|Men in the 3rd world |
Rwanda genocide '94
Combating the myth that women are oppressed in foreign cultures
One site really sticks out as the best for reporting mass killings of men and not just women. If you want to shame a feminist who is claiming women are an oppressed class because of having to wear a veil in Afghanistan may I recommend this site:
Although the site reports gendercide against both sexes and the introduction makes clear that men, and not women, are the usual targets of gendercide:
We believe that state-directed gender-selective mass killings have overwhelmingly targeted men through history, and that this phenomenon is pervasive in the modern world as well. Despite this prevalence of gendercide against males -- especially younger, "battle-age" men -- the subject has received almost no attention across a wide range of policy areas, humanitarian initiatives, and academic disciplines. We at Gendercide Watch feel it is one of the great taboos of the contemporary age, and must be ignored no longer.
I'm not in favour of women having to wear veils of course nor am I saying this is the worst that happens to women or men in Afghanistan. The point here is that feminists have politicised these issues and used them as sex-war propaganda against men. Even though men are overwhelmingly the true victims here, victims who happen to be women should not be ignored.
The Gender Page
Quotes courtesy of Jocelyn. Need verifying (she said)
Dr. Adam Jones, CIDE, Mexico City "Gender and Genocide in Rwanda":
"Accordingly, when the genocide ended in July 1994, Rwanda was left with a staggering demographic disproportion of adult women versus men: many authorities estimate that the adult population today is approximately 70 percent female. This article will use the "gendercide" framework to examine the 1994 events in Rwanda and their regional-historical context. The gendering of the killers as well as the killed will be considered - for example, it is also little-realized that the perpetrators of the genocide included large numbers of Hutu women."
David Buchanan, Amnesty International (Vancouver) "Gendercide and Human Rights":
"But having one particular identity has resulted in more suffering in human history than any other: that of being male. This often surprises the uninitiated... Separating out the men from the women and then killing, torturing and/or detaining the men has become so pervasive that when it happens it is often not the men, but the women or children, who receive journalists' attention."
Dr. Augusta C. Del Zotto, Syracuse University "Quasi-Morticide and Male Youth of Color in America":
Imagine a complex system of social discourses and practices that convinces you that you do not deserve to live. In the U.S., most African American boys expect to die before age 25 (Kunjufu, 1998). Likewise, many hispanic boys have acquired the perception that life is vicious and short, and expect a violent death at an early age (Hoard, 1999). The end result of such expectations is "quasi-morticide" -- the ritualized, self-fulfilled prophecy of young males of color. "Quasi-morticide" is a term coined by African-American physicians at John Hopkins University in the mid-1990's. It involves young males taking their behavioral cues from a circuit of culture (institutions, pop culture, etc.) which lead them to an almost guaranteed early death. Quasi-morticide theory assumes that a process of "male seasoning" occurs whereby males of color are "groomed" at an early age to begin choreographing their own deaths. Concepts of free will, self-determination, and pride of self are relinquished for ninilism informed by a self-hating view of race and class and gender. In this way, quasi-morticide is recognized as perhaps one of the most insidious forms of internalized colonialism within our post-modern era (West, 1995).
Gender apartheid in Afghanistan
Feminists claim that Afghanistan under the Taliban is a gender apartheid state and promote lists of attrocities that they say shows women are suffering (more than men) in Afghanistan. Closer examination of first hand accounts of life in Afghanistan shows that although the Taliban do impose gender apartheid the feminist account is exagerated, selective and deliberately biased so as to ignore the often far worse (but different) treatment of men within the country.
The purpose of this essay is to show that men are suffering at least as much as women, and to give an example of how feminism's own sex prejudices in insisting that women deserve more sympathy and media attention than men, have been projected onto the Taliban. In examining feminist myths about Afghanistan I am not defending theTaliban gender apartheid system. In fact in many ways feminists and Taliban agree that men and women should be separated out, and to a large degree they agree on why -- the supposed depravity of men. I am also certainly not seeking to dismiss the plight of women (or men) in Afgahnistan --- which is terrible, but just not all that much to do with gender.
The RAWA list
In tracing the source of many of the misconceptions about women in Afghanistan I came to see there was a pretty standardised list of attrocities that seem to be circulated by the web site of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). On the internet text gets copied and re-worded slightly, exagerated and re-told. However the source most often given for the list was RAWA. Here is their version of the list of issues for women in Afganistan,
women are totally deprived of the right to education (all girls’ school have been closed down), of the right to work (all women have been ordered to remain in their houses and employers have been threatened with dire consequences for taking up female employees), of the right to travel (no woman can venture out of the house alone and unaccompanied by a prescribed male member of the woman’s immediate family), of the right to health (no woman can see a male doctor, family planning is outlawed, women cannot be operated upon by a surgical team containing a male member), of the right to legal recourse (a woman’s testimony is worth half a man’s testimony; a woman cannot petition the court directly – this has to be done through a prescribed male member of her immediate family), of the right to recreation (all women’s recreational and sporting facilities have been banned, women singers cannot sing least their female voices ‘corrupt’ males, etc.), and of the right to being human (they cannot show their faces in public to male strangers, they cannot wear bright coloured clothing, they cannot wear make up, they can only appear outside their houses clad head to foot in shapeless bags called burqas, they cannot wear shoes with heels that click [least the clicking sound of their feet corrupt males], they cannot travel in private vehicles with male passengers, they do not have the right to raise their voices when talking in public, they cannot laugh loud as it lures males into corruption, etc. etc.)
see the original page
The statement about women's testimony being worth half mens and the redundant sounding statement that male surgeons cannot operate on women, appear to be unique to the RAWA list. I've been unable to find any basis or reference to these statements in any other sources (UN, US government, Amnesty, PHR, other journalists, other feminist groups or Taliban spokemen). The rest of the list is certainly based in fact but is exagerated and fails to mention that the situation for men is often as bad. As a whole though, the RAWA site prefers to attack the Taliban than ommit cases of discrimination against men, and so I will be using pages from the RAWA web site itself to point out problems with the list.
Education of women and girls
The Taliban have never said that the education of women is to be banned. What they have done is close down many schools for both sexes because most of the teachers were women, and as part of the policy of dividing the sexes women have been told to stay at home as much as possible. Mixed classes are not allowed of course. The Taliban have also rejected as communist most of the old textbooks, and many of the school buildings have been shelled and bombed. Most of these issues effect both sexes equally. As the RAWA site says (July 22 2000) 95% of children in Afghanistan do not attend school. But the 5% left does not exclude all girls by any means. RAWA reports that UNICEF claimed in January 2000 that "Primary school enrolment for both girls and boys is low" (10 percent of the girls in Afghanistan and 25 percent of the boys). Estimates vary quite a bit, but one thing to bear in mind is that school enrolment for girls in rural Afghanistan has always been low, even before the Taliban.
The repressive edicts that so outrage the West have long been the practice in most of rural Afghanistan, where 80 per cent of the population live. In the rural regions around the western city of Herat a year before the Taliban took control, there were, according to Save the Children UK, nearly 75,000 boys at school and fewer than 2000 girls. In the Afghan countryside women have never gone to school, left the village unaccompanied or chosen their husbands. There is no need to ban television - there aren't any sets.
Jason Burke of the Observer contests the media impage of the Taliban
The unoficial Taliban ambassador to the UN, has this to say on women's education in Afghanistan (16 March 2001)
Similarly we don't have any problem with women's education. We have said that we want education, and we will have education whether or not we are under anybody's pressure, because that is part of our belief. We are ordered to do that. When we say that there should be segregated schools, it does not mean that we don't want our women to be educated. It is true that we are against co-education; but it is not true that we are against women's education.
We do have schools even now, but the problem is the resources. We cannot expand these programs. Before, our government numerous curriculums were going on. There were curriculums that preached for the kings, curriculums that preached for the communists, and curriculums from all the seven parties. So, the students were confused as to what to study. We have started to unify the curriculum and that is going on.
Recently we reopened the faculty of medical science in all major cities of Afghanistan and in Kandahar. There are more girls students studying in the faculty of medical sciences than boys are. But they are segregated. And the Swedish committees have also established schools for girls. I know they are not enough, but that is what we have been able to do.
Sayyid Rahmatullah Hashemi in a lecture at the University of Southern California
The Taliban will need a lot of medically trained women because they intend to segregate medical services completely. The Swedish committes mentioned above is the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan's Education Technical Support Unit (the SCA's ETSU) and they have been sponsoring education of girls in Afghanistan for some time.
