Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why do some feminists think they have exclusive rights on equality?

Last week there was a thread at Feministe on the subject of women who pressure men into sex. Well the thread kinda blew up and the comments are closed, which is why I don't mind bringing it up now to vent a little.

I had said a few things already in the commentary but there was one particular comment that I just had to respond to:

Sexual crimes against women are used to threaten, castigate and control all women. They are used to define women’s experiences of sex, of college, of marriage, of everything. Sexual crimes against men do not.
Really? The idea that men cannot be raped because we want sex all the time isn’t used to define men’s experience of sex? The idea that if a man turns down sex with a woman his sexuality and manhood come under question isn’t used to define and control men ? The idea that if a man is raped it is a sign that he isn’t “a real man because he LET it happen to him” isn’t way of trying to control men?

I’ll be the first to agree that the definitions cast upon men on those subjects are different and damaging in different ways than they are to women but to say they don’t happen is wrong.

Well now we can't have something like pointing out that someone's presumptions are wrong now can we? Check out this out:

Danny, given that your blog links to articles denying the existence of male privilege and have posts commenting that “you suppose” you are grudgingly pro-choice, and that you are not a feminist–I feel a little less insane now for the sense that this thread has some elements of the MRA crowd. You define MRA’s on your blog as “those who are trying to make life better for men” and propogate ugly feminist stereotypes. (such as “Now this [treatment of MRA's] is not some excuse to just right off the entire movement as a bunch of man-hating power trippers because they aren’t (well all of them aren’t anyway).”

Sorry, the little parenthesis doesn’t make it all better.

Men (be they trans or cis) are not the oppressed class when it comes to sex. Full stop. Yes, stereotypes about masculinity hurt men, especially when it come to reporting their own rapes and being taken seriously. No one is denying that here. But stop trying to talk your way into men being just as much of the sex class as women are. It ain’t so. AND IT DOESN’T MEAN MEN CANNOT ALSO BE RAPED.

I’m sorry if it seems off topic but I really have had the sense that parts of this thread are on an MRA board, and I think this illuminates why.
(bolding by me)

Okay neverminding the person attacking and attempt at trying to dismiss me for the wrong reasons (and that fact that this person thinks they properly sized me up by only browsing my blog roll for less than 30 minutes) what I want to talk about is the bold part.
and that you are not a feminist
Since when was not being a feminist grounds for someone being wrong, a bigot, a hater, or anything else? Now I can understand that being for equality is important but I have yet to encounter a single movement that is so undeniably correct that it should actually be a standard that one must meet in order to be considered right about a subject. But apparently that is not the case here for not being a feminist seems to be enough to invalidate the things I say.

So much for feminism being about not making assumptions right?

Okay I'm done venting now.


elementary_watson said...

Honestly, did you really expect that no one would respond to your post as that person did?

There will always be some feminists on such threads who say that sexual crimes against women hurt all women while sexual crimes against men are single, context-less incidents hurting no men except the direct victims. I just can't warm up to an ideology whose moral judgments on crimes against members of a group X depends upon how often they happen to members of group X compared to members of group Y. That is a notion of "ethical behaviour" which is completely alien to me.

Sonja said...

It's all about "privilege" to them, don't forget. And because you're male, you're "privileged".

Also don't forget that feminism is about equality FOR WOMEN. Not men, because y'know, men're "privileged".

Maybe once they stop viewing everything through a victim lens, they might actually start looking for true equality for everyone.

Anonymous said...

I seem to be spectacularly un-talented at leaving my name in your "your name here" box. Hmmm. Anyway, that's my comment up there. I think the whole thread got a little (a little?) out of hand, and the prime point is that most of us did agree that men can be victimized and should be taken seriously as sexual assault victims.

I do take some issue with people who openly identify as "not-feminist" commenting on feminist sites, mainly because it seems to lack good faith and/or be counter productive, but it's a week later and I'll admit that I mostly fisked you because I was pissed at being called a rapist for poking my husband when he was tired. Which I don't actually think you were the one that did. Sorry!

Danny said...

There was certainly a lot going on in that post and I was mostly going off on someone's insistence that sex doesn't bear any negative impacts on men. I really wasn't trying to say that men had it as bad as women in fact trying to get into who has it worse is a waste of time in my opinion. I was merely trying to correct the notion that society's views on sex don't harm men.

As for being nonfeminist I just don't feel like going through the nonsense that title comes with. Honestly I actually agree with a lot of what they say and feminism is a great way to learn about the lives of women. I simply don't think its the end all be all of equality that some of them think it is.

hopeless_case said...


I read the thread on feministe (and your comments in it) with great interest.

What floored me about the thread was the number of commentators that thought the idea of women sexually assaulting men was worth taking seriously. Many of them were running their minds over their interactions with their male partners and wondering at what it must be like to have your manhood questioned if you ever turned down a request from your female partner.

I am so used to seeing feminists deny that it is possible that men are harmed by society (or women) in any way worth thinking about.

I was greatly encouraged by that.


hopeless_case said...


You were pissed at some of the other women at feministe for calling you a rapist (which I agree was absurd on their part) so you took it out on Danny and MRAs in general?

BTW, why is commenting respectfully on a feminist blog not in good faith unless you consider yourself a feminist?

Anonymous said...


You were pissed at some of the other women at feministe for calling you a rapist (which I agree was absurd on their part) so you took it out on Danny and MRAs in general?

BTW, why is commenting respectfully on a feminist blog not in good faith unless you consider yourself a feminist?

That's two different questions, nu?

1) Um, yeah? Hence, the apology. I mean, no, I tend not to be fond of a lot of MRA rhetoric when applied to feminists, and I did feel like parts of that thread read like an absurdist version of an MRA board instead of a feminist one. (To wit, women are evil rapists because they wake their husbands up for sex.)

2) So, here's the thing. I think you of course have an abstract "right" to comment whenever you darn well want to on the interwebz, and the moderators can decide if you should be there at their discretion. What can be frustrating about non-femininsts and non-womanists on sites like Feministe is that they can be so far away from the basic precepts we all agree on that they derail the conversation. When they comment DIS-respectfully, it's actually less of a problem, because you can ban them and see the problem more easily. When they comment "respectfully," you waste a lot of time and energy re-hashing fairly complicated arguments you've had before, before realizing you've had them before, realizing what position the person is coming from, and realizing that in fact they are not coming from the common precept you assume visitor to X websites are from. THEN you have to have the tortuous argument about "why don't you welcome conflict and arguments about other opinions" which they don't realize you have EVERY damn day when you are NOT on website X.

That make sense? I'm not saying Danny specifically was doing the above, but you asked what the more general issue was.

hopeless_case said...


I see what you are saying now, although I don't think the sentiment "women are evil rapists because they wake their husbands up for sex" is likely to be expressed from any corner of the MRA movement.

I think that point was being made in the thread by women who want the "men are evil rapists because they wake their wives up for sex" to be unambiguously true, and realized that without the first statement also being true, they could easily be accused of holding a double standard. So they decided to defend the second in order to secure the first.

I don't see that as emerging from typical (or extreme) MRA concerns at all.

Sonja said...

Really? Because feminism really doesn't reflect on my life as a woman at all. Most feminists would put it down to me being privileged, I suppose.

For example, one of the most liberating things for me is to ignore the road rules and ride my motorbike like a hoon for a short while. I get a real kick out of it, and it's partly why I can't stand the thought of selling it.

Danny said...

Well you see hopeless there are feminists out there that do actually consider the harm done to men by society and even more there are some that will actually take the time to listen men and not just depend on their own presumptions.

They're out there and that is why I refuse to become an anti feminist.

Danny said...

Yeah it is true that accusation of privilege is one of their few counter arguments. But sometimes I do agree they are right.