’ conception of “female privilege”…

    I can’t address the subject of ‘MRAs’ conception of “female privilege”‘. The only people here, other than feminists who have been talking about “female privilege” are ballgame and myself, and neither of us are MRAs. I will continue on the basis that you are talking about our conception.

    ballgame and I agree that race, class, sexuality, gender-identity etc., are one-way streets as far as privilege is concerned, but that gender is a two-way street. There are two ways one could describe this. One way would be to say that the northbound carriageway is “male privilege”, while the southbound carriageway is “female privilege”. That is the position taken by ballgame in #153. Another is to take the view that privilege is by definition a one-way street, and that it is therefore inappropriate to refer to gender-privilege at all. These two views do not differ in their understanding how how the world works, but upon how best to describe it. Which position is best to take depends very much upon the nature of the discussion at hand. For the sake of discussing this with you, I will adopt the same position as in #153: there is both male privilege and female privilege.

    …is that it is viewed as a counterweight against “male privilege” and believed to somehow balance out in favor of equality.

    It is not clear what view you are attributing to us. Our position is

    1. The traffic on the two carriageways are qualitatively different, buses and trucks headed north, bicycles and private cars headed south.

    2. It is wrong to systematically disregard the traffic on one carriageway.

    To justify claims that there is more traffic headed in one or the other direction, or conversely that the traffic in both direction is equal would require two things: 1. A careful and complete survey of all the traffic headed in both directions, and 2 a basis for comparing different kinds of traffic. (Are 7 trucks more or less than 23 bicycles?)

    Feminists have never undertaken such a careful and complete survey of both male and female privilege. Rather female privilege is generally denied. Nor has any basis for comparing different forms of gender privilege been articulated. For these reasons we reject the idea that men are more privileged than women, but we do not positively assert either that women are more privileged, or that both sexes are equally privileged. The two traffic flows are incomparable.

    In other words, for example, the female “privilege” in being considered more competent to perform menial domestic tasks is thought to cancel out the male privilege in being thought the only gender fit to participate in public life. This is, of course, nonsense.

    Actually female privilege is, in many circumstances a case of not being dead, or in prison, or forced into battle.

    What MRA’s describe as “female privilege” is more accurately dubbed “benevolent sexism” by some feminists — and no way does it level the playing field against male privilege…

    Male privilege is also benevolent sexism. Feminists’ favourable view of women is benevolent sexism, as is their advocacy of favourable treatment for women.

    In fact, the benefits that women receive under the so-called “female privilege” have invariably been invoked (and some continue to be invoked today) as a justification for depriving women of liberty, agency and autonomy to the extent much greater than the benefit conferred.

    This is an appeal to consequences. That women’s benefits have been used for these purposes in no way bears upon whether they have these benefits or whether they should be analysed under the “privilege” framework. Further, I would argue that those who used women’s benefits for these purposes will do so, whether or not we analyse them under this framework.

    And just to make it clear, we do not advocate depriving women of liberty, agency and autonomy. Quite the opposite.

  58. 158
    Meadester says:

    fidelbogen, I have to agree with ballgame about this:

    I also couldn’t help but notice the irony of this clause in your list of things you struggle against, fidelbogen:

    The legal commercialization of sexual relations and relations based upon affection;

    … being immediately followed by this other clause of things you struggle against:

    The presumed permissibility of an autocratic imposition of behavioral rules upon the male gender;

    Whether you consider those who buy sex (overwhelmingly men) or those who sell sex (mostly, but not overwhelmingly women) to be exploited, you only compound their problems by criminalizing them (or even just criminalizing the other party thus driving their activity underground and making it more dangerous). To prohibit men from buying sex, even for “their own good” is an example of ” an autocratic imposition of behavioral rules upon the male gender,” just as prohibiting women from selling sex is an autocratic imposition of behavioral rules upon the female gender.”

    Still I do agree with most of the rest of the document and would say it seems to be rooted in basic principles of fairness. I don’t know if it defines “what MRAs are all about,” but it is a good start. Kind of an MRA equivalent to “Feminism 101.”

  59. 159
    Hedgepig says:

    Daran reminds me a bit of me. When I was at school I was considered a freak because I had excessively pale skin, and I was relentlessly denigrated for this trait for the entire time of my schooling. I was also very skinny, and I was almost daily told by my peers that my thinness, coupled with my white skin, made my orifices very uninviting to the opposite sex. Being a member of the sex class, this instilled in me a sense of utter failure and resulted in a total lack of self-esteem with long-reaching personal consequences.
    On leaving school and entering the real world, I became aware that being thin and white was actually supposed to ensure one certain privileges. And yet I had never experienced those privileges to which I was told repeatedly by society I was entitled as a white, thin person.
    After that point, I part company with Daran. I decided that even though my personal experience of being white and thin had not been rewarding, this did not mean that being white and thin were characteristics that did not attract privilege.
    I decided that a) I might have been a statistically rare case and b) I may have had certain privileges all along that I didn’t notice because privilege is a bit like housework: you only tend to notice it when it stops happening.
    Also, unlike Daran, I didn’t decide to blame the fat people and the brown-skinned people for the fact that I did not experience the privilege I felt I was entitled to by being thin and white-skinned.
    I also don’t hang about on black people’s blogs and fat people’s blogs demanding that they acknowledge how privileged they are and how lacking in privilege I am for being white and thin.

  60. 160
    Danny says:

    Also, unlike Daran, I didn’t decide to blame the fat people and the brown-skinned people for the fact that I did not experience the privilege I felt I was entitled to by being thin and white-skinned.
    Is Daran blaming the people that tormented him because he didn’t experience the privilege you think he thinks was entitled to or does he blame them simply because they tormented him? Or is being free of torment classified as a privilege instead of something that everyone should have?

  61. 161
    Daran says:

    Hedgepig:

    Daran reminds me a bit of me. When I was at school I was considered a freak because I had excessively pale skin, and I was relentlessly denigrated for this trait for the entire time of my schooling. I was also very skinny, and I was almost daily told by my peers that my thinness, coupled with my white skin, made my orifices very uninviting to the opposite sex. Being a member of the sex class, this instilled in me a sense of utter failure and resulted in a total lack of self-esteem with long-reaching personal consequences.

    I’m sorry you were given such a horrible time at school, and for the long-reaching personal consequences. I cannot compare your experiences with mine; I don’t know you well enough. What I can do is compare your description with my experience.

    “Relentlessly denigrated … for the entire time of my schooling”. Yes, that covers that element of it rather well. On top of that I got the occasional thumping, not to mention the ongoing terror day-in, day-out, that another beating could be around any corner.