Women and the right to work
A story about poppy cultivation (August 20 2000) demonstrates that RAWA were aware that many women still do work outside the home, even outside of the medical sector where they are common. RAWA representatives continue to propagate the list which includes saying women have no right to work even through into the present day. (RAWA media list to 2001 last entry at present August 10 2001). As with the education issue RAWA's complaints are best representative of the small minority of elite women who lived and worked in Kabul and some other larger cities. It is Kabulis that are usually the women interviewd by reporters and featuring in reports. For example the PHR report on Afghan women's health recorded that the average interviewee had 12 years of education, which is incredibly high compared to even the pre-war national average. The emphasis on Kabul City is mentioned by this eye witness:
Over lunch and dinner at the UN mansion (with exercise room, satellite television and bar) they chronicled the horrors of the lack of health care, the treatment of women and generally how life sucked and apparently just for women. There was even a standard journo junket. The first stop was to see Mullah Qalaamuddin, the deputy head of the Religious Police (the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice), where every writer was assured to get a few giggles from the latest fatwah: no paper bags, no white socks, four fingers of beard and no picture-taking. Then off to a barber for a little humor, a clandestine visit to a girl's school, pack a lunch for the Friday executions and then back to Peshawar to file. The object of their journalist lust? The dreaded burqa, a garment worn by every women outside of cosmopolitan Kabul for centuries but suddenly held up as being a sign of the devil in Kabul. Not many paid attention when Hekmatyar made it mandatory long before the Talibs showed up. The writers never really mentioned that they were in the most destroyed city on earth, a militarily occupied zone with a war raging 15 kilometers to the north, rockets raining into the city and young men are pressganged. Somehow in their zeal to create women's rights in a country staggering to its knees, they forget to mention the complete lack of jobs, housing, medical care, health services and education for men
Many women in Kabul were employed in government offices and schools before the war. Offices now destroyed or abandoned. Amazingly the Taliban continued to pay these female office workers and teachers even though they were sent home woth no work to do as the RAWA site again recorded when they were finally fired from their non-existent jobs along with many men, in April 2000.
In September 1996 when the Taliban captured Kabul, their Supreme Leader Mulla Mohammad Omar issued a decree that women workers should stay at home, but promised to keep paying them regularly.
Female personnel, most of them teachers and administrative staff, came to their offices once or twice a month to sign their names and to receive the equivalent of five US dollars as monthly wages.
read the whole article at the RAWA site
And that five dollars was the going rate for male teachers who were still working for the money! This article in the New York Times (February 2000) estimates the unemployment rate in Kabul at 70%. Were women so much worse off?
An estimated 70 percent of the working age population of Kabul is jobless. For men, work is hard to find; for women, it is forbidden. Afghans in the countryside are thought to be better off; they can live off the land. In Kabul, there is nothing to reap from the dead factories or the shuttered stores.
read the full article
Somewhere I have a source saying 20% of women employed in Kabul....... if so the ratio of male to female employment is about the same as in Western countries for Kabul.
Women must be accompanied by a male relative
This regulation, if it was comprehensively enforced, would be far and away the worst of the list, (bad for men as well as women since the men have to spend their time escorting the women) and in theory its true. With the exception of the forced conscription of only men its probably the most sexist regulation in Afghanistan. In fact these two laws combine in a particularly ugly fashion --- because of the war, the death of so many adult men, and conscription, many women simply don't have any close male relative.
Fortunately comprehensive enforcement of this regulation would be impossible on so many levels and there are many exceptions both in practise and officially.
War widows for example, are allowed to travel alone and to find employment within restricted occupations as long as they don't have to work closely with men. The public transport in Kabul is segregated - meaning that any use of women only buses presupposes no male escort. In rural areas the rule is widely ignored as are many of the other religious rules enforced in Kabul. Despite the hysterical exagerations in some places I have found no indication that any woman has been killed for breach of the religious police laws. Regulation of these laws in Kabul seems to be like the speed limit in the US. Typically an offender is let off with a warning... but you never know your luck. Again from the RAWA site an activist visits Kabul without a male escort for several days and recorded no incident with the religious police because of it. The one incident she did have was over her wearing the burqa improperly.
One day my friend and I went to a bazaar to buy something. I was not used to wearing the burqa, since it was so very gloomy. So, I was wearing it so that my face was revealed, when suddenly a woman came toward me and shouted that a Talib was coming. "Please cover your face!" she said. I saw the reaction of the Talib from behind the burqa. He walked close beside me and his horrible and dreadful appearance made me shudder with fright. I thought he would whip me, but he contented himself with saying some bad words. It was the first time that I experienced a Talib's anger and it was very frightening.
read Sajida Hayat's full account
Another punishment is to be made to make a sort of prayer or public penance for the 'crime'. But as above it seems that wearing the burqa correctly is enforced more, and men have dress codes comparable for those of women.
Kabul has a curfew during which neither sex may be out and about.
Land mines are one of the most obvious public hazzards (after the religious police?) in Kabul and other parts of the country. Both in and out of the army men and children are more likely to be casualties than women. Now that women are forced to stay home men's exposure is increased further. War Child's investigation of landmines in Afghanistan (and other places) in 1995 found that one in ten (living) adult males in Afghanistan had been involved in a landmine incident. Kabul is the most heavily mined capitol in the world. Estimates of casualties by sex are harded to get data on because women's fuigures are aggregated with childrens (and most people in Afghanistan are children). Combining the report by the Human Rights Watch 1999 of 30% of landmine casualties being children, with the US State Departments estimate of 1998 that 40-50% of civilian casualties were of "women and children" suggests something like 60% of casualties due to men, 30% to children and 10% to women. Taking into account that half the population is children the proportional rate for children drops to approach that of women, but men seem to be hit at something like six times the rate of women. Number of incidents overall averaged 10-12 per day in 1998. Together with disabilities from the war and from birth defects due to ill health there are about 7-8 hundred thousand disabled people in Afghanistan now. A highly visible minority.
Dress codes of the religious police
The RAWA list correctly says women must wear the burqa, and they also list some other redundant rules about wearing white and not having lipstick --- but if you are wearing the burqa then who can tell any of that? There are also dress codes for men. In addition to suitable traditional clothing (no shorts for example) the man must wear a turban and most controversially he must grow a beard that is a minimum length such that it extends from his chin the length of a fist. Initially men were given 6 weeks to grow this beard. An impossibility for many men. This item on the list is accurate but it applies just as much to men as to women. In fact the RAWA site contains many reports of men detained or beaten for not having a regulation beard. Another restriction on men but not on women is that men must attend a Mosque for prayers five times a day whereas women are assumed (as per sex segregation) to pray at home during these times. Many of the arrests by the religious police were of men on the streets during these prayer times.
Who gets the worst of it from the religious police?
Occording to a Physicians for Human Rights report published by the AMA (which the UN and US government are happy to quote from as authoratative) which was interviewing Afghan (in fact only Kabuli) women about their health, it seems that men might be detained (arrested) by the religious police considerably more frequently (say six times as often as women) and that their arrests are likley to be for longer and far more likely to include what they called "torture".
This really shouldn't be suprising to anyone. What police force in all the world arrests and hassles women as much as it does men?
Is the burqa unhealthy?
One of the more absurd aspects of the reporting on Afghanistan has been the idea that the burqa causes ill health. Reporters have suggested that women are run down by (silent?) tanks because they cannot see clearly, or even more ridiculous that they lack vitamin D because they don't get enough sun light! Female correspondants seem to take especial delight in commenting on how they felt they were asphyxiating or worse while wearing this traditional garment! Meanwhile the real biggest killer in Afghanistan for both sexes? Diarrhoea.
Women and Health
RAWA's list claims that women cannot see a male doctor, and also claims all doctors are male since the women cannot work. Neither are true, but taken together they suggest that women in Afghanistan have zero health care of any kind. This is quite untrue and is understandably a very common confusion as a result of the circulation of the list. Once again despite continuing to circulate this list RAWA have been aware that their statement is false for a long time. The actual policy for women towards male doctors is that they may see a male doctor but the woman must be accompanied by a male relative -- which is supposedly a redundant restriction since women are supposed to be accompanied by a male relative when in public generally. Here is the article on RAWA (June 1998) where the Taliban announce this "new" restriction.
Naturally no male patient may be treated by a female doctor (and yes there are female doctors and medical staff) and the Taliban are working towards total segregation but I suppose they realised it wasn't practical to prevent woman seeing male doctors until there were enough functioning segregated facilities. As of June 2001 the Taliban are able to claim the conditions for women have improved a great deal since they took control of Kabul (and when we are talking about hospitals we are once again talking about only the largest cities)
Health facilities for women have increased 200% during Taleban administration. Prior to the Taleban Islamic Movement's taking control of Kabul, there were 350 beds in all hospitals in Kabul. Currently, there are more than 950 beds for women in exclusive women's hospitals. Some hospitals which have specifically been allocated to women include Rabia Balkhi Hospital, Malali Hospital, Khair Khana Hospital, Indira Gandhi Child Health Hospital, Atta Turk Hospital, Kuwait Red Crescent Hospital, Contagious Disease Hospital and T.B. Hospital. Moreover, there are 32 mother and child health clinics. In addition to this, women receive treatment at ICRC and the Sandy Gal Orthopaedic Centers. In all these hospitals and clinics, women work as doctors and nurses to provide health services to female patients.
read the entire article
The PHR report from back in 1998 criticised the Taliban for reducing the number of women exclusive hospital beds from 25% of the total (before the Taliban) to 20%. However the report did not attempt to quantify what sort of proportion would have been fair (since more men with serious injuries are coming in from the ongoing war and men's much increased exposure to landmines).
