Creative Destruction

December 11, 2006

Who’s on First?

Filed under: Feminist Issues — Daran @ 11:53 am

Post deleted by author because it was based on a misunderstanding, and it was being misunderstood by others. Easier to start anew than to try to clean up the mess. See this post for an explanation.

I apologise to CD posters and commenters for dragging you all into this mess.

Comments are still open.

70 Comments »

  1. Daran;

    If your point isnt “Women DO lie about rape–and men don’t” I dont understand it. What I ask my students in this situation is “what’s the one sentence summary?”

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 11, 2006 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  2. I don’t think I can summarise it in a single sentence, but I’ll try to make it brief.

    Feminist cannot object to the statement “Women do (sometimes) lie about rape-and men don’t”. Because:

    1. Construing “lie about rape” to mean “falsely report to the police that they were raped”, the statement is true, or at least, feminists cannot show that it is false.

    2. Feminists cannot object to that construction, because they were the ones who used that construction in the first place when they circulated the 2% false accusation myth.

    Edited to add:

    3. While it is debatable to what extent individual feminists can be held responsible for the actions of other feminists, feminists who make generalised group-based complaints about the actions of non-feminists, cannot object when they are hoist on that petard.

    Does that help?

    Update (18 December): I blanked the original post because it was unclear, was being misunderstood, and was itslef based on a misunderstanding. This comment was written before I did that, with the intention of serving as a summary, a conceptual map if you like, of the logic of argument I was making in that post. It was never intended to be read separately from that post.

    In particular the sentence “Women do (sometimes) lie about rape-and men don’t” did not appear within the post with or without the “(sometimes)”. Nor did any sentence equivalent to it. It was curiousgyrl’s misunderstood version of my argument which I accepted solely for the purpose of creating the summary conceptual map.

    With the post blanked out, this map serves no purpose, and is misleading itself with respect to my views. In retrospect, I should have blanked this comment when I blanked the post. However, I think the time for that has now passed.

    Please see the following two posts (one, two) for further clarification.

    Comment by Daran — December 11, 2006 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  3. Sort of. Why is this an important point?

    I’ve been thinking about that you’ve stated (more than once I think) that it is unfair to characterize you as an anti-feminist. Even more interestingly it was pointed out over on that other thread that you and Amp share more politically than do Amp’s politics and radical feminism.

    I think that might be fair, and even more, that the same might be said of me. For example, I think you and I both believe that enforced gender also oppress men, etc etc. I’m a feminist, Amo us a feminist, and I think a lot of feminists share a lot of principles etc with the politics you espouse.

    What I dont get is your practice–admittedly,I might be wrong, but it seems like you spend most of your time online criticizing feminists and feminism. Sometimes the specific points of criticism seem to me unrealted intellectually. I’m confused as to what the goal is? better feminism? feminism that does what?

    Intellectually, I dont think you are an anti-feminst, but in practice you may be. What do you think?

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 11, 2006 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  4. Sort of. Why is this an important point?

    On a purely personal level: I lost territory as a result of the flame war on Alas. I was bullied off the site and out of the debate. It’s still not safe enough for me to reenter the site, but I am back in the debate.

    Beyond that, it feels very important to me to defend against unfair criticism, even if I’m not the subject. In this case, I (who do not engage in the “women lie about rape” rhetoric) was unfairly lumped in with antifeminists (who do), but the criticism was unfair, even against them. So it wasn’t sufficient for me to say “I’m not like that”. I had to defend them too.

    Finally the fact that false rape accusation are exclusively committed by females is absolutely crucial to answering the question: why do antifeminists make such an issue of them? But that’s a topic for another day.

    I’ve been thinking about that you’ve stated (more than once I think) that it is unfair to characterize you as an anti-feminist. Even more interestingly it was pointed out over on that other thread that you and Amp share more politically than do Amp’s politics and radical feminism.

    I am unable to discern the slightest difference between Amp’s core values and mine. Yet we view the world so differently. It’s as if we’re living in parallel planes of existence, like the evil ‘mirror universe’ of Star Trek. In his world, feminism is a force for good. In mine, it’s good in parts, but mostly toxic.

    Yet it’s those shared core values which ultimately keep us friendly with each other.

    I think that might be fair, and even more, that the same might be said of me. For example, I think you and I both believe that enforced gender also oppress men, etc etc. I’m a feminist, Amo us a feminist, and I think a lot of feminists share a lot of principles etc with the politics you espouse.

    But feminism has its own set of gender roles, which also oppress men (maybe women too. I remember one woman saying how betrayed she felt by the Domestic Violence shelter she was in, which permitted her abusive mother to visit, but not her non-abusing father.)

    What I dont get is your practice–admittedly,I might be wrong, but it seems like you spend most of your time online criticizing feminists and feminism.

    Perhaps I’m making up for lost time. I spent years bashing antifeminists on Usenet.

    Sometimes the specific points of criticism seem to me unrealted intellectually.

    I don’t understand what you mean.

    I’m confused as to what the goal is? better feminism? feminism that does what?

    Gosh, I don’t know. It’s an itch, so I scratch it.

    Intellectually, I dont think you are an anti-feminst, but in practice you may be. What do you think?

    After spending several years bashing the human excrescences infesting soc.men, talk.rape, and other groups, the meaning of the word “antifeminist” which I have internalised is some combination of “moron”, “arsehole” and “low-life pond-scum”. But I couldn’t very well use that to justify why I really, really do not like being called an antifeminist. So I had to come up with a plausible rational explanation as a pretext: An antifeminist is someone who is generally opposed to feminism. By contrast, I share a lot of feminist values.

    I don’t mind being called an MRA. I’ve not internalised the same level of approprium, although I realise that many feminists have. The label I choose for myself is “feminist critic”. It is deliberately ambiguous: It could mean a feminist who is a critic, or a critic of feminism.

    Edited to add: I think very highly of you, Curiousgyrl. Remember that, if you ever become the object of my criticism.

    Comment by Daran — December 11, 2006 @ 4:17 pm | Reply

  5. curiousgyrl

    Can I chip in my twopence worth here?

    I think it’s possible to be simultaneously feminist and antifeminist.

    That’s because “antifeminist” can have two possible acceptations which need not coincide. It can mean: someone who opposes feminism as traditionally conceived; or: someone who opposes certain feminists and their beliefs. I, for example, am a feminist in so far as I believe that women suffer more than men from sexual discrimination, and that such discrimination should cease, for their benefit and for the benefit of society as a whole. But I have no faith at all in certain concepts dear to particular feminists. For example, I don’t believe in “rape culture” if the term means that sexual assaults on women are carried out on behalf of “the patriarchy” and with my tacit approval as a member of the oppressive gender; I don’t believe that men, taken as a group, buy and masturbate over pornography because they want vicariously to subjugate and abuse women; I don’t believe that the “objectification” of the sexually desirable is much more typical of men with regards to women than of women with regards to men. (None of which implies that I am blind or indifferent to the evil of man-on-woman rape or to the dangers that pornography can represent to the women involved in it: I just don’t share certain feminist analyses of the nature of the problems, nor certain feminist prescriptions for their solution.)
    And insofar as I reject such ideas and disagree with the feminists who identify with them I am an antifeminist.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 11, 2006 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  6. Tom, I do not think of you as either arsehole, moron, or low-life pond-scum. I would therefore not refer to you as an antifeminist. How you label yourself is your own concern. I tend to ignore people’s self-labelling in my efforts to position them in my mental map of the opinion space.

    Comment by Daran — December 11, 2006 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

  7. Well, I don’t refer to myself as an antifeminist either, Daran, but I’m pretty sure that I would be so regarded if I went into battle against the notions I mentioned and against the feminists who hold them on Alas. Which is what I was getting at. When Amp refers to you as an antifeminist he means, probably, “someone generally at odds with feminists in debate”; but others might easily imagine him to be saying: “an opponent of feminism”, which I doubt that you are.

    By the way, can’t I be both a feminist and at the same time moronic scum living low in a pond? I view this either/or constraint on my personal development as quite unacceptable.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 11, 2006 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  8. For example, I don’t believe in “rape culture” if the term means that sexual assaults on women are carried out on behalf of “the patriarchy” and with my tacit approval as a member of the oppressive gender;

    That’s not what I believe, either.

    I don’t believe that men, taken as a group, buy and masturbate over pornography because they want vicariously to subjugate and abuse women;

    That’s not what I believe, either.

    I don’t believe that the “objectification” of the sexually desirable is much more typical of men with regards to women than of women with regards to men.

    I think we disagree here. Oh well, two out of three.

    Well, I don’t refer to myself as an antifeminist either, Daran, but I’m pretty sure that I would be so regarded if I went into battle against the notions I mentioned and against the feminists who hold them on Alas.

