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|Thursday, October 12th, 2006|
One interesting facet of the Alas-sellout is how easily the supportive "complicated" and "technical" explanations of the net impact of the purchase of Barry's site (for the purpose of creating a porn-link doorway) are being swallowed, right along with Barry's aw-shucks luddite morality.
I say this, mind, as someone who really doesn't know shit about shit: it ain't quantum physics:
Search engines assign quality rankings based on "who" links to your page, as that indicates that your site is interesting/authoritative, meaning other people might like to be able to find it.
"Who" = 1)how many links, and 2)what are the pageranks of the people linking to you (if the cool kids like you, you must be cool).
Barry's site had a high rating because a lot of people linked to him and because many of the people linking to him had a high ranking themselves.
This is what the company that owns amptoons.com purchased: the ranking. Given to him by the people who linked to his site and based in part on their own site's reputation. A porn company needs reputable people to link to its sites, which they accomplished by making the weblink farm on Barry's site.
See? Not that hard to understand or explain, not even for a luddite, artistic or otherwise. Sorry to re-recap what Heart has said elsewhere, better
Now, HERE's the interesting part: the big-boy capitalism of most every purported "non-luddite" explaining the above, with their own conclusion attached (an excuse Barry himself provided): See? No harm done, because Porn Company A appearing higher than Porn Company B doesn't hurt anyone!
Forget the myriad reasons to avoid getting on this logic train in the first place (exploiting your friends without their knowledge or consent comes to mind, as does the spurious "presumed amorality" of helping someone to exploit women more efficiently).
Let's talk about that conclusion.
Anyone who is able to understand enough to justify
search engine optimizing on a capitalist basis, knows enough to be aware of what that translates into, on the ground, for women and children.
They just don't see it. Because they looked at the "bottom line," and for them, the bottom line is cash. Where does the cash go? What does it pay for? It helps one company compete against another company. Oh, well, that's good and normal, right?Have you
(YOU, Gentle Reader) ever tried to search for information on the internet and accidentally received porn as a result?
If this has never happened to you, you are certainly exempt for shrugging your shoulders at the net effect of selling a site to an SEO.
If this has
happened to you: did you like it? Did you, despite not consenting to see the porn, "really want it" after all? Every time? If you like and use porn, and support the right to use and distribute it, do you also support the right to only be confronted with pornography upon seeking it out? Don't you believe in consent for all things sexual?
Do you want your kid, or a kid you know, to be hit across the face with rape porn while doing his/her homework? Courtesy Melissa at Womensspace
, here's a potentially-triggering link
(will bring up print-dialog box, as I selected that view in order to avoid the graphic).
If that's not what you want, how do you plan to prevent that from happening? Do you plan to install, and count on schools and libraries installing, a porn-blocking program that can, and in current use commonly does, block up to 50% of legit, health-oriented webpages
when searching for controversial or sex-related terms like "safe sex," "condom," "gay," and "abortion?"
Are search engine-fooling tricks by pornographers harmful to women and children? I'll SAY they are. They're also harmful to the "freedom" that the pro-Amp's-autonomy contingent seems to value so very much.
Like most fake capitalists, though, and like Barry himself, they seem to carry forward the implication of a free market and a free society only so far - when it protects their interests, these ideas are valued. When it means shouldering the full cost of what you're buying into (or selling!), suddenly the "knowledge," technical and otherwise, disappears into thin air. In this way, one can claim ignorance of how one's fake capitalism is harming others and reducing freedom.
How VERY revolutionary.
|Wednesday, October 11th, 2006|
Aretha didn't sing it "A-S-S-K-I-S-S"
You know, these "woman-friendly" men certainly "respect" the hell out of each other.
You can almost feel
the civil harrumphing in the air!
"oh no NOOO, my good sir, after YOOOOU!"
"Perhaps the Gentleman from Oregon fails to realize..."
"Might the right honorable Lord of Blogdom please suffer the inquiry, my right hon. Friend would like to ask.."
What you may not know, if you're not keeping tabs on Alas
or the commentary swirling around it, is that (as they're not stupid) women noticed that Barry was..ahem..."Above Responding" to criticism of the tight-lipped sale of his website to a porn-promoting "SEO." That is, he was as long as his critics were those ugly nasty icky shrill creatures: women. One must
suppose it was was the grandest of motivations, ordinary chivalry, keeping his tongue in check so!
Let Hugo Schwyzer get involved, though, and...! Things begin to happen! Tut-tut, righty-o, buck up old chap, I say, what IS afoot here? These fine ladies seem concerned and I for one think that this time they might just have a point! Surely you can reward them with your excellent opinion and therefore clear this up post-haste. Out with it, old fellow!
Well, it came out, all right. Yawn.
Interestingly, when asked why the fuck Hugo hung the moon, Barry replied: I picked Hugo out because he is the one person who emailed me personally asking me to open up such a thread.
And there you have it! Public criticism of public actions is most APPROPRIATELY handled only after discreet and private inquiries among men. I'm sorry, I mean, among friends
wanted more out of Barry/Ampersand than disdainful silence, well, you ought to have asked him nicely, oughtn't you have?
Next time, pretend you're a man (just for good measure) and privately email the script below:The feminist peasantry, most bovine of women, considers itself our "constituency" and so they must be pacified to a degree, my dear friend. Let us not, however, make the mistake of going so nonsensically far as to hold ourselves accountable to their interests.
|Tuesday, October 10th, 2006|
SSDD: women make men money, earn nothing!
