Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rewarding Anti-Feminist Women

Call it issue fatigue, but I'm trying really hard to take nothing seriously for the rest of this year. Especially anti-feminist women who build careers out of opposing everything feminist and placating insecure, privileged, and entitled anti-feminist men.

Take Suzanne Venker's latest piece, "Marriage: What's In It for Men."

She advocates:

"...[W]e must retract the message Boomers sent young women about female empowerment. Indeed, it isn’t a coincidence that marriage rates have plummeted alongside America’s fascination with the feminist movement. Empowerment for women, as defined by feminists, neither liberates women nor brings couples together. It separates them. It focuses on women as perpetual victims of the Big Bad Male. Why would any man want to get married when he’s been branded a sexist pig at 'hello'?"

Wait, so do we see the "male" as the big bad wolf or one of the three little pigs? Mixed metaphors are confusing. And, is feminism all about teaching women empowerment or all about teaching women that we're perpetual victims? Venker can't even keep her story straight as she huffs and she puffs and she totally blows down the whole entirety of feminist thought. Ker-pow!

When she says the next thing, her incoherent agenda becomes pretty clear:

"There may be more than one reason Americans are delaying or eschewing marriage, but almost all of them can be attributed to feminism."

It is sometimes said that always and never are two words one should always remember never to use. It's characteristic of sloppy, simplistic, and over-generalized thinking. I raise a similar red flag whenever I see people using the word "all." Especially when people are trying to talk about feminism.

What critic, who is being in any way fair about hir subject, makes such a sweeping and entirely-unsupported statement? We could insert basically any real or imagined societal ill into that statement and it would have basically the same meaning and impact:

There may be more than one reason Americans are having fewer children than before, but almost all of them can be attributed to feminism.

There may be more than one reason Americans are using drugs more than ever, but almost all of them can be attributed to feminism

There may be more than one reason Americans are choosing oatmeal over toast, but almost all of them can be attributed to feminism.

It is a strange worldview that posits that feminists and feminism are totally stupid but yet curiously all-powerful.

These pieces are annoying precisely because they feed into, and further entitle, that violent MRA mentality that posits that feminism is the ruiner of all good things in life. Not that all MRAs have this view, but many within the movement have an unhealthy, inaccurate fixation on feminism blaming.

You will notice that, while castigating all of feminism for unfairly portraying men as villains, Venker references the poor "countless men's rights groups" that have "popped up across the country," remaining silent of the very observable fact that many of these groups are unashamedly misogynistic, hyper-aggressive, and eliminationist.

If I had to guess, I would assume that Venker is damn well aware of the violence that adheres to many of these "men's rights groups" that she refers to.

Andrea Dworkin, in fact, theorized in Right-Wing Women that anti-feminist women are complict in anti-feminism precisely because they are aware that many men turn violent when their entitlement to privilege and violence is threatened. It is the view of many gender complementarists and gender essentialists, in fact, that "all men are basically pigs and perverts," and that it is "woman's" job to tame men via "traditional marriage."

Such anti-feminists project this belief onto feminists and then castigate feminists for "holding" this man-hating view. In the case of many anti-feminist women, they build their political views and opposition to feminism based upon the fearful assumption that men are inherently violent and bad. In line with this survival instinct, they direct their hatred and anger at feminist women for supposedly "hating men" and "ruining everything," rather than at men (who must always be appeased) or at rape culture or at patriarchy.

"Having good reason to hate, but not the courage to rebel," these women do the easy thing and bash feminists, along with, like, 90% of the rest of society, while deeming themselves courageous tellers of truth.

I guess my point here is that there are many reasons anti-feminist women get columns and book deals. Few of them can be attributed to competence. The truth that dare not be uttered by our courageous tellers of truth is that women are often highly rewarded for engaging in woman-hating behavior.

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