Wednesday, June 1, 2011

These are supposed to be solutions?

So a while back the folks at Good Men Project posted an article by Amanda Marcotte about how feminism is supposedly the solution to issues that MRAs bring up. Let's take a look.
Problem: Men are more often the primary or even sole breadwinners of nuclear-family households.

MRA explanation: A matriarchy of spoiled women have managed to get men to pay for it while they sit around on their butts eating bon bons all day, while the children scamper angelically past them, requiring little to no work.

Reality-based explanation: Women still make less than men in the workplace, but still do more free labor at home, even when they work full time. Plus, many men feel scaling back or quitting their jobs is emasculating. So, when someone in a couple decides to scale back or quit a job to maintain the household, it’s usually the wife. But, for many families, women just simply do more for less pay. Being at home is no picnic for women, since it reduces future earning potential. Plus, being around kids all day can be a little maddening.

MRA solution: Women en masse should demonstrate our gratitude for this financial support of some of us by giving up on fighting for equality, especially equal pay. Also, no more child support.

Reality-based solution: More feminism. Women should get paid the same as men, men should do as much housework as women, and men should treat domestic labor as real work, instead of as emasculating. Workplaces should be more flexible for parents of both genders. If that happened, more women would work outside the home, and more men would cut back work hours for family.

The first flaw here is in her "reality-based explanation". Notice how she says absolutely nothing about the fact that society forces men to do the role of "the provider". How did society do that? The system that is in place has people convinced that a man's work is a big part of his identity. If he doesn't work (or depending on what work he does) he is not a real man. And its not like today's men came up with this stuff on their own. This illusion that a man must be the provider isn't maintained by men and men alone. And don't give me that bull about women being totally innocent either. Yes women are getting shorted on this but let's all please quit pretending that women do not engage in some of the very behavior that supports the "if you don't provide (or provide enough or provide in the right way) then you aren't a real man" mentality.

The second flaw is her "MRA solution". While there some MRAs that think that nonsense there are actually a lot of them that want women to get out there and work too. Some of them may feel that way for the reason of "see how that feels" but they know that expecting women to demonstrate "gratitude for this financial support of some of us by giving up on fighting for equality" will just lead to men continuing to be expected to be "the provider". And maybe if custody was enforced as diligently as child support they would calm down about that too.

Next we have:
Problem: Men have to do all the work asking women out, and women are often hostile to men’s overtures, which hurts men’s feelings.

MRA explanation: Women are lazy princesses, who enjoy forcing men to dance for the pussy, and then enjoy shutting them down, because it strokes petty female egos.

Reality-based explanation: These are two separate issues. Women reject men forcefully because 1) a lot of overtures are actually just harassment, and 2) even men who are sincerely hitting on you sometimes are really rude and entitled about it, requiring a forceful response. (Plus, some MRAs experience all rejections as women being too big for their britches, making it impossible for a woman to say no without being labeled a bitch.) Women don’t approach men very often, because doing so often gets you labeled slutty, bitchy, or desperate, or sometimes all three.

MRA solution: Pay a lot of money to creepy men who label themselves “pickup artists” and who promise to teach you how to get any woman you want in bed. The method usually involves taking an abusive posture to women, and learning to identify insecure women, extracting sex from them through bullying. You know, instead of doing something as quaint as sleeping with women who actually want to have sex with you.

Reality-based solution: More feminism. A world where rape victims weren’t denounced because they were overly flirty, where women weren’t mocked because they acted “like men,” and where the word “slut” had no meaning is one where women would feel freer to hit on men. Plus, a world where women weren’t harassed on the street, or where they could tell men “no” and be heard the first time, would be one where women weren’t immediately suspicious of every man who approached them.
I like how the "reality-based explanation" magically absolves women of anything resembling culpability for the f'd state that dating culture is in these days. So according to her the reason dating culture is so f'd is because men are either harassers or entitled jerks and women don't take initiative for fear of slut shaming. Great. And notice how she explains away truly shallow women in that "MRA explanation". So apparently such women do not exist and are figaments of men's (well she probably means men but since are a mixed bag in her eyes she has to label it "MRA" so we know its bad, not the first time I've seen that) imaginations.

As for her "MRA solution" don't pay it much mind after she mentions "pickup artists" because she hates them and has no problem generalizing them in the worst way, which of course manages to sweep away the fact that at least they are willing to say something to guys looking for advice and the fact that there are worthwhile things to the PUA community. Better than just sitting back and bitching and generalizing men (thankfully a feminist by the name of Clarrise Thorn is doing something that a lot of feminists don't seem to want to do, actually talk to men about their fears, anxieties, and experiences around dating and sex rather then just telling us what they are and writing us off as privileged whiners). And frankly given the venomous opinion Marcotte has of PUAs I wouldn't trust her thoughts on them anymore than I'd trust a Klansmen's thoughts on racial purity equality.

