Report: Men’s experience of domestic violence in Scotland »« What do men see when they see Page 3?

Criminal justice in a man’s world

Yesterday I was honoured to be speaking at a symposium for Safe Ground, an inspirational charity that works with men in prisons across the UK, especially around issues of fatherhood, engaging them through creative arts, drama, roleplay and more.

The day was exploring how models of masculinity impact upon offending behaviour and desistance.  I listened to and met some amazing people, not least the two young men who performed a remarkable short play “Outside In” that they had written and rehearsed as part of the Only Connect Theatre groups

For reasons best classified under “seemed like a good idea at the time”, myself and Professor Brid Featherstone were gloved up and placed in a boxing ring to debate some key questions over three rounds.

I hope to get some reflections on the day together soon, but for now, here’s a write-up of the notes I made, which I’ve tried to edit into something that bears at least passing resemblance to what I ended up saying.

 

Round 1 – What is Man’s place in today’s world?

Last year the American author and journalist Hanna Rosin loudly proclaimed the End of Men. Another, Kay Hymowitz wrote of the “child-men” who are refusing to grow up. William Bennett asked Why Men Are In Trouble. Here in London last month, Diane Abbott MP dug up that dependable zombie – the Crisis of Masculinity. At the risk of going out on a limb, I just don’t believe it. There is not crisis of masculinity. There is a crisis of economics, of employment, of industry, of opportunity, education, social welfare and public services and those are hitting some men very hard. But to call that a crisis in masculinity implies that gender identity should be able to absorb those problems, mould itself around the casualty like an airbag in a crash.  I do not doubt it would help many men if they were less weighed down by the plate armour of rigid masculine expectations, but that is not where the problem lies.

There is of course not one masculinity, but many. The masculinity that really does rule the world is stronger than ever.  It is seldom mentioned that even now, boys in the top social and educational quartile are doing better than ever. They’re actually moving further ahead of girls on the top courses, getting even more of the top jobs, walking out of university into higher salaries and higher status. They are the men who will go on to fill the boardrooms and the cabinet in ten years’ time.

Boys and men are not being pushed down so much as being polarised, more than ever, into winners and losers and it begins to happen when they are still only teenagers.  In the bottom quartile, opportunities for secure employment and financial independence have all but vanished, removing even the option of life as traditional husband, father, breadwinner and provider. Domestically, young working class and minority ethnic men have lost an empire and not yet found a role. There is something grotesque about blaming young men for their failure to step up to the plate when the plate has been snatched from under their feet.

Having said all that, it is hugely to credit of young men today that for the most part they are not reacting by turning to crime, violence, ASB, drugs etc etc. By all measures, all those phenomena remain on the decline. The fastest growing section of the prison population is the over-60s, not the under 20s. Somehow, somewhere, we are doing something right.

 

ROUND 2 Do men need male role models?

If the language of the End of Men and the Crisis of Masculinity is unhelpful, there was a report recently from the Centre for Social Justice, the thinktank set up by Iain Duncan Smith, no less, which talked of a Tsunami of Family Breakdown, claiming that whole neighbourhoods in our cities have  become“man deserts.” At first I thought they said “man desserts” and was picturing giant oceans of rhubarb crumble and custard. In all honesty, that would have been slightly more credible. They were actually suggesting that due to lone motherhood and the lack of male teachers, boys in poor areas could grow up with no male role models at all. It was nonsense, of course. There are plenty of men about, even in the most deprived neighbourhoods, but who are they? What do they do?

If we assume that children learn, at least in part, from observing, imitating and emulating those they see around them – and we assume that children adopt gendered behaviour in this way, then we are right to be concerned about what examples of manliness our boys see around them as they grow. I live and work, and raise my two sons in the inner city area of Manchester with a notorious history of gang and gun crime, drug problems and high crime.

Let me reassure any Daily Mail readers in the room – OK, let me reassure any hypothetical Daily Mail readers in the room, that both me and my boys see plenty positive examples of manhood. I see fathers collecting kids from school, playing with them in the park. I see men running the martial arts classes, the boxing clubs, the football clubs, the youth clubs. Our culture and media seem to revel in portrayals of masculinity that are violent, anti-social and destructive. It worries me that the likes of Diane Abbott, despite her  good intentions, actively contributes to this  impression that men are a negative force in society, while ignoring the other side of the coin – the many men who do amazing things both within the family and within the community.

I cannot stress enough the valuable role played by such men, in demonstrating that masculinity can mean caring, compassion, altruism, concern for others.  And I cannot stress enough how worried I am that the cuts to local authority budgets are devastating these opportunities. Whither the Big Society? Iain Duncan Smith and his pals might be worried about the lack of good role models for our young men. So am I. But only one of us has the power to do something about that.

 

ROUND 3 – The Criminal Justice System

About two weeks ago, in Salisbury, Kent, a police sergeant was convicted of assault against a 14 year old boy in his custody. Sergeant Steven Rea grabbed the lad by the throat as he was sitting down and physically lifted him up to his feet. As he was assaulting him he yelled in his face:  What is wrong with you? You do the thieving, you stand up and be a man.”

So much of what is wrong with our criminal justice system and youth justice system can be seen in that little exchange. There is of course the sheer brutality and illegal abuse of power, but what struck me is the demand of masculinity – it is manly to take a beating, and alongside that an implication that committing a crime  – a petty act of shoplifting, as it happened – was an act of masculine maturity rather than juvenile inadequacy and a warning sign of a young life already gone badly awry.

It is six years since the Corston report urged a gender sensitive approach to the needs of women offenders. In that time there has been a tangible shift across the political spectrum in how we consider the humanity and effectiveness of the system’s approach to women offenders. The challenge is to apply that same correct logic to male offenders too. In March, Justice minister Helen Grant called for more widespread and effective use of community sentencing for women offenders. I don’t disagree with any of this. I just don’t understand why the debate is restricted to women. Two-thirds of male prisoners have a reading age of 11 or less. More than 70% of have at least two diagnosed mental health conditions, 10% experienced psychotic hallucinations in the preceding year. 28% were homeless or in insecure accommodation immediately before custody.

Here we see the gender-specific issues affecting men across society – educational underachievement, neglect of mental health, economic and social isolation, homelessness, addiction – brutally concentrated at the sharpest end of the system. If I could leave this debate today with one plea in your ears, it is this: we need a Corston Report for men and we need it urgently.

 

 

Comments

  1. karmakin says

    The biggest problem we have with these issues is combating the idea that there’s a singular male culture which is nearly all-consuming. As you said, there are many different masculinities. The notion of a singular “super-culture” is generally something that does more harm than good, IMO. (That’s one of the reasons I don’t like how the term patriarchy is often used, as I find it’s often used to indicate a super-culture)

    There’s a lot of pressure on men to have stable, successful careers in society, and we’re in an economy where this is increasingly rare. Something’s gotta give, one way or the other.

    There’s really no crisis in terms of just men. There’s an economic crisis that needs to be dealt with…and individuals deal with it the best way they know how. As mentioned, negative indicators are actually going down among young people, including men, and this is something to be lauded.

  2. says

    @karmakin ‘The notion of a singular “super-culture” is generally something that does more harm than good, IMO. ‘ – I agree. That notion is feminist and is called ‘patriarchy’. Fogg subscribes to the notion of ‘patriarchy’ so needs to explain why in the light of this talk/article.

  3. Boris says

    Ally Fogg is just completely incompatible with this website. Bringing up these topics in the average FTB discussion would be tantamount, in their eyes, to carving “I am a male supremacist, bitches ain’t shit” on your forehead while cockslapping an orphan girl. It’s no surprise that none of the other “big names” on the website ever show up in his comment section. I frankly don’t understand what he’s doing here.

  4. carnation says

    @ Ally Fogg

    A simply wonderful article. The UK is in a state of absolute fragmentation at the moment, and I believe that males are being hardest hit in many ways. Not because of a conspiracy against them, because of societal changes.

    To give two examples, the widespread use of the Internet, and the decline of the pub industry.

    Pubs were never strictly for men, but a fair number were primarily used by men, local men, communities formed within them. Yes, alcohol use has a wide range of problems, but the camaraderie, support and socialisation that communal drinking, especially intergenrational, provided should not be understated. Interestingly, to see the shift in behaviour of rowdy men in a working mans pub when women entered could be as entertaining as it was endearing. Manners would be remembered language toned down. Again, there were many problems, but there was also a place to go when upset, lonely, bored, “where everybody knew your name” as the song goes. Punatative taxes and ths smoking ban has more than decimated the pub trade, and it’s a tragedy, hitting men hardest. Drinking of course flourishes, but in houses, unsupervised, without the restraint of staff and peers, often older peers. No study has been done into this phenomena, but it exists and it is harmful.

    Likewise, the Internet has largely replaced real life for forming relationships and socialisation, giving rise to the exteremism of anonymity and a loss of localised community.

    The EDL isn’t a single sex “organisation”, but it is mostly male. It’s growth, whilst limited, is I believe caused by the emergence of Internet extremism, and a desire for community cohesion amongst it’s members. Very similar to the MRM: both need a scapegoat, both have a small nucleus of a point underneath the hyperbole, both are totally incapable of achieving anything, and both are self serving environments for their members, who can vent, fantasise grandiose outcomes and generally live out a fantasy world where they’re making a difference, or have importance.

  5. brucegee1962 says

    Commenters 2 & 3: If you want to come onto FTB and complain about feminism, it might be a good idea to have more than a Glenn Beck-level elementary school cartoon understanding of what feminism actually consists of. You know how dumb creationists look like when they ask how people could have descended from apes when apes are still around? You know how you hesitate even to begin to explain to them how many things they’ve got wrong? Well, that’s what you look like on this subject, just so you know.

    So just to fill you in on the feminism 101: a central tenet of feminism is that the cultural promotion and enforcement of rigid, gender-defined roles (which is often referred to by shorthand as ‘the patriarchy’) is just as damaging to men as it is to women — particularly lower-status men. That is mostly what Ally writes about, and is completely in concert with most forms of feminism, including that adopted by most of the other FTBers. This article supports that idea: it’s saying that boys are given by the patriarchy an exceedingly narrow definition of how they are supposed to behave, at the same time the means and supports to actually achieve that ideal are being stripped away.

  6. says

    @Boris at #3… I’ve been a commenter at FtB since its inception. I’m a card carrying member of the Approved Male Chorus. And I really love the perspective that Ally brings to the FtB family. His blogging has been an excellent antidote to the perception that advocates for mens issues tend to be the kind of spoiled intellectual lightweight manchildren who fly the MRA banner…

    Where would we get that idea from? I dunno, maybe it’s petulant drivel like yours.

  7. Boris says

    @4
    “the Internet has largely replaced real life for forming relationships and socialisation, giving rise to the exteremism of anonymity and a loss of localised community.”
    [...] need a scapegoat, [...] have a small nucleus of a point underneath the hyperbole, [...] are totally incapable of achieving anything, and [...] are self serving environments for their members, who can vent, fantasise grandiose outcomes and generally live out a fantasy world where they’re making a difference, or have importance.”

    So much irony.

    Not much point in responding to the usual mockery, derision and attributions of malice aimed at anyone that isn’t “educated” enough about the particular brand of feminism you adhere to, or dares to believe that maybe not all gender issues can be force-fitted into a ridiculously unrealistic theoretical mold. “Teh Patriarchy hurts the menz, too!”, while simultaneously being a system designed to benefit one gender and subjugate another. But of course these post-modern social “science” (HAHAHAHA) theories can easily encompass self-contradiction and illogical conclusions. Because they aren’t science. Apparently believing that makes me a “social science denialist”.

    But please, explain to me some more how I am like Glenn Beck, a spoiled MRA manchild and a creationist spouting petulant drivel. It totally doesn’t prove my initial point. Maybe throw in that I believe women aren’t really people, just mindless sex-toys, or even that I support rape. A suggestion that perhaps I am an overweight virgin living in my parent’s basement and I am simply outraged that women will not sleep with me wouldn’t be out of place either. You all know what to do, I’m sure. After all, it isn’t anything new.

  8. B-Lar says

    …tantamount, in their eyes, to carving “I am a male supremacist, bitches ain’t shit” on your forehead while cockslapping an orphan girl.

    Ally is incredibly welcome here because he actually knows what he is talking about, examines his cognitive biases, and is interested in the conversation moving forward.

    With hyperbole and strawmanning like that, I’m not surprised you got a bad reaction. Try again with reference to reality.

  9. Adiabat says

    Boris: “So Much Irony”

    Yep, the more of carnation’s posts I read the more I see the projection. Most points that she(?) brings up about the MRM are equally, if not more, applicable to feminists like herself.

  10. Boris says

    How could I impugn the reputation of FTB commenters by suggesting that some are tribal zealots? I am so sorry, it’s soooo far from reality. The only thing everyone is interested in here is discussion, examining cognitive biases and moving the conversation forward. As long as it fits snuggly into a predetermined ideological framework that, of course, explains everything. Those cognitive biases aren’t interesting at all.

  11. carnation says

    Boris, MRAs aren’t “spoiled”, they are quite the opposite. Often victims of circumstance, they need a scapegoat. Aime are savvy enough to know that explicitly hating on women isn’t especially acceptable, so invent an enemy: feminism.

    That’s being polite.

  12. B-Lar says

    “Fiction can be fun, but I find the reference section much more interesting”

    - Ace Ventura, Pet Detective

    Your straw-feminists simply don’t exist in reality. If you come along with a vacuous space where a coherent argument should be, you will get laughed out of town faster than you can say “but all I did was disagreeee!”. The only radfems here are the ones you bring yourself.

    If you did have an argument and were called a bigoted moron unjustly, then loudly demand an apology, pointing at the place where you were badly treated. Sometimes the commentariat’s heuristics can be off, and they will apologise if they got it wrong and hurt you as a result. I have seen it happen, (but then maybe that’s because I don’t skim past them looking for the drama).

    If you were actually acting like a tool/troll/goatblower then its not a huge stretch of imagination to assume that you are a tool/troll/goatblower and disregard you with contempt, wouldn’t you agree?

  13. Boris says

    So far we have “anyone talking about gender issues and disagreeing with feminist theory is an MRA that hates women, but they can’t simply say that openly so they say they hate and disagree with feminism instead”. Said in quite a polite manner, I grant you.
    Then we have “if you were insulted and strawmanned and had imputations of malice placed upon you, it’s because you deserved it. If you had any criticism of feminist theory it is because you have an erroneous interpretation.” Because it is just impossible to have valid criticism. It’s either vaccuous nonsense (you deserve to be called a bigoted moron) or attacking of strawmen (you just haven’t been properly educated on how feminist theory has a coherent and unfalsifiable answer for every aspect of social gender norms).
    The last one is particularly hilarious considering I can’t see where I strawmanned feminism at all in previous posts. Is not feminism a branch of post-modern social sciences? That’s what I criticized. If I do not adhere to critical theory and a whole host of other so-called “scientific” theories from these branches, I am just an ignorant biggot and thus free game for idiotic adhom attacks?

  14. carnation says

    “imputations of malice”

    Another MRA drone trying to derail by repeating the esteemed, paid leaders words.

  15. B-Lar says

    ALLL III DDIIID WASSS DIIISSSAAAGGGRRREEEEEEEEE!!! derp.

    You can criticise feminist theory all you want, but if you haven’t done the background work, you are going to look strongly like a victim of dunning kruger, and your halo of error will be like blood to sharks.

    I bet that you responded to your critics by doubling down and rewriting their words to fit your narrative didn’t you? Huh? Huh? It looks like that is a skill you have been really working on! Because your valid criticism was really helpful and well reasoned, took account of your cognitive bias, and contributed to the conversation? “How dare anyone tell me I am wrong, JUUSST FOOOR DIIISSAAGRREEEIIINNGGG!!! NOOOO!!!”

    Show me where this happened to you, followed by all this completely unjust abuse. Links here on this comment thread, I dare you.

  16. B-Lar says

    I can’t see where I strawmanned feminism at all in previous posts. Is not feminism a branch of post-modern social sciences? That’s what I criticized. If I do not adhere to critical theory and a whole host of other so-called “scientific” theories from these branches, I am just an ignorant biggot and thus free game for idiotic adhom attacks?

    No, you were strawmanning FTB feminists (Im guessing, because Watson?) and starting your comments with your dukes up. You didn’t even have the decency to pretend you were just asking questions!

    Bringing up these topics in the average FTB discussion would be tantamount, in their eyes, to carving “I am a male supremacist, bitches ain’t shit” on your forehead while cockslapping an orphan girl…

    And if you quack like a ignorant bigot, you are probably a duck. No wait, that’s not right…

  17. Paul says

    Ally

    If I could leave this debate today with one plea in your ears, it is this: we need a Corston Report for men and we need it urgently.

    Well exactly.And doesn’t it speak volumes that women prisoners were singled out as being in need of a new approach. For the fact is that most prisoners of both sexes pose no threat to society and suffer from multiple disadvantages.So why wasn’t an equivalent of the Corston Report undertaken for male prisoners as well ? After all this isn’t a gender-specific issue.

  18. Ally Fogg says

    Thanks for the comments folks.

    Boris, anything to say about the article?

    Just wonderin’, as they say..

  19. brucegee1962 says

    Boris, can we stay on topic and look at what you originally said?

    Ally Fogg is just completely incompatible with this website. Bringing up these topics in the average FTB discussion would be tantamount, in their eyes, to carving “I am a male supremacist, bitches ain’t shit” on your forehead while cockslapping an orphan girl. It’s no surprise that none of the other “big names” on the website ever show up in his comment section. I frankly don’t understand what he’s doing here.

    Translation: “Feminism is all about puttin’ down the menz. Since Ally is not puttin’ down the menz, he must not be a feminist. Since he cannot by definition be a feminist, it is a puzzle how the other feminists on this network allow him space; the only conclusion is that they must never read his blog.”