Although Taliban officials announced in January 1997 a policy of segregating men and women into separate hospitals, they did not strictly enforce it until September 1997, when the Ministry of Public Health ordered all hospitals in Kabul to suspend medical services to the city's half-million women at all but one poorly equipped clinic for women. After 2 months of negotiations with officials of the International Committee for the Red Cross, the Taliban reversed its policy and agreed to readmit women into most hospitals. However, despite this policy reversal, women have less access to hospital care than they did before the Taliban had banned women from hospitals. Prior to September 1997, approximately 25% of the medical and surgical hospital beds dedicated to adults were available for women. As of May 1998, only 20% of hospital medical and surgical beds dedicated to adults were available for women while 70% were allocated for men. Besides shutting female patients out of the hospitals, the Taliban also banned female hospital personnel, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and technicians, from working in any of Kabul's 22 hospitals until the policy reversal, when women were allowed to return to their jobs.
PHR: Women's Health and Human Rights in Afghanistan 1998
I haven't much to say about this minor complint on the list. The Talibs have banned a large number of forms of recreation for both men and women and usually on the exact same terms. One exception is that public team sports have all been banned for women as I understand it, whereas I think there's a functioning football stadium in Kabul (handy for those public excutions too). I don't know if there was any public team sports for women before the Taliban.
Conscription - the most sexist law in Afghanistan?
What would a list for men like the one circulated by RAWA look like? What issues would be on it? The biggest issue would be the fact that just like in all the wars the world over only men are forced to pick up rifle be removed from their homes and go and shoot their fellow man, or be shot, killed or disabled trying. Its a huge piece of discrimination against men. So big that it is rarely rememebered. If a woman is accidentally shot it hits the newspapers. A few hundred dead soldiers in some small battle is no big deal. Conscription in Afghanistan can include boys as well as men, although its hard to measure the rate. Certainly conscription is the single most unpopular issue in the rural areas where journalists rarely report from. Millions have died during the war of Soviet occupation and the 10 years of civil war since. Almost every family in Kabul has had a death from the war. Why is this not considered "gender apartheid" by the journalists and feminists who rightly express concern for the limits placed on women and their movements? Being conscripted is a lot bigger limitation on your movements than being forced to take a male relative with you if you leave your house.
Its not considered gender apartheid because its so common no one sees it. Besides.... if this was recognised as gender apartheid then every country in the world would have to be called a gender apartheid state. But in the US considerations of the draft seem very remote. In Afghanistan war is life. Most of the present population was born since the wars started.
Some might say, well men are expected to go to war. That's just the way it is. The Taliban would certainly agree with that. That's exactly the sort of attitude of fixed gender roles and the duty of men to protect weak women that is behind their sex segregation. Unfortunately no one told them that women can have it both ways as they can in the West -- pretend to be too weak to fight but at the same time demand they are strong enough to not need a male protector.
Gender separation -- Taliban vs Feminism
Feminists say that domestic violence shelters must be sex segragated. And the demand that not even a transgendered woman (a woman who was born a man and had surgery; legally changed sex) can counsel another woman who has been raped. Many women support the idea of living lives entirely segregated from men. Its called lesbian separatism. Many feminist utopias feature sex segregated societies. Feminists endorse the idea of "women's spaces" where men cannot be. You may recall the case of Mary Daly the feminist religious professor who refused to teach men in her classes?
Sexual harassment law vs Taliban's religious law
Think of sexual harassment laws. They are very similar to the way the Taliban religious police operate. Sexual harassment laws pick on potentially trivial details like a man telling a sexist joke and punish the man. Is this any different from punishing a woman for showing ankle? As with the Taliban the punishment may be a minor ticking off and public humiliation or it may be severe (loss of job). In both cases, Taliban and femminist, it is essentially random what will be seen as ok and what won't. That inconsistency is what leads to anxiety. Laws should be well defined. Sexual harassment laws also have in common with the Taliban religious police the concept of on the spot justice without any of the usual protections of law. No due process. Employers and Universities set their own rules and set their own review procedures. The individual has no right to due process, witnesses, trial or the presumption of innocence.
|Rwanda genocide '94 |
Its sexist against women when half the male population is dead
UN Welcomes Rwanda's New
Property Laws for Women
March 20, 2000
United Nations - A senior U.N. official welcomed on Monday Rwanda's new inheritance law that allows females as well as males to benefit from land and other properties. Rwanda's parliament adopted the legislation, that allows legitimate children of a deceased to ''inherit in equal parts without any discrimination between male and female children'' late last year but its constitutional court gave its approval this year.
Since the genocide in 1994, in which some 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed, some 45,000 households are headed by orphaned children, 90 percent of them girls, according to Olara Otunnu, the U.N. envoy for children and armed conflict.
''I congratulate the Government of Rwanda for taking this bold step to rectify an injustice created by this age-old practice. This is a practical way of redressing one of the consequences of the genocide,'' Otunnu said. Some two-thirds of the world's nation have equal rights inheritance laws, although they are not all enforced.
And we have quite a few essays as well:
|Just Sex War |
If you want sexual equality why would you ever join an explicitly sex-biased movement? Whether it's feminism or masculism does it make any sense to advocate explicitly for just one sex if your goal is justice and equality for both? This has tended to be my thinking for a while now, but recently I thought I'd turn that around and instead ask, if a legitimate sex-biased movement for sexual equality did exist, what would it look like?
Early Christian philosophers asked if there could be such a thing as a just war, or if all war is inherently wrong. Some came up with a qualified "yes". War could be right, if it was fought for a good cause but in addition it must do little harm and considerable good. Now in the sex war the sides are not men and women in two disjoint groups, but rather those two groups are the targets, or the land fought over. Its about whose concepts of gender will come to be accepted by society, including people who never worry about these issues.
I am not literally questioning whether struggling against gender injustice is right or not. I take it for granted that it is. I am questioning to what extent it is legitimate to deliberately use a sex-biased approach to sexual equality on a "the ends justify the means" basis. This is the issue at the heart of the original just war concept. Does a goal of peace justify violence? Does equality justify bias? Here are my criteria for a sex-biased sexual equality movement then, where this bias might be justifiable.
1. Have knowledge of both sexes' issues and experiences
2. Try to objectively assess the issues and ensure that the one sex you advocate for is significantly disadvantaged
3. Don't scapegoat or blame the other sex
4. Do no harm. Don't introduce 'reverse' sexism or 'affirmative' action
5. Consider the movement to be short term with limited goals and aims.
6. Reject ideas based on sexual exclusivity and divisiveness, e.g. that "only women can really be feminists"
7. Carefully distance yourself from those who would usurp the movement or use its name for sexist ends.
8. Ensure there is no way to achieve your goals through a movement without an explicit sex-bias.
In putting together the list I am trying to think over my reasons for not identifying as a masculist. IMO feminism has failed on every single one of these criteria, and on most it failed even from its earliest beginnings. What of the men's movement? Have they learned from the mistakes of feminism? I think they have as far as the first four points go. I think they have problems with the last four points.
|Equity feminism - a contradiction |
Does the word "feminism" have any meaning?
This is the central contradiction hidden behind the stance of those who claim to oppose sexism but continue to use the feminist label. On the one hand they are forced into a position where they must deny that they are anything to do with what passes for normal feminist sexism these days. Statements like "feminism means different things to different people" or "This is what I mean by feminism" make feminism a meaningless title. On the other hand they continue to insist that being called a feminist is important to them because it represents "equality". Well they can't both be true. Does feminism have any objective meaning or is it entirely whatever the feminist says it is?
What they are really saying is this,
"I want feminism to have my meaning; equality but I can see that to many it means the exact opposite; sexism, prejudice and bigotry. Since I don't want to get blamed for all that I'll pretend it has no meaning at all when it suits me to deny my involvement with a sexist movement, and pretend its meaning is vital when it suits me to claim I am fighting to recover the true meaning of the movement.
Equity feminists so-called need to quit trying to cover up the damage they do by associating with hate. If it is genuinely their opinion that the feminist movement is redeemable from the bigots who they recognize are running the show at the moment, then they need to be very clear what they are doing. Because the bigots certainly are.
