« And Now a Word from Our Sponsors | Main | Friday Ephemera »

February 25, 2014

Comments

splotchy

"I often encounter negative reactions when declaring myself a male feminist at university."

I have to credit you David, some of the articles you locate are beyond parody. But far from 'negative reaction', I find 'tear-inducing mirth' is my more usual reaction to the anguish of those such as Mr Merryweather.

Still, he's not quite as entertaining as the male 'vegan feminist' student acquaintance one of my youngsters encountered at university - this chap (prominent and vociferous in debates, natch) eschewed meat because of the patriarchal cruelty of the beef industry, namely the 'rape' of innocent unwilling young heifers by the visiting inseminator. Seemingly he instead had a charming sweet image of cow-copulation as nature (and feminists) intended; no doubt a handsome and fully-authorised young bullock mooing sweet nothings in the proud-and-fully-consenting cows's ears as he takes her gently and respectfully........

Ah, youth of today. Anyhoo, what is 'comparative literature' when it's at home? And will it lead to a career where we will hear more, or less, from Mr Merryweather?

svh

And never a sign of narcissism, credulity and pretentious moral grandstanding.

Erm, if this dipshit's opinion is (in his words) so unimportant why should I take his sign seriously?

Will Jones

Just shows what some men will do to hook up with a women.

Anna

I think you should juxtapose this:

"foolishly, male students worry they may lose power and opportunity in a world of feminism"

With the feminist beta male holding up his sign:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451675669e201a73d80b196970d-pi

David

With the feminist beta male holding up his sign

Quite.

sk60

Yes, that must be it. Those lexical allusions are a real bugger.

I denounce your homophobia.

ajf

The real mental illness is the compulsion to have everyone else think and have opinions exactly like him/his.

splotchy

I notice the feminist beta male's sign is mispelled. Still, what does literacy matter when it comes to ingratiating the sisterhood?

David

I denounce your homophobia.

Bugger, rumbled at last. When I lean forward, throw that sand into my eyes. It’s the only way I’ll learn.

Richard Powell

It's odd and arguably misleading to illustrate an article written by a student at Warwick with a picture taken outside King's, Cambridge - even if King's is the spiritual home of this sort of stuff, and recently voted to retain a hammer and sickle in its college bar: http://cambridge.tab.co.uk/2010/02/14/hammer-and-fickle/.

Joan

and whose baggage is often fascinating.

Link of the week, definitely.

Pitkin

Following this link http://womensspace.org/ from your article 'Every Bit as Hobbled' reveals that feminism, as practised by men, women or any of the other 57 flavours of being, may be running out of steam. Either that or the eeevil corporates are taking over their actual literal virtual spaces. I am shocked. Shocked, I say.

splotchy

"Feminism" may indeed be running out of steam. But like the broomstick in the sorceror's apprentice, fragments of it are rising up to fight even angrier and less coherent battles along the lines of 'intersectonality' & 'privilege'; plus the battle is being extended beyond the two genders I knew and grew up with, to the fifty or more now identified on facebook - just think, the potential for all that angst fifty-fold more!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/10637968/Facebook-sex-changes-which-one-of-50-genders-are-you.html

Karen M

If 'lad culture' is the problem why do most women I know find modern feminism silly and self-indulgent too?

Red Jeff

I read this somewhere... 'we are such a tolerant society that those with minority views are completely unaware that we disagree with them. Because of our acceptance of THEIR beliefs, they are deluded into thinking we agree with them!'

Sam

And possibly towels and a mop.

For the tears or the bed-wetting?

F X Muldoon

If 'lad culture' is the problem why do most women I know find modern feminism silly and self-indulgent too?

Stockholm Syndrome, they have been oppressed by the patriarchal hegemony so long, they are now part of it.

Kevin Perez

I believe in the basic concept of women's rights.....but I reject being called a feminist, as I know plenty of other girls/women who do and, as shocking as it may sound, there are even men who also believe in women's rights. Only these people don't support the Guardian's brand of feminism nor do any of the aforementioned men feel the need to emasculate themselves and neither do the females (emasculate males, that is) to show support. I guess some folks wouldn't be satisfied with that.

But then again, feminism became a parody of itself for me when the Guardian's feminists accused Miley Cyrus of "appropriating" Black culture with her twerking. It was also when I realized how absurd and downright hilarious the Guardian really was. I think most of the articles are there just for click bait.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Splotchy - thank you for your recent kind words.

I thought your suggestion of a collected "Steve's Thoughts" would make the perfect gift, so I fired up the dot matrix printer and made a booklet.

The front cover is a laminated photo of me eating a hamburger from the time I won third place in a hamburger eating competition. It looked boring because my eyes were closed due to gastric distress so I photoshopped Limahl and ALF into the picture to make it more visually striking.

