A Freshly-Hatched Tone Argument

If a man who is critical of feminism writes a flippant post at his “menz” blog that plays right into stereotypes about Angry Feminists, it should be a statement of the obvious to say that many feminists will view him as walking on extremely thin ice.

So, it was with trepidation that I read Noah’s post at No Seriously, What About Teh Menz (NSWATM) on “Freshly-Hatched Gynocratic Rage.” He begins:

“The title of this post, ‘freshly-hatched gynocratic rage’ ["FHGR"], is a phrase I came across in an issue of Bitch magazine, lo these many years ago, and I apologize for not being able to dig up the name of the author who originally coined it.

She described it, more or less, as the phase every feminist woman goes through where she takes her first women’s studies course, suddenly sees and understands the pervasiveness of the damage and unfairness our society subjects women to, and spends a year or two completely pissed off” (emphasis added).

In explaining this phenomenon of FHGR, Noah suggests:

“Discovery of the incredibly pervasive nature of gendered injustice combines the power of novelty with the power of legitimate outrage at something profoundly wrong, and it’s easy to overshoot.”

He then proceeded to invite his audience that is predominately comprised of men (presumably, since it’s a men’s issues blog), and is certainly dominated by men’s voices (since many commenters shared their experiences as men), to share their stories of “gynocratic rage” and how they were able to move beyond this phase of feminism.

Aside from the problematically vague diagnosis criteria for FHGR, notice how the author who coined the term did so in the context of women discussing their own anger upon perceiving the vast nature of gendered oppression against women.

Let me share a story.

In June of 2010, I posted the following quote from Sarah Sentilles, a feminist scholar of religion:

“It was only when I heard a prayer that said ‘she’ instead of ‘he,’ when I heard God called ‘mother’ instead of ‘father,’ that I realized how much translating I had to do when I sat in church, how much energy I spent wondering if I was included, how much I longed for theological language I could see myself in.”

No matter how allied, sympathetic, feminist, or gender-egalitarian a man is, I’m not sure an experience like that is going to resonate with him in the way it resonates with many women. Now consider a man who is predisposed to be critical of feminism or is not allied or sympathetic, and well, I can quickly imagine him minimizing women’s anger at religious institution’s alienating us from god.

Some Zen Buddhists say that in order to really know something, one has to experience it.

Along with that idea, even if men may have their own experiences of oppression as men, I’m not sure the sense of alienation that many women feel within male-centric religions, and the consequent anger at how such religions dominate many societies, is something many men can truly fathom. I think it is, in fact, understandable for many men not to be as angry as women might be upon first learning about feminism and first hearing the oppression of women articulated.

Indeed, my point here isn’t to spark a conversation about male-centric religions, for that is but one example among many, but rather to question an assumption Noah seemed to be relying on in opening the floor to his audience predominately comprised of men: that they would have experienced FHGR at all upon first learning about feminism.

While some commenters did seem to discuss their own experiences, others… not so much. Instead of sharing their own experiences of having gone through FHGR themselves, some interpreted the post as a call to talk about how feminists with FHGR have Turned Them Away From Feminism (aka- The trusty “They’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar” excuse for not taking feminism seriously).

A sample:

“When I first discovered feminism, I felt very guilty about the bad things men have done.”

“I was expressly told that as an egalitarian, I had no part in feminism. For the most part 99% of feminists I meet are pure shit, but hey isn’t that a law somewhere?”

“I’d had my fair share of crazies screaming at me for being a man, but they were just that: crazy. After reading a lot of feminist material on the internet, however, I started to feel really bad about the whole patriarchy thing.”

My issue with the above commentary, aside from a suspect and ableist interpretation of feminist “crazies,” the above commentary wasn’t FHGR at all, but rather, a sharing of Freshly-Hatched Male-Centric Guilt and Defensiveness.

See, a qualification of having had FHGR, is that a person has, at some point discovered the pervasive nature of gendered injustice against women, has had that injustice resonate, and has consequently felt angry about it. The above comments seemed to have missed basically all of those components.

The thing is, many men won’t feel the same sense of “ragey”-ness about the oppression of women, because they simply don’t experience the oppression of women in the way that women do. And because they’re not going to understand feminist anger, they’re going to be more likely to trivialize it, exaggerate it, or use it as a reason to not take feminism and feminist women seriously.