The so-called gender feminists have no problem recognizing the enemy and laying claim to the movement. They will tell you that anyone who says the are pro-life for example, but claims to be a feminist is a liar. Women and men claiming to be feminists who have dared to criticize feminist hate propaganda have received death threats. There's non of this "feminism means different things" nonsense coming from the gender-feminists. Their beliefs are exclusive. Only equity feminists seem to be happy with a movement that is just as accepting of hate as of equality. I have not yet met an equity feminist who has told me that even the worst examples of feminist bigotry, such as Andrea Dworkin, is not a real feminist.
Does "feminism" have a meaning?
The Feminist Majority Foundation obviously thinks feminism has a clear enough meaning. This hate group have chosen their name on the basis that inflating the number of feminists people think are out there, as they do, is good for pushing their hateful policies. They even have a special page for registering as a feminist: The feminist census.
IF THERE'S ONE THING POLITICIANS AND BUSINESS LEADERS UNDERSTAND, IT'S NUMBERS. THE MORE WHO PARTICIPATE IN THE CENSUS, THE MORE DRAMATIC THE IMPACT
There's nothing new about pushing for your political views by using the word "majority" of course. It's a sound principle that you will have more influence to push whatever position you want if you can show or make it seem that many people agree with you.
Stand up and be counted... as what?
Just like voting for a political party there is power in a mass of people declaring their support for a label. But once you have filled out your Feminist Majority census form, once you have stood up and declared you are a feminist --- in a sense once you have "voted" for feminism, who is controlling the power that your political statement translates into? We all know it isn't the "equity" feminists.
Just as the common German people were responsible for voting Hitler into power so equity feminists continue to "vote" for feminist sexism. This is true whether they agree with the sexist policies or not. It's time they took responsibility for their actions instead of pretending they are Humpty Dumpty. If they do not want to be held accountable for their part in feminist hate then don't support it.
If there was ever one favorite excuse for feminist sexism it is this:
"Of course there are some extremists..."
As with many slogans the phrase does not invite any sort of critical analysis. It's never followed by evidence, and no challenge is expected. It's a given. All movements have extremists. Everyone knows that! What could you possibly say to argue against such a self-evident fact? It might even be said that its a healthy thing for a movement. Well.... is it?
Movements do have extremists, but in what sense is the word used by feminists? An extremist within a movement is someone who agrees with the movement's essential tenets but emphasizes them beyond the norm, until their views begin to conflict with common sense or the law. Often condemned or criticized by their own side they are a minority view, which is often an embarrassment, but can also express ideas in a purer form which the mainstream might latter endorse fully.
Now let us look at how this favorite feminist excuse uses the term. Typically they will be replying to an accusation that feminism is not an egalitarian movement. Perhaps examples of specific feminists making obviously sexist comments like "All Men Are Rapists". They admit that some "extremists" are obviously not interested in sexual equality, but that these people do not represent real feminism.
The flaw here is that extremists do believe in their movements' issues. Passionately. Hence "extreme". But feminists call people "extremists" when they don't believe in sexual equality at all. These people (e.g. Marilyn French, Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Valarie Solanas, etc., and groups such as NOW) are not dismissed as unrepresentative of feminism for wanting equality too much but for not wanting it at all! They are not extreme-egalitarian they are anti-egalitarian. If feminism were about equality these people would be condemned as enemies offeminism.
Two explanations are possible for this confusion by feminists between 'extremist' and 'enemy'. The first is that they don't know what the word extremist means and genuinely believe that all movements contain people, even popular leaders, who are openly working precisely against the aims of the movement.
The second explanation is that, yes, these people really are feminist extremists, but that feminism is not interested in equality -- only in women. Then they fit the meaning of extremist very well. They are pro-woman as all feminists are, but they take it too far. Unfortunately this second explanation, most likely the true explanation, contradicts what the feminist apologetic was trying to say -- that feminism is not just about women, rather it is about sexual equality; both sexes.
All movements have extremists within them, true, but how many movements have enemies? Popular people within them who are actually opposing the very basis of the movement? This is the fiction feminists are trying to foist when they say, "Oh yes there are sexist feminists but they are just extremists.". Anti-male bigotry is a natural and tolerated result of a movement that is biased towards women, but would be inexplicable and anathema in a genuine sexual equality movement.
For example, the pro-life movement has extremists who break the law to harass women seeking abortions. But these extremists are often denounced by other pro-lifers. They are not leaders in the movement. And most importantly these extremists are actually pro-life in their views. There are no enemies in positions of leadership. Peter Singer for example, is not somehow thought to be pro-life.
The animal rights movement has extremists who threaten scientists involved in animal experiments. Respectable animal rights groups disassociate from these tactics. But no one doubts that these terrorists are interested in animal rights.
Feminist extremists are telling us something about feminism. They are telling us that open bigotry against men is an acceptable philosophy for a feminist. They are telling us that feminism is not an equality movement even in theory, but at best a movement within which equality is tolerated alongside its opposite.
What would a genuine egalitarian extremist look like? For one thing they would probably risk breaking the law for their cause. But what we usually mean by extremist is someone who goes too far in the right direction. How can you want too much equality? Is it even possible? I think it is. I think an egalitarian goes too far if they become procrustean.
The word comes from an ancient mythological Greek bandit, Procrustes, who was so committed to equality that he would lengthen his victims on the rack, or cut them down to equal size by removing their feet. As an example, today we could say someone was procrustean if they demanded that since women have the right to demand abortion over the wishes of the father, that a father should have the same equal right to demand that the mother have an abortion, over her wishes -- or else neither one should have the right.
I don't think I've ever met someone who said this seriously unless they were pro-life in the first place! True egalitarian extremists must be very rare indeed.
|No Good Feminists? |
A reply I posted to The American Partisan's board
James, you seem to ascribe to the "good cop, bad cop" view of feminism. You say there a lots of nice feminists out there and although the bad feminists are a tiny minority by some fluke they have been the tail waging the dog for many decades.
To be brief: I just don't believe that.
What have all these wonderful "equity" feminists been doing for the last 40 years please? Its clear that some are now getting uneasy as the backlash builds up and have decided to throw a few of their worst bigots to the wolves, but for the last 40 years its apparent they have been very happy to have these people doing their dirty work.
You attempted to tell us that feminism was about equality. That's like telling me MacDonalds is a vegetarian restaurant. In fact I think they've just brought out some new salad thing -- so that's probably far too strong a case to be comparable. Most feminist literature I have read is far more honest in saying feminism means more for women. What you really mean is you WISH feminism meant equality.
Get a clue. F-E-M-inism.
It doesn't help your case if you can't be honest enough to recognize the obvious. Someone might think you were a feminist yourself acting like that! If you genuinely think feminism is about equality my apologies, and I have a bridge you might be interested in buying....
Certainly some feminists are worse than others. On the whole the more involved in the movement the worse the feminist is. Ignorance is bliss. But since you obviously are not ignorant then start of by recognizing facts.
If you look at what is meant by hate and you look at what feminists are saying about men the conclusions are obvious. The most outspoken voice of feminism on men is the one that says men are inherently subhuman. Violent, criminal, stupid, emotionally stunted, sadistic rapists. Feminists are working away to eliminate men's rights and build up special protections for women. These are NOT extremists. This is the normal view of men within the movement. This view is being propagated and even in some cases made into law. The KKK are probably green with envy at what feminists get away with.
The extremist view is that all men should be killed and women should in the mean time only have sexual relations with other women to avoid the stench of men. Meanwhile "turd" men who support feminism castigate themselves and other men while feeling unworthy to bear the holy name of "feminist" and so call themselves "profeminist men".
Frankly you know this is all true. You just want to argue that it should all be ignored for the sake of feminists who claim its nothing to do with them because they are nice feminists. Maybe if they hadn't felt it was nothing to do with them things wouldn't have turned out that way. Too late now anyway. If the bigots "stole" feminism then the "equity" feminists were driving the getaway car. Its more than a little late to pretend to be surprised.
Any right minded person in favor of equality should have nothing to do with this hate movement except to condemn it.
|The average feminist |
Is the average feminist a nice 'grrl', or a sexist liar?
These days there's a tendency to be cautious about saying people are basically all good and kind. We know there's a strong tendency for people to be influenced by authority figures and by the need to fit in, and this can easy get them to justify in their own mind immoral behavior.... and a lot of people don't need much of an excuse....
But perhaps when I say "people" I should really say "men". We understand men have a dark side but still tend to think of women as pure and innocent. One of the objections frequently raised to the hypothesis that feminism is a hate movement is that surely normal average feminists are nice grrls? Surely feminists who are ordinary women couldn't be supporting the lies and the sexism? There must be some "mistake". Perhaps feminism has been "stolen" from these righteous and innocent women by a tiny minority of "extremists".
Well, in my experience, yes, the average feminist fits very well with the hypothesis that feminism is hate. If you are experiencing anything different then its likely that you need to dig beneath the paper thin exterior that feminists present to the world. Don't just ask if they support equality. They all say they do. Ask them on a specific topic. Immediately you'll start getting a different kind of reply. My favorite topic to prove this point at the moment, is the latest addition to the Violence Against Women Act. This is a good topic to gauge feminists on because (1) the act is explicitly discriminatory against men. (2) its very easy to confirm this, and (3) almost all feminists will support VAWA but lie about this fact (if they express an opinion).
