Women Against Women Against…whatever

I haven’t wanted to do too many posts on feminism or anything related to it, aside from my explanation of why I can’t call myself one, because I didn’t want to be known as “that horrible anti-feminist blogger who should probably die in a fire.” I can’t actually be an anti-feminist for the same reasons that I can’t be a feminist, and I really don’t want to die in a fire, but really…the ship on my not offending people has kind of already sailed, so whatever. I can post about feminism if I want to, dammit.

Recently, a movement called “Women Against Feminism” sprouted up online, and the responses to it interest me. As for the movement itself, I don’t know yet. I mean, I guess it’s good that people are questioning what feminism really means today but…it’s one of those movements where people hold signs up next to their face and then post the pictures on Tumblr. Why do people do that? Why would you hold a sign up next to your face, giving internet trolls the ability to Photoshop not only the sign, but also your face, indefinitely? Why can’t you just not hold up a sign right next to your face? I generally strive to understand, but this is one of those things I may just never get.

But back on topic, the responses to this movement from people who self-identify as feminists are what I want to talk about. All over the place, feminists are complaining about how foolish and misinformed these poor women are. The consensus of opinion is that these women can’t possibly understand what feminism really means, because if they did, they would realize just how wrong they are not to run into feminism’s warm embrace. Why do feminists put great stock in women’s ability to make choices– in fact, the necessity of allowing women to make their own choices– but if that choice is ever to reject the political movement known as feminism, women’s choices are suddenly suspect and need correction?

This is what fascinates me: according to feminists, it seems there can be no such thing as a well-informed, legitimate rejection of feminism. Anyone who doesn’t buy into feminist ideology is seen as misinformed, often pitifully so. I wonder: do any feminists accept the existence of a woman who is well-informed about feminism, has not failed to do her due diligence when it comes to shopping for political ideologies, and yet still rejects the classification?  Are truly non-feminist women strange, mythical creatures like Bigfoot, or perhaps the Loch Ness Monster? I actually would like a feminist to womansplain this to me sometime; I’m hoping I’ve actually been the Loch Ness Monster this whole time and just never knew.

Anyway, while most articles I’ve seen on the topic thus far take the “These poor, misinformed creatures!” approach, this article from the Huffington Post (“Stop Blaming Anti-Feminist Young Women For Feminism’s Marketing Problems”) is a step in the right direction, because at least it acknowledges that feminism has any kind of problem whatsoever. Alyx Gorman argues, quite rightly I think, that if you discover feminism through the internet, you’re likely going to discover a lot of hyper-pissed off women arguing with each other (and men of course), often with tons of in-group jargon, and that doesn’t make a good impression. Her point is that a lot of the women involved with “Women Against Feminism,” have probably seen the worst of feminism online, and if they have, that’s not really their fault.

Still, as much as I appreciate Gorman’s honesty, I have to take issue with her main point; that feminism has a “marketing problem,” which could be fixed with the right attitude. For her, the substance of the movement is fine, it’s just that substance isn’t being communicated effectively. I disagree: Feminism doesn’t have a marketing problem, it has an incoherence problem. To the extent that feminist “marketing” exists, it is extremely effective in that it fully portrays just how stratified and divisive feminism really is right now.

You’ve got the “Feminism means equality, PERIOD, DEAL WITH IT,” Feminists, the “Feminism is about universal love and respect and that’s the opposite of violence,” Feminists, the “Feminism is about fighting back against the Patriarchy and that requires violence by definition!” Feminists, the “I totally love men and would never discriminate against a man, but can we talk about microaggressions now?” Feminists, the “Consent doesn’t count unless its repeatedly given, over and over again, explicitly, otherwise its rape and also the worst thing that can ever happen to anyone,” Feminists, the “Capitalism is a tool of men to subjugate women therefore only a utopian, non-commercial society will eliminate female victimhood,” Feminists, the “Feminism is about giving the power back to any and all marginalized groups because INTERSECTIONALITY, have you heard the GOOD NEWS about INTERSECTIONALITY?” and so on and so forth; there’s lots more. And that’s just talking about some of the relatively legit aspects of feminism, without getting into the batshit crazy radical feminist stuff, like “No woman has EVER not been raped, because women are too victimized to be capable of consent.”

