Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Newsflash: Anti-feminists are SO Original and Creative!

Therese O'Neill has put together an article showing historical posters dedicated to advocating against women's right to vote.

As she notes, because the position against equality was so weak, many of these posters used mean-spirited "humor" to demean women who sought the right to vote as being overly masculine, witch-like and deserving of death/torture, inauthentic women, old maids, ugly, unlovable, and ball-busting emasculating scolds.

In other words, anti-suffragettes had their versions of Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson too.

It is pathetic that so many anti-feminists still use these approaches to try to discredit feminist women today. Whenever I see men making arguments like "feminists are ugly har har har" or "conservative women are total babes, unlike feminists" it tells me I'm dealing with a guy who has, essentially, already dismissed any substantive argument I have made.

For, his comment indicates that he thinks a woman's very most important trait is how she looks. That's why calling a woman ugly is supposed to "sting" so much. If a woman's worth is measured mostly by how she looks, and he can just dismiss her as ugly, he doesn't have to address anything she says because both she and her arguments are already worthless.  He can call her ugly and then wipe his hands of the whole argument whilst declaring himself the authority and the victor!

Then, he reckons, if he proceeds to call all feminists ugly, he thinks he can then dismiss the whole entirety of feminism as worthless and believe that that dismissal is thought of by everyone else as some sort of objective truth about feminism and the world!

And then everyone can just move on to more important things. The men are speaking. STFU ladies.

But seriously, I'm pretty sure I know how anti-feminist assholes think far better than they know how we think. And, welp, there's a big incongruity between the way most anti-feminists think of women, and the way that I think of myself and other women.

So it's not, like, super insulting to me when anti-feminists call feminists as a whole ugly, because I recognize the tactic for what it is. It's more frustrating that they won't, don't, or can't just focus on substantive issues. They have to be all aggressive and assholey and rape threat-y about it all, which I guess is not only a nice distraction for them but also a convenient silencing tactic as well.

For instance, suddenly the anti-suffragette posters aren't really talking about women's suffrage. They're attempting to withhold authentic womanhood from women they've deemed bad and out of line. They're basically depictions of white male insecurity about the impending decrease in privilege that the extension of legal rights to more people represents.

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