I was sure this would be received as the most thoughtful present ever, but when I gave it to my wife, she was far from happy.

So apparently "Steve's Thoughts" is not an acceptable anniversary gift and I now have a sore back from sleeping on the futon in the guest bedroom.

The cat is also unhappy with me because I've taken over her favourite kitty snoozing spot and in my sleep befuddled state I mistook her for a memory foam knee pillow.

I thought Cat Scratch Fever was a Pantera song, but it seems it's also a real and unpleasant thing.

Do you know who I blame for all this? The Patriarchy. Lewis Merryweather is right: who else but The Patriarchy would have been so diabolically cunning as to give him a name like "Lewis Merryweather" so that people dismiss him out of hand as an effete milksop like Prince Herbert from Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

King of Swamp Castle: "One day, lad, all this will be yours!"

Lewis Merryweather: "What, the curtains?"

This has the stench of The Patriarchy all over it. It's a musky, manly smell, like Old Spice mixed with 18 year old Glenlivet.

David

And then there’s this bearded chap, whom we mustn’t regard as male unless he permits it. Apparently our perceptions of people with beards and ‘taches are to be policed by our betters.

Patrick Brown

I can't find it now, but a while ago I stumbled across a site that took "I need feminism because" photos and replaced the signs with ones from pet shame photos. Earnest young people holding up signs saying "I pooped on the new rug" and "I steal food from the table". Made me laugh.

JuliaM

"This has the stench of The Patriarchy all over it. It's a musky, manly smell, like Old Spice mixed with 18 year old Glenlivet."

Genuine LOL moment. And now everyone on this train is looking at me oddly.

WTP

So these men object to being called "men". Hmmm...it seems like they enjoy being used by women, pride themselves on their dispensability...disposable even, easily manipulated into whatever form said women choose, I suspect when used the chances of conception are reduced...seems there's another word, well two-word combo really, that could be applied here.

rabbit

I can't help but suspect that when Lewis joins in conversation with other guys, everybody remembers that they have errands to run.

rjmadden

I think Mr Merryweather is confusing Warwick University campus with Nigeria or Somalia. Somewhere where being a "proud male feminist" might actually be something to shout about.

rabbit

In the words of Colm Dempsy, a male feminist who spoke at the forum I attended: “I am a proud male feminist. I am willing to fight with you. If you let me.”

If you let me? Normally one has to pay for that level of degradation.

David

I think Mr Merryweather is confusing Warwick University campus with Nigeria or Somalia. Somewhere where being a “proud male feminist” might actually be something to shout about.

I denounce your sense of proportion. Someone fetch the sand. No, that really cheap sand, the stuff with bits in it.

rjmadden

My eyes.

bgates

I wonder if Mr Merryweather's parents had any intent of evoking the name Meriwether Lewis, the Lewis of the Lewis & Clark expedition, which traversed the North American continent over a two year period from 1804 to 1806.

Henry

This is a statement every man, inside university and outside, should be able to shout without fear of being silenced by society.

It's the comments below the line disagreeing with this numpty that will be silenced, as we see over and over again.

25 comments deleted so far under this article out of 210. So more than 10%

Kevin Perez

Does the Guardian delete comments for the hell of it? I cannot tell you how many times comments that weren't even remotely offensive, or even questionable, were deleted on various articles I've come across. Folks who even called out on that type of absurdity had their own comments deleted as well.

A

If you let me? Normally one has to pay for that level of degradation.

Feminist, queer and negro "allies" (I believe this is the common term) are treated very badly in their respective henhouses. It's not difficult to find articles where feminists say that all male feminists should simply shut up, etc. I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would subject themselves to it.

Hal

. . . Old Spice mixed with 18 year old Glenlivet.

Ewwwwww.

I can't stand the taste of alcohol, and therefore don't drink it, but what a horrible thing to do to perfectly innocent Glenlivet . . .

David Gillies

I picture a 'male feminist' as a man holding his wife's handbag while she fights The Patriarchy.

dicentra

Club nights often encourage the sexualisation and degradation of women through dress code

What, women are required to dress like sluts? Cleavage Required? Thighs Must Show?

The English pub scene is curious indeed.

CLIFF HANGER

HERE HEAR

David Davis

It's all very well to laugh, and split our sides in mirth at the self-tormenting antics of these bastards. But actually they are deadly serious about their intended impositions on all normal humans, and this makes them mortally dangerous. I don't find them funny at all: and I'm sure the feeling is reciprocated by them to us.

The time to laugh at them (as a weapon) will be when open war breaks out as it will in the end. Like when we were "openly humorous about" Hitler in the War.

dicentra

I've just been sent to the Twitter Gulag for the second time in as many weeks for my insolence in mocking the Star-Bellied Sneeches.