    “I was almost daily told by my peers that [I was] very uninviting to the opposite sex. Being a member of the sex class, this instilled in me a sense of utter failure and resulted in a total lack of self-esteem”. Yes I got that too, though obviously not the “orifices” bit. The taunting I got was along the lines of demands to “prove that you’re male”. It’s not clear why you link your status as “a member of the sex class” to its effect upon your sense of self-worth, because I assure you it had the same on mine. In particular, initiation of intimacy any kind, however innocuous, felt like I was assaulting the woman. As a member of the pursuer-of-sex class, this made that aspect of the performance of masculinity impossible.

    “Long-reaching personal consequences.” See below.

    On leaving school and entering the real world,…

    What do you mean by “real world”? The adult world of work and responsibility and adult relationships? I never properly entered it. For a dozen years or so from the age of about fifteen onward, I was, quite literally, mad. A raving lunatic, except that the raving aspect of it was entirely inside my head. I kept it together, somewhat, as far as the outside world was concerned, more or less, by which I mean sometimes more, often less. By about 30, I guess, I had started the long, slow climb out of the pit. I’ve made huge progress since then, and much of that in the last year. For the first time in my life, I’ve achieved a level of intimacy with a member-of-the-preferred sex that most people achieve in their late teens or early twenties, but which that I had given up hoping for. I still can’t work. At 45 years of age, I have one foot in the adult world at best.

    …I became aware that being thin and white was actually supposed to ensure one certain privileges. And yet I had never experienced those privileges to which I was told repeatedly by society I was entitled as a white, thin person.
    After that point, I part company with Daran. I decided that even though my personal experience of being white and thin had not been rewarding, this did not mean that being white and thin were characteristics that did not attract privilege…

    You’re mixing up two things.

    Firstly I reject the idea of unidirectional male privilege, not because my personal experience of being male has not been rewarding, but because, when I look at the world through the lens of gender, I see various dynamics operating in both directions, which I do not see when I look at the world through through the lens of race.

    Secondly the “Check your privilege” trope is inappropriate and offensive Bulverism, often coming from people who have made no attempt to find out anything about me, and who themselves appear to be dripping with unexamined gender privilege.

    I decided that a) I might have been a statistically rare case and

    Well, you might have been. Then again you might not. Do you have any idea whether your experiences are statistically rare or not?

    b) I may have had certain privileges all along that I didn’t notice because privilege is a bit like housework: you only tend to notice it when it stops happening.

    Did it ever occur to you that you might have certain privileges all along associated with being female? Or do you simply assume that you have none, and reject the idea that you may have some out of hand?

    Also, unlike Daran, I didn’t decide to blame the fat people and the brown-skinned people for the fact that I did not experience the privilege I felt I was entitled to by being thin and white-skinned.

    This is a double straw man.

    Firstly I do not “blame women”. I hold personally responsible those individuals, men and women, who could and should have done something about it. Beyond that, I think we’re all responsible, men and women, for the society in which we live because I attribute agency to women coequal to that of men. (Quick! Stop that man. He’s attributing agency to women!)

    Secondly what is this “feeling of entitlement” you attribute to me? I feel I was entitled to be free from bullying and persecution. To the extent that a just and liberal society should recognise and attend to the needs of its members, I feel entitled to have my needs recognised and attended to on a basis equal to that of others. Do you not agree that I am entitled to these things?

    And what, exactly, do you feel less entitled to? If you had chosen to talk about these experiences, framed more appropriately in terms of your inability to perform femininity, then you would get nothing but sympathy from a feminist audience, who would be only too eager to attribute your problems to Male Privilege or the Patriarchy, i.e., to the claim that everything in society suits men.

    Yet when a man points out that his similar experiences, don’t fit the “everything in society suits men” model, he’s told that “Patriarchy hurts men too”, i.e., that everything in society suits men and this is what hurt him. And when he responds that this makes no sense whatsoever, he’s accused of whining entitlement.

    Entitlement is one of many Bulveristic discourses which operate to suppress challenges to feminist theory.

  62. 162
    Daran says:

    The last comment was already too long, so I’m spinning this off. Hedgepig:

    I also don’t hang about on black people’s blogs and fat people’s blogs demanding that they acknowledge how privileged they are and how lacking in privilege I am for being white and thin.

    We’ve encountered each to my recollection in just two places, here on Alas and at Hoyden About Town.

    Alas belongs to a white man. This thread is about MRAs, a label I reject but which feminists often pin onto me

    I posted to HAT for the sole purpose of giving my perspective on an aspect of FCB moderation policy which has been cited by tigtog as something that HAT might want to adopt. At no point did I introduce any of my ideas on gender into the discussion. It was Lauredhel, one of the bloggers there, then later Linda Radfem, who first did that, referring to a some of the content of FCB which was off-topic to the discussion on Hoyden. I responded with brief explanations of some of these ideas with links to fuller explanations elsewhere, one of them here.

    In both places I have read the moderating policies, and do my best to abide by them, and to follow instructions from the moderators. That you who are not a moderator or blogger in either place should fault me for responding in one of those places to comments about my blog strikes me as quite extraordinary entitlement on your part.

  63. 163
    Daran says:

    Or is being free of torment classified as a privilege instead of something that everyone should have?

    http://hoydenabouttown.com/20090828.6385/on-avoiding-pile-ons/comment-page-1/#comment-136488

  64. 164
    Hedgepig says:

    “When I look at the world through the lense of gender, I see various dynamics operating in both directions, which I do not see when I look at the world through the lense of race.”

    Your vision is coloured by the fact that men and women are integrated, rather than segregated as are the races. I’m sure when white men lived with black men (i.e. owned them as slaves and lived on the same property with them), they also saw various dynamics operating in both directions. Unfortunately, the fact that men have significant others that are female seems to make it harder for them to see how unequal gender relations are.

    You say you’re not going to compare our school situations, but then you reiterate how you experienced physical abuse on top of the verbal bullying. The reason I brought up my experience at school was not to compete in the suffering stakes but because I saw an analogy between your experiencing torment as a result of your gender and my experiencing torment as a result of my skin colour and size. In both our cases those characteristics that attracted abuse are not in the wider society characteristics that convey disadvantage, but more often privilege.

    “Did it ever occur to me that you might have certain privileges all along associated with being female?”

    Few of us are born feminists. In our society, girls are told repeatedly how lucky they are and how they get things easier than boys and how they have to look after boys’ feelings and needs. Only later do some of us realise we are being groomed as servants.