    This is almost a textbook example of how bad premises lead to absurd conclusions. Because if your conclusion is false — if the other FTBers do read or approve of Ally’s approach — then you’re going to be falling back on your other unstated premise, which is that you are the only one here who truly understands what feminism is all about, and all the self-professed feminists in the blogs and comments sections here should bow to your superior understanding.

    If you say, “I dislike members of group Y because they all believe X,” and a bunch of people respond, “We are card-carrying members of group Y, and we do not believe X,” then you are straw manning. There are some reasonable, or at least intellectually respectable, arguments against feminism that can be made. But to get into the door, the basic minimum requirement is that you demonstrate that you understand what feminists actually believe, not the cartoon version. This you haven’t demonstrated, because if you understood it, then you’d see why Ally’s article is compatible with it.

  20. Gjenganger says

    @brucegee1962

    a central tenet of feminism is that the cultural promotion and enforcement of rigid, gender-defined roles (which is often referred to by shorthand as ‘the patriarchy’) is just as damaging to men as it is to women

    Well, yes. With the corollary that since feminism is against patriarchy, feminism is by definition fighting for the best interest of men and women both. This is a very useful argument – for feminists. The logical consequence is that you cannot claim that any feminist policy is disadvantageous to men, because this cannot happen. In fact anybody who disagrees with feminist thinking is by definition a nasty male supremacist, an idiot, or both. The logic is a little dodgy, but even apart from that it still remains to be seen whether feminist theory is actually correct. Quite frankly, if you divide the world into feminists and idiots, I am happy to be considered an idiot.

    You know how dumb creationists look like when they ask how people could have descended from apes when apes are still around?

    Sure, some creationists are trying to prove that evolution is internally inconsistent – without actually understanding what it is. Bad idea. The difference is that Sid, Schala or myself do not need to understand feminism or prove that it is inconsistent. All we need is to point out that feminist conclusions are at odds with the reality we live in.

    If you discuss gender politics with people who are not card-carrying femnists, the ‘central tenets of feminism’ are pretty irrelevant. This is politics, not physics. You need to talk in terms of what is actually happening in the world, what people need and feel (not what feminist theory tells them they should need and feel), and whatever notions of justice, fairness etc. that people share beyond ideology. As indeed Ally is doing. If you want a closed conversation among believers maybe this blog is not the best place for it?

  21. carnation says

    @ gjenganger

    You write that you don’t need an understanding of feminism to discuss gender politics, then mention Sid and Schala.

    Sid and Schala, like MRAs in general, claim feminism is a well funded monolith dedicated to subjagating men.

    So, whilst I agree that they know virtually nothing about feminism, they should, as their “hysterical hyperbole” makes them look completely ridiculous.

  22. Schala says

    Sid and Schala, like MRAs in general, claim feminism is a well funded monolith dedicated to subjagating men.

    Neither me, nor SYABM, are MRAs. I can’t say for Sid, I’ll let him self-identify.

    And I don’t claim what you say I claim.

    Hysterical is a personal attack.

  23. Boris says

    I am french, I grew up reading and studying Foucault, Bourdieu, Levi-Strauss and other pioneers of post-modern philosophy. I have a degree in political sciences, something considered much more prestigious here in France than it is in the US, where without a corresponding law or business degree it is completely worthless.
    I am more than familiar with the underpinnings of post-modern social “science”, and thus modern feminism. I don’t need to ask questions, or do background work, or get “educated”. It seems that some people can’t possibly accept that having read and being familiar with the philosophy, it would be possible to still disagree or have valid criticisms. The only possible conclusion is that I am a woman-hating biggot, or just haven’t been properly “educated”, apparently.

  24. Dan L. says

    @20:

    The logical consequence is that you cannot claim that any feminist policy is disadvantageous to men, because this cannot happen. In fact anybody who disagrees with feminist thinking is by definition a nasty male supremacist, an idiot, or both.

    Then isn’t a bit strange that I see feminists arguing with each other about feminism all the time?

    I mean, if you’re correct about the “logical consequences” here then I would imagine all feminists everywhere should be marching in ideological lockstep. But a quick glance at almost any feminist blog will show a bunch of people who identify as feminists arguing with each other. About feminism.

    Maybe it’s not merely that you disagree with “feminist thinking” that marks you out as an idiot but how you disagree with “feminist thinking”.

    @OP:

    Ally, really interesting point about upper class males pulling ahead overall. Also about the “Carston report for men”. It is interesting that despite pay disparities (which are largely the result of woman-dominated fields being lower paid and lower status than man-dominated fields) homelessness is so much more prevalent among men and I’d dearly like to see more research into the causes of and potential solutions to problems of homelessness. I’d also love to see more research into mental health issues — I’m curious whether the more traditional interpretations of masculinity prevent a lot of men from seeking help for mental health issues. There’s certainly some circumstantial evidence for this such as how the US military (a bastion of traditional masculine ideals) treats mental health issues.

  25. Gjenganger says

    @carnation 21
    I would point out that e.g. Schala has made some interesting points on trans people, more recently on the relative validity of the CDC study on rape and sexual violence relative to studies of police and prison records on the same topic. Whether his understanding of feminism is right, wrong, or off the wall makes no diference to those arguments.

    To be sure there are people on both sides of the debate I find rude, noisy, and hysterical. But I am not judging my fellow debaters, and certainly not telling them what they must believe. None of my business. It takes all kinds, which is presumably why Ally lets all of us play here.

  26. Boris says

    Oh sorry, didn’t even notice this one. Using the phrase “imputations of malice” is enough to…yes, prove beyond a doubt that I am a malicious MRA bot parroting some other MRA, thus imputing malice on me. You’re on a irony roll today. Sorry I had no idea that the phrase had ownership, and was used solely by whiny woman-haters, and wasn’t a common debate trope. I’ll be sure to pay for the rights next time.

  27. Gjenganger says

    @Dan L 24

    Then isn’t a bit strange that I see feminists arguing with each other about feminism all the time?

    Wrong address. I do not think feminism is a monolith. Just that the ‘patriarchy hurts men and women both’ argument serves as a useful rhetorical trick that group insiders can use against outsiders.

  28. Dan L. says

    @23:

    It seems that some people can’t possibly accept that having read and being familiar with the philosophy, it would be possible to still disagree or have valid criticisms.

    False dichotomy. It’s possible (read: true) that there are different positions within po mo philosophy and that the landscape of the field has changed since your “growing up” period, especially with regards to feminism.

    That is, you could be ignorant of the current state of feminism and that you betray this ignorance through your arguments themselves.

    I’m desperately looking for an informed and substantial critique of feminist thought in your comments on this page. Not seeing it. The closest you come is this:

    “Teh Patriarchy hurts the menz, too!”, while simultaneously being a system designed to benefit one gender and subjugate another.

    But this criticism is simply inaccurate. For one, I think only a very few utter nincompoops believe that patriarchy is “designed”. Most talk about patriarchy seems to refer to a happenstance system of gender essentialist assumptions inherited from the demonstrably patriarchal history of western civilization. Not to mention that “benefit one gender and subjugate another” is entirely too glib — certainly traditional models of masculinity sometimes dictate that a man should suffer and traditional models of femininity sometimes dictate that a woman should benefit.

    In other words, the closest you come to a serious criticism of the notion of patriarchy here on this page is indeed a straw man however much you might dislike that phrase.

  29. Dan L. says

    @27:

    Wrong address. I do not think feminism is a monolith. Just that the ‘patriarchy hurts men and women both’ argument serves as a useful rhetorical trick that group insiders can use against outsiders.

    Perhaps it can be used that way. Are you telling me you rigorously abstain from such “rhetorical tricks” in your own “criticisms” of feminism?

    Should I scroll up a little and check for you?

  30. Gjenganger says

    @Dan L 29
    Whisper words of wisdom: Let it be. I have all kinds of flaws, yes. And this conversation is a lot less interesting to third parties than the ‘Criminal justice in a man’s world that the OP was about.

  31. Dan L. says

    @30:

    Yes, I think so too which is why I talked a little bit about that in my comment @24. I’m a little bit curious why I’m being urged to “let it be” given that I’ve weighed in on the OP and that you so far have not despite your three or four comments on the thread so far.

    At any rate, I think “patriarchy hurts men too” is a defensible position and is often an argument made in good faith even if sometimes it is also made in bad faith. The world is too big to fit any one person’s perspective on it.

  32. Schala says

    I mean, if you’re correct about the “logical consequences” here then I would imagine all feminists everywhere should be marching in ideological lockstep. But a quick glance at almost any feminist blog will show a bunch of people who identify as feminists arguing with each other. About feminism.

    The core concepts have to be debateable, they cannot be accepted as simple dogma with the refusal to do so being enough to brand as an heretic. Mathematicians will question the very basis of maths if they have reason to think there is another way to go at it. Scientists will question the very core of their science if they have reason to think a better theory/model works better at predicting reality.

    Feminism has intern debates on wether trans people are men or women, wether trans men are “men light”, wether trans women have male privilege, wether sex workers are doing sex work of their own volition or coercion, wether sex work should be legal, wether heterosexual sex is oppressive, wether gender norms and its accoutrements (lipstick, dresses, high heels) are problematic in and of themselves, wether butch/femme dynamics are good for the lesbian community, and more.

    But the unidirectionality of male privilege (and non-existence of female privilege? You have to accept it or you’re not a feminist. Not up to debate.

    The existence of patriarchy, as a system that primarily benefits men and oppresses women. Not up to debate.

    The opinion that sexism can only exist with prejudice + institutional power (ie women cannot be sexist against men, by definition). Not up to debate

    That rape culture primarily affects or only affects female victims? Not up to debate.

    Whether his understanding of feminism is right, wrong, or off the wall makes no diference to those arguments.

    Her, please.

    And about the OP, it would be interesting to note that sentence disparity is huge, and the more male and more black you are, the higher sentences, likelihood of arrest, likelihood of conviction you get. For the same crimes.

    Black male pedophiles don’t get custodial sentences, or even suspended sentences. Men who try to hire a hitman to kill their wife don’t get a non-sentence when found guilty by the Supreme Court of Canada, because of all the abuse they endured (never proven, taken at their word).

    Driving-while-black also applies mostly to black men. Arrested 9 times more than black women, for the same things. We call that profiling. And in this case, profiling on the basis of sex, as well as race. Trans men can probably tell you they are suspected more now than they were pre-transition, and not on the basis of anything they actually did, and not suspicion they actually earned. This hyper-vigilance towards male-wrongdoing with a “oh, she’s not dangerous” attitude towards female-wrongdoing. Of course, we’ll end up with a 92/8 male/female prison ratio.

    Until the 1980s, people who do research on sex offenders didn’t even THINK to study female offenders, apparently thinking its impossible. I think this is HUGE bias.

  33. says

    HI ally- you’re welcome. but you haven’t addressed my point.

    why do you state that patriarchy is a system of power in the light of your points in this article?

  34. B-Lar says

    Now that I know Boris is French I have to bow out as it turns out that I am apparently really racist towards frenchmen. I wrote out 5 different posts which wound up containing racist references of varying degrees and deleted each one because I don’t want to be a racist, but then each time I wrote something else, it was totally racist.

    I’ll work on that.

  35. Dan L. says

    Schala@32:

    The core concepts have to be debateable, they cannot be accepted as simple dogma with the refusal to do so being enough to brand as an heretic. Mathematicians will question the very basis of maths if they have reason to think there is another way to go at it. Scientists will question the very core of their science if they have reason to think a better theory/model works better at predicting reality.

    You’re wrong about both mathematicians and scientists on this score I’m afraid. Feel free to read up on Halton Arp if you’re in any doubt.

    At any rate, while the core concepts should be debatable it’s still completely valid to say, “OK, but this particular conversation is taking those concepts for granted in an effort to explicate the theory further.” Mathematicians and scientists do this all the time. Mathematicians make debatable assumptions called “axioms” and scientists make debatable assumptions called “theories”. If mathematicians and scientists agreed not to progress within those assumptions until all possible objections to the assumptions had been dealt with then there would be no subject called “real analysis” and “evolution” wouldn’t have gotten beyond Darwin and Mendel yet.

    But the unidirectionality of male privilege (and non-existence of female privilege? You have to accept it or you’re not a feminist. Not up to debate.

    Depends on what you mean by “unidirectionality”. Most feminists I’ve talked to about this seem to agree that women sometimes “benefit” in rather small, oblique ways as a result of gender essentialist assumptions but also point out that in most cases these “benefits” undermine the agency of women — for example, the expectation of holding doors. For another, the exemption from the draft. It’s interesting to think about why, if it’s so gosh-darned unfair that women aren’t subject to the draft, women have been until recently barred from volunteering for combat roles.

    I’ve seen a few examples of “female privilege” and they’ve been universally weak. Maybe you can impress me with some better ones.

    The existence of patriarchy, as a system that primarily benefits men and oppresses women. Not up to debate.

    People see a system that primarily benefits men and oppresses women and call it “patriarchy.” Maybe you don’t see the system — but maybe you’re being willfully blind to it. At any rate, no one is obligated to convince you personally that such a system exists before they explicate their ideas more fully as I’ve already explained in my second paragraph. I also showed why this is SOP in both mathematics and physical science as well.

    The opinion that sexism can only exist with prejudice + institutional power (ie women cannot be sexist against men, by definition). Not up to debate

    This is largely a semantic battle over what “sexism” means. It’s boring and if you can’t come up with a new term for “sexism against men” for the sake of discussing the subject with a semantic hard-liner then maybe you’re boring as well.

    That rape culture primarily affects or only affects female victims? Not up to debate.

    I would say that rape culture primarily affects men. Perhaps a poor choice of words on your part.

  36. Copyleft says

    The huge numbers of men on the street, in prison, or maimed or killed on the job clearly demonstrate that we live in a patriarchy that favors men. This is why the term ‘patriarchy’ is as much of a joke as ‘rape culture.’

    Do we live in gender-repressive society that makes unfair demands of both sexes? You bet. Is that properly described by the term ‘patriarchy’? Not even close.

  37. Dan L. says

    @36:

    Ah, another semantic quibbler. I bet you guys are a lot of fun at parties.

    Copyleft, where did these “unfair demands” come from initially? Is the history of western civilization one that features gender egalitarianism first and foremost?

    From which sorts of societies do we inherit our assumptions about appropriate gender roles?

  38. Boris says

    French is not a race. According to post-modern theory it’s simply a sociological construct with no valid material or historical meaning behind it, beyond exclusion and tribalism. “French” in that interpretation is not aimed at any ethnic group in particular, it merely describes anyone living on the physical territory of France and posessing french citizenship. So feel free, there’s nothing stopping you. I certainly wouldn’t be offended by what some random person on an internet forum feels about my chosen tribal identity, or their ridiculous pop-media inspired stereotypes.
    Anyways it is originally a tribal “white” identity construct, and it is well known that one cannot possibly be racist towards “whites”, because racism as redefined in post-modern jargon is limited to institutional racism, making the term “institutional racism” redundant. Incidentally you couldn’t be racist specifically against “frenchmen”. That would be racism AND sexism. Oh wait, post-modern jargon redifination playing in again. As a collective men have more institutional power than women, so it’s not really sexism. Maybe call it by a softer sounding euphemism, to really bring home that it is a minor problem and not exactly the same identity based prejucide it purports to avoid.
    Apparently this is merely “semantics quibbling”, and redifination of these terms in order to control all dialogue related to sociological issues is not one of the founding pillars of the ideology. Who knew. So we come back to “if you want to talk about gender issues, the only valid perspective for approach is the feminist one”. Otherwise you are blind to your priviledge, you haven’t been properly educated, or, my favorite, the good ol’ “false consciousness” marxist debacle ressurected for another go.

  39. Dan L. says

    Boris@38:

    Apparently this is merely “semantics quibbling”, and redifination of these terms in order to control all dialogue related to sociological issues is not one of the founding pillars of the ideology.

    What are you referring to as “semantic quibbling”? I wasn’t even talking to you.

  40. Schala says

    From which sorts of societies do we inherit our assumptions about appropriate gender roles?

    From the most “efficient” at surviving.

    Which usually translates to either super technologically advanced, or to people who survived wars because of policies that make “the best use” (and yes I put this in quotes, because it’s what they THOUGHT was the best use) of their manpower. Those surviving ones are usually ruthless, and utilitarian to the Nth degree, with personal liberties a mere illusion (since if you stray from your role, you become a pariah).

    See also: bees.

    You’re wrong about both mathematicians and scientists on this score I’m afraid. Feel free to read up on Halton Arp if you’re in any doubt.

    I will hold mathematicians and scientists to this standard, regardless of what some people might have thought or acted about in the past.

    At any rate, while the core concepts should be debatable it’s still completely valid to say, “OK, but this particular conversation is taking those concepts for granted in an effort to explicate the theory further.”

    Except this isn’t about one particular conversation. It’s about ALL conversations. If you don’t agree, you’re anti-feminist, against women’s right, and want Leave it to Beaver 1950s roles that never even existed. That’s an appeal to emotion, and completely false.

    It’s not because quantum physics takes basic physics for granted that ALL conversations have to take all axioms of basic physics for granted. Especially if there is a competing theory which makes more sense. In fact, some theories of quantum physics throw regular physics for a loop.

    For example. Radical feminists have presented DV as “men as a class wanting to exert patriarchal violence to control and oppress women as a class”. The more sensible way to present DV would be without the whole male-desire-to-control, and evil-desire-to-oppress-women. Reality says it’s a lot more about personal circumstances, and helplessness. With alcoholism, past abuse, mental illness, etc all contributing to it. And it’s not gendered at the base. Why is the Duluth Model accepted over other theories that make more sense about DV?

    If mathematicians and scientists agreed not to progress within those assumptions until all possible objections to the assumptions had been dealt with then there would be no subject called “real analysis” and “evolution” wouldn’t have gotten beyond Darwin and Mendel yet.

