Why I Don’t Call Myself A Feminist

Just a bit about myself. I’m a gender queer, bisexual woman in my thirties. My politics are mostly progressive (although I do have a libertarian bent). I was raised by a feminist mother who later denounced her membership in feminism due to conflicts with feminist radicals who considered grammar to be ‘patriarchal’. (How they know that grammar was invented by men is a mystery.)

I am the prime demographic to call myself a feminist. And yet, I don’t.

Let’s start with the Dictionary Definition of Feminism.

fem·i·nism/ˈfeməˌnizəm/

Noun: The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men.

Sounds fairly benign right? But unless you also believe the following, you can’t really call yourself a feminist:

1) Men are more to blame for society.

 

2) Women are hurt more by society.

 

3) Since men are more to blame for society and women are more hurt by society, we can dismiss many issues of men as either less important or part of a backlash to women’s gains.

I generally get referred to as an ‘anti-feminist’ for not holding the above beliefs. I will refer to them as corollaries to feminism’s primary stated belief.

So here’s a short list of why I don’t call myself a feminist.

  • I care about men.

In the past I have felt bad for caring about men’s rights. Our society makes it very difficult to care about the pain of men, the vulnerability of men or the concerns of men. It does so by minimizing, ignoring, or outright obscuring the harms done to men and shaming anyone who brings attention to them.

Recently I realized it’s not bad to care about men. It’s, in fact, a good thing to care about men. I care about men, and I’m not going to apologize for it.

I will always bring attention to the problems men face and defend their issues. I’m pretty tenacious in this regard. I don’t want to be part of a movement that interferes with my ability to see and advocate for the issues of men.

  • I don’t want to be part of a movement that can’t be criticized.

Feminists have a tendency to shut down any criticism of their behavior or beliefs with the word ‘misogyny.’

I believe that shaming is a form of abuse. It’s no less abusive then shutting someone up with your fists. We are a social species, being part of the group is very important to us—we draw our sense of self, our strength, our well-being, and in the deep recesses of our little primate brains, our sense of possible survival from our connection to others. Shame is violence; violence directed towards our “social bodies” as pack animals.

And any movement that meets criticism with violence is not one I want to be associated with.

  • I don’t want to self-identify as anything other then human.

This is the same problem I have with identifying as an MRA. I find that once you start to appropriate an identity for yourself, you start to engage in tribalism and the world falls into Us versus Them. You start whitewashing your own group and black washing the out group.

One other thing that makes me leery of identifying with MRAs is the strong strain of seeing women as universally benefiting by our current state of affairs and seeing women as willfully engaging in oppressing men. I disagree with both propositions, although I don’t think either of them have solidified to the point where they’ve become corollaries to the Men’s Rights Movement’s belief system.

I will always advocate for men’s rights and I won’t dismiss harms done to men, but neither will I support any belief system that blames one gender for the ills of the world.

We’re all equally to blame and equally innocent.

  • Self-identified feminists have done awful things in the name of feminism’s corollaries.

There are those feminists who seem to put more of an emphasis on the dictionary definition of feminism. And then there are those who put a lot more emphasis on the feminist correlaries that I identified.

The second type of feminist is more active in the world, creating and maintaining inequalities that hurt men. Here’s a short list:

Because I care about men, these behaviors concern me. Because these behaviors concern me, I can’t, in good conscience, call myself a feminist.

  • Feminists frame their efforts in terms of what society owes women but not what women owe society.

As a woman I want to understand my obligations to the society I live in. Understanding these obligations and responsibilities are part of developing an identity based in strength rather then weakness. With great responsibility comes great power.

  • Every change championed by a feminist requires changing men rather then women changing themselves.

Most feminism is about petitioning men to change. Not only does this put an unfair burden on men, particularly in situations where men don’t actually have any power to enact the changes demanded, it also means that feminist advocacy shifts the focus from women’s agency (what they can change to meet the world) to men’s agency (what men must do to change the world.)

  • I care about women.

The biggest issue facing women in the West is their socialization to see themselves as acted upon rather than actors in their lives. As I outline in ‘Women Do Not Benefit: The Science’, this socialization is directly responsible for women’s lack of achievement now and historically. If we want equal numbers of female CEOs, female politicians, female inventors, female anything, then we need to change how we divide the human race into acted upon (women) and actors (men).

And a movement that’s focused like a laser on how women are acted upon (victims) is doing the opposite of liberating women.

It isn’t much of a surprise to me that feminism, as it’s practiced, has become essentially a form of covert patriarchy, teaching women that their primary feature is how they’re acted upon. There is benefit to that, particularly to those people who benefit financially and politically (and in some cases emotionally) by turning women into “class victims” who then require someone to manage their issues and save them from danger. And there is also the huge benefit in that it ties maintaining age-old gender roles with feeling progressive and new. That way we never really change at all.

For women themselves, victimhood allows them to wield shame in their personal relationships, which can be satisfying even as it’s self-limiting. Which leads to a bizarre solipsism, blaming men for something that’s a result of women’s socialization to see themselves as victims of men.

Finally, and likely most importantly, it is also a great boon to overt patriarchy, because when the fad of women’s rights passes, the fact that women never claimed their agency in the greater society means it will be a trivial matter to remove their rights. Without a belief in their agency, women will always be controlled by fear more then freedom.

So the final reason why I don’t call myself a feminist? Because feminism is just repackaged female dependency. Feminism, as it’s practiced now, is the mechanism by which covert patriarchy is transformed into overt patriarchy given a few generations time[1].

[1] I’ll be covering the taxonomy of overt and covert patriarchy further in a future post. Stay tuned! Same GendErratic time! Same GendErratic channel!

98 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Call Myself A Feminist

  1. ” Feminism, as it’s practiced now, is the mechanism by which covert patriarchy is transformed into overt patriarchy given a few generations time”

    A revolution betrayed because the revolutionaries failed or refused to criticize their own failure or refusal to drop reactionary thought patterns.

  2. @ Ginko

    I think the betrayal was inevitable because the revolutionaries never accounted for the power of patriarchal thought and exactly how it seduces women into perpetuating it.

  3. “I think the betrayal was inevitable because the revolutionaries never accounted for the power of patriarchal thought and exactly how it seduces women into perpetuating it”

    Their socialization prevented it. If you are socialized 1. to be a patient rather than an agent, then 2. your actions and behavior and failures are to criticism only as the action of outside forces. That menas they would never be willing to criticize themselves.

    You see this isn the use of the term “victim-blaminmg” to cover a lot more than just actual blaming of victims. You see this in the Redstockings’ refusal to hold women responsible for any aspect of the oppression they experienced.

    I think this is a natrual consequence of the just world hypothesis (fallacy). This orientation moralizes everything in the universe and demands that someone be blamed for anything that goes “wrong”. And so their oppression had to result from the bad actions of others rather than their own failure to countrer the bad actions of others.

  4. I don’t know how I made such a mess of that comment, but I was trying to say in the second paragraph that 2. your actions always have to be due to outside forces. And that makes demonization a lot likelier than self-criticism.

  5. Great read, retweeted this and agree with everything you said, although I also would not call myself a feminist (incidentally I am a young male). I wish more people thought like you.

  6. TB – Is there a reason you don’t embrace the term “post-Feminist”?

    My wife graduated from an all-women’s college with a thorough education in women’s studies, and the (female) professor who taught those classes made it pretty clear that men, minorities and the disabled should take a priority over “women as a class” in modern North American society.

    Both this professor (not named to preserve anonymity) and my wife actively identify as “post-Feminist.”

    I have issued this challenge to GirlWritesWhat as well and haven’t really gotten a satisfactory answer. I understand that “post-feminist” has the essence of a “we don’t need that anymore.”

    But the reality is that people in North America (and vast swathes of western Europe) live in a “post-industrialist” mindset – where we no longer measure our economy by our ability to churn out material objects – instead we measure it by the more modern Information Age standard of Information Technology and service standards. Could you address this?

  7. Excellent Typhon. I cannot agree more. You have basically outlined the importance of humanitarianism and the dangers of any ism that seeks the betterment of only a subset of the whole whether it is feminism or MRA.

    I too care about men.

    Bravo!