    As commenters further up the thread have said, much of what you say about how shitty it is to be male is in fact in agreement with the feminist stance. You don’t seem content to have feminists concede that your suffering as a man under patriarchy is a result of patriarchy, but rather you seem to want feminists to focus on the suffering of men who do not reap the benefits of maleness. Your resentment of the domestic violence billboards that you mention up thread is very telling, as it shows that you felt you were more deserving of help and attention than the abused women the campaign was targeting.

  65. 165
    Hedgepig says:

    Danny, my point is that Daran does not blame the people who tormented him, i.e. other males. He seems to be holding feminists accountable for his past and present suffering because we don’t focus enough energy and attention on the plight of men with his experiences of maleness.

  66. 166
    Daran says:

    The reason I brought up my experience at school was … because I saw an analogy between your experiencing torment as a result of your gender and my experiencing torment as a result of my skin colour and size. In both our cases those characteristics that attracted abuse are not in the wider society characteristics that convey disadvantage, but more often privilege.

    I understood your argument. I didn’t address it because my reply was going to be long enough anyway. That was a mistake. I should have addressed your argument first and dealt with other matters later.

    I do not agree that your analogies are in fact analogous. If, by unidirectional “white privilege” we meant that paler skin per se is unilaterally privileged over darker skin, then your experience would certainly challenge that notion. But that is not what is meant by “white privilege”. What that expression means is that people who are members of the socially constructed white race are unidirectionally privileged over people who are not. There is no claim that within the socially constructed white race, higher hued individuals are privileged over darker. In fact in many areas, tanned skin is preferred.

    You were given grief because of your pale skin. You were not given grief because of your status as a white person. At least, that’s my understanding of what you said. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Turning to size, I understand the privilege to accrue to those who body size/shape is a good fit to the “normal” ideal, which for a women is shapely with some fat but not too much. (There is actually quite a lot of difference between the magazine model ideal and the what-men-actually-like ideal). The closer you are to the ideal, the more physically attractive you deemed to be and the less crap you get.

    In summary I don’t agree that your counter-experiences of “pale” and “skinny” oppression really do go counter to the prevailing theories of “white” and “thin” privilege. They don’t go counter to “white privilege” at all, because this refers to race and not merely skin hue. To the extent that they go counter to “thin privilege”, they do to naive one-dimensional versions of the theory which are, quite simply, wrong, as your experiences shows.

    I’ll respond to your other points in a follow-up comment.

  67. 167
    Daran says:

    Hedgepig

    Your vision is coloured by the fact that men and women are integrated, rather than segregated as are the races. I’m sure when white men lived with black men (i.e. owned them as slaves and lived on the same property with them), they also saw various dynamics operating in both directions. Unfortunately, the fact that men have significant others that are female seems to make it harder for them to see how unequal gender relations are.

    This is pure Bulverism. You’ve not shown that I’m wrong. You’ve not engaged with my arguments at all. Instead, you’ve just assumed without discussion that I’m wrong and then attempted to distract my and everyone else’s attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how I became so silly.

    I’m not easily distractible.

    You say you’re not going to compare our school situations,…

    Nor did I. I compared my school experience and its aftermath, with your description of yours. My experience was similar to your description in some respects, and much, much worse in others. But in saying that, I am explicitly not assuming that “worse than your description” implies “worse than your experience”. I am not assuming that your description captured the full horror of your experience.

    but then you reiterate how you experienced physical abuse on top of the verbal bullying. The reason I brought up my experience at school was not to compete in the suffering stakes

    Nor was it mine. But you did say that I remind you of you, then proceed with a description of your school years. That implies a comparison on your part – that what I went through was like your description of yours. In some ways it was; in others it wasn’t. My response was not intended to compete with you or anyone else, but to better convey my experience to you and other readers: Here, as best I can describe it, is the shit I had to go through and am still going through. I make no judgment as to whether it it worse than, about the same as, or not as bad as, anyone else’s shit.

    but because I saw an analogy between your experiencing torment as a result of your gender and my experiencing torment as a result of my skin colour and size. In both our cases those characteristics that attracted abuse are not in the wider society characteristics that convey disadvantage, but more often privilege.

    Addressed in the preceding comment.

    (“Quoting me”):

    “Did it ever occur to me that you might have certain privileges all along associated with being female?”

    Few of us are born feminists. In our society, girls are told repeatedly how lucky they are and how they get things easier than boys and how they have to look after boys’ feelings and needs.

    And now, feminists tell men repeatedly how privileged they are, and how they get things easier than women, and how they should look after women’s interests and needs:

    all men have a special responsibility to support feminism and fight sexism – because we owe women for our unjust gains.

    The fact that something is said repeatedly has no logical bearing, one way or the other, upon whether or not it is true.

    Only later do some of us realise we are being groomed as servants.

    The word for that is “domesticity”. Men are also groomed to be servants to women. It’s called “chivalry”. Interestingly, despite domesticity and chivalry being mirror image dynamics, both are construed by feminists to privilege men and subordinate women. It doesn’t matter what the facts are, they are always deemed to fit the theory. And if another set of facts present themselves, diametrically opposed to the previous set, they also fit the theory. No matter what the shape of the factual peg, it always fits into the theoretical hole.

    There’s another thing that men are groomed for – to be dispensable, disposable cannon-fodder.

    As commenters further up the thread have said, much of what you say about how shitty it is to be male is in fact in agreement with the feminist stance.

    As I further up the thread have said, to the extent that this is true, it is because some of the ideas that are part of “the feminist stance” contradict other ideas within that stance.

    You don’t seem content to have feminists concede that your suffering as a man under patriarchy is a result of patriarchy,

    That’s because it make no sense to say that society hurt me by empowering, elevating, valuing, centering, and focusing on me. It hurt me by doing the opposite of those things.

    I’m not content when feminists falsely claim that my experience fits into their conceptual framework, a framework which actually erases and denies that experience.

    but rather you seem to want feminists to focus on the suffering of men who do not reap the benefits of maleness.

    No I don’t. In fact it is feminists who want me to focus on the suffering of women, as previously linked post exemplifies. I’m quite happy for feminists to focus on their interests. I want them to stop harming mine. Specifically, I want them to stop promulgating into society a false social theory of gender (Patriarchy) which harms my interest by erasing and denying the gendered social dynamics that harm men.

    Your resentment of the domestic violence billboards that you mention up thread is very telling, as it shows that you felt you were more deserving of help and attention than the abused women the campaign was targeting.

    This is a straw man. I resent the billboard campaign because it harmed me. It damaged, or rather, further damaged my mental health by presenting domestic violence which I had suffered as 1. tolerable when done to me, and 2. my fault.

    Go check what I actually said about this. It’s exactly what I just wrote. What you wrote doesn’t follow from it in any way. Why do you make up false positions that I have never said, and attribute them to me?

