Fighting with the Sky

Archive for the ‘Anti-Feminism’ Category

This post will be short, sweet, and to the point.

I love when people tell me I’m overreacting; that I’m reading too much into a situation. They tell me if I’m looking for sexism (or insert form of oppression here), then I’ll find it in anything. And I wonder why that is? Maybe because sexism is so entrenched in our society that it IS in everything. In some things more than others, but because sexism has been taught to us by society for so long, sexism is in everything.

Telling feminists that they are overreacting is just another silencing technique used against us. If someone tells us that we are overreacting, they are trying to get us to back down from our views — to deny that there is sexism.

When someone tells me that I’m overreacting, it just alerts me to the fact that there really is some form of sexism there. It’s like a big red flag: “Sexism Here”! People don’t want to accept that they are complicit in sexism (or any ism) so they claim that us evil feminists are just overreacting and trying to ruin their fun. So the next time someone tells you that you are overreacting, don’t give in to the point (but I don’t think a lot of people would back down). Stand your ground and point out that there really is sexism there.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how female feminists react to men’s feelings about feminism, whether it is supportive of feminism or anti-feminist. Do women try to make men understand their viewpoints? Do women sometimes concede to men’s opinions? So I was really excited when my friend sent me this old post from the blog Hugo Schwyzer – “Words are not fists: some thoughts on how men work to defuse feminist anger.”

This blog is written by a history and gender studies professor, and in this post he reflects on how men in women’s studies courses preface statements (when they make them) with phrases along the lines of “I know I’m going to get killed for saying this, but…” The author sees this as a way for men to control women’s feminist anger (which women have every right to have).

By equating feminist anger with physical violence (“I’m going to get killed”), women might have the tendency to make the man feel safe and tone down their anger as a response.

Joking about getting beaten up (or putting on the football helmet) sends a message to young women in the classroom: “Tone it down. Take care of the men and their feelings. Don’t scare them off, because too much impassioned feminism is scary for guys.”

Many of these men might not be conscious of the fact that they do this and women might not be conscious that they are diffusing their feminist anger as a response.

Even men who are pro-feminist do this. And it’s a classic anti-feminist technique to silence women…

it forces women students to become conscious caretakers of their male peers by subduing their own frustration and anger. It reminds young women that they should strive to avoid being one of those “angry feminists” who (literally) scares men off and drives them away.

I have seen this technique used both in classrooms and in daily conversations. And I have to admit that they usually work. I want to make sure that everyone’s opinion is heard, that no one’s feelings get too hurt in the process, and that everyone feels “safe” in the conversation. And this usually results in me toning down my actual opinions. And it seems like I’m not the only one who does this.

But why do men do this? I understand anti-feminist men’s desire to silence feminist anger – strong, confident, feminist women are who they are fighting against. But why would pro-feminist men want to do this? The author of this post claims that it is because of men’s fear of be challenged and confronted, especially by a woman. But do all men have this intrinsic fear? I know many men who can hold a conversation about feminism and listen to the thoughts of women in this context. But when I was having those conversations, I wasn’t necessarily aware of this technique, so maybe they were doing it as well.

So as a feminist woman, I have to be aware of this silencing technique and try to not let it affect me. I have to stand by my opinions while still promoting a “safe” environment for conversation. And…

The first task of the pro-feminist male in this situation is to accept the reality and the legitimacy of the frustration and disappointment and anger that so many women have with men, and to accept it without making light of it or trying to defuse it or trying to soothe it. Pro-feminist men must work to confront their own fears about being the target of those feelings.

A conversation is a two-way street. It’s not entirely men’s fault, women have to not back down. But men have to listen to the real anger and frustration of women. It is important to look out for this technique, as both women and men.

As long as women’s voices are silenced, whether those voices are feminist or not, society will never have a chance of being equal. Everyone has to have a say. Equating verbal feminist anger with physical violence is just not an acceptable way of silencing women. Feminist anger and frustration has the right to be heard…especially in Women’s Studies classrooms, where this type of silencing technique has a tendancy to appear.

What are your experiences (both of men and women) of someone trying to diffuse your feminist anger? Do these techniques really work? How can we “fight back” against associating verbal disagreement with physical violence?

Not surprisingly, there are many blogs out there dedicated to anti-feminism. Because anyone can make a blog and there has been anti-feminism around as long as feminism has been around, it is to be expected that there would be anti-feminism blogs. But this doesn’t make these blogs ok.