Just checked in at Womensspace...found these two posts by Heart:http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2006/10/08/alas-a-blog-reviews-hardcore-pornography-websites-did-everybody-but-me-already-know-this/
(Regarding Ampersand selling Alas, a Blog
, which now hosts porn-related content) http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2006/10/08/the-revolution-will-be-commodified-alternatives-to-selling-feminist-websites-and-blogs-to-the-man/
(Regarding the shadiness of Alas'
buyer, Barry/Amp's hokey defense of his decision, and some interesting technical information regarding blog linking and search engines)
This? This is so flagrant that I just cannot help but sit here snickering to myself at the total absurdity.
A man who has built a reputation for himself by using women to achieve credibility
* feminist/female commenters making his blog appear feminist without him actually having to provide specifically feminist comment/content;
* feminist/female bloggers having linked to him in the old days of few feminist blogs existing;
* playing coy about his own gender in order to achieve feminist credibility;
* using his ill-gotten feminist credibility to shore up his cartooning pursuits, including using the equally-faux-female "Girlamatic" to publish his strip Hereville
* acting as sole representative of feminist bloggers on a nationally-syndicated radio show
* "inviting" women to create more free content for his
blog ("co-blogging" without consensus), offering them the hard-to-resist carrot of widespread exposure due to his above use of women for networking purposes
...has now sold that credibility
to the highest bidder.
The new owner of Alas
a)content created by women,
b)exposure aided by women, and
c)the reputation of the blog as a prominent concern of women
in order to pass the credibility women have earned for Barry Deutsch along to its client porn sites via deceptive page-rankings tactics.
How much money have women gotten out of their myriad contributions to Alas? And how much have they earned for Barry Deutsch?
Did those co-bloggers get a percentage of Barry's profit?
Did they get a say?
Did they get notice
I'm certain it's true that he put countless hours of effort into his site and that he needed money.
But I believe it's obvious that without women, his comics and opinions would still be languishing in the virtual oblivion in which they existed prior to his self-creation as a male feminist.
Without women, he wouldn't have a commodity for which he can get paid, and the new owners wouldn't have money to give him.
Restated yet again: the users of women's bodies for profit have paid a company to recognize Barry's genius in using women's brains for profit and further exploit his use of them.
He says he knows that people will accuse him of selling out and has locked the topic so that no one can point out the obvious: nobody cares if he sells out! Why would they? Oh, but the search engine cheaters and the pornographers they represent don't want to buy Barry, do they. Barry isn't worth very much to them, so they let Barry keep himself perfectly intact, along with his opinions and drawings.
They don't want to buy Barry. They want to buy what Barry's selling them.
The problem is that the thing he's been hawking all along has never properly been his to sell.
|Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006|
I'll bet these guys aren't "social conservatives"
Courtesy sex_and_race :http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4996410.stmOfficers discover sex-slave cult
A sex slavery cult based on a series of 1960s science fiction novels has been uncovered by police in Darlington.
Durham Police discovered the bizarre sect after raiding a home in the area, after receiving complaints that a woman was being held against her will.
But a spokesman said the Canadian was a willing participant and the other people involved were consenting adults.
The group, called Kaotians, follow the Chronicles of Gor novels which depict a society where women are dominated.
The 29-year-old woman is said to have voluntarily attended the sect after finding out about it over the internet.
She later contacted a friend in United States, who then contacted the police, saying she wanted to leave but couldn't as she had burnt her passport and return ticket.
But a police spokesman said upon arriving at the premises they did not find any evidence of "criminal offences".
Police also investigated claims by a father in Essex his 18-year-old son had joined the sect. However police also found the teenager was at the property voluntarily and they had no grounds to get involved.
Lee Thompson, 31, says he is the "master" who trains the slaves at the Darlington address.
He said the women who act as slaves "do so by their own choice".
"We're just a group of people that live a different lifestyle, I mean there's nothing wrong with that," he told BBC News.
"We don't hurt anyone, we don't damage anyone, everyone's consensual."
Members of the group based their lives on "a dominant submissive point of view", he said.
"It's one thing that everyone's missed out on so far is, even in our organisation, if that's what you want to call it, women can be free and they can be dominant, we don't stop that," he added.
"But the majority of women in our organisation are obviously slaves because women have a submissive streak in them."
Mr Thompson says up to 350 followers regularly meet in pubs and clubs around the North East, in an area from Berwick to York.
Kaotians are a splinter group of the Goreans, which base their beliefs on novels written by American university professor John Norman.
The books are set on the quasi-medieval planet of Gor, which has a caste system and uses women as slaves.
There are an estimated 25,000 Goreans worldwide.
I'm reading Catharine MacKinnon's new book, Are Women Human?
, in which she discusses, among other things, international human
rights vs. women's
She describes how women who are held as captives and sexually abused (which happens more often than anyone believes) are perceived and discussed one way, while the human rights community discusses captured and tortured political prisoners quite differently. It's an excellent point; few rescued/released POWs are asked to produce witnesses describing that they not only disliked imprisonment, but that they adequately informed their captors of their continued displeasure with conditions. The police in the story above, on the other hand, are unable to find evidence of criminal offenses (and seem disinclined to keep trying to do so) despite a clear plea for help from a woman with no apparent way to leave.