    I do not feel I was more deserving of help and attention that abused women. I feel I was deserving of some consideration as a man, particularly as the campaign was state funded. That you consider it objectionable for a male victim of domestic abuse to ask for any consideration at all from society is very telling, as it shows just how entitled you feel women are to society’s exclusive focus on this topic.

  68. 168
    Daran says:

    Hedgepig:

    my point is that Daran does not blame the people who tormented him, i.e. other males.

    It’s not true that the people who tormented me were just males. As I already said, everyone, boys and girls alike were involved. That probably isn’t literally true, but those who weren’t, weren’t particularly high on my radar. In any case, it wasn’t just boys.

    I don’t really blame them for it. They were children, after all. The blame lies with the adult carers of both sexes who abrogated their responsiblity to protect me.

    He seems to be holding feminists accountable for his past and present suffering because we don’t focus enough energy and attention on the plight of men with his experiences of maleness.

    Again, not true. I blame feminists for promulgating into society a false social theory of gender which harms my interest. But in truth, casting blame isn’t high on my agenda. I want to get you to stop by persuading you that you are wrong.

  69. 169
    Ampersand says:

    I can’t find the comment on this thread where Daran described the billboard campaign. Does anyone know what comment number it is?

  70. 170
    Daran says:

    I can’t find the comment on this thread where Daran described the billboard campaign. Does anyone know what comment number it is?

    I linked to it, three comments back:

    Go check what I actually said about this. It’s exactly what I just wrote. What you wrote doesn’t follow from it in any way. Why do you make up false positions that I have never said, and attribute them to me?

    And what I said at the link:

    Where was your movement? It was plastering posters all over town demanding “Zero Tolerence of male violence against women and children”. So according to your movement, when she was punching me as hard as she could, I was not the victim of intolerable violence, rather I was to blame for it.

    This poster campaign damaged my mental health. It pushed me toward suicide.

  71. 171
    Ampersand says:

    Ballgame wrote:

    While I acknowledge that you speak out more against the harms of anti-male sexism than most other major feminist bloggers, Amp, I don’t agree that every word of the above describes you, from what I’ve seen. In all of the comments I can recall where you’ve talked about whether men are oppressed by gender, you’ve equivocated (just as you do here on this thread in comment #149). You’ve said men were “harmed” by gender or used some other word or pretended it’s a ‘non-issue’ … but you’ve consistently balked at acknowledging that men are oppressed as men:

    A good example of how your focus is much more on terminology than on substance. It doesn’t matter to you what views I advocate; because I don’t agree with your terminology, in your view I can’t be “egalitarian.”

    (And for the record, I’m not a major feminist blogger. I was at one time — but that’s when there were many fewer feminist bloggers than there are today.)

    I think some men are oppressed as men. I also think people can say, with validity, that men are never oppressed as men. I think it depends on which definition you use.

    I tend towards the former definition, but I don’t say so in an unhedged fashion because if I do, I might seem to be allying myself with the misogynists who make up most of the anti-feminist movement. I also don’t emphasize this difference between me and most other mainstream feminists because most people I respect and who have decent views on gender, and who are doing valuable work, disagree with me. That makes me think that there’s a strong possibility I’m mistaken.

    I don’t respect the line of argument that says that nuance and uncertainty are the same as dishonesty and hypocrisy, which is the direction you seem to be headed in.

    This equivocation is significant, because it allows you to sidestep the confrontation with feminist orthodoxy, which espouses — as Mandolin does in 146 and 148 — the ridiculous notions that male privilege is as unidirectional as white privilege, or that female privilege doesn’t exist.

    Mandolin is both smarter and better informed than you are, so don’t call her statements “ridiculous.” Plus, you’re acting like a jerk, so please stop that.

    Mandolin denies that such a thing as “female privilege” exists. This is not a ridiculous statement; it’s a matter of how one defines “privilege.” It is a little similar, in my understanding (which may be wrong), to how many anti-racist activists define racism as “power plus privilege,” so that while either whites or non-whites can be prejudiced, only whites can be racist.

    The definition of “privilege” isn’t a fact beyond debate, that one is ridiculous to disagree with; it’s a theoretical definition. Just because most mainstream feminists don’t share your definition of “privilege” doesn’t make their views ridiculous.

    [Whoops -- misread "male" as "female" in your statement, and so wrote a paragraph that made no sense at all, which I've now deleted.]

    Mandolin didn’t say that “that male privilege is as unidirectional as white privilege.” That implies that Mandolin thinks it makes sense to talk about degrees of “unidirection” and that they are equal, neither of which are reasonable things to infer from what she wrote. If I understood correctly, what she was saying is that the existence of white suffering, and harms to whites due to racism, doesn’t make racism a system of white privileges and black privileges; likewise, sexism is not a system of male privileges and female privileges.

    Whether or not you agree with that view, it is not a “ridiculous” view. It is the mainstream feminist view. You may find mainstream feminism ridiculous, but I disagree, and you’re not welcome on this forum if that’s the kind of criticism you’re offering.

    There’s a big difference between criticizing someone’s views — however harshly — and vilifying the person.

    I know how this game goes. I’m supposed to reply “I’ve never vilified you or Daran as a person.” That then opens the door for you and Daran to put on your “prosecutor” hats and put me on trial for all of the times you think my behavior has been less than perfect. Then I’ll have the choice of following all the stupid links and trying to painstakingly reconstruct what was happening six months or a year or four years ago, or letting the accusations stand without rebuttal.

    It’s bullshit I’ve gone through more than once on Feminist Critics; it’s a major reason I can’t stand your blog, and in fact find it a hateful environment; and it’s not something I’m going to allow you and Daran to do here.

    It’s neat how you’ve depoliticized the contempt concept of “egalitarian” here. Suddenly it’s no longer about thinking that the sexes should be equal, or equal treatment, or anything like that; “egalitarian” is now defined according to whether or not I’ve ever “vilified” you or Daran personally. (That many female posters likewise think I’ve treated them unjustly over the years isn’t a consideration to you, since that would get back to treating the sexes equally, which isn’t in your definition of “egalitarian.”)

    I entirely reject a line of discussion which leads to you and Daran presenting “evidence” about how much I suck.

    You don’t treat everyone who struggles against gender oppression with respect.

    Many, many genuine anti-feminists and MRAs, even horribly misogynistic ones, consider themselves to be struggling against gender oppression. Am I required to treat them with respect in order to qualify as “egalitarian,” in your view?

