Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Misogyny and Nice Guys

Over at Cyborgology, Jenny Davis makes an important point about violent misogyny in the age of Internet:
"["Elliot Rodger's] parents saw the digitally mediated rants and contacted his therapist and a social worker, who contacted a mental health hotline. These were the proper steps. But those who interviewed Rodger found him to be a 'perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.' They deemed his involuntary holding unnecessary and a search of his apartment unwarranted. That is, authorities defined Rodger and assessed his intentions based upon face-to-face interaction, privileging this interaction over and above a 'vast digital trail.' This is digital dualism taken to its worst imaginable conclusion."
Many feminists and the Southern Poverty Law Center rightly note that the-called "manosphere" is devoted almost entirely to woman- and feminist-hating.

From time to time, mainstream (often male) journalists "discover" the manosphere, imbue it with much more good faith than it is deserving of, often with a pretense that the men who comprise the manosphere are "just" loser extremists who aren't taken seriously by anyone and, say, who would also be readily identifiable as woman-haters "in the real world" by, I don't know, their steepled fingers, pointy eyebrows, and general aura of creepiness permeating from them.

One of the manosphere's most prominent voices, Paul Elam, has said that today's women are "shallow, self-serving wastes of human existence—parasites—semi-human black holes that suck resources and goodwill out of men and squander them on the mindless pursuit of vanity."  And, thousands of men agree with him.

Elam and his fans, like the gay-hating Phelps clan, are probably all nice people sometimes in some contexts.

They also live in a culture in which they teach and/or are taught - by the media, by culture, by the manosphere - that women aren't full human beings like how men are full human beings and that they're entitled to sex from these sub-human creatures known as women.

The biggest lies the mainstream tells us that there are good guys and there are bad guys, that most guys are good guys, and that therefore the good guys have no introspection to do in how they contribute to our woman-hating culture.

For men to point out how awful they think it is that yet another man went on a shooting spree is not all that helpful to the national discourse. Not killing people because you hate women is, like, the lowest fucking bar of civility ever.  And it seems such an obvious wrong that to point out how awful it is seems to beg the question of its wrongness at all.

What seems more helpful to society's overall misogyny problem is for men to do the things that are harder to do, things that would maybe cost the man something - some bro points, some cool points, some ego, some dent in the aura of assume intellectual superiority, whatever.

Things like: listening to women when we talk about our lived experiences in a misogynistic society; dropping the assumption that you have lots to teach women about gender, stuff, and life in general because you're the man in the conversation; recognizing that you probably don't notice men doing problematic things in the way that women often notice them because you haven't spent a lifetime being on the defensive about these things;
and calling other men out when they're awful and even when they're just engaging in the everyday microaggression-level bullshit.

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