Its amazing how easily this works!
If there's a feminist handbook, page 1 must tell them to lie about VAWA
I swear its a compulsion for feminists to lie about VAWA. There seems no other reason why, lemming-like, they all rush to repeat the same obvious lie again and again and again! No, not absolutely every feminist will, lie, but if they say anything at all, I'd say a good 80% will lie. And because its so easy to check the facts these lies often become increasingly forceful, desperate even, to convince people that the feminist is totally sure of what they say. Well let's have some real on-line examples....
From About.Com's Women's Issues board.
"Oh, but you know what? Despite the gendered name of the law, the actual law IS gender neutral."
"May I say then, that this is an important reason for you to read the whole bill? To merely read the title and a couple of excerpts is not really going to tell you anything, and you may have a distorted view of what it really says."
"I also disagree that VAWA projects a bigoted stereotype. Read the act. It doesn't. If you're referring to the name, I can meet you halfway and agree that perhaps it's not inclusive enough, or accurate enough to describe what the act does."
In reply to a quote from the text of the act on the government site for VAWA:
"The reason is because this is for the Violence Against Women Office, which specializes in crimes against women. How many times do I have to tell you this?
This section of distribution is specific for that office"
If feminism is an anti-male hate movement then what about the male feminists? Can these men really hate themselves (or rather feel contempt for themselves)? I think the answer is "yes" and the term pro-feminism is an example of this.
Profeminist is a term used by many male feminists who feel that to call themselves simply 'feminist' would be inappropriate because they are not good enough to be feminists. Only women can be true feminists.
Why do you call yourselves profeminist and not just feminist?
The simple answer is that it is inappropriate for men to call ourselves "feminists". This argument takes a variety of forms, including the following: Feminism is a movement and a body of ideas developed by, for and about women. Men can never fully know what it is like to be a woman.
Pro-feminists remind me of the lowly turds which Valarie Solanas suggested would help to kill other men on behalf of their female betters. The self-loathing in the writing of some of these men is truly sickening (I'm thinking of John Stoltenberg here). The mere existence of the term as a generally accepted title for many male feminists speaks volumes about feminism and its contempt of men. It is good evidence of feminism as a hate movement because it is pervasive and along with Lesbian Separatism it outlines a hierarchy or caste system within the feminist movement with members judged according to how much of the taint of maleness they have. "Taint" is a word they will really use to describe men's support for women's feminism, as you can see in an example of pro-feminist self-flagelation and bigotry from the NOW debate board. (I was able to post initially, before their censorship policy began.)
I have many reservations in regard to posting on this page. While it is a wonderful resource for us to perhaps read and begin questioning our own views and behaviors, I feel that, in a way, the site is tainted by men's comments. I do, however feel the overwhelming desire to respond to David Byron's attacks.
I believe that all men are potential rapists. Regardless of my community obligations, friendships or social status, I am a potential rapist. Given this, I would like to say a few things to Mr. Byron. I find your statement claiming that more men are raped than women to be ludicrous. If for no other reason than this: most rape goes unreported. I can't remember the actual statistic, but, I know that every time I guess, it turns out to be worse than I thought.
As a matter of fact, David, if right now someone presented me with accurate data to support the fact that more men are raped than women, if YAHWEH descended from the heavens and fully backed the claim, it would not matter to me. It would not matter because of this: It is men who are raping people. Men forcefully and violently impose themselves on people every second of every day. Even when we're not realizing that we're doing it, we're doing it. Even when we look back at past relationships and situations and think, "Wow, that was me at my best," it really wasn't us at our best. Men don't have a best yet. Men gave all of the best to women, forcing them to assume roles as accepting, loving and nurturing people.
No one deserves to be raped, David, obviously. In the case of a male, however, I can only guess that the temporary loss of privilege would muster at least a second or two of clarity. I know two white men that have been raped, one as a small child and one as a teenager. Both of them stand out to me as being extraordinarily sensitive toward the power dynamic in male-female relationships. However, these men are both potential rapists.
To respond to your other point, there is no sexism toward men. I can honestly say that I belive this to be the truth. Hatred of women is so ingrained in this country, it's so massive that people like you can consider yourself to be underprivileged. That sir, is a feat. I am not going to try and guess the exact injustices to which you can be referring, but, I will say this: Any time you detect an inequality favoring women, it is an abstraction of the truth. If after close consideration of all the facts, you still consider the inequality to be apparent, let it slide. Be uncomfortable. Give up some of your privilege.
At one time, I believed radical feminism to be extreme. I thought it to be a militant organization of man-hating lesbians. This is exactly the view we are forced to see from the perspective into which people like you and I are born. It is a brainwashing of the worst kind. It's terrifying and it's not going away. All that we can do is reconcile it within ourselves and try to simultaneously give up our privilege and use it in positive ways to promote change.
In closing, I would like to say this: It is the year 2000. Things are serious. This is crucial, David Byron.
Not all male feminists are like this of course, but I'd say about half are.
A little while ago I came across a man-bashing jokes web site run by a woman named Helene. Looking at the jokes, many of them were pretty awful, and some little more than blatant vilification wrapped in the form of a joke. In full crusader mode I decided to take her to task over the sexism of presenting men (only men) in such brutal stereotypes! Oh yes!
But what I wasn't counting on was being bowled over by the graciousness of her reply. All the more surprising now that I know how much hate-mail she used to accumulate on that site, mostly from angry guys. Well of course I have to sing her praises, because in a short time she had completely turned me around on this issue. Though I like to think I am open minded, it doesn't often happen that I am persuaded so quickly. I was deeply impressed with Helene.
When is a Joke Not A Joke?
The key attitude of a hate movement is contempt. But many jokes are based on a similar idea of making fun of someone or of some group. What is the difference between ridiculing a group and having contempt for a group? The form of words involved might be the same. Both might use and spread negative stereotypes of the group to make their point. Perhaps it would be better to ask, if a joke makes use of negative stereotypes, when is it legitimate to use it as a joke, and when does it become contempt? When is a joke not a joke?
For some I think the answer will be that all use of negative stereotypes is wrong. This is not so much an issue of freedom of speech --- because not all speech that is "wrong" is banned --- but it is saying negative stereotypes in the form of an awful joke are never appropriate.
Jokes have an appropriate use --- to facilitate intimacy and communication; to help people get along; to be funny. Helene's story of how she came to start the menjoke page (which she has now placed on the site) shows that even the worst jokes can be successfully used this way at least sometimes.
Jokes have an inappropriate use too --- vehicles for contempt, where the underlying current of the joke is this is how things really are. I think I've seen too many jokes used like that.... kudos to Helene for reminding me that women who really detest men don't exchange jokes with them --- they keep as far away from men as possible.
Satire and Parody
Men Control Everything!
|Magic Y chromosome |
The purpose of a hate movement's lies is to spread their stereotypes and vilification of the target group. All wars have propaganda and in the sex war their is plenty of propaganda. Fairy tales are a good vehicle for a lie because they are difficult to falsify. However there is a problem. What good does it do me to convince people that, say, all men in the past were routinely and casually oppressive towards women, if I can't move that into the now? The men are not the same men as today, and the women are not the same women. How can this help show men today are oppressive? How can it be used to push for harsh limits on men today? In the same way how can stories of oppression in a far away country be turned into a justification for concrete sexist laws "protecting" women from men in the West? In the USA?
It's a simple enough idea. One man guilty? All men guilty. Maleness itself is guilty. To be a man is to be guilty. Or to be black. Or to be a Jew. Or to be gay. The target group must be stereotyped and their individuality denied so that stories about men in the past behaving badly (whether true or false) are an excuse for reprisals and revenge against totally different individuals today.
It's the magic of the Y-chromosome. Sin is passed on from father to son in feminist doctrine just as it is in some Christian doctrine. As a possessor of a Y-chromosome you are accountable for all the sins (real or imagined) of any other man throughout history.
Perhaps you've heard feminists say, (and I know I have many times) as an excuse for some man-bashing or sexism, "Well men have had their way for centuries, now it's our turn" and maybe you thought the revenge justification was petty, but that misses the point. Revenge on whom?
Group guilt is a good sign of a hate movement and it is pervasive throughout feminism at all levels. This is why feminists generally dismiss violence against men if the attacker is another man. It's just men attacking men they say. Of no more moral consequence than if a person had decided to assault and beat up themselves. Men deserve it. Men deserve everything because everything is men's fault. Don't try to think about it too rationally. It's only possible because of the magic of the Y-chromosome.
Lazy enough to slap another post to a board until I can rewrite my thoughts here. This was in reply to comments on the iFeminism board.
