Final thoughts on Tooltime9901’s Tropes v. FeministFrequency series

The last video in Tooltime9901’s TvFF series:

Another very good video in a terrific series. I seriously appreciate how reasonably he approached those topics, and I found myself nodding along with most of what he had to say (aside from gaming and television show references since I’m not familiar with much of that). I’d previously judged Anita and her Feminist Frequency channel harshly without delving deeper into her message, and Tooltime9901’s series helped illuminate for me a lot of what I hadn’t the patience to figure out about her arguments for myself.

But right now I’d like to focus on this last video and the many important points mentioned therein. Might as well just break them down and add my $.02 as I go:

  1. Military and selective service drafts aren’t the doing of feminists or women, but is rather based on gender roles and related expectations dating far back in many, if not most, cultures. Women alone do not sacrifice men to fight in battles — this is a societal issue that’s very much been upheld and enforced by men.
  2. For all the talk about how feminists and women in general are not showing much concern for issues that affect men primarily, likewise, it appears most MRAs and men in general aren’t nearly as concerned about issues that affect women primarily. People jump on bandwagons and align with a “team” so as to oppose one another, yet all that typically winds up occurring is folks talk over one another’s shoulders. The reality is that there are some matters that impact one sex more frequently and/or more damagingly than the other, and that deserves to be better understood. But screaming at one another over which sex has it worse is counter-productive in helping us in this exploration. In reality, it breaks down to individuals and their experiences, not all members of one sex or another categorically, and this is why statistics aren’t proving very helpful in making sense out of what all is going on between us.
  3. If first-world problems affecting women are seen as trivial and unimportant, why would first-world problems affecting men be viewed any differently? And why wouldn’t problems within our own society seem of greater consequence to us when these are what impact us most directly? Turning fake pity toward the atrocities occurring in other countries (especially those our military is either actively invading or aligned with) strikes me as little more than a diversion most of the time. Most Americans don’t care that much about the plight of women in Saudi Arabia or little boys in war-torn countries in Africa, so why sit here and pretend that we do? We can barely fathom their realities, and honestly, how often do we even attempt to? How much does their pain affect our lives? So then why are we using them to bolster our arguments with other first-worlders over matters that pertain specifically to our own selves? We’re using their plights to suit our own self-serving purposes — just like a bunch of first-worlders.
  4. Marketing and advertising is wack, going back to Edward Bernays (the nephew of Sigmund Freud) discovering how to use our psychologies against us so as to sell us more shit. Because we respond to sexual images in no way suggests this is the best way for goods and services to be advertised, or that being incessantly bombarded with sexual (to the point of pornographic) and violent imagery hasn’t done us any harm. When marketers play up on gender stereotypes to sell products, whether they mean to or not, they are adding to the impression fed into the public consciousness that these stereotypes on some level accurately reflect reality. In other words, advertisers and marketers are helping shape and frame the public paradigm people are coming up subscribing to.
  5. Because companies are all about turning profit in no way provides an adequate excuse for how invasively and insidiously their ad campaigns and products have penetrated the public consciousness and impacted our interpersonal relations. We, as consumers and citizens, have a right to call attention to these matters and to share our perspectives. That goes for men and women, feminists and MRAs and everybody else.
  6. There truly are enormous social costs that are commonly externalized from corporate considerations. In the realm of economics, anything that can be externalized and thereby overlooked should be. We see this when it comes to states picking up the tab in the form of corporate welfare, and we also see this when it comes to how toying with people’s psychologies so as to sell them shit can wind up bringing about unintended consequences downstream. Corporations are unconcerned about this, but that doesn’t mean we have to be. It’s us, after all, who are feeling these social costs, so why should we not wish to understand their origins and consider what is within our power to support heading a different way?
  7. Gender stereotypes, while perhaps intended to point toward general truths, too often have the effect of caging us against our will. The reality is we each are more than our sex and gender. Of course both men and women are subjected to gender stereotypes, and much of this is determined by the norms, values, and beliefs of a given society and the traditions that flavor it. Which is to say that gender stereotypes are indeed largely social constructs. While some real physiological and psychological differences do generally exist between the sexes, most of what we’re focusing on and arguing over has more to do with expectations handed down and early on implanted in us by the societal matrix we’re raised within. Hence the tremendous variation across cultures in existence today but also spanning back through history. One clear example of this is what’s deemed appropriate expression of emotionality in men.
  8. I personally do believe all this marketing of violence to boys may be intended to create more apathetic men to better serve as cannon fodder in our country’s ongoing wars. It serves the dual function of hyping up fear in women, leading to more calls for police protection, which then helps expand domestic policing and prison programs. All of which can be heralded as job creation, which Americans love to hear, even when such a setup is very likely to prove to be a social detriment; first in so many men seeking alternative employment options and being subjected to wars that in the very least jade them, and second through expanding domestic programs that aim to prey on members of the public (the majority of whom also happen to be men). And yet many men go along with supporting this, perhaps even more so than women typically.
  9. Political equality doesn’t equate with social equality. (Whatever “equality” is supposed to be about anymore.)
  10. The realm of economics has seriously skewed our understanding of morality. Corporations may claim to be amoral, yet people are not.
  11. Sexism is still alive and well. The concept of being female is commonly used to insult men, and that is sexism-in-action. It truly is. There’s nothing wrong with being a woman, and yet apparently it’s the most dreaded thing for a man to be compared to and equated with women. I’ve never understood that myself, but it’s a prevalent attitude. How men can look at this and not grasp the underlying insult toward femininity is confusing. As a woman I am free to look up to men and to admire them and even to wish to emulate some of them, but a man would be ridiculed for looking upon women in the same manner. Likewise, as a woman it seems reasonable that I might fear certain men, yet men who might fear a woman will be looked upon as a patsy and wimp. This deeply-rooted form of sexism lives on and remains largely unexamined by men.
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5 Responses to Final thoughts on Tooltime9901’s Tropes v. FeministFrequency series

  1. AlexC says:

    “There’s nothing wrong with being a woman, and yet apparently it’s the most dreaded thing for a man to be compared to and equated with women.”