But this blog is about male feminists, and I find the men in this story quite interesting, which led to this post. The Gorean/Kaotian men may not call themselves feminists (though I would not be surprised; recognizing a "submissive streak in women" is no longer believed to be antithetical to feminism, particularly if that belief is ritualized into a pervasive sexual practice/lifestyle identity).
It's this quote pairing that I keep thinking about:He said the women who act as slaves "do so by their own choice"."We don't hurt anyone, we don't damage anyone, everyone's consensual."
Not "every act has been consensual".
I'll spare you the link to the discussion board I just found for Goreans, though a quick scan reveals comments like:Some people will be offended, of course, but few of those would do anything about it. After all, what consenting adults do in private is their own affair.
Of course there are sometimes people and groups that give consensual slavery a bad name, as is the case with everything. There have been countless religious sects over the years but religion continues on. People generally have the sense to recognise when a group or individual is out on a limb and not representative of the majority and I don't think this will be any different.
The books depict a society, called the land of Gor, which is divided into castes, and where women are kept as slaves.
Where women are kept as slaves. Eh, about 2% of women on Gor.
I guess in modern industrial societies the percentage of slavery is much higher. But it just isn't called slavery. It is commonly referred to as being housewive, working in a factory, being jobless and living from social welfare and so on - these are the real slaves in today's society.
Interestingly, these practitioners of 'consensual slavery' are clearly left of center, and are ostensibly properly concerned about the lot of women (save the housewives!)...yet they cannot even pay lip service to sex inequality without immediately retreating to a human
rights rhetoric regarding factory workers, poverty, etc.
So, are women human? The answer of these men [undergirded by the media's and the police's and the law's support of their right to freely practice this 'consensual slavery'] seems to be: yes and no...but most importantly, my opinion and my practices cannot be held accountable by you.
|Tuesday, February 14th, 2006|
Horse and Carriage
In honor of Valentine's Day, I think it's appropriate to do a little post about love and marriage.
Now, I know not every feminist woman reading this is going to agree with me on this one...and that's okay. Because we all have a million points of view on the topic to begin with, PLUS we all have to live in the meantime. In fact, I'd be surprised if any single of us wanted to adopt wholesale anybody else's views on the way to handle love and marriage, particularly as a woman, and as a femininist. We need to allow for some flexibility - we need the cafeteria plan (which is one of the reasons we get into these situations in the first place if you ask me, but a digression about healthcare would take all day).
But as usual, decapitate any one of my standards, and you'll see it double, hydra-like. How unfair! So this post is of course about MEN and the movement, what else?
Men like marriage. "Feminist" men, too.
Not all men (lone ranger stereotype).
Not in every life stage (young playboy sowing wild oats stereotype).
Not of every political bent (hippie stereotype).
Not of every sexual bent (polyamorous stereotype).
And they're not fond of all aspects of marriage (the ridiculous stereotype that men fear women tying them up legally, as though marriage is a contract delivering ownership OF men TO women).
But the biggest lie in the world is that a woman has to trick and trap a man into marriage. Because marriage, on the whole, benefits men. And men, on the whole, are not yet too stupid to notice. That much is very simple, really.
Yes, feminists discussed this back in the (18)70s...so what's my point, you ask?
There are three, really.
1. Because marriage has indeed become quite a bit kinder and gentler than it was in the days before women had any citizenship or property rights of their own at all, The Institution is held harmless when it ought not be, and certainly the fact that men as a class still strongly believe in, support, legislate for, and demand marriage is widely considered to be far more benign than I think it should be. It's as if the entire question has become postfeminist to the point that even "feminist men" are allowed and expected to make assumptions about marriage that feminists would have been outraged at a few decades ago. I am not convinced this is a sign of progress.
Making oppressive institutions more tolerable is a worthy goal, and it is understandable that individuals choose newly-tolerable oppressive institutions over less-tolerable lives outside of those institutions. But this does not mean one ought respond well to someone who's pressing for a variance so they can build a sweatshop in one's back yard, even if "these days" they only employ workers over 15 and make everyone wear OSHA-approved safety goggles. So if you ask me, men who support and uphold marriage conventions in word or deed could certainly stand an askance glance or two at their feminist credentials!
2. You may have noticed that my previous examples have referenced the heterosexual model of marriage. That's because that's the way it is: heterosexuality is the marriage model. And my universal statements haven't been clarified as applying only to "heterosexual marriage." And that's
because they apply to marriage in general.
Banning the legal marriage of same-sex couples must be ended immediately, because discrimination is an active emotional harm, and because people are being denied the paltry protections our sexist and classist system offers through legal marriage. This is a big issue, critical to the daily lives of many, many people.
However, the oxymoronic term "marriage equality" and its companion term, the redundant "marriage discrimination," bring to my mind the kind of social advancement Donald Trump started in Palm Beach in the 80s. He made a lot of noise about how his country club (unlike the Everglades Club and the B&T) would have "open membership" (meaning it would accept Black and Jewish members who had the cash to pay the hefty fees). The rapidly-increasing power held by the Jewish and African-American communities in the Palm Beaches HAS been very important in both the micro and macro level of people's lives. And not being shut out of bastions of power was an important part of achieving that political clout. But none of this has done a thing to make the place less money-driven and classist (the opposite, actually, as money and/or class becomes more and more relevant than race/ethnicity down there), nor can the membership of any Palm Beach country club possibly be referred to as "open" or "nondiscriminatory," by both definition and design.