    People who speak out against feminist sexism against males are often, at best, “anti-feminists”; more typically they’re “misogynists” (or MRAs, a label taken in this environment to mean much the same thing). Such labels ‘poison the well’ of whatever legitimate criticism of feminism they try to express.

    :shrug: I think that you and Daran are anti-feminists. I don’t think Daran is an MRA, and I’m not sure if you are or not. (If you were an MRA, I think that would vastly improve MRAism, and I don’t consider you a misogynist). I don’t intend either of these terms as insults, nor do I think they make you “evil.”

    I appreciate that you and Daran prefer not to be called anti-feminists or MRAs, and have made a sincere and conscious effort to avoid calling you by those terms, except when it’s not reasonably avoidable. I’m sure I slip up now and then, but whatever. I’ve tried. I am now officially done trying.

    That said, I do think that anti-feminism refers to a real spectrum of views which should be named and criticized. As an anti-feminist, I can see why you’d prefer that your views not be named and criticized for what they are, but it’s not my obligation to assist you in that desire. The term is no more an insult than “Republican” or “conservative” is an insult. It just describes a particular constellation of political views; in your case, it describes someone who strongly dislikes mainstream feminism, devotes most of his (or her) energy regarding feminism to attacking and opposing mainstream feminism, and whose political position towards virtually all forms of feminism can be accurately summed up as “opposition.”

    You really remind me of anti-gay activists who insist that the word “homophobia” should never be used because it’s an “insult,” or conservatives who think it’s unfair to use the word “racist” in debate, because the word poisons the well. By trying to make the word unacceptable in conversation, they are attempting to forclose reasonable consideration of whether or not their views are, in fact, homophobic or racist. Similarly, you’re trying to forclose discussion of whether or not your views amount to anti-feminism. I don’t think that’s reasonable of you, and not discussing anti-feminism so that anti-feminists can feel more comfortable or avoid criticism of their views, isn’t what I want to do.

    ETA: Finally, by your own terms, isn’t using the term “feminist” on “Feminist Critics” comments — where the overwhelming majority of comment-writers have only contempt and disdain for feminism — a form of “poisoning the well”?

    (And once again, FTR, I’m no more “anti-feminist” than the folks who pushed for Ned Lamont were “anti-Democrat” … and your strawman reinterpretation of my terminology can hardly be called ‘respectful.’)

    The leaders of the Lamont movement were longtime Democrats who had real records of supporting and defending the views of the Democratic party, even though they were opposing then-Democrat Lieberman. And when the real election came about, they were actively supporting the Democrat (who was by that time Lamont).

    In other words, they had earned respect as Democrats by working as, with, and for Democrats. You, in contrast, are overwhelmingly against mainstream feminism in your posts (although you’re usually polite about it, which I admire), while you link to an anti-feminist (Robert at Glennsacks.com) with praise (you did critique some stats he got wrong, but you avoided criticizing his anti-feminism in any way). This is behavior that more describes a smart, respectful anti-feminist than it describes a feminist.

    Nor do I think my reinterpretation of your terminology has been a strawman. You’ve gone again and again away from any usual definition of “egalitarian” to mean someone who sees the sexes as equal and deserving equal treatment, and have instead argued that it means that I’ve “vilified” someone — I think in context it’s clear you meant you and/or Daran — personally, and that makes me not egalitarian. I don’t think that criticizing what you actually wrote qualifies as attacking a strawman.

    Driving potentially progressive males who are concerned with anti-male sexism into the arms of right wingers seems to be an acceptable risk for many of them, as long as that allows those gynocentric feminists to maintain their monopoly on gender discourse.

    Shorter Ballgame: “Men aren’t responsible for their own actions and choices; if men become conservatives, that’s the fault of feminists for being too mean.”

  72. Amp, this is just to say: Well said and well done!

  73. 173
    Mandolin says:

    I’m not really interested in arguing with Daran, which is why I came in responding to Silenced is Foo, and wandered off again when he did. But I did want to say about the subject:

    Barry and I had a fairly major fight on IM about whether or not men are oppressed as men a couple months ago. It was inspired by this thread, actually, because I was (and am) appalled that Daran’s major excuse for men’s oppression is something that exists because of a framework that oppresses women — i.e. that we’re not considered competent to be included in the draft, a responsibility which (while obviously odious for those whose political standpoint includes being a dove) is also considered to be the hallmark of full citizenship.

    When I say fairly major “fight,” I obviously mean in the political sense. Barry and I are good friends and while I suppose it would be possible for something political to throw a wrench in that, absent him suddenly reversing position on whether or not women are fully human, it’s not likely to happen.

    But in any case, it was a long, passionate, heated disagreement. And in the end we’re both still working here and our feelings about each other’s activisms haven’t changed. So it’s not like there’s no room for “disagreement with the gynocentric feminist orthodoxy” or whatever asinine terminology soup has been proposed. There’s plenty of room for disagreement — as long as the actions add up, and they do. Both Amp and I are passionate about making room for men and women who don’t fit gender binaries. It’s been a major theme of my writing and artwork for years, if not a major theme of my blogging (I’m a fucking lazy blogger, so I don’t exactly blog much — though I do note that feminist critic’s most whackaloon participant totally freaked out when I criticized male circumcision as being a disgusting and mutilatory practice because, ew, I’m a girl, and girl feminists aren’t supposed to “steal our subject,” but I’m sure he’s totally egalitarian). It *is* a major theme of Amp’s blogging. And of Myca’s blogging and of RJN’s blogging. Which is one reason why I find it a pleasure to work with them.

    Alas, I am still not particularly interested in a dialog on this subject with Daran, so I’ll probably be wandering off again. I just wanted to say: Alas, a Blog; several different viewpoints; everyone still respects each other. Except about porn, obviously. If you disagree with me about that, then fuck you. :-P*

    *Yes, that’s a joke.

  74. 174
    Hedgepig says:

    “But that is not what is meant by “white privilege”. What that expression means is that people who are members of the socially constructed white race are unidirectionally privileged over people who are not. There is no claim that within the socially constructed white race, higher hued individuals are privileged over darker. In fact in many areas, tanned skin is preferred.”

    Exactly. But at the time my personal experience told me that my white skin afforded me no privilege, but rather actual disadvantage. I think this is analagous to your experience of being male. To paraphrase your statement quoted above, the expression “male privilege” means that people who are members of the socially constructed male gender are unidirectionally privileged over people who are not. This does not mean that within the socially constructed male gender, some males are not privileged over other males.

    “When I look at the world through the lense of gender, I see various dynamics operating in both directions, which I do not see when I look at the world through the lense of race.”

    This is not an argument. This is a description of how you see things through the lenses of gender and race. Obviously, I see things differently through those lenses. My response was to hazard a guess at why you might see things the way you do.