If men are the beneficiaries of certain institutions and belief systems that are sexist against women, I would garner that some of them might even see a vested interest in not understanding or appreciating the legitimacy of a woman’s anger about such systems. In fact, some men might see their own defensiveness and guilt as more legitimate, important, and central than women’s oppression.

And that’s the crux of my criticism of Noah’s piece, really.

Is there really a shortage of people who think feminism and feminist women have an anger problem? Is there a shortage of male “allies” or “egalitarians” who will only support feminism if their hands are held, their defensiveness coddled, and we assure them that we know, we really really know, that they’re not personally responsible for every bad thing men have ever done?

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36 Responses to A Freshly-Hatched Tone Argument

  1. 1
    AMM says:

    … some of them [=men] might even see a vested interest in not understanding or appreciating the legitimacy of a woman’s anger about such systems. In fact, some men might see their own defensiveness and guilt as more legitimate, important, and central than women’s oppression.

    From my occasional forays over to NSWATM, that’s NSWATM to a tee. And The Good Men Project (which has, I gather, gone fully MRA.) And just about every site that purports to be about the male equivalent of feminism.

    Is there a blog or website out there for men who want to seriously engage with feminism and feminist issues, especially about how to deal with one’s own privilege? By “seriously,” I mean not just defending men’s privilege.

  2. 2
    Jeff Fecke says:

    I actually did go through this, but not until I had a daughter. Because while I’d been feminist in the abstract up until then, these suddenly stopped being issues women face and became issues she would face. And that brought it home for me in a way that I simply couldn’t have understood before (and of course, she will experience it in a way I can’t, because I feel it for her, but she feels it as her).

    That broke down any defensiveness I might once have felt (and yes, I had felt defensive, back when I viewed attacks on “men” as attacks on me personally). And yes, I felt angry at it on her behalf — and while that’s a pale echo of what I would have felt had I been a woman, it was significant enough that I never begrudge a woman who gets angry at that injustice. They’re right to be angry.

    Complaining that women are upset with sexism is as stupid as complaining that African Americans are upset with racism. (And yes, I know people do that too.) People who are oppressed have every right to be upset. Men who don’t want women to be upset about sexism should work to eliminate sexism. If that was done, there’d be a lot less anger all around.

  3. 3
    fannie says:

    I wonder that too, AMM.

    Jeff, that makes sense. I’ve heard other men say that too, and because I’m sporty, it has tended to come up in conversations about their daughters’ participation in sports.

    I think the article, in the context of men talking about having “experienced” FHGR, seemed strange to me– in a way that it might seem strange if a white person wrote a post at a blog dominated by white people’s voices about something like “Freshly-Hatched Person-of-Color-Centric Rage” over the pervasive nature of racial injustice. But, like, instead of talking about anger about racial injustice, it became white people talking about how guilty they felt about the Bad Things White People Have Done. Which… is not a conversation about racial injustice. It’s a conversation about white people’s feelings.

  4. 4
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    What Jeff said.

    Pretty much all men who I know who have experienced anything like that have done so in one of three situations:

    1) Daughters: it can be sports, anti-math socialization, generic sexism, etc. For me, it’s also been the disgusting assumption that I had my youngest child (a boy) because I wasn’t satisfied with having girls.

    2) Loved ones who get sexually assaulted and who are subsequently given the “standard mistreatment” by the system; this also seems especially applicable to daughters.

    3) Taking a women’s studies class, though this is very rare (not the class, but the result.)

    Obviously it’s a different kind of hurt. Though not necessarily a lesser one, depending on circumstances: I would rather experience harm myself, than let my kids be harmed. Things are worse when they happen to kids.

  5. 5
    ginmar says:

    AMM, what you’ll find is that if women- and feminist-bashing is forbidden those sites tend to peter out. I know on Livejournal they had one and I can’t recall seeing a post in years, because they specifically outlawed feminist bashing. NS,WATM has posts where feminist bashing is permitted and where it’s not. From my glance at the site it looks like they have to permit feminist bashing or watch their hits go way down.

    Also….”gynocratic” ?!? Way to reduce women to their genitals there, dude. Any time some guy tries to label women by some variant of, well, pussy, as far as I’m concerned, he’s done, from ‘hysteria’ to MRA speak.

  6. 6
    BlackHumor says:

    Can I jump in here to say that judging NSWATM by the comments is (rather especially) unfair to it? It’s got a very large gulf between the (almost universally feminist) admins and the (very often MRA-ish) commentors.

    Especially since Noah (Noah specifically, none of the other admins do this) often jumps into the comments to express how terrible he thinks this state of affairs and/or specific commentors are. (Which was nice early on but honestly gets annoying after a while; if they’re bad enough to polemicize against, they’re bad enough to ban, aren’t they?)

    Oh, and:
    @ginmar: “Gynocratic” is not related to “vagina”. “Gyno” is the standard latin prefix for “female”.

  7. 7
    Bdell says:

    I agree with the view that, the articles tend to be fairly good. And the comments less so. The particular post of Noah’s was one of the less good ones though.

  8. 8
    fannie says:

    @BlackHumor-

    It’s not clear who your response is directed to, but I’ll reply.

    I would agree that the admins and bloggers at NSWATM are less MRA-ish than many of the people who comment there. I read the blog actually, since it’s in my blog reader, and I do actually like and agree with many of their posts (particularly ozy’s and noah’s). I find the generally anti-feminist/feminist-unfriendly sentiment of the comment section to be unfortunate, because it does discourage me (and probably other feminists) from participating.

    It would be unfair to judge the NSWATM bloggers based on the commentariat. I don’t generally moderate comments at my blog, and I wouldn’t appreciate others judging my work based on what random commenters said at my blog.

    At the same time, my post wasn’t judging the site as a whole. I was very specific about my criticism of noah’s usage of “FHGR” and very specific about when I was being critical of the commenters. While I would question the judgment about opening the floor for a crowd that’s largely hostile to feminism to talk about feminists’ anger, the bigger issue to me was the article’s assumption that a predominately-male audience would understand the oppression of women in the way that women understand it.

  9. 9
    quoded says:

    @AMM – yeah, that does seem to happen with these websites. http://www.xyonline.net/ is fairly good. I haven’t spent much time there in a while, but they are fairly active (frequent posting) and pro-feminist. There’s also a fairly new project by the Women Thinking Free Foundation called the More Than Men Project (http://www.morethanmen.org/) which seems good.

  10. 10
    Hugh says:

    “Is there a blog or website out there for men who want to seriously engage with feminism and feminist issues, especially about how to deal with one’s own privilege? ”

    To be fair to NSWATM, that is not the blog’s stated purpose. Ozy said it herself somewhere, but I can’t mine the quote, so with an apology I’ll paraphrase it – it is a blog to discuss ways in which men are disadvantaged by current gender stereotypes.

    A majority of the authors and a vocal minority of the commenters are either feminists or pro-feminist, and it is inevitable that a blog with that topic is going to touch on feminism fairly regularly. But it is specifically not a place for men to talk about feminism. There’s a reason the title is “what about the menz”

    I would actually like to see less talk about feminism, because in the overwhelming majority of cases, feminism is -not- what is causing problems for men.

    PS: I do agree though, the FHGR post was of dubious value generally and wasn’t really suited to the purpose of the blog.

  11. 11
    ginmar says:

    Why shouldn’t I judge the site by the comments that the admins deem acceptable? They specifically allow, last time I checked, explicit feminist bashing, while forbidding it on other posts. They tolerate misogyny in the name of what, exactly?

  12. 12
    mythago says:

    I also would agree that Noah (as with most of the NSWATM admins) was well-intentioned. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving men a space to talk about their reactions to that anger. Problem is that even with the best of intentions, it can be very hard to run a group blog and even harder to build a good community – particularly one where you’re trying to bring people together who often disagree profoundly but may share views on a particular issue. (For example, feminists and MRAs can all agree that the FBI recognizing that women can rape men is Progress.) It’s also hard when, as I get the sense from the admins, you’re generally nice rather than hard-assed, and you’re trying to walk that line between squashing dissent and shutting down Ahabists.

