Creative Destruction

September 27, 2006

Selective Service – Privilege Part 4

Filed under: Blogosphere,Debate,Feminist Issues — Daran @ 3:01 pm

I have a confession to make. Until last night, I didn’t know what Selective Service was. I must have encountered the phrase before, but it must never have actually registered in my mind, nor, until now, was I motivated to find anything out about it.

My ignorance is perhaps an illustration of the effects of “American Privilege”. A search of my past and present cyber haunts turns up many references, some of which I must have seen, but in each case the writer just assumes that everyone in the world will be intimately familiar with the details of American life, so nobody bothered to explain it to this ignorant Brit. (Edit: nor will I explain here. Click here if you need more information.)

But that’s no excuse. I have a responsibility to be well-informed about the matters of which I speak, and in this instance – fine “Men’s Rights Activist” that I am – I failed.

This time it was raised in a Comment at Feminist Allies (H/T: Rachel), by Parson Jim:

I feel the same way about women, for example, when I’m forced to sign up for the Selective Service, and they aren’t. If I don’t I can’t drive legally, and I can’t attend or work for any institution that receives federal funds, including most colleges and universities.


So please, next time all of you women out there beat and moan about being “oppressed”, get a dose of reality.

As Rachel noted, Jim’s interjection was a topic hijack. It was also incoherent in context. The “way” women feel about men in that thread is fearful. I don’t think he meant that he feels fearful towards women because of these things, but that he feels resentful about the advantages in life that they enjoy.

Given that it was a hijack, the good netizens of Feminist Allies would have been perfectly justified in declining the gauntlet that Jim threw down. However, one of them, Jeff, picks it up

If you’re so concerned about women not having to be part of the draft, how come you aren’t out there with some feminists trying to get equal rights/pay/respect for women?

As an initial matter, does Jeff know Jim in real life? If not, has Jim talked about what he does or does not do “out there”? Because it looks like Jeff is assuming things about Jim that have no basis in what Jim has said. (I express similar views to Jim’s, hopefully more coherently, yet it would be a mistake to assume that I had been idle in the matters Jeff raises. In particular, I have devoted a considerable portion of my life to anti-rape advocacy, both on and offline, and yes, I have worked with feminists.)

But even if Jeff’s ad hom isn’t baseless, it’s still irrelevant. Jim’s activism (or lack thereof) in these fields has no bearing whatsoever on whether Selective Service is oppressive to men.

It’s also sexism. Jeff does not demand of women that they be “out there with some MRA’s” before women’s disadvantages be granted consideration.

Finally, given that feminists claim to oppose sexism, it’s hypocrisy for them to engage in it.

Lots of women would love to be more a part of our military.

Irrelevant: No women wants to be forced to serve in the military.

(I wonder how Jeff would react to a hearthrob popstar who tried to justify raping a woman by saying that lots of women would love to have sex with him.)

Instead you make half-assed accusations that are so old and tired that you’re sort of embarassing yourself here.

The age of Jim’s point has no bearing on its validity, and he has manifestly not accused anyone of anything, so this is a strawman. “Tired” and “half-assed”, to the extent that they are more than just content-free slurs, means that the point has been made repeatedly and incoherently, and refuted repeatedly, and so deserves no further expenditure of effort. Jim did express himself incoherently, but that does not undermine the fundamental strength of his argument which, as I will show in my next post, feminists have not refuted at all.

Edited for markup.

Update: Jeff has Replied to my comments in that thread, and I will respond to him there in due course.

Updated to add this list of links to the entire ‘Privilege’ series of posts, which I shall keep updated from now on:

“Privilege” and “Disadvantage” as sexist framing devices
Do white men really benefit from privilege?
More on Privilege
Selective Service – Privilege part 4


  1. […] and “Disadvantage” as sexist framing devices Do white men really benefit from privilege? More on Privilege Selective Service – Privilege part 4   […]

    Pingback by Do white men really benefit from ‘privilege’? « Creative Destruction — September 27, 2006 @ 3:41 pm | Reply

  2. […] My promised followup to my previous post will have to wait. Here I respond further to Jeff, over at Feminist Allies […]

    Pingback by Women and the Draft « Creative Destruction — September 28, 2006 @ 2:50 am | Reply

  3. […] “Privilege” and “Disadvantage” as sexist framing devices Do white men really benefit from privilege? More on Privilege Selective Service – Privilege part 4 […]

    Pingback by Feminist Critics — June 18, 2007 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

  4. […] is a repost of an article originally posted at Creative Destruction. Comments older than Wednesday 10 January 2007 were originally posted there. See this post for […]

    Pingback by Feminist Critics — June 18, 2007 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

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