Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We the Feminized Men

[TW: Sexual assault, rape culture, misogyny, homophobia]

My Google Alert for feminism sends me the strangest articles. And by strangest I mean the most "bizarre, offensive, and unfunny anti-feminist writings by people who think they are much more funny and clever than they are."

Like this bit of attempted "satire or parody."

The writer, "mikewadestr," apparently drew his satirical inspiration from an announcement by Action Comics that Superman was renouncing his American citizenship. Apparently, that travesty is indicative of Multiculturalism Gone Awry and so, extending the audacity of the world's bestest hero no longer being an American man, mike satirically writes that "Dysfunctional Comics announced the creation of two new American superheroes which they believe will be much more beneficial to today's American society than Superman."

These two heroes, natch, are "Dyke Woman" and "Feminized Man," two figures he mockingly calls "more reflective of the US society." And, by "more reflective" mike means his creations are the most reactionary, stale, uninspired stereotypes of feminist men and women that have been circulating for, like, the past 40 years.

Take Dyke Woman, for instance. Get it? Because all. feminsts. are. lesbians! /farting noise

Anyway, mike's piece is probably low-hanging fruit, but I highlight it because it, perhaps unintentionally, reveals quite an... er... revelation. See, in mike's scenario, Dyke Woman's main superpower is the use of her dildo to "pound" feminism into men in order to de-masculinize them.

This attribute, interestingly and probably unintentionally, is a subversion of "corrective rape" that, in the real world, men use on LGBT and other gender-nonconforming people to police and enforce gender conformity. The phallus, when used in this way, becomes a threat, enforcer, and symbol of power. It threatens "stay in your place, or else." In mike's "satire," he has embued his fake hero, Dyke Woman, with a phallus and, accordingly, the power to police and enforce a particular gender ideology.

When coupled with this theme of This Is What Happens When Feminism Goes Too Far the satire implies that being an agent of corrective rape is most naturally and suitably a male role. That is, a satire of a man who went around raping women in order to "pound" femininity into them wouldn't work, because it is too close to what actually happens in the real world. Mike's subversion, then, rather than challenging rape culture, reinforces it as the Natural Order Of Things.

Dyke Woman's phallus symbolizes feminism and the patriarchalist's biggest fear- the ability to take away men's power in rape culture. Which brings us to mike's second fake hero, Feminized Man (whose wife, naturally, is a "dominatrix"- har har har):

"Feminized Man, on the other hand, has absolutely no super powers what so-ever. He is a stay at home dad who spends his days cleaning the house, taking care of his wife's kids and running errands, all while being dressed in a French Maid's outfit and carrying a feather duster."

Just as many MRAs refer to feminist and/or gender non-conforming men as "manginas," mike figuratively castrates his male feminist hero. Feminism, to mike, seems to mean a total reversal of patriarchal gender roles where women hold all power and men exist as a powerless sex/domestic class.

Notice the costume of Feminized Man: a French Maid's outfit. This choice is the classic presentation of "men who like to parade around in women's clothes" as ridiculous. For, what supposedly makes it so ridiculous (and degrading, unserious, and powerless) is the purported incongruity between a man (masculinity!) and what the French Maid outfit represents- femininity (frivolity, weakness, domesticity, woman!).

Meanwhile, a French Maid outfit is a supposed perfect fit on a woman because there is no similar incongruity. For, a satire of a "powerless" woman who stayed at home wouldn't work. It would be too real, too close to what people think women are naturally like. Mike's satire relies on the self-evident given that it would be ridiculous for a man to waste his talents on Just Staying Home With The Kids.

But wait!

Don't conservative anti-feminists insist that the feminine gender role is merely Equal But Different to the masculine one? Why yes. Yes they do. A lot.


Let's re-read mike's mocking description of Feminized Man. Oh, except while replacing the genders:

"Feminized [Woman], on the other hand, has absolutely no super powers what so-ever. [Sh]e is a stay at home [mom] who spends [her] days cleaning the house, taking care of [her husband']s kids and running errands, all while being dressed in a French Maid's outfit and carrying a feather duster."

Because she can't do anything else, goes the subtext. After all, she has "absolutely no super powers." Unlike men.

So, now tell me again that the male and female roles, under the anti-feminist "complementary" gender binary, are still Equal But Different.

We see here that mostly, one role gets to be more equal than the other, although both are sucky when you think about it. See, one is framed as a rapist super-hero and the other is framed as a powerless baby-raising maid. (It's always double-your-offensiveness when it comes to anti-feminism, folks!)

But that's how mike did something unintentionally brilliant here.

With his characters "Dyke Woman" and "Feminized Man," mike simply switched the genders of the two classes of people in the anti-feminist ideologues' gender binary, traditional marriage, and rape culture: Authentic Man and Authentic Woman. And in so doing, he revealed the atrocious nature of these artificial gender roles.

Leftist Gender Warrior says, "I couldn't have done it better myself!"


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