    Well you see, scientists examine evidence, and form a hypothesis, and try experiments, and come to a conclusion. And then other scientists ALSO try the same thing, to see if its replicated. Feminism theory, if it can be called that, takes the ideology, and tries to fit the fact so they fit with it. It doesn’t look at evidence as a way to arrive at conclusions. It hides evidence that contradicts the model (like DV being more than just one-sided, known since the 1970s, and still widely hidden from public consciousness).

    Ray Blanchard tried that. He had a theory that trans women were really super-perverted men who eroticized the female form so much they wanted to become one. So he set up flawed experiments that begged his questions, with lack of control groups, and said he was right after all. That trans women are really perverted men, but surgery helps them, so let’s coddle their delusion. J Michael Bailey then wrote a book more hyperbolic than the presentation I make of it here, about the subject. And Blanchard, while widely discredited, is still considered an authority on trans stuff, to the point of writing that section in the DSM V.

    That’s similar to how the Duluth Model came to be THE explanation for DV. Someone with LOTS of influence stands unopposed by someone equally influential, the government likes their theory, and makes it official.

    Blanchard went against the normal model (which was already backwards), by being well, more backwards, but other scientists are going with a more progressive model of trans stuff. They don’t all have to accept each other’s axiom, beyond “the evidence exists that trans people exist”.

    Patriarchy theory could have been Gender Role Oppression theory, it would have the merit of being neutral. Of not borrowing an already existing term which means something completely different. And of possibly being objective about its finding, instead of finding the oppression of men is because of the oppression of women (ie gay men is because of hatred of the feminine, lesbian women is because of hatred of women who don’t conform – not consistent one bit, it’s one or the other, not both).

    Depends on what you mean by “unidirectionality”. Most feminists I’ve talked to about this seem to agree that women sometimes “benefit” in rather small, oblique ways as a result of gender essentialist assumptions but also point out that in most cases these “benefits” undermine the agency of women — for example, the expectation of holding doors.

    That’s how male privilege is. Men sometimes benefit, in rather small, oblique ways, as a result of gender essentialist assumptions but also point out that in most cases these “benefits” overinflate the agency of men – for example, the expectation of sacrificing for his family in case of disasters/violence against his family.

    You can make the EXACT SAME claims about male privilege than about female privilege:

    1) They are stronger if gender conformist. They reward conformity.
    2) They rely on basic essentialist assumptions.
    3) They deny women’s agency to protect them, and inflate men’s agency to give them more responsibility (which is both a good and a bad).
    4) They punish dissent from the roles badly, through social harassment and shaming.
    5) They severely limit personal individuality and choice.
    6) They rely on behavioral controls (such as 4) inflicted since birth even by parents “for the kid’s own good”).
    7) Most people are “blue pill” about it. In that they base their identity so much around it, that they will refuse to fight the system, even fight those who do. This is the reaction of probably 30-60% of people to gender roles – that of a positive identity that they do NOT want to get rid of, and prefers that it is kept enforced on others, so their worldview remains predictable. As such changes are slow, on only the surface.

    Gender roles have relaxed lately, but on the other side, marketers have found that customers respond well enough to gendering EVERYTHING. So now we have male and female diapers. Male and female toys. Male baptism “suits”. And even more color segregation than ever. If 7 was wrong, this would not work, it would be rejected by a majority.

    I’ve seen a few examples of “female privilege” and they’ve been universally weak. Maybe you can impress me with some better ones.

    Not being presumed a predator, sexually or physically, just for being male. Not being presumed a danger, sexual or otherwise, for children of any age. Not being presumed as dangerous even when committing a violent crime (lesser sentence, if even charged and convicted). Being presumed more capable of social interaction, wether in a work capacity or at all, regardless of actual skill. Being presumed more physically attractive, and able to fill positions where this is needed/rewarded, regardless of actual looks. Being passive or shy, waiting for someone to approach, will not be held against you as a damning trait. Ability to express moderate emotions in public without facing shaming (extreme displays of emotions will attract shaming regardless of who expresses them). Extremely versatile expression possibilities appearance-wise, most of which are perfectly acceptable and will not get you shamed, let alone beaten up.

    And don’t try to reframe this as being “because men have it easy in X”, because most male privilege are very easily turned around in “because women have it easy in X”, if we use this fallacy.

    For example, freedom of expression is not a burden, or problematic, or something undesirable. And men don’t lack it because femaleness is something oh-so-damn-horrible, or because feminity is loathed. This would be reframing. Being forced to be an emotionless clone-like robot with no taste in clothing or no choice in hairstyle, is NOT a bonus/boon/blessing.

    People see a system that primarily benefits men and oppresses women and call it “patriarchy.”

    I said so above, Patriarchy doesn’t mean what they think it means. Patriarchy means rule of the father over his wife and children, and passing on the name and inheritance. While the name and inheritance was historically true, nowhere did it say “primarily benefits men and oppresses women” in this. And rule of the father over his children is a damn joke nowadays. If he even gets to see them, he’s still considered an ATM by the system. In the past, the father got automatic custody following a divorce. No question of the mother being a better caregiver. He had rule over his children…but that was in early 1800s and before. And divorce was extremely rare and not quite old even then.

    Maybe you don’t see the system — but maybe you’re being willfully blind to it.

    I see the system.

    It’s one where the 1% benefits by keeping everyone else infighting each other so that they can exploit the workers for their own profit, while preventing a rebellion with the illusion of freedom, while keeping the cage there for their own profit (ie conformist workers are easier to control).

    The system is setup so men are less coddled, more thrown to the wolves, so the qualities expected, nay, forced, in men, results in more leadership. So the 1% has more male leaders…who marry women.

    I don’t see how it conforms to this “men get benefits women get problems”. I see what Copyleft said about male disenfranchisement, and NO ONE caring about it, not as patriarchy, but as an oligarchy that taught everyone in it to ignore the male’s problems.

    This is largely a semantic battle over what “sexism” means. It’s boring and if you can’t come up with a new term for “sexism against men” for the sake of discussing the subject with a semantic hard-liner then maybe you’re boring as well.

    Just sexism is fine.

    Prejudice about others based on their sex. Period, done, finished. No need to add to this. If you can use your prejudice to cause any undue harm to someone, you have power by definition. If you couldn’t, you’d have zero effect, like bullets on Superman.

    I would say that rape culture primarily affects men. Perhaps a poor choice of words on your part

    In French there is one word for “has an effect on”, and it’s affect.

    When people are affected, they are the victim of something. Wether this is a storm, a tornado, or a mugging.

    Or maybe you agree with me that rape culture prevents the recognition of male victims more? Then you would disagree with feminism on a point that is not debatable.

  41. says

    Boris: If Ally is incompatible with FTB, where’s the flood of FTB readers calling him a bigot and saying he knows nothing about feminism? We have had bloggers who were incompatible with FTB. Look what happened to Thunderf00t, for instance. I’ve seen no sign of that here. He may be incompatible with the idea in your head on what FTB is, but if that doesn’t manifest in reality, it means your ideas are wrong.

  42. carnation says

    MRAs are unwilling or incapable of acceptingnselfevident truths. Patriarchal theory being one.

    The screeds of nonsense that MRAs paste into comments section confirms their inane preoccupations.

    Some highlights: “the father is seen as an ATM by the system”. Just such childish, tabloid, puerile nonsense. Parents are expected to financially support their children. There is no stipulation that “fathers” are solely or mostly responsible. I remember feeling embarrassed for the authors of such fiction, can’t they see how ridiculous they look?

    “Being presumed as a predator” No doubt the rather silly decision not to seat lone children with a male stranger on airplanes informed this typical MRA chant. It’s ridiculously obvious that this decision was taken NOT because of the MRA fantasy that men are seen as predators, but with the possibility of a lawsuit in mind, or with the patriarchal tenant in mind that a woman would care better for the child.

    The utter bullshit about what can and can’t be debated as nd within feminism again exposes this woman as an MRA drone, utterly indoctrinated on AVfM.

  43. carnation says

    By the way, why the controversy about the platform Ally is using for,his blog?!

  44. N4M says

    They’re actually moving further ahead of girls on the top courses

    Hmm, this is interesting Ally. On what do you base this assertion?

    This BBC piece from last year reads:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-16530012

    [The figures] show that 66% of first degrees awarded to women in 2010-11 were either firsts or upper second class.

    Among men, 61% of first degrees were awarded at this level.

    Was it another measure you’d had in mind?

    Also, I’m interested to know what you mean by ‘top jobs’. Do you simply mean professional jobs?
    Or do you mean those posts so high up the social hierarchy that they account for say around 0.1% of the population? If it’s that latter sort of measure, then is this not a bit distortive, if you’re trying to describe the
    circumstances of ‘better off ‘ men as a group?

    Sorry, Ally, it’s a detail, rather than the main subjective of the piece, but am just curious that’s all.

  45. Dan L. says

    Schala@40:

    From the most “efficient” at surviving.

    Which usually translates to either super technologically advanced, or to people who survived wars because of policies that make “the best use” (and yes I put this in quotes, because it’s what they THOUGHT was the best use) of their manpower. Those surviving ones are usually ruthless, and utilitarian to the Nth degree, with personal liberties a mere illusion (since if you stray from your role, you become a pariah).

    Do you care to offer any evidence for this? Or do you not hold yourself to your own “standards”?

    I will hold mathematicians and scientists to this standard, regardless of what some people might have thought or acted about in the past.

    As I’ve already explained, that would prevent all progress in either science or mathematics.

    Except this isn’t about one particular conversation. It’s about ALL conversations.

    Including this one? have I personally asserted that “you’re anti-feminist, against women’s right, and want Leave it to Beaver 1950s roles that never even existed”? If not I’m not really sure why I should have to defend people who do.

    But it does sound to me like you’ve spent a lot of time trying to force a debate about the underlying assumptions of some feminists on people who weren’t inclined to discuss them. Context is important, Schala.

    Patriarchy theory could have been Gender Role Oppression theory, it would have the merit of being neutral. Of not borrowing an already existing term which means something completely different. And of possibly being objective about its finding, instead of finding the oppression of men is because of the oppression of women (ie gay men is because of hatred of the feminine, lesbian women is because of hatred of women who don’t conform – not consistent one bit, it’s one or the other, not both).

    1. Objectivity is impossible even in the physical sciences. Try looking up “theory laden observation” if you’re having trouble.
    2. I disagree that “patriarchy” means something completely different. As I tried to imply to Copyleft (you made a more-or-less irrelevant reply to my questions making this implication) there are historical reasons for the term. However, I personally am more than happy to adopt your terminology for the sake of discussion.
    3. Anecdotally it seems to me that gay men are more reviled and subject to violence than are lesbians, rather consistent with the idea that women and men displaying feminine characteristics are especially subject to contempt. Do you have any actual data to the contrary? I’d be interested to see it.

    That’s how male privilege is. Men sometimes benefit, in rather small, oblique ways, as a result of gender essentialist assumptions but also point out that in most cases these “benefits” overinflate the agency of men – for example, the expectation of sacrificing for his family in case of disasters/violence against his family.

    Men benefit in large, concrete ways as a result of gender essentialist assumptions. How well are women represented in Congress? Is there a furious debate about whether or not Viagra should be covered by health insurance in the US?

    Women also face an expectation for sacrificing for their families. Anecdotally, it seems to me that women who neglect or abandon their children are subjected to a great deal more scorn, criticism, and outright abuse than men who do so. If you have any data to the contrary I’d be interested to see it.

    You can make the EXACT SAME claims about male privilege than about female privilege

    While I agree with all seven claims and your comments on them I do not think those are actually claims about male privilege or female privilege.

    Not being presumed a predator, sexually or physically, just for being male. Not being presumed a danger, sexual or otherwise, for children of any age.

    Those seem to me two slightly different ways of phrasing the same thing. Then again, I’ve never felt like I’ve been presumed to be a predator just for being male — this isn’t part of my lived experience.

    Not being presumed as dangerous even when committing a violent crime (lesser sentence, if even charged and convicted).

    Right, the assumption that women are incompetent and lack agency. As I already said.

    Being presumed more capable of social interaction, wether in a work capacity or at all, regardless of actual skill.

    Not in my experience.

    Being presumed more physically attractive, and able to fill positions where this is needed/rewarded, regardless of actual looks.

    Not in my experience.

    Being passive or shy, waiting for someone to approach, will not be held against you as a damning trait.

    I am a passive and shy man and I have never felt this has been held against me as a “damning trait”.

    Ability to express moderate emotions in public without facing shaming (extreme displays of emotions will attract shaming regardless of who expresses them).

    Perhaps you’re not privy to the eye-rolling and withering scorn aimed at women by men when women express “moderate emotions in public.” Regardless I’d like to see some data on this. I’ve noticed men get a lot more leeway than women in expressing anger, rage, or hatred in public while women get more leeway in expressing affection. However, it’s mostly men who object to other men expressing affection (I don’t have much experience with women shaming men for being affectionate) and, for that matter, men who object to women demonstrating anger, rage, or hate in public.

    Extremely versatile expression possibilities appearance-wise, most of which are perfectly acceptable and will not get you shamed, let alone beaten up.

    Well, of course! What are women for besides looking pretty?

    For example, freedom of expression is not a burden, or problematic, or something undesirable. And men don’t lack it because femaleness is something oh-so-damn-horrible, or because feminity is loathed. This would be reframing. Being forced to be an emotionless clone-like robot with no taste in clothing or no choice in hairstyle, is NOT a bonus/boon/blessing.

    No, but having your appearance ignored and having people focus on your skill or acumen is absolutely a bonus/boon/blessing.

    Just sexism is fine.

    Prejudice about others based on their sex. Period, done, finished. No need to add to this. If you can use your prejudice to cause any undue harm to someone, you have power by definition. If you couldn’t, you’d have zero effect, like bullets on Superman.

    It’s fine to you. Some people have different opinions than you do as a result of having had different life experiences and having different goals, priorities, dreams, and ideals. Such people will inevitably use language slightly differently than you do.

    Your choice is this: you either insist on your use of language and end up in heated, spittle-flecked debates with semantic dogmatists or you make small semantic concessions for the sake of moving conversations forward in the hope of trying to get your interlocutor to see the world in a slightly different way than they already do. It’s a rare argument in which both sides present their perspectives and one side capitulates entirely. Real debate has as much to do with what I’ve privately deemed “semantic impedance” as it does with the content of the arguments.

    Is it women in particular harming men with their disproportionate share of political power and wealth?

    I’m fine calling sexism against men “sexism” for the sake of argument but I also find that in my own lived experience sexism against women is more pernicious and has more negative affects than does sexism against men. As a result when people assert some kind of equivalence I feel the need to object to point out that equivalence in terminology does not imply equivalence in fact. Personally, I’d rather argue with people who can get over the terminology and who put in a little work at attempting to figure out what the other person is trying to say rather than harping on semantic issues to disrupt the debate entirely — and I readily admit that all too many feminists are guilty of this particular type of discourse. But you’re not talking to them, you’re talking to me and I’m fine calling it “sexism”.

    Don’t hold me responsible for the opinions of people with whom I disagree and I won’t hold you responsible for the views of the MRAs from whom you seem to occasionally borrow talking points. Fair?

    When people are affected, they are the victim of something. Wether this is a storm, a tornado, or a mugging.

    Simply inaccurate. When I eat an apple it has an effect on me. I am affected by the apple. I am a victim of the apple?

  46. Dan L. says

    N4M@44:

    I can’t speak for Ally, obviously, but my impression was that he was speaking of the confluence of class and gender. I think he’s talking about men doing better in the top 0.1%, i.e. the class of people with almost all the political power and wealth in the world.

  47. carnation says

    I watched Martin Luther King’s “mountaintop” speech (on video) and was hugely affected by it. I wasn’t a victim of it, it was so powerful and illustrated the goodness that can exist in humans, against huge odds.

    I was affected by a young boy giving his bar of chocolate to a homeless person, too, for similar reasons. Wasn’t a victim of that either.

    MRAs affect me, I’m not their victim. Sometimes they amuse me, very occasionally they make me angry, most often, they arouse pathos.

  48. Schala says

    3. Anecdotally it seems to me that gay men are more reviled and subject to violence than are lesbians, rather consistent with the idea that women and men displaying feminine characteristics are especially subject to contempt. Do you have any actual data to the contrary? I’d be interested to see it.

    Or that restrictions on men’s gender roles are more harshly enforced. Or trans women would face LESS problems than cis women (cis women are considered more genuinely feminine). That’s not the case.

    Men benefit in large, concrete ways as a result of gender essentialist assumptions. How well are women represented in Congress? Is there a furious debate about whether or not Viagra should be covered by health insurance in the US?

    % of people in congress please, and by this I mean, the few men in congress as opposed to every other 18+ male in the US. What % do congress people (or CEO) represent? If you think they represent much, then you fell into the apex fallacy – presuming that the very top people even care about others of their sex (hint: they don’t).

    And it wouldn’t be Viagra, but the male contraceptive pill that would be an equivalent comparison.

    Women also face an expectation for sacrificing for their families. Anecdotally, it seems to me that women who neglect or abandon their children are subjected to a great deal more scorn, criticism, and outright abuse than men who do so. If you have any data to the contrary I’d be interested to see it.

    Using the fallacy of reframing as you did in the following paragraphs, I’ll say it’s because there is a higher expectation of women, thus it’s a female privilege (the higher expectation of men in technical stuff is considered a male privilege by some).

    Those seem to me two slightly different ways of phrasing the same thing. Then again, I’ve never felt like I’ve been presumed to be a predator just for being male — this isn’t part of my lived experience.

    Well, just too bad. Hey, street harassment doesn’t exist, because it’s not part of my lived experience. I can do this too… obvious sarcasm.

    If people are wary of you being in the presence of children, or of anyone else, because you’re male. It’s prejudice based on assuming inherent predatory ‘vibes’ from your penis. Bonus points if its a radfem saying that penis themselves are predatory (I heard this one), just to condemn non-op trans women.

    Right, the assumption that women are incompetent and lack agency. As I already said.