  8. This is not necessarily a criticism, but I’m surprised you didnt mention how Feminism marginalizes women who subscribe to lifestyles and belief systems other than feminism. Such as the feminists who belittle stay at home moms, or the feminists who deride conservative women. Further, Feminists such as Gloria Steinem have said that aggressive intervention is needed to prevent women from desiring a more traditional gender role.

    Also, every woman does benefit from feminism because they live in a society that wants to help them, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the situation. As a man, I am expected to “man up.” Also, a woman has the option to exercise female privilege in all kinds of ways. Options = benefits, whether one uses or not.

  9. For me, the most frustrating part is declaring myself in favor of equality and being told, “Then you’re a feminist! Feminism is ALL ABOUT equality!”

    Well, no. Feminism does not “own” the word Equality. Some feminists embrace equality, it’s true; but some do not. The two are simply not synonymous, and it’s dishonest to pretend otherwise.

  10. “Finally, and likely most importantly, it is also a great boon to overt patriarchy, because when the fad of women’s rights passes, the fact that women never claimed their agency in the greater society means it will be a trivial matter to remove their rights”

    I don’t even think that an “overt patriarchy” will be needed. Things like quotas, affirmative action, feminine-based schooling to the detriment to boys and so on are quite obviously wrong and immoral. All it’ll take is for this to be realised on a wider scale and these “feminist achievements” will be removed without a patriarchy but by people doing what is right.

    When this occurs there would be no need to remove their rights to damn women to a second class status. Better to encourage women to compete fairly and on an equal footing now. This means stop teaching them to be fearful victims, encourage them to be “actors” who can’t rely on others to make things easy for them*. Things like the princess mentality, the mother hen mentality, and chivalry is what feminists should be tackling. Yet they seem reluctant to attempt to change women as it contradicts many of their theories.

    *Some women already do this, but I would argue that they are a minority.

    Brilliant post by the way.

  11. 1) Men are more to blame for society.

    2) Women are hurt more by society.

    3) Since men are more to blame for society and women are more hurt by society, we can dismiss the issues of men as either irrelevant or part of a backlash to women’s gains.

    3 does not follow from 1 and 2. That’s like saying one plus two equals a million.

  12. @ Meghan

    Edited slightly. However I could completely remove point three and the point would remain exactly the same. Men’s problems are minimized by feminist corollaries.

  13. Your second to last link is broken, it’s missing the “h” in http.

  14. “3 does not follow from 1 and 2. That’s like saying one plus two equals a million.”

    Welcome, Meghan.

    If you are saying 3 does not follow logically from x, and that is the common meanig of that expression, then you are correct. It does not necessarily follow.

    However you do see exactly that claim, that since men control society and since women are more hurt by society, that harms to men either do not matter because they are less than those to women, or that if there really is a problem it is all up to men to fix it since we control everything. You see this argument over and over. It is the thinking behind “what about teh menz”.

    There is also an element of social justice thinking to it, that since men are the perps of history, we deserve whatever evil comes our way. This is also illogical simply because “justice” and “justice claims” have no logical or empiriical basis. This kind of assertion is not hard to find in SJ spaces. “Oh, poor white males, it must be so hard….the burdens of privilege blah blah blah…”

  15. Pingback: 31st Jan 2012 « Men's Voices

  16. TB, how familiar are you with lesbian feminism, Cell 16, Dana Densmore and those people? They basically made some of the same criticisms you are making here, about “repackaged female dependency”–and this is why they thought lesbianism and separatism was politically necessary and the only way to proceed. (They thought if men were around, we would instantly defer to them with our learn helplessness.)

    It was liberal heterosexual feminists who misrepresented lesbian feminism as (all) misandrist, which was pretty unfair, since much of their theory was also based in similar concerns about women’s autonomy and dependency. During the lesbian/straight split, this whole thing came to a head. But for awhile, teaching women to change their oil and fix their own leaky roofs and whatnot, was a real trend within feminism. Admittedly, this focus wasn’t popular and soon waned.

  17. @ Daisy

    My problem with that is… why not just fix the learned helplessness?

  18. ” But for awhile, teaching women to change their oil and fix their own leaky roofs and whatnot, was a real trend within feminism. Admittedly, this focus wasn’t popular and soon waned.”

    I think it really caught on in the broader culture though.

    Welcome, Daisy! did you see where I credited you with hipping me to the Redstockings?

  19. “TB, how familiar are you with lesbian feminism, Cell 16, Dana Densmore and those people? They basically made some of the same criticisms you are making here, about “repackaged female dependency”–and this is why they thought lesbianism and separatism was politically necessary and the only way to proceed.”

    That is basically what the MGTOW guys are doing.

    (They thought if men were around, we would instantly defer to them with our learn helplessness.)

    That’s a pretty practical approach, but it’s really an admission defeat – that the presence of men should be have so much power over them. Maybe they should have been calling for us to wear veils so we wouldn’t tempt them too much.

  20. Gingko: That’s a pretty practical approach, but it’s really an admission defeat

    It is a very clear admission of believing in female weakness and inferiority wrt men. If you or I were to state such a thing out loud, we’d excoriated for misogyny by the same bunch.

    TB: “Sounds fairly benign right?”

    Yes, it does. Feminists believe in equality. With the presumption that men are, by default, against equality. So if equality is good and men are, by default, against equality, then men are de facto bad. Feminism therefore presumes guilt– a collective, indelible, inherited guilt cast upon one birth-group only.

  21. Your article is a very interesting compilation on “the problem of men vs. women” – or maybe I should label it as “Feminism vs. Patriarchy.” I think you’re producing a welcome light where all too many “gender warfare” sights are generating little but heat, friction and smoke. (In sober reflection, I have to admit that I’ve been putting out more heat than light, myself.)

    I appreciate your statement that you “don’t want to self-identify as anything other then human.” That’s not always easy to achieve, when we have different factions so vigorously throwing about their “identifications of others,” imposing their labels as badges of shame and wrongess or innocence and victimhood.

    Well, maybe I myself will come eventually to the dialogue of “what can men and women do together to make things right.” Thanks again for your insights.

  22. As women’s rights movements are at the top of the S curve, feminisms should be focusing on encouraging women to realize the full extent of their opportunities, rather than filling women with excuses for defeatism and inertia – and of course, any remaining inequalities will not be eradicated without addressing the male part of the equation – which is why I am suing Europe’s largest gender studies department, at LSE, for sex discrimination – its curriculum hyping women’s issues, and blaming men, to justify ignoring men’s issues.

    A court hearing date has now been set, for March 13th.

    You can read all the press, listen to the interviews, watch the youtube video, and donate to the legal fighting fund if you like, all at sexismbusters dot org

  23. Hi Typhon, interesting article. :)
    I’d be interested in your thoughts about this article by feminist Natalie Reed:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/01/26/feminist-dogma/

    Essentially, she attempts to stamp an oversimplified definition to feminism (i.e. the belief that women are human) and dismiss any claims of “feminist dogma.” It comes across to me as disengenous way of framing the debate on their terms to stifle dissent.

  24. “One other thing that makes me leery of identifying with MRAs is the strong strain of seeing women as universally benefiting by our current state of affairs”

    True.

    “and seeing women as willfully engaging in oppressing men.”

    False.

  25. To clarify:

    Not every woman actually does exploit aspects of the current feminist climate to personal benefit, but every woman has the tools at her disposal to do so.

  26. Tom Martin, Beijaflor, welcome!

    @Tom
    As women’s rights movements are at the top of the S curve, feminisms should be focusing on encouraging women to realize the full extent of their opportunities, rather than filling women with excuses for defeatism and inertia ”

    That split is what distinguishes the feminism of the women’s Liberation Movement fomr later feminisms. I watched it happen. It was in the early to mid 80s. Wom,en were entering the corporate world. They adopted clothing styles with big shoulders and long sleeves, pretty much like the corproate uniform that men wore. They ran inot the same ruthles competiton that men face but because they had not grown up as boys and been acclimated to this, they thought it was something new, they thought it was aimed at them. They didn’t see their male peers getingt eh same treatment or reeling form it they way they were – they ahdn’t grown up as boys abndeveloped the coping skills that would have equipped them to habnlde it the way the guys did and would have made them the saame kind of secondary the guys were by then. Their ignorance was not hepled by the common delusion that women understand men and men’s lives, so they thought they could believe what they were seeing at face value.