  13. 13
    2ndnin says:

    Fannie@8

    Wasn’t the point of the ‘FHGR’ post and the commenting on women’s anger that a large part of the ‘anger’ is due to the fact that the issue at that stage is approached in a very gendered way and doesn’t support much nuance? Your comments make some sense however NSWATM is a blog about men and their feelings so addressing how men feel about feminism and the actions of feminists is very relevant. If you want to take gas lighting as an example it is often seen as a very gendered problem – people gas light women. In truth though men have a much smaller acceptable emotional range in most western societies so men are in many ways gas lighted to start with. The gas lighting from a woman’s perspective is then seen as a negative issue where people shut her down for her (correct, understandable, etc.) feelings, from a male perspective it is seen as someone breaking the acceptable code of conduct and so shutting them down is simply creating a level playing field. Both sides have valid points and both perspectives are correct but if we don’t open up the field to both sides we will see it as a one sided affair because men aren’t gas lighted.

  14. 14
    AMM says:

    mythago @12:

    I also would agree that Noah (as with most of the NSWATM admins) was well-intentioned.

    Naive and well-intentioned pretty much sums up the mission of the blog. It starts with the name, which basically says that it’s about how men get the short end of the stick. The posts themselves tend to be, at best, feminism-lite — feminism with the stuff that might be hard for non-feminist men to take removed. This is even before you get to their commentariat, about which the less said, the better. With all the best intentions in the world, they’ve put out a welcome mat for the MRAs, anti-feminists, and misogynists in the blogosphere.

    Some people like that sort of thing, even people who arent MRAs, etc. (Sort of like watching train wrecks, I suppose.) For me, it’s about as interesting as a web site for debating whether the Earth is round, or whether 1 = 2.

  15. 15
    fannie says:

    @Hugh:

    “I would actually like to see less talk about feminism, because in the overwhelming majority of cases, feminism is -not- what is causing problems for men.”

    I agree.

    That’s why I find it unfortunate that some of the NSWATM commenters make nearly every blogpost and comment thread about the Evilness Of Feminism and how it’s supposedly ruining everything for men. (And, I do think it’s worth noting that I’ve seen ozy, several times say things like, to paraphrase, “Okay everyone, let’s not make every conversation be about how evil feminism is…”).

    It’s kind of like how MRAs will ignore mainstream and traditionalist commentators who are really misandrist and gender essentialist, because they are so fixated on bashing feminists for being (or supposedly being) misandrists.

    These commenters (and many MRAs) take the easy shots. It’s not risky to criticize feminists or blame feminists for all of men’s problems, because the general consensus already is that Feminists Hate Men.

    While I think it’s fair to call out feminists who actually are being misandrist, I could respect a men’s movement (or menz movement) more that regularly highlighted non-feminist instances of misandry, because that would involve breaking ranks with some of thee movements that hold up male privilege and power, and that are also more powerful and influential voices that reinforce negatives stereotypes about men.

    But they don’t.

    Vox Day writes a post mocking the re-definition of rape to include male victims, jokes about how he’s been a victim of rape, and his male-dominated commentariat joins in the “fun” about how not serious the rape of men is and how much they would “enjoy” being raped by women… and we hear nothing from the MRA movement or even feminist-friendly men’s issues’ spaces.

    Why? Because they’re too busy talk about Teh Angry Feminists.

    That’s just one example. But I’m truly at a loss as to why some men fixate on feminism for causing the bulk of problems men face, but let non-feminist/anti-feminist voices completely off the hook. I can only think it’s because they hate women and/or have anxiety about losing male privilege.

  16. 16
    mythago says:

    It starts with the name, which basically says that it’s about how men get the short end of the stick.

    Er, no, it’s a play on the “what about MEEEEEEEE” whining of the entitled in feminist spaces. The goal of creating the blog was to create a space to talk about men’s issues (the Patriarchy Hurts Men Too kind of men’s issues, not the “bitches be hatin” kind) that isn’t invasive and appropriating of feminist spaces, where those discussions so often turn into hijacking. The FAQ is pretty clear that it’s not an anti-feminist site. Unfortunately, as has been noted, any space that’s geared toward discussing men’s issues is going to have a very hard time keeping out the MRA crowd and creating a space where people from different parts of the spectrum can nonetheless discuss common ground productively.

  17. 17
    Clarence says:

    Vox Day has what power in the “MRA movement” exactly? He doesn’t identify as one. He runs two blogs, one of which is a “game” blog. Far as it goes, I disagree with most of the positions of his I know about, I think he’s an ass, and he’s a liar when it comes to evolution among other things. Meanwhile “MRA’s” such as Paul Elam were all over Bill Bennett just a few months ago or are we claiming Bill Bennett isn’t a traditionalist? Fact is, there are lots of schisms between MRA/MGTOW and PUA’s, Christian traditionalists, and other groups.

