Hey there! I started this blog up, made one post, and now it’s been left fallow for weeks. I know. It’s not for lack of trying. I wrote up a post about gun control and mass shootings, but I wasn’t happy with it. So I deleted it. AS I DO WITH ALL THINGS I’M UNHAPPY WITH, SO DON’T CROSS ME.
I’ve been writing up this post on and off for a while, but the problem is each time I revisit it the subject I want to change it. Part of that is because it’s a very touchy subject. I am concerned with my capability to articulate my criticisms of feminism without alienating feminists who may be reading it or denying the lived experiences and marginalization that many women who read this may have faced. It’s the topic that I keep coming back to, though.
Let’s get this out of the way – I am not a feminist. I am also not an MRA (Men’s Rights Activist) or MGTOW or whatever other acronym, nor am I anywhere close to a traditionalist or social conservative as far as gender issue goes. At risk of sounding like a total hipster, I reject labels with regards to my views on gender. “Humanist” is a cop-out term that means nothing. “Gender egalitarian” is a bunch of new age bullshit, and Meninist is just… No. (See what I mean about alienating people?)
I decided to split this post up into two parts to make it more readable, and to provide myself some cues to differentiate discussion in each area. I want to use this first part to really just discuss some shallower topics on the issue. What I mean by that is I want to pick apart many modern arguments against feminism and make it clear which ones I think are bullshit. Then I want to present what I believe are legitimate criticisms of modern feminists. When I say shallow I mean that this discussion is not going into the deep annals of feminist theory or uprooting the foundations of feminism. If I do get around to making the other part of the post, it will be about actual criticisms of feminist doctrine rather than just the people that make up the movement. I don’t expect or hope that one who is currently a feminist to read this post and then be like “Oh, he’s right! I don’t believe in feminism anymore.” Not trying to persuade you out of it.
Rather, I hope to persuade you that in gender relations, it is not a matter of “feminist or bigot.” It is a more complex matter, and there needs to be more analysis from different perspectives. I am going to provide what I hope to be some fundamental concerns that I have with feminist doctrine and the historical narrative in my next post. You may also notice that I’m a little bi-polar when it comes to shit like this and switch around every paragraph or two. I can’t help it.
Brief pre-amble about citations: Unlike my last post, I will be making some use of statistics, studies and other forms of research at various points here. None of these citations are the final word on the matter. And when I do cite these sources, I’m specifically pulling the parts that are forming my argument – not the article in it’s entirety. I’m trying to avoid sources that come across as “menaresuperior.womensuckmyballs.com”, but there’s also a matter where a lot of what I want to discuss goes against the popular narratives that are very common across social media platforms in this age. Take everything with a grain of salt, but don’t forget that that same standard should be applied to the stuff you’re used to hearing. There are a large number of flawed statistics that get tossed around and shared in the feminist movement (and in… every movement), but often no one questions them because they don’t want to discredit the movement or seem anti-feminist.
FINAL disclaimer: I fully admit that I am a privileged ass mofo. For typical reasons like being heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied, white, male, middle-upper-middle class, living in Southern California in the United States, and having no histories of abuse or assault or anything of the like. But also for the reason that I have lived with two incredibly loving and dedicated parents, have had my bills including tuition paid for all my life, and grew up entirely sheltered from what I perceive to be the absolute madness of school, through my unschooled upbringing.
I’m not saying all this as some kind of Oscar-nominee “thank you” speech, and nor am I saying it in an attempt to cowtow and remove my spine to place it on the avatar of social justice. I’m just acknowledging that there are ways in which my perspective is limited. I do, however, believe that everyone’s perspective is extremely limited, including those who have suffered the most at the hands of oppression – no one can claim to know what it’s like to be another person. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t give what I have to say an honest consideration before you decide what you think about it.
feminisim sux dog – Rebutted!
I’m not alone in the world of having issues with feminism. Vast swaths of people are quick to condemn “feminazis” and accuse American women of focusing on gender equality instead of going to >insert unspecified Middle Eastern country that supposedly women have no rights in< and doing whatever over there to make it gender equal. Still others say things like, “yeah, feminism had the right idea before, but it’s not necessary anymore.”
The truth is, my issues with feminism stem from none of these areas. Yes, I have seen numerous insane things said by radical feminists that pretty much advocate that all “PIV” (penis-in-vagina) sex is oppression, or that the only way that women can be safe from men is to selectively eliminate 90% of men from the gene pool, and so on. But the truth is that every movement has some crazies and some extremists, and while those people certainly deserve to be criticized – those parts do not represent the whole. It’s my opinion also that if gender equality is really being pursued in a constructive way, being a radical wouldn’t be a bad thing. Like being someone who is radically against violence – generally bad things don’t come from that. If pursuit of gender equality is a truly good thing, and it is pursued in a principled and holistic manner, then I don’t really see how someone could take it “too far.”