    Reframing. I would LOVE a lesser sentence regardless of the damn reason. Don’t spit on your luck. Everybody but the most stubborn “I have my pride and will die because of it” person will take advantages that cost them nothing, even if it’s because they’re presumed weaker or less good. When men are presumed slobs and unable to change diapers, is it considered a disadvantage or one other example of male privilege and leaving men to excuse their incompetence, forcing women to take up the slack?

    Because here: Female privilege, the assumption that women are better caregivers. (yes its not really one, but it’s the exact damn mirror from the one you said – fallacy of reframing).

    Being presumed more capable of social interaction, wether in a work capacity or at all, regardless of actual skill.

    Not in my experience.

    Which is why the receptionist at every workplace you’ve been at, was a guy, because they’re the public face of the company and have to communicate with potential clients, right? Which is also why the vast majority of gamers who play social games like The Sims, are guys, right?

    Being presumed more physically attractive, and able to fill positions where this is needed/rewarded, regardless of actual looks.

    Not in my experience.

    Cashiers are mostly women, floor people who go in the backstore are mostly men. Tell me it has NOTHING to do with their appearance and assumptions about it from the bosses. This includes skinny weak men, and buff strong women, so it’s not about strength.

    Being passive or shy, waiting for someone to approach, will not be held against you as a damning trait.

    I am a passive and shy man and I have never felt this has been held against me as a “damning trait”.

    You’ve never even heard that men should be the active party, that being assertive includes making the first move, that being a Nice Guy and trying to befriend someone before making your interest known to someone was evil (when done by a guy anyways – its totally legitimate when women attempt to meet romantic partners through friends, without showing overt interest initially or at all)?

    You’ve never read from people asking where are the good men? Where are the people who cross the room and ask you out? You’ve been asked out by dozens of people (possibly hundreds over a lifetime) simply for showing up, without demonstrating interest or being highly attractive (incredible looks, visibly rich, famous)?

    Perhaps you’re not privy to the eye-rolling and withering scorn aimed at women by men when women express “moderate emotions in public.”

    Moderate emotions is being able to cry AT ALL, and being able to jump in joy temporarily (not for 10 minutes) when something joyful happens. Also, being able to squee.

    Never seen scorn aimed at those.

    Now, if you go on to say groupies at a boy’s band level of emotions, that’s hysteria-level, so no good.

    Regardless I’d like to see some data on this. I’ve noticed men get a lot more leeway than women in expressing anger, rage, or hatred in public while women get more leeway in expressing affection.

    Wrong. If a man expresses anger, he’s perceived as even more intimidating as he was already perceived for having a penis. Which makes him less approachable, and more scary by people. Unless you do TV wrestling, or are a club bouncer, I don’t see much positive applications to being super intimidating. If a man is angry, people usually try to defuse the situation.

    However, it’s mostly men who object to other men expressing affection (I don’t have much experience with women shaming men for being affectionate)

    If it was just men, it wouldn’t matter in mate selection one bit. A man crying is shamed by both men and women as inappropriate. No one knows how to comfort him. And few even want to (unless they’re his family). Men crying makes everyone uncomfortable, because it’s not in the script.

    Well, of course! What are women for besides looking pretty?

    Well, yes, dismiss being allowed 1000x more leeway to wear clothing, hairstyles and more as just being FOR looking pretty.

    Aristocrats historically could, and would, show-off, in terms of clothing, in terms of hairstyles, hats, footwear, and whatever that could show wealth and being superior.

    But tell the aristocrats that they were oppressed. They should have all dressed like penguins with short hair, no make-up, and even considered it an ADVANTAGE to be so restricted. Because hey, at least other people don’t even think they have a personality now.

    No, but having your appearance ignored and having people focus on your skill or acumen is absolutely a bonus/boon/blessing.

    Women can dress like peacocks. Or like robots. Choice, Options.

    Men can dress like robots. Or get beaten up for trying to usurp the peacock role. No choice, no option.

    If a woman wants to be taken seriously on their skill, they can dress soberly, like all men do, instead of flamboyantly, as the female norm permits (does not FORCE).

    It’s fine to you. Some people have different opinions than you do as a result of having had different life experiences and having different goals, priorities, dreams, and ideals. Such people will inevitably use language slightly differently than you do.

    I’ll keep using sexism like most sane people use it: Prejudice or differing treatment because of someone’s sex. Keep using the Looney Tunes version.

    Is it women in particular harming men with their disproportionate share of political power and wealth?

    The problem is it’s not the reverse either. It’s not women as a class, and not men as a class, who are harming the other disproportionately with their political power and wealth.

    I’m fine calling sexism against men “sexism” for the sake of argument but I also find that in my own lived experience sexism against women is more pernicious and has more negative affects than does sexism against men.

    You don’t even start from a neutral position. Let’s outright assume women have it worst…then work from there. Everything harms women more.

    The joke “World ends, women disproportionately touched” comes from that I guess.

    As a result when people assert some kind of equivalence I feel the need to object to point out that equivalence in terminology does not imply equivalence in fact.

    It’s never had to be equivalent of fact except in Looney Tunes world. In the real world, words don’t need to be exact equivalent in consequences or scope before we invent them.

    Don’t hold me responsible for the opinions of people with whom I disagree and I won’t hold you responsible for the views of the MRAs from whom you seem to occasionally borrow talking points. Fair?

    I only hold you responsible for opinion YOU have. I hold feminism itself (the ideology) responsible for what it does. I don’t hold people responsible except for joining the ideology (thus aiding and abetting those of the same ideology who change policies at government levels, like the Duluth Model of DV is something from feminism – so I hold feminism responsible, and anyone who self-identifies as feminist (until they don’t). So its not equivalent. I never joined MRAism.

    Simply inaccurate. When I eat an apple it has an effect on me. I am affected by the apple. I am a victim of the apple?

    In French, being affected is having someone or something act upon you, and your resultant state. Just replace it with effected if you prefer, it just doesn’t look right.

  49. Schala says

    “. If a man is angry, people usually try to defuse the situation.”

    I meant woman.

  50. Sister Eu says

    Oh man, I hope you don’t get too much smack for a post like this.

    Anyway, how general a question to answer… a “man’s place in the world.”

    I don’t think men need male role models, tbh – because there are no inherent male roles, 1, and there is no general “male personality”, 2, so I don’t see a reason. Whatever role model will help them as an individual. Or maybe themselves.

    As for criminal justice, definitely problems with that here in America. Yikes. Masculinity and different standards for men and women, it sucks. Treat everyone the same – if you won’t grab a lass by her throat and intimidate her with yelling, don’t do it with a lad…

    as for thieving, my opinion on his crime, depends on who from ;) Even if I owned some big store I wouldn’t care that much… I mean look at Extreme Couponing! I’d rather people lift an item than do extreme couponing in my store! That’s legal robbery ohGOD lol!

    Really 600 dollars of items for like, 6 bucks… what the holy fuck

    - I used another mail because the one I usually use keeps getting “imposter” warnings but my password isn’t working.

  51. Dan L. says

    Or that restrictions on men’s gender roles are more harshly enforced. Or trans women would face LESS problems than cis women (cis women are considered more genuinely feminine). That’s not the case.

    Only under the assumption that people enforcing the gender roles regard trans women as women rather than particularly feminine men. Which, in my experience, they don’t. Again, data would be helpful if you feel competent to living up to your own “standards”.

    % of people in congress please, and by this I mean, the few men in congress as opposed to every other 18+ male in the US. What % do congress people (or CEO) represent? If you think they represent much, then you fell into the apex fallacy – presuming that the very top people even care about others of their sex (hint: they don’t).

    I think they do. Circumstantially I would expect a higher proportion of women in Congress if it was true that “they don’t care”. Data? Standards?

    And it wouldn’t be Viagra, but the male contraceptive pill that would be an equivalent comparison.

    Vasectomies then.

    Using the fallacy of reframing as you did in the following paragraphs, I’ll say it’s because there is a higher expectation of women, thus it’s a female privilege (the higher expectation of men in technical stuff is considered a male privilege by some).

    But you’ve been framing higher expectations as a lack of privilege. I conceded the point and agreed with you but pointed out that there are similar expectations for women anyway. Could you at least be consistent in your arguments?

    Reframing. I would LOVE a lesser sentence regardless of the damn reason. Don’t spit on your luck. Everybody but the most stubborn “I have my pride and will die because of it” person will take advantages that cost them nothing, even if it’s because they’re presumed weaker or less good. When men are presumed slobs and unable to change diapers, is it considered a disadvantage or one other example of male privilege and leaving men to excuse their incompetence, forcing women to take up the slack?

    So the expectation that women should change diapers is an example of female privilege? More consistency please.

    It seems that if I disagree with you on any point you will “frame” my counterargument as a “fallacy of framing” which I’m pretty sure you made up whole-cloth in the first place. Is this discussion even worth the time I’m putting into it or do you, like these “feminists” you’re so angry about, feel the need to control the discourse in every respect?

    Which is why the receptionist at every workplace you’ve been at, was a guy, because they’re the public face of the company and have to communicate with potential clients, right?

    So if I understanding correctly, you are framing (a fallacy, or so I’ve heard) the fact that women are assumed to be better suited for admin assistant jobs that pay half as well as mine than for jobs like mine (which is customer facing, BTW) which pay better, have more opportunity for advancement, and which, in my company anyway, do not have a single woman filling the role as female privilege? An interesting argument indeed.

    Cashiers are mostly women, floor people who go in the backstore are mostly men. Tell me it has NOTHING to do with their appearance and assumptions about it from the bosses. This includes skinny weak men, and buff strong women, so it’s not about strength.

    A similarly interesting argument. Data?

    You’ve never even heard that men should be the active party, that being assertive includes making the first move, that being a Nice Guy and trying to befriend someone before making your interest known to someone was evil (when done by a guy anyways – its totally legitimate when women attempt to meet romantic partners through friends, without showing overt interest initially or at all)?

    I’ve heard whispers about it but no one I’m directly acquainted with takes it very seriously. The friends — men and women — who’ve bothered to give me any advice about this have usually suggested I find dates through friends contrary to your expectations.

    You’ve never read from people asking where are the good men? Where are the people who cross the room and ask you out? You’ve been asked out by dozens of people (possibly hundreds over a lifetime) simply for showing up, without demonstrating interest or being highly attractive (incredible looks, visibly rich, famous)?

    Why does the number of people who’ve asked me out have any bearing on whether people have a problem with me being passive or shy? My current girlfriend made the first move if that has any bearing.

    Moderate emotions is being able to cry AT ALL, and being able to jump in joy temporarily (not for 10 minutes) when something joyful happens. Also, being able to squee.

    Never seen scorn aimed at those.

    Now, if you go on to say groupies at a boy’s band level of emotions, that’s hysteria-level, so no good.

    Again, I can only say that perhaps you are not privy to the rolling of eyes and withering scorn directed at women who cry in public. In my own social milieu I have exactly zero experience with being shamed for squeeing by women.

    Wrong. If a man expresses anger, he’s perceived as even more intimidating as he was already perceived for having a penis. Which makes him less approachable, and more scary by people. Unless you do TV wrestling, or are a club bouncer, I don’t see much positive applications to being super intimidating. If a man is angry, people usually try to defuse the situation.

    Perceived by whom? Other men? Doubt it. I’ve noticed that when men do get angry men often do step in to “defuse the situation” much as you say for women. I haven’t noticed men getting called “bitch” or “strident” for displaying anger in public. By the way, are jobs as bouncers and TV wrestlers examples of “male privilege” the same way jobs as nurses, school teachers, and secretaries are examples of “female privilege”? I’m having trouble following your incredibly inconsistent arguments here.

    If it was just men, it wouldn’t matter in mate selection one bit. A man crying is shamed by both men and women as inappropriate. No one knows how to comfort him. And few even want to (unless they’re his family). Men crying makes everyone uncomfortable, because it’s not in the script.

    Not a part of my experience. The few times I’ve cried in public no one has tried to shame me over it. People have consistently tried to comfort me — against my wishes, might I add, since I personally prefer to just cry when I need to and then only talk about it when the negative emotions have subsided somewhat.

    Well, yes, dismiss being allowed 1000x more leeway to wear clothing, hairstyles and more as just being FOR looking pretty.

    Aristocrats historically could, and would, show-off, in terms of clothing, in terms of hairstyles, hats, footwear, and whatever that could show wealth and being superior.

    But tell the aristocrats that they were oppressed. They should have all dressed like penguins with short hair, no make-up, and even considered it an ADVANTAGE to be so restricted. Because hey, at least other people don’t even think they have a personality now.

    What about women who are expected to wear makeup despite not wanting to? What about the fact that women are expected to actually pay a significant amount of money on beauty and hygiene products where men can get away with $10 worth of soap, deodorant, and toothpaste? What about the fact that every day I see men wearing expensive suits with brightly colored shirts and ties? What about the fact that, contrary to your assertions, these “penguins” you speak of seem to have a wide variety of hair styles with which they seem quite happy? Speaking of hair, I wear mine past the shoulders and haven’t been shamed by anyone. In fact, I’ve been complimented fairly frequently.

    Now, you have something of a point here. Throughout this heat wave I’ve thought a few times that it would be nice to be able to wear a lightweight dress to work — and I really can’t do that. But if I did I doubt it would be women complaining about a lack of professionalism and it certainly wouldn’t be a woman’s signature on my pink slip. Do these facts have any bearing on your argument here?

    Women can dress like peacocks. Or like robots. Choice, Options.

    Men can dress like robots. Or get beaten up for trying to usurp the peacock role. No choice, no option.

    If a woman wants to be taken seriously on their skill, they can dress soberly, like all men do, instead of flamboyantly, as the female norm permits (does not FORCE).

    Funny, the bankers wearing bright colors and heavy cologne in public that I see every day don’t seem to get beaten up too often. And the women who dress conservatively still seem to be judged on their looks as much as on their skill if not more. Curiouser and curiouser.

    I’ll keep using sexism like most sane people use it: Prejudice or differing treatment because of someone’s sex. Keep using the Looney Tunes version.

    Are you trying to convince anyone or do you just like working yourself up into a lather over those danged “feminists”?

    I already said I’m fine using “sexism” for the sake of argument. Are you even reading?

    The problem is it’s not the reverse either. It’s not women as a class, and not men as a class, who are harming the other disproportionately with their political power and wealth.

    I’ve never claimed otherwise and in my experience it’s a rare feminist who does.

    You don’t even start from a neutral position. Let’s outright assume women have it worst…then work from there. Everything harms women more.

    The joke “World ends, women disproportionately touched” comes from that I guess.

    I can’t start from a neutral position, I can only start from my lived experience. There is no such thing as objectivity. However, “everything harms women more” is a blatant misrepresentation of my position. You’re giving me the impression you’re not particularly interested in arguing fairly.

    I only hold you responsible for opinion YOU have. I hold feminism itself (the ideology) responsible for what it does. I don’t hold people responsible except for joining the ideology (thus aiding and abetting those of the same ideology who change policies at government levels, like the Duluth Model of DV is something from feminism – so I hold feminism responsible, and anyone who self-identifies as feminist (until they don’t). So its not equivalent. I never joined MRAism.

    Seeing as I haven’t spent any words on “the Duluth model of DV”, this paragraph is self-contradictory. You are indeed holding me responsible for opinions I don’t hold. Most of your arguments seem based on opposition to opinions I don’t hold. I share some opinions with the “feminists” you seem to hold in such utter contempt as you share some opinions with the MRAs whether or not you agree with them totally. The situations are indeed equivalent.

    In French, being affected is having someone or something act upon you, and your resultant state. Just replace it with effected if you prefer, it just doesn’t look right.

    “Effected” would be wrong in this case. “Affected” is the correct term but you’re getting the meaning wrong. “Affected by” does not mean the same as “victimized by”. I can be affected by an apple but I can’t be victimized by an apple.

  52. brucegee1962 says

    Schala: That’s one tip-top job of thread derailing, there. See that tiny speck, way off in the distance, jumping up and down and waving its arms? That’s the original post.

    Boris: I think I’ve sussed your point now. Let’s see: Feminism is, by definition, all about putting men down. Therefore, if anyone sympathetic to feminism says something about trying to improve the lot of men, one of two things must be going on:
    a) Either this person doesn’t really understand True Feminism (and really, how could we? After all, we’re not French!), and we need to be educated by someone who understands it — someone a lot like you. Or
    b) This person is lying about helping men, and is trying to lull us into a false sense of security so men can be oppressed EVEN MORE! How tremendously insidious and cunning these feminists are! Thank you for illuminating their wiles!

  53. carnation says

    You don’t join feminism. Because it isn’t a well funded monolith, dedicated to subjugating men.

    This is obvious to everyone, except MRAs, and those who support, endorse and promote MRA theories, but aren’t MRAs, perish the thought. Maybe they just haven’t joined.

  54. says

    Men are stereotyped as being able to get shit done and generally held to be more responsible for their actions. That’s good if you are trying to get a promotion based on your accomplishments and bad if you are in court for armed robbery. This isn’t a contradiction, just two aspects of the same set up gender roles.

  55. Dan L. says

    @Schala:

    brucegee1962@52 has a great point. We’ve derailed this thread enough. I’m happy to hear out your rebuttals in another venue which would also give me an opportunity to more fully articulate my position. Can you recommend one or would you like to agree to disagree at this point?

  56. Neo_Futurist says

    Sure are a lot of ad hom attacks against Boris up there. I thought this was supposed to be a safe space for debate?

  57. Dan L. says

    Neo_Futurist@57:

    here is Boris’ first comment in the thread:

    Ally Fogg is just completely incompatible with this website. Bringing up these topics in the average FTB discussion would be tantamount, in their eyes, to carving “I am a male supremacist, bitches ain’t shit” on your forehead while cockslapping an orphan girl. It’s no surprise that none of the other “big names” on the website ever show up in his comment section. I frankly don’t understand what he’s doing here.

    And his third:

    How could I impugn the reputation of FTB commenters by suggesting that some are tribal zealots? I am so sorry, it’s soooo far from reality. The only thing everyone is interested in here is discussion, examining cognitive biases and moving the conversation forward. As long as it fits snuggly into a predetermined ideological framework that, of course, explains everything. Those cognitive biases aren’t interesting at all.