    “I resent the billboard campaign because it harmed me. It damaged, or rather, further damaged my mental health by presenting domestic violence which I had suffered as 1. tolerable when done to me, and 2. my fault”

    The billboard campaign called for “Zero tolerance of male violence against women and children”. Your interpretation of this was: “So according to your movement, when she was punching me as hard as she could, I was not the victim of intolerable violence, rather I was to blame for it.” There is nothing in the words “zero tolerance of male violence against women and children” that implies “If a woman is violent towards a man, the man is to blame”. It also doesn’t mean violence against men is tolerable. To presume that because a campaign is not geared towards victims who fit your description, that means the campaign is blaming those victims it does not target for their own victimization is a somewhat paranoid interpretation. Similarly, the belief that this campaign “harmed” you by not focussing on your particular experience of domestic violence is delusional.
    I understand that you were not mentally healthy at the time. That you still consider your response to that campaign to have been rational is worrying.

  75. Pingback: ballgame’s Definition of “Gynocentric” Feminism (RP) | Feminist Critics

  76. Pingback: ballgame’s Definition of “Gynocentric” Feminism (NoH) | Feminist Critics

  77. 175
    Daran says:

    Ampersand,

    The above pingbacks, by the way, are to my critique of ballgame’s definition, which is perhaps not what you’d expect. Out of several specific criticisms, two bear upon his labeling of you as “gynocentric”. Firstly I suggest that ballgame’s “vilification” criterion should be replaced by one that says “views the criticism of feminist misandry as presumptively invalid, illegitimate, or suspect”. I think that does describe you, though you might not agree. Secondly I argue that gynocentrism should be viewed as a spectrum. The mere commission of a single sin from the list should not be regarded as condemning a feminist to gynocentric hell.

    Applying the above to your positively expressed views, I should not class you as a gynocentric feminist. But then we have your “equivocation” on matters which you frame as “terminology”, but which are actually matters of significant substance. Are men forcibly conscripted and sent to watch their comrades being slaughtered before getting their own brains blown out oppressed, as I would argue? Or are the real victims here the women left at home, who are not deemed so disposable competent, (oh the horror!), as Mandolin argues.

    And we also have your stance as a staunch apologist for gynocentric feminism, which raises the question: to what extent does apology for a particular point of view equate to its positive advocacy?

    That said, I do think that anti-feminism refers to a real spectrum of views which should be named and criticized. As an anti-feminist, I can see why you’d prefer that your views not be named and criticized for what they are, but it’s not my obligation to assist you in that desire. The term is no more an insult than “Republican” or “conservative” is an insult. It just describes a particular constellation of political views; in your case, it describes someone who strongly dislikes mainstream feminism, devotes most of his (or her) energy regarding feminism to attacking and opposing mainstream feminism, and whose political position towards virtually all forms of feminism can be accurately summed up as “opposition.”

    I agree that “anti-feminist” is not per se an insult*. It is insulting when applied to us. More importantly it is prejudicial. The similarities you call a “constellation of political views” are quite superficial, while the differences between us and most others you call “anti-feminist” are profound and much more significant than our differences with feminism, and in some cases more significant than feminists’ differences with antifeminists.

    *Neither is “gynocentric” an insult.

    It’s as though you were to call “anti-socialist” such individuals as Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, Rush Limbaugh…, and George Orwell. “Anti-socialist” is not per se an insult, but it certainly is an insult to Orwell to associate him with those other three and their ilk. Moreover it is prejudicial. Orwell had at least as strong a claim to the word “socialist” as any of those he criticised, and his critique of the practice of socialism was profoundly different in kind from those who opposed it in principle.

    ETA: Finally, by your own terms, isn’t using the term “feminist” on “Feminist Critics” comments — where the overwhelming majority of comment-writers have only contempt and disdain for feminism — a form of “poisoning the well”?

    I find it astounding that you should even raise the issue of whether it is prejudicial for us to use a label embraced by feminists themselves. The simple answer, of course, is no. We are not prejudicing feminists by associating them with feminism. Nor are we prejudicing gynocentric feminists or their apologists by associating them with gynocentric feminism. Any prejudice that arises from such association is self-inflicted. The aforementioned considerations simply do not apply.

    There is another source of potential prejudice to feminists that I, probably more than anyone else on FCB, am quite mindful of. We may mistakenly label as feminist, someone who isn’t. As you yourself pointed out in the above link, it can be quite difficult to distinguish between some feminists and some traditionalists, and this is by no means limited to their views on trans people. Where it is not obvious, I make a point of checking to see if an individual whom I might wish to cite as a feminist, or who has been so cited by others, really is recognised as a feminist by other feminists, or if indications in either direction are lacking, whether they have expressed a range of views that satisfy me that they would be so recognised.

  78. 176
    Ampersand says:

    Daran:

    Are men forcibly conscripted and sent to watch their comrades being slaughtered before getting their own brains blown out oppressed, as I would argue? Or are the real victims here the women left at home, who are not deemed so disposable competent, (oh the horror!), as Mandolin argues.

    To avoid being banned, you have two choices:

    1) Show me, with a direct, linked quote, Mandolin expressly saying something that is fairly summed up as “women are the real victims” — a phrase that strongly implies that she has said she believes men are never victims.

    (Note that the one prior time the term “real victims” came up in this thread, it was when I quoted Hugo — and I pointed out that the phrase was objectionable, for that precise reason.)

    (For that matter, I very much doubt Mandolin would say that men who are forcibly conscripted and shot are not oppressed; she’d say they’re not oppressed as men. I’m positive she wouldn’t deny that they’ve been victimized.)

    Note that your usual style of lying about what feminists say — which can be summed up as “the billboard referred to female victims of male abusers, therefore feminists said that violence against me was tolerable and my own fault” — isn’t an acceptable response in this instance. If you come up with some bullshit rationalization like that for why your lie wasn’t a lie, then you’re banned.

    2) Retract and apologize.

    Your choice.

  79. 177
    Daran says:

    Hedgepig (“quoting me”):

    Exactly. But at the time my personal experience told me that my white skin afforded me no privilege, but rather actual disadvantage. I think this is analagous to your experience of being male.

    It’s not analogous. You are equivocating between two different meanings to the phrase “white skin”, which can refer to both “skin hue” and “socially constructed race”.

    Specifically you are saying that your pale skin hue was a site of what you experienced as oppression. But nobody claims that pale skin hue is something which is supposed to privilege you. Rather the claim is that your socially constructed status as member of the white race which privileges you. But your race isn’t that which was a site of oppression for you.

