Thursday, 20 November 2014

"Ban Feminism"

As it has done annually for the past few years, Time magazine recently ran a poll asking readers what words they'd like to see stricken from the cultural lexicon. In years past, successful contenders were "YOLO", "OMG" and "twerk".

This year's winner by a billion miles, earning 3 times as many votes as its runner-up, was the word "feminist".

In contextualizing the inclusion of this particular word, Time wrote:

“You have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on whether this word applies to them, like some politician declaring a party? Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade.”

Reaction from feminists was swift and predictable. Outrage. Umbrage. Boycotts. Militancy.

Why, it's almost like feminists are unable to read or something, since they seem to have failed to absorb the first sentence of the disclaimer, which flat-out states, "you have nothing against feminism itself, but..."

For myself, I voted to "ban feminist" when I stumbled across the poll, and I too am guilty of disregarding that initial clause in the description. In fact, I was forced to disregard the entirety of it, because I disagree with the entirety of it. I do have something against feminism--many many somethings, in fact, which I will itemize further on. And, as I happen to have something(s) against feminism, I am fully in favor of celebrities openly stating their political position in favor of or against it, the same way I'd prefer to know if that thing slithering amongst the pole beans in my garden is a harmless garter snake or something more sinister.

But the disclaimer itself, clearly stating agreement with feminism's principles (such as they are purported to be) and its goals (however dubious), but rather an objection to its irresponsible use in media, ought to have served to defuse any feminist wrath over the inclusion of the word in the poll. That it did not speaks volumes about feminism and feminists. As did the poll results, and the desperate attempts by feminists to blame the entire debacle on that cesspit of white straight male privilege known as 4chan.

In fact, the feminist response to the poll only serves to reinforce all the reasons I myself voted to "ban" it (as if words can or should actually be banned, and as if I would desire that). To make it clear, given the way the poll was set up to allow multiple votes, and even given my decidedly anti-feminist views, I only cast one vote myself.

So, some of my objections to feminism include:

1) it cannot handle challenge or criticism of itself, or its premises, goals and assumptions.

I think the reaction by many feminists to the poll proves this point better than any anti-feminist ever could. After all, the justification provided by Time explicitly excluded disagreement with feminism, and specifically stipulated disagreement with the irresponsible use of it in a celebrity context.

2) it is populated by bullies who react with coercive tactics to any challenge (or even skepticism) of its precepts, or criticism of its followers' behavior.

Forcing an apology and retraction from Time for daring to include the word "feminist" demonstrates this tendency quite neatly. Step out of line, and you'd better issue a tearful apology or next week you could find yourself at a soup kitchen or applying for jobs at McD's.

3) it is based on emotional reasoning, delusions of persecution and projection of ill intent. Never attribute a charitable or individuated intention to anything a man (or the system) does when a malicious and collective one can be applied.

“...rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.” Susan Brownmiller.

 "...intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men's contempt for women." Andrea Dworkin

Despite the explicitly stated justification of "feminist"'s inclusion in the poll, the reaction was that the intention was profoundly different from what was stated. Just as heterosexual intercourse, the means by which all sexually reproducing species procreate, is not a simple biological reality but a conspiracy to subjugate women, and just as the reprehensible criminal act of a single rapist is not the act of a (typically damaged and dysfunctional) individual but a conscious collective effort on the part of all men to terrorize all women, this poll (and its result) was much more than a mere expression of cultural exhaustion to the constant demands that celebrities "pick a side" or justify their ambivalence or opposition to the feminist position. It is nothing more or less than a conscious effort to undermine feminism and reverse the gains women/feminists have made.

While I would assume that many who voted for "feminist" did so not because of the justification provided, but because they view feminism as an unhealthy, divisive and damaging ideology, none of this points to any popular view that women are or should be considered inferior, or that anyone wants to "turn back the clock".

4) if there's a man around, blame him and his misogyny, or the misogyny of the "male-dominated patriarchy". Whatever you do, don't engage in self-examination.

4chan is, as far as I know, predominantly male. Regardless of the actual demographic breakdown, it is perceived as a male space, and one that is hostile to women.

Despite numerous opportunities over the last few years for feminists to critically examine the behavior of their sisters, to reconsider their claims and their rhetoric, to adjust their beliefs and consider evidence that challenges them, whenever someone (or a bunch of someones) expresses dissatisfaction with or criticism of feminism, the go-to response is to shift the blame onto men and their misogyny.

#notyourshield is allegedly nothing but white, straight men creating sock puppet accounts to spew hatred of women, or marginalized "Uncle Tom's" who've internalized the misogyny and racism of the white, straight male-dominated culture. It couldn't possibly be that many women and minorities are sick to death of feminism's divisive and polarizing rhetoric and tactics.