"Vindictive little snot-rags" doesn't begin to cover it.

TDK

As some may know I misspent my youth as a l****y l***y. An interesting event happened to me years ago that has relevance. I (a 9 stone 18 year old) was invited by a women friend to attend a Feminist Nurses meeting to which she regularly went. OK says I and we go. Recall the scene in American Werewolf where the protagonists enter the pub on the moor and everything freezes. Now you have the picture. After some explanation by my friend followed by some whispering I was asked to step out while there was a vote. To cut a long story short, having a man in such a meeting would "remove the safe space", even though he was sympathetic. Turned out that only one voice was against me being allowed to stay but that was enough for solidarity to kick in. No skin off my nose but my friend was a bit of a pariah for months afterwards.

So in the interests of educating this man, let me state where his problem is. I don't need to rehearse discussion of intersectionality here. Suffice to say, he should know that, he doesn't and can't know what feminism is; he should check his privilege and stop pretending to speak on behalf of wimmin.

TimT

I fully expect Mr Merryweather to spend the next decade of his life agonising over whether he is a 'feminist' or an 'ally'.

pst314

"an empowering title"

Well, I suppose a man with no balls feels a need for the illusion that he is powerful.

pst314

"To cut a long story short, having a man in such a meeting would 'remove the safe space', even though he was sympathetic."

Funny how so many feminists are either cowards who are traumatized by disagreement and difference, or are bullies who use the "safe space" language of victimhood to justify suppressing all dissent.

"...my friend was a bit of a pariah for months afterwards."

Sounds like typical feminazis. We have a lot of them here in the States.

Q30

I have to testify that male feminists are expected by female feminists to shut-up, do as they are told and sit in the back of the bus. They live under a cloud of suspicion and must watch what they say. The badge of 'male feminist' is never very secure. It can be stripped-away pretty easily.

Feminists DO want male support, to be sure, but as subordinates rather than as equals. The whole thing is a test of a man’s willingness to forfeit his autonomy to women’s wills... and to LIKE being treated that way.

It is as if female feminists want to have a group of "second-class feminists" who it is safe to order-about and abuse.

As if to invert the feminist complaint of the lack of women in positions of leadership, feminists are very VERY uncomfortable with the thought of a man ever playing a leadership role in feminism.

So what ARE male feminists allowed to do? They are allowed to support feminism and bash other men. Rather than being effete wimps, male feminists can act quite macho when they put other men down.

The whole thing is quite a spectacle to behold once you start seeing the dynamics.

David

Recall the scene in American Werewolf where the protagonists enter the pub on the moor and everything freezes.

Sometime in the late Eighties, I had to deliver some posters to a leftwing music venue, one staffed almost entirely by lefties and hippies, and therefore run quite badly. To get to the appropriate office I had to walk past the dancefloor – which, on this afternoon had been commandeered by a group of feminists. In the centre of the room, maybe twenty metres away, a dozen or so women were seated in a circle, talking. There was a sudden hush. As I quietly walked past towards the offices, I was stopped and berated by one of the ladies. “This is a women-only space,” I was told, in no uncertain terms.

I apologised for the interruption, such as it was, and pointed out that this was the only available way to the offices. “These have to be delivered by 4pm. I’ll drop them off upstairs and be out in 2 minutes.” From the group sounds of tutting could be heard. A burlier, rather quarrelsome woman came over with a face (and voice) like thunder. “What do you think you’re doing in here? This is a safe space for women - men aren’t allowed!” Again, I explained that I had a delivery to make, as arranged by one of the venue’s staff, and would be very quiet. Rather than let me get on and out of their way, a third woman joined what was now becoming a one-sided argument. They seemed to enjoy the opportunity to browbeat a young man, continually interrupting, apparently in an attempt to intimidate.

Slightly taken aback by the hair-trigger hostility, I pointed out that the ladies’ “safe space” wasn’t closed off from a fairly busy thoroughfare, through which staff and visitors had to pass to go about their business. Given the availability of other, more private “spaces” in the venue, where interruption would be much less likely, this seemed a little odd. While I said this, another hapless visitor, one of the male café staff walked past and was immediately accosted and shouted at for his inexcusable sin. It occurred to me that this futile attempt to impose a “women-only space” not in a room with a door but in an open thoroughfare may not have been an oversight. I mean, if you wanted to create a situation in which you got to gang up on and berate a series of bewildered male strangers, while feeling both wronged and heroic, this was hard to beat.

Patrick Brown

TimT: "I fully expect Mr Merryweather to spend the next decade of his life agonising over whether he is a 'feminist' or an 'ally'."

And then finally realise that feminism doesn't accept allies. Alliance is a reciprocal thing. You couldn't even call it serfhood or vassalage, because in the feudal system lords had some reciprocal obligations to their serfs and vassals. What feminists demand is unconditional surrender. Anything less is oppression.

