Updates: Currently slacking off

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Thoughts on Men's Rights

As a sister piece to my thoughts on feminism, I thought I'd include this.

Know that I am far more sympathetic to the MRM, not least because individual MRAs have been kind, considerate and inclusive towards me even when I am disagreeable or argumentative. This goes for commenters as well as content makers.

I first discovered the MRM through Karen Straughan. A redoubtable lady that represents men's rights as well as anyone might.
As many MRAs will concede, discussing men's issues is simply easier to accept from women, and the women in the MRM often serve as an introduction to men worried about misogyny.
Much of what she introduced me to made sense, were things I had observed and already new. I just had yet to place them in a wider context.
I'd also invite anyone reading this to the Honey Badgers. To suggest these are a diverse bunch is an understatement, which brings me to my first point.

MRAs are reactionary tradcons;
As a socialist I can confirm that many within the MRM are right leaning, most being libertarian. Tradcons are a tiny minority, and often criticised.

I often argue politics with MRAs, but I argue politics with everyone so that's nothing new.
I will concede my frustration that many repeat very silly borderline propagandist right wing tripe, don't know what ANY left wing movement is and are very quick to dismiss "the left"

What I'd add is that this is almost always from comments, not from content makers.
While many are still definitely right leaning and critical of the left, most keep politics separate from men's rights and actively encourage the inclusion of *everyone* regardless of affiliation.

My interactions with many content makers have been enlightening, friendly and inclusive, even when arguing politics. Even my comment wars *always* include reasonable folks and some fellow lefties.
The most "extreme" people involved in men's rights would be MGTOW, and even there I will be engaged with. If you can tolerate the vitriol and focus on issues, you'll see many are far more reasonable than they'll appear at first glance.

MGTOW proves MRAs hate women;
They are two different things. One person can be both, but they are not the same.
MGTOW stands for Men Going Their Own Way.
Most are motivated not by hatred of women, but by frustration with their lives and society. They don't want to hurt anyone, they just want to disengage and do their own thing. It's Ghandi level protest, they have nothing to fight with accept their refusal to participate.
Now, I read a LOT of hateful shit from MGTOW, and it definitely disgusts me, but MGTOW itself is absolutely great. If you look up prominent MGTOW, you'll find a bunch of great people (even if I disagree with some of their politics more than I could possibly express :P)
Here are some I find entertaining and/or insightful.
Stardusk - don't always agree with the man, but he represents MGTOW very well.
Barbarosa - Ditto :P (lots of thoughts on theory. Very interesting)
JohntheOther - lately seems to be focusing WAY too much on bitching about MRAs, but at his best he's exceptional. I'd consider him a MGTOW, not sure if he'd label himself so.

MRAs definitely include some MGTOW, but many of the latter simply want to walk away from the discussion entirely.

Men's rights are misogyny;
How this is even a thing I do not know.
How can including or caring about men hurt women?
Now, you WILL absolutely find misogyny in the manosphere, even on the best MRM channels.
I'd add that such behaviour is condemned, but only censored when extreme. These are places for honest expression, including offensive stuff. I'd also hazard an assertion that many men discovering the MRM are damaged and were only able to confront societal problems men face through personal experience. Not an excuse, but an explanation.
I'd also point out that such rhetoric is not widely endorsed, and that the MRM is small and essentially powerless. The attempts to discredit it come from a movement with FAR more overt problems with sexism and actual violence, and where radical voices exercise considerable influence.

Feminists have to be against Men's Rights;
Absolutely wrong.
I am an avowed antifeminist, but there are *plenty* of feminists that are also MRAs.
Now, most will abandon the term in favour of egalitarian after facing a backlash and seeing the hypocrisy, but they're still supportive of women (much like me :P)
Christina Hoff Sommers is definitely an MRA. She advocates for men and boys and has done so for DECADES.
Warren Farrell still describes himself as a feminist, and much like Sommers has been doing this for decades. He may also be the nicest and most softly spoken man on the planet, I have no idea how he came to be so vilified by feminists.

I'll end by saying the MRM is not perfect.
I dislike libertarianism (especially the right leaning brand) and that is the popular politics within Men's rights. Part of this is because the left is so dominated by feminism that men rights are discredited; only right leaning media will touch it.
There is also a penchant for women to become "the problem" in a mirror to my criticisms of feminism and patriarchy. Even MRAs I like very much do this, and it is VERY important to keep dialogue open, share these ideas and see them quickly die with scrutiny.
This was most apparent with "hypergamy"
Plenty of merit in it (just like patriarchy theory has SOME merit. Lots of men are in power)A lot of sense gets talked, but it becomes too easy to generalise women or about how women are all a problem.

I'll hope that many people unaware of the MRM will give it a chance, get involved and support men.
When men's rights become a mainstream, acceptable issue, the political diversity will ensure a moderation of the movement. I hope.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Thoughts on Feminism

This is a touchy subject.
I am an avowed, staunch and explicit antifeminist, so do forgive the overt condemnation, I will try to be fair.