    What was the reaction? Was it a consensus that “Damn, this is harder thna we thought. Guess we’ll have t keep trying, and try harder!” Or was it “This is so unfaaaaaaair! They are being mena to us! And it’s all because they aren’t treating us the way women should be treated!”

    You know the answer to that.

    That second reaction was the impetus for a flood of artivles and papers and books basically saying that women had a differnet way, another voice, that it was morally superior and that the corporate world had to change to accomodate it. This was when the flood of Woman as Nutruer retrograde crap statretd to flood the culture and when the celebration of female corporate warriors stopped and the Mommy Wars started. One pratical form this took was the wave of sexual harrassment lawsuits and very gender-biased and one-sdied corporate SH policies in response to them, lots of vilification of “competitiveness’ and “macho posturing” that continues ot this day.

  27. I have been upset enough by this latest debacle, to want to place the label “feminist” way down my list of descriptors, and I have even wondered if I should drop it totally, the way I do not use the word “socialist” either. Bad associations and bad fallout. Yow, am I comparing the Feminist Blogosphere to Mao and Pol Pot? LOL.

    I have always held onto the word as a historic thing, as I do “Yippie”–so maybe I should say “reformed Second Wave feminist” or some such. But yes, feminism gets a demotion in my self narrative! Its bloody traumatizing!

    PS: Jim, thank you for welcome on the other thread, had no idea you were Gingko. :) Clarence, no hard feelings. I can’t find the damn thread now.

  28. First time commenter here, just saying this post is full of win. Kudos, congrats, cool beans, and so on.

    It touches on the similar problems that I have with Feminism(s), chiefly that Feminism does not mean what Feminists say that it does. I’ve often heard Feminists IRL say it’s about “equality” when really it’s about women — something have zero problem with, but dislike the lying about it. So when gender issues come up, the perspective is ALWAYS skewed towards Feminism(s) take on empowering women, how women are affected, what this means for women, etc & so on until it becomes a fricking echo chamber. Even when that issue is specifically about men! (For instance the article on Jezebel about “what if Jerry Sandusky’s victims had been girls?”.)

    Yet I can’t say I’m an MRA either. Like you, I see too many problems on that side of the divide as well. I do identify with the MRM, as a man, boyfriend, brother, uncle, false rape victim, and more; it speaks to my lived experience without all the ignorant hatred or demonization of either gender.

    Ultimately, your article is coming from your own gender experience too. You want to see a Feminism that’s less reactionary, fear-based, and devoid of agency. I want to see a Feminism like that too.

  29. “I have been upset enough by this latest debacle, to want to place the label “feminist” way down my list of descriptors, and I have even wondered if I should drop it totally, the way I do not use the word “socialist” either. Bad associations and bad fallout.”

    First off, Daisy, I have to say that it is a goddammed shame that someone like you who has put so much of your very life into both movements and both labels has been driven to the point where you feel that way. Revolutions betrayed, like I said above.

    It’s ungrateful. yes. But so what; you don’t sound like your looking for thanks. You sound like you’d like acceptance and a home in a mvement you helped build. Well take heart. they are not the movement they are just a community and one that is turning inot a church. well, you just recently sloughed off one of those so you should have the skills for it this time. Like I say, thier loss.

    Second, your asessment is correct. I don’t mean it in that mealy-mouthed way “oh of course your feelings are valid.” That too but there is more to what you are saying. There is really just no there there anymore.

    It’s time for the lables post. I have been mulling it a while and it may be time because this not a feminist/not an mRA business keeps coming up. It’s a live issue for a lot of people.

  30. @ forweg

    “Not every woman actually does exploit aspects of the current feminist climate to personal benefit, but every woman has the tools at her disposal to do so.”

    Well, here’s the thing. If women really knew that enabling the female sociopaths among us comes at the cost of removing women’s agency[1] in general, would they agree that it’s a fair exchange?

    I don’t think it is. First of all allowing female sociopaths free range is of no measurable benefit to me.

    [1] No one can really remove someone else’s agency (without guns or laws), but socialization can make it damn hard to identify and even harder to build.

  31. Typhon- I think you’re putting women on a pedestal. Regardless of whether women understand how feminism removes their agency, women should still know right from wrong. They should be able to look at bad female behavior and say “she is wrong to do that.” They should be able to check their own behavior as well, and make amends if they have done wrong. None of these things require a sophisticated analysis of moral agency. It just requires basic humanity. The fact that some women lack basic humanity, and most other women make excuses for it, is attributable to feminism/chivalry and benefits all women. A benefit isn’t always “what’s best for you as a human being.” Profoundly evil people often benefit their entire lives from circumstances, and die wealthy and happy at an old age.

  32. “Typhon- I think you’re putting women on a pedestal.”

    How? I’m saying women are *human*, neither satanic nor angelic.

    “Regardless of whether women understand how feminism removes their agency, women should still know right from wrong.”

    You’re going to have to explain this further so that I can understand the relevance.

    “They should be able to look at bad female behavior and say “she is wrong to do that.””

    People are cowards. Most non-sociopathic women are aware that sociopathic females get licence from society to inflict themselves on everyone else around them, therefore non-sociopathic women aren’t inclined to confront them _out of fear of what these vicious creatures will do_. Again, society won’t lift a finger to help a victim of a sociopathic female (unless her violence is so extreme it’s undeniable), and non-sociopathic women know this.

    They know that if they confront the female sociopath, they will be confronting the entire social construct that supports her in her sociopathy as well. It’s more likely that everyone else will turn on the _confronter_ then the sociopath.

    That’s daunting and it usually takes a woman with nerves of steel to do it. Most other women, like most men, just want to sort of float through life without too much disturbance.

    “The fact that some women lack basic humanity, and most other women make excuses for it, is attributable to feminism/chivalry and benefits all women. ”

    Other women make excuses for it out of fear and a sense of helplessness. It doesn’t benefit them to hide the female sociopaths’ violence, unless they are also sociopaths. I’m saying that the same socialization that hides the female sociopath is damaging to women as a whole (I explain why in ‘Women Do Not Benefit: The Science’) and only beneficial to those women who are sociopathic and thus can infest this social blindspot like parasites.

    Unless you want to do bad things, what’s the worth in a society that simply refuses to see the bad things you do and hold you accountable for them? And if you’re more inclined towards doing productive things, a society that makes your agency more difficult to recognize actively harms your interests.

  33. Jim, would love to read such a post!

    A loooong time ago, I went to hear Geraldine Ferraro speak at some women’s thing during the time she was running for VP (I told you it was loong ago) and I needed some photos for the Columbus Free Press, with whom I was then affiliated. I had just given birth a few months before and was exhausted, not my usual plucky fuck-you self.

    I asked one well-coiffed lawyerish-looking woman if I could stand on a chair to get a better shot, and she glared, NO. Just. NO. I do not know how to describe this bourgeois snottiness to you, but she was Gucci-clad and obviously affluent, and I looked like a poor hippie mama who had just had a baby (and probably smelled like baby powder). I felt like I had busted ass for a decade so that this moment had come: WE GOT A WOMAN RUNNING FOR VICE PREZ… it was considered a monumental feminist achievement.

    I really wanted to turn around and scream YOU’RE WELCOME at this woman who would not let the hippie riff-raff stand on a chair for two seconds for a good photo of Ferraro. Instead (not my plucky self, see above), I let it go, shrugged and tried to find another chair that was not in her line of sight. But I wondered, reflexively, WHO ARE THESE NEW HOITY-TOITY WOMEN coming into feminism? That was the 80s. And I saw.

    And now, we see. Their daughters. They own it now, they have taken it from the rest of us. I have decided to let them have it.

    Do not mean to derail, but since we are talking DEFINITIONS and all. Its like the term DEADHEAD. Do I understand this means Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter and Steve Jobs and Al Franken? Yes, I understand, and I choose to bear the title anyway. But feminism?
    Maybe I have no desire to share it with the biotch (and her daughters) who would not let me stand on a fucking chair, because I looked like a poor bedraggled hippie. What was once an indignity is now the whole goddamn movement.

    Yeah, another church to leave. (sigh) Very funny Jim!