Ross

"With the feminist beta male holding up his sign:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451675669e201a73d80b196970d-pi "

What's the origin of that picture?

I only ask because I know someone who looks an awful lot like that and is the sort of person I can imagine coming out with that sort of stuff.

David

Ross,

What’s the origin of that picture?

I don’t recall the source. It was something I spotted a while ago and kept for later use, probably on one of the Tumblrs or Facebook pages on the theme of “I need feminism” or “Who needs feminism?” or something along those lines.

I only ask because I know someone who looks an awful lot like that and is the sort of person I can imagine coming out with that sort of stuff.

Do tell.

tempdog

Patrick Brown:You couldn't even call it serfhood or vassalage, because in the feudal system lords had some reciprocal obligations to their serfs and vassals.

I would suggest the term "kajirus" for the position Mr Merryweather aspires to.

David:It occurred to me that this futile attempt to impose a “women-only space” not in a room with a door but in an open thoroughfare may not have been an oversight.

Indeed, the thrill of power as business has to come to a grinding stop so they can prove what big swinging genitalia they are.

Rob

Did he geld himself, or was it done to him?

Anyway, we all did things at university we are now horribly embarassed about. Fortunately mine are not easily available to the entire world via Google as his will be in ten years time when he grows up and thinks "Oh fuck, was that me?"

Rob

I knew he would have a shit beard even before I saw his picture. I KNEW IT.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

JuliaM - Tsk! The Patriarchy and all of its evil toilet-seat-leaving-up works are a serious business.

Hal - You could do worse, like Jack Daniels and Coke.

David - There's a brilliant update on the Guardian about the NUS summit on "lad culture". The NUS, which is apparently still a thing, has announced a "national strategy" on "lad culture". Watch out, lads!

Toni Pearce, the She-Fuhrer of the NUS, ordered forces loyal to her to "go back to your campuses and get rid of lad culture."

Ms Pearce is not a student and has never been to university, but she says she hates Michael Gove, so what more qualification do you need to be the head of the National Union of Students?

Freya from Leeds was upset that maybe the NUS wouldn't have jurisdiction to hector lads off campus, but never fear, the NUS has a cunning plan:

One of the problems with lad culture is that it often takes place outside campus grounds, in clubs that are not run by the university. Freya from Leeds asks whether it’s possible to roll a zero tolerance policy out beyond universities, and take it into the clubs in the city.

Temple says that change happens when people work together, so approaching your local council is a good idea.

A boy named Nsoedo admitted he's a delicate little flower:

Nsoedo says we need a safe space for men to talk about their insecurities. He also says it’s hard to escape lad culture. “Every time I’m with men I tend to be experiencing lad culture.”

Other helpful suggestions included "smash the patriarchy and let's change the world!". I thought The Patriarchy getting smashed on lager and WKD and acting like lads was the problem?

Another had difficulty with the concept of democracy: "We need to change democratic structures to guarantee women are represented at university and in unions."

If you think that comment betrayed a lack of self awareness, consider this gem from a discussion on the NUS gettings pop songs it disapproves of banned:

Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s censorship”

And this just in from the low-testosterone desk: "Men are affected by lad culture too. The solution is feminism. That's why I work with, listen to and am led by women. — Colum McGuire (@ColumMcGuire)"

Now, you might think maybe this is a brilliant Daily Mash / Chris Morris style satire, but no! They are serious. To show how serious, look at the serious expressions on the faces of Amy Winehouse and Morn from DS9 in this picture:

https://services.guardianapps.co.uk/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/2/21/1392988912176/706b38f7-7ea9-4d05-a3de-caefbf551bb9-620x372.jpeg?width=620&height=-&quality=95

Ladaggedon awaits.

David

They’re so brave and selfless, and utterly non-conformist. The future is clearly safe in their hands.

Rob

Gollum McGuire sounds appalling.

Rob

We are laughing at them now, but these people are the tyrants of the future. Ms Pearce will spend the next ten/fifteen years burrowing deeply into whatever area of the State or politics she most wants to fuck up.

While ordinary people work and have life, these people are utterly committed to one goal: enacting whatever lunacy drives them.

Jacob

an Official Feminist Hat And Authorised Mental Mechandise™

Bazinga. Tip jar hit.

Dr Cromarty

To appropriate Hit-Girl: "Oh, take your tampon out, Lewis."

Andrew Coulton

What a tosser

Snoid

Today's word is 'Mangina'.

Theophrastus

OT...but meanwhile opposing fracking is all about me, and daddy will pay the fine:

"Getting arrested for taking part in direct action at Balcombe was the most liberating experience I've ever had. Nothing I've ever done in my life has made me feel so empowered and alive."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/26/natalie-hynde-ban-fracking-uk-protest-balcombe

Ross

"Do tell.

