31 December, 2006

A Vocabulary for Feminist Criticism

Posted in Feminist Criticism at 1:43 pm by Daran

I was gratified to see my co-blogger on ‘Darain Man’, Hugh Ristik, refer in his last post to the “Odious Comparison“, one of a several phrases I’ve coined to describe some of the objectionable aspects of feminism. Just as feminism has its own vocabulary, including such terms of art as “Patriarchy” and “Rape Culture”, so we Feminist Critics need a vocabulary of our own. Ideally each concept should be described by a memorable word or two word phrase. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Some of these terms I have been using for a while; others, so far, have existed only in my head; still others I’ve coined even as I drafted this post.

Gendersphere: The entire field of philosophy, discourse, and activism that attends to gender, including, but not limited to feminism, antifeminism, Men’s Rights Activism, and Feminist Criticism.

Feminism: A self-defining segment of the Gendersphere. A feminist is a person who is recognised as a feminist by other feminists.

Pro-feminism: Men who are unwilling to call themselves feminists (or who are not recognised as such by some feminists) because they are male, even though their views are indistinguishable from feminism.

Contrafeminism: That part of the gendersphere that is broadly in disagreement with or opposition to feminism.

Antifeminism: Extreme contrafeminism. An essentially oppositionist stance.

Men’s Rights Activism: A movement devoted to improving the position of men in society. While this is basically a positive stance, the movement is infested with antifeminism.

Feminist Criticism: My term for my own philosophical position, and for the similar views of other people. The phrase is deliberately ambiguous: A feminist critic could be a critic of feminism or a feminist who criticises. I want to carve out a position within gendersphere independent of of the other -isms, overlapping with both feminism and MRA, and critical of both. Arguably the phrase “feminist criticism” is obnoxiously gendered (see below), because feminist critics are also critics of antifeminism, however given the hegemonic position of feminism within the gendersphere I think it is justified. The word “criticism” should be taken in its constructive sense, there are many aspects of feminism that feminist critics will agree with. Feminist Critics accept the tools of feminism (gender analysis, etc.,) and apply them to feminism itself.

Typical: I use this word as a term of art, meaning behaviour, etc., which (a) is common among feminists (or some other group), (b) is unlikely to be challenged by other feminists, (c) if someone with otherwise good feminist credentials does challenge it, they are likely to have their status as feminists challenged by other feminists, and (d) those without feminist credentials who challenge it are likely to be regarded as antifeminists/MRAs (or the equivalent opposition group). Typical behaviours within a group are likely to be perceived by outsiders as representative of it.

The ‘Bird in your Garden’ Test: A test for typicality. If all you need do to see a particular kind of bird is look out the window, that’s an indication that those birds are typical of where you live. If you have to travel 200 miles to visit a nature reserve to see them, then they’re not typical. Similarly if you can easily find an example of a particular argument or behaviour passing unchallenged among the usual suspects within the blogosphere, then that’s an indication that it is typical. If you can’t, then it probably isn’t.

Obnoxious Gendering: Refers to the typical feminist practice of equating maleness and masculinity with bad, and femaleness (though not femininity) with good. At its most obnoxious, it refers to the practice of never letting men forget just how lousy they are: “It’s male violence, committed by men, who are male. Just in case you didn’t get that, it’s men who are doing this, etc., etc., ad nauseum“. Obnoxious Gendering has a more subtle aspect in the use of gendered terms like “feminism” and “patriarchy” to refer to things which (in the view of the feminist) are good and bad respectively.

Self-flagellation Obnoxious Gendering applied to oneself. Typical behaviour of pro-feminist men. (Thanks to Hugh for the phrase.)

The Avuncular Arm: A typical pro-feminist response to male victimisation. An avuncular arm slides around the survivor’s shoulder, and he is invited to “consider how we oppress women”. A collective form of self-flagellation, this is victim-blaming at its worst because it casts the survivor into the role of perp. It is one of the reasons why feminism is toxic to many male survivors.

The Odious Comparison: Typical feminist practice of unjustifiably or inappropriately comparing male oppression, suffering, etc., unfavourably with female suffering. If a feminist or pro-feminist wishes to discuss male oppression etc., within feminism, then it is de rigueur to genuflect to the Odious Comparison.

Selective Focus: Typical feminist practice of looking only at those oppressions which (according to the feminist) affect women worse, in order to justify the Odious Comparison. For example, in a discussion about violence, only sexual and domestic violence will be considered. (Note that I do not object to a focus upon these issues. It is the exclusive and frequently innappropriate focus which is problematic.)