My view isn’t that “feminism is good in concept / good at the core, but some people do bad things with it” – my view is that feminist doctrine is, at it’s core, flawed, and that that’s the reason people taking it “too far” tend to get into such insane territory. Furthermore I assert that it is not only the radical outliers but the majority of feminists, the median, the social media feminists and the academics that promote a misleading worldview. I believe that when we merely criticize “feminazis” it entirely discounts the problematic or extreme things that everyday, armchair feminists believe, and essentially insulates them from criticism, using the “radicals” as scapegoats. And I think it’s important to establish what I mean by “feminism” before I continue. When I discuss feminism I am discussing the “movement” primarily – the groups of people that call themselves feminist, the large body of literature produced by feminists for feminists, and so on. I believe that “feminism” means more than just the dictionary definition of it. And I recognize that feminism means different things to different people, individual feminists may have very different interpretations and theories on gender and so on, as well as there being different forms of feminist ideology and factions. But nonetheless, I believe that there are underlying commonalities between the vast majority of self-described feminists – often based around widespread feminist narratives like patriarchy and the subjugation of women, and gender as a social construct and whatnot.
So next we have the idea that “American women shouldn’t complain because things are way worse in X country that’s not America.” This argument is usually steeped in the same generic, typically Islamophobic rhetoric that people use to try to justify intervention in the Middle East if they can’t think of anything else – that women in the Middle East or in third-world countries don’t have even basic rights that American women enjoy, so umm, yeah. It’s a stupid argument on many levels. First, the status of women varies substantially by the country and indeed by the regions and subcultures of each country in the Middle East or anywhere else. Second, these countries aren’t just hell-holes where women are denied all rights; Islam has a history of empowerment of women in education, property rights, and in the home, as well as in numerous areas, some of which were well in advance of Western countries like the US. Now I don’t claim to be an expert in this region, and I certainly don’t mean to diminish women’s experiences who do struggle with oppression in highly patriarchal households or areas, but the point is that you can’t paint everyone with the same brush. Third, it doesn’t even make sense – you don’t say to someone who’s sick “oh stop trying to get treatment for your injury, there’s someone else on the other side of the country who is bleeding from every orifice!” – like what. Women in America have every right to fight back against oppression that they experience in America, even if you may deem it to be less severe than it was in the past, or less severe than it is somewhere else.
That isn’t to say that it’s impossible to blow things out of proportion. I do believe that in general it is a worthy criticism of modern feminism that issues like the use of the word “bossy” or men spreading their legs on buses or the air conditioning being too cold that I honestly don’t believe are going to advance gender equality if they are pursued. There is undoubtedly a massive coalition of armchair feminists ready to hop on any social cause, no matter how trivial, and attempt to appropriate it into the umbrella of women’s rights. And yes I said trivial. Women do so much shit that is inconsiderate or rude and we don’t have a viral social media campaign for every (or any) action they take and label it as evidence of an over-arching sexist theory. For good reason.
Back on topic. I firmly believe that a discussion of gender issues is absolutely still necessary in the 21st century. Thinking that because now women can vote things have been basically solved is just a clear denial of reality in my opinion. Issues like body shaming, slut shaming, sexual assault, sexual harassment, the glass ceiling, endorsement of rape in popular culture, lack of female representation in politics and many forms of media, and much much more are all worth examining. Not to mention other discourse on gender, such as for non-normative gender identities and sexual orientations, which have ended up being appropriated in some ways by mainstream feminism and are also very important. Although I often will butt heads with feminists over how often these things happen or what the ramifications or solutions to them are, I do nonetheless feel that there is a good deal of truth behind a very large segment of feminist issues. But that’s how I feel about most things. People don’t just fabricate problems out of thin air, generally there is some truth that drives people’s beliefs. Commonly though, they may blow those out of proportion, disseminate exaggerated and misleading statistics, or attribute the causes of certain issues to being something that plays into their agenda when, in reality, it’s much less black-and-white. I do think it’s absolutely pertinent to have passionate activists working to resolve gaping injustices caused by gender inequality and to help understand who we are and where we fit in and what we can do to fix things. In fact, I think it’s so important that I think there needs to be more of it, and it needs to be less centrally controlled. It’s very hard to have any discussion on gender issues outside of the framework of mainstream feminists today (I do it all the time – and usually just end up getting called out for being “sexist” or “problematic” by people who haven’t even read what I said), and these social activists tend to act as the arbiters, the gatekeepers, of these discussions.