Well I'm not 100% sure it's the same person but the person I know who looks very similar is a semi-employed recent graduate in "Film Studies" from Leicestershire who is a regular in a pub I sometimes go to and has very stridently expressed left wing, studenty opinions on most things.

Kevin Perez

I'm glad I continue to avoid The Guardian like the plague. There was always something about the place that nauseated me to no end and the level of condescension, self-righteousness, smugness, entitlement and patronization was just too damn much. I couldn't stand watching users making valid points (a lot which weren't even politically motivated or even pertaining to subject) with their comments/posts in response to certain articles be deleted with great frequency for the most absurd, trivial, and downright illogical reasons, NONE which ever made any sense. I saw this crap with their articles covering the shootings that happened in that mall in Kenya (forgive me, as I have a vary vague recollection of it) and lot posts just simply "disappeared" or were deleted. WTF?

I recall reading an article about the "diversification" of London's suburbs, and how basically London's very soul was were the minorities where at, that was very snobbish, patronizing, condescending and dare I say, "anit-White". LMAO, I shit you not:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/21/flight-minorities-london-suburbs-white-flight

Dr Cromarty

OT David, but have you noticed how the Occupy people are quite selective in who they, ermm, occupy. This week comes news that Wayne Rooney is being paid £300,000/week. Many Premiership players earn millions a year. Puts them in the top 0.1%, right. So why no 'Occupy Old Trafford' or 'Occupy Stamford Bridge'? Could it be that they don't fancy their chances against a football crowd when they disrupt a game?

Henry

What's the origin of that picture?

As I recall, a bunch of students at Oxford had photos of them taken standing around the Radcliffe Camera building, holding placards saying "I need feminism because...yadda yadda yadda"

Henry

'It is as if female feminists want to have a group of "second-class feminists" who it is safe to order-about and abuse'

The thing that chaps are a little shy of saying is that this (and the fact that the 2nd class feminist group are men) is exactly what feminists want.

We all know that it's young men who say things like "d'you want some?" and beat each other up on saturday nights (not even introducing themselves first - very rude) - rather at the mercy of their excess of testosterone.

But where men want to physically dominate, I'd say that women tend to want to carefully control, especially within social scenarios and especially men.

It's understandable in a way (men can be somewhat all over the place) but it can be taken to extremes. I myself have been in situations where I have felt like the only McMurphy surrounded by 5 or 6 feminist Nurse Ratcheds - so I know well the nasty atmosphere, and shake my head when I think of the young men who make themselves subservient to it by choice.

If I said this on a forum where feminists reside, they'd make a side swipe later on about "the misogyny in some of these comments", which is simply another attempt to control the debate, and the men in it.

Steve

Theophrastus,

Thanks for the link. The comments are rather interesting. My favourite...

"...The title of the article should be "Daughter of someone who was once famous wants to ban a source of energy based purely on hearsay"..."

dicentra

It was something I spotted a while ago and kept for later use, probably on one of the Tumblrs or Facebook pages on the theme of “I need feminism” or “Who needs feminism?”

Still having trouble believing it's in earnest. As familiar as I am with the Cult of Ostentatious Self-Flagellation, the signs read too much like a performative of a David Thompson comment thread.

Either way, primo comedy.

pst314

Remember that hilarious video of dickless men apologizing to divine womanhood for the infinite and unforgivable crime of being men?

David

the signs read too much like a performative of a David Thompson comment thread.

Heh. And if that’s not a righteous use of someone’s time, I don’t know what is.

sackcloth and ashes

'As a proud male feminist, I believe it’s important for men to rally around the feminist movement to provide support and to act as an example for other men to follow'.

One of the most recent controversies involving women's rights in British academia involved the guidance offered by Universities UK which essentially condoned gender segregation in meetings convened to welcome external speakers (needless to say, there was only one type of religious society on campus and one faith group likely to demand such provision for audiences).

I wonder where Mr Merryweather stood on that particular issue?

Wilfred Ruffian

Let's not get overcomplicated--it's not political--it's a Fem-Dom fetish

james

@Splotchy

Seemingly he instead had a charming sweet image of cow-copulation as nature (and feminists) intended; no doubt a handsome and fully-authorised young bullock mooing sweet nothings in the proud-and-fully-consenting cows's ears as he takes her gently and respectfully........

... a bullock being, I suppose, a male feminist of the bovine species

Paul

He should change the spelling to 'Merrywether'.

Hal

I knew he would have a shit beard even before I saw his picture. I KNEW IT.

I've always rather liked comb under, given it being the hipster precursor to the inevitable hipster comb over, and a friend of mine refers to that sort of inability to grow a beard or shave as being the bathtub ring.