Of course, those different feminist beliefs don’t necessarily contradict each other…until suddenly, they do. Then it’s bedlam, hence people screaming at each other ’till they’re blue in the face and young women getting turned off to the whole thing. Plus, feminists tend to slide from one classification to the other depending on whatever’s politically expedient at the moment; of course, when all else fails because someone has pointed out the holes in their logic (hopefully that person isn’t a man, but it does happen) they all conveniently become “I just want equality!” Feminists. Calling this behavior hypocritical and self-serving is actually charitable; I don’t have a proper word for how cowardly this actually is. For more about how this works, called the “motte and bailey” (or more colloquially, bait-and-switch) strategy, visit Slate Star Codex.

But we’re not done with the Huffpo article yet! See, her answer to the “marketing” problem is to make sure that girls are exposed to feminism nice and young, and preferably by a smiling, non-batshit crazy person who isn’t screaming something about privilege or oppression:

Feminism has a marketing problem. But we can fix it. We can make sure that the first time someone encounters feminism, it’s attached to a friendly, human face. When they’re very, very young. We can make sure as many people as possible get to that third act with us. That they know why the gun went off.

That way, years later, when everyone is shouting, they’ll remember that on some level, we’re all shouting for the same outcome.

You know, if you need to indoctrinate people when they’re “very, very” young, otherwise they may never get it, what you actually have is a cult.

If it was a sound political movement, people wouldn’t need to be indoctrinated from a young age just to find it palatable enough to identify with. If fully-grown adults cannot be persuaded to come over to your cause because it makes no sense to them, maybe the answer (to a moral human being) isn’t to start indoctrinating them before they’ve gained the skill to reason, so they’re already biased in your favor before they develop logical faculties. Maybe if you need to do that, as a crutch, there’s something seriously wrong.

However, there is one point that the responses to Women Against Feminism (such as this article) have made that gives me some pause: the fact that it’s perhaps easy to reject Feminism in 2014, when women in the First World are college educated and have myriad choices available to them that first- and second-wave feminists generally didn’t. By renouncing today’s feminism, is that disrespecting or discounting the efforts of the feminists of decades past, who fought for the very real freedoms that we are fortunate to enjoy today?

I think that’s a subject for another blog post (so maybe wait two days), but in general, I don’t think renouncing the modern incarnation of feminism means I’m being disrespectful of original-recipe feminism. After all, I respect the Republican Party that Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt represented; I don’t think my rejection of today’s GOP is in any way a betrayal of Teddy Roosevelt. I may be betraying Teddy Roosevelt for many other reasons, but that’s between me and TR.

So no; I can’t speak for any of the women who are posting pictures of themselves holding up signs, but I don’t think they’re necessarily ignorant or disrespectful of the real strides that past feminists have made. Granted, some of them are probably ignorant just because any given group of people is going to include the ignorant, but not all. And I bet there are some who have nothing but respect for what the movement once was decades ago, but that’s not enough to silence their concerns about what it’s become. It’s certainly not enough to silence mine.

6 thoughts on “Women Against Women Against…whatever”

  1. “feminists tend to slide from one classification to the other depending on whatever’s politically expedient at the moment; of course, when all else fails because someone has pointed out the holes in their logic” I’ve seen it get worse than that. I’ve literally been told that everything I’ve said makes sense, but that logic itself is a thing built by men and therefore inherently flawed. I’ve heard that on a dozen occasions. Very few things make me angry, but that is one statement that makes me absolutely livid. Why reason with me in the first place if you can’t accept logic? It is very hard for me to accept someone like that as anything other than a moron or a hypocrite… probably both actually. It seems to me like a significant amount of feminist believe that as it’s the way I end debates with them on a fairly regular basis.

    When feminists call for equality I can generally agree with them, when they call for supporting feminism instead of focusing on equality.(which would make a better case for feminism in the first place) it starts to look like a cult. When they tell me that logic isn’t important I’m just completely flabbergasted. Two types of people have told me that logic isn’t important. Crazy bible belt Christians and feminists. I’m tempted to link this poster every time it happens. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/assets/FallaciesPosterHigherRes.jpg I’ve seen enough goal post shifting in a single argument to cover every single one…

  2. I’m continually floored by the mind-bogglingly sexist things people will say in the name of feminism. Is there anything more sexist than “Logic is only for men”?