My point is not to defend the old guard of het marriage against tacky Trump-like intrusive homosexuals, but to caution that it DOES matter who challenges the old guard and how they choose to do so
– that, as always, the end result does not justify the means but is defined
by the means.
And so we see same-sex marriage defenses-—a huge proportion of which are presumed to be profeminist, written by men who are also presumed to be profeminist--that look like the Defense of Marriage Act in every substantial way other than that the sex of the parties being privileged and protected in the famed thousand-plus ways is inclusive. "Marriage equality," my sweet patoot.
3. And while we have countless men concerning themselves with civil union vs. marriage terminology, which states have bans and definitions and restrictions and which of the mostly-male legislature “supports” and “upholds” marriage (as either right or left-wing men want to uphold and maintain it, depending on which side we’re talking about), while this huge hubbub is going on over this one very narrow tactic in the war for recognition of non-traditional[sic] families...
Which men is it, again, who concern themselves with focusing on women as a class achieving full civil and human rights? With all men and women being accorded equal rights to life, liberty and so forth regardless of their sex...OR their sexuality...OR their willingness to cooperate with government proclamations on what composes a socially-desirable family...OR the system in general (isn't that what really composes a right, after all, that it's "even" extended to those who challenge society)?
Where is all the profeminist male outrage over the fact that marriage is a class issue, that marriage is so thoroughly recognized (though this is seldom admitted) to be a property-protection contract that hordes of people enter into it or avoid it based on money, based on assets, based on basic human need? When liberals get upset about UF requiring domestic partners to have sex in order to get benefits, why aren’t they upset that some people find it very difficult to make ends meet without being IN a relationship, and people in relationships find it very difficult to make ends meet without signing on the appropriate dotted lines, to register that relationship?
And in the meantime, this issue is one of those that really tears us women apart. We do it to ourselves, and the marriage-pushing men on both sides certainly hamstring us with it, too. Our culture does everything it can to structure the lives of "single" and "partnered" and "married" women - lesbian, bi, and straight- to have so very little in common that we defend and protect our own pigeonholes out of a sure (and not unreasonable) belief that falling in love with freedom results in freefall, and that women as a class cannot be freed as a class, but as categories, in stages.
Well, that's just not good enough.
|Tuesday, February 7th, 2006|
The Unicorns and the Pagans
The blogger Biting Beaver has a post about men in paganism, a disproportionately large number of whom profess to be profeminist, in my admittedly limited experience.
Excerpt:Obviously, there are males following the pagan path and not a small number of them either. In fact, some of the largest pagan boards and pagan forums on the internet are owned and run by men. Many of them who claim to worship the goddess aspect of the Creator. Many of whom claim to pray to the Goddess and to ask the Goddess for help throughout their lives. These same men, who claim devout servitude to the Goddess aspect have no trouble, and indeed, seem to thoroughly enjoy, hearing women being told to "Take it like a good whore".
Link to whole post: http://bitingbeaver.blogspot.com/2006/02/patriarchy-and-paganism.html
I'd comment more, but know very little about paganism itself, though I have known a LOT of men who are involved in it, and don't tend to find them any less offensive than liberals.
Since I know many of you who read this are better-educated and more personally invested in this topic, I leave it for your comments!
|Wednesday, January 25th, 2006|
What do you think of this?
Today's "Overcompensating" comic
is a critique of the recent misogynist ads by Axe deodorant.
I think it's pretty well done and I especially like the written commentary he included below the strip. I was unsure at first read how I felt about a male comic artist making this kind of sarcastic statement, and whether it could be misread by some people who don't have a great grip on the finer points of satire, though. What do you think?
EDITED TO ADD!
He also did a storyline mocking the president of American Apparel's sleazy, misogynist behavior.
He was asked to remove several of those comics by AA, I think with a cease and desist order.
|Sunday, January 15th, 2006|
An interesting post by a regular Alas commenter
I thought this post by Jesurgilac was apt, and probably of interest to those reading here.
My fear with race:gender metaphors is always that it will end up obscuring or confusing the issue, but I think it was done perfectly here, it completely makes clear just why so many women are so angry about Alas and Amp's policies and behavior as a "male feminist." Ironically, as I have noted elsewhere, I find the way race is handled on Alas to be just as inept as the way feminist issues are handled. While claiming on its face to be an anti-racist space, Alas nonetheless harbors all sorts of "debates" on very, very basic issues of racial inequality. It's no more "people of color friendly" than it is "feminist friendly." This is, of course, something that specifically white men get to do: they get to declare ALL the terms of the discussion, even what is offensive to people who have very different experiences of the world than they do.
|Friday, January 13th, 2006|
Men and Credibility
I think one reason male feminists are given so much attention (besides men's tendency to take up as much physical, emotional, and conversational space as possible) is the issue of credibility. Men confer legitimacy...no, that's not right. Men maintain possession of legitimacy, and women can benefit from a man's legitimacy for exactly that period of time we're willing to stand very close to him, fully allied with him (the second we step out from under his umbrella, we're all wet again).