  34. And I also blame Casey Anthony for being such a good example of how women CAN in fact, get away with murder, when a man would be given the needle. (but only if you’re pretty and win Orlando Hot Body contests)

  35. “Well, here’s the thing. If women really knew that enabling the female sociopaths among us comes at the cost of removing women’s agency[1] in general, would they agree that it’s a fair exchange?”

    Depends on the individual woman. But a woman doesn’t have to be a female sociopath to take advantage of the current feminist landscape. That’s a leap.

    To be brutally honest, I don’t think most women are concerned about their own “agency”. If they can rely totally on the safety and support of others, while maintaining an *illusion* of agency, that’s perfectly alright. What feels good, is good.

    “I don’t think it is. First of all allowing female sociopaths free range is of no measurable benefit to me.”

    If you are an entirely moral and honorable person, then of course it isn’t. But most of us fall somewhere in between that and sociopath.

  36. @ forweg

    Let me come at this from a different angle.

    What does a woman have to do to ‘take advantage of the current feminist landscape?’

  37. typhonblue:

    Oh, I’m sure you could look around any MRM site for countless examples. To name one, any woman has the power to ridicule any man she feels uncomfortable around or simply dislikes as a “creep” or “pervert” in order to disempower him. A woman does not have to be a sociopath to do this. You put that much power into any group’s hands, and the result is inevitable.

  38. I second Forweg’s point.

    It is often a tactic for women (not just Feminist women though) to disempower, shame, and otherwise hurt men they simply don’t like by labeling them a “creep”, “creepster”, “pervert”, whatever. And unfortunately, unless a man wants to be shunned he is socially pressured to agree with the woman’s claim despite his own thoughts, feelings, experiences.

    Now, this isn’t to say we should disbelieve women who say that some man is making them uncomfortable. Not at all. We should be congizant that too often women are disbelieved, or even blamed, when it comes to Bad Men.

    Yet Forweg is correct that the result is inevitable that this kind of power will be abused to the detriment of already disenfranchised men such as gay men, transmen, bisexual men, men of color, men from religious minorities, lower-class men, and even men who are just socially awkard, nerdy, etc

    But in my experience, the women who engage in that sort of behavior or typically not Feminists, or if they do identify as Feminist than they are usually not serious about it but seeming label themselves one to be… for lack of a better word, “fashionable”.

    Just my two cents though. Spend it how you will.

  39. Conversely, if we lived in a society where publicly calling a woman a “bitch” or a “cunt” was enough to disempower her, I might be tempted to take advantage of that to serve my own purposes. I am not a perfect moral being, as most people are not. But if any man were to attempt this in actuality, he would unquestionably be castigated as a misogynist who bullies and abuses women.

    This is not to say that women who use these tactics should be absolved of all blame. But it should be recognized that modern society implicitly encourages such behavior.

  40. @ Forweg

    What I meant when I asked the question was more along the lines of ‘what kind of woman would she have to be to take advantage of the “benefit” and what kind of activities would she have to engage in’. And I was thinking less social shaming and more truly sociopathic activities like parental alienation, false accusations, etc.

    I don’t think I’m in disagreement with either you or Zek. I’m not saying women don’t get anything out of this arrangement. They do. They get the power of being able to shame men.

    But look at it this way. A woman has to sacrifice her own agency to get that power to shame men. If it weren’t the case the shaming simply wouldn’t work.

    Look at the phrase ‘man up’. From a woman it essentially means ‘hold yourself to a standard of action-taking and accountability that I won’t hold myself to.’ Think about the female-inferiority inherent in the statement. In order to shame a man with the phrase ‘man up’ a woman must first strip herself of any equivalent agency.

    The power to shame men to do for you is all well and good, in those situations where men can actually do something to benefit women. Those situations are, however, becoming fewer and fewer.

    Look at this dynamic in terms of the paradox of declining female happiness. Today’s woman has more power over her life then any other woman throughout history. But she likely still approaches her life with the same skill set of compelling men to ‘fix’ her problems via ‘man up’ shaming language.

    However, men now have far less power over her life then she does. So no matter how much she shames men to fix her life, _they simply don’t have the power to do it._ The only person that can do it, is her. But she’s stripped her agency in order to be able to shame men into doing something they simply cannot do. And, in the process of stripping herself of agency, she’s stripped herself of the ability to recognize the person who *can* do something to make her life better–herself!

    Viola! The more freedom women are given, the more unhappy they are.

  41. “Viola! The more freedom women are given, the more unhappy they are.”

    Not just women. Slavery is the natural condition of humanity and adapting to freedom is very disorienting.

  42. @ Ginkgo

    “Slavery is the natural condition of humanity and adapting to freedom is very disorienting.”

    That’s a bit hyperbolic.

  43. I don’t call myself a feminist either because, as many have surmised if they read any articles I posted at The Good Men Project, I had been rejected and ostracised by those feminists who believed that I benefited from “Patriarchy” and my priveledge negated all harm done to me.

    Since those feminists are allowed to share the same space as those egalitarian feminists, I’d rather not be in the same space with them in it. Forget it. I’ve got other things to do.

  44. Daisy:
    And I also blame Casey Anthony for being such a good example of how women CAN in fact, get away with murder, when a man would be given the needle. (but only if you’re pretty and win Orlando Hot Body contests)
    So about Mary Winkler….

    Oh mind you being hot does help a woman when it comes to those things but let us not get fooled into thinking that women that don’t have the privilege of conventional beauty don’t get the female discount. People weren’t saying that Melissa Huckaby couldn’t have killed Sandra Cantu “…because no woman, especially a mother would do that” because of conventional beauty. They were saying it because she’s a woman.

    TB:
    I think the betrayal was inevitable because the revolutionaries never accounted for the power of patriarchal thought and exactly how it seduces women into perpetuating it.
    Im not sure seduced is the right word. Unless by seduction you mean being able to use patriarchal thought to blame all of your shortcomings on someone else and then turn around and blame them for their own shortcomings, thus saving yourself from ever having to face your own music.

  45. Typhon,

    I think you’re onto something with the idea that women lose their agency through gender-specific shaming.

    That said, I’m not sure I see how it works in relation to the useage of “creep”, “creepster”, etc…

    Your point about sociopathic tendencies is probably the more serious of any other issue however, and it is there that I find myself most often compelled to speak about. Running with your example of false accusation, I myself was falsely accused at 18 by my 16 year-old ex. The experience was horrendous and left me with an extreme sensitivity to the newly minted institutional power women hold over men, provided they lack the morality to abuse it.

    Anyhoo, I’m definitely intrigued by the concept of how (for lack of a better term) “bad Feminism” hurts women. It makes for an ironic parallel to “patriarchy hurts men too!” and I hope you’ll develop it more on this blog.

  46. Danny wrote: “Unless by seduction you mean being able to use patriarchal thought to blame all of your shortcomings on someone else and then turn around and blame them for their own shortcomings, thus saving yourself from ever having to face your own music.”

    Bravo! To me, this is a clear and concise description of the reality of feminism. I’d never heard it put quite like this but it is right on the money.

  47. ““Slavery is the natural condition of humanity and adapting to freedom is very disorienting.”
    That’s a bit hyperbolic.”

    It’s just a restatement of the doctrine of Originl Sin – that people are so prey to their natures that we can only rarely overcome the weaknesses that nature imposes.

  48. Hello. First time here. I was actually directed here by an advocate for Men’s Rights, as a good source of reference, since I congratulated her on her efforts for speaking out on the behalf of males everywhere.

    But my question to you is what purpose do us men serve, if we are no longer needed? We can’t reproduce without the use of a uterus, and if we had all been born with uteri, we would be much better off, and we wouldn’t need women anymore. This bothers me, because for all this talk about female agency, and their own fear preventing from attaining any true achievement on par with men, a woman has value by simply being, while a man has value by simply doing. Women are human beings. Men are human doings.

    Women have the luxury of being able to bear children, and men don’t, and this creates a truly devastating inequality between both genders. Nature has always favored the female, while the male plays the support role, and is easily discarded when he is no longer needed. Simply put, I long for the day when a man is able to conviently reproduce without the need for a female, and I am sure that women have similar sentiments vice-versa.

    A man needs purpose, because that is his only reason for existing, even if the male gender role is tedious and life-threatening, and men are increasingly going their own way. A woman’s life is of infinite value, no matter how she chooses to live her life. This is a devastating reality that is hard for me to accept.