    It is the lack of congruency between that which is “supposed to privilege you” and the “site of oppression” you experienced, to use PG’s perspicuous phrasing, which renders your situation non-analogous to mine.

    To paraphrase your statement quoted above, the expression “male privilege” means that people who are members of the socially constructed male gender are unidirectionally privileged over people who are not. This does not mean that within the socially constructed male gender, some males are not privileged over other males.

    Yes, I understand what the theory says. I don’t agree with it.

    Another error you appear to be labouring under is your apparent assumption that my personal experience is a significant or sole basis for my disagreement with the theory. It isn’t. My personal experience is the basis for my disagreement with anyone stating or implying that I am personally privileged. Privilege as a social dynamic is a whole different matter.

    “When I look at the world through the lense of gender, I see various dynamics operating in both directions, which I do not see when I look at the world through the lense of race.”

    This is not an argument. This is a description of how you see things through the lenses of gender and race. Obviously, I see things differently through those lenses.

    Not entirely. Presumably we see things the same way through the lens of race, or at least, not so differently that we dispute each other’s characterisation of what we see to any significant degree.

    My response was to hazard a guess at why you might see things the way you do.

    A better response would have been to try to find out in more detail what I see, and how I interpret it.

    Let’s take Mandolin’s example: conscription. I say that the gender-selective conscription of men is an example of the gender-oppression of men, and women’s immunity to it is an example of female privilege, or alternatively, contradicts the notion of unidirectional male privilege. Mandolin disagrees, but I’m interested in your view. What say you?

    Another example: the school to prison pipeline is a recognised social system with race, class, age, and gender components and probably others as well. It primarily affects black people, the lower class, the young, and males. Overwhelmingly it effects young, black, lower-class males.

    Viewed through the lens of race, nobody here would disagree that it oppresses black people as black people, and that white people’s relative freedom from it is a privilege. The same reasoning (applied to mostly the same set of victims!) would seem to mandate that, viewed through the lens of gender, it oppresses males as males, and that females’ relative freedom from it is a privilege. Again, what say you?

    These are by no means my only examples, nor is this the limit of my analysis, but it’ll do for a start. I’ll respond to the remainder of your comment separately.

  80. 178
    Mandolin says:

    The draft: proof of homosexual privilege.

    Homosexuals must be exempted from the draft because society doesn’t consider homosexuals disposable.

  81. 179
    Daran says:

    Ampersand,

    I must confess to some puzzlement here, since on the one hand you are demanding that I prove my point or retract, while on the other, you concede it:

    I very much doubt Mandolin would say that men who are forcibly conscripted and shot are not oppressed; she’d say they’re not oppressed as men. I’m positive she wouldn’t deny that they’ve been victimized.

    Which is the beginning and the end of my claim about her position. Here’s the full statement, including the crucial context you omitted but which I here emphasise:

    But then we have your “equivocation” on matters which you frame as “terminology”, but which are actually matters of significant substance. Are men forcibly conscripted and sent to watch their comrades being slaughtered before getting their own brains blown out oppressed, as I would argue? Or are the real victims here the women left at home, who are not deemed so disposable competent, (oh the horror!), as Mandolin argues.

    “Equivocation” here refers to ballgame’s statement again with my emphasis:

    In all of the comments I can recall where you’ve talked about whether men are oppressed by gender, you’ve equivocated (just as you do here on this thread in comment #149). You’ve said men were “harmed” by gender or used some other word or pretended it’s a ‘non-issue’ … but you’ve consistently balked at acknowledging that men are oppressed as men:

    That this is what “equivocation” here refers to is confirmed by the reference to your statement about “terminology”, which was a direct reply to the above quoted remark.

    The crucial issue here is “whether men are oppressed by gender … [whether] men are oppressed as men”. In was in that clearly invoked context that I characterised Mandolin’s view on whether men are oppressed*. For you to simply disregard it implies… Well, the most charitable interpretation I can think of is that you were so enraged by what you initially thought I meant, that your cognitive abilities were temporarily impaired.

    *That by “oppressed” I meant “oppressed by gender” is further confirmed by the characterisation of Mandolin’s position in my response to hedgepig, which I posted before I saw your comment. I said merely that Mandolin disagreed with the proposition that “gender-selective conscription of men is an example of the gender-oppression of men”.

    The other point you raise was the phrasing “women are the real victims”. Again the context of gender oppression applies. If it is her view that women are oppressed as women, and men are not oppressed as men, then I cannot see how it can fail to be her view that women are the real victims of gender oppression.

    * * * * *

    To summarise. My claim about Mandolin’s position is no more or less than what you conceded it to be. (I presume you are not asking me to prove what you already concede). I do apologise for any misunderstanding of what I wrote, however caused, but I make no retraction, having nothing to retract.

    Your remarks concerning my interpretation of the billboard postsers I leave to another comment, assuming I am permitted to post again.

    I hope this will suffice.

  82. 180
    Ruchama says:

    For that matter, the draft could also be seen in that way as an example of disabled privilege.

  83. 182
    Hedgepig says:

    My analogy has completely failed in its purpose. I thought that by comparing our school experiences of being low-status individuals within high status groups, my argument (that when one is a low status individual it is easy to make the mistake of thinking one’s whole group is actually not privileged) would be clarified through illustration. Obviously, it did not succeed.

    I think that gender-specific conscription is an example of rich old men happily organising to kill off a lot of younger, poorer men. This is very common under patriarchy. But if I were to concede that to be considered unsuitable as cannon-fodder is an example of female privilege, I still could not agree that in peace-time society that privilege translates into anything concrete in gender relations. To use Mandolin’s example above, it’s like saying homosexual males are privileged over heterosexual males in our culture because they have been excluded from the draft.

    Actually, you know what I think is our problem in attempting to argue these things? Even if we each concede the other’s gender has privileges, what it will eventually come down to is how important each of us thinks certain privileges are, and how many we each think the other has. You place a great deal of weight on the threat of conscription; I would say this is a relatively rare occurrence that doesn’t impact much on the relative advantage being male confers on an individual in society. I place great weight on the threat of rape, forced pregnancy, intimate violence etc that women experience as members of the sex caste, which is an ongoing state of affairs. You, I suspect, would say that men experience much of this kind of thing too and therefore that negates feminists’ claim that women are particularly disadvantaged by these experiences. There doesn’t seem a lot of point to this sort of debate.

  84. 183
    Hedgepig says:

    I meant, even if we each concede our own gender has privileges.

    (I tried to use the edit function but it keeps scrolling and I can’t get the cursor to stay on one spot.)