Feminists are very well acquainted with how men's possession of credibility plays out to our detriment in practically every corner of patriarchal society. We discuss how a woman's word is only half as valuable as a man's testimony under Islamic Sharia law
and in the American news media
. We know that male credibility has a lot to do with why "there is no female Mozart," why only two Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs, and why it's virtually impossible to make a living as a female pro athlete. And we need not deal with extreme examples to clearly see our lack of credibility; we have direct personal experience with it, since we are not believed when we describe how we have been abused, and we are perceived as less career-competent than men. When we say we were raped, our words have little force; few assume it happened solely because we said it did. Virtually all of us have been affected by work and wage issues and/or abuse, so we're well aware of our untrustworthiness. We feel this stuff pretty deeply; it's humiliating to not even be considered an expert about one's own life.
So we know the problem.
But when we want to be taken seriously, we go to men. We're told over and over that any action that doesn't involve men is radicalism, is separatism, is fringe. For credibility, for legitimacy, for mainstream appeal, we need men. Men don't need us
in order to be The Establishment (see: Augusta National), but we need them in order to become citizens of the countries in which we live.
It's an understandable impulse on our part, but it of course doesn't make us less indebted to men's good graces; when men legitimize feminist endeavors, we're merely switching umbrellas. When we shore up our credibility by forming alliances with men, we quickly become trapped in a relationship in which we have lost the power to steer our joint footsteps.
Men are courted into feminism (but as soon as the champagne and flowers dry up, the romance is dead, and the little pumpkins turn into postpatriarchal humanists). In both formal and informal feminist groups, men tend to enter as journeymen (if not experts), seldom needing to establish their credibility by licking envelopes for a few years before jumping into meatier roles. While feminist women lobby, form alliances, politic, and elect female leadership, men are appointed; their mere presence is so noticed and appreciated that there's no need to garner a constituency.
Their male base-credibility is further boosted by their tendency to be less personal and emotional about women's rights than women often are. In addition, there is a common perception that women become feminists because we're crackpot powermongering reactionaries, while men become feminists when they're selfless enough to put values like reason and equality ahead of their own best interests (despite the fact that as we've discussed, men's "feminist" motives are often extremely self-serving).
So what do we do about it? Being taken seriously does matter to us. We can form our own communities and take each other seriously, and that helps a lot
in terms of what we can accomplish without distraction, and how we feel about it and ourselves. But as men are quick to remind us, in order to achieve our goal of liberation, we have to have a greater influence in the world (available only through them, of course!), a louder voice. And they tell us, and it seems to make sense, that we need
men to model good behavior for boys, since boys won't listen to us, and so our movement must
go out of its way to court men for their credibility.
I don't know what the answer is, or how to end this, other than I'm (personally, professionally, politically) sick of the credibility gap but unsure of its remedy. And I'd like to discuss how feminist men leverage their legitimacy against our desire for any at all, in order to get what they want to get out of our
|Thursday, January 5th, 2006|
The Male Feminist Love Affair with FTMs
There's nothing a male feminist loves more than a good female-to-male transsexual, I'm tellin' ya. Yessirree Bob! Now of course, every male feminist is different and unique, like a precious snowflake, so their reasons for adoring FTMs differ substantially. Those reasons can include:
1. "Trans People Love Me.com!" Joining the tranny fan club is a great way to prove just how much you, as a white, male, heterosexual citizen of a first world nation love them minority folks! Making sure you focus lots of attention on FTMs makes you sound more knowledgeable, too, since most dudes in your position only know about MTFs, and call them "shemales" at that. You can pretend that you are using your status of privilege for good, spreading the word about trans tolerance without ever so much as examining your own sexism, racism, or homophobia.
2. "The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Protected Species!" What better way to stick it to those oppressive, stuck-up McDworkinites than to show the world that all their concern about women getting chemically and surgically altered by patriarchal medicine is just "transphobia," and that you, the truly enlightened special male feminist snowflake, truly understand
the plight of the tranny and how important it is. No actual effort or thinking required, you'll get instant kudos and applause from your liberal buddies for putting those mean radfems in their place!
3. "Love To Hate You." Hating trannies, on the other hand, can also prove useful. If you're a male feminist trying to gain credibility with radical feminists, who are more likely to be skeptical of your motives and also more likely to scrutinize your character, your actions, and your words for signs of insincerity or hidden sexism or misogyny, loudly decrying the evils of Trans can quickly shift the focus off of you and onto someone else, boosting your credibility. This probably won't work forever, but it can work long enough to make you feel important and righteous.
4. "Anything Women Can Do, Men Can Do Better!" FTMs are a great lo-cal replacement for women, on your blogroll, as a guest blogger, as "feminist expert witnesses," so on and so forth. There are many, many benefits to this! Since FTMs are male-identified themselves, they are far less likely to call into question your own status as a special, magical feminist man. But, since they were raised as girls, lived as women, and experienced many landmark female life events they can also back you up in any claim you make about women and add that extra special touch of credibility! Frequently they suffer from low self-esteem, which means any crumb you throw them will be appreciated and returned fivefold with favors such as beating back pesky women who think you're a misogynist by screaming "transphobe!" at them and causing a large distraction.
A FTM is the perfect weapon to have at your side to fight off anything a woman might say that you might not want to hear. FTMs can be feminists, but they do it better because they're men--just like you. FTMs have periods, but they do it better, because they're men! FTMs have to worry about breast cancer, but they do it better, because they're men! FTMs get raped, but they do it better, because they're men! FTMs have to deal with sexism, but they do it better, because they're men! FTMs have sex with men, but they do it better, because they're men too but they're not gay males! FTMs can be lesbians, but they do that better because they're men too! Best of all, FTMs can get pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed...but they do it all better because they're men!
