Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Lil' Misogyny Problem

[TW: Violence, misogyny]

Kudos to Jane Clare Jones, writing in The Guardian, for noting "Anders Breivik's chilling anti-feminism."

Nice to see the killer's misogynistic motivations getting a teeny bit more attention in the mainstream media.

Naturally, I couldn't resist checking in on what the commenting peanut gallery thought about the issue. The response, sadly, was largely expected and perhaps explains why many mainstream media sources and journalists find Breivik's misogyny to be an irrelevant character trait: anti-feminism and misogyny are so common that they are unremarkable and, therefore, mainstream journalists are merely reflecting the (a) "eh, so what?" attitude that so many people take with respect to misogyny and (b) the knee-jerk hostility with which so many people react to feminism.

One highly-rated commenter quipped:

"Why are you discussing the finer points of this deranged maniac's 'manifesto'?"

In addition to such openly hostile comments, I noticed that the comment section seemed to have a larger-than-usual amount of comments that had been moderated. Makes you wonder WTF horrible things about feminism and/or women people were really thinking and saying.

There were also countless comments, highly recommended, suggesting that the killer's anti-feminism was irrelevant and/or completely unimportant to note in the grand scheme of things. You know, More Important Things and all that. For instance, a comment that (as of the time I read it) was recommended by 401 people, read:

"Criticising Breivik for his anti-feminism is like criticising Adolf Hitler for his hairstyle."

Because hating women is just as benign as a person having a bad bowl cut?

Another person chimed in:

"It really doesnt matter what this monster thought."


No, really.

It is pretty damn incredible that yet another man goes on yet another shooting spree and so many people aren't at all curious what the murderer thought or what his motivations might have been now that maybe-just-maybe his motivations were misogynistic or anti-feminist in nature. Throughout the comments I saw this hyper-defensive subtext of "Welp, nothing to see here, let's move along and not talk about this unimportant woman-hating business," as though murder sprees like this just spring forth from the aether for No Reason At All.

Breivik's deep thoughts on Politically Correct Feminism Gone Awry parallel the mainstream "common sense" regarding the Suckiness Of Feminism. Anti-feminists note this parallel, recognize it as some sort of truth about feminism, and are thus able to trivialize it away as a benign characteristic of a mass-murderer.

Yes, it's no surprise that many people ignorantly and reflexively hate feminism and/or women. But to try to shut down conversations about that fact and pretend that a killer's anti-feminism/misogyny is just a trivial bit information? That right there takes misogyny to a whole new level.

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