Thursday, May 21, 2009

When WILL men stop "butching" about feminists and start dealing with the actual world of oppressive horrors?

[cartoon is from this site]

I've just spent probably WAY too much time responding to some fools over at an antifeminist site.

I don't generally waste my time at such places--can you say "spitting in the wind"?-- but decided to give up an hour or two to comment there, just to see if anyone there is capable of actually dealing with "how things are". Here's the discussion, thus far:

May 18th, 2009 at 11:15pm Posted by Daran | Complicity, Genocide, Gynocentrism, Hate, Radical Feminism | 4 comments

Julian Real:

I believe we men must not only call each other out systematically on what we misogynistically do but we also ought to “take out” those men who should be taken out…


If men spoke out against, intervened upon, and/or killed off every man who is a rapist, every male pornographer, male pimp, male trafficker, male batterer of women, male incest perpetrator and/or molester of girls, and every man who is a street harasser of women, and every other patriarchal prick who tries to violate, subordinate, control, intimidate, exploit, and harm women in any number of ways–if we men did this, as an organised or not-so-organised practice, to every perpetrator of male supremacist atrocity against womankind we knew of–atrocities named as such by women, with men being fully accountable to women–I think the world would look quite different and be quite different for women.

(My emphasis)

Julian commits the standard fallacy of assuming affiliation between men based upon their gender: having a penis makes him part of the great “we”. Well include me out please. I am not part of any “we” that includes him merely because an accident of birth gave us similarly-shaped genitals.

On the other hand, a person’s choice to self-identify as a (pro)feminist is a voluntary affiliation. If (pro)feminists accept them as one of their own, then they are in a “we” relationship with them, and they should call out, speak out, and invervene on them. If they do not accept them, then they should be willing to disavow them publicly.

This comment thread is the “No Hostility” thread. Please read this for the ground rules.

Comments content of the page:


Comment by Jim | May 19, 2009 at 7:03 am

I agree there is a need for intervention and calling out, but not on the demographic this Julian is talking about. There is a very strange psychological dynamic going on here, and he needs help. He has a serious prophet complex and it is only a matter of time before he starts to act out.


Comment by Danny | May 19, 2009 at 8:14 am

First question (because I’m sure I’ll have more):

Since most feminists claim to want equality for everyone does that mean killing off every woman who is a rapist, every female pornographer, female pimp, female trafficker, female batterer of women and men, female incest perpetrator and/or molester of girls and boys, and every woman who is a street harasser of women and men, and every other matriarchal b!tch who tries to violate, subordinate, control, intimidate, exploit, and harm men and women in any number of ways would also be on their agenda? Just sayin…
(And notice that he only seemed to concerned about girls and boys are thrown to the dogs. In fact it seems this Julian person is only concerned about male against female violence. I really hope he isn’t one of those people that thinks getting rid of male against female violence is going to magically solve ALL violence…) It’s a good thing feminists want equality for all people or we’d be in trouble.

–if we men did this, as an organised or not-so-organised practice, to every perpetrator of male supremacist atrocity against womankind we knew of–atrocities named as such by women, with men being fully accountable to women–I think the world would look quite different and be quite different for women.
So the actions of some men are the responsibility of all men and men are supposed to be fully accountable to women. Does this mean that all women have to take responsibility for the actions of some women against men? Nice how only certain groups are held to this standard. What is that feminists are always saying when shown not so glamourous members of their movement? Something about a monolith I think….


Comment by thebigmanfred | May 19, 2009 at 12:48 pm


Does this mean that all women have to take responsibility for the actions of some women against men?

Nope. Women don’t have agency and women are not a monolith so they can’t be held to the same standard. That’s at least what I would imagine his summarized point would be.

The more I think about what Julian wrote the more I wonder if he’s some sort of anomaly. Is this really what feminists think and are saying often?


Comment by Daran | May 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm

The more I think about what Julian wrote the more I wonder if he’s some sort of anomaly. Is this really what feminists think and are saying often?

I was in a hurry to leave the house, when I posted that. Given the restrictions I was under at the time (a system that could take tens of minutes to render a page) I couldn’t expand on this.

I don’t think Julian is typical of feminists or profeminists. My point was about feminist complicity, which tag I will shortly add to the post.

Responses to each of the above, by Julian -- May 21, 2009:

To Jim,
Rule number one in the Oppressors' Handbook for Discrediting Critics whose core realities you'd rather not deal with: psychoanalyse the speaker/writer. You've studied the handbook well, I see.

Once we dispense with the psychoanalysis we inconveniently have this to contend with: what is men's collective role in the oppression of women, including its expression in the form of gender-specific and sexualised violence? If we agree (and of course we may not) that men, far more than women, perpetrate subordinating and degradingly harmful acts against women both intimately and institutionally, what should men do about that? I put forth one view, a suggestion. That's one voice. Nothing prophetic about it; it's called "one person stating an opinion". In the country in which I live, that's allowed, with some qualifications.

If you were at all familiar with the blog from which those excerpts (tactic number two in the Oppressors' Handbook: take things out of context) were copied and pasted, you'd know that the sphere of concerns include genocide, racism, misogyny, ecocide, and heterosexist violence. So which "demographic" are you assuming I'm speaking about, on the blog, that is? And if, in one post or many, one chooses to focus on what men, globally, do to women that women do not do to men, systematically and with impunity, in what sense is that irresponsible?

To Danny,

Nope. Women have plenty of agency. And you'll never hear otherwise from me. The question is this: who controls the institutions and systems which largely determine what anyone has agency to do? For example, can a woman walk down the street and have the agency to not be harassed? To not have a reason to fear rape? To not be concerned with whether or not the man she just met has a history of battering women? Do men have the agency to actively support women's right to freedom from male supremacist violence and not be considered "wusses" [or whatever] by other men? Men and women have plenty of agency, and exercise it in a multitude of ways. That's a no brainer.

And the number of men who date women who carry those concerns mentioned above into first encounters... what percentage of men is that? How many men leave heterosexual bars wondering the safest route to the car, because of the social reality of "women who street rape men"?

To answer your "just sayin..." paragraph, please read Catharine MacKinnon, "Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, or "Are Women Human?" to get a grasp of how your liberalism is getting in the way of adequately critiquing what I'm discussing. "Equality" is not a term that means solely or primarily "treating social-political unequals as if they were equals". There's no level playing field here. The way you frame up the "problem of sexism" shows something quite significant is missing in your observations about the world: that it is, for example, white and male supremacist. That men relative to women control resources and institutions; that whites relative to people of color control resources and institutions. In both cases, with men and with whites, it is they/we who determine, primarily as a group, not as individuals, who has power, what forms of power, and how that power can be exercised.

Your "just sayin..." question is hypothetical to the point of being absurd. It isn't located in social reality. I recommend we start there. (Exactly how many female rapists have you seen convicted, charged, or identified as such?)

As for me seeming to be throwing boys to the dogs, you are obviously not familiar with my writings, except for one tiny excerpt. Note on my relatively recent blogposts regarding the two eleven year old boys who committed suicide after being harassed and tormented at school. Sorry to disrupt your facile conclusions with the realities of my stated concerns.

I don't speak for feminists. I speak as and for myself. You apparently view my opinions as monolithic, and I'd recommend you familiarise yourself with what else I speak about before you draw such simplistic conclusions. I reckon my opinions are about as monolithic as any man's.

Re: "So the actions of some men are the responsibility of all men and men are supposed to be fully accountable to women."

Imagine that. Because it surely isn't happening in the social world.

Re: "Nice how only certain groups are held to this standard"

Meanwhile, back in reality, poor people, women, people of color, and lesbians and gay men, are held to drastically different standards. Every Black person in the U.S. who is profiled or followed around in a store knows that. Every Mexican American person who is assumed to be "an illegal alien" knows that. (Never mind that virtually every white person in the US is "an illegal alien", depending on whose laws and customs you consider sacrosanct.)