But what about the mens
Not only do I think there needs to be more de-centralized discussion of gender inequality, I think there needs to be more angles that it is acceptable to be viewed from. Here’s where I’m going to bring up men. Yes, the poor mens. HuffPost Women recently had a video which I saw shared on Facebook that talked about how “feminism isn’t about being anti-men – it’s about reaching equality for women!” and in the very same video, they stated: “Men are not systematically oppressed based on their gender. And that’s a fact.” – first off, please don’t follow a completely un-provable claim by saying “And that’s a fact”. Second and the reason I’m bringing this up is because I think it’s important to recognize that when feminism is allowed to have this sort of monopoly on discussion of gender issues, some of their implicit assumptions have to be questioned. I don’t believe that men are the primary victims of gender inequality in the US, nor do I think that the system is designed to oppress men specifically. But if you have so many feminists operating under the assumption that what little discrimination men do face is trivial or non-existent (or, the condescending “patriarchy hurts men too!”, with a prescription of more focus on women’s issues), you have a group that does not have a holistic view of gender issues, and thus should not be given the rights to all discussion on the matter.
What ways do men experience systematic oppression? I want to make it clear that I’m not here to say that men have it worse than women or that these issues are all caused by feminism or anything like that. I am just refuting her claim. Just a few examples off the top of my head (and generally the first links on Google that I could find); men are much more likely to be convicted of the same crime than a woman and receive vastly longer sentences for those crimes, our domestic violence hotlines and shelters ignore and/or humiliate battered men (and the general complete ignorance on the actual prevalence of domestic abuse against men by women, which is much higher than we ever hear about), thousands of men are put in and out of prison because they can’t afford child support payments (this happens to women too – and that should also be addressed!), the lack of public awareness or concern for male suicide rates (more on this and how it relates to female suicide later) the way our public school system disadvantages and fails young boys and men, and far more than that. I tried to specifically find issues that I feel are systematic by picking mostly things that occur on an institutional level, such as with the criminal justice system or the educational system, or in some cases the media. How exactly HuffPost Women can confidently say “men are not systematically oppressed,” and mark it as a fact I’m not totally sure, but it’s an attitude I’ve seen shared very often. It’s to the point where the kneejerk reaction to someone exclaiming that men also experience oppression is to laugh at and mock them. Even from “moderate” feminists. Just because you don’t hear about these problems very often doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
So what can we take away from that? Men facing issues doesn’t disprove feminism, not that that’s even my goal in the first place. I often hear that feminists are the ones actually trying to help men deal with these problems. True, in a sense. Social conservatives certainly aren’t going around picketing about young men going to prison excessively. Feminists at least bring up these issues, on occasion. But I don’t wholly buy it, and there are several reasons. The first of which is that, in reality, feminists rarely devote any attention to these issues beyond minimal lip service. The second is that most feminists, in my opinion, mis-attribute the causes and solutions to many of men’s issues, and the third is that in some cases, feminists actively take stances harming the ability of these issues to be addressed.
So, on to the first. I talked before about how there’s a lot of trivial stuff that I believe is pervasive in social media feminist groups, manspreading being one example of this. The truth is that although I’ve seen dozens of these little mini-campaigns, on TV ads, on social media, at school, in virtually every facet of modern life – I will rarely if ever see one of these that addresses something that men specifically face, like unequal incarceration. In fact, I’ve never seen a single feminist source ever talk about the over-incarceration of men over women. I’ve even seen articles about how we should stop putting women in jail for anything, which somehow manages to make only passing mention of male prisoners while going on about how we need to work to rehabilitate women back into the community. The issues that affect men are cast aside and forgotten about because they are not as popular subjects.
The second is that feminists typically approach men’s issues with an attitude of “patriarchy hurts men too” that is just.. bullshit. Yes, a lot of these issues stem from traditional gender roles and pressures that are put on men. The difficulties many men have in expressing their feelings constructively. The hyper-agency that causes us to consider a man more responsible for his actions than a woman might be. The problem is that feminism doesn’t actually address it! Why? Because their response is to just keep supporting women! Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about. She presents a lot of the same issues I do about issues men face – and then finishes it by saying “men have issues, but it’s the patriarchy! So let’s help women!”
But the patriarchy is not some monolithic entity that is brought nearer to destruction each time a woman is elected office and a man shuts his legs on the bus. It’s a massive set of social and cultural and in some cases biological tendencies that drive how we think and act in more ways than we can even imagine. The only way you can come close to “dismantling it” is to root out and expose and heal these scars that affect members of every gender and sex. If men are told that we must simply wait for feminism to do it’s thing and bring down the patriarchy and then, in the ashes of that, our problems will go away too – what we’re really being told is that men’s issues aren’t going to be solved or even addressed in any meaningful way in anything close to the foreseeable future. And that somehow we should throw our support behind the movement so that we can eventually see change of the sort we’re looking for. It’s a facade of inclusiveness that really represents the co-opting of a complex set of issues in order to reinforce the existing agenda. You may feel that feminists shouldn’t have to address men’s issues because they have enough on their plate already. I get that. I respect that. I will address that in my next point. As long as you’re not claiming that feminism will solve men’s issues too, at least you aren’t lying through your teeth.
And third, and perhaps most important, is the fact that feminists do not acknowledge their own involvement in some areas of men’s issues. Historically, feminists have pushed for quite a few laws that have had a gender bias against men – such as the the implementation of the dominant aggressor policy in domestic abuse cases (a big part of the reason that abused men are more likely to be arrested when they call the police than the women who abused them), numerous instances in which the National Organization for Women fought for preferential treatment to mothers in custody cases, and more. Not to mention the speed limit, ‘cos how can men be free when we can’t go as fast as our HARD ASS MANLINESS compels us?!
But let’s step back for a second. I’ve been attacking feminists for quite a while now, and if you are a feminist and you’re still reading I appreciate that very much. This is by no means exhaustive evidence of some conspiracy on the part of the evil feminists to put the mens down. Even the limited set of examples I brought up were by no means concerted attacks on men’s rights – they were policy initiatives with numerous benefits. Nothing is that one-sided. So I’m not trying to place feminists at the center of the issue. I’m just stating that “the patriarchy” is not the sole source of men’s issues. There are certainly cases of feminist policies like these where women’s rights are prioritized over men’s rights. And that makes sense, considering “feminism” and “women’s rights” are typically synonymous – and they SHOULD be. That’s what feminism IS! It’s women’s rights! So can we get out of this dishonest perception of feminism as *the* gender equality movement? It should be one of many. Unfortunately it’s basically just one.
MGTOW – men gassing their own walruses
And that leads me into the biggest critique I have of feminists on this issue. The main reason that I feel that feminists hold some responsibility over these issues is that they have actively worked to silence men’s rights activists and any other organization that attempts to address these issues. You may believe that MRA’s are all hateful misogynists. I personally don’t. I previously stated that I am not an MRA, and that is true and there is good reason for it. Primarily it stems from questionable and yes, in some cases hateful rhetoric and practices on the part of many leaders of the movement, as well as employment of self-victimization tactics and rape apologist behavior. I’ll do more to criticize the MRM and other areas of the “man-o-sphere” shortly. However, the proportion to which these groups actually function as “hate groups” is VASTLY overstated by feminists in my opinion. For example, the famous University of Toronto protest against Warren Farrell from a couple years back (just bringing up this example ‘cos it’s the one that comes up at the top of my head), where feminist protestors did everything in their power to try to shut down a men’s rights writer and speaker named Warren Farrell from delivering a lecture at the school. They were protesting it because they don’t like Farrell, essentially saying he’s a misogynistic meanhead and has said some weird things about incest in the past. He has said some weird things, some of which was taken out of context and some of which is legitimately weird. And I don’t agree with him on much of that (still wouldn’t label it hate speech). But the actual content of his lecture was about boys failing in schools. A direct discussion on issues that face men and boys. And the feminists on campus triggered the fire alarm, protested, screamed to their hearts content and stood outside of the lecture hall shouting to disrupt the lecture. This is just one example, and you may think it’s isolated. But virtually every time I hear about a men’s rights seminar being prepared to meet up somewhere, I then hear about it getting shut down or disrupted by feminist protestors.
They’ve done everything in their power to slander the MRM as a hate group, to the point where the Southern Poverty Law Center labelled MRAs as a hate group. Yes, there is a lot of fucked up and hateful shit on the “manosphere.” But it is also disgusting to me the way that reasonable calls for discussion on issues are completely subverted any time they occur. It’s not as if there isn’t also a ludicrous amount of hateful trash spewed out by large sections of the feminist movement. Here’s a few examples of feminist statements that are quite troubling in my opinion. And these statements are generally from influential feminist activists and writers, nothing compared to the vitriol that comes from Tumblr feminists every single day. People are angry. Many men who have had their kids taken away from them or were put in prison for child support payments they couldn’t afford are angry. Many women who have experienced sexual violence are angry. I’m not excusing MRA anger, indeed it is as I stated earlier the primary reason I choose to distance myself from that group and do not follow their sites, blogs, and speeches unless I find something that I really feel is fair. But what I’m saying is that there is anger all around, much of it justified but little of it constructive. And often the people who are actually scheduled to speak are far more reasonable than they are given credit for.
