Tuesday, September 29, 2009

By any other name you say?

I'm sure you're all heard the saying, "A rose by any other name is still just as sweet right?" Well what if the problem isn't that people are trying to rename the rose but alter the description of the rose's qualities?

Imagine if you will that the rose wasn't talked about as a sweet smelling flower but rather a foul smelling abomination. Think if instead of the red color of the rose being associated with love and affection it were to be likened with blood, evil, darkness, or hatred. Or maybe if instead of placing rose pedals in bed to tell your partner you love him/her they were placed to tell them they are a disgusting freak that should crawl into a corner and die. It would be real easy to make that rose out to be a an enemy of all that is good wouldn't it?

That is exactly what I see happen when I see a lot of feminists so when they talk about men's rights activists (MRAs). For those of you that don't know MRAs are those who are trying to make life better for men. Well it seems that the thought of trying to help men out is a bad thing in the minds of some feminists. So as a result you have some that instead of debating, talking to, or in some way interacting with them they just call them names in an effort to dirty the title.

Rather than acknowledge that there are issues that disproportionally harm men and that they need to step up and do something about it such feminists claim that these things don't exist, or that they really men but actually harm women, or state that since men have some privileges the suffering and pain men face does not matter or should not be addressed. But ignoring the concerns of men is not enough.

Not only will they ignore and try to silence but they will take the time to insult them at every turn. On some of their sites its a general commenting policy to not personally attack or insult people but rather go after the words they say but for some reason MRAs are exempt to this and its open season to call them everything in the book and then some.

Its a good thing no one cares why I don't call myself a feminist...

19 comments:

Rachel Cervantes said...

Danny, I think "MRA" is a bit more complex than those who would make men's lives better. I think it's "make men's lives better at the expense of women." I have a son, and I want the best possible for him, just as I do my daughter. I believe that oppression of either gender harms both. Although some rabid so-called-feminists have labeled me an MRA, I'm not. I'm a feminist. But I believe that men's liberation will only come after women have been liberated.

Danny said...

Nice to hear from you Rachel.

MRAs themselves want to make life better for men and feminists, who can't stand the idea that men aren't just ignoring the issues they face to help women which is a part of the male gender role, have taken it upon themselves to add the "...at the expense of women" part. I've spoken to MRAs who flat out say they do not want to undo the just gains that women have made, they just want men to get some help too. (For example just being the fact that women are taking a larger role in the workplace whereas unjust is how fathers are treated in the family court system.)

But I believe that men's liberation will only come after women have been liberated.
And this is what I'm talking about. Despite the men out there that do horrible things to women there are also a lot of us that have been constantly fed the idea of helping women first, ladies first, ignore our own suffering to ensure the safety of women. I'm done with that. I'm not saying that I will never help women again but I'm not going to help women while my own life, situation, and fate deteriorate under the supposition that once women are taken care of my problems will get some attention.

I find it odd that in one breath feminists will tell men to fix them own problems but then in the next will demand that men drop their own issues and help women first.

Trying to proclaim who should get attention first is not the way to go about liberation.

Rachel Cervantes said...

Ah, Danny, we fundamentally agree: We want life to be better for women AND men. We want freedom from artificial dichotomies that have been built around whether or not one comes equipped with a penis or a vulva, yes? The point where we differ is that I cannot overlook the fact that men, as a group, still have more power and freedom than women, as a group. I maintain that we need to eradicate that disparity first before women OR men can be free. Now, mind you, I'm talking at the GROUP level.

On an individual level, equality can be addressed on a case by case basis. I'm the first howl and jump on my soapbox at the sight of unequal treatment...on an *individual* basis.

I think where we get sidetracked is when we forget the distinction between individual versus group levels. As a group, women are most decidedly in far worse shape than men. But that does not justify mistreatment at an individual level.

Make sense?

Danny said...

I dig.

The point where we differ is that I cannot overlook the fact that men, as a group, still have more power and freedom than women, as a group. I maintain that we need to eradicate that disparity first before women OR men can be free. Now, mind you, I'm talking at the GROUP level.