    I think you must be reading the Bizarro-universe “Alas” if you think we spend a lot of time discussing why men use pornography, and so on. Here on Earth-prime “Alas,” that’s not our primary focus.🙂

    Comment by Ampersand — December 11, 2006 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  9. Daran: I don’t know if this “counts”, but some of the children who (after promting from adults) falsely accused various daycare workers or teachers of abuse were male. Wiki article

    I expect the rarity of men making false accusations of rape has to do with the rarity of men making accusations of rape at all. I would be highly suprised if there was something innate to men that kept them from ever making such a false accusation.

    Comment by Dianne — December 11, 2006 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  10. Daran, regarding your argument, I’m a little confused about several factors.

    1) Your “feminists started it” analysis relies on the assumption that the New York Cop who did the analysis the 2% figure was taken from was a feminist. Are you sure he was a feminist?

    Secondly,

    It is feminists who first constructed “lying about rape” as a reference to making false reports.

    How do you know this claim was true? That is, how do you know that before 1973 people weren’t using the “women lie about rape” formulation, or variations on it, to suggest that women who report being raped shouldn’t be trusted?

    If that meme did exist before 1973 – and I’m fairly sure it did – then I don’t think you can legitimately claim it originated in a 1973 report by a cop who may or may not have been a feminist.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 11, 2006 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  11. Daran:

    It is however, an easily falsifiable claim. If anyone knew of such a case, it could easily be cited.

    Actually, the question isn’t how easy it is to cite a case once that case is known, but how likely it is that if such a case exists, one of the people reading this discussion would happen to know of it in so much detail that they could provide a citation.

    Especially considering that a false claim of rape to the police might not ever be reported in googleable media, might not make it to trial, etc., it seems to me plausible that such cases could exist and yet not be known of by any of the hundred-or-so people who post comments to “Alas” and “CD” regularly.

    But I don’t really care. My opinion is that false accusations of rape are nearly always a crime committed by women against men, just as rape is a crime nearly always committed by men (against both sexes).

    Comment by Ampersand — December 11, 2006 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  12. That’s not what I believe either. – Ampersand

    Your own beliefs weren’t at issue. Plenty of feminists (not just on Alas, and less so since the big bust-up recently) hold the views I mentioned or argue as though they were true (without necessarily allowing themselves to be pinned down to an actual declaration that they are). And if I were to argue against such ideas and their proponents, I assure you that I would be “called out” (as they say) as an antifeminist, an MRA and a troll. You don’t really doubt this, do you?

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 11, 2006 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  13. When feminists call people who criticize feminism “antifeminists,” it reminds me of calling critics of the American government or foreign policy “anti-American.” Of course this analogy isn’t exact; the point is what while it can be valid to call people “antifeminist” or even “anti-American,” most of the time, those labels are used as ideological slurs to demonize even moderate critics who support feminism/America in other ways.

    I have also been thinking of how exactly we identify an “antifeminist.” First, someone can’t be an “antifeminist” merely by virtue of disagreeing with feminists, even with many of them. That’s because many feminists disagree with other feminists, yet it doesn’t make much sense to call them “antifeminists.” If someone disagrees with everything feminists say, then that person would be antifeminist, but
    Hence it seems that some feminist principles are more important than others, and that being a feminist or an antifeminist is predicated on these principles. The following is an attempt at laying out some of the core principles that feminists tend to hold explicitly or implicitly:

    1. The Gender Principle. Our society assigns people gender roles or masculinities/feminities, which are not completely determined by biology.
    2. The Female Oppression Principle. Women suffer various systematic disadvantages due to this system of gender that are unjust and deserve to be remedied.
    3. The Trivialization of Male Oppression Principle (also known as “PHMT”). It is exclusively, or overwhelmingly women who suffer gender-based injustices. Men can be harmed through the gender system, but only women can be said to suffer from oppression or sexism. Any harms that exist towards men will be fixed as a side-effect of liberating women.
    4. The Male Privilege Principle. Men enjoy unjust advantages based on gender.
    5. The Trivialization of Female Privilege Principle. Women don’t enjoy any significant unjust advantages based on gender.

    Note that at least 2-5 are logically independent of each other. When you logically combine principles 2-5, you get:

    6. The Feminist Activist Principle. Individual feminists are justified in rectifying the oppression of women, and ignoring the disadvantages of men.
    7. The Principle of Gynocentrism. Society should focus its resources on rectifying the oppression of women, ignoring the disadvantages of men.

    Many feminists add the following Misandric Principles:

    8. The Feminist Ends Justify the Means Principle. To rectify the oppression of women, it is justified to harm or discriminate against men or violate their rights. (e.g. affirmative action, sexual harassment policy)

    9. The Female Superiority Principle. Men are inferior to women (morally and/or intellectually), either because of their biology or socialization.

    The majority of feminists hold principles 1-7. Probably a small majority of feminists hold principle 8, and a large minority hold principle 9.

    What about an “antifeminist?” If someone rejects all these positions, then it’s fair to say that they are an antifeminist. But what if they agree with some but not others? I think even feminists can reject the Misandric Principles (8 & 9). I think someone can also reject the Gender Principle, and believe that gender is biologically determined, while remaining agnostic on everything else.

    My own view is to accept (versions of) the Gender Principle, the Female Oppression Principle, the Male Privilege Principle, and the Feminist Activism Principle. That is to say that I believe that the gender system is not completely determined by biology, women suffer certain unjust societal disadvantages, men enjoy certain unjust societal advantages, and individual feminists are justified in focusing their attention on the needs of women (although society as a whole is not justified in doing the same). I reject every other principle above. I also accept additional principles, which could be called the Male Oppression Principle, the Female Privilege Principle, and the Men’s Rights Activism Principle.

    Since I accept what is probably feminism’s most important principle, that women suffer oppression which should be rectified, and I agree with many feminist goals and policies based on it, then I don’t think I am accurately categorized as an antifeminist, though I am certainly not accurately categorized as a feminist.

    You say that an “antifeminist is someone generally opposed to be feminism.” I think this is the right basic idea, but I want to clarify what is meant by “opposed to feminism in general.” Opposing feminism could mean opposing feminists, or opposing feminist positions. I oppose feminists in general, because virtually all of them hold some of the positions above (3-5 and 7-9) which are both inaccurate and immoral. I oppose most feminist arguments, because they implicitly rely on premises 3-5 and 7-9. Still, it is not the percentage of feminist arguments I agree with that matters, we also have to weigh in how important those arguments are to feminism. Since I agree with the claim that women are oppressed (though not necessarily particular feminist examples or analyses of oppression), this is a core feminist value that I share. So ultimately I agree with you that someone who shares core feminist values and doesn’t contradict them (for instance, it’s not good enough if one says that the oppression of women is wrong, but thinks that women shouldn’t be able to vote) should not be called an antifeminist. And from a pragmatic standpoint, it is counterproductive for feminists to label people who share some of their core values as the enemy.

    Comment by Aegis — December 11, 2006 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  14. Daran;

    I’m interested in your attitude toward radical feminism versus my own; My two out of three are the same as Amp’s, though I must say I’m glad radical feminism is around because “rape culture” gave me a way of thinking about my own rapes as part of a broader set of problems with sexism and sexuality when I needed one.

    I disagree with radical feminists, but I’m glad they exist because some of thier ideas and a lot of their political work is good and useful. (for instance–the idea of a “safe space” you use above is one of theirs🙂, and one I kind of don’t like.)

    It seems like the difference between your attitude and mine is down to personal experiece with these ideas, experince which is perhaps rooted in gender.

    What I meant about the “incoherent” thing wasreally just that I am sometimes not sure what the deeper stakes are to some of the battles you pick. This one still falls into that category IMHO. OF course some women have lied about rape. The question is what is the presumtion and what does that or should that have to do wiht the law and punishment, which is much more complicated and interesting.

    Claiming that no man has ever lied about being raped strikes me as an odd and risky bet since it almost certainly isnt true, not to mention it seems beside the point since some men do lie about being rapists.

    The question is what is the presumption at the git go. Is it just a matter of presumption of guilt versus presumption of innocence? Or, as has been argued, are lots of cases where you can presume both that the complainant was raped and that the defendant is innocent? Does it depend on the case?

    I don’t know the answer and tend to think that a courtroom is a crappy place to deal with rape (and crime in general, really). I also know I didn’t (and still wouldn’t) report being raped because I thought the same thing at the time, and because I feared that I would be assumed to be a slut/liar/jealous/evil/bitchy woman if I did. I also haven’t yet seen any of the highly publicized rape cases in court that have convinced me otherwise.

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 11, 2006 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  15. I”ve argued with Daran about this before, but this isnt the feminism I know, or the one I believe:

    3. The Trivialization of Male Oppression Principle (also known as “PHMT”). It is exclusively, or overwhelmingly women who suffer gender-based injustices. Men can be harmed through the gender system, but only women can be said to suffer from oppression or sexism. Any harms that exist towards men will be fixed as a side-effect of liberating women.

    your points 4-7 seem to me to be simply further elaborations of the same point.