Because I am always interested in what anti-feminists are arguing, I thought I would collect some blogs and posts that work against feminism. It is important to know what the other side is saying in order to make an informed and effective argument against them.

*Note on the picture: for the lovely argument that all feminists are lesbians.

One of the biggest sites I found was Antimisandry.com. Misandry, according to the website, is the hatred of men, so the website is dedicated to fighting this hatred. They have a complete page of ways that men are discriminated against, such as health, circumcision: genital mutilation, suicide, domestic violence, local council, public libraries, radio, newspapers, advertising, marriage, lifestyle opportunities, family courts, parental alientaion, mother-headed households, fatherless homes, education, politicians, passports, taxes, pensions and benefits, safety, employment, criminal law, catering, wealth, and travel. I feel like this list of areas in which men are discriminated is just grasping at straws and showing that these men are just blind to their own privilege. Also check out thier page titled “Why Modern, Western Has Become a Bad Business Decision for Men.”

Antimisandry is all about pushing women down even further so men can feel powerful. Their whole premise is that women are getting too powerful and therefore have a hatred for men. But the people on this site completely ignore the fact that most feminists believe in equality of the sexes, not in dominating men.

I also came across a site called AlphaBelle. While this site is not specifically dedicated anti-feminism, many of the posts on it are definitely anti-feminist. Three that stuck out to me were “Building a Better Breed of Feminist,” “Women and Politics: An Ode to Testosterone,” and “The Funeral of Feminism.” In “Women and Politics,” the author proclaims,

In order to survive in politics, a person has to be assertive, aggressive, dominant, and have the ability to compartmentalize emotion. Basically they have to be an alpha. Just like in a wolf pack, no one is going to follow someone who displays even the slightest amount of insecurity. This doesn’t come easily to most women.

What about the fact that women are trained by society to be beta, as she calls it? And what about all the women who are in politics right now? Women are obviously capable of competing in the political arena, it’s just a matter of getting them elected. And why aren’t women elected? Because of people who hold views like this; that women aren’t capable of being assertive and getting things done.

In “The Funeral of Feminism,” the author talks about the appreciation of men.

Over the years, my understanding and appreciation of men has grown. I imagine that is the way it is supposed to be as you grow into maturity. I listen to them now whereas I couldn’t get beyond my own bullshit when I was 22. And in our society, being male (especially if you happen to be a heterosexual Caucasian male), you are pretty fucking far behind the 8-ball. No one cares about your rights.

Again, we get the belief that feminism is all about pulling men down instead of building women up to the level of men.

And then there is the website Objectify Chicks. The name pretty much explains it all. This site is all about the faults of feminism and the oppression of women. There is a post on this site that is solely dedicated to this quote from Lionel Tiger, a professor at Rutgers University:

“There is an ideological commitment to the notion that any differences occurring between males and females represent a failure of society to create equal and perfect opportunities for everyone so that the sexes will end up the same. This is a mindless concept.”

This post was titled “Feminism: Philosophy of the Mindless.” This shows that anti-feminists believe that feminists are mindless for challenging that status quo that the anti-feminists are trying so hard to protect. I would aruge that the anti-feminists are the mindless because they are just following the status quo instead of trying to change anything.

The final site I am going to discuss is The Counter-Feminist. In the post “Another Glimpse of the Real Feminism,” the author argues that all people who chose to take the label feminist are man-hating bitches.

What’s that you say? It’s unfair to treat all feminists the way that radfems treat all men? Well I think its bloody ill-mannered of radfems to treat all men that way in the first place!

I don’t even know what to say. So I’m just going to leave it at that and let you make your own conclusions about it.

The anti-feminist websites that I have come across are all about the hatred of women, rather than the hatred of men (like Antimisadry proclaims). With the exception of AlphaBelle (which I’m assuming is written by a woman), the men that write these blogs, I feel, only feel good about themselves when they have control over someone and that someone is women. So when feminism promotes the rights and fights the oppression of women, they feel threatened. And as for AlphaBelle and female anti-feminists — I don’t really understand. I mean they are entitled to their own opinions, but how can they not see that they are discriminated against and oppressed? Are they just using the anti-feminist “wave” to get ahead? I don’t really know.

And to end: here’s some anti-feminist BINGO from Hoyden About Town!