Tuesday, August 28, 2012


 [Content note: Sexism, eliminationism]

A radical feminist separatist voice has been given space in the New York Times!!

*cackle cackle*

Seriously, though. The article, in case you're not inclined to click, is by Greg Hampikian, who is apparently a "professor of biology and criminal justice at Boise State University." It is entitled, "Men, Who Needs Them?" and, in it, he opines that "we should perform a cost-benefit analysis" on whether society should keep men around given, among other things, men's propensity for violence and women's ability to reproduce with frozen sperm.

It's honestly not clear to me if this guy is being facetious, is trying to generate controversy, or if he is sincere. Whatever the case, I find it incredibly sad and contemptible that he's been given a forum in the New York freaking Times to treat it as legitimate, debatable question as to whether one sex is worth keeping around.

I've also never heard of this author, and have no idea if he's a feminist. From his CV, easily found on Internet, his degrees (BS in Biology, PhD in Genetics), publications, and research do not strike me as being informed by either feminism or gender studies.

I do find it so typical, however, that.... well, I reckon there is a small sub-set of radical feminist separatist women who would concur with this guy for reasons substantially similar to his own. Naturally, though, it's not they who get space in the New York Times to raise the question of whether men are needed in society.

Instead, it takes a male "professor of biology and criminal justice" to say what some radical feminists have been saying for years before it can be said in a mainstream publication as opposed to, say, marginalized within The SCUM Manifesto or small, largely-ignored, and extreme niches of Internet, sources that only MRAs looking to discredit feminism have ever taken seriously.

I don't point out this privileging of the male voice because I want to see such sentiments be taken seriously. But rather because this privileging of the male voice suggests once again that MRAs, "Feminist Critics," anti-feminists, and other pointers-out-of-alleged-feminist-hypocrisy-and-misandry are largely wasting their time, if they truly care about men, by maligning feminists- and primarily feminists- for our alleged man-hating and man-ignoring activities. Non-feminist people, often men, exist who are taken seriously, who do influence policy that harms men, and who do get space in major mainstream publications to air their profoundly sexist and misandrist views.

I'd say that most non-feminists ignorantly assume that feminists "hate men" and that we would agree with Hampikian's article, despite the fact that, in my experience, far more feminists would disagree with him than agree. What most non-feminists who don't regularly think about gender stuff don't seem to know, however, and could use some enlightening on, is the ways that mainstream and often powerful voices are, actually, indicative of hatred or sexism toward men.

Yet, non-feminist men's rights activists often let such people completely off the hook, instead choosing to fixate solely on what The Feminists are doing wrong, what we're "not doing" to solve men's problems, or how we're magically influencing such people via our obscure, and if not obscure then maligned, blogs and publications.

So, seriously, what about the non-feminist sexists? I asked this question last year and noted:
"I therefore contend that many (most?) critics of feminism who single out feminism do so, not because it's some startling revelation to the [non-feminist] fan base that some feminists create problematic narratives [about men], but because it is not as politically risky to single out feminism for such criticism. Namely, because feminism is coded 'female,' criticizing it involves no breaking of ranks with male-dominated narratives or with the narratives that also privilege men, manhood, and masculinity.

I further contend that it is, in fact, cheap and easy to single out feminism as the number one cause of men's problems, because feminism is already viewed by many (most?) anti-feminists, non-feminists, mainstream, and traditionalist commentators as marginal, hysterical, man-hating, subjective, emotional, and utterly lacking in credibility (and yet- bizarrely- also extremely powerful. Unlike anti-feminist, non-feminist, mainstream, and traditional narratives which, as the silence of these critics would have us believe, are utterly powerless to shape cultural narratives)."
I predict that the non-feminist men's rights reaction to this piece, if they can bother themselves to react at all (after all, that would take work!), will be to blame feminism, and feminism almost entirely, for this man's article. Bashing feminism, rather than concretely taking action to help men, seems to be a numero uno priority among many non-femininsts. And, by seeking to preserve male privileges via this prioritized feminist-bashing, such folks will continue to polarize themselves from potential feminist allies, marginalize already-marginalized feminist voices, and, in the end, continue to not make productive gains in the area of getting the mainstream to care about sexism against men or to take it seriously.

You wanna see actual people actually laugh men's issues like men being raped in prison or by a woman? Go post a concerned comment about the issue at any number of non-feminist, non-gender-focused conservative blogs and report back.


Is it really up to feminists to create all pushback?

Reasons given for inaction of men's rights movements

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