    Not to make a tu quoque or justify ad hominem fallacies but if you want to play fair you might want to acknowledge Boris’ contributions to the ad hominem nature of the argument here.

  58. thetalkingstove says

    It’s telling that Ally writes an interesting article about male issues, and all the likes of Boris and Schala want to do is have argument number 27421 about feminism at 101 level.

    And it’s boring. Ever considered modding your blog, Ally?

  59. Schala says

    Dan, those people there seem to have arguments that would answer some:

    http://permutationofninjas.org/

    Too bad I don’t have or want a tumblr and it doesn’t allow for comments. I’m condemned to just reading it, because its quoting and quoting and quoting, or original posts – but no comments except to do Facebook-sounding “Like” or reblogging it.

  60. Ginkgo says

    Ally @ 56 – “The general trend is that women are much more likely to graduate, but those men who do graduate earn a lot more and are disproportionately likely to be taking the highest salary / status jobs.”

    And yet are often, at least in the Us, stuck with similalr student debt burdens. A frioned who is an insurance underwriter and looks at peopel’s finacial stememts almost daily says that student debt load is the number one finalcial probelm young people present with. Everyone bewails the way fewer men than women are graduating from universities, as if that determines economic succes, but seem to ignore the effects of this problem.

    thetalkingstove @ 59 – “It’s telling that Ally writes an interesting article about male issues, and all the likes of Boris and Schala want to do is have argument number 27421 about feminism at 101 level.”

    Boris answers that himself:
    “As long as it fits snuggly into a predetermined ideological framework that, of course, explains everything. Those cognitive biases aren’t interesting at all.”

    Cleaning and sharpening your tools is an essential first step to any task.

  61. carnation says

    Wow! An MRA actually says something related to the OP!

    What are the hugely motivated activists of the MRM going to do with this info?

    Nothing?

  62. Schala says

    Canada, in the French-speaking separatist part of it. The part the English majority of Canada hates but subjugated in 1763 and again in 1790 anyways (after a small relapse in 1773). Then forced them into a country in 1867.

    A province where Catholicism and the French language were forbidden at first in official functions, even if they’re the dominant ones. A province where businesses were English-only at every high-lv of administration such that French-speaking need not apply.

    Also a province that utterly rejected religion in 1960, partly due to Duplessis over-abusing it’s political influence to nefarious ends. As such, most of the province is non-practicing, non-churchgoing. Most still baptized Catholic.

  63. Jacob Schmidt says

    Carnation, as much as I enjoy insulting those I disagree with, doing it over and over with no other content just wearisome. Could you give it a rest?

  64. Ally Fogg says

    thetalkingstove

    Ever considered modding your blog, Ally?

    This has been a particularly bizarre thread, it is true. Can happen when you get an early comment that is wildly provocative. But nonetheless, the answer is no, within the limits laid down in my guidelines I’m not a big fan of the notions of off-topic discussions or derailing, because what is off-topic to one person is often an intimately linked issue for someone else. For every blog thread I’ve had like this one I’ve had several others where the convo has gone off in a really interesting direction, which may or may not be one that I’d foreseen and expected.

    One thing I’ve always wanted to do with this blog is create a space where people with radically different takes on gender politics can argue it out on relatively neutral territory, because I think that is far too rare across t’internet.

    I will take the opportunity though to say to everyone that I think it is a rather more constructive use of a resource like this to discuss what people actually say – as in the actual points they make and words they use in the here and now – rather than their purported secret agendas and sinister motivations, or arguing against people by their associations (ie “you are wrong because you are an MRA / a feminist and MRAs / feminists all believe ABC / XYZ”) Or for that matter “people from Freethought Blogs are believe 123″

    With that in mind, I’ll return to an interesting couple of points way back up there.

    @Elly/QRG @karmakin

    ‘The notion of a singular “super-culture” is generally something that does more harm than good, IMO. ‘ – I agree. That notion is feminist and is called ‘patriarchy’. Fogg subscribes to the notion of ‘patriarchy’ so needs to explain why in the light of this talk/article.

    I actually think the notion of a singular super-culture is a contradiction in terms. As I’ve said many times before, I broadly subscribe to the notion of hegemony, or as an old beardy-weirdy blogger once put it “the values of any society are the values of the ruling class.”

    Hegemony is by its nature multifaceted, diverse and complex. It is not a single channel of power and oppression, but a vast interwoven network of (usually) mutually supportive dynamics. The ultimate effect is to protect and defend the levers of real power (which overlap heavily with wealth, of course).

    Patriarchy, as I use the word, is one power dynamic within society. I profoundly disagree with the Dworkinite feminists who argue that it is the single over-arching power dynamic within society. I believe patriarchy operates alongside things like the class system, nationalism, racial supremacy, militarism, colonialism, religion etc etc etc. Those different power dynamics will come into play in different aspects of life and society and be more or less powerful or relevant within different realms of society.

    As far as this article goes, I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually use the word ‘patriarchy’ above. Nevertheless crime is quite obviously a heavily gendered phenomenon – the perpetration of it, the socio-political interpretation of it and the responses to it are all heavily gendered in different ways. So if we care about reducing the amount of crime in society (and my own particular concern which is about interpersonal violence) then we can’t get away from talking about gender.

    I should also point out that the concept of “crime” is also a social construction. Gay people, not so long ago, were criminals and sex offenders and still are in many societies. Steal a hundred with a gun and you go to jail for life. Steal a billion with a fountain pen and you get a knighthood. All of that must be acknowledged.

    Anyway, to pick out what I think is your question from the posts above:

    Do I believe patriarchy is the cause of crime? No, not directly.

    But I do believe that many of the social forces that are required to sustain patriarchy often have side effects of violence, anti-social behaviour and self-destructive behaviour. Key among that is socialisation of boys into aggression and violence, risk-taking, tests of manhood, status as “success objects”, the notion of toughness and personal endurance, stoicism and help-aversion and the psychological consequences of those. Etc etc etc.

    That is one part of the equation. You can also look at broader economic alienation and social exclusion, (where the dispossessed and downtrodden do not feel like they have an equal shared stake in the commonweal, and so the notion of anti-social behaviour is entirely different.) You can also look at the behaviour of the very rich (tax avoidance, economic exploitation etc) which is a product of a very different kind of social alienation, though usually not categorised as crime. You can look at manifestations of anger and hostility and where that anger and hostility originates. You can also look at mental health, addiction etc, which are strongly associated with criminality.

    Hope that clarifies things a bit.

  65. carnation says

    @ Ally 68

    Respectfully, I think you’re downplaying the micro aspects of patriarchy on crime levels. Crime is going down, but there is still significant levels of crime linked to what could be described as recreational violence, which is overwhelmingly the preserve of boys and young men. In Glasgow, this has been going on for at least 100 years, and probably long before that. To see teenage boys fight, often with weapons, other teenage boys from identical socioeconomic and family backgrounds, over a spurious territorial claim (not linked to drug turf) is to, in my opinion, see the acting out of the most dysfunctional masculinity traits imaginable. The Glasgow gang issue is an extreme example, but it’s replicated in city centres, council estates and other areas across the UK: teenage and young men attacking other teenage and young men for no discernible reasons.

    Patriarchal attitudes abound: boys will be boys, it’s unmanly to run away, the participants in the violence receive kudos, enhanced masculinity, respect from their peers.

    And it’s not just young men from deprived backgrounds. The disgraced MP Eric Joyce, former army officer, displays an attitude to violence and aggression that wouldn’t be unusual in Barlinnie.

    Moving back to a point about role models. They have a place, and particularly so in primary school. I strongly believe that a drive to recruit male primary school teachers should be started.

  66. carnation says

    @ Jason Schmidt

    Yes, will take that on board. It’s irritating having to scroll down several thousands words of MRA theory to get back to the actual discussion, but you make a good point.

  67. Ally Fogg says

    Hi carnation

    I think the example that you give, of apparently mindless teenage male violence, is the strongest example of what I described above: “many of the social forces that are required to sustain patriarchy often have side effects of violence, anti-social behaviour and self-destructive behaviour”.

    Teenage boys are striving to achieve a status of manhood, and for some – mostly but not entirely those who are cut off from other opportunities to achieve status and pass tests of masculinity – violence is the easiest route. And yes, that’s entirely tied up in patriarchy. But that doesn’t necessarily describe all types of crime and it doesn’t even describe the entire etiology of teenage violence (much of which might be reactive anger in response to neglect or abuse, for example)

    But as always with such things, they are interactional and therefore quantifying them and asserting relative significance of all the different factors is a pretty futile exercise.

    Funny you should mention Eric Joyce. I was talking about him in the pub after the symposium on Thursday, with an amazing woman called Eve McDougall.

    Joyce went to the same school as me – after he’d been expelled from the other one down the road. He’s a few years older than me so we never crossed paths, but by all accounts he was a pretty angry, aggressive and hostile lad even then, with what they call “authority issues” and from a pretty tough background. He left school at 16 and joined the army, which is a fairly traditional path for boys like him. But I could easily imagine that as a teenager he was only one ill-advised punch away from an alternative path, to borstal and Barlinnie.

    You might also ponder whether ending up in the House of Commons represented a step up or down. ;)

  68. karmakin says

    @Ally: I agree with you that to a degree, boys are socialized for those things, and that’s a bad thing however, I still contend that linking it to a “patriarchy” sends the wrong idea, especially to people who might be listening on a more casual level.

    What I was referring to, is that when I usually see this topic..male socialization…you usually see it in very broad negative terms. “Toxic male culture”, is the term that I see used a lot. With all this, there’s an implication that this socialization is A. universal (it’s increasingly less so IMO) and B. Strictly a male problem. I.E. it’s something that only affects males, it’s done and perpetuated only by males, males need to make all the sacrifice to fix it., and so on. That’s where I think the problem is. It’s the big stumbling block in being able to more effectively deal with a pro-aggression culture. We’re only looking at one side of the coin.

  69. Ally Fogg says

    @karmakin

    hello again.

    I agree with you that to a degree, boys are socialized for those things, and that’s a bad thing however, I still contend that linking it to a “patriarchy” sends the wrong idea, especially to people who might be listening on a more casual level.

    Well I’ll repeat that I didn’t use the P word, it was Elly who brought it up. I don’t necessarily disagree (although I’d add that I assume this blog is really aimed at people with an existing interest and background in gender issues, so I don’t worry too much about things like that.

    “What I was referring to, is that when I usually see this topic..male socialization…you usually see it in very broad negative terms. “Toxic male culture”, is the term that I see used a lot. With all this, there’s an implication that this socialization is A. universal (it’s increasingly less so IMO) and B. Strictly a male problem. I.E. it’s something that only affects males, it’s done and perpetuated only by males, males need to make all the sacrifice to fix it., and so on. That’s where I think the problem is. It’s the big stumbling block in being able to more effectively deal with a pro-aggression culture. We’re only looking at one side of the coin.”

    There’s a lot of interesting points here.

    I’m generally of the opinion that gender socialisation and restrictive gender roles do more harm than good to everyone, male or female, and more harm than good to society. That’s a starting point here. So I do see male socialisation in broadly negative terms, but crucially I also see female socialisation in broadly negative terms.

    You say socialisation is something that only affects males. I profoundly disagree. All that pretty little princess stuff, the elevation of feminine beauty, feminine acquiescence etc etc etc, is the other side of the exact same coin.

    It’s about setting up male/female, masculine/feminine in relational opposition to each other. I want to move beyond a society where people are conscripted into roles in life from the day they are born.

    I also think these things are pretty much universal, although their most extreme manifestations are not. Most human behaviours occur on spectrums, usually on a parabolic graph. If we want to influence what happens at the extreme end of the graph, we have to shift the whole graph, the whole spectrum. The behaviour of everyone in society is influenced by the behaviour of everyone else in society (basic social psychology.)

    So I don’t think it works to say that across the spectrum of male behaviour, only a few men become murderers, rapists and armed robbers, so most men (and most women for that matter) don’t need to change in any way, they’re not the problem. We just need the murderers, rapists etc to change their attitudes, and the rest of us can continue as we are. That simply doesn’t work.

    On the other hand, if we shift the centre of the graph, where most of reside, we will drag the extremes with us.

    We certainly don’t need to demonise all men, we certainly don’t need to claim that all men are violent, abusive criminals, and whenever I am talking or writing about these things I try to stress that the vast majority are not. But in practice, I think the problems that are manifest in the extremes (of mental health, criminality, destructive behaviour etc) are also harmful and unhelpful to most of the rest of us too, even if they are less catastrophic..

    Apologies, that is a very abstract way of explaining what I mean, but hope it makes sense.

  70. carnation says

    @ Ally Fogg

    How fascinating about Eric Joyce. It’s clear the man has issues, one of them is a rather awful personality.

    Regarding teenage crime… A young relative of mine goes to a primary school in a very “rough” area. He got in a fight and both parties were suspended. This simply wouldn’t have happened when I was at primary school in the 1980s and it was, to me, a gross overreaction, but as far as I can tell, is also policy now.

    I asked myself why I thought it wa an overreaction… Much as I fought against, it, I came back to boys will be boys. Which leads me to another difficult question: is this a damagingly sexist assumption?

    My own experiences of high school are fairly telling in many respects. Fighting of course happened, but the self destructive forces at play were heavy drug use/misuse, particularly ecstasy, which kinda wiped out the prospect of violence. But even then, machismo featured, how many days without sleep, how many pills, capacity to “handle” drink and/or drugs.

    There’s a danger in pathologising excessive teenage male behaviour – the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. Role models have a place, but boys and girls are more heavily influenced by their peers and older siblings, once they hit their teens. They’re at school then, a captive audience, get them talking. What does it mean to be a man? Why is it an insult to be unmanly? What does a healthy relationship look like? What isn’t? I’m not talking advanced classes on co-dependency, just a conversation about challenging the status quo.

    Then, hopefully, they’ll move into the humanities at university en masse and the world will be a much happier place.

    Previous sentence was a bit of fun… But would be an interesting experiment.

  71. karmakin says

    @Ally: Actually, I was trying to say the exact opposite (it’s early and I’m tired from the work week, so my apologies if I was unclear). I don’t think that socialization is something that only affects males. At all. In fact, I don’t even think that socialization towards aggression is something that’s only aimed at males. Now, the aggression might take different forms. Some of it is physical, some of it is intellectual, some of it is emotional, but generally speaking I do think that there is a strong cultural tendency towards promoting aggression across the entire culture. (The main difference here is that what is taught to women, as it’s more easily hidden, it should be…but the concept that aggression is a positive thing is still there)

    I want to move as well into a world that moves past gender roles as well. I do think that this is a lot of the problem here. And I do think we need to reform systems and the culture. And you’re right, it has to be the entire culture.

    But there’s a lot of stuff out there, in the guise of equality, which actually serves to reinforce gender roles. And I do think that stuff needs to stop because quite frankly we should know better. Not only does it not really fix the issue, but as long as there’s strong cultural and social feedback for “manliness”, aggression being linked to it will only make it more attractive, not less, as an example.

    And yeah. I know you didn’t bring up patriarchy, but I was using it as an example of a common super-culture theory. Although to be honest, it does fit into this comment, as I do think that Patriarchy, as it’s often used, is one of those things that serves to reinforce gender roles.

  72. karmakin says

    Just to add on to that, that’s why I prefer the term kyriarchy. It’s a gender neutral way of saying the same thing.

  73. carnation says

    @ 75

    Very interesting points. Makes me think of a theory I read about once. Imagine if the common goal of a society was universal happiness, rather than monetary gain.

  74. karmakin says

    @77. Yup. At least that’s the way I look at it.

    To be honest, that’s why when you see social analysis that is “top-heavy” that is, looking at the people at the top of the food chain and extrapolating from there, you should really take it with a grain of salt. At least speaking for myself, as a relatively low-income wage earner, when I see stuff like that I know that they don’t have my best interests at heart.

  75. Ally Fogg says

    ah, sorry karmakin I was reading you wrong and I’ll take responsibility for that!

    Yes, I think kyriarchy is a useful concept. It’s not a word I use much, because I’m more rooted in old economic models and generally ‘hegemony” works better for me, but I totally get your point. Really good post at [75.]

    carnation (74)

    I’ve got an 11 year old, about to finish primary school in the inner city. I asked him about fights a little while back, and he could only remember one proper playground fight between his classmates ever, none involving him. I wasn’t a particularly tough or aggressive child, but I came home with black eye or split lip on many occasions in the 1970s -and that was in a comparatively affluent small town school. I was also beaten with a leather belt by teachers on several occasions, as were most kids back then. I was never especially naughty either, some kids were belted about once a week on average. I did have one teacher who really took against me, for reasons I never understood, and belted me three or four times in one term. I was seven years old at the time.

    it is important to step back sometimes, and realise just how much more violent, brutal and frightening life was for kids just a generation or two ago. I think the zero tolerance of violence in schools (and probably far less violence in homes too, according to most research) is one of the main reasons young adults today are much less destructive and violent than we were in my day. Wrote about that here, if you’re interested.

    Anyway, that’s a long way around to say that I quite welcome the new approach in schools, and I think the tendency to think “oh it’s just boys being boys” has long been part of the problem.

  76. Jacob Schmidt says

    Anyway, that’s a long way around to say that I quite welcome the new approach in schools, and I think the tendency to think “oh it’s just boys being boys” has long been part of the problem.

    I was looking at statistics for physical assault, and male victims are by far the largest group. A combination of “boys will be boys” and “boys are tough” is certainly a potent mix.

  77. mildlymagnificent says

    it is important to step back sometimes, and realise just how much more violent, brutal and frightening life was for kids just a generation or two ago.