Whereas I insist that it is not as cut and dry to just say that men as a group have it better than women when you look at the fact that it is a subset of men, Elite Joes, that are at the top and I assure you they do no represent us, Average Joes. And it is unfair to make sweeping generalizations about all of us based on the actions of a subset of us. I've crossed paths with particularly venomous feminists and when I point this out I'm told that they are only a subset of feminists and they don't represent the entire movement. I agree but why can't feminists seem to extend that courtesy to the male gender?

And when speaking about systematic vs. individual it seems to me that feminists have an auto-sort system in which if it disproportionally affects men it is always individual and if it disproportionally affects women it is always systematic as if everything that affects one woman is indicative of all women (unless one women does something wrong then her situation is suddenly not indicative of all women) but everything that affects one man is only indicative of that one man (unless that one man does something wrong then he suddenly represents all men or large portions of men).

Let's say we have a couple in which the husband is the "provider" and wife is the "caretaker". This couple reinforces nearly every gender stereotype you can imagine and there are clear signs they are unhappy.

I myself would come at this from both sides as in why the situation is unfair for the husband and wife and they both need to change whereas a lot of feminists would make post after post about how he has privilege over her and totally ignore how she is privileged over him and constantly comment that he is the only one that needs to change for both of their sakes as if the wife has no responsibility (which touches on feminists who infantilize women but that is another story) in the situation.

What angle would you come at this from?

Danny said...

I dig.

The point where we differ is that I cannot overlook the fact that men, as a group, still have more power and freedom than women, as a group. I maintain that we need to eradicate that disparity first before women OR men can be free. Now, mind you, I'm talking at the GROUP level.

Whereas I insist that it is not as cut and dry to just say that men as a group have it better than women when you look at the fact that it is a subset of men, Elite Joes, that are at the top and I assure you they do no represent us, Average Joes. And it is unfair to make sweeping generalizations about all of us based on the actions of a subset of us. I've crossed paths with particularly venomous feminists and when I point this out I'm told that they are only a subset of feminists and they don't represent the entire movement. I agree but why can't feminists seem to extend that courtesy to the male gender?

And when speaking about systematic vs. individual it seems to me that feminists have an auto-sort system in which if it disproportionally affects men it is always individual and if it disproportionally affects women it is always systematic as if everything that affects one woman is indicative of all women (unless one women does something wrong then her situation is suddenly not indicative of all women) but everything that affects one man is only indicative of that one man (unless that one man does something wrong then he suddenly represents all men or large portions of men).

Let's say we have a couple in which the husband is the "provider" and wife is the "caretaker". This couple reinforces nearly every gender stereotype you can imagine and there are clear signs they are unhappy.

I myself would come at this from both sides as in why the situation is unfair for the husband and wife and they both need to change whereas a lot of feminists would make post after post about how he has privilege over her and totally ignore how she is privileged over him and constantly comment that he is the only one that needs to change for both of their sakes as if the wife has no responsibility (which touches on feminists who infantilize women but that is another story) in the situation.

What angle would you come at this from?

Rachel Cervantes said...

Danny, you're still looking at individual and generalizing to group. Take income, for example: (citing Wiki as I think you're most likely to find that a neutral source): women's income is 66% of men's even though women are rapidly approaching parity in education. Inequality exists in other areas as well. This includes health care, and representation in government. Only 17% of US Senators are women. Historically, women have been the last major group to be empowered. Consider this: African American males were emancipated and grated the right to vote in 1865. Women? Women were given the right to vote in 1920.

Looking at the numbers, it’s quite clear that women as a group have less power than men. That’s the data. Remember, I’m speaking as a group. Now, do individual women have more power than individual men? Sometimes. I’m a professor with a reasonable income and a fairly prestigious job. Do I have more power than the unemployed auto mechanic down the road? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But as a group, yes, we have less power.

The pertinent question might be “Is it ok to disadvantage men in order to give women parity?” What do you think? And, more importantly, what if our positions were reversed? Would you feel the same?

Perhaps even more important might be the acknowledgment that life is not easy for any of us, regardless of gender. Imagine how much harder it is, though, when one starts out with less power because of chromosomal assignment.

