Saturday, June 18, 2011

White Patriarchal Illiteracy and White Radical Feminist Writing: Exposing the Inability to Comprehend and Contextually Analyse Excerpted or Made Up Quotes

image is from here
I have no idea what the tiny writing under the term "Anti-feminism" is referring to, nor why there are badly photoshopped bracelets on the wrist above. I also have little to no idea how Tumblr works or even what it is. Yes, I'm old-school; I just do facebook, twitter, blogger, and email.

Not knowing something is one thing. Making CRAP up as if you believe you know something is quite another. In my direct, interpersonal experience, human adult males are notorious for doing this. We'll answer questions we know nothing about, just because we feel like we should know. And, often enough, we feel like we should know the answers because we feel entitled to act as if we know everything.

I've written a fair amount about the ridicu-list (credit to Anderson Cooper for that term) of quotes being passed around online as if doing so proves a point. The point it proves to me is that white "Educated" men can't read or intelligently analyse text, if the text is written by a white radical feminist. And, apparently, these same white men cannot read anything at all by radical feminists of color.

Below is the content of a Tumblr page I came across. If someone can make sense of who wrote what, please clue me in!! This concerns the list of white feminist quotes making the rounds among white anti-feminists online. Please click on "A Copy Of" just below to link back to the original post... or whatever it's called on Tumblr! I have only a couple of things to add, in brackets and bold.

A Copy Of

I am:
25. Male. Veteran.
interested in:
Guns. Politics. Violence. Civil rights. Compost.

My other blogs:
imperfetk
Hipsters With Guns
Trigger warning for some mention of rape in my commentary -Conquering the Bad Press
stfufauxminists:
feminismfreedomfighters:

Feminism Is a Hate Group

When some of the most prominent feminists and famous women make openly hateful anti-male statements, and the mainstream feminist organizations say and do nothing to distance themselves from such public statements, then it’s clear that the hatred of men has an accepted place in mainstream feminism.
 Does this seem like a harsh assessment of feminism? Perhaps.
Is it true? Absolutely.
One of the main problems with “feminism” is that it exploits the legitimate claims of equal rights as a cloak to usher in its devisive, hateful and neurotic interests. Interests that are plainly anti-male and not at all about equal rights.
For example, here are some quotes from famous feminists.
  • “I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” – Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor
  • “To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.”  -– Valerie Solanas
  • “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.” — Andrea Dworkin
  • “Rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear” — Susan Brownmiller
  • “The more famous and powerful I get the more power I have to hurt men.” — Sharon Stone
  • “In a patriarchal society, all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.” — Catherine MacKinnon
  • “The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.” — Sally Miller Gearhart
  • “Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience.” – Catherine Comins
  • “All men are rapists and that’s all they are” — Marilyn French
  • “Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.” — Germaine Greer.
The quotations above are from Kelly Mac’s blog. Kelly is ‘a woman against feminism’ because of its anti-male agenda. You can read more of Kelly Mac’s blog at http://awomanagainstfeminism.blogspot.com/
Kelly sums it up nicely:
If you’re going to say feminism is not a man-hating movement, I’m going to have to insist that you provide links either to sites showing feminists condemning the statements listed above, or feminists telling women to respect men as men.
http://www.womenagainstmen.com/media/feminism-is-a-hate-group.html
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While my knee-jerk reaction would be to provide several links (and a free asskicking,) I think this is foremost problem Feminism faces today. Not only does every misandrist with a chip on their shoulder don the mantle of Feminism, but they state such things very publicly without retribution. As much as I dislike this article, I do have to agree with some things. In order to reclaim the term Feminism, I personally think it’s important to start policing these elements within our ranks—or at least actively disassociating ourselves from those that would use Feminism as the hammer and social justice as the anvil to pummel people into a new era of inequality. 
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Gifs? I’ll start because it’s Tumblr and a necessity.
Let’s make Feminism awesome again.
[There was a video image here that was deleted by me, Julian. And, I'm not sure who wrote what comes next, but aside from not noticing that the C. A. MacKinnon "quote" is not something she ever said or wrote, and that her first name is misspelled, I agree with it.]