Rape Trivialisation: Typical feminist practice of defining rape so broadly that it encompasses the trivial, in some cases even sexual activity considered fully consensual by the person purportedly raped. (Note that this is not to be confused the the antifeminist objection to Koss’s rape study, that many of the raped women did not define their experience as “rape”, but whose experiences were nevertheless rape according to a non-trivialised definition.)

Rape Privilege: The practice of elevating rape and other sexual assaults “the worst”. A particular instance of the Odious Comparison. (This is a typical mainstream discourse. Feminists typically selectively focus on rape, but they do not typically privilege it in this way, in my experience.)

Denial, Dismissal, Minimisation, and ignoring of male oppression, suffering, etc.: I really need a catchy phrase to describe this quadrumvirate of discourses. (The ‘four discourses’?) Note that this is not limited to feminism, but is characteristic of the mainstream. Hence it is an example of feminism embracing and extending a previously existing gendered discourse.

Subordination: The typical feminist practice of presenting men’s oppression and suffering as subordinate to women’s. A fifth discourse related to the previous four.

The Three Techniques, also Displacement, Incidentalisation, and Exclusion: Mainstream rhetorical techniques used to minimise male victimisation, described by Dr. Jones in his paper “Effacing the Male“.

Lachrymosity: The tendency within both feminism and mainstream media to use tearjerkingly emotive language to describe female suffering and comparatively perfunctory language to describe male suffering. Arguably a fourth technique on a par with the three described by Dr. Jones.

Instanciation Not to be confused with “incidentalisation, which would be a better word for it, which is already taken. By “instanciation” I mean to portray instances of male victimisation as incidents rather than as systems of oppression.

Hidden Victimisation also The Other Side of the Mountain, and, in extreme cases, Holocaust Denial: How male victims and male oppression are rendered invisible by these techniques and discourses.

Comments and criticisms welcome, in particular, better terms for some of these phenomena would be greatly appreciated. Clearly many of the terms fall short of the “memorable one or two-word phrase” criterion. Is there anything I should add? Any good “Bird in your Garden” examples of each type of typical behaviour?

Crossposted between Creative Destruction and Darain Man.

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21 Comments

  1. toysoldier said,

    I will have to give further thought to this list. I am unsure whether I agree with it in full or in part, but that has more to do with my general response to labels, not the definitions and terms per se.

  2. Daisy said,

    I was glad to find this, it cleared some confusion I was having trying to read your other posts (i.e. “What, what is he talking about??”).

    🙂

  3. toysoldier said,

    After looking at this list for a while, I think I agree with most of the terms, though I am still hesitant to support the terms. Much like the feminist vocabulary, this feminist criticic vocabulary could easily be used to undermine or dismiss valid points raised by feminists. While I know this is not the intention, I think such a list could potentially make it more difficult to have open discussions with feminists, many of whom already dismiss criticism at first glance.

    That said, the list is rather clear and useful in defining what often–or typically–occurs. Many of them make excellent acronyms (my favorites: OG, AA and DIE). One thing that is, in my opinion, unclear is the definition of feminism.

    A self-defining segment of the Gendersphere. A feminist is a person who is recognised as a feminist by other feminists.

    Would this mean that if one is not recognized by other feminists that one is not a feminist? How many feminists need to accept a person before s/he is considered a feminist? Which feminists or brand of feminism make this decision?

  4. Daran said,

    After looking at this list for a while, I think I agree with most of the terms, though I am still hesitant to support the terms. Much like the feminist vocabulary, this feminist criticic vocabulary could easily be used to undermine or dismiss valid points raised by feminists. While I know this is not the intention, I think such a list could potentially make it more difficult to have open discussions with feminists, many of whom already dismiss criticism at first glance.

    The terms are intended to be used as tools to rapidly deconstruct a piece of feminist propaganda. Like all tools, they could be misused. That is not a point against tools.

    That said, the list is rather clear and useful in defining what often–or typically–occurs. Many of them make excellent acronyms (my favorites: OG, AA and DIE).

    I never noticed DIE. It is good, I agree.

    One thing that is, in my opinion, unclear is the definition of feminism.

    A self-defining segment of the Gendersphere. A feminist is a person who is recognised as a feminist by other feminists.

    Would this mean that if one is not recognized by other feminists that one is not a feminist? How many feminists need to accept a person before s/he is considered a feminist? Which feminists or brand of feminism make this decision?

    A mathematically rigorous and utterly useless explanation is given here. My personal solution to the problem is given here. See also here

  5. ballgame said,

    Gendersphere: Useful.