::Usually feminist boards censor
::this type of discussion
: -They do not on this board.
I have the distinction of being the very first person banned and censored from several feminist boards who seemed to pride themselves on their commitment to freedom of speech and so on *before* my arrival. In such cases the rules of the forum are usually changed after the fact to prove the administrator was within the rules for banning me.
My general experience with feminism on this issue is one of incredible hypocrisy.
The most recent example was the Ms magazine board. Shortly after my arrival I made my usual spiel about how feminist board always censor conflicting opinions. Again on cue the administrator and regulars assured me no one had ever been banned. Within two weeks (and that's actually pretty good for a feminist board) the board had new rules about posting. Several of my posts were censored. Many threads were started to specifically ask for me to be removed by the freedom loving feminists.
I repeatedly asked very specific questions about the wonderfully vague new rules for posting. I asked if specific words would be counted as illegal, leading to a ban. The administrator refused to answer any of my questions three times -- replying each time but refusing to specify one way or the other.
I went on holiday (I'd mentioned I would be away for 5 days) and came back to find I had been banned on the last day before my return. Reason specified was the use of the words I had specifically asked about. I was told these words were obviously offensive. Words were "liar" and "bigot".
The administrator did not mention my being banned on the board despite twice promising to me that she would mention if she banned me (in response to my mentioning that typically the feminist administrator will seek to ban someone and pretend they left of their own accord). Because of the 5 days I was away before I knew I was banned this tactic worked especially well in this situation and there was little protest about the censorship by others.
This sort of behavior is typical and is not limited to "gender" feminists such as you'd expect from the likes of Ms. I was also the first person banned from "Feminist Utopia"
This is what you would probably call an equity or individualist feminist board. In this case again the rules were changed specifically to ban me (just after the ban in this case) and discussion of the ban was censored on the board.
In summary, yes feminists will put up with a certain level of disagreement so long as it is getting nowhere past their usual defenses of dismissal insult and lies, but a fundamental criticism is invariably banned. Where banning is not an option the feminist simply run away [see alt.feminism for example]
|Lesbian Separatism |
More soon. For now a quotation or three......
"Feminism is the theory, Lesbianism is the practice"
Who said that?
"The New Victorians", René Denfeld p31,
"But for feminists there is one thing that ties all men together -- no matter whether they are poor, rich, white, Asian, black, religious or atheist--and current feminists have seized upon this one thing as the identifying patriarchal link, and thus, the wellspring of all oppression.
That, in short, is the penis.
While this may sound absurd--and is--leading feminists have developed a theory that labels male sexuality and the practice of heterosexuality as the foundation of sexism and virtually all other forms of oppression. Feminist theorists have gone beyond blaming male-dictated law for sexual inequality and now blame what they term the "institution" of heterosexuality, or heterosexual sex. "I believe that we must explain how heterosexuality is central to our oppression," declared a paper presented at a 1981 London conference on sexual violence, "and urge women to withdraw from heterosexual relations."
This paper, "Obscuring Men's Power," can be found in Women Against Violence Against Women, ed. Dusty Rhodes and Sandra McNeill (Only women Press, 1985), p. 260. This theme was echoed throughout the conference on violence. A paper titled "Sexual Pleasure and Women's Liberation" by Margaret Jackson (p. 217) asserts that there "seems to be a widespread assumption that sexual pleasure is something every woman has a "right" to, whether with herself, with other women, or with men." Not so, according to Jackson, she doesn't see "how we can ever assume consent under male supremacy, and it is difficult to see how a philosophy of "anything goes" can help us to work out a feminist sexual practice." Jackson concludes that "the whole ideology of sexual liberation can to a large extent be seen as a backlash" against feminism.
"Olga Vives, chair of NOW's national lesbian rights taskforce, stated in the March 24th 1992, issue of _The Advocate_that she estimates that 40% of all NOW members are lesbian."
"The New Victorians" René Denfeld p42.
Feminists often mention that women are more than half of the population. What they fail to mention is that from birth men are the majority. Men die at higher rates than the "oppressed" women even at younger age groups. If there was equality in death feminists would be able to claim women were a true minority. Would they be happy then?
|Humpty Dumpty Feminism |
There's glory for you!
I don't know what you mean by "glory," Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. Of course you don't--
till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"
But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument," Alice
When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful
tone, it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor
The question is, said Alice, whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.
The question is, said Humpty Dumpty, which is to be master--
Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
As usual Alice's intuition is correct. Words have meanings, but the favourite way for a feminist to deflect criticism of their involvement with the rest of the feminist movement, is to say "but my feminism isn't like that". In saying this they are admitting they know that much of feminism is bad news. They also implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) agree that much of the leadership of feminism, and the most well known feminists are the worst sort of sexist bigots. In other words that if there are good feminists and bad feminists, it is the bad feminists who are in control.
But when they say that have their own version of feminism they do not claim an exclusive right to the movement. Very rarely will any feminist say "those people are not feminists". Rarely I have seen it, in the most extreme cases of outstanding bigotry, such as Andrea Dworkin, but it would be hard to deny that, for example, Gloria Steinem is a feminist. No. Instead the claim being made is that there are many types of feminism and that it is appropriate for both bigots and egalitarians to call themselves feminists. Any challenge to any specific feminist about their accountability for the wrongs of the movement as a whole can thus be met with "oh that's not me".
But these claims are disingenuous. Feminists are proud to be feminists. Its often said that saying you are a feminist is itself a feminist act. The feminist webring, for example specifically requires a graphic logo so that feminists will clearly and proudly identify themselves. If feminism is so open to all philosophies that egalitarians and sexual bigots are equally acceptable, then what is there to be proud of? What are these people proudly saying when they say they are a feminist?
There is a fundamental dishonesty about pretending that feminism is so open as to be a meaningless term when the issue is accountability, and then saying you are proud to be a feminist. Clearly feminism has a set of core values and these values are quite compatible with bigotry. It is these values which all feminists endorse and are proud of. But what core value could be wide enough to include, on the subject of gender relations two so apparently opposite camps? It is this (the definition of feminism which Naomi Wolf uses in Fire with Fire in fact): feminism is all about more for women.
But no matter what Humpty Dumpty feminists say the word means, feminism remains a movement run by sexist bigots, opposed to sexual equality. Knowing this, feminists who still proudly support the movement and help to give legitimacy to what would otherwise be seen as the ramblings of lunatics, have a charge to answer.
|Child of the Glacier |
This is an extract from an essay -- I think it was called Child of the Glacier by M.Adams which appeared in Men Freeing Men (edited by Francis Baumli). I'd like to find some more stuff by Adams because I think it is a great piece. Unfortunately because of copyright this is only an extract. (paragraphing may be different from original)
One Sunday morning in the spring of 1961, my family had invited our next-door neighbours to go to church with us. I was nine years old. After parking the car, the seven of us were walking the several blocks down St Paul Street to the Church. My mother, my sister and the woman from next door walked and chatted together, while my father and I, the man from next door, and his son walked silently behind. It was a bright spring day and I was full of a child's energy. I decided that I wanted to be the one to point out our church to the visiting neighbours, and I began to run ahead of the group to do so.
I never got the chance; as I ran ahead, my father grabbed my wrist and yanked me back violently, hurting my arm and almost pulling me off my feet. "Never walk in front of the ladies!" he said sternly, still holding my arm. "That's not polite! Always walk _behind_ the ladies!" Immediately, two thoughts came into my nine-year-old mind. First I wondered why in the world men should have to walk behind women, and I decided that I didn't like that rule. Then it occurred to me that my father would never have yanked on my sister that way, no matter _what_ she had done. From that moment on, I hated - consciously - anything that anyone expected from me simply because I was male.
I imagine I was one of the first masculinists... or at least one of the youngest, for it was with _conscious_ awareness and a _conscious_ opposition that I mentally noted and logged every form of discrimination against males that I encountered for the remainder of my childhood. At that age, it was athletic expectations and the training in points of etiquette that plagued me. I was expected to participate in every boy's sport, to _want_ to participate, and to do _well_ -or at least to keep trying until I _could_ do well. Whenever I tried and failed, I was mocked and chided; whenever I said I wasn't interested and refused to try, I was severely scolded. Girls, I could see, were not expected to perform in these capacities, and though I could never quite see what it was they were doing on the other side of the playground, it always looked a lot more interesting, a lot more imaginative, a lot more creative... a lot more fun.
In addition to "walking behind the ladies", there were such customs as opening doors, pulling out chairs, having to stand whenever a woman entered or left the room, and having to pay for things. The "ladies first" syndrome always made me fiercely angry. The old "I can hit you, but you can't hit me back because I'm a girl" routine angered and humiliated me beyond description. That boys were always dealt much more severe punishments for a given act than were girls would throw me into a rage. It was significant to me that these unfair customs and punishments were condoned and administered by adult _women_ as well as by adult men. No matter how many times my parents and teachers told me that these things were traditional and correct, none of it made sense to me and I couldn't tolerate any of it.