  85. 184
    Doug S. says:

    I was (and am) appalled that Daran’s major excuse for men’s oppression is something that exists because of a framework that oppresses women — i.e. that we’re not considered competent to be included in the draft, a responsibility which (while obviously odious for those whose political standpoint includes being a dove) is also considered to be the hallmark of full citizenship.

    I believe that this quote was what Daran was objecting to.

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  87. 185
    Ampersand says:

    Doug, I understood that’s what Daran was most likely referring to. Nowhere in that passage does Mandolin say that women are the only true victims of the draft.

    * * *

    Daran:

    So here’s what you’re saying:

    1) When you described Mandolin as arguing that “the real victims [of military conscription are] the women left at home,” you meant this to mean that “women are the real victims of gender oppression,” even though you didn’t say that in your comment, or indeed use the phrase “gender oppression” anywhere in the comment.

    2) But I should have understood that’s how you meant it, because you used the word “equivocation” in a reference to a separate comment by Ballgame, and Ballgame did use the phrase gender oppression in that comment.

    3) That I didn’t understand this shows that my “cognitive abilities were temporarily impaired.” (Nice one!)

    4) That you referred to Mandolin’s views somewhat more accurately in a different comment entirely somehow means there’s no call for you to apologize for or retract lying about her views in this comment.

    This is pretty similar, really, to your claim that when you said “according to feminists,” being beaten is an example of male privilege, you weren’t suggesting that any feminist had ever actually said such a thing. You meant “according to feminists” in the same sense as “according to the terms of the contract.” Gosh, how could I ever have interpreted it any other way?

    In both cases, what you’re doing is lying about what feminists say, in a most unkind and prejudicial manner. And when you’re called on it, your response is, in effect, “oh, no, I didn’t mean what I plainly said; I meant something else entirely, and if you didn’t see that it’s only because you’re being unfair and/or an idiot.”

    I genuinely don’t know if you’re saying these things in bad faith, or if you just have such a bizarre usage of English that you don’t understand what your words mean. (Although if it is true that you don’t understand what your words mean, isn’t it odd that the unintended meaning of your words is so often to slander feminists?)

    In either case, I’m sick of seeing it on this blog. You are banned from “Alas” until May of 2010.

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  92. 186
    Darren Hanratty says:

    It bothers me very much that you say “Men’s Rights Activists, Anti-Feminists, And Other Misogynists” as if being a men’s rights activist is synonymous with being a mysongynist.

    It bothers me even more than many who identify as being an MRA have done everything to deserve this.

    However, the problem with a title like that, is that anyone can self identify as being an MRA. I would love to be able to pick and choose who could and couldn’t use the term.

    I think the is very much the situation of empty vessels making the most noise, and a minority of people who hold these beliefs getting the most attention and/or being the most outspoken.

    As for people responding and disagreeing, I used to do so myself, but after a while, I realised there was very little point, and that was part of my reason for ceasing my viewing and commenting on MRA websites.

    Anyway, I suppose rather than getting annoyed at you for using the two terms synonymously, I should realise you’re not talking about me, and instead i should get annoyed at the people who’ve hijacked the term and made your comparison relatively apt. In the same way feminism was largely hi-jacked by misandrists, it’s counterpart seems currently overpopulated by women haters.

    Especially considering Glenn Sacks, probably the most famous MRA is often quoted saying that women must never become the enemy.

    It is sad to see.

  93. 187
    Ampersand says:

    I very much disagree that feminism has been taken over by misandrists. I’ve run into some misandrists feminists (as well as misandrist non-feminists) — mainly among those groups of radical feminists who are also intolerant of trans people — but in general I find the feminist community to be less sexist against men than the larger culture is. Especially men who are effeminate or who reject — or are simply incapable of performing — cultural ideals of masculinity are likely to find more acceptance among feminists than among most other groups.

    Certainly my experience of MRA’s, who routinely use anti-male sexist terminology like “mangina” to refer to me and other feminist men, is that they’re a bunch of male-hating sexists. If I ever meet more than a handful of MRAs who don’t treat me like shit, maybe I’ll change my mind about that.

    Glenn’s okay in most ways, although I still think he gets some things very wrong. He’s very much the exception. It’s a shame, really, because a good, non-sexist mra movement is needed.

    Anyhow, on that rather sour note, welcome to Alas. :-P

    ETA: I think that many MRAs mistake feminist intolerance of MRAs and anti-feminists for intolerance of men. But although most MRAs and anti-feminists are male, most men aren’t MRAs or anti-feminists.

  94. 188
    Valerie Keefe says:

    Ampersand

    I very much disagree that feminism has been taken over by misandrists. I’ve run into some misandrists feminists (as well as misandrist non-feminists) — mainly among those groups of radical feminists who are also intolerant of trans people — but in general I find the feminist community to be less sexist against men than the larger culture is. Especially men who are effeminate or who reject — or are simply incapable of performing — cultural ideals of masculinity are likely to find more acceptance among feminists than among most other groups.

    I think we’d all agree that Dr. Peggy Drexler is a feminist, yes?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peggy-drexler/the-incredible-shrinking-_1_b_88013.html

    Get a pedicure if it makes you feel good. Have your back waxed if you want to. And by all means continue your evolution into a, breathing, loving, contributing member of the family.

    But, if possible, please:

    Don’t chatter about your feelings, tell us what you don’t like about your bodies, botox your eye wrinkles, or order Appletinis. And outside of family tragedy, the end of Brian’s Song or when they put down Barbaro, keep the tears to a minimum.

    Or there was the recent Daily Show piece by Samantha Bee where she called a group of fairly non-macho MRA’s at a retreat a bunch of lesbians.

    It’s everywhere, but cis feminists often refuse to see the misandry they perpetuate, because they’ve never had it directed against themselves.

  95. 189
    Ampersand says:

    I didn’t know who Peggy Drexler is until a minute ago, when I googled her. But yes, I’d be a bit surprised if she isn’t a feminist, and yes, that article you quoted included a lot of misandrist bullshit.

    (I know who Samantha Bee is, of course, but I’m not going to comment about a comedy routine I’ve never seen.)

    My point isn’t to claim that there are no feminist misandrists; there certainly are. But they are not, in my experience, the majority, nor are most of the worse misandrists I’ve encountered feminists. (For every feminist I’ve met who’s been overtly misandrist to me, I’ve met a dozen or more MRAs using terms like “mangina” or otherwise trying to shame me for being the wrong kind of male.)

    Speaking of my experiences:

    It’s everywhere, but cis feminists often refuse to see the misandry they perpetuate, because they’ve never had it directed against themselves.

    Do you realize I’m male? Of course it’s been directed against me.

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