What year is this?

I was browsing around for information for my last post when I came across a video that had this comment (the context was VFX’s accusation of pedophilia towards DPRJones – one commenter lamented that men who get along with kids are immediately suspicious in this over-paranoid society):

One of the reasons that I hate the feminist movement is because of this kind of demonisation of males. This manifests most abundantly in the statistics of how many male parents get custody of children. People in this society have been convinced that women must always be better than men with kids. Its a lie. Also, we in Britain have just been shocked a few months back at a primarily female child abuse ring. Some people think that female child abuse does not exist, that is also a lie.

Now, I know this is YouTube, but this comment was by the publisher of the video, not some random flamer. This person participates within the atheist YouTube community. So I felt it deserved some comment. I replied (within the limit of characters they allow):

Being sexist against men is anti-feminist. Being beneficially sexist towards women is anti-feminist. Outdated laws that unfairly “benefit” women over men are social holdovers from outdated thinking that raising children is a woman’s job and men aren’t attached to their children. Don’t blame an equality movement for cultural stereotypes. Don’t reduce an entire movement to the actions/beliefs of a few individuals.

He replied:

Feminism isn’t about equality, it is about selfishness and shifting the power balance to women. If feminists truly cared about equality then they would identify better with the label ”humanist”.

”Being sexist against men is anti-feminist.” I think you need to do a little google search and find out what women who identify as feminists really think.

Keeping my patience, because honestly I don’t care what some moron on YouTube thinks, I replied:

I think you may have a misunderstanding of the historical context of feminism. I don’t deny that some people have extreme attitudes, but there are several sub-movements within feminism that range in ideals. Some of which are rooted in other complex social issues such as poverty, race, and geography. I’m sure many feminists are humanists, but we have to consider the social context of their movement. It seems that you have taken experiences or research of one subgroup and have extended that to describe all of feminism. That’s no more fair than the assumptions religious people make about atheists.

After that I received no response, but at this point I saw that further dialogue was pointless anyway. I thought perhaps my initial comment would at least instigate some thought, which is why I bothered, but I have no interest in trying to reason with a random person on the internet.

But seriously, what year is this?

While I agree with the original sentiment that it’s unfair to paint all men as potential pedophiles, I don’t see how that can be attributed to the feminist movement as opposed to, say, sensational media reporting. It also appalled me that someone in a progressive minority group (atheists) would hold these views towards another progressive group (feminists) — not surprised, mind you, but still appalled.

Wow.

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5 responses to “What year is this?

  1. Yeah, I hear you.

    Still, there are unfortunately radical feminists who do think like that (and they of course think only they are the real thing). Take that blog for example:
    http://allecto.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/men-are-really-really-fucking-dangerous/

    Kinda sad, really.

    • So it’s a good thing that I acknowledged that in my response… Still no reason to say that he hates feminists. He clearly doesn’t understand the point of the feminist movement.

  2. When I still followed the Skepchick blog I observed that you tended to use critical thinking rather more often, and held somewhat less absolutist and more egalitarian views than even those generally rather benign feminists, so I thought I’d share some thoughts.

    It looks to me like both of you are to some degree both right and wrong at the same time, in the sense that while there are indeed feminist groups that hold close to the “original” egalitarian theme begun in the late 60s and early 70s, there are also feminist groups that hold a much more hostile, non-egalitarian ideology. For example, I don’t think anyone could fairly or reasonably claim Andrea Dworkin to be a beneficent upholder of an egalitarian or equalitarian philosophy.

    My sister was once associated with a surprisingly large and popular extremist feminist group in Toronto that believed quite strongly in all of the following:

    1. True feminism requires total social separation of males and females, with no contact of any kind, and procreation, when required, must be handled entirely through artificial insemination.

    2. All men are born unequivocabley evil, sexist, and unchangeable; it is genetic and unavoidable.

    3. Any man claiming to uphold feminist principles is lying for sexual or other power seeking purpose.

    4. Any woman who did not hold the groups ideals had been brainwashed and socially coerced and hypnotized into submissiveness.