Rachel Cervantes said...

So, once we come to agreement about group levels, we can discuss the individual. Yes?

Danny said...

Yes.

Danny said...

Those are numbers I do not dispute but what I see happening is the systematic is used to dismiss the individual or when someone takes it upon themselves to decide for groups they are not a part of what is systematic and what is not.

You know how on tv and in movies how female against male violence is treated as a joke or even encouraged even when not appropriate? Considering how prevalent this is would you say its systematic? I've crossed paths with those who say its not and most of them are women. You know how fathers are mistreated in family courts right? Is that systematic or not? Again most of the ones that I've seen say its not are women.

As for your pertinent question I would say no it would not be okay to do such a thing and we both have a good way to check the reverse. As a black man if this question were about race instead of gender (where men = white and women = black) I would still say no its not fair. As a white woman you can also use those two questions. And I say this because you can't use the systematic to dictate over the individual. Some feminists quickly spout of things like, "When Capital Hill has a 50/50 gender split then we can talk about equality." That makes me wonder if the goal is to ensure that women make up half of government or to ensure that women have the same fair chance to get into government as men and would they support just tossing out enough men to make a 50/50 split regardless of track record and qualifications. I could counter with "When half of all job deaths are women then we can talk about equality." But I don't want to see a drop in male job deaths by way of increasing female job deaths nor do I support just tossing out enough men from those dangerous jobs and putting in women

Perhaps even more important might be the acknowledgment that life is not easy for any of us, regardless of gender. Imagine how much harder it is, though, when one starts out with less power because of chromosomal assignment.
And I'll admit the most I can do is imagine what its like to be a woman. My problem is that while its taboo for men to speak on the life of women it seems to be just fine for women to speak on the lives of men as if they know exactly what its like. Plenty of time I've seen on feminists site women who dismiss things that affect men with nothing more than "I don't think that....." and no one questions it yet for a man to do the same to women is a call to circle the tanks. And I'll say that maybe men don't have as much power as you may think.


I look forward to continuing this.

Rachel Cervantes said...

Good. My point is that we must remember women as a group start out disadvantaged. But we also have to remember that groups are made of individuals. I, and many feminists, deplore mistreatment of any individual, regardless of group membership. The people to whom you refer, though, have seen so much mistreatment of women that they put the group status as primary. That needs to be addressed, yes, but I cannot be as focused as them. Individuals matter to me, regardless of gender.

Sonja Newcombe said...

women's income is 66% of men's even though women are rapidly approaching parity in education

I'm so sick of hearing this crap. It's not true. Why do I say this? Because the "facts" are always an AVERAGE of the YEARLY income. It's never about the HOURLY RATE. If women really were earning less than men, their hourly rate would be less. The greatest failing in looking at an average is that averages are skewed by abnormally high or abnormally low figures. Thus I have yet to see anything that I would consider proof that women are being paid less than men.

Only 17% of US Senators are women

And no-one ever considers that just maybe this is because the vast majority of women don't WANT to be senators.

“Is it ok to disadvantage men in order to give women parity?”

No, not now, not ever. It's already happened - women have ALL the reproductive rights, men have NONE. Men don't even have a guaranteed right to their own children. All a woman has to do is say he abused the kids and he's out of their life. Why else would there be groups like Dad's In Distress (which helps fathers who're suicide risks due to divorce/accusations etc)?

It's FAR past time women got over their inferiority complex and started accepting that they have to go out and get what they want without society pandering to them all the time. In other words: HTFU and grow a pair.

Danny said...

My point is that we must remember women as a group start out disadvantaged.
Agreed. My problem is when people just dictate that men don't start off disadvantaged as well or will only mention men's disadvantages when they can be tied to women. Never a mention of helping men for the sake of helping men.

The people to whom you refer, though, have seen so much mistreatment of women that they put the group status as primary.
And I have no problem with people who decide to make helping women their priority. Its when they then decide for men as a group that men have nothing to worry about because of their gender or that men MUST put the issues that affect them on the back burner because a subset of men are harming women and women should come first. This is the exact bull that males are fed when they are young. This is why men literally work themselves do death because they put their families well being above their own health.

