Came across an article tonight written by Amanda Marcotte on The Raw Story titled “Women Against Feminism show how bad arguments against feminism really are” (July 14, 2014). Huh. Wow. I’m not familiar with this woman and don’t keep track of what internet feminists are up to these days, but I have to say that here she comes across so totally oblivious and blind, IMO. So much so that replying to her article line-by-line would be a complete waste of time. I’ll give my overall impression and reaction instead.
The last sentence in the article is what probably bothered me most:
It’s not really respect if you’re required to accept an ideology that holds that women are inferior in order to get it.
What a majorly unfounded assumption. See, it’s shit like this that made it to where I chose to walk away from feminism years back. So many of them, especially online, refuse to see anything outside of their own ideological framework to where they then project that onto others. Here she’s taking issue with a woman who expressed that the men in her life care about and respect her. Why on earth would one take issue with that, when that’s the stated goal of feminism in the first place, is it not?
Beyond that, men can and do care about us regardless of our attitudes about feminism, that not being the deciding factor in the vast majority of cases. Men in my life, meaning those close to me, have never ordered me to believe any sort of ideology, and in fact the bulk of my male friends and relatives aren’t too concerned with feminism one way or the other (or even politics in general). Most (if not all) of the men close to me support the notion of women and men having rights and responsibilities deserving to be acknowledged and respected, and a couple outright consider themselves proponents and supporters of women’s rights. The only exception I can think of was my Papa, and there he and I had to agree to disagree (though the topic of feminism never directly came up between us). Didn’t change the fact that he loved me and went out of his way to do so much for me throughout my upbringing on into adulthood, nor did it make him any less proud of me. And he even knew I worked as a prostitute throughout my 20s (a matter we never discussed but that he was informed of by Grandma) — still didn’t make that conservative old man with outdated ideas of gender roles treat me worse or disown me or act like he didn’t love me just as he always had.
My companion takes more issue with what I’ve shared with him about the men’s rights movement than he does with feminism, but he’d admit to being ignorant about both camps and just doesn’t really care much either way. Politics are usually the farthest thing from his mind since his life revolves around working in a tough, draining environment, day in and day out. He doesn’t have time or energy to care about such matters. He just wants us to treat one another with respect and dignity, and he does listen extensively to my points of view.
My best guyfriend listens to more from me than probably anyone else on earth ever has or would likely ever want to. lol And he’s very close to all the women in his family. He takes care of his aging mother and aunt and remains on good terms with his three sisters, all of whom he speaks well of. He is a calm and patient man (so patient even his father used to tell him he has the patience of Job, because it’s so true) with a huge heart for animals and plants (most especially trees). He helped me out so many times over the years, just because he’s a good friend and a good person. And he openly and adamantly states that he supports women’s rights, though he’s not politically active in that arena. I’ve encouraged him to look at men’s rights-related information, but he’s just not that interested in gender-bent politics overall, most especially what’s being put out by the MRM currently.
Even my (ex-step)Dad used to (and may still) consider himself a feminist despite maintaining conservative political attitudes in many other areas. And the very first time I brought up the MRM to him, he dismissed them as a “hate group” and encouraged me to leave them alone. Based on how much knowledge of their messages? I don’t know. But he and I have discussed feminism for years, and it is I who tends to take a more “radical” view of the situation in terms of seeking beyond feminism. If anything, our conversations there might’ve influenced him away from feminism over time. He works in academe and appreciates most (if not all) of his female colleagues and has stated so to me many times in the past. He went through a divorce that cost him a lot of money, but he doesn’t blame womankind for his incompatibility with one woman (my mother). So far as I’m aware he’s not politically active with gendered causes, but I’ve never known him to be angry at feminism as a movement.
And that’s just a few of the closest men in my life currently. Could go on and on if I were to bring up other friends and ongoing acquaintances. These men aren’t in lockstep against feminism or against women’s rights, so I resent someone trying to paint it that way when she has no idea who she’s even talking to or what our situations may be.
So tell us again about how we out here are being “required to accept an ideology that holds that women are inferior” in order to receive respect and love from our male loved ones. That’s bullshit and it’s so totally disrespectful of what common women are trying to tell the feminist community.
