Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gender Traditionalist Misandry, Again

[Content note: sexual violence]

So says anti-feminist Phylis Schlafly, on women in combat:
"Military women are already complaining about increased sexual assaults, and of course those problems will skyrocket. Only men will be deemed at fault because it is feminist ideology that men are innately batterers and women are victims."
There's a lot to unpack here and, what do you know, I'm up for it today!

Here, Schlafly claims that more women in the military will result in a great increase in sexual assaults of women in the military. If you read nothing else in this post, I encourage you to at least notice how this conclusion only works if an underlying premise is that men are innately predatory.

Relatedly, it's curious that Schlafly conflates "rapists" with "batterers" here but, I believe, it's mostly just evidence of her sloppy thinking that seems to place people in monolithic groups. As though, in her mind, there's no relevant distinction between rapists and batterers, just as there are no relevant distinctions between any types of "feminist ideology."

Anyway, my larger point is that, like many MRA/gender traditionalist types, Schlafly doesn't seem to pick up on the fact that she's projecting her own misandry onto her usual villains, the feminists.

Nor does she seem to notice that she's intellectually stuck in 1972, responding to a handful of radical second-wave feminists, and that the rest of the world and, certainly feminism, has progressed, moved on, and adapted its thinking. Many of today's feminists, for instance, rather than viewing men as innate "batterers," predators, or rapists, recognize that women, too, can assault and sexually assault people, including men- a recognition that logically precludes the holder of such views from seeing men as innately predatory and women as innate victims.

But, let's take a moment to ponder how Schlafly would respond to that revelation...


Ridicule of men for becoming "weak" and "feminized"?

More blaming of feminism for, now, supposedly making women violent or for "turning women into men"?

The more I see gender traditionalists and gender complementarists opining on gender, often with the help of their un-scientific religious or pseudo-scientified evopsych beliefs, the more I see that of course gender traditionalists think men are innate predators.

They just don't tend recognize their own misandry because they also quite often believe that men are entitled to be predatory, violent, and aggressive because they also often think that male violence, when Properly Channeled, serves the important function of protecting women, children, and society.

To them, the world is often divided into two classes of men, Good Protector Men and Evil Violent Men, failing to recognize that some men can be protective of "their" women while violent toward others, or other variations of people not being completely, 100% Good or Evil.

So, when members of the so-called protector class of, say, male soldiers rape people, they invisibilize the men who commit the crime and, instead, blame women (usually) for going and getting themselves raped. Or they blame male-on-male sexual assault entirely on the class of men they deem to be inauthentic men- gay men. (Nevermind that, in the military, it's actually often heterosexual men who assault and sexually assault and harass non-heterosexual men).

After all, these gender traditionalists implicitly argue, violent is just what Real Men are. That's why, as Schlafly alludes, it's not really men's fault if they rape people- it's the fault of feminists for putting women in these situations where men can't help but rape them.

Of all the times it is most appropriate to center men in any given conversation, it is in instances where men engage in violence. Yet, these instances are often precisely the moment that anti-feminists and MRAs step back and instead center feminism as the core explanation for men's misbehavior.

Rather than expecting men to change, the gender traditionalist expects society and women to adapt to the reality of male violence and predation. If we think otherwise, that men should adapt to civil society, we're being So Mean to men.  It's, to them, evidence of how feminists are So Man-Hating.

And so it goes that MRA/gender traditionalists' working definition of a misandrist is a person who argues not that all men are violent rapists, but that society should stop granting men entitlement to engage in violence.

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