The issues that men and boys face get buried underneath the power struggles between MRAs and feminists. And so you’ll pardon me if I don’t believe that feminists should be given sole rights over discussion on gender issues. Because these problems facing men and boys, of over-incarceration, failing in school, suicide, and so on, are still there, and many are getting worse. If feminists really want to claim responsibility over men’s issues then they should also claim responsibility for the reality that there hasn’t been much done at all to resolve them. Even if feminists do have men’s best issues at heart, they have other priorities.
Enough about the mens!
Okay. That’s enough about the men. From all that I posted there it must seem like I believe women’s issues should be pushed aside. I don’t believe that at all. I’d very much like to see men’s issues come into the national spotlight without taking away from focus on women’s issues or on issues of the transgender and genderqueer movements and any other groups I’ve been ignoring so far. I’d like to see a change in the way that we discuss these issues. But it doesn’t change the underlying fact that I believe the issue of sexual violence against women is the most important and prevalent form of violence in the United States. That’s meaning sexual coercion, date rape, domestic violence, and other forms. I’d very much like to see all forms of violence decrease. I don’t think that any of these forms of violence will ever be gone, but they can certainly go down. And I recognize that there are many more issues than sexual violence for women that must be addressed. The thing is, though, everyone seems to have this belief that we need to just look at groups in the aggregate. They say yes, men have issues, but women have it harder so we need to help them. But that’s not how things work. Transgender people probably have it worse than most women, on the whole, what with targeted murder, massive suicide rates. You know, all that fucked up shit. But that doesn’t mean we ignore women’s problems.
It’s true that in some cases men’s rights and women’s rights do butt heads. For example, the issues I brought up earlier – like mother’s rights in custody cases versus father’s rights. In some cases, we can try to get an equilibrium (particularly if “equality” is the purported goal). But in many issues, such as with parental custody rights or domestic abuse cases, it’s a lot more complicated than that and there’s more at stake. But there are a hell of a lot issues where you can help men without hurting women, and the other way around. And there are issues where you can help both!
Let’s all hold hands and solve gender inequality togethurrr
Men commit suicide at four times the rate of women!
… And women attempt suicide as much or more often than men do. Compassion and caring go a long way no matter what the gender identity or sex of the person in question. Where we see an inequality there’s actually an opportunity. Seeing that women die from suicide at 1/4th the rate of men is a fucking good thing. It means there’s a model to replicate. A success story, so to speak. We can compare and contrast – why do women survive their suicide attempts so much more than men?
The answer is complex and there are likely multiple of them. It’s pretty well established that women use less lethal methods to attempt suicide with – poisoning, for example. With guys, more fatal methods are preferred, like guns. That’s the biggest reason. But the question is really why those things happen. This is where I’m just going to throw out my own conjecture, my own hypothesis – reminder: no experience in the area. I’ve had suicidal thoughts plenty of times but I never got close to actually attempting anything. But I do know, as a man, that there is an all-encompassing pressure on you to be somebody. To not be a coward. If you’re going to do something, go all the way. To attempt suicide and fail would not only make you a coward who couldn’t cope with life, it would make you a coward who couldn’t take his death into his own hands.
I do not by any means intend to trivialize suicide attempts by women. And this is by no means universal to all attempts. But I do believe that we have a culture that is less shaming of women who need help. If a woman is in trouble, if she is suffering, typically our society is much more likely to react to that when she asks for it. Men are less likely to report their depression than women. This extends to a lot of other areas – men are less likely to report when they are victims of just about anything, because the stigma of asking for help is so great. Not that there isn’t a huge stigma for women as well. This is an area where I truly feel like men could benefit substantially from being more like women. Yes, society needs to stop stigmatizing men so hard when they seek help. But men need to find the courage to acknowledge their own vulnerability and ask for help. These aren’t things you can change with legislation, or blame on any specific group. I truly believe feminists can and will get on board with things like this. This does not threaten women. Less men committing suicide will not cause more women to commit suicide. And as a side-note, I believe it would also help reduce occurrences of mass shootings. The lessons that we can learn from where women have it right can benefit men. But that’s not to say we shouldn’t also do what we can to raise awareness for women and girls who are suffering. 1/4th is still too much, and the fact that they are attempting suicide in the first place shows there is a problem.
This is just one example of an issue both genders can learn from each other on, but there are numerous others. Just giving women the respect they deserve when they have an opinion, for example at a corporate boardroom, tends to be something many men simply don’t bother with. I personally quite often find myself subconsciously interrupting other people – especially women who may be less aggressive when I interrupt them. Although I generally believe that the old rhetoric that women earn 77 cents to every dollar a man earns is a complete misuse of statistics, it is absolutely a legitimate concern that women do not get the same respect that a man gets in many career fields and this ultimately gets them lower pay offers and opportunities to advance. Awareness is a two-way street, and we need to recognize that whatever we think men are capable of, women are just as qualified for.
i choked on the toxic masculinity
But there is another issue I’d like to talk about as well, which so far I haven’t addressed. There is a breed of masculinity that I truly believe merits the term toxic masculinity. I also believe there is toxic femininity, however I think the results of that are less dangerous and probably less prevalent. I’m not defining what toxic masculinity is here, and numerous peoples will have different conceptions of what constitutes “toxic”. It’s not uncommon for me to see ordinary behavior that I think is actually perfectly reasonable or even positive classified as toxic or problematic. I believe that masculinity as a concept encompasses numerous values and ideals that should be retained and should be valued, by men and women alike, just as femininity does.
But when I see toxic masculinity I see behavior that hurts everybody. I see assholes that are so desperate to inflate their own egos that they will do anything to achieve sexual conquest over women. Lie to these women, treat them like dirt. Pump and dump. The guy that will get a girl drunk so that she can’t say no. The guy that will call a girl a whore if she won’t fuck him (which doesn’t even make sense). More often than not, these guys are assholes to other guys, too. Bitch ass white boys (and other races too) with their hats on backwards slinging out racial slurs and calling any guy who doesn’t act the way they act a faggot. And I’m not blaming these men for all of the bad things that all men do. It may very well be the so-called nice guy, soft-spoken, who spikes a girl’s drink with roofies. But the thing about these unapologetic fuckboys is that they muddle any dialogue you try to have.
MRA’s and other forms of men’s activists tend to portray feminists as self-victimizers who have no legitimacy to their claims. It seems as though there’s this twisted sense of male solidarity. That if a man is accused of rape, other men must jump to his defense and immediately assume the woman accusing him is a false accuser trying to ruin his life. Programs like the Don’t Be That Girl campaign (in response to the feminist Don’t Be That Guy campaign) were the first warning signs that led me to stop following MRA messages a few years back, when I first discovered some stuff that I still honestly think holds some merit (like Karen Straughan’s Feminism and the Disposable Male – actually the video that first peaked my interest in some anti-feminist kinds of stuff, years back. Now I don’t agree with her on a lot of things, but still find Karen to have much more nuanced and well-explained defenses of male issues than I usually think of).
The problem is that yes, having some solidarity and respect for your fellow men is cool. I honestly believe that. I have constantly heard women say shit about how all men are pigs or various other sweeping generalizations, my whole life. And I’ve been quick to say – fuck you, no we aren’t. I have met so many god damned men who were brilliant motherfuckers that would stop at nothing to help out a friend in need. They’re not jewels hidden among coals. They’re right the fuck in front of you but you ignore them and take them for granted. I hate to sound like a whiny “nice guy” but legitimately, the coolest dudes I’ve met were very often (but definitely not always!) the least likely to get the attention of women. Nice guys don’t always finish last, but many of the traits that correspond with emotional understanding – empathy, willingness to take it slow, a desire to not offend or make the girl uncomfortable – manifest as “awkwardness” and get the guy labelled a loser, or at best a “good friend.” And fuck it, who CARES. That’s a bummer, but it’s not women’s fault that they don’t always want to fuck the nerdy awkward guy who wants to treat them well and play D&D with them. You don’t choose who you find attractive. It goes without saying that no one has any responsibility to get with someone as reward for good behavior, or out of sympathy, or for any reason.
But back on point – I believe in solidarity with other men, to an extent. Mostly because I see so many good men get shit on and told how bad they are and it pisses me off. Feminists often accuse these nerdy awkward guys of being “nice guys” who are trying to bargain favors for sex, and exploit/abuse women, those slimy fuckers. But in reality it’s often as simple as unrequited love. Just as you don’t choose who you’re attracted to, the nerdy guy can’t help that he has fallen head over heels for a girl who’s never going to give him the light of day. So maybe he’ll go read some comic books and pretend that he’s a hero, flying over the clouds and winning women’s hearts and touching women’s breasts, and escape for a moment into a reality where he can be someone that he isn’t and will never be. At the greatest heights of my depression, it was when I felt so completely worthless because I had never been with a girl (that wasn’t the only reason ok!) That I was a loser, sexually unappealing and awkward. And I was so worried that I would make a girl feel uncomfortable or harassed that I wouldn’t meet girls’ eyes when they looked at me – I would sit several seats away and never talk to them – and I would generally only be able to share a conversation with them if they talked to me first or if I was drunk (or if we were friends already of course).