    Did any one ever tell you that you have a very masculine jaw line Byenia?

  2. AlexC says:

    Let me rephrase that. If you as a woman are told that you look like a man, behave like a man, or have any traits commonly identified with masculinity would you feel flattered or insulted ?

    I think that is why men don’t like being compared to women.

    Also the masculine jaw line was a joke to prove that point. Sorry if I offended you. 😉

    • Byenia says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever been insulted anywhere near on the level men feel insulted when they’re put down as behaving or looking like girls. One example is my partner, kind as he is to women, taking serious offense to being compared with a woman. Why? He can’t explain it. It’s just an accusation he doesn’t take lightly as a masculine man. And many men I’ve known feel the same way. It’s fighting words.

      However, telling me that I possess masculine traits isn’t really an insult, because I do grasp that everyone is a blend of what may be considered feminine and masculine attributes.But for plenty of men, that’s simply not how they wish to see it, even when they prove to be nurturing and sweet in spirit.To be considered like a girl is for whatever reasons to be considered less of a man. A woman called out for being manly just doesn’t carry quite the same stigma, even if it does bother the woman in question.

    • Byenia says:

      Think of it this way, what do we typically associate with (in the U.S. anyway) either feminine or masculine traits? Consider these dichotomies: softness vs. hardness, strength vs. flexibility, discipline vs. nurturing, giver vs. receiver, independent vs. communal, analytical vs. emotionally-driven, strong vs. weak. They may be false dichotomies, as I believe they are, but these are things that have come to be associated more closely with masculine or feminine orientations. It depends entirely on what criteria is being examined, and oftentimes people argue on a bias, but on the surface level we see these generalities stacking up and generating the common stereotypes. Whether people mean to or not, to some extent we take it to heart.

      In this day and age, we celebrate and elevate (at least in our imaginations) much of what’s considered to belong more so on the masculine end of the spectrum: hardness, firmness, strength, analytical, critical, skeptical, independent, disciplined, ambitious, scientifically- and technically-minded, leadership, etc. Just not so much in women, who are valued for being softer and sweeter and sexier and and weaker and less predictable and physically attractive and more group-oriented, typically speaking. A man who wants to be thought of as a man feels pressure to “rise above” those “whorish” and/or weaker expectations. That may sound gruff, but that seems to be the mindset of a lot of folks. Men generally wish to be thought of as independent, as bringing something to the table rather than being someone supported by another, as being judged on their strengths and what they can do versus their appearance and weaknesses. And whether we like to admit it to ourselves or not, there are differences between the sexes, especially in terms of physical strength and threat level thought to be posed to others. Therefore we women are treated a bit differently, and some of that is really helpful, though other aspects proved oppressive under religions that formulated harsh dichotomies, and there’s always the potential danger of someone physically stronger and capable of overcoming you.

      There are differences worth comprehending, but there are also many grey areas where it’s not so cut-and-dried along sex lines. We humans share an awful lot in common regardless of what sex we belong to. But we women do have the added reliance on protection from capable males, and people today are turning that responsibility over to police officers and other employees of the government. Like we can’t handle this shit among ourselves, which apparently we can’t since we seem to come together to realize where differences tend to be and work together where we’re able to provide for and protect one another. Communities are destroyed and few of us can relate to such an ideal, but it’s worth pondering if you’d like to not live in a police state.

      Anyway, went on side-topics for a while there…but all of this adds up to why there is a differentiation between men and women and why it likely will continue to persist. Men have served in their roles for so long that they can’t help but wish to be identified with them, because that’s what it means to be a man in the eyes of most. Women, on the other hand, have a more flexible situation. We have the freedom to be a lot more things, but also to be dependent if the opportunity arises (especially in times of pregnancy and child-rearing where it’s historically been unavoidable to require help). There’s nothing wrong with admitting we posses weaknesses, yet modern life tries painting it as if we’re locked in some competition and cannot concede to “the enemy,” cannot admit to ourselves that perhaps a 50/50 split of everything under the sun and “equality” on every level for all is a pipe dream that entirely depends on us maintaining high-tech societies and big governments to oversee and enforce such conditions.

      Okay, I’m incapable this evening in keeping from winding all over the place in attempting to reply to you. So I’ll stop for now. I’m just trying to say that, to an extent, I can understand why men feel the desire to set themselves apart from women on some level, and I don’t necessarily object to that. But unfortunately today we’re dealing with great societal pressures to fit some sort of ridiculous stereotype, and that’s gotten to men as much as it has to women, just in different ways. And both sexes are being run ragged by it, and it’s no good how we have things now. We’re behaving shallowly, but whatever. There I go again. But we need each other, now more than ever, and that does appear to require us getting real with ourselves and what we actually value. Because we’re needling one another over some trifling shit these days and missing the bigger picture.

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