Though these were conscious sensibilities, I learned quickly never to express them to my elders, who considered them naughty and maladjusted. From about the age of eleven, the pragmatic ramifications of sexism became more serious; any task or chore involving physical strength or exertion was automatically to be done by males; any task or chore involving risk or danger was automatically to be done by males. Meanwhile I continued to catalog, in my mindful of the sexist attitudes, policies and laws that I had observed or experienced. Sometimes, I would try to talk about these ideas to other kids my own age. None of them understood, none of them were interested. In the course of growing up, they had managed to adjust, and they didn't seem to care. During those pubescent years, I discovered that the sore spot on my life created by etiquette was malignant, and that it festered and grew, with the coming of adulthood, into something horrible called "chivalry".
Chivalry dictated that men risk their lives for women, and accept death outright if it meant saving a woman. It was a fearful moment when I realised that the term "innocent women and children" no longer included me. It was at the age of fourteen that I decided to strike the word "coward" from my vocabulary. The word and the concept were entirely sexist to me, and had no meaning. I entered high school in 1967. I was growing closer and closer to the Viet Nam war. At age fifteen, I began to have an obsessive, maniacal fear of the military draft. The urgency of the draft/war situation prompted me to start expressing my beliefs about sexual equality. I did so compulsively, crazily thinking that if I convinced enough people that I was right, the wheels of sexism and war and selective service would grind to a screeching halt just before my eighteenth birthday.
I would try in my own confused way, to describe a society where men and women would be truly equal. I always tried to demonstrate that the advantages of such a system would be tremendous to _both_ men and women. I had been able to figure out the more basic, obvious aspects of women's liberation on my own, and I never failed to include them in my argument. But this was in 1967, and not even the current wave of the women's movement had reached our part of the world then; of course nobody shared my views, nobody really even understood, and most people thought I was crazy. There was little else in my life at that time to offer any solace or diversion.
These were my adolescent years, and my avant-garde outlook on sex-roles played havoc with my concept of sexuality. There was the normal emotional bind created by the clash between my sexual attraction for women and the Mariological guilt-complex instilled in all young men. While I was trying to convince myself that I shouldn't feel guilty about my sexual desires, the whole thing was further complicated by a feeling of deep hurt that women did not seem to return those desires (to men in general). I not only wanted girls, and felt guilty about it, but I also wanted for them to want _us_, and was insulted by the fact that they didn't. There were some girls who were more sexually free and aware, but they invariably favoured the macho-jock types, and regarded me as a waste of a male body.
Those girls who intellectually prefered more sensitive boys were almost always extremely prudish, which served only to aggravate my sexual guilt. Despite the fact that my sexual feelings were completely heterosexual, I began to realise that there were certain aspects of the female sexuality of which I was jealous. Women seemed to have a purely aesthetic sexuality, while the male sexuality was mostly functional, more directly related to role performance. Certainly, I was able to see that the aesthetic value placed on women had been taken to a dreadful extreme, and that women suffered some brutal consequences for it. Nevertheless it was easy to see that, in ways both passive and active, women _enjoyed_ the aesthetic nature of their sexual image. The male "aesthetic" was really just another measure of their capacity to live up to the role expectations; men didn't really enjoy any of the kind of sexual attention that women got.
It occurred to me that in terms of sexuality, men and women needed to move _toward_ one another; women moving away from the aesthetic extreme that made them sex-objects, and men moving away from the opposite, functional extreme that made them objects of risk, strength and performance. I would have liked to have been a little more of a sex-object, myself! But I didn't dare express those feelings then. Not in 1967.
High School phys. ed. was, for someone like me, pure hell. The expectations were bad enough, in addition to having to put up with the usual bullying from most of the other boys in the class. I was labeled a "sissy" and mocked accordingly. But they could see that I was a different breed of sissy. I was an angry _assertive_ sissy - something they had never seen before - and for that they hated me. The teachers were perplexed to hear blunt expressions of what I thought about their sessions of mindless semi-violence. It was less fear than pure contempt that I showed for sports like football and lacrosse. I told them that I saw no reason why I or anyone should be required to participate if they didn't want to.
The bullying would often become violent - it was a pretty miserable time for me. Finally in the winter of 1968, when it came time for the annual four-week period devoted to wrestling, I rebelled. I refused to wrestle. I told the teacher that I would _not_ wrestle, and that furthermore, I would not even don my gym suit. The teacher warned me that if I did not wrestle, he would fail me for the entire year. I told him to go ahead and fail me - a pretty bold move, considering that the Baltimore County Board of Education had just passed a law requiring every student to pass three out of four years of high school phys ed. in order to graduate. ......
|Open Letter to Men's "Activists" |
I'm not sure how old this open letter by Robert Sides is
Wherever men's rights "activists" gather, 90-95% remain passive.
Christina Hoff Sommers, not Warren Farrell, writes pro-male pieces for the NYT and WSJ. Mona Charen, not Robert Bly, challenges the idea of women in the military. Men simply no longer know the difference between thinking and doing. Even on (the Internet), Betty and Gisele call for action...not men (who seem content to talk forever and ever and ever and ever while their ship not only sinks, it lays barnacled on the ocean floor).
This is very odd, since whenever men DO get off their duffs, media DO respond by printing their letters, etc. Nonetheless, like infants, most men still expect reporters to be mommy-mindreaders who "feed" them without their having to DO anything. Over and over and over and over again, cyber-groups form saying they're going to act. Then, they do everything BUT act.
From time to time, someone says, "Hey, we're still just talking, not acting. Feminists both talk AND act. When are WE going to act?" Then the group starts talking about acting. They wonder what "action" means, and in what context. Alternate spellings are offered. Historical roots are dug up. Angels are counted on the heads of pins. And on and on the b.s. goes. Fire consumes the "House of Men" because given water, men refuse to use it.
Inactivism aside, this also gnaws: In one of my posts, I wrote...Pretend I'm a reporter. I've read an (Internet) mailshot. Now...Whom do I call to talk about it...Groups attract talkers and dissuade doers, dilly-dallying all the live-long days.
It seems men's groups actually LIKE reinventing wheels. They have no sense of urgency. Their "patience" and "reason" and "Big Picture-itis" lets femi-madness like a cancer grow. All that's required for evil to stop is for good men to stand up and kick ass. Yet men won't.
Passivity, acquiescence, and modern maleness let [anti-male] feminism grow. The meek do indeed inherit the dirt.
Media do NOT ignore men [I doubt that]. They ignore meek, mild, tepid, silent, "nice" groups. Guys have been talking like schoolboys for a long, long, long time. The only reason feminists win is because men won't do more than talk. Men's groups leave the field wide open to NOW, never opposing it. Men refuse to play the media game. Grown men whine over media they never use. They cry, "The NYT is biased!" Yet they never do anything for reporters to cover. When you ask such men how many letters they've actually written, it's usually "zero."
Men are such ball-less babies.
Honest to god, it's amazing any males have jobs. They have no concept how to use PR judo, how to get covered by even hostile papers, how to spin disasters to advantages, and so on. What's worse, you can't tell them anything, show them anything. After a while, you think 'Geez, these guys are so stubborn, blind, and pig-headed, I think their exes were right to dump them. Even Mother Theresa tires [tired] of talking to walls."
Women's groups contact media daily. They repeat known lies forever. Yet men think a hundred guys emailing one Truth to each other online matters.
Men sit on a beach raked with enemy gun fire, playing cards. They ignore calls from others to seek cover and fight back. Modern men have a death wish, Big Time.
Men's groups are always "going to" put ads here, send letters there, do this and that. Only they never do. They're Walter Mitty, facing Panzers in their minds, pushing grocery carts for hen-pecking wives in reality.
Guys now think putting messages in email bottles will "kick-ass." In another thirty years they'll go, "Shazam! Maybe we should hold some creative, attention-getting events, too."
You roll on the floor watching them, guys desperately trying to find their butts with both hands. And failing.
Told and shown- time and again- what works (that is, what grabs media's attention, what media can be used for, what politicians look for), men's groups CHOOSE to act deaf, dumb, blind, lame, and halt.
Some say it takes "weeks" to get media addresses, for example. Yet anyone with Internet access and 2-3 search engines can download, sort, and log-by-category (country, state, county, province, city, etc.) email addresses for several hundred media outlets (print, TV and radio) in 1 hour.
Period. I know. I just did it.
Ah, what's the use...
I'm going rogue again. I've done media alone before, I'll return to it now. Only this time, I'm going to bash males. Not for being men, but for NOT being men. The public has the right to belly-laughs.
Tales of grown men losing their honor, kids, jobs, savings, and lives while playing Keystone Kops WILL entertain the public. So get ready for some multi-media hoots.