  49. @Richard G.

    So far as I can tell women have yet to gain the ability to reproduce asexually, so I’m confused as to where your distress is coming from.

    @Typhonblue

    I enjoyed your original post. One of the thoughts I’ve had rattling around in my head of late has been exactly why I, myself, don’t don the feminist (or feminist ally) label, and also the hypocrisy of some of those who do. I feel my reasoning is much the same as yours: “feminist” is neither an inherent state of being, nor is it a conditional state of being arising once certain criteria have been satisfied. Feminism is a social and political vehicle, and you must decide to be part of it. You don’t get to decide to be part of the group that is defined by your skin color, nation of origin, or chromosome arrangement – those are all inherent states of being, from which you cannot escape as of the time of this writing. You also don’t get to decide whether or not you feel cold, or hungry, or whether or not you’re wearing a hat (you can decide to take action and put on or take off a hat, but at any given moment whether or not you’re actually wearing one is a matter of fact) – those are all conditional states of being that arise from facts about reality (e.g. you fall into the group of people who feel cold by feeling cold, which is an objective fact about your subjective feelings). Being a feminist doesn’t require that you believe anything specifically; the only thing the adjective “feminist” describes about a person is with whom they are deliberately associating.

    So with that being the case, I had to ask myself if I would want to be in a room with everyone who identifies as feminist, and the answer is no. Too many within the feminist fold hold extremely toxic views towards a great many things, and I’m not interested in sharing a room with them or giving passing onlookers the idea that there is one more person supporting those views. Instead, I’ll remain in the wandering crowd of people uncommitted to a room, for that crowd allows me the most freedom to be aware of, be critical of, and/or be sympathetic towards the greatest number of people and ideas.

    I find it frustrating when certain feminists try to have their cake and eat it too. They want the benefits of being associated with all those who are also identifying as feminists (a built-in audience, among other things), yet still wish to retain the right to act indignant when they’re, ya know, associated with feminism. “Oh, that’s not my feminism!” they might say, but actually it is your feminism, theoretical feminist person. Feminism describes not your ideals, but rather your human bonds, and the only control you have over what bonds exist under that label is through your own joining or secession. One hasn’t ground to stand on when trying to cherry-pick which associations they wish for themselves when taking on the label of groups, the name of which can only be used to describe with whom you’re throwing your lot in. Fortunately, feminism being what it is, one doesn’t have to sacrifice a single of their ideals in the process of seceding.

    I would personally love to see no more feminism, or masculism, or any such thing. I’d rather just see people discussing ideas and taking action, because those are the things we can meaningfully define ourselves by.

  50. “I find it frustrating when certain feminists try to have their cake and eat it too. They want the benefits of being associated with all those who are also identifying as feminists (a built-in audience, among other things), yet still wish to retain the right to act indignant when they’re, ya know, associated with feminism. “Oh, that’s not my feminism!” they might say, but actually it is your feminism, theoretical feminist person.”

    They use the Sea Monkey fallacy. Described here.

    http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/1591-how-to-sabotage-skepticism-from-the-inside-entwine-the-claim-with-the-cause.html

    “It’s a nifty, sleight-of-mind trick that lets me get away with begging the question, setting up a straw man and launching an ad hominem attack, all while looking like I’m defending decency. Heck, I may even fool myself.

    If you’d like to try my trick, here are the steps: (1) Make a claim and apply it to a worthy cause. (2) Should people challenge assumptions underlying the claim, accuse them of opposing the cause. (3). Call them names and encourage others to jump on your bandwagon Thus it will make short work of any opponents. Not only that. You will emerge feeling validated, even justified, eager and ready to launch the process again. And again”

  51. Debaser, quoting Park:

    “I find it frustrating when certain feminists try to have their cake and eat it too. They want the benefits of being associated with all those who are also identifying as feminists (a built-in audience, among other things), yet still wish to retain the right to act indignant when they’re, ya know, associated with feminism. “Oh, that’s not my feminism!” they might say, but actually it is your feminism, theoretical feminist person.”

    Why not? I am 2nd Wave, and I think I have the right to say, the 3rd Wave is not my feminism (just as the 3rd Wave proudly disowns us old ladies with gusto). Simply because it ISN’T my feminism, and as one who helped define what feminism was in the beginning of the 2nd wave, I think it is well within my rights to say that. Can’t we point out what we think is revisionist and what we believe has been an overall negative trend within the movement?

    I think most people here DO agree with the main points of the 2nd wave, more girl lawyers and boy babysitters and whatnot, and I don’t think that is open to debate (is it?)… what I think is open to debate is where you [general you = people who are commenting and reading here] think feminism “went wrong”–and although its easy to blame open man-haters like Mary Daly, I don’t think they had much influence outside the academy and the hard-line women’s movement. More troubling to me is the victim-chic that overtook much of the left in the 90s and extended alarmingly into feminism; Law and Order: SVU, the state as trusted patriarchal protector, etc. This ideology is in direct contradiction to the 2nd wave. Thus, we can say these trends are where the revisionism started.

    But unless I can say “that isn’t my feminism”–I can’t make this kind of analysis in the first place.

  52. “Women have the luxury of being able to bear children, and men don’t, and this creates a truly devastating inequality between both genders.”

    Richard, that’s the Golden Uterus fallacy. Seriously I think these people must have spent the whole year in biology class under the desks giving head. It takes huge privilege to believe this fallacy. Human children take immense effrot to feed and keep alive and there has never been a society where women raised thier children without nthe support of men, because it can’t work, or at least it never has.

    As it happens all-male societies or micro-socieites are much more attested than the female equivalent. There have been almost completely self sufficient monasteries but never any self-sufficient convents – I am talking abot growing their own grain and such. It is not as simple as being due to gender, there are other better explanations, but the fact still stands.

  53. I think Daisy, that you are not “trying to have you cake and eat it too”. To me, the expression is applied to 3rd wave feminists who, when challenged, retreat back into defending 2nd wave feminism.

    As far as people who’s ideology is in direct contradiction to something you identify with, although they use the same label…that’s how I feel about the so called skepchicks who call themselves skeptics. You asked about that on another blog.

  54. @DaisyDeadhead What ever happened to fighting for human rights? The term “Feminist” is divisive and dogmatic, as it implies being part of some sisterhood, or following a religion which worships anything and everything feminine, as if women’s issues are the only issues worth mentioning.

    2nd Wave Feminists, like the 1st and 3rd are nothing but useless hags with delusions of grandeur. You all act as if you are out to change the world, when Feminism can’t be applied to life in any way, and it has done one hell of a great job making things worse by making the base assumption that men have always had it good compared to women throughout history, and finding ways to excuse this supposed inequity by allowing women to do whatever they want to do without any consequence, while giving men the shaft, and obscuring their grievances from the public eye.

  55. @Richard G:
    IMO you’re being more than a little ridiculous. I think feminism has had a lot of very positive impacts on our culture and society. It’s hasn’t just been negatives.

    What bothers me is when people–usually self-identified feminists–stubbornly deny that feminism has had negative impacts as well (and I’m talking about on the axis of gender) which need to be addressed. It gives an impression of a movement that’s just going to plow forward without caring or acknowledging what damage it does in addition to the good. And that gives me an… unsafe feeling.

  56. Xakudo,

    Co-sign.

    I think Feminism has had a positive impact, not just for women, but society in general. Demonizing Feminism doesn’t in any way diminish misandry, even as refusing to criticize Feminism produces misandry. This isn’t a zero-sum game. An increase in one group’s rights/privileges/whatever doesn’t suddenly decrease the rights/privileges of the opposite group. Socio-civil equality doesn’t work that way. (Though it’s tempting for many to think that it does.)

    Easy example is how voting rights for women did not somehow diminish voting rights for men. Rather, both groups could vote, and did so. Simple. Easy. (If only it could always be so!)

    And there comes the crux of the conflict between many MRA’s and many Feminists: that someone’s got to lose something for the other to be equal. But that isn’t how it works. Women don’t (and shouldn’t) need to vilify men in order to obtain equal rights/pay/whatever. Nor do men need to vilify women in order to obtain equal parental rights/anti-rape protection/whatever.

    Yet I think Richard is looking at it in those terms, as if this is a war, and so there can be only one winner and one loser…

  57. @Daisy, there are two posts waitng to be bor in this one pievce of a paragraph, The pearls, they fall….