Paul Elam's article, a clearly stated satirical work written to highlight Jezebel's genuine and febrile celebration of female-on-male intimate partner violence, is proof that he's not only a misogynist, but a misogynist who promotes male violence against women. (There are simply too many feminist references to this particular article, with the intention of vilifying Elam, AVoiceforMen.com, and all MRAs, to link to.)

5) authoritarianism.

Need I say more? In the last week, a genius who landed a space probe on a goddamn comet was bullied into a tearful apology over him wearing a shirt that was no more offensive than this one:



A month or so ago, a major news site, Forbes, was bullied into firing William Frezza over an article in which he expressed concern over the liability university men face when drunk women knock on the frat house door. The number of men who've been forced to step down from prominent positions because they offended feminist sensibilities (even, or perhaps especially, when their claims were backed up by evidence) are too copious to mention.

And here we see Time backing down from its moderate stance, due to the authoritarian leanings of feminist activists who will brook no questioning.

Without even going into my objections to the problems inherent to feminist doctrine, which I contend are unfalsifiable, biased, evidence-resistant and wrong-headed, and only concentrating on their tactics, feminists themselves have managed to reinforce every one of my opinions with their response to the Time poll. They have only served to bolster my anti-feminism, and demonstrate the very reasons why so many people voted to ban the word "feminist".

Here's hoping they keep up the good work.



19 comments:

  1. Karen,

    First, I love your work. Please don't ever stop. You were my gateway drug into all this and I want to personally thank you for ripping the wool from my eyes.

    I have an off topic question, if you don't mind. Can you tell me (or link me if you have discussed this elsewhere) your thoughts about the "Factual Feminist, Christina Hoff Sommers?

    Despite most of her recent internet content being counter to the hysterics that feminists are now known for, she still holds that feminism, properly directed, can be a force for good. Like you, her points are cogent, well reasoned, and well researched. I would love to hear your thoughts, if any, about Mrs Sommers.

    Thank you again

    Anonymous Cis-Shitlord

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      Delete
    2. Feminism may conceivably be a force for good if "properly directed", just as communism may work if "properly directed. Or it may be as Dr. John Gill, Kirk's History Professor, in "Patterns of Force" found, it is a mistake to give anyone that much power.

      Delete
  2. Where can I get that shirt?
    Keep up the good work.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes there are several familiar feminist confusions going on here. Something being sexist (It Just Is!) and DEFINITELY being part of a "culture" that ostracises women, preventing them from achieving in science..

    Another common confusion is talking about things that do indeed occur in some Islamic and Afro-Carribean cultures, and pretending that they occur among white British scientists! Ridiculous.

    But what I now think is feminism's Number 1 big lie is this: the nonsense about inequality being when scientists aren't 50/50 male and female. Very similar to the gender pay gap lie:

    It's heavily implied that any imbalance is because of "discrimination", but of course there's no strong evidence for this, so they imply it rather than say it out loud.

    If they were saying equal opportunities then we'd all be on board. But there's a god argument that this is in place already, and that women make different career choices from men.

    So what feminists seem to be fighting for (sometimes openly, sometimes not) is - as said - 50% of politicians & scientists... But how are we to achieve this if women make different career choices? Well feminists say either

    a) women should be encouraged to make different choices (mainly by incentives for women only to do science) or
    b) that there must be hidden discrimination, and that the only way to battle this is by positive discrimination in recruitment

    So, based on no evidence, feminists end up lobbying for discrimination in favour of women - which of course means AGAINST MEN. It's genius, and also disgustingly unfair & dishonest.

    ReplyDelete
  4. http://jezebel.com/5949555/iconic-vj-day-photograph-sailor-kiss-decried-as-depiction-of-sexual-assault/all

    Read this article. It's disgusting how much feminists are tearing down everything that made this world work so well. That famous kiss is now wrong and evil. If a man wants to plant a kiss on his sweetheart, he better be careful. He might be looking at sexual assault charges.

    Thank you, feminist for taking all of the joy out of the world... for men and women. I really do believe that once upon a time, women actually enjoyed the affections of a man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. * Swears til the air is blue * Good gravy ! can't they leave anything alone ? I seriously worry about Feminism deals with the subject of sexual assault and abuse. They vilify so many things as potential assault. My fear is that real, damaging terrifying assaults. The ones that really do demand justice and punishment, will be lost in the fog of all their trivializing.

      And in response to your last line. Here is a woman who still very much enjoys sharing affection with a man.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  6. I was speechless when I saw that Time had been forced to print an apology. Surely it ought to at least have made Feminists wonder what the word ' Feminism ' has come to mean for people to have voted for it in such droves. It should have told them that something in their approach isn't appealing to a great many people.