    5. They, the feminist group, believed they were absolutely and unquestionabley correct, and anyone who believed otherwise was unequivocabley the enemy.

    Now, at this late remove, it is fairly easy to say that they were a wee bit nuts. Nonetheless, they held, as do you, that they knew, without question or doubt, what real feminism is all about, and anyone who felt otherwise was deluded, batshit insane, clearly misunderstood the historical context of femism — which they held had been co-opted and distorted through to much association with the enemy — and were simply not to be thought of as a useful or meaningful person to have any sort of dialogue with.

    In regard to your comment that “being sexist against men is anti-feminist. Being beneficially sexist towards women is anti-feminist,” this particular feminist group would have disagreed violently, and I do mean violently. One of their, er, hobbies, was to go around to poolrooms and pick fights with the guys and many non-lesbian women so they could whack ’em with pool cues. A very odd branch of feminism indeed.

    Please note, I am not disagreeing with your argument so much as I am just trying to provide some counter examples of not overly rare, differing yet no less strongly held feminist principles held by women who made a practice of public dissemination of their views and active pursuit of both their goals, and of convincing others to join their cause. For a time in the late 70s and early 80s they were the principle operators and organizers of a feminist group in Toronto, a quite public and popular group, called Wages for Housework.

    You also sy:

    “Don’t reduce an entire movement to the actions/beliefs of a few individuals.”

    That is very true indeed. But it is also true that one should not dismiss nor discount the ideological danger presented by such extremists, nor dismiss, diminish, nor deny the confusion and the hostile attitude it engenders in some of its male victims. We must be as aware of, and wary of, the extremists in the right movements as we are of those in the wrong ones — so to speak.

    To play devil’s advocate for a moment:

    You said:

    “After that I received no response, but at this point I saw that further dialogue was pointless anyway.”

    As there was no further comment from your opponent, on what did you base that decision? Until one’s opponent is proved, through tiresome and rather endless dialogue, to be completely unreachable through discussion, as are, for instance, most creationists, then it’s the responsibility of all us so-called clear thinkers to proselytize the, um, “truth” as we perceive it. Isn’t it?

    You also said:

    “I thought perhaps my initial comment would at least instigate some thought, which is why I bothered …”

    Perhaps it did, which might explain the lack of further comment, as perhaps your opponent was off pondering for all he was worth. Just sayin’…. Of course he may just have felt the same way towards you that you felt towards him, i.e., there was no further point in trying to convince someone with a strongly held, differing viewpoint.

    You also said:

    “… but I have no interest in trying to reason with a random person on the internet.”

    Then why the blog in the first place? I think you contradict yourself somewhat.

    Don’t all people who blog want, to at least some degree, to reason, preach, pontificate, share, discuss, and debate variable points of view with random persons on the Internet? Isn’t that the primary point of a public blog in the first place?

    • I acknowledged the extreme subgroups of feminism in my response to him. But as with anything, is the movement based on it’s initial principles or the craziest and loudest kooks? The historical context is important.

      He attributed certain perceived characteristics to all subgroups of feminism in one fell swoop. I pointed that out and he replied just as vociferously and I didn’t really have anything else to say – my main point was that basically “not all feminists are what you think they are” and I’d already said it. It’s pointless to beat a dead horse. I wasn’t going to pursue it because SIWOTI is not my bag.

      Blogging and trying to directly reason with some stranger on YouTube are two completely different things, so I don’t see why it’s relevant that I decided to write, on my personal blog, about something that I experienced. That is not contradictory.

      Btw, I was constrained in my response by YouTube’s character limit so the prose wasn’t exactly detailed and sophisticated. I worked with the tools I was given.

  3. “Blogging and trying to directly reason with some stranger on YouTube are two completely different things….”

    Good point.

    “I was constrained in my response by YouTube’s character limit so the prose wasn’t exactly detailed and sophisticated.”

    I understand.

    Cheers.