    Feminism: Highly problematic, as this basically cedes the definition to WPO feminists. (For your readers: “WPO feminism” = “women’s perspectives only feminism”, as contrasted with “gender egalitarian (GE) feminism.”) As you know, as a GE feminist myself, I’m not going to do that.

    Pro-feminism, Contrafeminism & Antifeminism: Problematically dependent on your definition of feminism.

    Men’s Rights Activism: I guess a key question for me would be: do self-identified MRAs share this definition with you?

    Feminist Criticism: While I understand your rationale for the ‘deliberate ambiguity’ of this term, I think such ambiguity is fatal to its being useful. Labels should (ideally) let the user of the label quickly convey meaning to the listener/reader without taking a lot of time to explain what he or she is saying; a ‘deliberately ambiguous’ label is self-defeating in this regard.

    Typical: This definition may clarify what you often mean when you use the term, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect others to know when you are using it in the specific sense you outlined here, and when you are using it in its more general sense. I think that’s a fatal flaw. Maybe if you were to use typical* or ‘typical’ or something to flag your specific useage?

    The ‘Bird in your Garden’ Test: Seems useful.

    Obnoxious Gendering: The more overt definition may be useful, but I oppose your idea that the words ‘feminism’ and ‘patriarchy’ are ‘subtle’ examples of obnoxious gendering. If you acknowledge that the ‘subtle’ aspect is your own idiosyncratic view of what is and is not obnoxious gendering, then the term itself remains useful. If, however, you view that ‘subtle’ aspect as inherent to the term, then it is basically an antifeminist term and won’t have utility outside of that sphere.

    Self-flagellation: Utility dependent on the ‘obnoxious gendering’ definition.

    The Avuncular Arm: Useful.

    The Odious Comparison: The term isn’t needed, because fortunately men aren’t oppressed by gender! (/joke) Actually, it seems useful on the surface, but I do harbor some reservations about it that I can’t quite articulate at the moment.

    Selective Focus: Useful.

    Rape Trivialisation & Rape Privilege: While I understand what you’re trying to say with these terms (without necessarily agreeing with you), using them will get people to pay attention to you in the same way that poking a Rottweiler with a sharp stick will get it to pay attention to you. There’s no way in hell these terms will be accepted in general discourse among any except some ardent antifeminists. Anyone who tries to use them outside of that sphere is going to get rhetorically carpet-bombed and quickly banned. If you’re lucky you might get a chance to respond with a “no, what I mean by that term is …” comment in before you do get banned, but I doubt anyone will be listening to you at that point anyway. And if you have to explain your labels every time you try to use them, then they’re useless. If your goal is to be marked as a pariah, then use these terms. If your goal is to use these terms to help make headway for egalitarian treatment of men, well, good luck with that.

    Denial, Dismissal, Minimisation, and ignoring of male oppression, suffering, etc.: I like this concept; how about DDMI?

    Subordination: I like that you separate this from DDMI, because I think it’s more controversial … I’m not sure it’s always an inappropriate stance.

    The Three Techniques, also Displacement, Incidentalisation, and Exclusion: Interesting. I don’t think ‘the three techniques’ has much utility as a label, but the concepts seem useful.

    Lachrymosity: While I understand your point, the inherent implication to the word is that we should be less emotive about women, when one could reasonably argue that we’re being insufficiently emotive about male victims. As such, I think the ‘minimization’ concept covers this realm better, and I don’t see much utility to this discourse-specific term (unless you think that being cold-hearted is somehow an important virtue).

    Instanciation: OK, since I haven’t read the Incidentalization post, the nuance of differenc here escapes me at the moment.

    Hidden Victimisation also The Other Side of the Mountain, and, in extreme cases, Holocaust Denial: Reserve judgment at the moment.

    I do tend to share toy soldier’s general reaction that overall the list has a distinctly antifeminist tone, which I think is problematic.

  6. Daran said,

    Feminism: Highly problematic, as this basically cedes the definition to WPO feminists. (For your readers: “WPO feminism” = “women’s perspectives only feminism”, as contrasted with “gender egalitarian (GE) feminism.”) As you know, as a GE feminist myself, I’m not going to do that.

    A problem for you, maybe. I’m not interested in fighting the battle for the word. I just want to talk about the winners.

    Men’s Rights Activism: I guess a key question for me would be: do self-identified MRAs share this definition with you?

    I think they probably would, except they would not agree that they were “infested”. The problem is, there are a lot of competing self-labels in that part of the Gendersphere, thus a definition comparable to the one I gave for feminism wouldn’t work. See this comment for more details.

    Feminist Criticism: While I understand your rationale for the ‘deliberate ambiguity’ of this term, I think such ambiguity is fatal to its being useful. Labels should (ideally) let the user of the label quickly convey meaning to the listener/reader without taking a lot of time to explain what he or she is saying; a ‘deliberately ambiguous’ label is self-defeating in this regard.

    There are pros and cons. I want to be able to ‘recruit’ people to my cause both those like yourself unwilling to give up the feminist label, and those (like myself, I guess) who would never willingly wear it.

    Typical: This definition may clarify what you often mean when you use the term, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect others to know when you are using it in the specific sense you outlined here, and when you are using it in its more general sense. I think that’s a fatal flaw. Maybe if you were to use typical* or ‘typical’ or something to flag your specific useage?

    I plan, (after a suitable period for criticism, of course) to adapt this post into a linkable glossary, so I can just link to any term that has a technical meaning., or even create a mouse-hover popup.

    Obnoxious Gendering: The more overt definition may be useful, but I oppose your idea that the words ‘feminism’ and ‘patriarchy’ are ’subtle’ examples of obnoxious gendering. If you acknowledge that the ’subtle’ aspect is your own idiosyncratic view of what is and is not obnoxious gendering, then the term itself remains useful.

    Why not “Albinarchy” (rule by whites), or “Plutarchy” (rule by the wealthy), all of which more accurately describe the system, in that whiteness and wealth are always empowering, while maleness is very often disempowering under the system.

    “Patriarchy” is construed by many non-feminists (and quite a few feminists) to mean “Its all men’s fault”, which is reason enough to eschew it.

    If, however, you view that ’subtle’ aspect as inherent to the term, then it is basically an antifeminist term and won’t have utility outside of that sphere.

    It has the same effect of “never letting men forget just how lousy they are”, which is what makes it obnoxious.

    Self-flagellation: Utility dependent on the ‘obnoxious gendering’ definition.

    It can be defined independently as the tendency for pro-feminist men to constantly beat themselves up over how lousy they are because they’re men. You recognise what I’m talking about?

    The Odious Comparison: The term isn’t needed, because fortunately men aren’t oppressed by gender! (/joke) Actually, it seems useful on the surface, but I do harbor some reservations about it that I can’t quite articulate at the moment.

    I’ll wait.

    Rape Trivialisation & Rape Privilege: While I understand what you’re trying to say with these terms (without necessarily agreeing with you), using them will get people to pay attention to you in the same way that poking a Rottweiler with a sharp stick will get it to pay attention to you. There’s no way in hell these terms will be accepted in general discourse among any except some ardent antifeminists. Anyone who tries to use them outside of that sphere is going to get rhetorically carpet-bombed and quickly banned. If you’re lucky you might get a chance to respond with a “no, what I mean by that term is …” comment in before you do get banned, but I doubt anyone will be listening to you at that point anyway. And if you have to explain your labels every time you try to use them, then they’re useless. If your goal is to be marked as a pariah, then use these terms. If your goal is to use these terms to help make headway for egalitarian treatment of men, well, good luck with that.

    As far as rape trivialisation is concerned here’s a bird in your garden What would you call it when some calls me a rapist for having sex with my GF which was agreed to in advance, enjoyed at the time, and fondly remembered afterwards by the purported victim? (I should add, that I don’t regard this level of trivialisation to be typical, even though I found a bird in your garden. The test is an indicator, not a proof).

    Rape privilege is not in my experience typical of feminists. I agree with feminists that rape is a typically (in the non-technical sense of the word) devastating experience from which the victim will often make a good or at elast fair recovery, and therefore should not be privileged over devastating injuries from which the victim can never recover. In my experience, feminists don’t typically claim that it is the “worst thing”. That claim is more a mainstream media trope. What say you?

    Denial, Dismissal, Minimisation, and ignoring of male oppression, suffering, etc.: I like this concept; how about DDMI?

    I want a memorable phrase which can then be abbreviated if necessary. Victim disenfranchisment has been suggested.

    Subordination: I like that you separate this from DDMI, because I think it’s more controversial … I’m not sure it’s always an inappropriate stance.

    The word “too” in, for example the phrase “Patriarchy hurts men too” places it ancillary and subordinate to women’s suffering, even when PHMT is not being used as a derisory dismissal.

    Lachrymosity: While I understand your point, the inherent implication to the word is that we should be less emotive about women, when one could reasonably argue that we’re being insufficiently emotive about male victims. As such, I think the ‘minimization’ concept covers this realm better, and I don’t see much utility to this discourse-specific term (unless you think that being cold-hearted is somehow an important virtue).

    I think sometimes women’s suffering is portrayed in an over-emotive fashion. For example, is it really necessary to say that “they pierced her body with bullets” especially since she was apparently already dead at the time. Contrast with her brother who was merely “shot and killed”. Notice also how his death was subordinated to hers.

    Instanciation: OK, since I haven’t read the Incidentalization post, the nuance of difference here escapes me at the moment.

    In fact there are two mirror-image processes here. Systematisation: The portrayal of essentially isolated incidents as part of some grand pattern: Example: The École Polytechnique massacre, which was the work of a lone nut, is presented as being an instance of a pattern of female killing. (And no, I don’t think two female-selective massacres in 17 years establishes a pattern, especially since one was a hate-motivated attack on adult woman while the other appears to have been a sexually motivated attack on girls which excluded adult women.)

    Instantiation (I think it should be spelled with a ‘t’) refers to the opposite – portraying something which is really part of a pattern as though it were just an incident. The brother’s murder in the above cite, for example, given that about 95% of those being killed in this way are adult men. (source). I don’t object to a focus on the attacks on women, but to deliberately conceal the hundreds of thousands of overwhelmingly male victims in order to present the “women’s bodies” as the “battlefield” is tantamount to Holocaust Denial.

    And it is concealment. And it is deliberate. They must have had to literally wade though male bodies to find the incident described here.

    “Incidentalisation” refers to a quite different process, which is to refer to important information passingly in the middle of an news report, or to introduce it only towards the end. The standard format for a news report is headline, summary paragraph, major details, minor details and background. Many people will only read the headline or summary paragraph, and syndicated news is likely to drop the later sections. here’s a good example of incidentalisation in action.

    Hidden Victimisation also The Other Side of the Mountain, and, in extreme cases, Holocaust Denial: Reserve judgment at the moment.

    See above.

    I do tend to share toy soldier’s general reaction that overall the list has a distinctly antifeminist tone, which I think is problematic.

    As I said, it’s been designed to be a toolkit for deconstructing feminist propaganda. Each tool has been given a gender-neutral (indeed topic-neutral) name, and even though I’ve explained the concepts in the context of feminism, they could be applied to any kind of propaganda which uses these techniques.

  7. ballgame said,

    Daran: I appreciate your response. In some cases we’ll just have to agree to disagree, which is fine (i.e. re “feminism” and “patriarchy”).

    Your explanation about Instantiation etc. doesn’t ‘click’ for me right away, but I think that’s more me than your explanation … actually I think I sort of get what you’re driving at but I need to re-read and digest.

    The one place where I think you didn’t quite get my point is regarding the terms “rape trivialization” and “rape privilege”. I wasn’t disputing (or agreeing with) the notion that the phenomena described by the terms occurs. I was trying to point out that the terms themselves are incendiary and the definitions you provide aren’t going to be adopted outside of an anti-feminist sphere. Not only are you going to have to explain yourself every time you try to use them (with the likely consequences I listed), I think it gets worse. More than a few WPO feminists are going to read those terms initially and interpret them to mean the opposite of what you intend (i.e. rape trivialization = “oh yeah, men thinking rape is no big deal, got it” and rape privilege = “the idea that it’s OK to rape a woman, ah, rape culture, right”). It wouldn’t surprise me at all that if you were to persist in trying to push your definitions in the gendersphere, certain WPO feminists would respond by trying to replace them with these ‘flip’ WPO definitions. And I wouldn’t bet against them succeeding. FWIW.

    One other minor thing: judging from your spelling and time stamps, it’s dawning on me that you’re British. It occurs to me that the phrase ‘bird in your garden’ has a very British feel to it and as such probably isn’t going to catch on in the US of A … just an observation and not a criticism … personally I think it’s fine but then I tend to think that Europeans are more advanced than us ‘Murkins in a lot ways.

  8. Daran said,

    Yep. British. And I’ve no time for your USA-centric privilege. 🙂

    Re “rape privilege” and “rape trivialisation”, feel free to suggest alternatives.

  9. Daran said,

    Re instantiation: See this post, (me, quoting Ampersand):

    In 1990, Wellesley College professor Peggy McIntosh wrote an essay called “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. McIntosh observes that whites in the U.S. are “taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” To illustrate these invisible systems, McIntosh wrote a list of 26 invisible privileges whites benefit from.

    […]

    More commonly, of course, critics (usually, but not exclusively, male) have pointed out men have disadvantages too – being drafted into the army, being expected to suppress emotions, and so on. These are indeed bad things – but I never claimed that life for men is all ice cream sundaes…

    Pointing out that men are privileged in no way denies that bad things happen to men. Being privileged does not mean men are given everything in life for free; being privileged does not mean that men do not work hard, do not suffer. In many cases – from a boy being bullied in school, to a soldier dying in war – the sexist society that maintains male privilege also does great harm to individual boys and men.

    […]

    A more serious objection is that Barry is committing the very sin that he complains of in others. He is seeing male disadvantage “only in individual acts of meanness” Indeed he uses that very word in his characterisation of the death of soldiers in war. There is, of course, nothing individual about it. They die en mass.

    I didn’t have the vocabulary then, but I observed the phenomenon. It’s this business of seeing what are really “invisible systems” as “individual acts of meanness”. In that article I referenced, frames the woman’s death as part of a system in which the “battlefield” is “woman’s bodies”. What happened to her brother is depicted as just an individual act of meanness, of no signifance except in so far as he was trying to rescue her.

    Do you get it now?

  10. NYMOM said,

    I have to say my first instinct about you was correct Daran.

    You definitely appear to be a supporter of the mens rights movement, not really a feminist critic as you first described yourself.

    A critic, I think, generally, has some basic goodwill towards his subject. His criticism is an attempt to point out flaws that make the subject better. You do not appear to have any such goodwill towards feminism however.

    I think biology, history and (as much as you hate to hear it) plain common sense is eventually going to prove your arguments wrong about feminism in general; but I guess it’s a free country (internet) so you have the right to make them.

  11. Daran said,

    You definitely appear to be a supporter of the mens rights movement, not really a feminist critic as you first described yourself.

    A critic, I think, generally, has some basic goodwill towards his subject. His criticism is an attempt to point out flaws that make the subject better. You do not appear to have any such goodwill towards feminism however.

    I think the flaws in feminism are so deep and fundamental that fixing them would result in something that wasn’t feminism. But I’m not sure how you conclude that I’m a “supporter of the men’s rights movement”. This appears to be a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” type argument. In fact, I view the men’s rights movement as functionally very similar to the feminist movement.

  12. NYMOM said,

    “I think the flaws in feminism are so deep and fundamental that fixing them would result in something that wasn’t feminism.”

    Well then what do you support as a theology to make society fair to both sexes? Or do you even think we need to do anything at all???

    If not feminism, what?

    “But I’m not sure how you conclude that I’m a “supporter of the men’s rights movement”. This appears to be a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” type argument.”

    Because basically the MRA movement is saying that women never faced any discrimination in any society…and now you appear to be saying the same thing.

    That’s why I feel you are more in their camp then the ‘feminist critic’ one.

    I’m not sure I was clear about that whole critic thing anyway. The example would be a theater critic…He might not like a particular show, but he basically approves of the art form itself. So his criticism would be an attempt to improve the art form by having better shows produced…not to dismantle the whole notion of theatre as an art form.

    You appear to be attempting to dismantle feminism entirely by claiming the ‘flaws’ as you say are so deep…

    “In fact, I view the men’s rights movement as functionally very similar to the feminist movement.”

    Don’t you think they are somewhat worse then feminism.

    As feminism arose from a legitimate impulse, trying to give women equal legal standing with men…it’s morphed into something different now (but it’s initial impulse was legit).

    I just don’t see the MRA movement as ever being legitimate as early feminism was.

    Additionally I see what feminism is currently morphing into as exactly what you and many MRAs wish it to be…which is a movement pushing for a totally gender-neutral society…

  13. Daran said,

    Well then what do you support as a theology to make society fair to both sexes? Or do you even think we need to do anything at all???

    If not feminism, what?

    Antisexism. Which means calling out the bullshit on both sides, and not being favouritist about it.

    “But I’m not sure how you conclude that I’m a “supporter of the men’s rights movement”. This appears to be a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” type argument.”

    Because basically the MRA movement is saying that women never faced any discrimination in any society…and now you appear to be saying the same thing.

    But I’m not saying that. I’m saying that whatever they faced in the past is past. They’re still facing discrimination now, and we need to work against that.

    I’m also saying that men face discrimination and that we need to work against that. Not “work against it too“. Not subordinate it to the work that needs to be done for women.

    The feminists are waging war against men. Their opposite numbers are waging a war against women. It’s a war that everyone loses.

    That’s why I feel you are more in their camp then the ‘feminist critic’ one.

    There’s more than one “they” for a start. There are traditionalists (conservatives) to harken to a golden age before feminism where women knew their place and were good wives and mothers. I’m not at all in their camp; to be quite honest, you seem a little in their camp in so far as you have criticised feminist women for not rearing children. (That’s probably a gross simplification of your views.) Then there are MRAs who want to abolish traditional male roles, such as the requirement to be rough and tough, but who also reject the feminist male role as “cause of everything wrong in the world”. I guess I more or less agree with them, but I object to their misogyny.