    I think this is a mischaracterization. I for, one, dont think that the liberation of women from sexist oppression will automatically liberate men from gender. I actually think the continued enforcement of masculinity significantly hampers feminist gains, often where it matters most. I think both men and women enforce masuclinty (and femininity) and we should cut it out. I dont think men or women can be liberated from gender (or anything else that matter) through segregated struggle.

    That said, I think you’re wrong to argue that men are as oppressed as women are by gender. I think thats demonstrably untrue.

    That doesnt mean I think women are better than men–I’m dont. I’m not one of those who minks oppression makes you a better person. (I always say “what doesnt kill you…doesnt kill you.”)

    Most feminists I know personally agree with me on this, though that is less true on the net. I suspect a lot more think the way I do than you believe however. “feminst” gets bandied about around here with some of the same lack of clarity precision and general disapproval that “anti-feminst” does on feminist blogs.

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 11, 2006 @ 10:52 pm | Reply

  16. Curiousgrrl, just to clarify, I do think there’s something that can be usefully referred to as “rape culture.” I just don’t believe in it as Tom defined it.

    Tom wrote:

    And if I were to argue against such ideas and their proponents, I assure you that I would be “called out” (as they say) as an antifeminist, an MRA and a troll. You don’t really doubt this, do you

    It would really depend on your tone and the context. If you came in with an obvious chip on your shoulder, looking to pick a fight on those topics, then yeah, you’d be called out (as you say) in that way, by some.

    At the other extreme, if your feminist sympathies were well-known and respected within the community, and if you mentioned these opinions in an on-topic context, then you wouldn’t be called out by many people, and perhaps by no one at all.

    Life isn’t as simplistic and cut-and-dried as you seem to imagine.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 11, 2006 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  17. That said, I think you’re wrong to argue that men are as oppressed as women are by gender. I think thats demonstrably untrue.

    I generally agree with you, but I’ve also been convinced by Daran that it’s important to state the context. For instance, I don’t think we could say women are more oppressed by sexism if the context being discussed was (say) a violent civil war in which males are being specifically slaughtered in huge numbers.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 11, 2006 @ 11:11 pm | Reply

  18. yes, I’ve agreed with that point when Daran has made it before. I think its a really important one–war would be harder to do without masculinity, and war is hugely destructive to men in particular.

    one point, however I think worth exploring is in what instances men and women enforce sexist oppression of men, and who benefits. I think there is a knee-jerk reaction by some MRAs et al to hold women and feminists in particular responsible for gender oppression of men.

    Those sorts of arguements are suspect to me, though I’ve stated above that women also enforce masculinity (and femininity) but the notion that if men are oppressed its women or feminism’s fault strikes me as a huge leap. I’m not saying never, but as a general analysis I think that’s wrong and gets us nowhere. War is a good example of where this argument fails to hold up.

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 11, 2006 @ 11:44 pm | Reply

  19. curiousgyrl said:
    your points 4-7 seem to me to be simply further elaborations of the same point.

    I don’t think so. Recognizing that males have certain unjust advantages (4) doesn’t entail that females don’t also have unjust advantages. There are many dimensions upon which advantage or disadvantage can occur. As for 6 & 7, they are certainly not the same point.

    I for, one, dont think that the liberation of women from sexist oppression will automatically liberate men from gender.

    I see… I guess I should have been more clear that this claim doesn’t necessarily go along with the claim that overwhelming women suffer from gender-based injustices. I threw it in because I’ve heard it so often.

    That said, I think you’re wrong to argue that men are as oppressed as women are by gender. I think thats demonstrably untrue.

    Wait a sec. I never argued that men are as oppressed as women are. All I argued is that men are oppressed, meaning that men suffer systematic injustices based on their gender (actually I didn’t even argue this, but I think I implied it). I think its telling that so many people instantly jump from the claim that men and women are oppressed, to the claim that they are equally oppressed.

    My own position is that either both men and women are oppressed by incomparable amounts, or that if those oppressions are comparable, women in the US probably suffer more oppression IF statistics about sexual violence (e.g. 1 in 6 or 1 in 10 women are victims of rape in their lifetime) are accurate and aren’t conceptualized overbroadly (which is a matter of debate also). Yet even if women are oppressed more, (a) men suffer more forms of legalized discrimination, and (b) misandry gets less attention than misogyny relative to how prevalent it is (I define “misandry” as sexism towards men). Even if there is only 50-75% as much misandry as misogyny (as if it could be quantified), misandry gets less than 1% of the attention right now.

    Most feminists I know personally agree with me on this, though that is less true on the net. I suspect a lot more think the way I do than you believe however.

    Some of the feminists I know in real life are probably closer to your perspective. Maybe I should amend my analysis above and say that it only applies to feminists in the public sphere.

    I am open to the idea there may be a whole subset of feminists who don’t trivialize harms to men, and admit that the gender system offers certain advantages to women. The problem is, if Daran or I don’t treat this group of feminists as any kind of significant force, that’s because it isn’t. We can’t acknowledge the voices of these feminists if they don’t make themselves heard. We won’t know that there is a large group of feminists who disagrees with the aspects of mainstream feminism that we criticize, unless those feminists speak up and start criticizing mainstream feminism also.

    You say that the feminism I am describing is not the one you know. I am curious, which majorly published feminists do exemplify the feminism you know, presumably a feminism that my critiques don’t apply to? In other words, which majorly published feminists (who don’t explicitly call themselves “dissident” or “equity” feminists ) don’t ignore or trivialize harms towards men (#3), and grant that females have privileges over men also (#4), for a start? I know of ONE feminist who rejects #3 & #7: Caroline New, a sociologist of gender in England who just about nobody has heard of. And New actually critiques the tendency of mainstream feminism to trivialize or ignore the oppression of men, so she seems to agree with my critiques of feminism above.

    Comment by Aegis — December 12, 2006 @ 12:18 am | Reply

  20. I think you’d be hard pressed to find any feminist — radical or otherwise — who agreed with the “definition” of a rape culture given above. I don’t know if it’s a deliberate misstatement of rape culture, or that you really just don’t understand what a rape culture is or what it means, but that’s definitely not it.

    As for the callers I mentioned — yes, of course we offer resources. In fact, that’s usually how we get them off the phone. We offer resources that would be better suited for them and they hang up. Although, occassionally, there is one who will try the, “but I can’t talk to them…I really want to talk to you…you have such a nice voice…I feel comfortable talking to you,” bit.

    Also, keep in mind, these men don’t call once or twice. They call repeatedly. Over and over and over. For years. Why do think you can talk to anyone who has ever worked in the violence against women network in any particular area and mention a particular caller, and they’ll inevitably say, “oh…god, that guy.” If I talk to anyone who has ever volunteered or worked at any of the area crisis lines for more than a couple of months and I say, “you ever get a call from “The Professor?” or “you ever talk to the guy with the male roommate?” every single one of them will say, “ooooh, fuck, what an asshole!!”

    I’m not going to say that these men have never been assaulted. But, if they have, that’s not the story they’re talking about on the phone — there are too many different versions of their stories.

    As far as false accusations from men, I have personally known of some. The exact number depends on whether you would classify an “unfounded” account as a “false accusation” (keep in mind, if you don’t for men, you can’t for women). The number of “unfounded” reports is pretty high — about the same ratio as for women. The number of outright false accusations (where the alleged victim claimed to have made a false accusation) is 1 (of course, I don’t have any personal experience with any women who have done this). I will say, all of the men I’ve talked to who made any sort of allegation (whether charges were pressed or not, whether it was unfounded or not, or whether it was an out-and-out false accusation) have been men raped (or claiming to have been raped) by other men.

    Of course, these aren’t cases I can’t provide on-line links to. There are a couple that you could possibly find by looking in the local newspaper archives — but they aren’t even in the on-line archives. So, you can choose to not “count” that evidence or ignore it or whatever. That, in itself, would tell me a lot.

    Comment by bean — December 12, 2006 @ 5:22 am | Reply

  21. Bean, Amp

    Re: rape culture. The Margins has been running a series of posts on “male terrorism”, the very title of which makes clear that the monstrous acts involved are done on behalf of the male gender and with its (naturally tacit) approval. Q-Grrl has often in the past decried the refusal of male posters to confront their own complicity in sexual assault, and suggested that they cannot sincerely disapprove of such things because they don’t want to let go of the privilege that the sexual oppression of women through rape brings them. Now, they might not come right out and give the definition of rape culture I mentioned earlier but their argumentative strategies suggest it must be the one that they’re working with. Q-grrl was once asked to give her definition of rape culture, by the way – and she told her interrogator to consult the internet.

    I notice that you haven’t tackled my second bone of contention:

    “I don’t believe that men, taken as a group, buy and masturbate over pornography because they want vicariously to subjugate and abuse women;”

    Sailorman once pointed out, with great circumspection and civility, that porn starlets are represented, truthfully or no, by the business as enthusiastic participants in the productions they appear in. He deduced that it was unlikely that the humiliation of the women involved was what was attracting men to the purchase of such pornography (or why wouldn’t the industry emphasize that fact?). Do you remember what happened to him, when he said that?