Feminism is more than a dictionary definition.
It is a collection of ideologies and movements under one umbrella.
It was that way from the time the word was coined.
I believe it was not popularised until the 60's, though this is regularly obfuscated as any woman of note or any advocacy for women is deemed feminist (much as with the baptism of the dead practiced by Mormons)

As somebody that cares deeply about equality I actually looked to see what feminists did and said before I declared myself a feminist. As a teen I was very much a fan of empowered "feminist" women, from Buffy to Max in Dark Angel to Xena. I love me some strong, independent feminine women that can kick my arse.
I was biased in favour of the movement of women for women.

And yet I was quickly disillusioned.

The rhetoric of the movement is largely misandric. "Misandy don't real" doesn't change this, people. Instead of support for women, we regularly see denouncements of men, masculinity and "patriarchy"
Can anyone name an equal rights movement that actively promotes hatred of those different?

The problems raised by western feminists and their methods of advocacy are often outright daft.
Many are lies (rape culture, the wage gap, micro aggressions)
Some are also ridiculous (micro aggressions, trigger warnings, ban bossy, cat calling)
Some are outright malicious (pay men less, misandry merch, violent protest, censorship, TERF)
When pointing out these problems, feminists immediately declare that not ALL feminists are like that, but many saying this ALSO actively support many of the things criticised. The wage gap is pernicious, despite being refuted multiple times over decades, despite the fact that ANY business would love to cut its wage costs by 23% instantly.

Another problem is deflection.
When a problem is raised with feminists, the answer is not to fix it, or even acknowledge it.
The answer is always to point out how other people have problems too.
Feminists cant be at fault, because MRAs are mean. Or because the Taliban prevents women from reading.

The constant bullying feminists engage in is always justified because their cause is good.
Immoral action is excused because the people doing it are righteous and therefore can not be immoral.

I'd ask everyone to start looking at what feminists DO, listen to what they say, how they say it and seek alternative opinions. Just as the advice of any atheist on making atheists is to read scripture, feminism relies on ignorance and laziness to gain support. Examine what the movement stands for and you'll soon find yourself unable to support it without qualification.

Now, feminism is broken. This is my position. It is broken and needs to be bought down, it's major proponents discredited and then we can work to fix it.
This should be EASY.
Women's rights are important. Feminism could be what we need, instead of the tool of self serving narcissists.
A place in the wider egalitarian movement for feminism would gladden my heart, as feminism DOES contain good people, has achieved good things (just not everything it claims to have done)

Reproductive rights and body integrity;

There are still places where women don't enjoy body integrity or access to abortion.
That is a travesty.
It is a worthy target for activists.
Except those in the UK that worked to see intimate piercings listed as genital mutilation. Yes any feminists reading this; feminism thinks a woman choosing to pierce her own body is criminal FGM. Women obviously are incapable of consent...

Equality of opportunity;

There ARE issues of male dominated environments where women struggle.
I think it's PERFECTLY okay to work to support women to achieve.
Sadly, this is often used as a bludgeon and the balance is ignored. Equality of opportunity is not equality of outcome. You're doing fine ladies, you're the majority of graduates and have few or no barriers, so stop supporting any feminist that declares women are discriminated against. It's untrue, and it means we cant solve the real problems OR allow women to pursue what THEY want (in my family, most women are care providers, from children to the elderly. They should be respected, not maligned for not choosing "male" careers)
The conversation also needs to stop vilifying men or pretending men face no problems. Men can and do face discrimination, and graduation rates are much lower than women. Don't dismiss it as laziness, that's straight up sexism.

Domestic violence;

An important issue, one which feminists SHOULD do much better on.
Many good, well intentioned feminists are involved in this sector, and I applaud them their efforts however, much of the work is useless.
Many victims of interpersonal violence are troubled themselves, often violent. Reciprocal domestic abuse is the most common form, but this is not spoken about or solved. Violent women are excused because they were "provoked"
This helps nobody, as the cycle is allowed to repeat.
Also, much feminist rhetoric is about fixing men. Men just don't know any better. This is an insidious way of thinking as is excuses abusers and places the blame on wider culture. It convinces victims that their abuser can change, will change. That their abuse is not proof they need to leave, but somehow the fault of a culture that condones abuse. I am absolutely certain this is unhelpful as well as being untrue.
Male victims are also ignored, to the point where the few help lines for men that exist explicitly suggest those calling are the abuser, not the abused. How sick is that?
When we can have an honest, open discussion on this issue, we can work to fix the problems more effectively. Until then, female violence towards men will remain a joke, ignored or condoned by the public, and the help offered to suffering women will instead be squandered trying to prove women are the sole victims.

Feminism has a lot of merit. The intent of many is good, if misguided.
A reformation is required for it to achieve it's lofty goals.
Please, feminists of the world, end my antifeminism. Join with me and those like me to reform the sickness that dominates your movement.
Stop excusing or absolving misandrists. Stop excusing lies because they support your conclusions (Rolling Stone on the UVA case, for instance. Or Dunham about her college "rapist". Or Silverman about being paid less than a man because of her gender. All lies. All excused.)
With simple honesty and willingness to engage and include men, we can solve this.