That needs to be addressed, yes, but I cannot be as focused as them. Individuals matter to me, regardless of gender.
I personally would like to see systematic and individual matters addressed. Its just that some people seem to conclude that one is more important than the other therefore they will selectively decide what is systematic or individual based on what they think rather than what evidence shows.

If you look at that post I put up early this morning about this feminist name Julian. I have no issue with him choosing to help women first but I draw the line at his insistence that since SOME men are hurting women then ALL men must accept their suffering until women are helped and he also seems to think that the fact that some men are hurting women is proof that systematic hatred of men does not exist.

In other words its people like him and his crowd that give credibility to the "man hating" feminist stereotype.

Rachel Cervantes said...

Sonja...let me say this as respectfully as I can: You have your head up your ass.

Danny said...

Now now Rachel no need for the harsh words. By all means counter with arguments that attack what she said but there is no need to say anything like that. And besides some of what Sonja says is true.

Danny said...

I'm so sick of hearing this crap. It's not true. Why do I say this? Because the "facts" are always an AVERAGE of the YEARLY income. It's never about the HOURLY RATE. If women really were earning less than men, their hourly rate would be less
I would think that they are. However one thing I question is the lingering insistence that the entire wage gap is due to sexism. I've never seen any evidence that men make more than women SOLELY because of sexist employers.


In other words: HTFU and grow a pair.
There is no need to try to link testicles with courage. I assume that was supposed to be GrowTheFuckUp?

Rachel Cervantes said...

No, Danny, it's not true. And I've had enough of that nonsense to last a lifetime.

This is your blog, and I have always found you reasonable and of good heart. However, I have no patience with .... well, I've said what I needed to say. Stay well. Hope to see you around the Windmill sometime. I"m out of here.

Danny said...

By some of what Sonja says is true I was talking about the reproductive rights part. When it comes to reproduction the current discourse can be summed up in "her body her choice his body his responsibility". Even with the current tug of war of abortion rights for women men are pretty much at the mother's and court's mercy once he ejaculates. But while its common practice to tell him he should have kept it in his pants its shaming to tell a woman she should have kept it out of her pants. This is a part of what meant by the assumption that men somehow have everything laid out for them and have no worries.

Hopefully you are just backing out of this particular discussion. You're always welcome here.

Sonja Newcombe said...

If women are indeed paid less per hour than men, I've seen no evidence of it. Every report, every last bit of research, is based on an average of weekly or yearly incomes, or of superannuation. I've stated my issue with using averages to measure this supposed disparity. All my personal experience says that this kind of sexism doesn't exist. In fact, I was paid more per hour than my husband in my first full-time job, though he was more qualified than I was, and we were both contracted by the same company. By all rights, he should have been paid more than I was.

And no, it means "Harden the Fuck Up". And I've made no reference to courage, nor does anything I have said relate to courage at all. What I mean is that these whining women who play the victim card so often need to just get over their supposed victimhood and get on with life. What good is getting something when you have done nothing but complain in order to get it? Where's the satisfaction, the sense of achievement?

Most of what I have accomplished in my life is due to nothing but me and my own hard work. The rest has either been bestowed on me (for which I am very grateful), or through combined efforts. I couldn't live with knowing that I'd only got something because I bitched until someone gave it to me in order to shut me up.

Jim said...

"Danny, you're still looking at individual and generalizing to group. Take income, for example: (citing Wiki as I think you're most likely to find that a neutral source): women's income is 66% of men's even though women are rapidly approaching parity in education."

Indeed, rachel, let's look at income - real income, the money a person actually has at her or his disposal. That may very well not have much to do with thier pay. Who has the most dis[osbale income in this country? Who controls the spending in this society?

http://she-conomy.com/report/facts-on-women/

So where you see a disadvantage to women based on thier pay, actually there is a disacdvantage to men, because the men are earning that money and the women are spending it. And more evidence is to be seen in the bias of advertizing - advertizers are absoluetey shamless whores and they pander after the richest johns, or in the case the janes.

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