Gentlemen, there's simply no reason to ever listen to a woman ever again. Anything a woman can do, say, think, or experience, FTMs can do better, and back you up with their male-identified perspective. You thought that you would have to give a woman a position of status, for instance, if you wanted a section of your web publication or "blog" to be about pregnancy and childbirth? HELL NO, fellas! Just find a pregnant FTM, problem solved!
Ahem. *packs up soapbox*
"MacDworkinites," or: Unfree Radicals
MacDworkinite. MacDworkinite. MacDworkinite.
If you're a feminist who talks about feminism, you've probably seen that word before, and have maybe even had it aimed your way.
Conservative men have the word "feminazi." Liberal men have coined "MacDworkinite," and it's used much like the other term: it's usually applied broadly, across disparate groups of women who do not hold the same views as one another, in order to discredit a larger group of feminists by associating them (willingly or not) with an allegedly extreme and ridiculous faction. The heat and sneer accompanying these terms puts women on the defensive; once the insult is lodged, many women abandon whatever statement they were originally making in order to prove how they are not, in fact, bigots and man-haters. And so the male anti-feminist successfully redirects and wins.
Did I say ANTI-feminist? Yes, I did. Because a real live unicorn wouldn't use such a term, but there are certainly plenty of narwhals (oh, sorry, "profeminist men") running around out there who believe it's appropriate to "MacDworkin" and "anti-sex" a woman for suggesting something as radical as (for example) the notion that men paying women for sex does not constitute liberation.
Why is it so bad? Many people who would never use the term "feminazi" don't understand why MacDworkinite is implicitly offensive. Here are a few reasons: 1. It's (intentionally) disrespectful to Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon
..a. They are not the same person. They collaborated on several efforts, but have very distinct experiences, focuses, methods, voices, and writing styles.
..b. The use of the term is (every time I've seen it) accompanied by misunderstandings, distortions, and/or outright lies about their lives and work, such that the term itself connotes untruth about these two women.
..c. The word LOOKS like something we're used to seeing (thereby masquerading as a polite and civil term), by seemingly naming a school of thought for its creators. However, unlike "Freudian," "Kantian," "Cartesian," "Epicurean," and "Machiavellian," Dworkin's and MacKinnon's names have not only been modified to make a convenient eponym, but have been diminished and conjoined in order to do so. Certainly, the two were contemporaries and collaborators, but Plato was Socrates' student and Aristotle's teacher, yet each manages to receive his own adjective. Hell, we wouldn't even care about Socrates had Plato not written his teacher's thoughts down (as he remembered them), but we still manage to distinguish between asexual (socratonic?) relationships and an instructor who uses the question-and-answer (Platocratic?) method of teaching. Yes, certainly these men have greatly influenced western civilization, but are there ANY prominent male theorists or philosophers whose schools of thought have received the MacDworkin treatment? 2. It paints women as radicals (usually against their wills) in order to discredit them
..a. For instance, you will note that the subtitle of this community is "A Radical Feminist Inquiry into Men and the Movement." Does that mean that only radical feminists post here? No. Clearly, "Radical Feminist" modifies the predominant approach of the analysis here, rather than marking everyone who posts or reads here with an indelible ink.
..b. Similar to the truth contained in Rebecca West's famous quote about feminism ("I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute"), many women who do not consider themselves radical feminists find themselves considered such for espousing views that don't have anything to DO with radical feminism - they're just suddenly "radical" to men and other people who hate women. See ginmar's post: http://www.livejournal.com/users/ginmar/604816.html
Accordingly, many women who are dismissed as "MacDworkinites" have neither read nor espoused the words or ideas of Dworkin or MacKinnon...which is yet another reason a woman is inclined to deny she's any such thing!
....(1) In other words, even if "MacDworkinism" existed as an honest representation of those two women's work, the woman accused of being a MacDworkinite would be correct in saying "I'm not one." Again, though, since the common use of the term is based on distortion, what woman COULD it apply to?
....(2) Radicalizing a woman against her will is lying about women.
....(3) Radicalizing a woman against her will is silencing women.
....(4) Radicalizing a woman against her will is dismissing women.
3. For those women who HAVE read and DO identify with the work of both Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, and/or for those women who DO identify with radical feminism, being called diminutives like "MacDworkinite" or "radfem" is a bit bewildering.
..a. Personally, it reminds me of "what do you know about it anyway, you're just a girl
." Well, yes, that's kind of true (just? girl?)...but...uh...what IS your point?
....(1) By the way, have you heard radfems have cooties?
....(2) We do, and they're contagious.
..b. The point is, of course, that it's much easier to call a woman a MacDworkinite than it is to explain, using truth, why that's such a terrible thing to be.
|Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006|
Happy New Year, MFU!
After a whirlwind of a trip encompassing family and cats and ear candles and not half the things I hoped it would, I have returned home...or at least to a place with internet access available independent of the cable company with which my mom is feuding.
Unfortunately, I see y'all are not the only ones who have been busy in my almost-absence. It seems our little community has managed to attract a bit of negative attention, which is to be expected considering the topic, but has still managed to surprise me with its speed and scope.
