Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is It Really Up To Feminists To Create All Pushback?

 [TW/content note: Violence, misandry, rape culture]

In a post at Feminist Critics, ballgame writes of a actress producer who uses the word "hilarious" to describe the TV show "Snapped," a show where, according to her, women snap and kill their husbands. Ballgame contrasts the lack of a "firestorm" over this quote to the Big Deal that feminists made over Daniel Tosh's rape "joke" and incitement of rape against a female audience member.

He ends:

"Well, the article in Salon is pretty fresh, so maybe there will be some pushback about this.

I’m not holding my breath."

Like, I would suspect, many feminists, I don't think the TV show "Snapped" is "hilarious," and I think the actress's producer's quote describing it as such is reprehensible. 

So my thought is (aside from the fact that men are also raped, and so pushing back against Tosh's comment does actually affect men too), what exactly is stopping men and men's rights activists from writing about this incident and creating pushback of their own? Or, is engaging in those activities "women's work" that women and feminists are expected to shoulder while the men sit back and tell us how wrong we're doing gender stuff?

I mean, judging by some of the comments ballgame's post inspired, some MRAs seem 100% convinced that Amanda Marcotte and other feminists are single-handedly responsible for creating the Bumbling Dad/Husband narrative in the media and that, if one woman anywhere ever says that it's hilarious for men to die, then all women everywhere, and especially feminists, think it's hilarious when violence is inflicted upon men.

I mean, that level of irrationality can only be inspired by extreme stupidity, utter ignorance of feminism and feminists, or sheer hatred. And.... feminists would want to ally ourselves with that, why again?

It's as though, by not writing about misandry as much as misogyny, some people think that feminists are somehow more responsible for violence against men than are the actual people committing the violence against men.

So, here's the thing. Speaking only for myself, since you know, feminists aren't a monolithic hivemind, I have limited time and resources to devote to blogging. Nor does the world have a shortage of topics to write about with respect to gender and the ways in which society reinforces sexism and gender-based hatred against all people.

If I were to devote more of my time and energy to initiating efforts to condemn people who think violence against men is "hilarious," which I do condemn, it takes away from time I could be spending condemning people who think violence against women, rape, and homophobic jokes are trivial matters or entertaining. Or, relatedly, from countering anti-feminists who lie, attack, and generalize about feminism.

Unfortunately, from this set of circumstances, male entitlement is on full display as men's rights activists ignore or actively work against many of the issues that feminists center while nonetheless expecting feminists to, at the very least, devote just as much time critiquing the issues they find important as we do critiquing the issues we find important. And, when we do not do so, they assume the worst about our motives and suggest or outright state that not centering men, or even not knowing of and writing about every single incident of misandry that has ever occurred, is proof that we hate men and that we think it's so funny when men die, get kicked in the balls, have heart attacks, get drafted, and work in unsafe occupations.

Nevermind the fact that it's gender essentialist anti-feminists who often promote the most misandric narratives about male disposability and masculinity. Nevermind that it's often men who think they have a monopoly on what counts as funny and that what often counts as funny, to them, are jokes about getting hit in the balls. Nevermind the fact that it's often men and anti-feminists who push men into dangerous occupations and narratives of self-sacrificial heroism under the banner of alleged Authentic Manhood and force women out of those occupations and roles with harassment and gender policing.


The fixation, for many men's rights activists, is almost always centered on criticizing feminism.

So, back to ballgame's point. While we can repeat ad nauseum that we condemn violence against men, I hope it would be obvious why many feminists don't feel especially compelled to take on the additional work of initiating "firestorms" on behalf of men while those who purport to advocate for men seem to be most busy devoting their time and efforts to demolishing, ridiculing, discrediting, and maligning feminism.

For, it's also notable, and overlooked by ballgame, that even though a "firestorm" ensued about Tosh's commentary, those creating the pushback did have to endure a lot of reprehensible comments and threats in response. It's not like post-Toshgate everyone is now totally enlightened about rape culture and, welp, that's all settled so we can all now move on to other topics! The firestorm didn't just magically appear in the media with a blink of the feminist eye. Actual people put actual work into blogging, writing, tweeting, re-tweeting, re-posting, calling out, and critiquing- and these actual people received an incredible amount of pushback of their own for doing so.

Like I said, there's no shortage of gender issues to keep talking about. Nor is there a shortage of feminist critics. Nor is there a shortage of non-feminists who inform feminists and the world about the more important matters feminists should really be prioritizing instead of what we are prioritizing. (What there does seem to be a shortage of, however, are men who are effective in getting men's rights activists to actually do things that advance mens' rights).

Relatedly, I wasn't even aware of this "Snapped" incident until I read about it on Feminist Critics. I regularly read a handful of men's rights or purportedly "gender egalitarian" blogs and those are only the ones that aren't as horribly and explicitly misogynistic and/or anti-feminist as many MRA sites are.

Like myself, I would suspect that many women and feminists avoid other sites that might be talking about this incident precisely because, no matter how much we might care about men's issues, we're not going to subject ourselves to reading repeated misogynistic and anti-feminist rantings. So, another issue to consider is how the misogyny and anti-feminism of so many MRAs might be contributing to the relative lack of attention these incidents receive from feminists. It's unfair and unrealistic to expect us to be writing about issues we don't have knowledge of due to the fact that so many MRA forums are incredibly hostile toward women and feminists, and then to infer from that that we're hypocrites who hate men.

So, seriously, what about the menz and why aren't they initiating serious pushback about those who find it "hilarious" when men are killed? Why aren't they expected to do so to the extent that feminists are expected to do so? I mean, really, in what rational universe should it be a referendum on feminism, rather than on the men's rights movement, that no serious pushback has resulted from this incident?

What exactly does it accomplish for men with respect to the issue of male disposability and violence against men to further malign feminism, whether explicitly or implicitly, for the lack of pushback?

No comments: