30 December, 2006

Denying, Dismissing, Minimising, and Ignoring the Harm to Men

Posted in Alas a Blog, Feminist Issues, Male Disposability, Reposts at 10:28 am by Daran

(Originally posted at Creative Destruction.)

Me (in the context of the war in Iraq):

[F]eminists typically do view the harm solely in terms of its impact upon women, while denying, minimising, and ignoring the harm to men.

I should also have said “dismissing“. I should clarify that by “feminism”, I mean mainstream feminism, as exemplified by the bloggers and typical commenters at Alas. I also mean radical feminism, as exemplified by the bloggers and typical commenters at the Margins. I do not mean to include such individuals as Christine Hof-Sommers, Wendy McElroy, and Cathy Young. I think that’s a fair exclusion, because mainsteam feminism itself appears to reject these people, and their ilk.

curiousgyrl:

I dont think that is a fair characterization. A fairly old development in feminist thinking/theory is the notion of ‘gender’ as a relationship between humans–both ‘men’ and ‘women.’ The change over last decade from university Women’s Studies Departments to departmetns of Gender and Sexuality was largely made to make exactly the point that feminism is about the negative impact of gender opression on society as a whole.

I assume that the feminism I see on the web, and the feminism I have encountered in Real Life in the tiny corner of the world which I inhabit, are typical of feminism as it is practised elsewhere in the western World. I hesitate to comment on Gender Studies Departments, since I have never attended one, but it is not immediately clear to me that “gender studies” necessarily equals “feminism”. Nor is it clear to me that they differ in practice. It does not follow that the rebadging of “women’s studies” as “gender studies” has been accompanied by a meaningful expansion of the topic area, or a shift in the analytical norms. An example of such a rebadging can be found in Mary Anne Warren’s 1985 book Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection:

By analogy, gendercide would be the deliberate extermination of persons of a particular sex (or gender). Other terms, such as “gynocide” and “femicide,” have been used to refer to the wrongful killing of girls and women. But “gendercide” is a sex-neutral term, in that the victims may be either male or female. There is a need for such a sex-neutral term, since sexually discriminatory killing is just as wrong when the victims happen to be male. The term also calls attention to the fact that gender roles have often had lethal consequences, and that these are in important respects analogous to the lethal consequences of racial, religious, and class prejudice.

As Dr. Adam Jones, founder of Gendercide Watch observes:

Warren explores the deliberate extermination of women through analysis of such subjects as female infanticide, maternal mortality, witch-hunts in early modern Europe, and other atrocities and abuses against women. […] The difficulty with Warren’s framing of gendercide, though — and this is true for the feminist analysis of gender-selective human-rights abuses as a whole — is that the inclusive definition is not matched by an inclusive analysis of the mass killing of non-combatant men.

Had Warren stuck to “femicide” or a similar formulation, then her treatise might have been guilty of no more than ignoring similar atrocities committed against men. By using inclusive terminology, the implication is that she is covering the entire spectrum of sex-selective killing. Therefore the absence of sex-selective killing of men from her analysis implies that such killings do not exist, or are insignificant.

In other words, she did not merely ignore sex-selective killings of men. By implication, she denied them which, as a perusal of just a few of Gendercide Watch’s case studies will show, is tantamount to holocaust denial.

Here’s an example of a feminist minimising the harm to men:

However, there’s strong evidence that for girls and women in particular (but not exclusively), things have gotten much worse since we invaded [Iraq]

My italics. To Amp’s credit, he doesn’t completely ignore the effect on men and boys – unlike many feminists, he gives them a parenthetical nod. But the implication of the italices portion is clear – It’s less bad for males.

A priori, that statement may or may not be true. In the complete absence of any analysis whatsoever of just how much worse things had gotten for males, I couldn’t see how such a statement could be justified, so I asked him. His reply:

Daran, provide me with some evidence that non-combatant men have been killed more than non-combatant women. Provide me with an example of an important Iraqi political/religious leaders saying that if Iraqi men are under virtual house arrest, that’s a good thing. Provide me with evidence that Iraqi men are being raped or sold into sexual slavery at anywhere near the rate that Iraqi women are.

Notice how he shifted the burden of proof onto me. Nevertheless, I responded here, and here.

curiousgyrl:

I know that BPHMT is often derided, but that doesnt mean that most of us think that it isn’t true.

BPHMT at it’s most derisory is a rhetorical device used by feminists to dismiss male victimisation. But even when it’s treated seriously, it is a minimising discourse, which I critique here.

Its just not ALWAYS the most relevant point.

The problem with feminism is that it’s not EVER the most relevant point. Here are a couple of questions I put to Barry:

Can [Barry] identify more than a handful [of mainstream feminists] who have blogged honestly about the catastrophic gender-selective targeting of men for slaughter in Iraq and elsewhere? Can he identify any?

Barry’s honest answer was “no and no”. And to his credit, he has addressed the issue in subsequent posts, though he has never lead on the subject. I’ll put the same two questions to curiousgyrl: Can she identify more than a handful of mainstream feminists who have blogged honestly about the catastrophic sex-selective targetting of men for slaughter in Iraq and elsewhere? Can she identify any, other than Barry’s recent posts? I have a few more questions. How is it that Barry, who is unquestionably well-read on the subject of the Iraq war, could have been unaware of the catastrophic sex-selective targetting of men for slaughter? Is curiousgyrl aware of it? If not, why not? If so, how did she become aware of it? Not through feminism, or a “gender studies” class, I’ll bet.

The problem with feminism is that it concludes that women are more oppressed than men, but in making that judgement, it looks at female oppression through a microscope, and male oppression through a telescope. Backwards. Pointing at the ground. With the lens covers still on. And both eyes closed.

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