    And Amp, can I ask you, because I’m genuinely interested to know: was I right to suggest that when you call Daran an antifeminist you actually mean someone who is typically at odds with feminists, rather than someone who is an opponent of “core feminism”?

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 12, 2006 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  22. I am open to the idea there may be a whole subset of feminists who don’t trivialize harms to men, and admit that the gender system offers certain advantages to women. The problem is, if Daran or I don’t treat this group of feminists as any kind of significant force, that’s because it isn’t. We can’t acknowledge the voices of these feminists if they don’t make themselves heard. We won’t know that there is a large group of feminists who disagrees with the aspects of mainstream feminism that we criticize, unless those feminists speak up and start criticizing mainstream feminism also.

    You say that the feminism I am describing is not the one you know. I am curious, which majorly published feminists do exemplify the feminism you know, presumably a feminism that my critiques don’t apply to? In other words, which majorly published feminists (who don’t explicitly call themselves “dissident” or “equity” feminists ) don’t ignore or trivialize harms towards men (#3), and grant that females have privileges over men also (#4), for a start? I know of ONE feminist who rejects #3 & #7: Caroline New, a sociologist of gender in England who just about nobody has heard of. And New actually critiques the tendency of mainstream feminism to trivialize or ignore the oppression of men, so she seems to agree with my critiques of feminism above.

    I’ve argued this with Daran before, but I’m not sure where that was. one of my points is that the widespread change from Women’s Studies to Gender Studies in US college departments shows that its not a small silent minority who believe that TPHMT.

    I dont know any feminists who agree exactly with you, in part because “incomparable” or “women are slightly more opressed than men” is a tough one, and doesnt seem too far off from “women and men are just about as oppressed as one another by gender”. But a lot of feminists would say that oppression cant be neatly divided (intersectionality) etc etc.

    Susan Faludi is an academic and a popularizer who’s book stiffed is assigned in freshmen gender classes across the country.The not so joking joke in my department (not a gender dept, though) last wekk was “are ther any feminists who write about women left?” I’m not saying thats accurate, but I’m trying to point out how different the sense in that sphere is to your own and Darans about what counts as feminism and feminist theory.

    Id also argue that radical feminists are a not a powerful bunch in the political and intellectual landscape of our time, not even compared with gender feminism. There are a lot around here, yeah, but the gender feminists have the academy and the liberal feminists have the clout in Washington.

    Liberal feminism shares some of the problems you have with radical feminism, but thats not hte worst thing about it, and thye are really not the same thing. (though, at this point they may be (partially) blamed for the (primarily) male oppression of having to go fight dumbass wars. hmm. I forgot about that upthread.)

    Finally, I’m asking not to bait, but to get the scope as you (ya’ll?) concieve of it–what are the privileges women enjoy over men? (a note on privilege–I think it is useful to distinguish between privilege and ‘things all people should have;’ if that makes sense. Maybe not. carry on.

    (I fixed the blockquote, and deleted my name from the end, which was making it look like I had signed it — Daran)

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 12, 2006 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  23. Daran;

    there was once an Aspie in a political group I was part of (actually, not just one ever, but one guy that I’m talking about right now) who was new and (I see now) very excited to have an audience to discuss the great ideas he’d been cooking up by himself before he joined the group.

    The problem was that becuase he often missed the tone etc of the meeting he was often completely off topic and disruptive–to the point that some people thought he was doing on purpose, perhaps as some sort of spy (!)

    One comment he made though made me realize that wasnt at all the case, and I went over to talk to him about the meeting. He told me that he noticed people were getting frustrated with him, that he had an AS diagnosis, and that he wasnt always sure why, and asked if I could give him a signal when he was off-topic. He said he’d been meaning to set up something like that, but he wasnt sure who to ask since everybody was so mean to him. (which we were, to our shame)

    The whole thing evolved into a new meeting strategy where anybody could give the signal to anybody else when they were unintentionally “derailing” the club meetings. That of course had its own problems, but was actually a lot of fun.🙂

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 12, 2006 @ 10:35 am | Reply

  24. block quote above is messed up help

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 12, 2006 @ 10:36 am | Reply

  25. Where does the Daran quote in the post before last come from, curiousgyrl?

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 12, 2006 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  26. Sorry tom–the blocquote is just the first two paragraphys and they are from Aegis three posts up, not Daran. Its just that Daran I already had this convo or a similar one elsewhere.I lost, but was not convinced.

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 12, 2006 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  27. I didn’t think you lost. Rather that you withdrew from the battle because of time and effort considerations.

    I was disappointed when you went. I enjoyed our exchanges.

    Comment by Daran — December 12, 2006 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  28. yeah, but if I thought I was winning I wouldnt have let the time constraints get to me🙂

    Somehow I always love to do this when its time to grade papers.I think that was around midterms if I remember right.

    I dont really believe in winning and losing in intellectual exchange, I’m not being serious JIC anyone missed that.

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 12, 2006 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  29. Somehow I always love to do this when its time to grade papers.I think that was around midterms if I remember right.

    Sounds like avoidance to me.

    Comment by Daran — December 12, 2006 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  30. A feminist:

    1) Believes that there is current, significant, society-wide inequality and sexism which on balance disadvantages women.

    I agree that this is what self-professed feminists typically believe. (I myself do not believe it.)

    I should clarify. It’s the ‘on balance disadvantages women’ bit I disagree with. There are certainly current, significant society-wide inequality and sexism that disadvantage both sexes, men to a greater degree.

    Daran–that quote is from you from the feminism and anit-feminism threat at Alas. This actually seems like the crux to me. Do you really think sexism disadvantages men to a greater degree? or is there context I’m missing?

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 14, 2006 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

  31. that was supposed to be a blockquote until I wrote “Daran.” you were quoting someone else until “I should clarify.”

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 14, 2006 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  32. I fixed your blockquote. Note you can’t nest blockquotes, so I italicised instead.

    It was the first part of Amp’s definition.

    Before I answer your question, understand that when I wrote that, I had been not immersed in feminist discourse to the degree that I have now. Consequently, my thoughts on the subject are far more nuanced now than they were back then.

    1. There is a huge mountain of shit which stretches as far as the eye can see. Feminists are working on shovelling the left half of the pile. The right half is neglected, and often they dump on it. When challenged about this, they respond by claiming the left half is bigger and needs more attention.

    2. Feminists have worked very hard at mapping out the topography of the left half of the pile of shit. A lot of the right half remains obscure and unmapped.

    3. Nevertheless, the right half looks kinda, sorta, bigger, from where I’m standing anyway, and taking into account the unmapped areas. But I really don’t have a way of measuring either half.

    4. But it’s odious even to make the comparison. It’s ludicrous and artificial to divide it into left and right halves anyway. It’s one big mountain of shit. (I do not dispute that the two halves are different in shape, and that clearing operations must therefore be asymmetric.)

    5. It’s not right to ignore half of it, and even worse to exacerbate that half by dumping on it. The proper approach is to do your bit to clear whatever part of the mountain is in your reach, without disparaging or undermine the work of others on their parts of the mountain.

    6. Your shovel is over there.

    Comment by Daran — December 14, 2006 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  33. If I were rewriting that definition today, I’d write: “1) Believes that there is current, significant, society-wide inequality and sexism which doesn’t harm men more than it harms women.”

    The only reason I put any words in that sentence at all, after the words “inequality and sexism,” was to try and write a definition that includes feminists but excludes, say, Glenn Sacks.

    Daran wrote:

    I should clarify. It’s the ‘on balance disadvantages women’ bit I disagree with. There are certainly current, significant society-wide inequality and sexism that disadvantage both sexes, men to a greater degree.

    And then, months later:

    Nevertheless, the right half looks kinda, sorta, bigger, from where I’m standing anyway, and taking into account the unmapped areas. But I really don’t have a way of measuring either half.

    4. But it’s odious even to make the comparison.

    Daran, if you really think its so odious, maybe you shouldn’t make it every time you critique my definition. As it is, you seem to want to both claim that you’re better than feminists, because you don’t compare, while still making it clear that you believe men have it worse than women.

    Edited to add: And from my point of view, feminists have been the people who have been digging on both halves of the pile (albeit more on the left than the right half). There isn’t a single anti-feminist or MRA, once in my life, who has said anything helpful to me about the way I was beaten as a child because I wasn’t acceptably masculine. Every useful author and person I’ve encountered about how sexism has hurt me, has been a feminist.

    I realize your experience has been different, of course. But without feminism, my life would have been hell; without feminism, there would have never been any place in the world for a boy like me, and possibly not even for a man like me. I’m sorry that feminism hasn’t solved all men’s problems. But it’s done a lot. And that I had a place in society despite my complete lack of manliness in my youth isn’t a meaningless or contemptible accomplishment.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 14, 2006 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

  34. It’s ludicrous and artificial to divide it into left and right halves anyway. It’s one big mountain of shit. (I do not dispute that the two halves are different in shape, and that clearing operations must therefore be asymmetric.)