David

AC1,

Equal rights! Except when you can’t do the job.

I think Kevin Williamson captured the flavour of much modern feminism:

Feminism must accommodate wildly incompatible propositions - e.g., (1) Women unquestionably belong alongside men in Marine units fighting pitched battles in Tora Bora, but (2) really should not be expected to be able to perform three chin-ups. Or: (1) Women at Columbia are empowered by pornography, but (2) women at Wellesley are victimised by a statue of a man sleepwalking in his Shenanigans. And then there is Fluke’s Law: (1) Women are responsible moral agents with full sexual and economic autonomy who (2) must be given an allowance, like children, when it comes to contraceptives.

ErisGuy

With the feminist beta male holding up his sign

Can’t be beta. Beta is used to describe a competent, bread-winning husband with a family (or wannabe). Masculine feminists are none of those things. Instead they are opposed to them. Gamma is more like it: decanted for the purpose of degrading itself.

David

Feminist outrage test.

Heh. It’s tougher than expected. But now that I’ve been enlightened, whenever I hear Beethoven’s Ninth the first thing that will leap to mind is the “throttling, murderous rage” of a frustrated rapist.

Steve

David,

(Not for the first time) I'm confused. In that I wish for equal treatment and equal opportunities for my wife & daughter and expect them to be judged by their abilities rather than by their gender, I am a proud 'feminist'.

The fountain of all knowledge describes 'feminism' as:

"...Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women..."

Who here could possibly disagree with that?

What you are actually objecting to here is an extreme form of 'feminism' which has gone beyond the original mandate of seeking some form of equality, now wants 're-dress' and has been mixed up with all kinds of other extreme positions which have nothing at all to do with equal pay, equal opportunity, voting rights etc. Shouldn't you be calling this by a different name so that the normal healthy Western 'feminism' which sees us wish for equal opportunities for our women-folk and demands our vigilance of alien cultural ideas like FGM, forced marriage etc. isn't sullied by association with this madness?

Perhas you have a different label for a father that wants the best for his daughter?

TDK

Steve

When overt feminists claim Margaret Thatcher as one of their own then we will know that feminism is limited to the things you talk about. Until then we have situation where feminism is a blanket term used to smuggle in contentious ideas, as you acknowledge. What you ask is that I should spend my time persuading people that Andrea Dawkin is NOT a feminist. This is absurd. People who call themselves feminists are the ones who are obliged to distance themselves from extremists or come up with alternative nomenclature.

David

Steve,

Who here could possibly disagree with that?

I doubt many do. But the devil is in the detail.

What you are actually objecting to here is an extreme form of ‘feminism’ which has gone beyond the original mandate

I suppose the question is whether or not the examples we’ve seen here over the years constitute only a distinct and aberrant fringe, an “extreme form” of feminism, among those who use the term as a credential. Given the apparent popularity of such things, at least among students and leftist commentators, I’m not sure the term “extreme,” with its implications of the marginal and unorthodox, is adequate. For example, when Christina Hoff Sommers exposed the eye-widening idiocy to be found in mainstream feminist textbooks, was anyone here truly surprised by the immediate and vehement backlash from so many self-defined feminists in the media and academia?

We’ve often laughed at the ludicrous outpourings of Laurie Penny and Amanda Marcotte, both of whom have large and supportive followings, both online and in the mainstream media. So are Penny and Marcotte, and their readers, wholly irrelevant figures within feminist activism, or do they represent a more common attitude? Is Marcotte more extreme than the popular feminist scholar Joni Seager, who would have us believe that American women as a group are “oppressed” on a par with women in Somalia, Uganda and Yemen?

Reactions to the candidacy of Sarah Palin also come to mind. I lost count of how many high-profile feminists denounced Palin as an “inauthentic” woman, or not a woman at all. The academic Wendy Doniger wrote: “Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretence that she is a woman,” and the phrase “she isn’t even female really” became a favoured feminist blog meme. Writing in Salon, Cintra Wilson said of Palin, “she ain’t no woman,” before describing her sneeringly as “fuckable” and “a hardcore pornographic centrefold.” These reactions were certainly bizarre, but were they entirely unexpected?

What about the activists and commentators who assume, based solely on ideology, that a 1:1 gender ratio is some natural default in just about every sphere of life, everything from politics and physics to rugby commentary, and that divergence from this expectation is in itself proof of discrimination and sufficient grounds for state intervention? I’m not sure this assumption, which is widely repeated and implies an awful lot, would be viewed as shocking or heretical by a majority of people who “proudly” declare their feminist credentials.

