The Bitch, Bitch, Bitch


February 28, 2011, 1:32 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

For a little while, I’ve been regularly checking a radical feminist blog. I have mentioned it before, but I will not mention it now. You know, for posterity or something.

I put a lot of faith into the little community, I really did – there seemed to be a good number of intelligent people there. The posts were well-written, bringing in very important arguments. While discussion sometimes strayed into cray-cray land a little bit, I considered this a tactic to better convey the message.

In my own posts and essays, I find myself ready to… I don’t want to say water-down my argument, but… make sure I cover all my bases.  I try to avoid absolute or overly-general declarations. To not over-simplify complex issues. I try to do my best when necessary to explain basic, but remote, concepts, because what if someone who is completely naive to the subject matter stumbles along? Now, I don’t believe that this is my responsibility as a feminist – no member of any activist movement or underprivileged group is by default responsible for informing the naive (and to believe otherwise speaks to your privilege). But I don’t mind doing it. I like writing, I want to teach someday.  If I have to put down my axe for a minute to go over the schematics, that’s fine with me. Why? Because I think that when you get down to it, feminism is something that everyone, or at least a lot more people, could agree on if the “it’s a bunch of terrifying bulldykes” curtain is lowered. I know this because I used to be on the other side of that curtain. It wasn’t that I was intolerant,  but simply ignorant.

I also realize the stereotype that feminists are scary man-haters is largely undeserved. But that’s part of why I’m writing this.

See, I don’t fall into the “you’re doing feminism wrong and scaring people away!” trap, because that’s silly. If you can’t attract people under honest pretenses, what’s the point of attracting them at all? My tactic of making feminism “friendlier,” doesn’t seek to change the ideas behind feminism, rather only to introduce it in a more digestible fashion. Algebra looks hard and scary if you’re throwing giant equations at someone who’s never seen them before, so you start by explaining the basics. It’s still algebra.

On one comment thread, one of the followers accused a new male commenter (who was, admittedly, foolish to say the things he was saying) of “wanking off,” by commenting there. His retort was that this was a bigoted statement: to suggest that a man must be wanking off because he’s a man and we were all women on the internet is a blanket generalization.

And, well…  on a basic level, that’s true. Hell, at least he’s thinking.

SIDENOTE: I was also not entirely comfortable with using the act of masturbation as a pejorative – that’s the kind of shit that sends kids into complexes when they’re young and just beginning to develop sexually. Even when you’re making fun of men (which is shitty), I think it tends to affect women adversely, as well, because there tends to be more shame surrounding the act for girls. In general, middle school boys will have mentioned jacking-off to their peers without many ill effects, while most girls even saying the word could mean endless teasing and ostracisation.  Using it as an insult is immature and in poor taste.

When I told him that, yes, if that was her intention, he’d be correct in his assessment (but he wasn’t, and here’s why), I was met with the following comment:

“If you think women can be bigoted against men, this isn’t the blog for you.” It received four “likes.”

What the hell? I’ve been reading this blog for a year! I’m a fan on Facebook! It’s in my bookmarks bar! What do you mean it’s “not the blog for me?”

Maybe I took it too personally. What bothered me the most was that it so quickly gained support from other readers, support that any of my (what I thought were well-written and effective) refutations failed to collect. Apparently I missed the memo that the new manifesto is, unquestionably, “men suck,” and that anyone who fails to agree with this should get right the hell out.

There are two things I don’t like about this: the less important one is the sense of smug self-satisfaction conveyed through the comments, which can either take the form of, “If you don’t understand this drawn-out equation, you’re an idiot. Go read a book or something,” or, “-SIGH-, isn’t everything JUST terrible? Thank heaven WE’RE not so terrible!” Which, y’know. Real effective at getting anything done. It’s that “tut, tut, dearie, you just don’t understand how awful everything is because you’re so young and naive,” kind of argument. The kind that by design doesn’t need backing up, because it’s bullshit to start with.

The second, however, is paramount: if you’re going to dismiss the idea that women can make biased statements against men, where is the credibility? Is “men are evil baby-eaters,” just as valid an argument as “there are many men who do not recognize the advantages they have simply by being men?” Because they’re equally permissible by the standard that that sets, which is that everything women say must be true. It’s just not a verifiable point to argue from. Anyone can make a biased against someone else.

Further, at its core, discriminating on the basis of sex alone is, at its core, what I thought feminism sought to dismantle. The conversations that suggest the readers think it would be a good idea if all men were, say, vaporized have left me itchy.

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