    It’s also worth looking at differences in places as well as times. There’s a stunning graph in The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better in the chapter on crime. It shows a depressingly predictable age versus murder convictions graph for men during a set period, with the majority occurring in the early to mid 20s age range. But it’s not just one line. It’s one line superimposed on another, a near exact match. One for a country, the other for a city, both in advanced economies, but they were on different scales – one thirty times higher than the other. (I recommend the book, by the way.)

    Anyone who says that local, or larger, cultural influences don’t influence individual behaviour needs to do a lot more reading.

  78. Lucy says

    “I was looking at statistics for physical assault, and male victims are by far the largest group.”

    To get a more meaningful insight into the likelihood of becoming a victim, it is necessary to separate the unprovoked assault from the Friday and Saturday night street brawl. As there are many fights between large groups of men who are both perpetrators and victims, this will skew the results,

  79. Schala says

    To get a more meaningful insight into the likelihood of becoming a victim, it is necessary to separate the unprovoked assault from the Friday and Saturday night street brawl. As there are many fights between large groups of men who are both perpetrators and victims, this will skew the results,

    How would they know if the one in the street brawl was unprovoked or not?

    That’s how I often got bullied. In public. Someone would assault me, and I would be in a fetal ball on the ground. It would be classified as “a fight”, even if I didn’t throw a single punch. Admittedly I never got to the hospital for being bullied that way, even if it happened weekly for years.

  80. Gjenganger says

    @mildlymagnificent 81
    Extremely interesting. Here is an old parallel: Margaret Mead (yes, I know she is out of fashion) did a study of three different New Guinea tribes with similar gods and cultures. She noted that 1) each society had people who were clearly more violent / more peaceful than the social norm and could not seem to help it, 2) the overall level of violence differed by an order of magnitude or two between the tribes, from extremely violent to extremely peaceful

    One might tentatively conclude that:
    - Yes, aggression is more a male thing
    - Yes, the gender difference is wired in and cannot be eradicated
    - There is no political need to deny the above. Because it is still possible to change the overall level of violence enormously, to everybodys benefit.

    How is that for a compromise proposal?

  81. N4M says

    “As far as I recall Susan Pinker has said something interesting about men and prison (can’t track down the exact source but I think it was in some media interview or lecture), and the quote was something along the lines that the high percentage of male prisoners was ‘testosterone speaking quite strongly to us’. .
    Immediate reaction I guess would be for people to shrug their shoulders and say well, yeah, of course that’s the case, since it causes men to commit more violent and sex crimes.

    But I think another interpretation of this statement is maybe possible, on the basis that a lot of research appears to suggest a link between the hormone and perhaps another big factor, namely, communication deficits. Communication deficits might manifest as social, interpersonal interaction, but then maybe also deficits in relation to the printed word as a specific form of technology. Well, all-right, this is not an especially original or innovative theory in itself, but if there’s any truth to it, I think it’s quite a positive possibility, as you would suspect there’s so much that can be done in theory to reduce or resolve these kinds of incompatibilities, between skill-sets and what’s on offer in terms of training and economic opportunity in western countries.

    Have to admit, Ally, am still quite uncomfortable with this narrative of polarising men into extreme winners and losers, even though technically there might well be some elements of truth to it.

    I mean you yourself in many ways could be said to fit the Graun’s image of patriarchal oppression: white, middle-aged, male and worst of all… a graduate! Yet in your biography on this blog you’ve happily let on that even despite these things, you’ve usually only been one pay-check away from destitution. So these nominal categories perhaps don’t always function as absolute insulating factors from every possible kind of social adversity.

    Also, the study you linked to up-thread compares graduates in full-time paid work .If we were to accept a narrative whereby male graduates are ‘automatically privileged’, this would be to ignore the significantly higher unemployment rates amongst this group compared to females. We also know that in part-time work the pay-gap tends to get reversed. So if you were to base social policy on this notion of ‘male-graduate privilege’, I guess you would end up with lots of recruiting and mentoring schemes for female graduates, and those male graduates who do not find good jobs would then be totally ignored. Not sure if that’s such a brilliant idea.

    Finally, by coincidence, I’ve just read a couple of stories recently where male university students have topped themselves just after getting their final results from university (one apparently jumped off the roof of a restaurant dressed in a tuxedo, and another seems to have done a bit of a weird elaborate thing involving poison gas). Of course you can never know the exact thinking processes behind such actions, but even so, it’s not impossible to imagine that the humiliation involved in belonging to a supposedly privileged group, i.e. white, uni-educated male, and then not quite making the grade to join the elite at the top could well be some kind of factor. So in other words, I think that by putting forward this kind of narrative, you could paradoxically end up exacerbating the whole ‘status as success objects’ problem which you’ highlighted yourself up-thread.

  82. mildlymagnificent says

    Gjenganger

    How is that for a compromise proposal?

    Not sure compromise is needed. All we need to do is to accept what social and police statistics tell us – that younger men are over-represented in anti-social risk-taking and violent behaviours in all countries of the world regardless of how similar or unlike they are in culture or legal systems or total violent/accidental deaths.

    The real focus should be on what can be done to reduce the overall rate of risky and violent behaviours. That, in and of itself, should open different societies’ eyes to the elements within their own cultures that permit or condone or even encourage such behaviours in the people most likely to engage in them. Looking at the differences in murder/ assault rates between countries that are similar in other respects can be helpful. Looking at policies that have been implemented in countries other than your own can be helpful – seatbelt, helmet and drink-driving laws are the classic examples here.

  83. too says

    I’m sorry to go off-topic, but I just do not understand what Hetpat is doing on FtB. I mean, it’s a great blog, but in general, what Ally writes about is utterly and diametrically opposed to everything that the big names on FtB stand for. Can someone explain how this happened?

  84. says

    @ 87
    Perhaps if you actually read what the big names here advocate you would understand the significant overlap with Mr. Fogg’s views. First and foremost he addresses reality, not strawpeople. Secondly, he welcomes discourse, defends his views and will accept and adjust if he finds himself to be mistaken. While attending church is taboo around here, the operative term in freethought is thought.

  85. Jacob Schmidt says

    Lucy

    To get a more meaningful insight into the likelihood of becoming a victim, it is necessary to separate the unprovoked assault from the Friday and Saturday night street brawl. As there are many fights between large groups of men who are both perpetrators and victims, this will skew the results,

    Sure, a perpetrator is of physical assault is also likely a victim. I’m more concerned with the attitudes that such fights aren’t a problem (“boys/men are tough”), the attitudes that encourage such fights (i.e. “boys will be boys” tells us that such fights are inevitable and acceptable).

    Schala

    That’s how I often got bullied. In public. Someone would assault me, and I would be in a fetal ball on the ground. It would be classified as “a fight”, even if I didn’t throw a single punch.

    Yes, that’s absolutely mis-classification.

    I think Lucy is asking that we differentiate between the bullying you’ve received and a fight between two men (or two groups of men) who’ve been antagonizing each other throughout the evening, since you are not a perpetrator of assault, while such men are both perpetrators and victims.

    too

    I mean, it’s a great blog, but in general, what Ally writes about is utterly and diametrically opposed to everything that the big names on FtB stand for. Can someone explain how this happened?

    FtB stands for social justice for everyone. The difference between Ally and the rest is Ally’s focus on men’s issues. To my understanding, Ally’s focus was reason he was invited here.

  86. aspidoscelis says

    N4M, 85:

    I mean you yourself in many ways could be said to fit the Graun’s image of patriarchal oppression: white, middle-aged, male and worst of all… a graduate! Yet in your biography on this blog you’ve happily let on that even despite these things, you’ve usually only been one pay-check away from destitution. So these nominal categories perhaps don’t always function as absolute insulating factors from every possible kind of social adversity.

    Also, the study you linked to up-thread compares graduates in full-time paid work .If we were to accept a narrative whereby male graduates are ‘automatically privileged’, this would be to ignore the significantly higher unemployment rates amongst this group compared to females. We also know that in part-time work the pay-gap tends to get reversed. So if you were to base social policy on this notion of ‘male-graduate privilege’, I guess you would end up with lots of recruiting and mentoring schemes for female graduates, and those male graduates who do not find good jobs would then be totally ignored. Not sure if that’s such a brilliant idea.

    I think you’re putting your finger on a point I’ve tried to make in other fora without success. Our knowledge of societies is getting to be pretty good at the level of average characteristics and tendencies of very broad, superficially-defined groups (“white male college graduates”, &c.). However, this simply is not very informative at the level of individuals. Variation within these groups is vastly greater than variation between them.

    However, in order to -do- anything with our knowledge of society as a whole, at some point we have to deal with individuals. You have to classify individuals into these superficial categories and treat them differently based on group membership. If you know male graduates have, on average, better financial prospects than female graduates… what do you do? You’re not going to be mentoring, giving financial aid or recuitment preference, etc., to “average male graduate” or “average female graduate”, but to actual people. If you work from group identity, you might get it right on average, but you’re bound to get it wrong a hell of a lot of the time. Is that OK? Is there a way to work toward fairness at the level of abstract groups without a lot of collateral damage at the level of actual people?

  87. Schala says

    Is that OK? Is there a way to work toward fairness at the level of abstract groups without a lot of collateral damage at the level of actual people?

    Give it to everyone, so they’re on an equal footing.

    A big reason for wage disparity is men are encouraged to earn more (support themselves + family). And to value work based on its earning. Men who have been polled have said they value wage earned a lot in their choice of work (76%), and women much less (29%).

    So you end up with people being rewarded more for earning more, punished more for earning less (below a certain threshold – and anything below his future mate), and women not being rewarded for more or punished for less. Inertia says you’ll end up with more men at the top, and more women at the bottom, because of consequences.

  88. aspidoscelis says

    Schala, 91:

    I think that’s at least a good partial explanation. Further, certainly inequality in expectations and available options undermines a desire for strictly equal outcomes. However, the question is still… what do we do? How do we work toward equality among social groups in a way that fundamentally respects the individuality of people and does not fall into the trap of viewing or treating individuals in terms of their membership in superficial social groups?

  89. Schala says

    I think that’s at least a good partial explanation. Further, certainly inequality in expectations and available options undermines a desire for strictly equal outcomes. However, the question is still… what do we do? How do we work toward equality among social groups in a way that fundamentally respects the individuality of people and does not fall into the trap of viewing or treating individuals in terms of their membership in superficial social groups?

    You take the genderblind way in raising children, in mentoring people, in giving praise, in punishing problematic behaviors.

    In theory, feminism did have it right at the start. But then it morphed into radical feminism in second wave…which did a complete 180 degree from that – instead of wanting a genderblind society where people are valued for who they are individually, they started worshipping femaleness and Dianic menstruation things, about womanhood and all that crap. And this is where the hatred of trans women stems from.

    I can have a theory as to why the originally pure equality routes got taken over by the essentialist roots – The system brainwashes you in giving extremely high value to your sex membership, to make it your number one concern in life, barring survival at the moment. Much more than you would otherwise care about. So when someone says they want to remove all values attributed to sex membership, those people go bananas. They want to keep the goodies they feel when they identify as their sex and the rewards from it, endorphins and socially both.

    Now some radfems contorted into a ball of illogic, positing that womanhood was incredibly horrible as an existence…but a good identity to have forever – ie a martyr complex. They could very well understand why trans women would want to get “the goodies” endorphins and socially – of being recognized as female. And tried everything they could to illegitimize it. Some still do to this day, even in the face of fierce opposition (like Cathy Brennan).

    Most feminists are more logic than this, but still, the theory of feminism is too invested in the idea of the binary, with a good side, and a tainted side, to let it go. To go genderblind.

    I want attributes, tastes, styles, interests to be all gender-neutral, such that I express myself by wearing a dress or having long hair, but it’s no longer an attribute of feminity or womanhood. It’s gender-neutral, only something about me, individually.

  90. Paul says

    @87 TOO

    I’m sorry to go off-topic, but I just do not understand what Hetpat is doing on FtB. I mean, it’s a great blog, but in general, what Ally writes about is utterly and diametrically opposed to everything that the big names on FtB stand for. Can someone explain how this happened?

    What exactly does FtB stand for ? And are you suggesting there’s an intolerance by the ” big names” here for anyone ”guilty” of dissent ? For if you are then how on earth can this be called a Freethought Blog when you’re suggesting that it’s actually an online equivalent of a dictatorship?

  91. Schala says

    What exactly does FtB stand for ? And are you suggesting there’s an intolerance by the ” big names” here for anyone ”guilty” of dissent ? For if you are then how on earth can this be called a Freethought Blog when you’re suggesting that it’s actually an online equivalent of a dictatorship?

    Well, Rationalwiki is not very…rational.

    It accepts all of feminist theory without question.

    Skepticism allows for questioning. I read 2000 comment threads during Donglegate on PZ Myers’s blog, and this was my first encounter with FTB blogs.

    It seemed to be dogpiling, lined with copious amounts of insults, to anyone dissenting from the opinion that the two guys making technical equipment jokes that could have double entendre were guilty of sexism and fomenting a hostile environment for all women.

    Such oversensibility is part of patriarchy, part of the female gender role as prescribed then, and is part of the edict of women as both more refined and also too weak and thin skinned. That they cannot hear swear words, for example. Their delicate ears would make them faint on the spot – so says the era’s stereotype.

    So they made a policy called ADA Initiative, which is essentially extremely bullshitty wordings that says male stuff is evil, oppressive and dehumanizing to women, and we need to change it to make it more welcoming of women – by removing every and all sexual cues, jokes or intended, from any geek event or convention. Because they promote rape culture.

  92. mildlymagnificent says

    It accepts all of feminist theory without question.

    Well, that’s a bit of a challenge.

    Feminists disagree among themselves – often – and quite strongly on some issues, the most extreme example being the TERFs versus everyone else. I suppose most differences of the last decade or so are of emphasis around intersectionality. But even this can lead to quite different actions or priorities, particularly when you look at how things are handled in one country versus another rather than academic or theoretical analyses.

    Accepting all feminist theory is a bit like accepting all ethics in philosophy. It can’t be done unless you’re prepared to accommodate directly opposed views.

  93. Schala says

    Accepting all feminist theory is a bit like accepting all ethics in philosophy. It can’t be done unless you’re prepared to accommodate directly opposed views.

    It accepts all of Finally Feminism 101 feminism theory if you prefer.

    Those are not up for debate. Debate them and you’ll be considered anti-feminist and often called a MRA with the intention of meaning it as an insult. Kind of like calling people members of the KKK.

    The public’s perception of MRA seems to be “people who fight for the equivalent of heterosexual rights, but on the gender axis”, when it’s not that at all. People only now better after extended contact with them, or good critical thinking skills to start with (ie don’t presume the worse of people).

  94. Gjenganger says

    @aspidoscelis 92

    How do we work toward equality among social groups in a way that fundamentally respects the individuality of people and does not fall into the trap of viewing or treating individuals in terms of their membership in superficial social groups?

    The short answer is “we don’t”. It is not possible. If people from different groups have different attitudes, aspirations, life experiences, you cannot equalise the group outcomes at the same time as you treat each individual on his own merits. You can try to dissolve the groups, pressure everybody to become similar, but that cannot work for the sexes. Or you can accept there is a trade-off between respect for individuality and group outcomes, and choose your point on the sliding scale.

  95. carnation says

    @ Schala

    “The public’s perception of MRA seems to be “people who fight for the equivalent of heterosexual rights, but on the gender axis”, when it’s not that at all. People only now better after extended contact with them, or good critical thinking skills to start with (ie don’t presume the worse of people)”

    The public would need to be aware of MRAs to have a perception of them. Because MRAs don’t do anything except write on blogs and in newspaper comments sections, it’s highly unlikely that the public in general will become aware of them. Paul Elam has got some limited exposure in the reactionary, rightwing Daily Mail, but it’s done him very little good.

    I imagine that reading the articles,on the most visited MRA blogs would lead the average person with critical thinking skills to come to very different conclusions than the ones you mention.

    People with the ability to think critically would object to:

    The view of women as a largely parasitical homogenous group:

    “[But] our current gender zeitgeist is one that has promoted and enabled such a degree of female narcissism and entitlement that it has now produced two generations of women that are for the most part, shallow, self-serving wastes of human existence—parasites—semi-human black holes that suck resources and goodwill out of men”

    That notion that rape shouldn’t be taken seriously:

    “… my interest in women who have been raped … is somewhere near as intense as my interest in cake decorating and midget wrestling”

    “I don’t give a fuck about victims of rape”

    Here are some other MRA theories, given coverage and credence by the most visited MRA sites:

    *Rapists should not be convicted

    *Feminism caused 9/11

    *Any woman can, at any time, have any man they are alone with imprisoned on her word alone

    *The month of October should be “bash a violent bitch month”

    *Single mothers should be avoided by men as the child could falsely accuse the man of sexual assault to “gain some local celebrity”

    MRA websites , it is true, get reasonable number of visitors. But this is no indicator of Popularity. The Westboro Baptist Chiurch is known internationally, but has virtually no support. Likewise, the MRM has virtually no “real life” activity. Offers no support services, has held no demonstrations and basically consists of some bloggers and some lurkers and commentators. A very prominent MRA stated that the “movement” was “nearly universally despised” and said mensrights Reddit was mostly made up of feminist. Not much of an endorsement.

    The MRM is not fit for purpose. It doesn’t help men and boys. The MRM feeds feminism, particularly radical feminism. They suddenly have a new enemy. MRAs celebrate when feminists notice them, which doesn’t happen often. Why? Well, the answer is pretty obvious.

  96. Adiabat says

    Carnation (44): “MRAs are unwilling or incapable of acceptingselfevident truths. Patriarchal theory being one.

    Wow. And apparently Schala is the one who’s “indoctrinated” (according to the same post).

    I keep getting told that feminists disagree and argue all the time (with the implication being “so stop bringing up problems with feminism!”), so… where the fuck are they?!

    This is a basic error on what is supposedly a site dedicated to reason, full of feminists who claim to care about things like this and all we get is silence. Where’s all this “challenging each other” we’re told is rife within feminism?