    The incident of The Shirt still makes my blood boil. Firstly, the shirt wasn't showing anything violent or hate based. Surely the fact that this guy had lead a team that had achieved the most mind blowing scientific feat, could at least this once have been allowed to wear this seriously funky garment. Without these killjoys stamping on him. Secondly the woman's state of undress is hardly pornographic. She looks more like a Betty Page style pin up.

    As for those quotes about sex being rape....Arrrrggghh ! Surely Ms Dworkin and Ms Brown Miller do know that men didn't invent it, just to
    oppress us.
    Trying to say that Mother Nature is out to get womankind, is going too far, even for them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "I do have something against feminism"

    Reading your points, it seems you really have nothing against feminism per se, so much as some of its practitioners.

    A REAL anti-feminist would be against the intellectual arguments of feminism, namely men & women are "equal".

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If that were the case, the overwhelming majority of feminists would be anti-feminists. Radical feminists, that make up the core of feminism, often openly state that gender equality is not their ideal. So which is it?

      Apparently according to you, you can only be opposed to PETA if you're against their ideal of treating animals ethically, or object to the War on Terror if you oppose the ideal of stopping terrorism.

      Delete
  8. To Noor,

    No, an analogy would be saying "I am against communism/Marxism" then only citing Stalin's crimes.

    You might be against feminists, but not against feminism. Whatever some may say, "feminism" as it is generally understood stands for "equality" of the sexes.

    Ofcourse, I'm not in favor of such mythic equality (which makes me a real anti-feminist), I'm just pointing out the mis-use of the term.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If feminism is "generally understood" to mean equality, it is also very clear and understood that feminism is coming from the belief that women were/are unilaterally oppressed, or had/have it worse than men.

      It's this fundamental belief that anti-feminists here oppose. You might say feminists promote equality, but they are always doing so operating upon the assumption that women were/are oppressed by men.

      (That's why I do consider most equity feminists to be in fact feminists, because they do believe women were once historically oppressed by men, just not anymore.)

      Delete
  9. To Noor,

    Well, if you oppose the idea that women were/are oppressed, the you must also oppose any work towards "equality", either because you believe "equality" is already here, or because you believe "equality" was always here.

    All well and good, but it ignores the fact that for feminists "historical oppression" stems from their belief in the inherent equality/sameness of men and women.

    So, an "anti-feminist" must firstly oppose the idea of equality or men and women, then they can say "because men and women are not the same and not equal, therefore there was no oppression, therefore no need for supposed "equality laws".

    My main point is that this article attacks the tactics/rhetoric of feminism, but doesn't address its position vis-a-vis the basic pillars of the feminist world-view.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, the difference between the feminist and anti-feminist egalitarian is that feminists only work for equality from a woman's perspective because they do not believe men ever had any issues because of their gender. Most folks here will say that both genders were restricted and discriminated into gender roles, but these were necessary in a premodern world. However today we do not need to live like then, feminism has already freed women from their gender constraints, but men are still living according to the same past norms.

      Few people actually believe men and women are exactly alike. It's that men and women should be treated the same legally and morally, recognizing that most differences are not that great on an individual level (and certainly so with modern technology rendering much of the physical strength difference irrelevant, for example), and no one should be forced into anything they don't want because of their gender.

      Delete
    2. So to summarize:
      Men and women had it about equally bad in the past, but in differing ways.
      Feminism only recognizes women's restrictions and paints them as women having been unilaterally oppressed by men.
      Anti-feminist egalitarians and the MRM work to note that the past was more balanced out, and that men need to be equally freed from their gender roles, especially since there is no need today for men to be restricted to their roles.

      Delete
  10. I've been a feminist since childhood...because I have a mother.

    Feminism is about humanity and understanding that women are a part of it. It's about understanding that women are not objets d'art. It's about understanding that women are not baby factories and sperm repositories. It's about understanding that women have free agency and expect the same consideration and respect as men demand. Feminism is about understanding, acceptance, and complete equality.

    To claim otherwise is to defile feminism, not to define it.

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    ReplyDelete
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Commenting policy:

All comments are welcome here. I refuse to censor points of view that differ from my own.

I recognize that I may be challenging the deep-seated beliefs of some people, and perhaps stirring up emotions in others. However, I would ask:

- if you care to respond to anything that I have said, please do not simply link to or quote some statistic. Do not simply regurgitate things you have been told are true. Think about what I am saying. Respond with an argument. Offer something from your personal observations, and explain to me how you feel your statistic is connected to your experience.

- If you wish to be part of a discussion, try not to dismiss what I or a another commenter says out of hand. Yes, that means that some lines of thought or ideologies may not stand up to scrutiny (perhaps even my own).

- Remember, ad hominem attacks diminish everyone involved. If you want to criticize anything, do so passionately and directly - but debate is about attacking ideas, not people.

Have at you!