Thursday, September 25, 2008

Feminism and the Draft, Take Two

The other day, I noticed some unusual hits coming to Fannie's Room from a forum called Antimisandry. I took a peek over there and saw that a self-identified Men's Rights Activist (MRA) calling himself "frostyboy" copied and pasted my entire article "The Draft Doesn't Prove Feminism Wrong" for other MRAs to read.

First off, I found it odd that this fellow would lift my article from the context of a feminist blog only to place it within the safe confines of a feminist-free private MRA forum. Don't get me wrong. The prospect of having "nuanced" debates with MRAs on issues like how feminism doesn't really say all men are evil doesn't particularly thrill me. But still, as long as MRAs are able to comment respectfully and not post irrelevant anti-feminist novella-length comments on my blog, they have always been free to comment here. Unfortunately, many MRAs who comment on feminist blogs are unable to meet these requirements. And, even when they're venting in their own forums dedicated to demolishing feminism, they fail to do better.

On the anti-misandry site, for instance, the various comments left by MRAs in response to my article were, not surprisingly, angry, predictable, and failed to respond to what I actually wrote. Rather than conceding any point I made, or acknowledging that MRAs and feminists share some of the same goals, these angry "oppressed" males chalked up my article to an irrelevant screed dedicated to perpetuating female privilege and Keeping the Man Down.

I have to admit that my expectations for serious discourse weren't high as the site misguidedly claims to be "The Cure for Feminist Indoctrination." Yet, when I read one man's pontification on the difference between Man and Woman I was quite astounded at how wrong he got it. He writes:

"Men are rugged, individualistic, and self-reliant (often to the point of rescuing women from this drudgery). Women demand to be lifted into equality with men (notice the use of the passive, feminine voice). It's this expectation to be carried and pampered that precludes the possibility of equality ever being reached."

So. Very. Wrong.

I don't think this guy read my article very closely.

See, it's not so much that we womenfolk demand to be "lifted into equality with men" it's that we are pushing (note: active voice) the patriarchy's "rugged, individualistic, and self-reliant" boots off our throats so we can be equal. It's quite simple, really. And actually, that was sorta the point of my article, which Mr. MRA would have known had he cared to give it more than cursory read and knee-jerk response.

We don't want to be treated like "goddesses" and told that we are too fragile, precious, and weak to engage in the serious business of living non-domestic lives. We are quite willing and able to be soldiers, presidents, CEOs, writers, and intellectuals. What we want is for people to stop perpetuating the lie that we, as women, must live within the claustrophobic confines of the feminine gender role and that men must live within the confines of the (superior) male gender role. What we want is for you to recognize that while significant gains have been made, the last few decades of progress have not completely erased the fact that for thousands of years men have excluded women from the public sphere.

In short, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And if you're not part of the problem, feminism isn't fucking talking about you. But MRAs, with their knee-jerk self-indulgent defensive posturing and their blind refusal to concede that "hey maybe women are oppressed in (at least) some ways," are part of the problem. In their minds, it is simply not fair for women to make any gains at all because if they do it will mean they have unfair advantages over men. But let me tell ya, we all know that men suffer too and that some things are unfair to men. But that doesn't mean that men and women are currently equal. Nor does it mean that women have it better than men. Now, can MRAs at least concede that men have certain privileges over women as a class? And, if any MRAs meander over here, they can begin by telling me their thoughts on this post which addresses the fact that our nation's laws and constitutions speak only to men.

Oh yeah, and stop reproducing my entire articles on other forums without my permission. Copyright violation much?

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