Monday, January 17, 2011


A fellow named Dusty has exposed the core values of a certain strain of MRA-ism. Yes, it's true that his strange article purports to explain to his brethren "The Core Values of Feminism," but it is apparent upon inspection that, like many an anti-feminist, patriarchy-serving claim, this article is one ginormous reversal.

Now, were I to suggest that the deficiencies within Dusty's article were attributable to deficiencies within the male brain (as Dusty no doubt would, to women, were our situations reversed), I would be inaccurately and insultingly generalizing the attributes of one specimen of the male sex to all members. Likewise for the MRA movement as a whole. Thus, the criticisms herein are aimed only at Dusty's particular article and the many commenters who evidenced a similar ignorance of feminism who nonetheless popped up to bask in the glow of what they believe to be Dusty's brilliant smackdown of feminism.

Preliminaries out of the way, let us now observe how Dusty makes many claims about feminism, women, and the female brain but does not feel compelled to support these claims with evidence. His article reads like those many MRA commenters who chime in here in Fannie's Room to offer only a "you're wrong" or "you hate men," without offering evidence, as though because a man said it, that settles it, we believe it.

Go ahead. Read.

You will notice as just one example of Dusty's Big Claims About the Sexes:

"The female brain scans differently. When doing both A and B, the female brain lights up over a bigger, more general area. Some would say that women use more of their brains than men. I suggest that this functional ambiguity makes the female brain slightly less decisive. One who is not decisive does not have a tendency to act. This could explain why men took charge of history- that and physical strength. It could also explain why so many women seem to find postmodernist drivel so appealing- with its fuzziness, its hatred of measurement and data and facts, etc."

Here, Dusty makes claims about the inherent nature of the female brain, claims he does not support with a citation to a study, photos of said brain scans, or even a Wikipedia article he might have authored. I guess we'll just take Dusty at his word. He's probably a neuroscientist, what with his male brain and all.

Dusty seems likewise unfamiliar with the concept of Constructing an Argument. As just one example, Dusty says that it's a core feminist value for:

"Men [to be] de facto servants of women. All social customs (such as dating and courtship, clothing, and etiquette) and all laws with regards to marriage, divorce, child custody, child and spousal abuse, reproductive rights, rape, assault, murder, and sexual harassment should reflect this inferior status."

Here, he states a conclusion, that we feminists want the legal system to reflect men's status as servants to women (as if! in my femtopia it will be robots who serve their human overlords). But, Dusty does not provide supporting argumentation as to how feminists want "all laws" having anything to do with family and gender relations to reflect men's inferior status. Indeed, like this example, you will notice that many of his Big Conclusions about feminism's "core values" are structures utterly bereft of building blocks, undercutting his own argument that the male brain is inherently good at discrete, non-rambly tasks.

These flaws are sadly typical of internet discourse. Many MRAs want to believe that they understand feminism well enough to render accurate summaries or critiques of it, but more often than not, they fail miserably in demonstrating even a 101 level understanding of the topic. Unfortunately, it is a rare venue where like-minded fellow travelers point out such glaring flaws in the pieces of their political allies. Indeed, at the MRA site to which Dusty posts, unpopular comments expressing dissenting and/or critical views are quickly and often voted "down" to be rendered less visible to other readers.

However, it's when noting that contradictions and reversals that Dusty's piece becomes, not a sorry observation of unwarranted overconfidence, but genuinely revelatory. In deigning to explain what feminism is, Dusty has unintentionally explained what MRA-ism is, at least to him. Observe.

On the one hand, Dusty claims that one of feminism's core values is marked by "paranoia, belief in conspiracy, and alienation." He later claims:

"Men and women traditionally needed each other in order to have children. A man’s sperm met a woman’s egg, and the process that results in life began. With the advent of cloning, reproduction without sperm (parthenogenesis) will create a situation in which men will need a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, but women won’t need a man’s sperm to become pregnant. Men will need women, but women won’t need men, rendering males obsolete. This is something that feminists are clamoring for."

LMAO. If feminists were so loudly and insistently trying to eradicate men from humanity, one would think Dusty could have pulled up a quote or three of actual feminists "clamoring for" that. But hey, no bigs. It's probably just one of those commonsensical truths about feminism. (Echoed further by one of his blogging brethren in an entire, and frankly really disturbing, article devoted to the FeMiNiSt CoNsPiRaCy here).

Then, he claims, without evidence (did I mention that whole "without evidence" thing is a big recurring theme for Dusty?) that feminists believe "Women are morally, spiritually, psychologically, and biologically superior to men." Yet, he began his piece by asserting:

"Brain scans show that the average male brain is highly compartmentalized when performing certain functions. When doing A, part A lights up. When doing B, part B lights up. It’s as though every part of a man’s brain has its respective job that it does extremely well and that is all it does.

Could this division of labor in the male brain give us clues as to how men came up with science and mathematics? We all know that there are no such things as the number 2 or an inch or a foot, but yet some guy drew an arbitrary line in the dirt somewhere and now we have things such as measurement, physics, mathematics, engineering- oh, and don’t forget civilization!"

OMG, you guys! It's almost like Dusty's saying that men are naturally and inherently superior to women, what with their creation of All Of Civilization with absolutely No Help At All from women. The hilarity continues when Dusty claims, without being intentionally ironical:

"Feminists and women in general are so verbally gifted that they convince others and even themselves that their opinions are literally true."

It's almost like Dusty doesn't know that he's written an entire article, which falls decidedly into the Making Shit Up Bucket of Bozo the Clown's Grand Prize Game, trying to convince himself and his readers that his opinions about feminism, brains, men, and women are literally true. Likewise, he claims:

"If facts don’t motivate women to join their cause, feminists make things up to stoke female anger."

If the inconvenient fact that feminists aren't responsible for the vast majority of what ails MRAs doesn't motivate men to join their cause, it quickly becomes apparent that some MRAs make outrageously insulting claims about feminists and our so-called "core values" to stoke the flames of male anger in order to justify male supremacy and woman-hating.

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