    “and although its easy to blame open man-haters like Mary Daly, I don’t think they had much influence outside the academy and the hard-line women’s movement.”

    No they didn’t. In fact the directon of the influence is exaclty opposite; they do not influence they wider culture, it is the wider culture, traditional patriarchal culture, that informs and nourishes and validates thier misandry. They are the retrograde, patriarchal Neanderthals they claim to oppose.

    “More troubling to me is the victim-chic that overtook much of the left in the 90s and extended alarmingly into feminism; Law and Order: SVU, the state as trusted patriarchal protector, etc. This ideology is in direct contradiction to the 2nd wave. Thus, we can say these trends are where the revisionism started. ”

    This is aboslutely true and here again it is very traditionalist. The Martyr Complex is at the root of so much of Western morality. If it were just mainstream Christian it would not be a problem, because mainstream Chsitianity won’t allow for the Innocnet Victm fallacy, since there has only ever been one truly innocent victim in history. What this is instead is a piece of Chistain influence that has broken off and mretastasized and morphed into something else. I blame Portestantism and its Old Testament fetishism for a lot of this confusion.

    “2nd Wave Feminists, like the 1st and 3rd are nothing but useless hags with delusions of grandeur.”

    Hags they may be and we will all be someday, but they are far from useless. They can analyze and criticize if not correct some of the deviations in 3rd Wave, as well as some issues in 2nd Wave feminism.

    Richard, Confucius said the difference between animals and humans was that humans respected their elders. It’s a very good metric and it has held up over many centuries. Not that I have anything against animals; I just want to know who I’m talking to.

  58. Good gosh, you are all crazy. I came on this forum, because I was told that the owner of this forum, Typhonblue, was very articulate with her criticisms on Feminism, and that she was very sympathetic to the plights of men.

    All I see are people claiming that Feminism was a “good” thing, or that it has positive aspects, when that is complete and utter bull. It’s founded on the false belief that men have always had it good throughout history in comparison to women, and it fabricates inequity in order to give women more priviledge to do what they want, while disenfranchising men; with VAWA, primary aggressor laws, rape shield, and the ostracizing of male victims of rape and domestic violence perpetrated by females being prime examples. I don’t believe in women’s rights or men’s rights. I believe in human rights. But insofar, men have had many difficulties having their voices heard and getting their points across. Feminists have been the dominant voice in gender discussions for too many years.

    I don’t want to read or hear that there are “good Feminists”. They have been ineffectual in correcting and putting a stop to anything their radical counterparts have achieved in that past 40+ years. All 2nd wavers do is analyze, while getting nothing done. It takes the efforts of Men’s Advocacy groups and supporters, male and female, and Father’s Rights Groups to make change, and get things done.

    And just so we are clear, I hate Feminists will every ounce of my being, and anybody who calls themself a Feminist is an enemy of men, point blank and simple. It is divisive, dogmatic, and focuses on WOMEN AND GIRLS ONLY, while deriding and blaming men for everything wrong in the world, effectively ignoring male suffering as well. Feminism has done nothing good for society, as evidenced of the ghettos I have lived in, where single mother households are common. And it steers society’s sympathy down the direction it wants to go. Towards females and away from males.

    It’s also my experience that most of these forums are very Feminist-friendly, and that someone like me is quickly accused of having a very hostile, aggressive, and militant attitude because I speak my mind.

  59. “It’s also my experience that most of these forums are very Feminist-friendly, and that someone like me is quickly accused of having a very hostile, aggressive, and militant attitude because I speak my mind.”

    It has nothing to do “speaking your mind.” there is nothing wrong with contending that feminism has been uniformly destructive – I don’t happen to agree, I think the effect has been very mixed and that feminism has mainstream degenerated into a cult, but that is not the same as uniform destructiveness – there’s the difenrnece betwen our positions. But I am willing to be shown how I’m wrong. You do that with facts, not with emotional diatribes. I can go to Shakesville or Feminsting for that kind of thing.

    You feel you are being accused of being hostile? Could that be because calling someone a “useless hag” is pretty hostile, that you are being called hostile because you are hostile?

    Hey it’s not the end of the world to be hostile. Feminists have earned a lot of hostility form men. They put in years of work at it. But guess what, believe me, you don’t have to get frothy to attack feminism very effectively. The facts are irrefutable and they will do the job all on their own.

  60. Everyone, let’s chill.

    @ Robert

    “Good gosh, you are all crazy. I came on this forum, because I was told that the owner of this forum, Typhonblue, was very articulate with her criticisms on Feminism, and that she was very sympathetic to the plights of men.”

    I try to be articulate and I am very sympathetic to the plight of men.

    And I totally understand your anger at feminists. Believe me, I’ve been there. Then, like Ginko, I had an epiphany. Feminism ‘works’ where it falls in line with an already existing gender meta-narrative of man-acts/woman-acted-upon. Or man-bad/woman-victim.

    The problems facing men are bigger then feminism and, ironically, feminism’s ideal of equality has fallen prey to exactly the same dynamic that marginalizes male victims (and destroys female agency.) Where feminism continued the work of ‘patriarchy’ it achieved considerable success and acclaim. Where feminism opposed ‘patriarchy’ it achieved… nothing.

    Nada. Zip. Zilch. In fact feminism is going backwards from its stated aim of equality.

    I will always take feminism to task for it’s failures, it’s excesses and it’s hypocrisies–but it was a good _idea_.

    Just like communism is a good _idea_.

  61. Hey typon notices you post on that guardian thread.

    “Did you gestate or give birth? Or course the love of a mother is guttural and archaic. The good ones don’t use our children as a weapon but neither can we ever forget the pregnancy and birth, that exquisite pain that bonds us to our children.”

    From a feminist who works in social services attempting to prove there is no bias.

  62. @ leta

    “From a feminist who works in social services attempting to prove there is no bias.”

    Yeah, that was slightly amusing.

    Plus I don’t think she understands what ‘archaic’ means. Or ‘guttural’ come to think of it.

    Apparently women’s love for their children is old-fashioned and unpleasantly rough.

  63. i am being moderated on guardian. I think I accused too many feminists who like to think of “men as a group” and “women as a group” and then make generalizations about said groups as sexist.

  64. @Typhonblue, @Ginko

    I understand. And I can agree that Feminism is “Patriarchy” repackaged, and given a New Age, female twist. Patriarchy has gotten women right where they want them, back on “Father’s” lap, kissing their wounds, and telling women as a collective that it will always be there to protect them, without allowing them any sort of agency and freedom to grow, or holding them accountable for their actions on par with men.

    It’s my understanding that we don’t need Feminism, because this isn’t a problem that primarily affects women and girls, and women aren’t the trailblazers of social equality. Everybody does their part. Call it Humanism or Egalitarianism. Feminism sounds divisive and one-dimensional, and the problems that affect men and boys are grave at best. We can’t deny them their humanity, and the term Masculinism wouldn’t sound good either, as it would create further divison, and imply an Us-versus-Them mentality between males and females.

  65. I’m considering adopting the humanist label for myself because I am so sick of feminism. But I don’t like having tenets or some sort of moral or philosophical code associated with me. I like to think things through for myself, not be told by others.

  66. ” Or course the love of a mother is guttural and archaic….”

    Guttural…..hnh hnh, she said guttural.

    Note to social worker – “guttural” refers to a point of articulation in the throat. So all I can make of whay you are trying to say…. look, you can’t get pregnant from oral sex, no matter what the abstinence-only people tell you.

    Ricahrd, that comment is outstanding and don’t be surprised if I grab a piece or two to use in a post.

  67. I like that first paragraph and “Climbing back into Daddy’s lap” is a killer title for a post

  68. If you don’t want to associate with the full range of ethics and principles embodied in humanism, you can always go with “egalitarian.” It’s simple, elegant, and has little to no philosophical baggage. And no aftertaste!

  69. Something that occurred to me relating to Typhon’s “agency” thesis. Wasn’t sure where to put it, but here seems as good a place as any.

