Friday, September 7, 2012

On the Myth of Universal Feminist Misandry

Are male anti-feminists, men's rights activists, "gender egalitarians" and other various critics of feminism regularly inundated, by feminists (or anyone for that matter) with threats of rape, assault, and violence because of their gender issues advocacy?

Because well, this shit?*, is deplorable. (*Content at link contains snippets of threats, harassment, and bullying experienced by feminist bloggers. Is it too hyperbolic to call such threats terrorism? Given that so many of these threats seem specifically calculated to create fear and submission for the political purpose of getting feminists to STFU, I'm going to go ahead and answer my own question: I think not.)

And, well, I hear all the time from non-feminists and "gender egalitarians" how things are pretty much the same these days for men and women, how things actually are worse for men, and how there's totally a man/boy crisis these days.

So, since feminists (but not non-feminists? I don't know, the rules are very confusing) must devote an equal amount of time talking about "men's issues" as we do talking about "women's issues" and condemning misandry the exact same amount of time that we condemn misogyny, lest we be hypocritical, I'm wondering at what point do non-feminists and critics of feminism have an obligation to denounce this terrorism?

Do men and those who claim to be their #1 advocates get a free pass at condemning threats against feminists? Or, are they too busy still talking about Valerie Solanas and pretending that she represents Totally Mainstream Feminist Thought In 2012? Are they, I don't know, busy highlighting some old quotes from feminist fiction novels so they can take those out of context, pretend a real feminist said it,  and present that as "evidence" of how all feminists hate men?

I've had a serious case of the blogging blahs this week.

I'm so sick of the ways feminists are so casually maligned with horrendous amounts of aggression and misogyny, and yet so universally caricatured as man-haters who want to eliminate men.  The truth is, that's a ginormous projection. Many people hate feminists and they want to eliminate us. And so, I'm sick most of all about the fact that so few people who aren't feminists actually give a shit about that.

And you want me to spend my precious time condeming Valerie Solanas for something she said and did 45 years ago, buckaroo? Well get in line, bubs. There's a whole gang o' privileged, entitled mansplainers who think they know how how to do a better job of setting feminist priorities than people who actually think critically about feminism and gender. Indeed, there are gaggles upon gaggles of folks who think they have lots to teach the lady feminists, despite the fact that Valerie Solanas and "the radfem hub" are the only feminists they regularly read.

I mean, does it get old? Does it get stale for male non/anti-feminists to keep re-reading and re-reading these marginal radical feminists? Does the non/anti-feminist mind ever crave reading, you know, more mainstream folks? Would it upset the "man is the real victim of feminist misandry/both sides are just as bad" narratives too much to be a little more intellectual fair and curious?

I mean, sure, many such folks have never read any actual, complete works by Friedan, Woolf, hooks, MacKinnon, Dworkin, Davis, de Beauvoir, Lorde, Grimke, Truth, Faludi, Greer, Paglia, Ahmed, Butler and (I could continue) and, sure, they don't regularly read any feminist blogs, but still. Their girlfriend/mom/sister/woman-they-know once read The Feminist [sic] Mystique and said it was crap. And, besides, they've laughed at that Rush Limbaugh quote about how ugly feminists are and have read some quotes on "men's rights" sites about things some other feminists said in the '70s.

So of course the feminist movement, we monolithic hivemind gals, should definitely take advice from such sooper-enlightened critics of feminism! And the rest of the world should definitely take everything they say about feminists at 100% face value!

Too often, literally (and I do mean literally) the only times some non-feminists even utter their newly-learned word "misandry" is when they're accusing feminists of it.  These people don't actually give a damn about intelligently, critically, or sincerely engaging the topic of misandry, they just know they need to knock a bitch down a notch or two on Internet and that accusing her of "misandry" is an easy way to do it without having to actually engage her arguments or ideas.

I mention Solanas, not just because she's come up here recently in comments (seriously! if we don't include a disclaimer specifically condeming her prior to every post than a feminist obviously condones everything she said or did!), but also because the myth of universal feminist misandry is, I believe, a large part of why men (especially) feel entitled to unleash aggression upon feminist women (especially). After all, if feminists really truly hate men, want to eliminate them, and/or want to totally dominate them, men are going to see their aggression and threats and harassment as justifiable self-defense.

So, let me make this clear.

I have no tolerance for those who perpetuate the myth of universal feminist misandry.

Not only does the utterance of this myth signal to me that I'm dealing with an ignorant person, I believe that those who believe in and spread this myth are responsible for at least some of the violence and bullying aimed at feminist women and for feminism's marginal and discredited stance in the mainstream. When a person tells me that "all," "most," or hell even "many" feminists hate men, what that person is telling me is that ze doesn't give a damn about women. And if someone doesn't give a damn about women, why on gawd's green earth should we ever listen to what they have to say about how we can do feminism better?

And yep. I'm intolerant of such people. Really truly. Life doesn't have to be an equal opportunity program for assholes. The quicker we learn that little tidbit, the faster that "you're so intolerant for not tolerating my intolerance/aggression/bullying" accusation can go shit in a hat already.

Also, is there a thing like Hollaback, except for Internet?

If not, there should be.

No comments: