31 January, 2007

How I got here

Posted in Asperger's and Autism, Creative Destruction, Crossposts, Gender Issues, Personal Ramblings at 1:03 pm by Daran

In a comment, to my recent post David Byron said:

I’m not interested in how you got to this specific web page. I would be more interested in how people became attuned to the discrimination against men that goes on since that is what is unusual about people here.In particular I wonder how many have had a Child of the Glacier style experience, vs those who didn’t see any anti-male discrimination until they got hit with it like a brick as an adult (eg divorce). How many were aware of these issues and formulated them out of their own mind vs how many had to read about them from someone else to become aware.

I’m personally curious about how people found the two blogs I started. I’m also aware that there’s been little substantive blogging on FCB recently, on my part because of all the stuff I’ve been doing setting it up. So that post was intended to be nothing more than a bit of light entertainment pending something more substantial.

He asks a good question, though, and his own reply is worth reading. My earliest recollection of consciously observing (and objecting to) a gender norm dates to about the same age, I guess, as Adams was. That would put it in the early seventies. I noticed, (and remember complaining about to my parents), that bad things almost never happened to women in the action/adventure films I watched on TV. They never got killed on the battlefield or in the wild western shoot-out. They didn’t fall into pits of boiling lava, nor did they ever get eaten by dinosaurs. They might get captured by the baddies, but the baddies never did anything actually bad to them, and they always got rescued anyway. Men, by contrast, got casually wasted in their scores.

Even younger – six or seven I guess, I remember being very apprehensive of being put into a class with a male teacher. It wasn’t that any man had done anything bad to me, but that I simply had never been in the charge of any man except my Dad, and of course, he was away at work most of the day. Up until then, all my carers other than him had been female.

Other early childhood memories which may or may not have had a gender element were that I always felt in the shadow of my older sister, who was always physically bigger, more capable, more socially successful, and seemingly favoured by my parents. How much of that was gender, and how much was age and how much was my being Aspie is hard to tell.

I have a vague memory of wanting to do something girly, and meeting with the disapproval of my father, though I don’t remember what it was I wanted to do, or how he expressed that disapproval.

I also remember feeling totally unprotected in the face of the schoolyard bullying I was suffering, that nobody would take it seriously. (Of course, nobody had taken it seriously, that I was aware of. All they had done was pass the buck explicitly back to me.) I didn’t connect it to gender, though, but to childhood. I felt that, as a child, I wasn’t important enough to protect.

Like Hugh, I could never flirt as a teen or even a young adult. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I ever flirted, and it was a real ‘Gosh, I can do this’ moment. Even now, I daren’t initiate.

Also in my late twenties/early thirties I had my first encounter with feminist hostility toward male-survivors I describe some of these incidents in this post, and in a couple of the comments.

What I never did, as Adams appears to have done at a very early age, is join the dots. Instead I swallowed the script as it has been fed to me: Women were the disfavoured sex; it was men who are violent toward women, not the other way about (my personal experiences of violence by women notwithstanding); men received favourable treatment in court. Etc. It wan’t until I found usenet in 1999 that I first encountered rightwing antifeminists/MRAs, the kind that David calls Chauvinists. What an eye-opener that was!

My first reaction was that their behaviour was appalling, and their purported facts seemed absurd. My second reaction when I tried to defend feminism from them, was that they were well prepared for the argument, and I wasn’t. I had to wise-up and educate myself. Some of their alleged facts stood up. Other’s turned out to be garbage, but many feminist claims fared no better. After a while, feminists and antifeminists came to look more and more like mirror images of each other, and I realised that I could not in good faith defend feminism while excoriating the Chauvinist antifems for their misogyny.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

(Crossposted between Creative Destruction, DaRain Man, and Feminist Critics.)

29 January, 2007

How did you get here?

Posted in Blogosphere, Creative Destruction, Crossposts, Personal Ramblings at 4:52 pm by Daran

(Crossposted between all three blogs I write for.)

It all started for me, with a link from The Register to Seth Finkelstein’s Infothought blog. I found him to be an interesting, somewhat out-of-the-box thinker, so began reading him regularly. Sometime later Lis Riba popped up to ask his advice on getting a high Google Rating for one of her pages. And so she became my second regular read in the blogosphere. High on her blogroll was Alas a Blog. (I knew there was a reason for giving your blog a name beginning with ‘A’.) Unable always to comment as freely as I would like there, I began to comment on Creative Destruction. Shortly thereafter, a messenger arrived at my door bearing a handwritten missive enscribed upon the finest vellum, and laid upon a silken pillow, exhorting me to become a blogger here. (It was either that, or Amp sent me an email, I don’t recall which.)

At that time, WordPress automatically gave you blog if you created an account with them, and obviously I needed an account to blog at CD, and so the blog that was to become DaRain Man was born. I started substantive blogging there after being evicted from Alas during a little flamewar, and I realised that I needed an independent platform of my own. Later when Aegis/HughRistik accepted my offer to co-blog, it was clear that our joint enterprise was going to outgrow the ‘personal blog’ concept. We decided go for a dedicated URL and hosted environment right from the start, rather than go through the agony of changing addresses later, when we were established. Hence Feminist Critics was born.

That’s my story, but how did you get here?

30 December, 2006

“Privilege” and “Disadvantage” as sexist framing devices.

Posted in Alas a Blog, Ampersand, Male Disposability, Privilege, Reposts at 11:26 am by Daran

(Originally posted at Creative Destruction.)

Both here, and at Alas, Barry has been responding to criticism of his “Male Privilege Checklist“. Most of these criticisms have been directed at particular items on the checklist, which regardless of the merit of the substantive objection, opens his critics to the countercharge of not seeing the wood for the trees. The most cogent objections, in my opinion, apply to the list as a whole and seem to have been missed by these recent critics.
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Evidence of Male Dispensability Part 1 – the News Media

Posted in Male Disposability, Media, Reposts, War at 11:11 am by Daran

(Originally posted at Creative Destruction. I still haven’t got around to writing part 2.)

In preparing my response to Jeff’s comment to my recent post on Women and the Draft, I seem to have wondered rather far from the topic.
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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.
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29 December, 2006

Feminism and Media Representation of Gender-Selective Atrocities

Posted in Gender Issues, Iraq, Male Disposability, Reposts, War at 11:06 pm by Daran

(Originally posted at Creative Destruction. Here slightly edited.)

Look at this headline on Boston.com

Men in Iraqi police grab kidnap scores in raid

Notice how the perpetrators are gendered, but the victims are not. In fact there’s no mention of the victims’ sex anywhere on the first page. It’s not until you get to the second that you find out what happened:

The gunmen speedily weeded out the men from the women. The women were taken to a room and locked up, witnesses said. The men were pushed into the trucks and driven away. The kidnapped included employees and visitors to the agency, janitors, and PhDs, even a deputy general director of the agency. Some were blindfolded and tossed into the backs of pickup trucks, said witnesses.

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The Women and Children of Haditha

Posted in Gender Issues, Iraq, Male Disposability, Reposts, War at 10:48 pm by Daran

(Originally posted at Creative Destruction. Here slightly edited.)

In the headline of his Sunday Herald story, Neil Mackay characterised the atrocity as follows:

Haditha: the worst US atrocity since Vietnam … Iraqi women and children massacred by American marines.

After giving a little background, including a comparison with the My Lai massacre during the Viet Nam war, (“mainly women, children, and the elderly”), he gives the following summary of the events in Haditha:

Minutes after Terrazas died, the remaining 13-strong unit of marines went on a bloody rampage, wiping out whole families, killing women, children and an elderly man in a wheelchair, and hurling grenades into homes. In all, 24 Iraqi civilians were murdered by American troops.

Let’s parse the entire story, to see how many of these women and children were actually men.
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23 December, 2006

Throwing Rocks at Boys, and Pushing Girls through Windows

Posted in Abyss2hope, Alas a Blog, Antifeminist and MRA Issues, Crossposts, Feminist Issues, Marcella Chester at 7:15 am by Daran

The latest flare up in the gender wars concerns a pair of T-shirts, which, so their respective critics complain, justify and encourage violence against males and against females. In addition, those on the Men’s Rights Activist Side have criticised feminists for failing to condemn the anti-boy shirt, while feminists in turn are questioning the motives of MRAs.
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