    I’m not sure I was clear about that whole critic thing anyway. The example would be a theater critic…He might not like a particular show, but he basically approves of the art form itself.

    Think of me as a film buff that likes the independent productions, but hates Holywood tat.

    So his criticism would be an attempt to improve the art form by having better shows produced…not to dismantle the whole notion of theatre as an art form.

    You appear to be attempting to dismantle feminism entirely by claiming the ‘flaws’ as you say are so deep…

    A transformed film industry, unrecognisable as the Holywood of today, might still be physically based in the town of that name.

    In fact, I view the men’s rights movement as functionally very similar to the feminist movement.”

    Don’t you think they are somewhat worse then feminism.

    In some respects yes, not in others. There seem to be a lot more idiots and raging misogynists among the antifems than there are idiots and raging misandrists among the fems. Feminist misandry tends to be venemous rather than raging.

    Deciding which is worse is the least of my concerns.

    As feminism arose from a legitimate impulse, trying to give women equal legal standing with men…it’s morphed into something different now (but it’s initial impulse was legit).

    OK. I’m opposed to what it is, not what it was or what it might have been.

    I just don’t see the MRA movement as ever being legitimate as early feminism was.

    When I was getting bullied as a kid, initially I told my parents. Their advice was to hit back. The fact that the bullies were older and bigger, and sometimes there was more than one of them didn’t matter. I was a boy, and boys are supposed to fight. Hence if I got beaten up, I felt it was my fault. I soon stopped telling my parents.

    Girls get bullied too, and I’m sure they’re also left unprotected by adults unable or unwilling to do anything about it, but the buck is far less likely to be explicitly passed to them as it was to me.

    In Iraq, about 95% of those being targetted for torture and murder are adult men. About 2% are children under the age of eighteen – mostly teenage boys. The remainder are women and girls. As far as physical safety is conserned, females are, by a huge margin the least likely to be attacked, and the most likely to be offered protection or assistance by humanitarian organisations. Why?

    The usual feminist response to this is to point out that the attackers are male. Yes they are. I’m sure it must be a great comfort for the victims to know that the person using an electric drill on their kneecap has a penis, just like them.

    I think there are legitimate issues here which need to be challenged. Who is challenging them? Not feminists that’s for sure, they’re the ones denying that there’s a problem.

    Additionally I see what feminism is currently morphing into as exactly what you and many MRAs wish it to be…which is a movement pushing for a totally gender-neutral society…

    I don’t think you understand gender-neutrality.

  14. NYMOM said,

    “But I’m not saying that. I’m saying that whatever they faced in the past is past.”

    But the coping mechanisms developed by women still remain embedded in their psyche…that doesn’t just disappear overnight…Women adapted a certain way of thinking, acting, feeling so they would fit into the societies they lived within and you can’t just do something for thousands of years and then suddenly change tact and start heading in the opposite direction…

    Probably women who were rebellious never got married or had any kids, so if there was ever NOT a genetic component to womens’ behavior, there is one now…

    “There are traditionalists (conservatives) to harken to a golden age before feminism where women knew their place and were good wives and mothers. I’m not at all in their camp; to be quite honest, you seem a little in their camp in so far as you have criticised feminist women for not rearing children. (That’s probably a gross simplification of your views.)”

    Ummmm, totally wrong…

    Actually I’m far more radical then the most radical feminist I ever met.

    Generally I try to tone down my opinions to even be allowed to post on their sites. I have never attacked them for not having children. Although I have mentioned to them that they will be overwhelmed by traditional families if they chose not to have any…

    “The usual feminist response to this is to point out that the attackers are male. Yes they are. I’m sure it must be a great comfort for the victims to know that the person using an electric drill on their kneecap has a penis, just like them.

    I think there are legitimate issues here which need to be challenged. Who is challenging them? Not feminists that’s for sure, they’re the ones denying that there’s a problem.”

    But those are human rights issues then…not anything to do with systematic discrimination…which is what feminism was supposedly created to address.

    Yes we should all be better to each other, treat our families better, our neighbors, co-workers, etc., but what you are talking about is something different then what feminism is supposed to be addressing. It can’t be everything to everybody.

    “I don’t think you understand gender-neutrality.”

    Yes I do. I understand it very well.

  15. HughRistik said,

    NYMOM said:

    But those are human rights issues then…not anything to do with systematic discrimination…

    90%+ of the victims being male is nothing to do with discrimination?

  16. ballgame said,

    Daran: Great comment.

