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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Quote of the day

From a site not fond of male feminism
Misogyny-hurts-men-too edition:
I’m a guy, and I need feminism. Not “men’s rights.” Feminism. Here is why. 
Everything that MRAs talk about that men can’t do or are socially punished for arise directly and immediately from misogyny. Not “misandry.” Misogyny. 
Whether I am expressing my emotions, playing with children, baking, having sex wherein I am penetrated in any way, wearing the wrong color, talking the wrong way, moving the wrong way, being sexually harassed/assaulted, or paying too little attention to looking like I’m not paying attention to how I look, when society punishes me or derides me or marginalizes me for these things, it is happening because they are things women, not men, are expected to do, and our society at large fucking hates women. 
Has that sunk in yet? 
Men, can you even think of a single goddamn way you have ever been mocked that wasn’t related to something that a misogynist society sees as feminizing? Even when large men are mocked for their bodies, they are referred to as having “man-boobs,” for fucks sake. 
How do you expect to improve those things with “men’s rights?” What right are you fighting for? I can tell you what I think you’re fighting for. I think you’re fighting for the right to contain and control misogyny, and direct it back at women, where you think it belongs. You want to maintain your privilege but erase its consequences, and that’s why your movement is farcical; it’s a big fucking feedback loop. How do you expect men to be free from the peripheral effects of misogyny when you refuse to even fucking believe it’s real?
Rigid gender roles-- the assumption that men must be one thing and women must be another, and no overlapping allowed-- hurts both men and women, no doubt. If it's okay for a person to do something, then it really doesn't matter whether that person is male or female, or so you'd think. Yes, there are certain things men generally can't do, such as conceiving and bearing a child, and certain things women generally can't do, such as grow beards, but those are physical constraints-- not normative ones. Women with beards are not generally considered very attractive, but it's not wrong for them to grow one. Right?

But while society can certainly be condemning of women who want to do things culturally associated with men, there's a special kind of disdain for men who want to do things more associated with women, and this quote alludes to some of those-- the kind of emotions men aren't allowed to express. The interests they're not allowed to have. The sex they're not allowed to enjoy. The general manner they're not supposed to have. Don't act, think, or look like a woman-- or more specifically, what we insist a woman must be.

Why not? Well, because being a woman is worse than being a man, and we can sort of understand why a woman would aspire to be manlike (even if we don't approve of it), but no way in hell can we understand why a man would want to be like a woman. That's inscrutable and threatening, and must stop.

Bill Bailey disagreeing
The post's author, Evan, correctly points out that MRAs (so-called Mens' Rights Advocates) have no desire to fix this, and in fact would rather perpetuate it. I don't think it's so much that MRAs refuse to believe that misogyny is real, however, as that they see it as the way things should be. Men should distrust women and not consider them to be fully autonomous agents with desires of equal importance to their own, because that's the reality and it's better if we acknowledge reality. Misogyny, to this view, is the appropriate stance of someone who sees things as they actually are. An MRA is not supportive of a man's right to wear pink and enjoy bubble baths-- only the right to be traditionally masculine, with all that entails. Those men who don't desire to be traditionally masculine are the enemies, which is just fine because those men are more likely to be feminists anyway. Traitors.

This is the real difference between feminism and "mens' rights": the former seeks to loosen or do away with those unnecessary, illogical, and often ridiculous binds, while the latter seeks to make them tighter. Men can be as masculine (or not) as they want and be feminists, so long as they are not sexist assholes. "Mens' rights," on the other hand, insists that sexist assholery is their divine right and the only appropriate goal to which they should aspire. A pretty crucial distinction, I would say.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post. This is a very good argument for why feminist is the suitable word to describe both men and women opposed to sexism. I'm sometimes a little uncomfortable about the fit of the word to describe anyone opposed to sexism across the board, but it makes sense to use the word in light of the fact that it's female-ness that tends to be socially denigrated. So men who don't want to be constrained by sexist stereotypes benefit from affirmation of attributes and inclinations that are deemed feminine and therefore inferior.

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