    If the cleaning operation must be asymmetric because the two halves are different in shape, then it’s not ludicrous or artificial to acknowledge that there are two halves. It’s only ludicrous and artificial if the two halves are, in fact, indistinguishable and require identical approaches to cleaning.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 14, 2006 @ 8:05 pm | Reply

  35. Merging your two posts:

    Daran, if you really think its so odious, maybe you shouldn’t make it every time you critique my definition.

    That’s a bit like saying “if you really think its so odious when I hit you, you really shouldn’t fight back”. Part of what makes it so odious is that the right half looks larger from here.

    As it is, you seem to want to both claim that you’re better than feminists, because you don’t compare, while still making it clear that you believe men have it worse than women.

    “I caught the pair of them fighting.”

    Edited to add: And from my point of view, feminists have been the people who have been digging on both halves of the pile (albeit more on the left than the right half). There isn’t a single anti-feminist or MRA, once in my life, who has said anything helpful to me about the way I was beaten as a child because I wasn’t acceptably masculine. Every useful author and person I’ve encountered about how sexism has hurt me, has been a feminist.

    One of the many things its been in the back of my mind to do, is set out my conceptual map of the non-feminist (contrafeminist) half of genderism, and how antifeminism, Men’s Rights Activism, and feminist-criticism interlock and overlap with each other and with feminism.

    As you should be aware by now, I neither self-identify with nor broadly defend either antifeminism (Ugh!) or Men’s Rights Activism. I have encountered only a handful of individuals whom I recognise as belonging to “my” school of feminist-criticism – Aegis, Tom Nolan, maybe toysoldier (I’m not sure) on the contra side. In Academia, Dr. R. Charli Carpenter, possibly. On the feminist side, I think curiousgyrl and Malachi of Feminist Allies are potential recruits. In Academia, Dr. Adam Jones (yes, he self-identifies as a feminist, albeit a “dissident”).

    So I’m disappointed, obviously, but unsurprised that neither antifeminism or Men’s Rights Activism has been helpful to you.

    I realize your experience has been different, of course. But without feminism, my life would have been hell; without feminism, there would have never been any place in the world for a boy like me, and possibly not even for a man like me. I’m sorry that feminism hasn’t solved all men’s problems. But it’s done a lot. And that I had a place in society despite my complete lack of manliness in my youth isn’t a meaningless or contemptible accomplishment.

    In turn, I realise you feel that way. My guess is that men like Jake Squid, Richard Jeffrey Newman, and the feminist allies feel similarly.

    But other men – some of them also lacking in ‘manly’ characteristics, and suffering much like you have – find it toxic. Why some, and not others, is an interesting question in itself, but where I’m at is trying to persuade reasonable feminists like yourself that as it stands it is toxic to us, and it needs to change.

    If the cleaning operation must be asymmetric because the two halves are different in shape, then it’s not ludicrous or artificial to acknowledge that there are two halves.

    The human body is asymmetric with respect to its internal organs, but I have never heard of a surgeon who only specialised in disorders of the left hand side of the body. If there was one who did, and who also disparaged the right side, and his operations injured or exacerbated the injuries of the right side of some of his patients, even if they helped the right-side injuries of others, would you see this as a good thing?

    It’s only ludicrous and artificial if the two halves are, in fact, indistinguishable and require identical approaches to cleaning.

    This is a false dichotomy.

    Comment by Daran — December 14, 2006 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  36. If I were rewriting that definition today, I’d write: “1) Believes that there is current, significant, society-wide inequality and sexism which doesn’t harm men more than it harms women.”

    Should I take that as an official revision?

    Comment by Daran — December 14, 2006 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

  37. Hmmn. “Official” revision implies I should give more than five seconds thought to the wording, doesn’t it? Let me see….

    Yeah, that’s fine with me. Official revision it is. I’ll post it on “Alas” sometime this week, too.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 14, 2006 @ 10:45 pm | Reply

  38. That’s a bit like saying “if you really think its so odious when I hit you, you really shouldn’t fight back”. Part of what makes it so odious is that the right half looks larger from here.

    So it’s not the comparison that’s odious to you; it’s a comparison which comes to an opinion that you disagree with that makes it “odious.”

    I think your analogy of me hitting you is unfair, and needlessly hostile. Disagreeing with you about an analysis of a social problem is not the same as hitting you.

    As you should be aware by now, I neither self-identify with nor broadly defend either antifeminism (Ugh!) or Men’s Rights Activism.

    Shorter Daran: “Feminism sucks. Feminism is toxic. Feminism is awful. Feminism sucks. Feminism is toxic. Feminism sucks. Feminism is awful. Feminism is toxic. Feminism sucks. P.S.: I’m not an anti-feminist.” 😛

    I realize that you don’t self-identify as an anti-feminist nor as an MRA.

    In turn, I realise you feel that way. My guess is that men like Jake Squid, Richard Jeffrey Newman, and the feminist allies feel similarly.

    But other men – some of them also lacking in ‘manly’ characteristics, and suffering much like you have – find it toxic.

    My point was that your silly shit mountain analogy seems to ignore men like myself and pretend that only “feminism is toxic” men exist. As far as I can tell, either you acknowledge that feminists have, in fact, done shoveling on both sides of the mountain; or you don’t acknowledge I exist.

    Nor do I really find many of your “feminism is toxic” complaints fair, but that’s a topic for another thread, or threads, I imagine.

    …I have never heard of a surgeon who only specialised in disorders of the left hand side of the body.

    Doctors frequently specialize (although not in left and right, it’s true). Because a kidney and a foot are not identical, it makes sense for doctors to specialize in kidneys, or in feet.

    Sexism hurts both men and women, but not through universally identical means. Because how men are oppressed and how women are oppressed are not identical, there’s nothing wrong with choosing to focus.

    (That said, I do think that – unlike kidneys and feet – there is a significant amount of crossover between how women and men are oppressed. Not identical, but often linked. For example, the “women should be homemakers” oppression is the flip side of the “men should be breadwinners” oppression.)

    Comment by Ampersand — December 15, 2006 @ 12:13 am | Reply

  39. That’s a bit like saying “if you really think its so odious when I hit you, you really shouldn’t fight back”. Part of what makes it so odious is that the right half looks larger from here.

    So it’s not the comparison that’s odious to you; it’s a comparison which comes to an opinion that you disagree with that makes it “odious.”

    I think your analogy of me hitting you is unfair, and needlessly hostile. Disagreeing with you about an analysis of a social problem is not the same as hitting you.

    You seem to have missed the point of the analogy altogether.

    It would not be inconsistent of me to object to you hitting me, and still hit you back.

    Likewise it is not inconsistent of me to object to the Odious Comparison, while offering counter-comparisons in rebuttal of it.

    That’s all it is. That’s the only analogy I’m drawing here. I’m not suggesting that “Disagreeing with [me] about an analysis of a social problem” is analogous to hitting me in any other way.

    The Comparison is Odious because it justifies, is justified by, and motivates the routine denial, dismissal, minimisation, and ignoring of male suffering and disadvantage, by feminists.

    It also justifies the comparative lack of attention given to right half of the mountain. That lack of attention results in a comparative lack of available information, which then feeds back into the Odious Comparison.

    As you should be aware by now, I neither self-identify with nor broadly defend either antifeminism (Ugh!) or Men’s Rights Activism.

    Shorter Daran: “Feminism sucks. Feminism is toxic. Feminism is awful. Feminism sucks. Feminism is toxic. Feminism sucks. Feminism is awful. Feminism is toxic. Feminism sucks. P.S.: I’m not an anti-feminist.”

    That is unfair. Firstly, I don’t just say “feminism sucks” I offer reasoned objections to certain aspects of feminism and of individual feminists. Yet all too often you respond with an ad hom attacks and the “ad hom defence” that misrepresents my criticism as a content-free ad hom: “Feminists are/feminism is eeevil”

    I appreciate that you have made a huge personal investment in feminism, and have got a lot out of it, but I do not accept that this fact renders feminism immune from criticism.

    I realize that you don’t self-identify as an anti-feminist nor as an MRA.

    Yet I get both labels pinned on me. Funnily enough the antifems call me “feminist”.

    I don’t have the visceral reaction to MRA that I do to antifeminism. Functionally I am active in field of men’s rights. Therefore I do not reject the MRA label. I just don’t embrace it.

    From a group-dynamic point of view, both are outgroups to me, and I tend to see them as homogenous, far more so than I do feminism. Feminism is to much closer to being an ingroup for me, though my criticism of it renders me an outgrouper to feminists.

    My point was that your silly shit mountain analogy seems to ignore men like myself and pretend that only “feminism is toxic” men exist. As far as I can tell, either you acknowledge that feminists have, in fact, done shovelling on both sides of the mountain; or you don’t acknowledge I exist.