I was hoping we would have a bit more time to establish ourselves quietly prior to the onslaught, so I think it would be wise to batten down the hatches a bit as a precautionary measure. To those of you who have requested membership, I thank you and look forward to approving you.*
I do need some more time to consider your requests (i.e. look you up and stuff), however, because to this point I have only approved persons I 'know' from elsewhere, and I am committed to protecting the tone and content here.
Of course, you're *very* welcome to comment in the meantime! That, too, would help me get to know you.
Thanks for your understanding, and for visiting. *
the one exception to this being the gentleman who requested membership, for I still have not determined whether or not that's appropriate for this community.
|Friday, December 30th, 2005|
From Alas, the new "moderation" policy:"Instead, I've decided to experiment with makring some posts as "feminist, pro-feminist and feminist-friendly only" threads (such as yesterday's transwomen & feminism post). This is similar to Heart's proposal, but it's not limited to radical feminists, and pro-feminist men are allowed. Also, I've decided to be freer about kicking MRAs and anti-feminists off (although I still don't take requests, so please don't ask). Hopefully, this will address the concerns of folks who felt "Alas" has become too MRA-dominated. We'll see how it goes, and make further adjustments if necessary."Ghetto:
"A section of a city occupied by a minority group who live there especially because of social, economic, or legal pressure.
Something that resembles the restriction or isolation of a city ghetto: 'trapped in ethnic or pink-collar managerial job ghettoes'"
One of the best things about being a male feminist: there's always a good reason to create women's ghettos. Like convenience. Or simplicity. Or the lie that it's about equality. In this case, it's that it takes too long -- longer than 20 seconds -- to explain to men's "rights" activists that they're not allowed free run of Alas (much less the rest of the world). Who knew MRAs had such short attention spans? So the *better* solution is to create a series of little ghettos for women.
Of course, it's helpful for Ampersand that Hearrt made the suggestion first -- from entirely *different* motivations -- so that he can hide behind her skirts. Of course, while hiding behind Heart, Ampersand didn't bother to mention that Heart has since rescinded her suggestion as a bad idea, especially at Alas. Male feminists not only don't have to pay attention to anything for longer than 20 seconds, they only have to listen to, oh, about 1/2 of what's being said.
Does it seem to anybody else here that this "solution" to men being abusive asses is quite a lot like other advice given to women: don't walk alone, get a man to protect you, don't get drunk in public, don't party with men you don't know, don't party with men you do know, don't leave your drink unattended during the party, don't go out after dark, ad nauseum. Now, it's saying "keep out of the majority of the threads here if you don't want to be abused." Of course, it's all for our "protection", so we should be grateful for the ghetto.
What's the solution to *anti-feminist men* running amok on Alas? Segregate the *women* and *feminists* into a smaller space, leaving the men free run of the rest of the world, which is, not incidentally, most of it. How is it that every solution to men's violence or misbehavior makes the world women are allowed to inhabit smaller and smaller and smaller?
The problem with "women's spaces" created by men is that the sole purpose of them is to leave the rest of the world to men. Women get the style pages at the New York Times, and men get everything else. Women get a pink page at Slate - or is it Salon? -- and men get the rest. It's the fundamental problem with a ghetto: you don't get the rest of the world. Nor do you get to control the size, or shape, or living conditions of the ghetto. Of course, in this case, it's Ampersand who decides the shape, the size, and the content of the ghetto. Why does this not reassure me?
And, you know, it's his blog, so it's true he gets to decide what he wants to do with it. But isn't that always the way? Those with the power and the privilege decide who gets a ghetto and what that ghetto looks like. And it seems to me that it isn't enough to point to the power and privilege as the justification for its exercise. Especially so when the one exercising the power purports to be doing it on behalf of the ghettoized group. I thought there were feminist principles beyond "It's my space, I get to say," that were in play here.
In fact, Ampersand has no problem telling women that exercising our power to define ourselves and our spaces is illegitimate. He has no problem saying that transwomen should be considered women, full stop. That women shouldn't control the boundaries of our own identities and communities. In that case, it isn't enough for Ampersand that women say "it belongs to us, so we get to decide." Male privilege -- invisible on all fronts, once again. In this case, the privilege of telling women what space we should occupy.
Well, maybe it's time to burn the ghetto down, like Watts, like Detroit. Maybe the only reasonable and, what's that word I'm looking for --- oh yeah, civil -- maybe the only reasonable and civil response is to destroy the ghettos we're confined to. Maybe it's time for every reasonable and civil woman and feminist man to leave Ampersand and his cronies to the ghettos, empty them of women, just walk away and leave him and his MRA pals to it.
Well, of course, that won't happen. Too many women with personal connections to Ampersand are more than happy to front for him. Yet another benefit of being a male feminist: getting women to do your dirty work.
Too bad. Maybe real sisterhood looks more like recognizing the ghetto you're in, than it does yelling at other women for pointing out the boundaries of it. Current Mood: pissed off
|Thursday, December 29th, 2005|
I see the community is getting a little traffic after all, which is wonderful. I'm out of town at the moment and my internet access is limited (also affecting my new content, sorry), so for those of you who have requested membership, welcome. I should be able to review and approve it next week.
As long as you understand and agree with the ethos here, you're more than welcome to comment on existing posts in the meantime. If you've been having any trouble using MFU, please feel free to let me know by commenting on this post.