And the few times in college that I actually worked up the courage to ask a girl out, I would worry that I was bothering her. And then she would text me that she couldn’t make it, so I would try to re-schedule, and then I would worry that I was bothering her more, and then she would flake out again. Or there’s a girl that you like and you meet her and make friends with her and are trying to work up the courage to ask her out or something but you can’t, so you just try to be helpful and kind to her and hope that maybe she’ll feel the same way about you too. It’s pathetic, honestly, and it’s not behavior any girl in her right mind would find attractive. And I was bitter for a while, because all the time I saw the guy that a girl would get with out of any group would always be the biggest asshole in the group. Part of that is her poor judgment, and part of that is because the asshole is the only one who isn’t crippled by insecurities. Boo-hoo, right? Here’s two paragraphs of me talking about being awkward with girls. Too bad so sad. How does it relate? Well one thing I never got over was seeing all the viral videos and articles start popping up on every corner of the internet and social media claiming myself and guys like me were “nice guys” operating as sexual vampires trying to suck the life energy of women out of them and get sympathy sex.
Needless to say, guys like that exist. But god damnit, that’s not even close to the majority of them. And fuck you for taking a group of guys already on the fringe, who already feel worthless (not saying all nerds are this way, but I’ve talked enough out of bouts of depression and self-loathing to make a judgment here, not to mention my own experience) and are confused and don’t know what women want and are eternally lonely, and calling them predators. Fuck you, feminists who have no idea the sexual power that you wield over men and exercise every day, yet choose to play the courageous, outspoken victim card and pin all of these different guys as the same. That’s part the reason so many guys are so desperate to get laid. Because yeah, sex is great. But if your worth is determined by the number of women you’ve slept with, and if every day you have to be reminded by men and women alike if you’re a loser, virgin, “creep”, guys can get really unhealthy motivations to pursue sex. It’s ironic that half the time you try to argue with a feminist they will accuse you of being a loser stuck in your mom’s basement who doesn’t get laid.
BUT! What the stupid assholes behind campaigns like Don’t Be That Girl do, is they assume that all men are worth standing up for. That somehow since we all have dicks we’ve gotta protect one another. The truth is, there’s truth in almost every claim. There’s shitty guys abusing women, in groups, laughing about it with their friends. There’s desperate opportunistic shitheads that cross ethical boundaries to sexually exploit women that can’t say no. There’s nice guys who get shut down and ignored by women. There’s guys that get falsely accused of rape (though I don’t believe it is as common as MRAs think it is)! They all exist! Why the hell should we jump on board one boat, subscribe to one, buy a jersey and yell our support?
i did it! i saved the wymmins! i’m a hero
When someone is accused of a crime – innocent until proven guilty. But that goes for the accuser, too, damnit. Women who have worked up the courage acknowledge what was done to them, face harassment and death threats, possible steep legal fees, endless taunting and trivializing about who they are, accusations that they are somehow responsible for what happened, and the very likely verdict that they will see no justice after all of it don’t need another group of shitheads on the internet who don’t know a thing about them calling them lying bitches. Whatever mopey sob story I told you about being an awkward loser doesn’t fucking MATTER when it comes to having your self-ownership violated and your every behavior criticized and mocked and put on trial by older male judges and administrators and police officers, being put through physical and emotional trauma, and everything else rape survivors have to go through that I can’t even imagine and don’t care to pretend that I could. It doesn’t fucking MATTER that it’s irritating to have to be told what consent is when you already know it. When I came to UCLA, on the transfer student orientation day the lady gave us a big presentation about consent, and what to do if you suspect you’ve been a victim of sexual assault, and how to recognize when someone’s taking advantage of your friend. And yeah, there was a lot of “Listen up guys – if she doesn’t say yes, you do not keep going!” type stuff. And I’ve heard all of this before, at school, on media, in speech and debate, and I’m pretty familiar with what consent means. And I’m familiar with the arguments about how you can’t teach criminals not to steal or whatever metaphors about women being cars. But it still made me happier knowing that people out there would maybe, just maybe be paying a little more attention to the principles of voluntary interaction and women’s autonomy.
I’m not going to automatically condemn a man who is accused and I sure as hell don’t support the witch-hunting culture we have where a man will have his reputation destroyed before there’s even a shred of evidence that he did anything. But frankly, I don’t believe that the fact that that happens is enough to justify the attitudes of MRA, the /redpill/ers, or the random dudes on the internet with no real social beliefs except diminishing women’s experiences. When I say that there are elements of manhood that I respect and aspire to emulate, I say that there is a damn big set of requirements to be a good man, and the first and foremost is to be a good human. And guys who have violated that are the reason that so many feminists are so radical in the first place. They are the reason that I avoid walking behind women at night or take subtle actions specifically to make my presence known in nonthreatening ways. They are the reasons women can’t afford every man they encounter a degree of trust. Women harm and manipulate and oppress men in countless ways that they don’t even know. But as a man I don’t have to hold up my guard that a woman will physically or mentally remove my autonomy. I don’t have to plan my life around avoiding sexual exploitation. I don’t have to get groped when I go to get a drink at the bar. If I have something to say to someone I’m gonna say it and most people won’t jump down my throat and interrupt me and call me a bitch if I speak my mind (although they may call me other things (like Koolguy, master of Days)).