    I’m sorry you regard it to be “silly”. I don’t ignore men like you. If a few men are unearthed from the right half of the shitpile as a result of feminist excavations, whether it be a collateral effect of them digging on the left, or because of their lustreless efforts on the right, then that’s a good thing. But I don’t think that justifies the extent to which other men get dumped on. Nor as far as I can see are the aspects of it I criticise essential elements of what it is you benefit from in feminism.

    Obviously you’re the authority on what you get out of it, so please feel free to educate me. Does it really help you to have to trivialise your own suffering, calling it “negligible compared to the far more extreme abuses so many girls and women survive”?

    Nor do I really find many of your “feminism is toxic” complaints fair, but that’s a topic for another thread, or threads, I imagine.

    I’ve made many criticisms of feminism over the months I’ve been at alas, but its toxicity isn’t one I’ve recall attending to much, or at all, for that matter. Perhaps you are suffering from a ‘criticism’ version of the Outgroup homogeneity bias – all criticisms of feminism look the same.

    Doctors frequently specialize (although not in left and right, it’s true)…

    Bingo.

    Because a kidney and a foot are not identical, it makes sense for doctors to specialize in kidneys, or in feet.

    So it make sense to specialise in, say, prison violence, or genocide, or child sexual abuse, or domestic violence.

    It does not make sense to specialise in “violence against women” which is equivalent to “disorders of the left hand side”.

    Sexism hurts both men and women, but not through universally identical means. Because how men are oppressed and how women are oppressed are not identical, there’s nothing wrong with choosing to focus.

    There is a problem when one side gets all or nearly all the focus. There is a problem when the issues affecting the other get denied, dismissed, minimised and ignored.

    (That said, I do think that – unlike kidneys and feet – there is a significant amount of crossover between how women and men are oppressed. Not identical, but often linked. For example, the “women should be homemakers” oppression is the flip side of the “men should be breadwinners” oppression.)

    Bingo again.

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 6:31 am | Reply

  40. Yeah, that’s fine with me. Official revision it is. I’ll post it on “Alas” sometime this week, too.

    I’ll wait for you to do that, at which point I’ll post my definition, which is so stunningly and obviously correct, and sublimely beautiful that you will immediately be forced to post a retraction.

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 6:53 am | Reply

  41. Sorry for being unable to make a proper quote:

    Amp: “There isn’t a single anti-feminist or MRA, once in my life, who has said anything helpful to me about the way I was beaten as a child because I wasn’t acceptably masculine. Every useful author and person I’ve encountered about how sexism has hurt me, has been a feminist.”

    I’m not sure what qualifies as ‘helpful’. I was beaten because I was more than adequately masculine; my childhood was constant warfare between my mother & me. There were other women who went out of their way to abuse me under the notion of “for my benefit”… and I even believed them, until I got a woman head teacher in Grade 7-8, and she has known _exactly_ how to handle me. She set a high bar for me _in the areas I was good at_ (academics), and ignored my minor behavioural infractions – and I brought the sky down _for her smile_.

    Comment by hun — December 15, 2006 @ 7:40 am | Reply

  42. I’m not sure what qualifies as ‘helpful’.

    While Ampersand is more equipped to answer that question, most likely what is ‘helpful’ is what worked to answer or approach the his problems in the way best suited for him. Since this varies from person to person, his experience cannot be taken as the approach (which was not implied), only a potential approach. That does not mean that feminism cannot work, only that it is not the universal fix that it is often presented as. The same is true for religion and secular philosophies.

    As long as none of them are undermining the others or dumping on those who find them inapplicable, there is no issue.

    Btw, to make quotes use [blockquote]text[/blockquote], but with theses instead of these [].

    Comment by toysoldier — December 15, 2006 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  43. Ironically, the site tried to read the angle brackets. Use the angle brackets instead of the square brackets to make quotes.

    Comment by toysoldier — December 15, 2006 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  44. Angle brackets – you know those greater and less that signs that you can’t easily make appear as text.

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 9:46 am | Reply

  45. Angle brackets – you know those greater and less that signs that you can’t easily make appear as text.

    Ahem, test, test, one two three four.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 15, 2006 @ 9:54 am | Reply

  46. No, didn’t unblock. What did I do wrong I wonder?

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 15, 2006 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  47. Your [/blockquote] wasn’t there.

    Note that the system will delete malformed markup, so it’s possible that you made a typo.

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  48. Daran;

    I’m late to the party and but I want to comment on the shit analogy.

    You might be unsurprised to find that I regard it as totally wrong. or maybe surprised, I’m not sure.

    But rather than kick off by argueing about that, i’d rather figure out where this perspective puts you in relation to feminism, because right now I’m not sure you ‘Third Way’ approach makes a whole lot of sense.

    My question is about your view of the history and origin of gender relations–

    Was men’s pile always bigger? If not what changed and when?

    Please take that up, I’f you’re willing–I’d appreciate it, even if you think itse odious to compare (I think its probably not) to me its not only entirely approprate and necessary to talk about gender oppression not as two seperate halves but as a relationship. Its a relationship that as currently constituted limits and warps individual people male and female subject to its strictures. But I understand it as a relationship of power between two mututally constitued categories.

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 15, 2006 @ 10:43 am | Reply

  49. Just to clarify where I stand on feminism: I think that the core feminist principle of theoretical sexual equality, with its human-rights imperative that men and women be allowed to develop in line with their talents and ambitions rather than have to renounce them on account of the genitalia they were born with, is absolutely justified. And as there are surprisingly large numbers of men and women who contest that principle still out there, I often enough find myself defending core feminism in conversation and debate.

    The point is though, that I think that feminism is right about certain things. I don’t think that anything is right because it can be identified with feminism – and I don’t, unlike Ampersand, Richard Henry Newman and Jake Squid (if Daran is right about those two) have a sense of loyalty to the movement which would make me regard what seem doubtful arguments (or, come to that, doubtful individuals) with a tolerant eye.

    Feminist blogs have all sorts of functions (creating a sense of solidarity, community etc.) but the most important, surely, is that of testing feminist ideas and explanations for intellectual viability. Too often, though, in the name, precisely, of solidarity and community, novel notions do not receive the scrutiny they deserve, and often the proponents of such notions – even as they apply them – refuse to say exactly what they mean by them. Examples would be “male entitlement”, “rape culture” and, indeed, “patriarchy”. These terms mean different things to different feminists (patriarchy, for instance, can mean anything from “the political and social domination of elderly men” to “anything I don’t like about society”, or, indeed, “everything in society, whether I like it or not”.) So we end up with a debate riddled with “terms of art” which have no precise meaning, and are often not intended to have one; rather, they are employed as an insurmountable barrier against contrary argumentation. “You are only saying that out of a sense of male entitlement.” What do you mean by ‘male entitlement’?” “Check it out on wiki, attend feminism 101, I’m not here as your teacher etc.”

    The result is a proliferation of irrationality and absurdity which, once it becomes associated with feminist positions in the “real world” (where most men and women are no more loyal to feminism than I am) is bound to weaken them.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — December 15, 2006 @ 10:50 am | Reply

  50. Thanks for the blockq

    Comment by hun — December 15, 2006 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  51. Thanks for the help w/ the blockquotes.

    As long as none of them are undermining the others or dumping on those who find them inapplicable, there is no issue.

    IMO this view sets up an unbreakable bind; essentially, it requires one to suspend one’s critical faculties in order to have ‘allies’.
    Am I perceiving this issue the wrong way?

    Comment by hun — December 15, 2006 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  52. IMO this view sets up an unbreakable bind; essentially, it requires one to suspend one’s critical faculties in order to have ‘allies’.

    I disagree. One can be critical of something without attacking or undermining its potential to help those who would benefit from it. For instance, one could find that religion offers no solution for your issues. You may even criticize elements that you find harmful. However, you do not attack those who found it useful.

    I am unsure what you mean by ‘allies’? Who are the allies?

    Comment by toysoldier — December 15, 2006 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  53. One can be critical of something without attacking or undermining its potential to help those who would benefit from it. For instance, one could find that religion offers no solution for your issues. You may even criticize elements that you find harmful. However, you do not attack those who found it useful.

    Well, Amanda Marcotte has no problem with demonizing politicians/public figures who espouse a morality based on religious principles; why is it that she’s a feminist of good standing, then?

    Comment by hun — December 15, 2006 @ 1:56 pm | Reply

  54. Well, Amanda Marcotte has no problem with demonizing politicians/public figures who espouse a morality based on religious principles; why is it that she’s a feminist of good standing, then?

    Huh?

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 15, 2006 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  55. Tom Nolan:

    I don’t, unlike Ampersand, Richard Henry Newman and Jake Squid (if Daran is right about those two) have a sense of loyalty to the movement which would make me regard what seem doubtful arguments (or, come to that, doubtful individuals) with a tolerant eye.

    I know Amp fairly well, and I notice that for a characteristically rational debater he tends to react very irractionally to criticism of feminism.