    Barring one or two recent exceptions, I don’t really debate with feminists; I just post my thoughts here, where I can get it all out of my system without someone interrupting me constantly to womansplain (femsplain?) to me. I have mixed feelings about talking to them; on the one hand, arguing with people on the internet is almost never a good use of anyone’s time. On the other hand, I think part of the problem these people have is that they’re so rarely challenged, because people are being afraid of being tarred as misogynists. But of course, appointing myself as someone worthy of challenging their beliefs would be incredibly arrogant.

    I just wish there was something I could do besides posting blog posts and having dumb internet comment battles with people, because the toxicity of feminism’s current incarnation really bothers me. People are being hurt by this on multiple levels, especially the most ardent adherents who are basically being brainwashed out of thinking like rational adults.

    1. I usually don’t debate with feminists, but I don’t really need to seek out feminism. It comes to me. Just being something of an otaku who is not ashamed of it is enough to set me up against feminism. When I am exposed to feminism it’s usually because feminists are either directly attacking me, or more likely attacking something I love and value being able to do. So when I am debating with a feminist it’s usually for one of two reasons. I either want to defend myself or something I like, or I want to find someone who can explain a feminist idea in a rational way because I want to seriously consider it and challenge myself. I would like to challenge feminists too, but I am really there to challenge myself most of the time. I also try to make a point of listening to the ideas of my friends and several of the people I blog with either identify as feminists or at least lean toward agreeing with feminist ideas.(whatever that might mean)

      I don’t think it is really arrogant to challenge someone with the intent of challenging myself at the same time. I certainly don’t think it is arrogant for you to challenge them. You have clearly given this more thought than a lot of the feminist I’ve met. And you know what, sometimes the feminists I run into are really just intellectual bullies. Is it arrogant to stand up to a bully? I’ve been labeled all kinds of things, sexist, misogynist, all around awful person and even a man.(which is enough of a defense for some feminists) It’s a hypocritical form of discrimination. Maybe this sounds awful, but If I can identify someone as a hypocrite I don’t care if they think I’m the worst person in the world. It has no effect on me. I am being completely sincere when I say that the feminism I run into often seems like a hateful religion to me.

      Recently a blogger I follow and talk to often enough has “awakened” to feminism. His(yes his) basic argument(as best as I understand it) is that everything about sex is about power so therefore everything that doesn’t display sexuality equal is guilty of being sexist. Following that logic basically all Japanese fiction(if not all fiction period) is guilty of some crime against women. I talked to him about it for a bit before the argument ended with him making a statement about logic. I know that if I were to try and illustrate that his statements about logic and power are far more guilty of wronging women than fiction will ever be he probably won’t talk to me anymore. Actually that is more or less what I did I guess… And I’ve already called him a hypocrite for some of the other things he said so that damage might be done… With feminist men in particular how do you tell them their power struggle is actually part of the problem and not something all men struggle with? It becomes extra frustrating for me when I know the person means well and is just… an idiot, for lack of a better word.

      It is incredibly frustrating to be told that because I’m a man I have a problem with a large list of things that I really don’t struggle with. It’s hard to avoid feminist arguments when I feel like I am being personally insulted or misrepresented. Just trying to tell a feminist that I don’t struggle with wanting power over women can be like trying to beat my head through a cement wall. Then when I finally reach the point where there should be a break through the goal post shifts and logic doesn’t matter. I’ve also been told that I don’t have anything at stake so I should shut up. I am being misrepresented, but I have nothing at stake? Yeah…

      I can’t help feeling like a big part of the problem is that sexuality is such a taboo for so many people that they just don’t talk about it. Because they don’t talk about it misinformation becomes easy to believe. When I hear someone say something like sex is about power I have this striking suspicion in the back of my head that they just encountered Oscar Wilde for the first time on the internet and had a mind blowing experience. Then they go and convert to the church of feminism and start spreading feminist propaganda to repent for their sins of power against women. Maybe there is some degree of value in that… The idea of accepting feminism as a religious movement makes me want to puke.

      Maybe I should start my own personal blog so that I can vent more easily.

      1. For some reason the beginning of this comment reminded me of those silly The Most Interesting Man in the World commercials.