    As for my take on the redefinition of rape see here:

    http://dannyscorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/2012/01/rape-redefined.html

  18. 18
    fannie says:

    Clarence,

    I think you’re missing my point. I wasn’t calling Vox Day an MRA, or even saying that he has “power” within that movement.

    I was noting that when people like Vox Day, who are non-feminist/anti-feminist, make rape jokes and minimize the rape of men, MRAs and men’s issues bloggers are often resoundingly silent. Instead, they’re often found attributing all of men’s problems to feminists and feminism.

    Even if they occasionally call out traditionalists like Bill Bennett, many MRAs spend a disproportionate amount of time fixating on feminism.

    [Edited to fix typo]

  19. 19
    AMM says:

    mythago @16

    It starts with the name, which basically says that it’s about how men get the short end of the stick.

    Er, no, it’s a play on the “what about MEEEEEEEE” whining of the entitled in feminist spaces.

    I don’t think that we, in fact, disagree as to what the phrase is referring to. I mean, it’s not about how men should really get more cookies or whether population reduction proposals should focus on reducing the number of men. The “what about?” is referring to ways in which the speaker believes men are disadvantaged because they are men. The fact that feminists usually mean it ironically when they say it doesn’t change that.

    As you even point out, the blog is, in fact, about the ways that men suffer. The blog admins are hoping that they can get their audience to see that the suffering is the fault of Patriarchy, but they don’t seem to have had much luck at changing anyone’s mind.

  20. 20
    fannie says:

    “The blog admins are hoping that they can get their audience to see that the suffering is the fault of Patriarchy, but they don’t seem to have had much luck at changing anyone’s mind.”

    Yep, and I think that’s because that would require first acknowledging the existence of Patriarchy and/or pervasive male privilege, which is something many commenters aren’t willing or able to do.

    It’s kind of like how when some MRAs bring up the statistics of men dying earlier than women, working in more dangerous occupations, etc., they usually do so without any analysis of why those statistics are the way they are. The general point seems to be: Bad Things Happen To Men Too, Therefore Patriarchy/Male Privilege Doesn’t Exist.

    Which, you know, fine. Deny the existence of Patriarchy and male privilege. But if they’re not examining the factors that causes men to die earlier, or why men work in more dangerous occupations, or why there’s a “myth of men not being hot,” those problems aren’t just going to disappear by blaming feminists for them or denying Patriarchy/male privilege.

    So, the concern about these issues doesn’t, from my perspective, look sincere when it’s only put forth for those purposes.

    It’s like, really? Don’t want men to disproportionately work in dangerous jobs? Push for better safety protection laws. Push for an end to the harassment of women who try to enter those professions. Push for an end to defining certain jobs as “manly.”

  21. 21
    Clarence says:

    fannie:

    And here’s the thing:
    Men, let alone MRA’s can’t simply “snap their fingers” and make that happen.
    Women you see, esp with their sexual selectivity, help define what is “manly”.
    But try to get a feminist to see there is a problem or that women might have to change some of their (group level) behavior in order to get that to happen – no dice.

    Because of the invisible “patriarchy” whose definition at FF101 is circular, and whose casual mechanisms either rely on all women being brainwashed, or can’t even be clearly pointed out at all. But it’s a very convenient construct for denying women agency.

  22. 22
    fannie says:

    Clarence says:

    “Men, let alone MRA’s can’t simply ‘snap their fingers’ and make that happen.”

    You mean…. they might have to actually… advocate, and write articles that are convincing to non-like-minded thinkers, organize protests, and lobby, and organize, and write letters, and….?

    The horror! LOL. Seriously though, what an amusing comment. As though feminists just snap our fingers and *poof* we Totally Get Our Way About Stuff!

    “But try to get a feminist to see there is a problem or that women might have to change some of their (group level) behavior in order to get that to happen – no dice.”

    If you believe feminists are so hopelessly unable to be convinced of your views, I question why you’re even in this space trying to convince feminists of your views.

  23. 23
    ginmar says:

    Because Clarence is a long time troll who keeps accusing various women and various feminists of just flat out hating men, amongst other things.