And this assumption that there’s always a man behind the camera, coercing the woman to do his bidding and express ideas he personally prefers is garbage. The only person ever holding my camera is me (or I use a tripod). The men in my life can’t even comprehend why I’ve chosen to spend so much of the last two years familiarizing myself with men’s rights and MGTOW messages. If anything, they’ve discouraged me from doing so since it can at times make me depressed. lol So it is not them who are responsible for pushing me in this direction, and it is not fair to ignore women’s agency to explore inquiries and make up our own minds for our own selves. It is precisely that attitude which is causing women to turn away from feminism, because it’s no longer (assuming it ever was) about what average women want or us having the freedom to express our individual perspectives and they be treated with respect and welcomed. No, it’s about toeing a line, it’s about a political game of one-upmanship, and it stepped over the line to where feminism no longer is being tolerated as claiming to represent the voice of “all women.”
Treating this reality dismissively only winds up highlighting why it is people have grown so disenchanted with feminists and their unwillingness to consider anything outside of the political narrative(s) they embrace. In that movement I felt like a voice lost in the wilderness, ignored and cut-off except when I was complaining about bad experiences endured at the hands of men. But what about the good experiences with men — why don’t they matter? Don’t tell me that they do, pat me on the head, and then turn around and talk as if all men are the enemy. I’m sick of that. Some men are my enemies, just as some women are, and some men are my friends and loved ones, just as some women are. I refuse to see life divided into men vs. women when that overly simplistic way of framing gender relations does not compute with my own life experience and is proving toxic on the cultural level.
That we’re then shamed as if taking such a position implies we don’t care about women or sex disparities where they do exist is just manipulative garbage. Who needs it? I am a woman who cares about women as well men, generally speaking. And I feel no shame in admitting that. We women are not all on one team, nor do we share some collectivist vision of what true progress involves at this point. Gonna have to deal with that and recognize that, by and large, feminism has run its course and now it’s time for a different approach.
Update the next day: My first comment posted on that article included a couple sentences plus a link to this blog entry and was deleted. My second comment posted on The Raw Story this morning did not include a link and instead just offered a simple, straight-forward, short criticism of Amanda’s article and the mindset behind it, with no cursing or antagonistic assertions included, and it too has since been removed. Now, this afternoon, I posted another comment there just to lament the fact that they keep deleting my comments. Undoubtedly it too will be removed by the end of the day. See, that’s what I’m talking about right there — that epitomizes mainstream feminism and their unwillingness to accept any criticism or to allow dissident voices to stand, especially when we’re being very reasonable and not coming from some ideological position they can so easily ridicule and dismiss. Total bullshit.
Less than 5 minutes later and now my third comment on that article has been removed. What assholes.
Just posted a 4th and final comment.
Less than 5 minutes later and, once again, it disappeared. In these comments I have very simply stated that the attitude expressed is what’s turning so many of us off of feminism entirely because criticism and dissident voices aren’t allowed to stand on their own merit. Not once on there did I call that woman a name or degrade her character beyond criticizing her obvious intolerance of women who critique feminism. I was calm and rational and kept my comments brief. In the 4th and final comment, I asked why Raw Story even offers a comment section if they’re going to police and remove dissenting voices to the point where they’re basically encouraging an echo chamber — and that was my harshest comment lobbed at them thus far. But less than 5 minutes later, oh no, couldn’t take it, couldn’t let that stand, gotta remove criticisms from view unless spouted by the ideological opposition they’re aiming to make a case of (in this instance, MRAs, though I noticed one non-MRA dissident female has been tolerated in the comment section). I even opened this last comment clearly stating that I am not an “anti-feminist” and concluded by saying I am not someone interested in blaming all of societal problems off on feminism. Doesn’t matter — rejected. God knows why.
And people wonder why I prefer not to waste my time attempting to communicate with feminists in feminist spaces. I didn’t abandon feminism because of anything any man said to me, I left because feminists themselves are impossible to converse with and too often behave like bitches. Truth be told.
Update July 23, 2014: Checked that article’s comment section again tonight and 3 out of 4 of my comments are now visible. Huh. Weird. Did my original comment (which was not restored) land me in their spam filter due to it containing a link? *shrugs* Who knows?
Says my latest update on the 4th comment posted there is awaiting moderation, but it allows me to see it at least. Before they just went away completely. Is my Ludditeness showing again?
Update July 30, 2014: Removed one of the 3 out of 4 of my comment that were allowed up, not caring for repeating what was already posted.