    I think there’s another to wrinkle to this. It’s not just that men act and women don’t, or men act and women are acted upon – there’s also the cultural belief that men act and women judge. It’s part of the mating dance, and a huge part of mating-dance-reinforcing fiction, that men must prove themselves before women will judge them worthy by bestowing their favour. It’s even there in action moves – the female lead “rewards” the male lead with her favour after he’s been sufficiently heroic (feminists notice this and describe the female characters as “prizes” being given to the male characters as a reward, but that denies the agency of the female characters awarding themselves as prizes based on their approval).

    We can see it in the infamous “white feather” campaign in WWI – and how many “oppressed” people throughout history have had the power to shame their oppressors into throwing themselves into hell with just implied disapproval?

    I see it in my day job working for a housing authority, in the disdain and horror of unemployed women at having workmen in the house to do repairs, walking dirt into their nice clean carpets with their nasty dirty work boots, and generally getting work all over the place.

    Women are rewarded, or reward themselves, for their abdication of agency with the belief that they are above acting. Men, collectively, accept women’s authority to judge their actions, without asking if the women judging have walked a mile in their moccasins. That’s why feminist propaganda that paints our identity and sexuality as inherently abusive and selfish has been assimilated into mainstream thought with so little opposition. It’s also why men often react to feminist scolding by, instead of opposing them or telling them to shut up, trying to get them to see our point of view – and also why feminists call that “man-splaining”.

    We want women’s approval, because we believe that will validate us as men, and we are distraught when we receive their disapproval instead. Feminists, as bullies do, respond to our approval-seeking behaviour by teasing but ultimately witholding approval to manipulate us into doing what they want (see, for example, Tom Matlack). That’s also why they’re so mean to “nice guys”, because “nice guys” are basically approval-seekers.

    I see some encouraging signs that some men are waking up to this – the latest round of feminists attempts to define a “real man”, or a “good man”, are meeting with some resistance from men who, rightly, say that defining men is for men to do, and women can butt out.

  70. Wow Patrick Brown! That was an awesome post. The part about think they are “above acting” is IMO very accurate. I must ponder these things now. Thanks.

  71. @ Patrick,

    Yep. That’s the trade-off when you’re an agent versus a patient.

    The actions of agents are judged relative to their effect on non-agents.

  72. @DaisyDeadhead

    You can’t say it’s not your feminism because there isn’t more than one feminism. So long as you identify as feminist you are in the same exact house as everyone else who also identifies as feminist. That’s how these undefined group labels work. You can point out the beliefs of other feminists and say they aren’t your beliefs, but they yet remain your feminism and you’ve no right to be upset with people for drawing a connection.

    Criticism from the inside of this shared house is absolutely possible though, but even whilst criticizing you’re remaining complicit in the actions of those you actually don’t agree with. Luckily, escaping that state of complicity is literally as easy as no longer identifying as feminist. Additionally, as feminism isn’t actually synonymous with anything, you’d have to change precisely zero percent of your ideals in the transition.

    As a closing query, I would like to know what compels your self-inclusion into the feminist fold. What do you feel you gain? What purpose do you feel the feminist label serves?

  73. “As a closing query, I would like to know what compels your self-inclusion into the feminist fold. What do you feel you gain? What purpose do you feel the feminist label serves?”

    I’m not spealing for Daisy, but there mut be a lot of feminists from the 70s who feel a bond with feminism because they have put so much of themselves into it. Even though it’s been hijacked out from under them they still feel loyal. They hardly agree with all the weird turns it has taken, but they stay loyal.

  74. @Ginkgo

    I get all that. I’m curious about DaisyDeadhead’s reasons, specifically. After rereading my post I see I could have been more explicit about that.

    P.S. 我看你的短文语言学的了。我觉得它很好。因为我是中文学生所以我想知道你知道多少中文?我常常试找别人也会说中文。要是你会我们聊天吧,怎么样?不好意思,我中文讲得这么丑。

  75. Sorry, Park, I don’t have a keyboard or any other menas of typing Chinese. But hang around, you can help tutor me. i use Chinese occasionally in work and study a poem here and there. I like to read short wenyan texts too now and then.

  76. Very good points, Patrick.

    I’d comment there, but I don’t really have anything to add right now. If you add up everything I’ve recently said, and everything Typhon has recently said, along with your notion of how men act while women judge – I think we’ve pretty much between us got female socialization figured out in terms of most western societies gender roles.

  77. @Daisy

    Congrats on getting ever further away from your cretinous youthful Ideals. I really hate to rub salt in the wound, but wasn’t there an authority figure who told you about this from day one ?
    I noticed you couldn’t help but blame feminism’s “highjacking” on some rich women… (“Where are my oppressors ? Oh, good, that one’s still there !”)
    You know how boring it is for libertarians to watch you progressives mellow over decades of life pounding-the-shit-outta-your-opinions ?
    Very.

    “Feminism was a good _idea_.

    Just like communism is a good _idea_.”

    Yeah. I’d say about the same on the “Good Idea Scale”. Next to eatable garbage and flying cars. I mean, come on, how many more “Great Leader of the people” will have to try their personal “-ism” before you finally give up ? It’s ludicrous at this point.
    If you argue long enough with a Christian about the Bible, he will first concede it to be false, then to be dangerous. One thing he’ll never do is accept that it was meaningless and stupid from the get-go. Because it meant so much to him. So he stays a christian. He’s forced to defend the ghost of an idea so that he doesn’t have to admit to himself that his experience, his struggle was meaningless. This is just a literal story about a christian friend of mine.

  78. “If you argue long enough with a Christian about the Bible, he will first concede it to be false, then to be dangerous. One thing he’ll never do is accept that it was meaningless and stupid from the get-go. Because it meant so much to him. So he stays a christian. He’s forced to defend the ghost of an idea so that he doesn’t have to admit to himself that his experience, his struggle was meaningless. This is just a literal story about a christian friend of mine.”

    Good example of how data is not the plural of anecdote. Anyone who was a Christina because he was just used to it or because he was in love with some book was never really a Christian anyway. He had a relationship with his grandmother or mother or some nun or whoever indoctrinated him instead of with God. He hasn’t lost anything but a delusion. He has lost his religion, but he never had any faith to lose in the forst place. He’s better off.

    Belief is no substitute for experience.

  79. 2nd Wave Feminists, like the 1st and 3rd are nothing but useless hags with delusions of grandeur.

    Hey, you say this like its a bad thing.

    The term “Feminist” is divisive and dogmatic, as it implies being part of some sisterhood, or following a religion which worships anything and everything feminine, as if women’s issues are the only issues worth mentioning.

    When I was 14, I did not have the wherewithal or ability to come up with my own terms. In 1972, “feminism” was the only game in town. Its nice that you were so far ahead of me in 1972, and knew all about “human rights” back then (before the term was even in popular usage… Jimmy Carter would popularize the term “human rights”) –but I was just a dumb hillbilly hippie. When did *you* come to this conclusion back in the 70s? (the time-frame we are discussing) My hat is off to your superior intelligence.

    I helped build the movement that exists, for good or ill, so this is why (as I said) I call myself a feminist. I am taking responsibility.

    I’m not spealing for Daisy, but there mut be a lot of feminists from the 70s who feel a bond with feminism because they have put so much of themselves into it.

    Thanks Jim. I wish people understood this; but as I said, I am ALSO taking responsibility. If there are problems I also feel it is my job to figure what they are and how to change them. Us old useless hags is like that!

    And BTW, one of the things Mary Daly did to make herself popular is to write this dictionary updating misogynist insults of women, like “hag” (no male equivalent = misogynist)–which once had the power to make women cry. This made her famous and beloved. So every time you insult a woman (especially an old woman like me) with a word like “hag”–you strengthen the Daly impulse of the movement. So, you might keep that in mind. :)

  80. @ Gingko “Good example of how data is not the plural of anecdote.”

    Way to miss the irony in the phrase “This is just a literal story about a christian friend of mine.”. Obviously, I’m not talking about Christians here, but about you guys’ irrational attachment to feminism and communism…

    “Anyone who was a Christina because he was just used to it or because he was in love with some book was never really a Christian anyway.”

    No True Scotsman fallacy. The christian WAS a “real” christian at some point, then realized it to be a false and dangerous ideology, but couldn’t accept that his struggle meant nothing, so he held on to “the ghost of an idea”. Like saying “Christiany was a good idea, it has just never been really put into practice, or it was highjacked by some rich women”.

