Friday, 21 March 2014

Mishandling Equality

Alright, here we go.

On DeviantArt not very long ago, there was apparently a big hullabaloo about a poem written by the Deviant named CorporateRockWhore, which was titled I Need Feminism, because it recieved over 4,000 comments. The phenomenon was talked about at length in this journal/article. But basically, there was a torrent of comments because the poem was short and uncontroversial, and so proponents and opponents of feminism felt the need to weigh in.
I don't personally, I'm not talking about the poem, so much as the phenomenon. Because a lot of people thought that the writer of the poem was either misrepresenting women, by claiming they need feminism because they're weak, or that she was a ravenous man-hating monster, sometimes known as a "feminazi".

On that same note, there was another internet fuck-up a while ago involving a woman by the name of Anita Sarkeesian. I'm not going to go into details, because you've probably heard of it by now, and I think it's more informative to hear it in Ms Sarkeesian's own words. Basically, when she attempted to critique videogames, gamers responded horribly and treated her proposals of sexism in gaming with sexist attacks from gamers.
Are you listening, Internet? Because this is why we don't have nice things.

Now I don't agree with Ms Sarkeesian at all. But, I'm not here to explain why, because I think that everything I want to say, was succinctly covered by the No Right Answer guys, in their video Is Anita Sarkeesian Wrong?.
Rather, I just want to talk about this apparent backlash against Feminism on the internet. Because I want to look at what caused these issues, really.
Is the issue that people just don't like Feminism?

I think not. I think the real issue is that a lot of people don't know what feminism is. Even some of these people that call themselves feminists. The Word of the Day is: 'MISANDRY'

Misandry /mis'əndree/ n. Hatred of men.

Wow, that's a short definition. Etymologically, that comes from Greek, with the prefix miso-, which means 'to hate', coupled with -andria, which comes from the word anēr, meaning 'man'. I'm just adding that because it feels weird that the definition was so short.

Anyway, I believe that a lot of people blame self-claimed 'feminists' for being misandrous. Some people think that there are women out there that want nothing more than to blame men for everything; to not only take down the patriarchy, but to replace it with a matriarchy that makes Female the dominant sex, because they perceive men as vile, aggressive and stupid.
Now, the problem with this belief is that, sadly, it's true. There do exist a lot of women - and some men - that just seem to hate men.
But the thing is, they're not feminists.

I wrote an entire post about feminism before, and asserted that I am a feminist myself. That still holds true today. However, oddly enough, despite being a man, I'm more a feminist than women such as, say, Anita Sarkeesian. Constantly playing the victim, blaming men for all the ills of the world and its cultures & seeking to demonize rather than equalize. That isn't being a feminist, that's being sexist. And as a man, I don't appreciate it when someone insults my gender.

Now, a lot of people will look at these "feminazis", these extreme and outspoken ladies and think:
  "So what? This is a male-dominated culture, they are just fighting strongly for equality because they're radical feminists, what's wrong with that?"
The problem, basically, is that this issue is more complicated than that. Despite the fact that we have yet to achieve true genderal equality (nor sexual, racial and social equality) aggression isn't the right path.
Because Newton's Laws also apply in the social sphere - to each reaction, there is an equal and opposing reaction - and it's this kind of radical, misandrous campaigning that's caused an aggressive backlash, with counter-movements, like Men's Rights, which is just about one of the worst social movements I've ever heard of.
You can't counter misogyny with misandry, because those are just different variations of sexism, and you can't fight sexism with sexism. Rather than equality, you'll just escalate the animosity until everybody starts hating each other. That's not something that true feminists want.

Just so you know I'm not some lonely man trying to tell women what to do, I consulted my girlfriend before writing this post, to make sure I wasn't off-base. My Beloved told me that she sees these kinds of women as Straw Feminists; two-dimensional characters whose goals aren't so much the pursuit of equality, as insecure girls looking for a fight. I can't help but agree.
Because if you're looking for a fight, you're going to get one and that's what I believe happened to Ms Sarkeesian, and to the people commenting on CorporateRockWhore's poem. Yes, the people arguing against feminism are wrong, and all of these misogynists are just flat-out wrong. But if you really want equality, then you need to rise above all of that and stand firm atop the moral high ground with grace and civility.

This was never supposed to be Women vs. Men, and until we realize that, this fight is never going to end. We should make Love; not War.

I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and until next time, I've got to stop looking at the "Violence Against Women" pages on Wikipedia, they're just depressing.

1 comment:

  1. I would get off those pages; they will leave you feeling sad and helpless on the inside, and craving for Lisbeth Salander to fly to India.
    I don't give two whits about Anita Sarkeesian's opinion, because to be a true feminist, you don't point fingers unless you can back up your arguments with evidence, but I also agree that people shouldn't be sending sexist comments her way. Arguing for the sake of arguing makes one look like a petulant child, or a politician spoiling for a fight. More importantly than blaming men, or blaming comics culture for sexist approaches to female characters, we should be filling the world with stories and video games of our making if we have a problem. Fight fire with fire, and the written word with more written words, or images.

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