    I don’t know the other two very well, so I don’t know if it’s loyalty to feminism, as such. I think it more likely to be a combination of the fact that they don’t feel the toxicity themselves, and the general feminist tendency to blame men for their own problems.

    I entirely agree with the rest of your post.

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  56. Well, Amanda Marcotte has no problem with demonizing politicians/public figures who espouse a morality based on religious principles; why is it that she’s a feminist of good standing, then?

    If you have a specific critisism of her, then by all means ask for a new thread on the topic. Otherwise can we not attack or criticise individuals not here to defend themselves, please.

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

  57. hun and toysoldier are talking past each other, and haven’t realised it. 🙂

    toysoldier:

    As long as none of them are undermining the others or dumping on those who find them inapplicable, there is no issue.

    hun:

    IMO this view sets up an unbreakable bind; essentially, it requires one to suspend one’s critical faculties in order to have ‘allies’.
    Am I perceiving this issue the wrong way?

    Yes if one is having a critical debate on real-world issues. In this case, if another position is untenable, you are doing them a favour by refuting them (assuming they are reasonable).

    However toysoldier is talking about belief systems which help survivors recover/cope. These are very often expressions of value, applicable internally, rather than logical propositions with empirical truth. forgiveness, the power of positive thinking, etc., for example. In such cases what might be true for me may very well not be true for him and vice versa.

    There is a real problem when the two domains become confused, and the “my truth” standard is applied to the external world.

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  58. Curiousgyrrl:

    I’m late to the party and but I want to comment on the shit analogy.

    Amp called it “silly”. You’re calling it “shit”. What’s wrong with my analogy? 🙂

    Was men’s pile always bigger? If not what changed and when?

    I deliberately framed it as two sides to one big pile. I think you would agree with that.

    Why is “which side is bigger” so important?

    I think the gender structures we have today are a legacy of those which evolved hundreds or thousands of years ago. Basically you have the aristocracy, and the masses. To the aristocracy, the masses were/are a commodity to be exploited, but also a rebelion threat. This becomes gendered when you realise that the different sexes pose different levels of threat, and have different commodity values. A woman’s value lay in her loins. Only she could produce the next generation of commodity people. She, therefore, needs to be protected. Men were always disposable. A man’s commodity value was enhanced by his very disposability. He could be sent of to do the dangerous tasks, and if he got killed, so much the better. (Less of a rebellion threat.)

    But men had to be paid for their disposability, at least until they were disposed of. One way to pay them was to give each one a woman. A beneficial (from the Aristocracy’s point of view) side effect of that was that this served to control women, but the real purpose of the system was to control men.

    Society, at least here in the west, has been radically restructured since then. We now live in technologised liberal democracies. Those old ideas are no longer relevant, but they persist, in the cultural values that regard men as disposable, and maybe also that they need to be paid more. (As Amp points out there is a now a disconnect between the men doing the dangerous work, and the men being paid.)

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

  59. I think Daran is on point here. The patriarchy is often framed by some feminists as being anti-woman for the sake of being anti-woman – “because they hate us”, to boil it down in perhaps an over-simplistic way – when in fact these social structures are often designed around men.

    At the same time, women’s irreplaceable role in continuing the species isn’t an aristocratic need, it’s a biological reality (or it was, anyhow). Framing the necessity of protecting the race’s future as being class-specific seems bound to lead to faulty conclusions.

    And on the gripping hand, bear in mind that the ability of elites to set cultural values exists but is of limited scope. Six thousand years of articulated formal urban law has not yet ingrained honesty in the human character, or fidelity in human biology. Elites are more likely to get to decide what labels and theoretical punishments await the inevitable nonconformists than to actually get their way about anything.

    Comment by Robert — December 15, 2006 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  60. It would not be inconsistent of me to object to you hitting me, and still hit you back.

    I think hitting is a deceptive analogy, because when you consider hitting me back, you need to consider the potential that I might physically injure you if you don’t hit back. Sometimes hitting in self-defense cannot reasonably be avoided.

    Instead, let’s consider a situation where self-defense from physical injury isn’t a factor. In an online debate, a person of color calls me a kike. I think ethnic and racial slurs are odious. By your logic, it’s perfectly okay for me to call this person a racial slur in response to them calling me a kike. Do you really believe that? (Assume the slurs are not said in a friendly or joking manner).

    If you really find the so-called Odious Comparison odious, you shouldn’t repeatedly utilize it when it’s easily avoided. Or — as certainly appears to be the case — you don’t really find the comparison itself odious, in which case you should stop claiming it’s odious.

    Does it really help you to have to trivialise your own suffering, calling it “negligible compared to the far more extreme abuses so many girls and women survive”?

    I don’t think that calling my suffering neglible compared to (for example) a woman who is beaten and raped by her husband at regular intervals, in any way “trivializes” my suffering. Recognizing that other people have it worse than me — and in the USA, all else held equal, those other people are usually women – in no way suggests that bad things that happen to me are trivial.

    It does not make sense to specialise in “violence against women” which is equivalent to “disorders of the left hand side”.

    I don’t think they are equivalent. Overwhelmingly, the most likely kind of violence for men to experience is going to be either organized institutional violence (such as members of a football team or an army experience) or from a relative stranger (barfights, frat hazing[*], muggers, gang violence, attacking armies or guerillas). Women, on the other hand, are most likely to experience violence at the hands of people they know, especially husbands and boyfriends. (And if they do experience violence from invading armies, it will frequently involve much less murder and much more rape, which is a significant difference).

    For that reason, I think it makes sense to have at least three categories of violence – “violence against men,” “violence against women,” and (although I don’t talk about this above) “violence against children.”

    There is overlap between these categories, of course. But to pretend the differences are as insignificant as left versus right runs counter to reality.

    There is a problem when one side gets all or nearly all the focus. There is a problem when the issues affecting the other get denied, dismissed, minimised and ignored.

    Agreed on both counts.

    What I disagree with is the implication that feminists are primarily responsible for the lack of attention to how sexism harms men. (If you see anything other than feminism as responsible for men’s problems, that’s not apparent from the tone of your writing). You see the harms, but rather than looking at the real causes – sexism in society as a whole, the failure of media to notice or report on sexism harming men, on the lack of a large-scale men’s rights movement – virtually all your passion goes into using men’s troubles as an excuse to attack feminists and feminism.

    But feminism is not the a primary cause of sexist harm to men. If feminism had never existed, men would still be expected to suppress their need for family connections to devote themselves to work. If feminism had never existed, men would still be the most likely ones to die in the workplace. If feminism had never existed, boys who can’t be masculine would still be targeted for abuse. If feminism had never existed, black men in the US would still be in prison in wildly disproportionate numbers. If feminism had never existed, warmongers would still starting wars in which hundreds of thousands of men die for no legitimate cause or gain.

    A years-long, seemingly endless crusade against feminism is not a rational or effective response to men’s problems.

    I know Amp fairly well, and I notice that for a characteristically rational debater he tends to react very irrationally to criticism of feminism.

    I think you’re mistaking irrational for “pissed off.” After all the attacks I’ve endured in the last 15 years, being pissed off is a reasonable reaction on my part.

    Although it’s tempting to respond to insult with insult, I won’t say you’re irrational. The truth is, you’re usually very rational, which is why I like dealing with you.

    Nonetheless, your criticisms of feminism are – in my opinion – persistently over-the-top and unwilling to acknowledge anything but negatives. For that reason, I think your writing, even when it’s accurate in some details, paints a broadly unfair and unbalanced picture of feminism.

    * * *

    [*] Edited to add: I went back and forth on if I should include sports, frat hazings, etc., alongside the more extreme kinds of violence such as (for example) being rounded up and murdered by a paramilitary organization. I decided to include them all, because I think that sports such as boxing are in fact a significant form of violence that primarily harms men; but I’m not claiming that they’re all morally equivilent.

    Comment by Ampersand — December 15, 2006 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

  61. Why is “which side is bigger” so important?

    I don’t think it is important, except in particular issues in a triage-y sort of way. I think it’s been blown out of proportion by the debate; as I said, the only reason I included it in the definition was as a way of distinguishing MRAs from feminists.

    The truth is, folks who say “it doesn’t really matter who’s hurt more?” can easily be feminists in my view; I’ve met several such feminists in real life. That’s why I’m changing the definition.

    I’m not enough of a historian to argue about the picture of history you present. Yet I suspect it’s overly simplistic. (You might even agree with me about that).

    Comment by Ampersand — December 15, 2006 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  62. Look, it’s perfectly simple.

    If you hit Amp, he will cry and surrender like a little French communist. So you will win the argument if you do that.

    On the other hand, if you hit Amp, then we will all mock you for picking on Amp the little French communist. So you’re going to look like an asshole.

    So don’t hit Amp!

    Comment by bobhayes — December 15, 2006 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

  63. But I already look like an asshole.

    Comment by Daran — December 16, 2006 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  64. I think hitting is a deceptive analogy, because when you consider hitting me back, you need to consider the potential that I might physically injure you if you don’t hit back. Sometimes hitting in self-defense cannot reasonably be avoided.

