Thursday, 11 September 2008

Is feminism just misandry without lipstick?

Well it had to happen sooner or later - Cactus Kate reckons that The Hand Mirror is home to "[a] torrent of abuse usually posted on this blog (mostly sexual)".

Yes, the good ol' if-you-are-pro-women-you-must-be-anti-men chestnut. Frankly I'm surprised it took nearly 6 months (checks fingers, phew!) for someone to bring this up. And I'm not taken aback that it's Kate making the claim, given that she is quite vociferous on her own blog about denying she has any feminist leanings whatsoever.

I'm going to be lazy, and tag to Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog's extensive post on why feminism isn't sexist (there's a short answer at the start of the post if, like me, your eyes are in need of a rest).

And now I'll add Lauredhel's anti-feminist bingo card, and head off to feed a little boy (that would be someone with a penis, Kate) who I love very much.


Hugh said...

I've got to say, I'm not sure that 'patriarchy hurts men too' belongs there with 'all you feminists need is a good deep-dicking'.

And, in Kate's defense (not that I imagine she'll appreciate it) I think, from the context of what she said, she actually was referring to the abuse posted on this blog by anti-feminists such as D4J, not any abuse coming from the blog itself.

Tui said...

@Hugh: the point is not that people who say that the patriarchy affects men are the same as the ones who think feminists just need some penis in their lives. Both of these points are very different, and one of them is a part of important issues for men (for example, one of the ways in which the patriarchy harms men is in the way it encourages them to repress their emotions, which - as someone with two brothers who I feel have the occasional emotional problem - concerns me deeply.) So feminists' responses to these different complaints are going to be very different.

But what is the *same* about every single thing on the bingo card is that they are all things that are brought up in response to feminist discussion that are intended (or simply do) distract from *actually talking about feminism.* Some of it is outright anti-woman rhetoric. Some of it's as insidious as saying "don't talk about this problem you're having and wanting to talk about, TALK ABOUT **MY** PROBLEM." and you know, everyone has problems. I don't go to rugby forums and ask why they're not talking about netball, so men who come to a discussion of the way women's looks are depicted in comics canon and complain that comics misrepresent men, too, is actually doing the same thing that someone who makes the obscene remark is - coming into a space where people are talking about one thing, and devaluing it as a topic of conversation.

lauredhel said...

I was about to point Hugh to the original thread, where that entry is discussed at some length... but Tui's done a bang-up job of explaining the most important issue concerned.

So, erm, carry on then! *waves cheerfully*

Tui said...

Oh, also, the reason they're on the bingo card is that they're also things feminists are SICK of having to respond to. Getting a bingo card (not to imply that you have) is basically someone saying to you "Oh my god, I have heard what you say before, I have responded to it before, so has everyone I know, WE'RE SICK OF IT. Educate yourself."

Hugh said...

Tui, personally I think that viewing a comment which is factually true but may be situationally inappropriate and one which is sexist, offensive and hurtful and also situationally inappropriate is to imply that situational inappropriateness is the biggest problem.

And as an aside, while I appreciate your desire to explain to me the ways that patriarchy effects men to me, don't you think that's a bit patronising?

Julie said...

I'll let Kate speak for herself Hugh, but from my previous interactions with her I am pretty sure she won't agree with you about who is authoring the torrent of abuse. And have you seen much abuse from those types here? Anything you would call a torrent? D4J has been so well-behaved here he even deleted a comment of his that was abusive by himself, before I could get to it.

Surely it must be time to go to bed!

Hugh said...

Julie, well no, I wouldn't call it a 'torrent' myself, but if somebody else felt that the abuse was sufficiently overwhelming to merit that term, I wouldn't argue with them. But the impression I got from Kate was that she was saying 'the blog moderators can deal with sexist hacks like D4J, they can cope with my capitalisation'.

Tui said...

Sorry, it wasn't intended to be patronising, it was intended to illustrate the ways in which a feminist might actually be genuinely concerned about issues that fall under the "patriarchy hurts men too". I actually deliberately picked something I've seen you talk about, so it def. wasn't intended to be me telling you all about it. (If you like, I could be patronising about comics fanboys complaining about the way men are misrepresented in comics Just Like Girls. It would involve science!)

In re: situational appropriateness: the biggest problem with "patriarchy hurts men too!" really IS situational appropriateness. The patriarchy DOES affect men and sometimes it DOES hurt them. Saying "patriarchy hurts men too!" may be (and IMO very often is) a signpost of someone trying to devalue feminism generally - which is the other big reason for its existence on anti-feminist bingo - but actually, even bringing it up in a discussion about a different aspect of feminism *is devaluing feminist discourse*.

ideologicallyimpure said...

@hugh, to add to what tui's saying: I knew a guy a few years back at uni. Every time Women's Fest rolled around, he would start going on and on and ON about "men get raped too! Why doesn't the Women's Group talk about MEN who get raped?" And you know, all rape is a serious, horrible issue, no matter who the victim is.

It shouldn't be used by dicks like that guy, who strangely NEVER brought it up if there wasn't a Women's Group gig on.