  97. mildlymagnificent says

    I keep getting told that feminists disagree and argue all the time

    Presuming that you think that carnation* @42 is arguing that patriarchy is the way most English speaking societies are organised …… I can give an argument of one sort.

    Many people can accept that patriarchy is the preeminent social force without arguing that the way to change society is to “defeat” patriarchy first. (Which is the traditional position of the more well-known radfems, leaving aside the terfs and other extreme essentialists, who may or may not see this as the prime objective.)

    I’m in the group (fairly loosely described) that argues, very much like a lot of Ally’s arguments, that feminists’ biggest challenge is much the same as everyone else’s biggest challenge. Intersectionality is a much hated word, but that’s what we’re talking about. It’s also a consequence of having as much of an interest in justice as in equality.

    We’re not in the position of first wave American feminists who used the anti-immigrant racist views of their larger society to buttress their arguments. We now more often take the view that justice and equality for women can’t be fully achieved unless others with equal claims to having suffered from discrimination or oppression also achieve the same outcomes.

    *I don’t really know much about carnation’s views. I’m just using your reference to that comment as a basis for discussion. For all I know carnation thinks much the same way as I do.

  98. Adiabat says

    Mildlymagnificent: “Presuming that you think that carnation* @42 is arguing that patriarchy is the way most English speaking societies are organised …… I can give an argument of one sort.”

    I have several problems with “Patriarchy theory”, but that is not my problem with the quote I gave. It was the claim that Patriarchal Theory is a “self-evident truth” and the fact that we are approaching a week since carnation said that and not one feminist, who apparently disagree and argue all the time, has had anything to say about that claim.

    Can you see how I find it hard to believe claims that feminism appropriately self-regulates (by “challenging each other”) when someone can commit such a fundamental error on a feminist site that’s supposedly dedicated to reason without a peep from any other feminist. (It hasn’t been made any better when I quoted it and you still didn’t see the problem with carnations post.)

    It’s apparent to me that feminism needs outside criticism. It needs groups like the MRM and individual “anti-feminists” to call out the dodgy things they do and say because feminists are incapable of doing it themselves.

    P.S I wasn’t particularly responding to your post @96. I’ve just seen the claim that feminists disagree and argue all the time, with the implication being “so stop bringing up problems with feminism!”, a lot recently :)

  99. carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    “It’s apparent to me that feminism needs outside criticism. It needs groups like the MRM and individual “anti-feminists” to call out the dodgy things they do and say because feminists are incapable of doing it themselves.”

    Couldn’t disagree more, I’m afraid. For this simple reason. The inane and ridiculous “radfems” have an identifed enemy, just as the MRM has an identified enemy in “radfems” – they feed off of each other. They are basically a binary, one largely confined to the internet.

    Now, Ally’s most recent post mentioned a few organisations advocating for men who are, slowly but surely, making some (long overdue and very welcome) headway. Women’s organisations continue to do the same. It’s NOT a zero sum game. Imaginary enemies, reactionary theorising and scapegoating, from both sides, is a road to nowhere.

    I don’t identify as a feminist because I disagree with too much of the theory, but I applaud activism that helps. I am hostile to the MRM as it stands because I feel it detracts from work being carried out that has the potential to change the conversation and life experiences of a lot of vulnerable men.

  100. Jacob Schmidt says

    Adiabat

    Emphasis mine:

    I’ve just seen the claim that feminists disagree and argue all the time, with the implication being “so stop bringing up problems with feminism!”, a lot recently

    Wait, didn’t we just… let me go check something.

    Ah, here it is:

    Well, I dealt with that further upthread, echoing Copyleft who worded it better:

    “Any time someone veers away from the facts to describe what those facts “imply” as ‘the real message,” they’ve shifted from rational discussion into paranoid speculation.”

    You’re told that feminist disagree because many do (I mean, christ, feminism is, at times, a clusterfuck). There’s no secret message behind it.

  101. mildlymagnificent says

    I must say I’m inclined to Ally’s view that kyriarchy is a better term to describe social arrangements generally and that patriarchy is the particular part of the larger culture that imposes most of the “domination, oppression and submission” experienced by most women. Some women are hardly affected at all by the problems of patriarchy. Others are multiply affected by several reinforcing issues – gender, race/colour, poverty – and it depends on which particular kind of bad day a woman has had which axis she feels most affected by at any given time.

    As for the value of advice from the MRM and other anti-feminists? I’m over 65 so I’m a bit of a feminist relic – started in the 70s. I think I’ve heard all these arguments at least a dozen times. (With the reservation that a lot of stuff I’ve heard recently is more about individual events followed by “So what does that say about your precious feminism now?” Usually the answer is ‘Not a lot.’)

    Until I hear something from this motley crew that doesn’t reduce to the very few standard categories. 1) women are weak/lazy/incompetent, 2) slut-shaming, 3) women belong in the home/ with children, 4) appearance shaming either too much/ not enough makeup, too feminine/ too masculine in dress, 5) women already have more advantages than men, and the more recent complaints 6) women often or mostly make false claims of rape and/or violence. I’ve never seen anything convincing to back any of this stuff up. So these people need either to try harder or to come up with something better.

  102. carnation says

    @ mildlymagnificent

    I’m afraid that men, as much as women, worry about their appearance. Patriarchy screws both sexes over in that respect.

  103. Schala says

    Until I hear something from this motley crew that doesn’t reduce to the very few standard categories. 1) women are weak/lazy/incompetent, 2) slut-shaming, 3) women belong in the home/ with children, 4) appearance shaming either too much/ not enough makeup, too feminine/ too masculine in dress, 5) women already have more advantages than men, and the more recent complaints 6) women often or mostly make false claims of rape and/or violence. I’ve never seen anything convincing to back any of this stuff up. So these people need either to try harder or to come up with something better.

    Your points 1), 2), 3) and 4) are not from the MRM, but from right-wing conservatives (who are NOT for men’s right in any meaningful way). Right-wing people might be anti-feminist and misogynist, but they value traditional roles. And traditional roles is what is screwing up men. So I very much doubt the MRM would praise or support them.

    5 and a less hyperbolic version of 6 maybe.

  104. Adiabat says

    Carnation (104):

    I don’t identify as a feminist because I disagree with too much of the theory, but I applaud activism that helps

    Using the same argument you used in the other thread to call Schala a MRA I could easily call you a feminist.

    I am hostile to the MRM as it stands because I feel it detracts from work being carried out that has the potential to change the conversation and life experiences of a lot of vulnerable men.

    I don’t believe that’s the real reason you are hostile to the MRM. One reason is that when presented with evidence that a feminist group was detracting from work that had “the potential to change the conversation and life experiences of a lot of vulnerable men” you proceeded to troll the thread, abusing MRA’s but neglecting to give any criticism whatsoever to the feminist group in question. Another reason is that what you keep saying about the MRM simply isn’t true. I don’t follow their antics avidly but they have recently been campaigning for free speech in Toronto, to bring attention to men’s issues. And things like the “smack a violent bithc month” that you cite are just smears perpetrated by feminist sites such as manboobz. I know this because if you actually read the article Elam wrote it says this “Now, am I serious about this? No.” It was a parody of an article on Jezebel.

    And do you even realise that Ally’s thread on male victims of domestic violence you all applauded is about 10 years behind the curve? That the MRM has been pushing that narrative for years, often in the face of opposition from feminists? Do you even think we would be having this discussion if the feminist movement hadn’t been feeling the pressure from the MRM of losing control of the discussion? My answer to above comments asking why Ally has been invited to Freethought blogs is “because of the MRM”. Feminists have realised, because of the MRM, that if they ignore male victims any longer they risk losing not only the moral high ground, but control of the ‘gender debate’. I’ve said elsewhere on here that I’d rather see a reformed feminism than the MRM taking control of the discussion, and because of the MRM feminism is starting to undergo reform. Just compare the attention men get from feminists now compared with just 5 years ago. “whataboutthemenz” has worked!

    Jacob Schmidt(105): Touche. However in the same post I did say that if you show some analysis of why you think that interpretation is correct then it does count as an argument:

    You’re told that feminist disagree because many do (I mean, christ, feminism is, at times, a clusterfuck). There’s no secret message behind it.

    But telling something that feminists disagree with each other as a rebuttal to a criticism of something feminists have done does carry an additional message, otherwise it is a non-sequitar.

    The point is that if I highlight something shitty feminists have done, it doesn’t matter that other feminists have a “clusterfuck” about “intersectionality”. What matters is that feminists aren’t disagreeing about the shitty thing that some feminists have done; that it takes someone outside of feminism to point out that the feminists have even done something shitty.

    Mildlymagnificent:

    As for the value of advice from the MRM and other anti-feminists? I’m over 65 so I’m a bit of a feminist relic – started in the 70s. I think I’ve heard all these arguments at least a dozen times. (With the reservation that a lot of stuff I’ve heard recently is more about individual events followed by “So what does that say about your precious feminism now?” Usually the answer is ‘Not a lot.’)

    Your acceptance of an argument bears no resemblance to the argument being valid. Your rejection of the argument that political groups are defined by the actions of its prominent members doesn’t in any way detract from this being the case.

  105. carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    I’m ignoring your nonsense about trolling the thread and abusing MRAs. Let’s deal with one of your statements:

    “That the MRM has been pushing that narrative for years, often in the face of opposition from feminists? Do you even think we would be having this discussion if the feminist movement hadn’t been feeling the pressure from the MRM of losing control of the discussion? ”

    No, the MRM has NOT been pushing that narrative for years. It’s not been around, in any meaningful sense, for more than a few years, and the narrative that is pushed is unsophisticated, not peer reviewed, reactionary, misogynistic nonsense, that posits men as victims to “feminist governance”.

    The MRM contributed precisely nothing to the discussion that led to the report being published. MRAs do nothing to support those who advocate, in a rational. Informed manner, for men and in fact detract from the discussion with the hysterical hyperbole typical of MRAs.

    That you think the “feminist movement” fears “losing control of the discussion” demonstrates your total lack of understanding of feminism and of the discussion that did in fact take place (the report),

  106. mildlymagnificent says

    What matters is that feminists aren’t disagreeing about the shitty thing that some feminists have done; that it takes someone outside of feminism to point out that the feminists have even done something shitty.

    …. some feminists (do something shitty) …. the feminists ….

    As far as I’m concerned, one of the main tenets of feminism is that women have exactly the same moral, ethical and political capacities and limitations as men. That women, and feminists in particular, do something unwonderful sometimes should be no surprise to anyone. (One of the main things we used to joke about 30+ years ago was that we’d know we’d got somewhere when women were able to be as incompetent at their jobs as often as prominent men were with as little financial or other consequence as men (didn’t) suffer.)

    My usual feeling is to stay out of stuff where I don’t know the details. In particular I find some Brit and European policy/ practice stuff that gets talked about a bit hard to understand. Mainly because I see them in the context of the way the whole of the politics/ bureaucracies seem to operate in those countries (from my great distance in Australia) and I find them a bit strange in general. (Strange meaning, generally, a lot more rigid and overly prescriptive than I’m used to.)

    Either what I hear about some event is just one battle in a continuing conflict I don’t know about or everyone involved is a bit out of my field of knowledge/ experience. My choices are to spend time and effort getting into the details of a particular topic or event, flying by the seat of my pants or contributing within my limitations. I reckon that’s where I am now with this comment, but it would be churlish to walk away without acknowledging your remarks at all.

    In short, I don’t expect women to be perfect. I don’t even expect them to be better than men. And I certainly don’t expect activists to avoid ruffling feathers.

  107. Schala says

    This is a Québec MRA group that has existed for well over 10 years.

    They’re of the more radical kind (more snarky, not hateful), but they did actual changes to stuff.

    http://www.lapresrupture.qc.ca/

    They removed a spurious statistic about 300,000 women being beaten every year in Québec province (population 8 million). A statistic that was entirely made up in 1980 by a feminist working for the government in the feminist branch of it (the minister for women). It was made up by estimating the numbers of women contacting women’s DV shelters, multiplying so its about the entire province, and multiplying by 10x because it was assumed that only 10% is reported.

    Every year its about 10k women and 2.5k men who call in the police and report for DV. It’s probably underreported, but 300k was obvious hyperbole.

    Yet it was cited by the department of justice as if it was factual. Until that MRA org demanded information access and a source for their statistic. Unsourced, they were forced to remove it.

    They also showed that there was obvious abuse of funds by DV shelters, exaggerating numbers, inventing expenses and more. I’ll agree that other government-funded orgs do it, it seems to be a common practice to “justify continued funding”, but it’s no less fraud.

    They’re French-speaking, like over 80% of the province.

  108. carnation says

    Classic example of MRA hyperbole:

    “A statistic that was entirely made up in 1980 by a feminist working for the government in the feminist branch of it (the minister for women)”

    Needs no further comment.

  109. Adiabat says

    Carnation:

    The MRM contributed precisely nothing to the discussion that led to the report being published. MRAs do nothing to support those who advocate, in a rational. Informed manner, for men and in fact detract from the discussion with the hysterical hyperbole typical of MRAs.

    That you think the “feminist movement” fears “losing control of the discussion” demonstrates your total lack of understanding of feminism and of the discussion that did in fact take place (the report),

    Have you even read the report? I just have and I’ll give you a few quotes:

    However, in relation to the public story about domestic violence, its [the public story of DV] origin has not been from within any powerful institutions, but the result of feminist activism and scholarship over several decades and, more recently, the coincidence of this with a generation of feminists and/or sympathisers within government. The outcomes have been both a story of success and a story of exclusion.

    &

    These constructions also offer further criticism of feminist-inspired accounts and research practices, which have sought to minimise the seriousness of female-perpetrated partner abuse and to explain female aggression and abuse as a justifiable response to patriarchal ‘male dominance’ and ‘masculine privilege’ …. It is argued that, rather than undermining ideas of patriarchal ‘male dominance’ and ‘masculine privilege’, the feminist-inspired model of partner abuse (e.g. Duluth Model) has in fact reinforced the underpinning gender stereotypes of men as ‘violent’ and women as ‘vulnerable’ …. As a result, ‘abused men’ remain ‘silenced’ and ‘hidden’ and ‘abusing women’ are not afforded the responsibility for their actions or appropriate treatment.

    Sure sounds like what the MRM have been saying…

    And it sure seems like feminists are losing control of the discussion to me…

    Oh and this:

    Yet, in the face of substantial evidence of violence against men in mixed-sex relationships the response of many feminist academics has not only been to ignore the needs of men and their children but to seek to explain the abuse that heterosexual men (and men and women in same-sex relationships) experience as fundamentally different to heterosexual women’s experience of abuse and reassert the claim that domestic abuse as properly understood is solely, or at least overwhelmingly, only that which is experienced by women from male partners

    Weren’t you and a bunch of other feminists pushing the “the abuse that heterosexual experience as fundamentally different” line in the other thread?

    Maybe you should stop with the dismissive attitude – you have now lost the moral high ground.

  110. Schala says

    By the way, I can provide translation (much better than the automatic kind) as I’m French-speaking too (1st language), and well, know English (2nd language).

  111. carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    Show me where the MRM presented evidence such as that in a restrained, non hysterical manner, that a Govt would actually listen to?

    Also the evidence that links the MRM to the publication of this report?

    Any evidence of the MRM helping men would be interesting too?

    Maybe assess their effectiveness? Their input into real world politics?

    The MRM is a collection of bloggers railing against women/feminism, helping no one, except themselves. The authors of the report are serious individuals, doing the hard, studious work that the MRM will never do.

    F4J should try it. But they won’t. Not much publicity in it, only policy influence.

  112. Schala says

    Back to trolling carnation? I thought it was a phase you outgrew after a while, maybe out of boredom.

  113. says

    Funny. Why would feminists be upset about Ally having a blog on FTB? I don’t agree with him about some stuff, I’ve seen him using straw feminists as a counterpoint a few times too often, but I also think it’s important for men who want to explore gender roles as men have a space to to so, and that appears to be what Ally is providing. Which is a good thing, in my view.

    I’d have thought this would be a welcome thing for those people interested in masculinity, gender roles, and men’s rights. But as often as not, there are those who, like Boris, appear confused or affronted that the ebil feminists are not… what? Trying to spam Ally into oblivion? Sending him sexualized insults? Starting petitions? What did you think was going to happen if an egalitarian man deliberately made space for men to talk about gender roles and masculinity? Perhaps Boris is suffering from a touch of projection.

  114. Pitchguest . says

    @119:

    I don’t know, Sally. Maybe because the slighest inkling from anyone else about issues pertaining to men is immediately dismissed as “what about the menz?” or similar language. Just take that talk by Catherine O’Brien at EWTS2013, where she briefly mentioned men, almost instantly it was berated on Twitter with things like “what about the menz?” It’s like a bloody catchphrase now. Or what about Ron Lindsay, who was being accused of “mansplaining”, condoning harassment of women and so much more and for what? Because he briefly mentioned feminists in his speech in not the best light possible?

    Yeah. Maybe instead of Boris suffering from a touch of projection, you’re the one suffering from a touch of denial?

    Now Ally has actually been smart about this and stayed out of the drama, but would be hung out to dry sooner than you can say “Thunderf00t” should he ever upset the apple cart. You know it and I know it. FtB isn’t exactly a place where dissent is much tolerated.

  115. too says

    I didn’t mean that I hate FtB, either… I don’t. I just don’t see how Hetpat fits in on a network that is basically a feminist collective (and many of the biggest bloggers are fairly extremist), with a secondary focus on atheism.

    Yes, I am genuinely surprised that Ally hasn’t been hounded off of FtB yet. I was surprised he was invited in the first place, too, but I sort of assumed that was Brayton trying to be “diplomatic” or whatever.

  116. too says

    Yes, what @120 said. Now, I think it’s reasonable, in a feminist space, to not want to discuss men’s issues- it’s off-topic. But it’s just weird to see that same space, usually so hostile to “what about the menz”, suddenly invite Ally Fogg to hang out.

  117. Schala says

    The MRM is a collection of bloggers railing against women/feminism, helping no one, except themselves. The authors of the report are serious individuals, doing the hard, studious work that the MRM will never do.