Media DO carry pro-male stories when, once every blue moon, men do more than blather. They also carry feminist stories because women always act. They've also printed/aired a lot of my words/thoughts. So they'll positively LOVE my tales lunacy in the non-moving men's movement...the gangstas who wouldn't shoot straight.
Look, I've cried with men. Coddled them. Coached them. I've economically carried, emotionally consoled, and small-talk kvetched with hundreds of guys. No matter. Men want to fail. It's time the public knows what "really" goes on in men's groups.
So check your local papers. Read 'em and weep. Let the tears of laughter flow.
(Who knows, maybe men will finally get pissed off enough to ACT! Then again, given the lure of beer, peanuts, and watching football..) Spare me lectures on "misandry," too. I've no patience for it. I've been at this -actively - for 20 years. If you've done more, I'll listen. If not, stuff it.
Gender war rages all around. The time for false, ms-placed outrage is long past. Men had 3 whole decades to get pissed at the real enemy: fembots. Getting angry with me now for pointing out the obvious is just more male hooey. Anyone who wants to know why men are in such a sorry state needs only to study the boneheads "leading" most (all?) men's group. Kindergartners could whup their collective behinds.
After 30 years of non-stop, one-sided feminist bombardments, men STILL "think" about whether to fight back or not. They spew pearl-like nuggets of wisdom like, "we need to unite under one big umbrella." then to absolutely nothing to make that happen. Any man showing balls, who will slap a woman who slaps him, is immediately pulled down by weenies who think Boy Scout essays matter.
God help us: women DO have bigger testicles today. Money in hand, copy ready, weak-willed crybaby men couldn't even follow-through to put one tiny ad in one small paper. Then these same guys have the gall to say feminism is "failing" since NOW has "only" 250,000 members and "only" comment on every gender issue under the sun.
It's time to round up all males over age 12 and put them on feminist farms. Let them pull plows and be useful. Just give them beer and let them sit at computers at night, whining to each other about how hard their lives are. Then watch them fall over each other each day, showing Big Nurse how many acres THEY can till for the humans (females)!
Modern men: ice cream cones on their foreheads, "kick me!" signs on their backs.
Robert Sides, MA.
PS. If hearing all this makes you angry, good. There's still hope for you then. Now, you can either (1) vent on me - who's done more alone than most men's groups combined (not bragging, just stating the facts) or (2) unite and fight, marching against feminists. No "leader" will galvanize you. Men who want to fight WILL, though bare-handed and leaderless. Men who don't want to fight will sit on their backsides no matter who tries to lead them (El Cid, Saladin, Washington, DeGaulle, Peter The Great, Ho Chi Minh, etc.).
|Having your cake and eat it |
A post I made on the NOW board before their decision that to keep their boards pro-feminist certain people would be banned from the board.
We know women are paid the same as men when they chose to work as hard as men, so what explains the fact women earn less than men? CHOICE. Choice by women that is, because men have far less choice than women over how to earn their livelihood. This lack of choice for men is a sign of the discrimination against men in our society.
Imagine there's a party buffet and all the men and women are lined up separately. The women are told they may take any of the items at the buffet. Anything at all, or they can pick and chose some of this and some of that.
The men however are told they can only take cake. Its cake or nothing. They have no choice.
Now its easy to see this represents discrimination against men, not women. No woman is going to demand to be placed in the men's line! Even if she fully intends to load up with nothing but cake, she's better off with the CHOICE. Hey, cake isn't such a bad thing, right? But most people, given the choice, aren't just going to take cake are they?
All the men of course will take all cake.
Then the feminist hoaxers come along and they decide to compalin that women are soooo oppresed by the fact that they have the priviledge to all those choices men don't have. That's tough, how are they going to hoax people like that when its so obvious women are better off?
Simple: they only count cake. Nothing else counts. They actually pretend there isn't anything else going on at all --- sort of ignore that and hope no one catches on. They scream loudly "it so unfair that the men have more cake! the women must be given more cake!".
They prove men have more cake --- not by comparing men with the few women (eg single women to pierce the analogy!) who chose to only have cake --- those women got just as much cake as the men did. No, they compare the total amount of cake men get with the women, but they don't count in any of the other stuff the women choce to get instead of cake.
What a hoax! What a good way of making women hate men, and of campaigning for discrimination against men. Soon the government steps in and say women need to be given more cake because feminists have "proven" that they get less.
Feminists have managed to pull of their anti-male discrimination AND blamed men AND pretend they are only wanting equality! Talk about having your cake and eat it.
But for those of us who are for genuine equality between the sexes two things follow:
 We must recognise that men are discriminated against in the choices society puts before people. We also need to see women who chose to not be so involved in the workplace by choice, that their contribution is as valuable as working harder --- feminists have to deny this because their hoax relies on ignoring all the options except "cake".
 We need to repudiate the sexist hoax that claims women are paid less, and we need to recognise that those who perpetuate this hoax (if not simply dupes of the feminist movement) are working AGAINST sexual equality for their own ends.
I also include a comment by "BlueBells5" asking for clarification:
Ok, I don't understand the whole "party buffet" analogy. Why do you believe men don't have choices? I personally see men as having as much choice as women as to what profession they would like to enter, if any at all. Granted, a man who does not take on a profession at all is seen as a bum more readily than women tend to, or at least that's how it is around here. But still, men do have a choice as to what job they want, do they not?
And my reply:
The cake represents the "choice" of (any) full time dedicated professional employment. The only realistic choice (except "bum" and "criminal") open to men. The buffet represents the choices open to women that men don't have. For example full time stay at home parent, (or even simple spouse without any children), or part time worker contributing to a spouse's major income, or hobbyist pursuing a "career" that is picked more for enjoyment and personal fulfilment than for wages, or work full time, have children, take time off for them and return to work..... or any combination of these.
Basically women have flexibility and can tailor their lifestyle choices to suit their temperment --- and they are constantly congratualted and advised on how to do all this. Men have the same one "choice" they have always had.
Now its not an awful choice by any means -- so I say "cake", but its also true that most Americans are now saying they would prefer to work less and see more of their famillies / have more time for themselves. Everyone says this, but women have the real power to make it happen in their lives. That's the true power --- control over your own life. Choices. Women have them and men don't as far as lifestyle choices go.
Of course I'm not saying its absolutely impossible for a man to make these choices, but like you say, a man without a job is a bum, a woman without a job is a bride. The expectations and pressures on men are what account for the difference in wages. But its not who has to earn the money that shows power. It's who SPENDS the money once earned. That's overwhelmingly WOMEN.
|Women are children |
From a post to the NOW board.
I do feel that this issue again demonstrates how feminism treats women as if they were mentally deficient -- children in fact.
Want to stay home instead of being "independant" (ie living off government funding provided by taxes paid by men), well you must be stupid say the feminists. Want to get a job you prefer that pays less? Oh say the feminists you can't have chosen THAT, you must have been "oppressed". Here women in a foreign culture chose to pass on a tradition. Feminists say the women must be idiots -- or is it mind-controlled by the men in their society? Too idiotic to be evil, women are pure and innocent as only babies can be normally. And they have as much control and responsibility as a baby too, occording to feminists.
If a woman chooses to cut up her neice or daughter, it can't possibly be her intelligent and informed choice. No, they must be duped. Under duress of the evil male hormones. No mind of their own. No contribution or reflection of their will on society. That's presumably why feminists can say that women were oppressed by men for all of human history and like zombies they never thought to so much as complain until the 19th century?
Women must receive ALL the help in DV, and even though they are mugged less often than men, women need to "take biack the night". Well its not like they could ever just get out there the same as men is it? You wouldn't expect little children to go out at night. Special this, special that, feminists demand their little children need everything special.
Mary Daly says women's brains don't work when their are men around. Or maybe, its that women don't think straight like men do, as Gilligham has suggested. NOW obviously agree, and so does MS. Big strong women can't be expected to have to put up with a male perspective can they? And on Ms they even have female-only threads just for the exceptionally feeble-minded.
Feminists are constantly lumping women and children together. "There's no excuse for violence against women and children" and so on. Its just the same attitude that the evil so-called "patriarchy" had in the 19th century with their "women and children first" policy. Treating women so delicately. Making sure that a gentlemman must be on his best behaviour and not say "leg" in front of a woman. These days we have (in adifferent thread) a woman suing for sexual harassment because one man said she had nice tits just once.
Oh yes, sex. Women don't like sex say the feminists and the patriarchy - at least not with men. That's the definition of rape, just as a man could be charged with rape back then even if the woman consented, because she wasn't considered to have the mental will power to do it properly, so feminists today say all heteosexual sex is rape because women collectively have no will to resist evil men.
Look at the modern prudes here, and compare with the old "patriarchy". Feminism? Its just the same.
It feels like spamming now...alot on argumenting certain points and I am sure you will not always agree with this guy but he definately made some interesting points....anyhow...enjoy