  24. 24
    Clarence says:

    Ginmar:
    The only one who posts on this blog I’ve ever accused of “flat out hating men” is you.
    And I stand by that contention.
    You are, of course, free to prove me wrong.

    [Clarence, don't make personal attacks, please. --Amp]

  25. 25
    Clarence says:

    Fannie:

    If I can’t just snap my fingers but have to actually advocate -when as all good feminists know males hold most of the power and of course they use this power to benefit other males hence the “patriarchy”- then I’m afraid I just destroyed the concept of “patriarchy”, which should have been called “andrarchy” anyway.

    Thanks for proving my point though.
    Here’s the thing: feminists have the inside scoop on education and training in many areas. If they wanted they could work on helping men break out of rigid gender roles. In practice, short of some public shaming (Men Can Stop Rape!) , they do no gender role work with men.

  26. 26
    ginmar says:

    Got any proof for that assertion that women have all the power, Clarence? Nope, didn’t think so.

    Men can clean their own damned house for once. Why should women do all the housework for them? Get off your asses and do it.

  27. 27
    BlackHumor says:

    Oh hai Clarence. I see you’re up to your usual antics.

    But, to everyone else: is this post, as most Alas posts are, restricted to people at least vaguely sympathetic to feminism? Because I can tell you right now that Clarence is not vaguely sympathetic to feminism.

  28. 28
    Hugh says:

    “It’s like, really? Don’t want men to disproportionately work in dangerous jobs? Push for better safety protection laws. Push for an end to the harassment of women who try to enter those professions. Push for an end to defining certain jobs as “manly.””

    Yeah, I think that’s basically what NSWATM is intended to provide a forum for.

  29. 29
    fannie says:

    “Because I can tell you right now that Clarence is not vaguely sympathetic to feminism.”

    Yes, that’s very clear.

    Clarence,

    Please don’t make accusations against people here. Further attacks and accusations on your part will be deleted. Your comments about feminism and feminists are ignorant, inaccurate, and unfairly generalize the entire movement. If you want to comment here, you’re going to have to do better and introduce a little more nuance, fairness, and accuracy.

    I’m not as familiar with the moderation policies of this blog since I’m a new Guest Blogger, but I’m not going to have the comment sections of my posts become un-safe spaces for feminist and feminist-friendly voices who actually make substantive, civil, and meaningful contributions to the discourse.

  30. 30
    Grace Annam says:

    If I can’t just snap my fingers but have to actually advocate … then I’m afraid I just destroyed the concept of “patriarchy”

    So, if you’re not all-powerful then there can’t a system which involves power imbalance?

    Good heavens, Clarence. I’m certain you can do better than that.

    Grace

  31. 31
    Ampersand says:

    Clarence is now banned from “Alas”. (By me). Since he’s unable to respond, it’s probably best not to reply to his comments anymore.

  32. 32
    figleaf says:

    @fannie, Did you read all the way through Noah’s post? I just did and I don’t think he’s saying what you think he’s saying.

    Instead I think he’s saying that it’s common and entirely correct for women to experience blind outrage when they first realize what a gendered pile of bullshit they’ve been raised face down in, but that even though there’s enormously more to feminism than that moment of freshly-hatched anger, anti-feminists choose to characterize all of feminism based on that moment.

    Noah doesn’t seem to think that anger’s a bad thing per se. For instance he says “Denying activists’ right to be good and pissed off is to deny activism, and insisting that people only challenge power structures in ways that don’t ever make anyone uncomfortable mean you’re just propping up those structures.”

    But he also says that one side effect of new-found anger is that “Too many people got told ‘Feminism’s not for you, asshole!’ and thought ‘Well shit, I’ll take your word for it then.’ Some of us, like me, later learn better. Others end up writing for Cosmopolitan, and that’s just horrible.”

    Given that one of the big intentions of NSWATM is to try and get the idea across to men that feminism is generally the solution to male oppression rather than (another) source of male alienation it makes sense that Noah would try to address one of the big, anger-driven moments at which men (and too many women) get the idea that feminism is not for them.

    Anyway, fannie, if he was saying what you were accusing him of saying then yeah, that would be pretty shitty. And as for what he was trying to say I think he could have done it more effectively if he’d left out the business about the acronym. And I really think he should have been more clear about what he was really looking for when he asked readers to describe their first encounter with someone in the fresh-hatched anger stage. For instance he might have also asked “and how long did it take you to finally realize that there’s more to feminists, and to feminism, than fresh-hatched anger?”