  81. I cdluon’t agree more. I’ve been in the midst of this sort of identity crisis since about the 4th grade, and it’s great to hear someone say what I’ve been thinking. I hope this sparks some sort of discourse on the issue. It’s something I’d definitely be willing to talk more about, try to come up with an answer.

  82. 1.) The feminist community is open to criticism, but we’re not open to misinterpretation.
    2.) “Men” are not to blame. Patriarchy is to blame, and it’s one of the most misunderstood ideas of feminist criticism. Patriarchy is the system that defines and limits roles for both men and women, and in the past men have had huge benefits from the patriarchy that are denied to women such as equal pay ($1 to .77), suffrage (global), educational opportunities. The male privilege is real and relevant. Of course the Patriarchy has also caused problems for males are that are also real and relevant such as limiting emotional range and discouraging societally defined “effeminate” men. But the reality of the situation is that patriarchy legally limits women’s rights to opportunity, control over her own body, and equality. Only society values limit a man’s right to emote.
    3.) The feminist community by no means dismisses men’s rights, because surely they are women’s rights as well if equality is to be believed in, but we focus on women’s rights because there is such a strong history of oppression.
    That is all.

  83. Maggie, #1 and #3 in your comment are flat-out false unless you are describing a very small, specific subset of the feminist community.

  84. “and in the past men have had huge benefits from the patriarchy that are denied to women such as equal pay ($1 to .77), ”

    One of the first things I heard when I started to study marketing is that 80% of consumer spending is controlled by women and to never forget that. That is $1 to $0.25. The dating etiquette that 99.99% of women live by is “either he should pay for it, or we should split it”. Women spend practically nothing for men. In my culture, wives are explicitly referred to as “the boss”. Female control over wealth does not seem to be a recent phenomenon, though the methods involved have adapted. Just because the serf makes more money doesn’t mean he gets to keep it, or spend it on himself.

    “Of course the Patriarchy has also caused problems for males are that are also real and relevant such as limiting emotional range and discouraging societally defined “effeminate” men.”

    You forgot being summarily executed as opposed to being held captive in a perfumed harem served by men who were castrated in childhood.

    “But the reality of the situation is that patriarchy legally limits women’s rights to opportunity, control over her own body, and equality. Only society values limit a man’s right to emote.”

    I had to sign up for military service. This involved stripping down in front of other men for inspection. I got lucky and was not selected for compulsory service for a year. Countless men have not been so lucky. The only restrictions I know that are placed “on a woman’s body” involve pregnancy, that is, they are not about her body but the body of another.

  85. “The power to shame men to do for you is all well and good, in those situations where men can actually do something to benefit women. Those situations are, however, becoming fewer and fewer.”

    No, they aren’t. The growth of a “consumer culture” and “welfare state” have helped create more intermediaries, to create an easier illusory sense of independence in women, but I’ve seen a lot of women who in fact live off of men trying to shame men for not earning as much money as they do, because they equate what they can do by spending money (regardless of how they got that money, or what benefits they received to facilitate that getting) or through outright favors with a legitimate accomplishment.

    I do not personally know a single woman that does not actively exploit her “non-agency”. The “non-agency” is usually something that they turn on and off at will, as if it means nothing to them. They turn it on as long as it is necessary to gain an advantage, then they switch to “I’m a powerful self-made woman because I worked one summer ten years ago as a saleswoman and taking care of a kid is hard work and don’t talk shit about me having two nannies to help out because men have secretaries too.” to protect their self-esteem. My impression is that women who are stuck in the “non-agent” role are simply getting so many benefits from it that they have no incentive to switch.

    Of course, women are human beings. If I could post a cute picture of myself on a dating site and just wait for the private messages to sort through to easily find a woman willing to pay so I could eat and be entertained, and then be able to cry over the phone about how I need an urgent “loan” to pay the rent, maybe I would. I think the point that MGTOWs make though is that… men simply can’t do that… and the reason is that even undesirable women have difficulty assuming a “sugar momma” role because they feel it is, as they themselves put it, humiliating. It’s not patriarchy that keeps men from being able to play the non-agent card, it’s women. A woman that is a non-agent needs to be protected. A man that is a non-agent needs to be discarded or at the very least ignored.

  86. So in fact what I see today is women getting the benefits of “non-agency” while denying all of its negative aspects, and then judging those who don’t enjoy those benefits from their high horse as if they were operating on a level playing field. And if the view from that high horse is still not high enough, that is oppression and evidence of male privilege. I’m sorry but the whole “feminism hurts women too” idea is kind of silly. Yea, being an aristocrat may rot your teeth from all the sugar, but women are not victims simply they have more options.

  87. “There have been almost completely self sufficient monasteries but never any self-sufficient convents”

    Seriously? I never thought about that. How have convents supported themselves historically?

  88. Maggie Smith: And we have another high school girl who’s just read her first book on feminism…

    Your points 1 and 3 are incorrect, as evidenced by the behaviour of feminists. Just go to Tumblr for the most obvious examples. And Tumblr is just the most explicit example; the same behaviour is seen across feminism.

    Your second point is just wrong. Patriarchy is a meaningless concept that is used in lieu of actually studying the causes and effects of something. It encourages laziness and ignorance. I suppose it’s much easier to just “blame the Patriarchy” rather than do any actual work.

    Also, your wage gap figure, used as evidence of “patriarchy”, has been debunked by practically everyone; it’s just not credible. Even most honest feminists who look into it accept that it’s not a credible figure. All that you’ve achieved by stating it is to tell us that you are largely ignorant of these issues and aren’t capable of thinking critically or studying a subject for yourself. You’ve just accepted this claim wholesale and, to me, that is the most regrettable part of your post and the modern feminist movement as a whole.

  89. But the reality of the situation is that patriarchy legally limits women’s rights to opportunity, control over her own body, and equality.

    I’d really like to see those laws that legally limits women’s rights to opportunity, control over her own body and equality. The closest I can think of is anti-abortion bills making it harder for women to have an abortion.

    I also find it pretty ironic when people bring up suffrage as a women’s issue when in the US today the largest disenfranchised group is men, more specifically black men.

  90. Maggie, welcome!

    ” “Men” are not to blame. Patriarchy is to blame, and it’s one of the most misunderstood ideas of feminist criticism. ”

    Your second sentence contradicts your first. Calling it patriarchy blames men, explicitly.
    Patriarchy is the system that defines and limits roles for both men and women, and in the past men have had huge benefits from the patriarchy that are denied to women such as equal pay ($1 to .77), suffrage (global), educational opportunities.”

    Women have had equal or greater benefits from it. They have been guauranteed provision and protection by patriarchy, and we stil see echos of this in feminists’ calls for special protectionsd for women -”rape culture” etc. They have been guaranteed support for their children regardles sof the child’s paternity, and in fact still are. These are all matters of statute law going back centuries. and they are huge benefits, not accorded to men.

    “The male privilege is real and relevant. Of course the Patriarchy has also caused problems for males are that are also real and relevant such as limiting emotional range and discouraging societally defined “effeminate” men. ”

    These are dehumanizng and unacceptable in and of themselves, but they are among the least of the harms this system inflcits on men. The system does not just repress men’s emotional lives, it devalues and instrumentalizes thier physical lives.

    “But the reality of the situation is that patriarchy legally limits women’s rights to opportunity, control over her own body, and equality. ”

    Control over her own body? Have you heard of routine infant genitla mutialtion? The draft? Corvee labor?

    As for rights ot opportunity, do you imagine that men ahd some kind of right to choose whatever occupation they felt like training into? Or do oyu relaize that the overwhelming majority of men, just like women, wer econfined by birth and staiton in life to going inot the exact same mills or mines or fileds they fathers were, just as much as their susiters were confined to marrying and running a house. Anything else is a presentist projection of bourgeois norms onto the past.

    “Only society values limit a man’s right to emote.”

    What but society is putting any limits on women? Are you trying to distingusih society from patriarchy?

    Jacksam,
    ““Anyone who was a Christina because he was just used to it or because he was in love with some book was never really a Christian anyway.”

    No True Scotsman fallacy. ”

    No. There have been established norms defining who is and is not a Christian from the very beginning. These are the final refinements:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostle%27s_Creed
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalcedonian_Christianity

    You will note that allegiance to scripture is mentioned nowhere in any of them.

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