Ok I have a problem with this.
By no means do I think that you can conquer anything - be it an oppressive social system or “bad press” - by succumbing to it.
First of all, the post gives ten examples of supposedly man-hating comments coming from ten different supposed feminists. If ten is all that can be dredged up out of about 100 years of a movements existence - hell, even 40 years since they didn’t mention anything about suffragists and the first wave, I’d say that’s a pretty good ratio. 
Let’s take that number and put it up against the amount of woman-hating comments made by the same media that is giving feminists “bad press”. I think that’s something interesting to do. The same media that openly shames victims of rape, that is more interested in reporting on what women politicians wear or what “catfight” they might get into, that body polices women regularly. 
Golly, I’d hate to get “bad press” from an entity like that.
Now, I think that first statement is actually onto something. Really think about it. Why do feminists have to play so much nicer than patriarchy plays with us? Men, who have historically been the group with the most power - at least on the level of gender - cannot handle women hating them? Really? I wonder why that is? Women have handled the brunt of massive societal hatred for years - institutionalized oppression at the hands of men who were in power. And hey, that still continues today, right anti-choice politicians? 
So I guess that every time a woman who calls herself a feminist - or just so happens to be a celebrity! - gets fucking sick of it and makes a statement about men not being wonderful fucking human beings - well they get kicked out of the feminist club, because I mean, I wouldn’t want the patriarchal mass media to get the wrong idea, right? 
Oh and also will people stop holding up Valerie Solanas as some kind of feminist icon? When the fuck did that get started? Oh, right, when people needed a way to discredit feminism - again. 
Oh, and Brownmiller’s statement? Spot-fucking-on. What she said is the truth. She said it was a conscious process. She didn’t say all men were consciously participating in it. However, it is a systematic means of oppression. If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be massive victim-blaming campaigns that attempt to limit the actions and freedoms of women (don’t go here, don’t drink, don’t walk alone, don’t wear that, don’t leave your house, etc. etc.).
Rape is a tool of oppression, and when men don’t actively fight against its use as that kind of oppressive mechanism they are complicit in it - and indeed, they benefit from it. If they didn’t, there would be no need for its existence in the first place. The benefit is from the continued lack of accountability on the part of men who do rape. Women are constantly in a state of fear, because when a rape culture persists there is no one to trust - and that is oppression. Spot-fucking-on there was nothing man-hating about that and to say otherwise is bullshittery.
Also, Sharon fucking Stone? Really? And did she say that she wanted to hurt men? Fucking christ, context much? I mean really, men have the power to hurt women as it stands - some revel in it (rape jokes, domestic violence jokes, etc. etc.). Oh, but one celebrity who also happens to be a woman makes a statement about simply having the power to hurt men - not even saying she wants to - and that is obvious misandry. Who the fuck are we kidding here? So now it’s bad for women to have power - and that’s feminism?
And Catherine Mackinnon’s quote isn’t man-hating either. It might be anti-sex [Julian's note: it's not anti-sex either; she never said it: see *here* for more], which is a legitimate criticism, but man-hating? Pointing out that women as a class lack power to consent - which is true, our culture has fucked up definitions of consent - is not hating men. 
Oh, and the Marilyn French one I had to look up, because I’ve read her work and it’s not outlandish. Oh look, here’s some context. I’ve not read the entirety of this work, but the entire context of the statement casts doubt on the notion that this statement is outright “man-hating”. Seems to me like more a comment on lived experience.
Also, uh, Germaine Greer’s statement? Definitely need more context there. 
So let’s see…that’s 7 out of 10 that really aren’t that man-hating at all or arguably taken out of context. So now we have 3 statements from 3 people…in a 40 year span. I’ll say again: I’d like to compare that to actions, to laws that were enacted that allowed men to rape their wives. To being barred from voting on the laws one must obey. To being forced into pregnancy due to a combination of un-addressed rape culture and cis men making decisions for uterus bearers. To years of barred access to controlling fertility and reproduction - whether by choosing when you had sex or by choosing what method of birth control you could use. Constant infantalization, objectification. Violence. Continued under representation of women and other marginalized people in media and legitimate positions of power that goes un-addressed - or if someone like Justice Sotomayor gets nominated a culture that wonders whether or not there will ever be more men nominated the highest court which has been 99.99% male for over a century. 
So I wonder why, as feminists, we have to divert our energy to denouncing the few statements of man-hating that might occur within our movement when there is still so much more work to be done to combat the hatred that our culture - and men who support the continued cultural status quo - have for women. 
Fuck the bad press. I don’t want them singing the praises of a lobotomized feminism in between sexist yogurt commercials and The Bachelor.
Fuck. that. I’ll start denouncing man-hating in this movement when men start denouncing woman-hating in this culture.

*          *          *

Julian here. I recommend reading this passage from Marilyn French's book, The Women's Room:

“I asked him how he felt about her now. He thought of her as ultimately desirable, but his memory of her was singed with anger. He had loved her, he had wanted her, and he had done nothing. He was angry with her but angrier with himself. ‘What could you have done?’ ‘I could have raped her.’
“I wasn’t even surprised. This guy was unbearably stiff and boring, impossible correct, Christian, mild, meek all that. But at heart, a rapist.”
“I know all this, I’ve known it always,” Mira said faintly.
“That story – and God knows how many others, how many pieces of history, laws, traditions, customs – everything congealed for me while I walked the streets of Chicago with Chris, watching the men looking at her. And it became an absolute truth for me. Whatever they may be in public life, whatever their relationships with men, in their relations with women, all men are rapists, and that’s all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes.”
Mira’s head lay in her hand. “I have two sons,” she said softly.
“Yes. That’s one way they keep their power. We love our sons. Thank God I don’t have one. It would hold me back.” [Val's] face was fierce.
Mira sat up. “Hold you back?”
“Everything came together. That guy – the minister – and the way Tad treated Chris, the kid who raped her, the lawyers who raped her soul, the courts and the way they treated her, the cops with their guns hanging down and the way they looked at her, and the men on the streets, one after another, looking at her, making remarks. There was no way I could protect her from it, and he way she’s feeling now, no way I can help her to bear it.
“And my mind was wandering, I wasn’t able to control it. I thought about marriage and its laws, about fear of going out at night, fear of traveling, about the conspiracy among men to treat women as inconsequential – there are more ways to rape than one. Women are invisible, trivial, or demons, castrators; they are servants or cunt, and sometimes both at once. … All these years, these centuries, these millennia, and all that hate – look at the books – and under it all, the same threat, the same act: rape.

I also recommend reading all of Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. And anything by Alice Walker, bell hooks, Andrea Smith, Yanar Mohammed, Vandana Shiva, Yanar Mohammed, and Patricia Hill Collins. And then, maybe, we can begin a conversation about what radical feminists, who aren't only white, believe about men. Start with "Man-Child" in Sister Outsider.

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