Are statusful feminist academics like Nancy Hopkins and Virginia Valian, mentioned here, with their political leverage and multi-million dollar budgets, merely fringe figures within feminism? Is Valian a moderate, non-dogmatic feminist in wanting to undermine the “intense desire for achievement” among scientists and engineers, supposedly on the basis that such desires “marginalise women”? (Do female scientists not have a desire for achievement?) Was Hopkins signalling her moderate, rational feminism when she said she was afraid of throwing up and fainting and “just couldn’t breathe” when confronted with basic questions about gender and statistical disposition?

You see the problem? The extremism you mention seems awfully widespread. And when it comes to identity politics, the boundaries between mainstream and delusional aren’t as clear as one might wish.

Steve

David,

"You see the problem? The extremism you mention seems awfully widespread. And when it comes to identity politics, the boundaries between mainstream and delusional aren’t as clear as one might wish."

I agree. All the more reason to either re-label the haradons or find another description for those of us that believe in actual equality.

If you rail against 'feminism' per-se then you are in actuality throwing the baby out with the bath water. I don't want people resenting my daughter, who equally loves girly dressing-up and 'boys' toys like Lego, radio-controlled vehicles and spy gear, just because of some of the BS spouted by the likes of LP and my bra-burning mother-in-law.

Just as debates on this subject make many women sound like they hate all men, the language used can equally make it sound as though some men hate all 'strong' women. Personally I love women who, like my wife, have competed admirably in traditional 'male' fields without feeling the need to hide their feminity or blame their inevitable set-backs and disappointents on the 'patriarcy'. In my opinion there is little more appealing than an attractive female structural engineer.

David

Steve,

All the more reason to... find another description for those of us that believe in actual equality.

Can’t say I’m overly fond of badges, or telling others how to define themselves. It’s not my thing. The people I know who have what I suppose might be called a civilised view of women don’t feel a need to call themselves anything in particular. Except perhaps “civilised,” or “not a jerk.”

Steve

David,

"...Except perhaps “civilised,” or “not a jerk.” ..."

We are all jerkish at times, whence the need to prevent anyone, however reasonable they seem, from acquiring too much 'power' over others. Isn't that Thomas Sowells' main philosophy?

Or maybe that's just me and the people I know and you and the people you know are in fact beyond reproach. Always.

I do agree with almost everything said here but can't shake the uncomfortable feeling that machine-gunning the whole 'feminist' thing is every bit as bad as the indiscriminate condemnations thrown about by your favourite fake red-head.

David

Steve,

I’m not sure who you think has been “machine-gunning the whole ‘feminist’ thing.” I don’t recall insisting that reasoned and admirable feminism is impossible anywhere on the planet, and the tone would no doubt vary depending on whether we were talking about Daphne Patai or Camille Paglia, or Barbara Barnett or Laurie Penny. Their respective worldviews are very different and would, I think, elicit very different reactions. Daphne Patai was an early, quite influential figure in Women’s Studies and academic feminism. But having seen first-hand how dogmatic and ideological the ‘discipline’ has become, and how widely and quickly that happened, Patai is now known as one of academic feminism’s more notable critics. I doubt Patai is any less in favour of women’s autonomy - just sceptical, to say the least, about the institution she was part of and the mindset it propagates.

[ Edited. ]

The original Mr. X

ErisGuy:

"Can’t be beta. Beta is used to describe a competent, bread-winning husband with a family (or wannabe). Masculine feminists are none of those things. Instead they are opposed to them. Gamma is more like it: decanted for the purpose of degrading itself."

TBH I think these men would be Omegas at best.

Patrick Brown

Feminism has always had a slippery relationship with the concept of equality. If you want equality with another group, you need to understand what life is actually like for that group, and feminism has never really cared to find out what men's lives are like. It's easy to say that a professional man had more power and status than his stay-at-home wife. It's less easy to say that about a coal miner, or a soldier. They don't notice, or take for granted, that there's far more of a safety net for women than for men, and that the authorities and the courts are far more lenient on women than on men. And they don't stop at equality, as the ever-increasing gender imbalance in higher education, coupled with ever more punitive attitudes to male behaviour and speech on campus, shows.

I think it would be an exxageration to say that all feminists hate men. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that pretty much all feminists are prejudiced against men. They think our sexual affection is an expression of hostility and our desire for reciprocal affection is an expression of ownership. They think we regard women as inanimate objects of value only for their utility, and at the same time think that now we're no longer quite so rigidly conforming to our traditional role that we're obsolete. They think we're dangerous and need to be controlled. Some of them think we're a mistake of nature and should be reduced to a more manageable proportion of the population, or that nature will somehow do it for them. And they get away with it all because of very traditional gender role ideas about men watching their mouths when there are ladies present, never upsetting or contradicting a lady, and generally being brought up to want to please women and seek their approval.

What happens when women are a minority in a majority male sphere? Male speech and behaviour is curtailed to make women "comfortable". What happens when men are a minority in a majority female sphere? The same. Feminism is not about equality and has no interest in equality. It's about power.