Thanks for your patience, and have a safe and happy New Year.
|Thursday, December 22nd, 2005|
How male feminists benefit from women's attention
Hey, look, I can post! Heh. It's a short one, though.
Another way male feminists benefits from being male feminists is the unrelenting attention and good-will given to them by women. As if there's always an explanation for their anti-woman or anti-feminist behavior. And if you just explain it to them *earnestly* enough, they'll get it. Or if you give them a different solution to their anti-woman ways, they'll be happy to take it.
It's this mother-hen thing - women taking care of men. Like, if it's explained to them just one more time, they'll finally get it. Or maybe they won't. Maybe it's just women not being able to assert themselves, and once again ceding power to men.
|Wednesday, December 21st, 2005|
Violence against Barbies
"I have to admit, I love the idea of gleeful little girls microwaving Barbies to death."
-A Prominent Male FeministThis article
is getting a lot of discussion on blogs at the moment. I have to say that while the sentiments of women about Barbie, however I may disagree with them, are pretty much understandable, I am disturbed by the glee some males are taking at the idea of "Barbie mutilations."
What I find many are reluctant to examine (especially having come forth with their own reaction that torturing Barbie is just da bomb) is the idea that maybe what girls are doing, here, is not so much acting with aggression towards the expectation that they should be feminine, but perhaps they are re-enacting violence towards women they have seen in the media or played out in real life. I've found that women have been far more likely to think of this as a possibility than have men, even most men calling themselves feminist.
Why the jump to the conclusion that "torturing" Barbie is a positive sign? I can only read this as "girls today hate and torture in effigy a certain type of women. This means they are learning to properly despise this sort of woman just as we, liberal men, despise such women [bimbos, bitches, put your offensive word of choice in the box]. This is a positive sign because it means that girls today, unlike previous generations, are learning to Think Like Men which means equality is nigh!"
What do you think? And apologies if this is not 100% on the unicorn topic.
Discrimination Against An Overclass
This is a pretty basic concept, but since it's been obliquely discussed here, and just in case anyone should ever use this community as a reference, I thought it would be good for this conversation to exist.
Men are never discriminated against on the basis of sex.
Discrimination, a/k/a sexism, is a function of a power disparity. In the absence of a power imbalance, choosing to make Job X open to only men would be a matter of personal preference, nothing more.
In the context of male supremacy (i.e. reality) hiring only men for a job is sexism *against women.* Whereas hiring only women for a job is almost always a reflection of sexism *against women.* Yes, women.
Disbelieving a man because he is a man is not sexism. It is a reaction to the fact that sexism against women exists. Refusing to hire a man because he is a man is a reflection of the fact that sexism against women exists.
If I run a Hooter's and only hire women to run around in the little orange shorts, I am in no way discriminating against men. I am upholding sexism against women.
If I run a women's rape crisis line and only hire women to staff it, I am in no way discriminating against men. I am reacting to the conditions put upon me by male supremacy: the fact that it is overwhelmingly men who rape.
It is power, and power alone, that makes discrimination morally wrong.
|Tuesday, December 20th, 2005|
Many supposedly profeminist men think it's a cheap tactic for women to suggest their interest in the movement has anything at all to do with sex.
But...don't gay men seem underrepresented in discussions concerning women's rights?
Lots of male feminists enjoy using the "you're in it for the chicks" weapon against every other man who hangs around feminists, but skedaddle pretty quickly the minute it seems like feminism might not be the ticket to benefit them, personally.
So this post is to open the discussion of men benefitting from feminism...how that works, what it looks like.
A few links...
Here's an interesting post by Ginmar, discussing male victims shutting down discussions of rape and violence against women, and supposedly feminist male bloggers prioritizing antifeminist commenters over the wishes of feminist women:http://www.livejournal.com/users/ginmar/587265.html
Excerpt: The thing is, I think to be a male feminist you have to accept you're going to be an outcast if you're really devoted to the idea. It's the guys that don't see that that seem to try and cling to legitimacy by encouraging male trolls. After all, male commenters still mean legitimacy. If you've got males posting, you're legit. That's what it takes to throw in your lot with women. You will be an outcast.
And here's one by Bean, entitled "Feminism and Civility and Communication (Oh My!)":http://coolbeanscool.blogspot.com/2005/02/feminism-and-civility-and.html
Which in the interest of full disclosure, was composed in response to events surrounding my being banned from "Alas, A Blog" many months ago. Needless to say, I agree with many things she posted. A brief statement on the subject of "Alas":
Regarded by many as the most prominent feminist blog on the internet, the site now features some female contributors, but was started and is owned and run by a straight man named Ampersand/Barry (I mention this since many, many people have spent quite a long time reading his posts without ever realizing he's male and heterosexual). Is he a feminist? My answer is a firm "no," but I also want to make this clear:
I hope that this community is used to discuss the broad
topic of men who involve themselves with the feminist movement. I think that because of its prominence, content and dynamic at "Alas" are fair game for comment here...however...though I'm certainly not above ill wishes toward those I perceive to have wronged me, I'd like to focus my energy on something more productive than a "community" formed to bash particular persons and/or websites. In addition, it would be a shame for any woman to feel that posting here would in any way constitute being disloyal to male feminists with whom she associates, on whatever level. This community should be a place where women can discuss male feminists without fear of repercussions or recrimination. This means that no poster, commenter, or member should be assumed to hold OR be required to hold a certain opinion of a particular man by virtue of her participation in this community.