    I hope that makes sense.

    figleaf

  33. 33
    fannie says:

    @ figleaf:

    “@fannie, Did you read all the way through Noah’s post?”

    What a condescending way to begin a comment.

    Yes, I read “all the way through” Noah’s post, multiple times. If you have a different interpretation of it, that’s fine, but to question whether I read something that I spent quite a bit of time critiquing in a civil, sincere manner is quite rude.

    “Anyway, fannie, if he was saying what you were accusing him of saying….”

    I’m curious what exactly you think I’m “accusing” Noah’s post of saying? Because really, I think you’re being really generous with your interpretation and asking us to overlook things, like the acronym, that he actually said in order to go out of our way to not take offense at it.

  34. 34
    figleaf says:

    @fannie: I apologize for asking as if I thought you were the only person who didn’t read Noah’s post. Instead I was wondering if anyone had. Because as you say it sure didn’t look like it from the comments he received. But then it didn’t sound like it from the post you wrote either. I stand corrected.

    I understand how so many people might have overlooked his main intention. He got off on the wrong foot by trying to use an acronym coined what he must have felt was a credible third party (and from a source dating far enough back that it didn’t sound like something that was just made up yesterday.) Then he ended on the wrong foot by asking people to recount their initial encounters rather than, say, how they got used to it. As I mentioned in my first comment I probably wouldn’t have done it that way.

    But I think his main point was really important: anti-feminists and a-feminists who base their opinion on encounters with women in the early stages of feminist consciousness should engage in introspection rather than continuing to reject or feel alienated from all of feminism.

    In other words I’m pretty sure Noah wasn’t criticizing feminism, he was attempting to diagnose a too-common response it. And I’m also pretty sure he’s not asking feminists to soft-pedal or suppress anything, instead he’s trying to figure out how to help other people get over it (and, ideally, get on the feminist bandwagon.) That would be more consistent with my own (admittedly relatively limited) experience with him.

    figleaf

  35. 35
    fannie says:

    figleaf,

    I never said that I doubted whether people had read Noah’s post. Rather, regardless of whether or not commenters at NSWATM read it, some took his post as a cue to talk about their fave topic of why they hate feminism/feminists.

    In addition, I never speculated about Noah’s intentions. They just aren’t germane to this conversation. Not only is it inappropriate for you (or anyone) to speculate as to what his intentions were with respect to the post, someone can write an offensive and controversial post without intending to. Intent doesn’t magically make something that’s problematic un-problematic.

    Even if someone’s a Totally Nice Feminist Guy and it wasn’t his intent to not ask “feminists to soft-pedal or suppress anything,” it is reasonable that some (including me) would read it that way. His post treats young feminist women’s anger as though it’s some sort of pre-evolved, stagnate stage of feminism, which gives cover to those who are already hostile to feminism to further dismiss the entirety of feminism because it’s Too Angry.

    I think your reading of his post unfairly asks critics of the post to coddle him- as though merely having good intentions is good enough for a feminist man, and we mustn’t talk about aspects of his writing that show male privilege or are otherwise problematic.

  36. 36
    toastedtofu says:

    I liked your analysis of the topic of gynocratic rage, and I found the perspective you shared to be enlightening. I have my own feminist story/identity/focus and so I thought about the issue differently.

    I enjoy reading NSWATM because even though the contributions aren’t 100% enlightened all of the time, the over all sentiment is not an anti-feminist and certainly not an anti-female one.

    So I do shake my head at the “male guilt” focus, like somehow the feminist struggle is *actually* a male struggle, BUT I do appreciate and recognize that a lot of mens issues become womens issues eventually (like how virgin shaming men in turn pressures them to have sex regardless of consent, or that the prison industrial complex targets men but in turn affects women) The same goes for “white guilt”, which is this limbo state where nothing actually gets addressed but the white person wants everyone to know they FEeEL SOo BAAAD.

    When I was a teenager I bought into the “I’m not a FEMINIST, yuck!” mentality, so I try to be kind to people who suffer from that personal brand of ignorance. It’s not about catching more flies with honey, I don’t want to catch flies, I just want to treat other people with the respect I needed to be treated with when I was ignorant.