Spreading faster than efforts to control it »« Tap that latent brainpower

Simon and David

Simon Davis talks to David Futrelle of Confused Cats Against Feminism and We Hunted the Mammoth (formerly Manboobz).

There’s a catharsis in saying “You know what? Your argument is based on ignorance. We’ve tried to explain this. We’re just gonna respond with a picture of a cat.” When you get into these discussions with these guys online, it becomes just like quicksand. Because you feel like you’ve fallen into this realm of “Wait a minute. The sky is blue, right?” It’s also just sort of nice to present something that I think the opponents of feminism just don’t know how to handle or don’t know how to react to. So when they see the cat pics, they can’t go into another regular one of their little rants because it’s a cat, and what’s being said is probably absurd. It sets them up for once.

Picture of a lolling lounging cat with the text: “I’m an anti-feminist because someone once told me that feminists hate male humans. I was too lazy to do any real research. Come on, I’m a spoiled, pampered cat! Why should I have to think for myself?”

You’ve said that mockery is the only appropriate response to certain men’s rights activists. What about people like Christina Hoff Sommers who aren’t in that category?

It is worth getting into issues where there are people who are making wrong, but—at least in some ways—intellectually honest arguments. Like take for instance the pay gap. There’s no denying that statistically there is a wage gap, the question is how do you explain that. In those cases it is worth engaging and to argue with them on an intellectual level. But it’s been disappointing to me that a lot of the so-called more reasonable opponents of these things have aligned themselves in so many ways with the more extreme folks. Like with Christina Hoff Sommers’s response to the “Women Against Feminism” thing was that she tweeted—and it was re-tweeted by all sorts of MRA’s—“these women are saying ‘no’ to feminism, do they [feminists] not think that ‘no means no’?”

[The exact quote is: "When young women say no to feminism, feminists don't accept that no means no."]

That’s problematic on so many levels. You don’t have to get someone’s consent to disagree with them. You absolutely do have to get their consent to have sex with them and it’s just very disappointing to see someone like Christina Hoff Sommers who presumably knows better conflating those two in that way.

Exactly how I feel. Mind you, it’s a “joke” of sorts, but it’s a mean joke, and a cheap shot. Sommers does that shit all the time. It’s why I keep pointing out that she used to be an academic, a philosopher, and what a hack she has become now. And she’s become it for the sake of anti-feminism. Ugh.

And then they get to the heart of it.

What prompted you to focus on the men’s rights movement when you started Manboobz (now called WeHuntedTheMammoth.com)?

It was basically that I was arguing with men’s rights activists on Reddit with somewhat silly arguments. I was trying to engage with the arguments and what happened is that after I started the blog, which I didn’t expect to turn into what it’s turned into, I discovered that I had really underestimated the amount of just sheer misogyny that was out there. It wasn’t just people that were a bit misguided or myopic or whatever. It was people who were really driven. It gave me an idea of some of the harassment that outspoken women get, and they’re getting it worse because these guys really hate women. That kind of spurs me on. I hadn’t recognized it for the problem it really is.

Yeah. That.

What about for outright opponents of feminism though?

The best way to move forward on this is to try to get the opponents of feminism to develop a little more empathy. To think of the experiences of people other than themselves. It may be that Confused Cats Against Feminism is the way to get them to do that. Cats are very self absorbed. Maybe the blog can sort of suggest, “Maybe you want to think of more than just yourself.” “Maybe I don’t need feminism but part of the reason women are able to speak out on these things today is because of feminism.”

Hey, we’re back to empathy again.

Well yes. Defective empathy has been at the core of this all along. Dear Muslima was defective empathy and Zero bad was defective empathy. Empathy matters.

Comments

  1. says

    The words “listen” and “empathy” did seem to be a recurring theme indeed in our conversation. Not bad things to do more of if one can.

  2. says

    Since I don’t see link on the post (probably due to oversight), in case Ophelia has retired for the evening, the full interview can be found here.

  3. Donnie says

    “We don’t need no stinking empathy” /said no humanist ever!

    Note: ignore double negative.

  4. says

    Donnie @ 3 – Strange as it is, an awful lot of those anti-feminists call themselves humanists, particularly ‘real humanists’, as well as things like egalitarians and ‘equity feminists’. Seems to me a lot like the climate change denialists calling themselves skeptics. But, it does end up muddling and confusing things while we try to avoid the No True Scotsman problem.

  5. says

    It’s so preposterous to say that there aren’t subjects young people need to be educated about, which is basically what that statement by Hoff Sommers is positing. I too was a twenty-year-old upper middle class youngster who thought there was no more need for feminism. Why shouldn’t I? I was always told I could be or do anything I wanted. I saw my mother working and fulfilled in her job and the household chores shared pretty evenly between the male people and the female family members. I was oblivious and insulated. When my mum pointed out sexism in media, I would get annoyed because I thought she was objecting to sexiness. I just had no clue whatsoever. I look at myself then and realise how naive and ignorant I was. I’m reminded of people like Libby Anne who were brought up as creationists and had to be educated as adults about science and evolution. Wouldn’t it be absurd to say “Ah well, those kids are saying “I don’t believe it” to evolution, don’t the scientists accept their scepticism?”*

    Also, there’s no woman who doesn’t need feminism. Only women who don’t know or acknowledge that they need it.

    *The added insult of the rape “joke” is obviously untranslatable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>