    F4J should try it. But they won’t. Not much publicity in it, only policy influence.

    Uncited garbage is trolling, especially when its only aim is to provoke anger in people who care. Too bad this isn’t poo-pooing work I actually did, or it might have worked.

  118. says

    I can think of some people who hang out of FTB and dismiss discussion of men’s issues with mockery. There are probably about four of them. However, they are all commenters. Are there any blogger here who ever said anything like that? The only one who even comes close I can think of is Taslima Nasreen, and in her case it’s more buying a male vs. female narrative of gender, not mocking men’s issues.

  119. Schala says

    And there was a certain trans woman on FTB, mocked men’s issues with gusto. It stunned me that someone could have been treated as male in childhood, and yet think all MRAs talk about is crap.

    It’s precisely because I’ve been thrown to the wolves for the crime of maleness, that I have empathy for male victims of all violence. Nobody cared. Said it was my own fault for “provoking the bullies”. That, at 6-7 years old, I should “just ignore them” when they insult me in groups.

    She put her blog on pause, or definitely stopped. But that was recent. As in March 2013 recent.

  120. Schala says

    Natalie something. Sorry for multi-posting. Edit feature would be welcome, even with a time limit (15 minutes is enough).

  121. says

    @Schala: Do you have any examples of things that Natalie Reed or PZ Myers said? Unless you consider accidentally sleeping with a trans woman to be a men’s issue, I don’t know what you’re talking about with her. PZ has complained about people hijacking threads on female circumcision to talk about male circumcision, but also written stuff opposing male circumcision. I don’t see how either has mocked men for having gender-related issues.

  122. Schala says

    @Schala: Do you have any examples of things that Natalie Reed or PZ Myers said? Unless you consider accidentally sleeping with a trans woman to be a men’s issue,

    I posted on a dated post that was tangentially about MR on her post. She replied that misandry doesn’t exist and to stop bringing up misogynist men’s issues on her blog.

  123. Bill Openthalt says

    Dividing humanity in two groups (whether these are male/female, workers/capitalists or rich/poor etc) is too coarse to be useful. While it maps easily on the in/out group basic pattern and hence is very attractive, it leads to such gross simplifications that it is all but useless for describing social phenomena.

    Groups do not exist in reality – people self-identify as part of a group, or are lumped into groups by others, but at all times, only individuals exist. Benefits afforded to other members of the group do not affect those members that do not enjoy these benefits. A poor male doesn’t feel better because there are more rich males than rich females. A rich female doesn’t feel worse because there are more poor females than poor males.

    Groups are useful tools for politicians — people who manipulate the feelings of others for their own selfish interests under the cover of the greater good of their self-selected groups (with the active members a small fraction of the actual individuals they purport to represent).

  124. Adiabat says

    Carnation (117): Lol, you are getting ridiculous now. There really is no point talking to you, so I’ll be brief.

    Do you really think they are going to commit political suicide by making it explicit that they are agreeing with MRA’s in the report. Not only have feminists have done a really good job at smearing MRA’s but they are also still very influential in the DV industry. The influence from MRA’s is obvious though: they are repeating common MRA talking points for the last few years almost exactly.

    And even if there was no direct influence, which is unlikely, the report is still repeating everyting that MRA’s have been saying for years, which feminists have been denying.

    Out of interest, since you agree with this report, does that mean that you actually agree with MRA’s and your only problem with them is their “tone”?

  125. karmakin says

    Late comment, been busy lately, but whatever.

    I think the MRM is a really tricky subject. Years ago, when you saw an MRA, it was pretty much always with a lot of sexism and misogyny attached. Not that “expanded” definition, but the real definition..hatred of women. However, things change, and as that movement has expanded, I think it’s drawn in more and more people who are not driven by a hatred of women, although the sexists and the misogynists are still there (the MGTOW movement).

    I think that just looking at these gender politics on a simple “left-right” scale is too simplistic and doesn’t tell the whole story. I like a full chart, similar to the political ideology charts you see from time to time. On one axis, you have Feminism vs. the MRM, which is the belief in which gender holds the cards, so to speak, in terms of gender power. Feminism believes that men get the better end of the deal, the MRM believing the opposite.

    But there’s another axis, which I look as egalitarianism vs. anti-egalitarianism. This is, I think how prescriptive and predictive people view gender as being. Anti-egalitarian (AE for short) MRA’s tend to view gender as being biologically prescriptive, and AE feminists view gender as being socially prescriptive.

    But in reality both are the same thing.

    Myself, I’m a Feminist Egalitarian, although not by a whole lot. If I had to quantify the power balance as being roughly 60-40 or so. But I am strongly egalitarian. I think that there’s a lot of overlap between the genders, and that generally speaking creating these artificial distinctions ends up hurting more people than it’s helping. I have a lot more in common with egalitarian MRA’s than I do with anti-egalitarian feminists.

    This is where I see the “conflict”, which isn’t just in the A/S sphere but pretty much everywhere these days.

    For this issue, the difference is seeing the violence problem as being a male cultural issue vs. seeing the violence problem as being a society-wide cultural issue. If aggressiveness is a problem (and I do think that it is), then women do have a role to play in terms of both stopping it being a rewarded trait in our society as well as not being aggressive themselves.

  126. carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    So you’re agreeing there is no evidence for MRA involvement or influence in this recent report. That’s the lamest response I’ve ever read, including those from Sid.

    You’re a joke. End of “debate”. You don’t understand the concept, and I can’t be bothered teaching you.

  127. carnation says

    @ karmakin

    An interesting post. And I tend to agree with some of the points that you make, with one major qualification: because of the misogyny so prevalent in the MRM, from the most prominent MRAs down, and because of the inane obsession with feminism being the root cause of issues faced by men, the MRM and MRAs, as they currently stand, are entirely without credibility.

    And, of course, there is a huge gap between the inactive (except on blogs/comments section) MRM and actual men’s advocates (AMIS, for one) who do the grunt work and actively try to change things.

    The conflict that you talk about is pragmatic meaningless. I would say academic, but the total lack of academic credibility exhibited by the MRM means that that would be inaccurate.

    Fragmentation within the MRM is as relevant to the lives of average people as fragmentation within “radfem” feminism. And I’ll reiterate, “radfem” feminism is non-pragmatic, non-activist based gibberish. But reverse the genders, and it’s the MRM. They are binary.

  128. Adiabat says

    Carnation (134): You’re clutching at straws now to distract from the thrashing you’ve just had. (Did you ever read that report btw?). It wouldn’t be so sad if you at least acted a bit humbled. The attitude though just makes you look like a wounded, cornered animal lashing out at anything nearby.

    Can you show that the Matrix was influenced by Descartes, or that Muse was inspired by Radiohead? (or a multitude of other influences on other things). The only way of doing this, beyond an actual admission which is unlikely for the reasons given, is by comparing the two, by showing similarities and differences and presenting your case.

    I’ve done this, I’ve shown strong similarities between the report and MRA talking points. It’s possible that both the report writers and MRA’s reached exactly the same positions independently from each other, but I find that less likely than the argument that the reports writers, who provide DV services to men, would be aware of groups that argue for more DV services for men.

  129. Schala says

    And I’ll reiterate, “radfem” feminism is non-pragmatic, non-activist based gibberish. But reverse the genders, and it’s the MRM. They are binary.

    Ahem

    http://www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/shelter-movement/women-only-space/women-only-space

    Can you smell the radicalism?

    Tell me they are not pragmatic, not activist. They have the damn shelters. Ergo – shelter policy is directed by the most man-hating ones, ideologically primed to believe men are the source of all evil. And trans women their evil spies, invading their women-only space.

    Keep telling me they have no power, they’re marginalized, no one cares about them.

    The Duluth Model is also a radical feminist invention. Used worldwide, right now. But they have no influence, right?

  130. N4M says

    Oh yeah, there are a couple of things I would like to clarify about my post at 85. First off, let’s be clear that implying male graduates collectively are some kind of ‘hard-done-by’ group would obviously be pretty idiotic itself. It’s just important to reject the notion, I think, put forward by Graun-style identity politics, that any guy who has not always lived in the bottom quartile, as categorised by the OP, is then by implication some kind of domineering patriarchal oppressor.

    That I think is the main danger: patriarchal oppressor becomes the default image, and discrimination against men only becomes an issue if a narrow subset of men can be shown to be suffering from grinding and severe destitution.

    Indeed, if you only approach it that way, then surely you will always end up treating the symptoms and not the cause, which is arguably not so helpful. (I.e. you only consider those who are in severe poverty already, rather
    than thinking constructively of ways to prevent it from happening).

    Also Ally, I have to say, the interpretation you’ve put forward kind of reminds me of a debate we had when a certain liberal newspaper first opened its webpages to public discussion, back around 2007. The was a piece on boys falling behind at GCSE, and you mosied-on-down below the line to say (I quote), that you “didn’t give a bobbins what someone has between their legs”, that such an analysis based on gender was “arbitrary”, and that we should instead be looking at social class and not gender. I recall putting it to your good self at the time that if you had two genuinely arbitrary groups, then you simply wouldn’t get the kind of statistics we were looking at (with boys behind 10 percentage points in virtually every subject), but somehow you never responded to that point! :-)

    Well, good, since that time, as a social commentator I think you’ve changed your tune a lot about the importance of this gender gap, which is most welcome, but I just wonder if you’re not making the same mistake in the above piece.

    Sure, gender cannot account for the whole host of reasons why these guys are in prison. Yet it strikes me at the moment we have the reverse problem: that hardly any social commentary or statements by politicians take into account the effects of male gender at all. In a way, I think that’s just as extreme and unhelpful in trying to find
    constructive solutions to this challenge of male incarceration as described above.

  131. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Pitchguest, interjecting in a thread about violence toward women to complain that men’s problems are’t being talked about instead, is the problem with “What about teh menz” and I think you should know that by now. You are simply devoted to dishonesty.

  132. carnation says

    @ Adiabat 136

    Are you seriously that delusional? Do you honestly believe that the authors of an academic report would pay any attention to a group of bloggers with no real life presence, no apparent support, no academic accredditation and who are known to the few who have heard of them, as a microgroup of misogyists?

    If you had any academic training you would realize how imbecilic your statements are.

  133. Adiabat says

    Carnation (140): I’ve presented a reasoned argument for my case and you’ve rejected it. Fine. I believe that the problem is your own prejudices and misconceptions but I don’t really care enough about you agreeing to go through it any further with you.

    As for ‘academic accreditation’, one of the major problems, which the report you agree with highlights, is that feminists in academia are a major cause of the problems men face in getting the DV they face recognised. Obviously in this field ‘academic accreditation’ isn’t worth shit. Due to this I think it likely that the report writers would have looked outside of academia when researching the report. Doubly so since they emphasise that they have drawn upon research and theory from across the ideological spectrum.

  134. Adiabat says

    Also, if your argument was correct it means that those with ‘academic accreditation’ are only just now catching up with MRA theory, which has been ahead of the curve by years.

    This would be an argument that perhaps MRA’s should have academic accreditation and the funding provided by universities to conduct their own research.

  135. carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    Did you know that ice cream sales lead to a spoke in murder in New York?

    http://biojournalism.com/2012/08/correlation-vs-causation/

    1. Disparate group of misogynists are furiously writing blogs about something,

    2. Other people are engaging in actual activism about broadly the same subject, without indulging in misogyny.

    3. Report is funded and published.

    4. Supporters of disparate, misogynists bloggers claims great victory.

    My hypothesis is that because you’re entrenched in MRA thinking, spend so much time on their blogs, you think they have a much, much greater influence and far, far greater numbers than they actually do.

    So, I challenge you again. List the crowning achievements of the MRM. All those blogs, all those youtube channels, all the comments section invasions.

    What have they achieved? Signed, sealed and delivered by the MRM.

  136. Adiabat says

    carnation: “My hypothesis is that because you’re entrenched in MRA thinking, spend so much time on their blogs, you think they have a much, much greater influence and far, far greater numbers than they actually do.”

    I think anyone who read my posts on the Dear Elam thread yesterday can tell that’s not true.

    I’m aware of some of the theories and talking points and am sceptical of femnist claims about them as they often turn out to be either exaggerated or just wrong. I agree with some of the things they say, just as I agree with some things feminists say, but I claim no in depth knowledge of them. I mentioned upthread one piece of laudable activism they are doing that I am aware of, which you’ve ignored, so I see no point is even considering your challenge.

    Like I said before, I don’t care about what you think. I’ve made my case and I think it’s reasonable. You on the other have made no case beyond showing ignorance and an inability to argue in good faith.

  137. carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    What we are “debating” is the influence of the MRM on the recent report, written about on this blog.

    You have presented no evidence whatsoever that the MRM had any influence.

    I have provided a range of reasons why the MRM wouldn’t have had any influence (the scope of the MRM, the nature of the MRM, the, let’s be charitable and say “limitations” of the MRM).

    Your argument amounts to A said B, C also said B, so B is influenced by both. This is fantastical gibberish, typical of MRAs.

    Your argument is a vague hypothesis, with no evidence. Mine is also a hypothesis, but with very clear reasoning behind it.

  138. carnation says

    @ Adiabat 142

    This is a beauty:

    “This would be an argument that perhaps MRA’s should have academic accreditation and the funding provided by universities to conduct their own research.”

    Should the EDL be funded to conduct their own research? There are far, far, far more of them than there are MRAs. What about the BNP?

  139. Adiabat says

    carnation: My argument most definitely isn’t just a correlation argument. I’ve shown the similarities between the report and MRA arguments, which is standard in any textual analysis looking at possible influences of a text. I’ve also pointed out that the report itself emphasises that they have drawn upon research and theory from across the ideological spectrum. Just because it’s not at the level of mathematical proof doesn’t mean it’s not a reasoned and compelling argument. People are free to accept and reject as they will. Though I’d rather they at least engage with it instead of writing it off based on their own misconceptions and prejudices.

    “Should the EDL be funded to conduct their own research?”

    The EDL haven’t been making arguments for the past 10 years that academia is only just catching up with. By your own arguments the MRA has been ahead of the curve on DV, whether they infleunced the report or not. Their arguments have been vindicated by this report and it’s been shown that feminist academics in the field of DV aren’t fit for the job.

  140. carnation says

    “whether they infleunced the report or not.”

    They didn’t. There isn’t a shred of evidence that they did. You haven’t been able to offer any.

    This discussion is now concluded.

  141. Lucy says

    “I believe patriarchy operates alongside things like the class system, nationalism, racial supremacy, militarism, colonialism, religion etc etc etc. ”

    I believe every one of those things has its roots in patriarchy, the social system where resources are passed down the male line.

  142. Schala says

    I believe every one of those things has its roots in patriarchy, the social system where resources are passed down the male line.

    Ding ding ding, a radical feminist, the real definition of it.

  143. carnation says

    @ Schala 151

    That’s a bit hasty, no?

    To tar someone with the “radfem” brush because she believes that “he class system, nationalism, racial supremacy, militarism, colonialism, religion etc etc etc” have their roots in patriarchy? That’s, at the very least, a substantive argument.

    “…patriarchy, the social system where resources are passed down the male line.”

    Historically, that was indeed the case, granted, not contemporaneously.

    So why the “radfem” smear?

  144. Schala says

    So why the “radfem” smear?

    It’s not a smear. It’s a factual definition.

    Radical feminism is the belief that patriarchy/gender oppression is the root of ALL oppression.

    And considering racism as stemming from sexism against women, is well, radical feminist.

    I didn’t call Lucy a radfem, but the sentence yes.

  145. Adiabat says

    carnation: There’s not a shred of evidence that Muse is inspired by Radiohead, but that doesn’t mean that we get to automatically conclude that “They didn’t”. That’s why we have these things called “arguments” where we present our case.

    This point isn’t hard to get. Why are you having such difficulty with it?

  146. Schala says

    Here, have a scoop from wikipedia:

    Early radical feminism, arising within second-wave feminism in the 1960s,[2] typically viewed patriarchy as a “transhistorical phenomenon”[3] prior to or deeper than other sources of oppression, “not only the oldest and most universal form of domination but the primary form”[4] and the model for all others.

  147. carnation says

    @ Schala 153

    Yes, it is very much a smear, for everyone except for “radfems”.

    @ Adibat 154

    I’m finished with you. Have a nice day. Sid is quite active on the other bog, you and him should chat.

  148. Schala says

    @ Schala 153

    Yes, it is very much a smear, for everyone except for “radfems”.

    Okay, well, Lucy is a person who cited the exact raison d’être and ethos of radical feminism. She might not be one, but she supports the basic idea of it.

    I also support the exact raison d’être of men’s rights – to redress discrimination done against men, at the legal and cultural level, and the application of said laws.

    I also support the exact raison d’être of trans feminism – to advocate for the redress of discrimination done against trans people and non-binary people.

    We just tend to disagree about the nuts and bolts, and the means.

    Julia Serano, nice writer. I got her book. Still disagree that what trans women often experience is trans misogyny. I think it’s very much often misandry in disguise – contempt directed at someone the perpetrator thinks is a man who failed at manhood/masculinity spectacularly. The TERF version of it is mostly contempt directed at someone who they think wants to usurp the privileges of womanhood (which they deny even exist…but want to protect for all dear life – please protect my pile of shit*, its horrible, but its mine).

    *TERFs themselves say womanhood is defined as this horrible horrible things which happens to you. So much that if those horrible things haven’t happened to you, you can’t be a woman – because those horrible things happening to you is what makes you one…a martyr.

  149. Adiabat says

    Carnation: “I’m finished with you. Have a nice day. Sid is quite active on the other bog, you and him should chat.”

    Translation: “I’ve been given a good ol’ spanking but I’m too proud to admit I may be wrong so I’m adopting a superior attitude to save face”.

    Any response to Tamen’s post showing that MRA arguments have been referenced before in an academic article? Any admission that that completely demolishes your claim that this won’t happen?

Trackbacks

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>