    An analogy isn’t invalidated merely because you can think of some characteristic it doesn’t share with the thing analogised.

    Instead, let’s consider a situation where self-defense from physical injury isn’t a factor. In an online debate, a person of color calls me a kike. I think ethnic and racial slurs are odious. By your logic, it’s perfectly okay for me to call this person a racial slur in response to them calling me a kike. Do you really believe that?

    Calling someone a racial epithet doesn’t rebut the one they called you, but saying (and showing) than men’s oppression is worse does rebut the claim that women’s oppression is worse. It is the rebuttal element which I am analogising to the self-defence element of “hitting back”.

    If you really find the so-called Odious Comparison odious, you shouldn’t repeatedly utilize it when it’s easily avoided. Or — as certainly appears to be the case — you don’t really find the comparison itself odious, in which case you should stop claiming it’s odious.

    What makes it odious are the dynamics I described in my earlier comment:

    The Comparison is Odious because it justifies, is justified by, and motivates the routine denial, dismissal, minimisation, and ignoring of male suffering and disadvantage, by feminists.

    It also justifies the comparative lack of attention given to right half of the mountain. That lack of attention results in a comparative lack of available information, which then feeds back into the Odious Comparison.

    I do not deny, dismiss, minimise, and ignore the oppression of women. I do not focus upon women’s oppression, but that does not leave their oppression neglected. Nor does it result in a comparative lack of information about women’s oppression.

    I don’t think that calling my suffering neglible compared to (for example) a woman who is beaten and raped by her husband at regular intervals, in any way “trivializes” my suffering. Recognizing that other people have it worse than me — and in the USA, all else held equal, those other people are usually women – in no way suggests that bad things that happen to me are trivial.

    Sure, lots of people have it worse. Pretty well anything you could talk about can be framed as not as bad as something else. But you don’t make this kind of comparison with women’s suffering. When you talk about a date rape, say, you don’t say “of course your suffering is negligable compared to men who are beaten and raped at regular intervals in prison”. I suspect you’d have sharp words for me if I said that in response to a female rape survivor.

    Me:

    It does not make sense to specialise in “violence against women” which is equivalent to “disorders of the left hand side”.

    Amp:

    I don’t think they are equivalent. Overwhelmingly, the most likely kind of violence for men to experience is going to be either organized institutional violence (such as members of a football team or an army experience) or from a relative stranger (barfights, frat hazing[*], muggers, gang violence, attacking armies or guerillas). Women, on the other hand, are most likely to experience violence at the hands of people they know, especially husbands and boyfriends. (And if they do experience violence from invading armies, it will frequently involve much less murder and much more rape, which is a significant difference).

    Sure, the patterns of violence are different, but the “violence against women” framing excludes the minoirity of men to whom these kinds of violence do happen.

    For that reason, I think it makes sense to have at least three categories of violence – “violence against men,” “violence against women,” and (although I don’t talk about this above) “violence against children.”

    Do you talk about “violence against men” in this exclusive way? Does feminism?

    There is overlap between these categories, of course. But to pretend the differences are as insignificant as left versus right runs counter to reality.

    The differences between right and left are not insignificant. The human body is only superficially symmetric. A pain down your left arm might mean something quite different from a similar pain down your right.

    What I object to is the higher value placed on women’s suffering and oppression.

    What I disagree with is the implication that feminists are primarily responsible for the lack of attention to how sexism harms men. (If you see anything other than feminism as responsible for men’s problems, that’s not apparent from the tone of your writing).

    You haven’t noticed me writing about media representations of gender?

    You see the harms, but rather than looking at the real causes – sexism in society as a whole, the failure of media to notice or report on sexism harming men, on the lack of a large-scale men’s rights movement…

    How about the lack of a large-scale equality movement, which feminism pretends to be but isn’t.

    – virtually all your passion goes into using men’s troubles as an excuse to attack feminists and feminism.

    Oh yes. I think feminism is eeevil and I’m just using men’s troubles as an excuse. It’s much easier to dismiss what I say if you believe that.

    But feminism is not the a primary cause of sexist harm to men. If feminism had never existed, men would still be expected to suppress their need for family connections to devote themselves to work. If feminism had never existed, men would still be the most likely ones to die in the workplace. If feminism had never existed, boys who can’t be masculine would still be targeted for abuse. If feminism had never existed, black men in the US would still be in prison in wildly disproportionate numbers. If feminism had never existed, warmongers would still starting wars in which hundreds of thousands of men die for no legitimate cause or gain.

    And if feminism had never existed, I would probably still be unaware of the pervasive sexism that harms men.

    But I am aware of it, so I want to do something about it.

    A years-long, seemingly endless crusade against feminism is not a rational or effective response to men’s problems.

    Years long? I only turned my attention to feminism earlier this year, (I think) when I came to Alas. Before that it was antifeminism I was focussed upon. (Sure I’d take the opportunity to engage with any feminist that came along, but there weren’t many.)

    I think you’re mistaking irrational for “pissed off.” After all the attacks I’ve endured in the last 15 years, being pissed off is a reasonable reaction on my part.

    I’m not attacking.

    Although it’s tempting to respond to insult with insult, I won’t say you’re irrational. The truth is, you’re usually very rational, which is why I like dealing with you.

    Ditto, but if you respond to criticism by accusing me of, say, favouring antifeminists, then it’s not an insult to challenge the rationality of your response.

    Nonetheless, your criticisms of feminism are – in my opinion – persistently over-the-top and unwilling to acknowledge anything but negatives.

    You are mistaken. I embrace the positives. Feminism invented gender analysis for example. Gender analsys is good. You think so. I think so. What’s to discuss?

    For that reason, I think your writing, even when it’s accurate in some details, paints a broadly unfair and unbalanced picture of feminism.

    Like I said, some bits are good. What’s to discuss?

    Comment by Daran — December 16, 2006 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  65. Daran;

    sorry I’ve actually started with the papers, so not much time.

    I think you’re ancient history is as good as any of the others out there and agree that the which half is bigger doesnt really get at much (though I would suggest that just because it looks one way from over there isnt good evidence :))

    One interesting thing I’m having trouble formulating is an idea about your assertion that male dominance is about mens relationship to other men (elites vs disposables) NOT hating women…any feminist analysis worht its salt would point out that there must be something preceeding that primordial state of affaris which distinguished men as people worth relating to from women which amount to property. So I’m not sure your description quite gets to the heart of the matter. Does that make sense?

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 16, 2006 @ 10:03 pm | Reply

  66. I think you’re ancient history is as good as any of the others out there and agree that the which half is bigger doesnt really get at much (though I would suggest that just because it looks one way from over there isnt good evidence :))

    Feminists have no more evidence on their side.

    One interesting thing I’m having trouble formulating is an idea about your assertion that male dominance is about mens relationship to other men (elites vs disposables)

    Disposability is a characteristic of property, not of people. The greater respect afforded to disposable men was the respect you grant to a dangerous animal, not the respect you grant to a human.

    Here’s an analogy: A farmer raises bulls for meat and cows for calves and milk. The Bull is the more dangerous animal, so he keeps it docile by giving it a cow.

    The cows get to live out their natural lives producing calves and milk. The bulls are worked, (they plow the fields), and slaughered at an early age.

    Comment by Daran — December 16, 2006 @ 11:01 pm | Reply

  67. […] Here is his own explanation of his position: Feminist cannot object to the statement “Women do (sometimes) lie about rape-and men don’t”. Because: 1. Construing “lie about rape” to mean “falsely report to the police that they were raped”, the statement is true, or at least, feminists cannot show that it is false. 2. Feminists cannot object to that construction, because they were the ones who used that construction in the first place when they circulated the 2% false accusation myth. Edited to add: 3. While it is debatable to what extent individual feminists can be held responsible for the actions of other feminists, feminists who make generalised group-based complaints about the actions of non-feminists, cannot object when they are hoist on that petard. ] […]

    Pingback by Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Rape and Probability Theory — December 17, 2006 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  68. If you have a specific critisism of her, then by all means ask for a new thread on the topic. Otherwise can we not attack or criticise individuals not here to defend themselves, please.

    Sir yes sir!

    (As an aside: she also has a security blanket here, doesn’t she?)

    Comment by hun — December 17, 2006 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  69. […] It’s an interesting question, and if anyone else is interested, I suggest we continue the discussion here. But I think I should let the rest of you folk get back to discussing the real topic, which was Marcella’s original post. […]

    Pingback by DaRain Man « DaRain Man — December 18, 2006 @ 11:10 pm | Reply

  70. […] here. However I should perhaps have said that it was as much Marcella’s comment as it was curiousgyrl’s, that made me aware of what a monster it had become. Both comments were made in reply to a post […]

    Pingback by Feminist Critics — June 2, 2007 @ 10:16 am | Reply


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