Monday, June 27, 2011

Anti-Feminism's Illusory Superiority

[TW: Victim blaming, slut-shaming, rape culture, violence]

Dudely college students who try to critique feminism from their Learned and Totally Objective Devil's Advocate Viewpoints are my favorite. Take this enlightened take on the Slutwalks:

"Most men that 'blame' women for being scantily clad are not blaming women. They are making a comment regarding those women’s intelligence. I am a religious Jew. If I walked through the streets of Gaza City donning my yarmulke and were lynched, I would not in any way be morally culpable. The criminals, in every crime, are the only morally guilty party. But I’d still be stupid for putting myself in that situation."

Wow, what a Very Helpful Sexual Assault Awareness Message: Raped women- Not guilty, just stupid. As though rape could be prevented by banning bikinis.

Aside from his non-fact-based assumption that rape only happens to scantily-clad women, dude's analogy tells us that men are just as dangerous to a sluttily-dressed woman walking down the street in the US as Palestinians are to an obviously-Jewish person walking down the street in Gaza City.

Yet, despite Woman's precarious situation in public spaces due to the alleged inherent violent nature of men, dude then proceeds to tells us that the status of men and women in the US are, like, totally the same:

"...[F]eminism has been weakened by the non-sexist realities of the past several decades. Women de jure have as many rights as do men. Women are making remarkable gains in the workplace and in corporate America. Feminism has become a mostly-useless how-to guide for women who wish to be proud females."

One would think that this alleged non-sexist reality would be proof of feminism's power, rather than its uselessness and weakness. Such is never the case to those dudes in their early 20s who love telling women what's really up with the world.

Indeed, just to complete the trifecta of logical contradictions, dude asserts that it is feminists, rather than dudes like himself, who indict all men as being evil:

"The first strategy [allegedly used by feminists to retain relevance], described by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd as 'Men are dogs', asserts that females are inherently superior to males because they feel less of a desire to sleep around and impress the other sex with their physique. Granted, male nature is far more inclined than female nature towards sleeping with as many attractive women as possible. 'Men like beauty, women like power' is true. But the weaknesses of male nature are no more an indictment of all males than are the weaknesses of female nature an indictment of females."

Notice that dude takes it as a given that "male nature" is at once "far more inclined" to certain proclivities while at the same time takes it as a given that not "all males" possess this inherently, essentially male nature. I guess some men are maybe from, like, Saturn instead?

Also notice that dude blames feminists for framing men as having certain inherent weaknesses that are particular to their sex, when it's actually he and conservative anti-feminists who tend to do that quite a bit.

Dude's piece is helpful, however, inasmuch as it illustrates some core tenets of rape culture:

1) Anti-feminists frame it as a biological/hormonal/evolutionary/natural given that men will rape women and are Just Telling It Like It Is. Feminists who expect men to rise above this alledged "male nature" "indict all men."

2) Given that male nature (but not all men) seeks to rape, a woman must take certain steps to prevent men from raping her and, if she is not aware of these steps or ignores them, she is "stupid."

3) Then, we pretend that because we have some gender discrimination laws on the books, the position of men and women in this culture is the same even though some humans have to take more steps to be free from sexual violence than others and have less freedom to move about the public sphere without having their intelligence called into question if other humans rape them.

4) At no point is it mentioned that we live in a culture that spends far more time telling women how women can change their behavior to keep them safe than we do telling men how they can change their behavior to keep others safe.

5) When feminists suggest that we live in a culture that entitles men to violence, we are called man-haters. Men respond to critics of rape culture with threats of violence to make their point that men are not, actually, violent.

7) Feminism is dismisssed as an irrelevant, man-hating, egotistical pile of irrational horse shit. Just so we're still not talking about male violence and how to reduce it.

So yay. Go dude! Thanks for your help in articulating these tenets.

To end, I don't usually write about blogger's personal descriptions of themselves but, given dude's seemingly cocksure conviction regarding his intellectual superiority over women and feminists, I thought his stated big hope and dream in life was a gem:

"[Dude] hopes to one day have enough money to own a large cigar cabinet."

Lulz. Of course he does. And may it be chock full of "long and strong ones"!

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