Every woman is expected to not have visible facial hair except for eyelashes and manicured eyebrows, even when many women do have facial hair on other parts of their faces. If she has facial hair, or, heaven forbid, untweezed eyebrows, she is considered ugly. So the YouTube phenomenon Susan Boyle had little choice but to alter her appearance once lots of people started commenting on her face and choices of appearance. Andy Rooney, however, gets away with his bushy eyebrows no problem, year after year after year. So, what is the "beauty" standard for men in this regard?

The standard for rich folks is that they don't have to prove their worth as human beings because their fat financial portfolios seem to imply something called "human status". Whites, relative to people of color, don't have to prove they are "like the average person" in a white-dominated country such as the US or UK. They are assumed, by whites, to be "lesser than" until shown otherwise--and even then! Women are assumed, by men as a group, not necessarily by each man as an individual, to exist "for men" in a way that men are never assumed to exist "for women". Men's lives, relative to women's, get to be for other men or for oneself. There is no multi-billion dollar a year industry pimping and pumping out the idea that all men are whores who exist for women's sexual gratification, even if, and especially when, such gratification demands that men be degraded in any number of ways. Heterosexuals don't have to fight for the right to marry, or to engage in "civil unions" because their sexuality is assumed to be unnatural and sinful, especially if acted upon.

In my view, such actual, socially significant double standards are far from "nice".

To thebigmanfred,

No, that's not what feminists are saying. You can note this by seeing that I wrote it, not a feminist.

To Daran,

Perhaps you are correct about me being an anomaly. Once you conveniently categorise a social critic as "an anomaly" does that then allow you to not contend with what the person is discussing? And I've never said women, feminist or not, don't act, at times, in ways that are problematically complicit with male supremacist violence against women and racially unstatused and/or "effeminate" men, as well as girls and boys.

Andrea Dworkin has written about this problem of women's complicity with patriarchal atrocities quite extensively.

To all of the commenters above:
I am a Jew. I oppose all forms of "final solutions" as that terms is so often used to mean "taking a fascistic, inhumane approach to wiping society clean of those people who are considered dirty". Many antifeminist men comment ad nauseam about how "fascistic" some feminist views are, forgetting, conveniently, that the feminists and profeminists I have known or read don't support raping and killing of men because they are men. Feminists I have known and read don't support women treating men the way men treat women; and I am well read in the work of both Dworkin and MacKinnon, and welcome anyone pointing out where either woman calls for women to treat men the way men often and routinely negatively and oppressively treat women. Feminists, in my experience, believe in something called human dignity that ought to apply to all people.

From Andrea Dworkin's speech to men, titled "I Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape":

'I want to talk to you about equality, what equality is and what it means. It isn't just an idea. It's not some insipid word that ends up being bullshit. It doesn't have anything at all to do with all those statements like: "Oh, that happens to men too." I name an abuse and I hear: "Oh, it happens to men too." That is not the equality we are struggling for. We could change our strategy and say: well, okay, we want equality; we'll stick something up the ass of a man every three minutes.

'You've never heard that from the feminist movement, because for us equality has real dignity and importance--it's not some dumb word that can be twisted and made to look stupid as if it had no real meaning.'

It may disappoint antifeminists who toss about terms like "feminazis" to remember that German (and other) Nazis during the 1930s and 1940s were the controlling political party, had access to institutional power, to both the military and the police, to media and academic institutions, that feminists have never had in the entire history of Western civilisation. What some feminists have managed to get is a "Women's Studies" department. Or a sexual harassment law. Or some control over how they cope with an unwanted pregnancy. Or the right to not be forcibly sterilised.

Reality check: an academic department and a few laws IS NOT EQUIVALENT to control of society's institutions and systems of power allocation. (Duh.) So this practice, among some antifeminists, of going on and on about how "fascistic" some feminist women are seems to reveal something quite astonishing: that these men are woefully ignorant about history, about humanity, and about how fighting for freedom from oppression isn't the same thing as fighting to kill off everyone you oppress.

Anyone speaking out against men's endemic rape of women, wishing rapists would just die, now, is not the same thing as white men systematically raping, trafficking, and murdering women and girls across the globe. Dontcha just hate it when the truth of actual events get in the way of "the truth" of misogynist rants?