Steve

David,

"...I’m not sure who you think has been “machine-gunning the whole ‘feminist’ thing.”..."

Really?

“...I picture a 'male feminist' as a man holding his wife's handbag while she fights The Patriarchy....”

“...Feminists DO want male support, to be sure, but as subordinates rather than as equals...”

“...And then finally realise that feminism doesn't accept allies...”

“...What feminists demand is unconditional surrender...”

“..Feminism must accommodate wildly incompatible propositions...”

“...Feminism is not about equality and has no interest in equality. It's about power...”

No generalisations there then.

the future

"They’re so brave and selfless, and utterly non-conformist. The future is clearly safe in their hands."

I keep telling them that I don't like it when they touch me in that special way, but they reply that I should be grateful because they care more about me than anybody else does.

the future

"All the more reason to either re-label the haradons"

Haradon: closely related to the Iguanodon, but not as large. :-)

the future

As the happy little song goes:
"H A double R I
D A N spells Harridan..."

pst314

“machine-gunning the whole ‘feminist’ thing.”

Oh I don't know, it seemed more like single shots aimed at well chosen targets.

Davidthompson.typepad.com: A .50 caliber, bolt-action, Tool of the Patriarchy.

rabbit

Steve:

No generalisations there then.

Nothing wrong with generalizations so long as they are understood to be generalizations.

In fact, without generalizations it's near impossible to talk about any political topic.

Steve

Rabbit,

"...Nothing wrong with generalizations so long as they are understood to be generalizations..."

I agree. Stereotyping is also, in some cases, a useful short-hand, provided that it is sufficiently understood that it is a short-hand and there are always exceptions. What we are talking about here, however, is a perfectly noble movement, particularly in view of what we all know to be in our own history and in the present day experience of many women, which has been hi-jacked by extremists who are now being presented as 'the norm' through these generalizations. Perhaps it's true to say that these apparently extreme views are now so much the norm amoungst modern women who take for granted their voting rights etc. that they can now be used to generalize, but this is not my experience. In fact even from my position as a double arts graduate in a predictably left-leaning design based profession, I know absolutely noone who shares the views of the likes of LP. Those views seems to me to be mouthed by a noisy minority that is promoted by the BBC, Guardian etc. with little regard for their popularity or veracity . If one is using generalizations are they not supposed to refer to the majority rather than the noisy fringes?

The future,

Thanks for the spelling lesson, it's usually lazy typing but, this time, pure ignorance. I stand corrected & educated.

the future

"Thanks for the spelling lesson"

If you knew how many spelling errors I make, you'd know why I make so many jokes about it.

Patrick Brown

Steve: "If one is using generalizations are they not supposed to refer to the majority rather than the noisy fringes?"

Influence trumps numbers. When you consider what kind of feminists have the ear of government and what kind fo policies they promote, I would say the exremists are not on the "fringes", but the hard core.

rabbit
"What we are talking about here, however, is a perfectly noble movement, particularly in view of what we all know to be in our own history and in the present day experience of many women, which has been hi-jacked by extremists who are now being presented as 'the norm' through these generalizations."

The goal that all people have the same freedoms and opportunities is noble, but the current feminist movement as a political entity is not terribly impressive.

It has become mired in socialism and postmodernism. It has become obsessesed with issues of privilege while mostly ignoring massive problems like the the plight of women in Muslim societies. It is demanding not just equality of opportunity, but numerical equality in every possible form, which is not consistent with a free society. And it has become bogged down by infighting.

David

Steve,

Really? No generalisations there then.

When you spoke about “machine-gunning the whole ‘feminist’ thing,” I assumed you were suggesting I had done this. Your comment was addressed to me and hence the confusion. I can’t speak for others here; I’m sure they can defend their own words. Also, Patrick’s point about influence trumping numbers is, as a general point, something to consider.

Steve

Patrick,

"...Influence trumps numbers. When you consider what kind of feminists have the ear of government and what kind fo policies they promote, I would say the exremists are not on the "fringes", but the hard core..."

Aren't you advocating for the blanket defamation tactic of the left?

By that logic, given that the left seems to genuinely believe that this country, especially UKIP and the Tory party, is over-run with racists, you must think it is OK for them to scream 'Nazi' at everyone who, like me, thinks that there has been a bit too much immigration lately.

I thought we were more subtle than that.

Steve

David,

"...Your comment was addressed to me and hence the confusion..."

My general comment about the tone of the debate and the apparently casual labelling of all feminists as raving lunatics was addressed to you as host / chairman. It seemed the polite thing to do, as opposed to shouting aimlessly into your space. Is my etiquette questionable?

It usually is.

The comments to this entry are closed.

For Amazon US use this link .

Your filthy consumerism supports this blog.

Blogroll