    When I was getting bullied as a kid, initially I told my parents. Their advice was to hit back. The fact that the bullies were older and bigger, and sometimes there was more than one of them didn’t matter. I was a boy, and boys are supposed to fight. Hence if I got beaten up, I felt it was my fault. I soon stopped telling my parents.

    Girls get bullied too, and I’m sure they’re also left unprotected by adults unable or unwilling to do anything about it, but the buck is far less likely to be explicitly passed to them as it was to me.

    Excellent point and probably one of the most important of feminine privileges: Women are not expected to internalize violence; men are.

    I have to admit that I was well into my adulthood before it started dawning on me that the reason that it was never talked about much in gender &/or feminist discussions was NOT because it was such a blindingly obvious fact of life that it was silly to verbalize it, but because women were often totally ignorant of their privilege in this area (and were often greatly resistant to being disabused of their ignorance).

    I’m sure it must be a great comfort for the victims to know that the person using an electric drill on their kneecap has a penis, just like them.

    I wanted to write “snap” or “nail meet hammer” or something but they sounded too much like I was commenting on the violence instead of the writing, so I’ll just say that was a scathingly effective retort.

  17. Daran said,

    Excellent point and probably one of the most important of feminine privileges: Women are not expected to internalize violence; men are.

    I’m not sure what you mean by internalise. I construe the privilege as “females are not expected to be combatants”.

    There’s a second one. Male victimisation is rendered invisible. My parents basically told me that they didn’t want to know, so I never let them know, unless I had something like a busted lip, which was impossible to hide.

    I’m sure it must be a great comfort for the victims to know that the person using an electric drill on their kneecap has a penis, just like them.

    I wanted to write “snap” or “nail meet hammer” or something but they sounded too much like I was commenting on the violence instead of the writing, so I’ll just say that was a scathingly effective retort.

    I’m sorry to have to admit that I Stole it.

  18. Daran said,

    90%+ of the victims being male is nothing to do with discrimination?

    So when a gang of militia invaded the education ministry, locked all the women in a room, kidnapped all the men, many of whom were later tortured and murdered, that wasn’t discrimination?

  19. NYMOM said,

    “90%+ of the victims being male is nothing to do with discrimination?”

    No, it has nothing to do with discrimination. Unless you wish to call discrimination everything that is different between the sexes. It is discrimination that only woman has to go through the suffering of childbirth? Is it discrimination the average man is going to be physically stronger then the average woman????

    “I construe the privilege as “females are not expected to be combatants”.”

    That is not a privilege but a natural outcome of womens’ lesser physical strength…females of every species, as well as our own, ‘defend’ themselves in others ways. By mating with the largest, strongest most aggressives males of their own kind, by forming into groups where there is safety in numbers, by becoming more cunning and getting by stealth what they can’t get by aggression, etc.,

    Essentially you appear to be fighting against evolution here and I can tell you right now, it’s a losing battle.

    “Women are not expected to internalize violence; men are.”

    I don’t understand what this means either? Does it mean men are expected to internalize fighting back? Then if that’s the case you’re right. Since men will always be seen as a bigger threat to other men, so they’ll always be at more risk.

    But you certainly can’t argue we’ll have a better world if more women start acting like more men…

    “So when a gang of militia invaded the education ministry, locked all the women in a room, kidnapped all the men, many of whom were later tortured and murdered, that wasn’t discrimination?”

    No it isn’t discrimination.

    It’s other men recognizing the logically more dangerous adversary and killing them off…women will pose no threat to them, for the most part, so they’ll be spared.

    I mean how many times in history have we seen where womens’ lives were spared for this reason. Then they were raped and forced to live in the homes of whichever group of men conquered their city. Do you think if Cassandra was a warrior from Troy instead of a woman she would have been brought home by Agammemon?

    I don’t think so…

    The literature is full of these situations. The Rape of the Sabine Women, for instance, if they were men it would have been the Murder of the Sabine Men…and before you say it no, that’s not evidence of discrimination but plain old common sense…

    I’m not going to take a chance and let someone live, whose as powerful as I am and could turn on me at anytime…that wouldn’t make sense…

  20. NYMOM said,

    As I said earlier, these are human rights issues, not evidence of discrimination. So they need to be fought on that level. Few people are going to listen if you try to claim this as discrimination as most people recognize why it occurs…

  21. Tom Nolan said,

    Been off line a bit…

    Instantiation is not a good word for what you want to convey. An “instant” normally means an example of a widespread phenomenon (as in “for instance”), and the mentality you allude to ignores any such phenomenon. Since “incidentalisation” has already been “taken”, and I can’t think of any other exisiting word which gets at the same meaning, how about a neologism?

    Happenstantiation?


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