Let’s get weird (OH YEAH)
Ugh. This post is longer than it was supposed to be. If you think my message is muddled, you’re right. Because this shit is confusing. There’s no way that I am going to say that women’s oppression is anything but an utmost priority for the advancement of society and humanity. At the same time, there is no way in hell that I will let you laugh when someone brings up male oppression. As much privilege as males may have, females have their own supply of privilege that goes unchecked every day. And it’s not some pissing contest over who’s got it worse. If it was, men would win. Because we can pee standing up. Bitch. Having a dick is cool as hell. But really no we wouldn’t. But maybe we’d be closer than you think. And the loser should get a trophy too (not really that’s fucking stupid, goddamn libruls). We just need perspective. Guys and ladies need to just talk to one another more and actually say what they wanna say. I’ve been blessed to know quite a lot of women that had the courage to call guys out for our bullshit, and honestly I very much appreciate that. Guys don’t do it often enough, at least not in constructive ways, from what I’ve seen. And it extends to relationships very much! Ladies shouldn’t be afraid to speak up if their male (or female) partner is not satisfying them sexually or in other ways! If your partner is unwilling to compromise then leave them! Interpersonal relationships are only as good as they are voluntary, and you have no obligation to keep quiet and make him happy if he’s not making you happy. And that absolutely goes for guys too – you’re not an asshole if you aren’t happy with what’s happening. Stand up for your own autonomy and your own independence and the fact that you don’t have to put your partner on a pedestal and pretend they are “the fairer sex” or your “better half.” You both are just humans coming together and trying to figure out what works.
Men are the ones that need to liberate themselves from their own insecurities and troubles, moreso than anyone else could ever do it for us. Many women are working together pretty damn well to do just that. And meanwhile men are sitting around separate in our little cocoons. Some bitch-ass cuckolds call themselves feminist “allies” and ejaculate all over to their own self-glorifying martyr complexes (and some feminist “allies” are perfectly reasonable guys who are doing their best to make the world a better place). Some convince themselves that “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” and think women are some game to be played. If a woman is a game, she’s a fucking text adventure where every option but one means you die, so you better look carefully. I hope Alissa is reading this. I can only express myself through blog form because she has me in the spiral of silence. Talk about oppression.
FEEL, damn you. Heart is the most important power that combines to form Captain Planet. No man is an island, don’t sink into the sea. Don’t hurt yourself, don’t hate yourself. Your value is not determined by what you produce to women. And stand up for your damned self when someone calls you a privileged piece of shit. Maybe you are. But so are they, in some ways. And tu quoque is the fallacy of Champions. And most importantly, for every time we’re told that we don’t know what it’s like to be a woman, women need to realize they don’t know what it’s like to be a man either and stop conjuring a million assumptions that play into their own worldview of what things must be like for men.
EDIT TO ADD: I didn’t even get to talk about the MGTOWs (men going their own way) and the PUAs (pick-up artists) and the GYX (guys you eXxoneratexX) in this whole post. Shame!
My nuanced opinion of this large group of people that can’t all be painted with one brush:
- They suck
I haven’t even talked about gay people or trans people or genderqueer people or anyone who doesn’t identify in the normative gender identities like at all in this whole huge blog post on gender. I’m socially aware and enlightend
Problem is honestly I’m too ignorant of the wide variety of gender identities and the struggles of non-gender conforming people to fairly bring it up in this post, and I would have to make this whole thing much longer and have it go way off the rails. I can’t even fucking say the words without feeling like someone’s gonna get pissed off at me for not including the Zorosexuals and the Quadrosexuals (that’s what the Q is for rite) in the list and if I call you demi-sexual it just makes you sound like a sex god and that makes me feel insecure.
So I just decided to be controversial and offensive in a different area (wanna hear a joke? women’s rights. AhuAAAAAAAA) and avoid bringing up alternate gender identities altogether. Because I’m an asshole, and honestly I apologize for that, but maybe it’s better than hearing me stumble over myself trying to apologize for it. Sweep ’em into the closet. Cross the rainbow bridge when we come to it. So if you’re like, trans, and you read this and you’re like, “wut about me” then, uh. YOU’LL GET YOUR DAY IN THE SUN. Stay in your hole until your hetcis white male overlord gives you your turn, shitlord. Stop making everything about you – people made fun of me for being awkward, okay? Do you even know what oppression is? Uck. So problematic. Uck. Uck. I’m triggered