        “Lifesong doesn’t have to go to feminists for arguments. Feminists come TO HIM.”

        In your case, the fact that you apparently have like 15 sisters should really be enough to dispel the idea that you could possibly be a dude who hates/doesn’t understand women, but I guess when logic counts for nothing, that doesn’t matter. I guess feminist ideologues think that you subtly oppressed all your sisters from a young age by stealing their toys with your devious male intellect or some nonsense.

        It’s tough that a lot of anime bloggers have been bitten by the feminism/SJW bug. The world for them seems to become this clean dichotomy between “Good people who really care about Social Justice TM” and “Horrible fedora wearing neckbeards etc. etc. etc.”, and it becomes really hard to talk to them without either giving into that delusion, or just never discussing anything of consequence with them. I know I’ve lost followers for tweeting my feelings about these subjects, but *shrug* what can you do.

        Maybe you should have your own blog away from The Glorio Blog. I find blogging about these topics at least slightly therapeutic.

        1. Haha, I have a few less sisters than that. 10 less in fact. They always have friends around and now some of them have kids… so maybe 15 isn’t even that much of an exaggeration.

          Maybe it’s a funny choice of words to say that feminists come to me, but consider this. My very first few encounters with a feminist were in WoW and I came out of nowhere. You might appreciate hearing some of these experiences so I’ll share a few…

          I had asked for a specific loot drop from a dungeon and she said I was guilty of misrepresenting women and using feminine whiles to charm men into giving me what I want. She spent the whole run after that trying to convince me to read some feminist book. Funny thing is I had asked that question entirely for her sake. The rest of the party were friends who already knew me. Long story short the rare item I wanted dropped and I won it over her. She spent the next week harassing me about it in the name of social justice. Eventually I got one of my friends to tell her that everyone in that party knew I was a guy and I never saw her again.

          Another time a woman in my guild awakened to feminism, decided her boyfriend was an awful person and deleted his character. When I kicked her from the guild she called me a sexist and told me I was guilty of supporting the patriarchy. I told her that I kicked her because she destroyed the character of another guild member… NO PATRIARCHY IS THE ONLY ANSWER. I talked to him later and he hadn’t even wronged her from what I could gather. Her parents got a divorce or something and she freaked out and took it out on him.

          In yet another example some guy who was in the guild of a friend of mine was hitting on me and a random feminist came to my “rescue”. All he had done was tell me that my avatar was cute and she laid into him like he had just raped me. I think she used the term “virtual rapist” on him at one point actually. The poor guy was crying by the time she was done with him. It was a shitty situation too, because I could either tell them both I’m not actually a damsel in distress and embarrass her while making him feel even worse or just let him get angry at her. I decided to let him get angry, but he didn’t. He started crying instead. I didn’t learn until later that she had made him cry as he just logged off, but it was too late to do anything at that point. He actually came to me and apologized for hitting on me later still thinking I was a chick. I didn’t have the heart to him he had actually been hitting on a dude so I just told him that I didn’t think he was an awful person instead. I’ve been rescued by social justice warrior women on a few other occasions as well. Most of them didn’t involve making anyone cry, but they certainly did help me understand why there are women who don’t want to identify with that.

          On yet another occasion a feminist jumped on me for talking about how I liked to cook. She assumed I was a woman and told me I was guilty of making other women look bad. I told her I wasn’t a woman and her tone changed. MORE MEN SHOULD BE THE IN THE KITCHEN I SAY… CARRY ON. I actually wasn’t even able to get mad at that one, it was too funny.

          I could tell stories like those all day. Blogging has actually involved less feminism than I’ve seen from MMOs, but obviously I get harassed for that too. Often from people I consider friends even. Most of my MMO buddies are actively hostile toward feminism at this point, but there is a real history to it that has nothing to do with hating women. Even many of the women I’ve played MMOs with can’t stand feminism. The thing is if I were to ask them what feminism stands for I don’t think equality would even come to mind. The answer would be that feminist are angry women who hate anyone that isn’t a feminist. They also hate any feminists that don’t agree with them and are generally miserable people. That isn’t my answer to feminism, but damn if it isn’t a temping one… I have met a few feminists who genuinely are interested in equality, but they seem to be few and far between. Especially when it comes to gaming.

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