And her "Reality-based solution" is incomplete. Sure it would be nice to see women take the initiative on dating. It would also be nice if men were relieved of the expectation, almost demand, that they take initiative on pain of having their manhood questioned (by men and women). It would also be nice to see men actually being able to look for advice on dating/sex culture without having their manhood questioned or being written off as pervert or being thought of as expecting women to do it all for them.

On to workplace deaths:
Problem: Men are more likely to get killed at work.

MRA explanation: Some see it as proof men are hated, oppressed, and being used by women who want to steal all their money and then, apparently, kill them. Some just see it as evidence of anti-male workplace inequality, invalidating issues of sexism. Either way, feminists should just shut up.

Reality-based explanation: Some of the most dangerous jobs out there are ones where women are either formally barred from entering, or informally discriminated against. This is in part a protection racket, keeping jobs from women who want them, because they’re either good pay for relatively low education, or the only game in town. This includes everything from fire-fighting to coal-mining. The military has formal discrimination that keeps women from the more dangerous but higher-paying combat roles.

MRA solution: They don’t really see this as a problem needing a solution, so much as a solution to the problem that bothers them, which is feminists’ pushing for women’s equality in the workplace. They hope this can be a trump card to shut people up about equal pay and opportunity.

Reality-based solution: More feminism. Shut down all formal discrimination against women, and create programs that make it easier for women to get into these professions. Stop informal harassment of female workers that keeps them off the job. Educate young girls about their options to take these jobs. Eventually, you’ll get parity in dangerous jobs, and women will, as a side effect, be killed at the same rate as men.
Again notice how Amanda explains away women who really do use men for their money as an "MRA explanation". Also notice how she leaves out the MRAs that see it as evidence of anti-male inequality in the workplaces, adding to the list of issues of sexism. No because according to her no MRA would ever acknowledge that there is sexism against men and women. And of course the poor innocent feminists being told the shut up.

What a nice "Reality-based explanation" she has there. Apparently there is no intention by the few elites at the top using that discrimination to keep men and women in their separate places where they are the most useful, or "getting rid of the competition", or winning brownie points with women by looking like they are the ones looking out for them. Nothing to do with years of socializing men to think that when the chips are down and shit hits the fan our lives aren't really worth as much as women's (via the belief that "a real man would give his life up for a woman".) No no we (that would all of us men) are just out to hurt women for the pleasure of hurting women.

She finally manages to come up with an "MRA solution" that might actually make sense. While they are certainly doing a better job of raising awareness of the issue that anyone else they don't seem to be much on acting against it. But at least they got part of it down pat (which is more than I can say for a lot of other folks).

Can I get some "don't socialize boys and men to think that we must be the provider", "don't socialize men and boys to think that our lives are worth so much less than that of girls and women that we must do the dangerous stuff", and "don't socialize man and boys to think that doing dangerous stuff is a proof of manhood" with that "Reality-based solution" as well?

And finally the concept of "Ladies Night":
Problem: Ladies Night, where bars often extend a drink special to women and not to men.

MRA explanation: One MRA who doggedly sued repeatedly over this issue claims that Ladies Night is proof of the matriarchal conspiracy to use pussy power to deprive men of their hard-earned money, one $3 drink at a time.

Reality-based explanation: Bars that become sausage parties start to lose business, because neither women nor men want to go there. Drink specials bring in groups of women, and the men will follow. The men tend to benefit more, because women still have to pay the price of fending off unwanted advances just to go out and have fun with friends.

MRA solution: Ban Ladies Night. Complain when you can’t find any cheesy bars with hot women for you to pester.

Reality-based solution: Ban Ladies Night or don’t, because who honestly gives a crap? The only people who stand to lose out are douchebags complaining that they can’t find cheesy bars with lots of hot women to pester.
Actually that "MRA explanation" isn't too far off the mark. I'm sure I'm not the only person that's come across women that have no problem using "pussy power" to get free drinks (and more if the "relationship" goes beyond the club) and also have no problem with men who are silly enough to fall for it. She may be talking about Roy Dean Hollander when she says "that one MRA who sued over....". Well I'll at least give him one thing, at least he's going after the game and not the players (because my money says that if he were going after individual women someone would say that he should "don't hate the player, hate the game").

All in all she is actually making sense in some parts of her post. Problem is I think she's a bit premature to declare that feminism is the answer to the things MRAs bring up, especially when its a dice roll on whether a given feminist will even acknowledge them in the first place. But we're supposed to believe that feminism as a whole is the solution. So feminists are not a monolith, should not be expected to solve men's or MRA's issues for them but they have all the answers to them though?

Please. Its things like this that make me a non feminist (versus an anti feminist, yes there is a difference). They have good ideas. They've gotten major issues on the table. They have done good things and are still doing good things. But they have not done anywhere near enough to back up the claim that they have the answers to everything and the rest us should just join them. Not by a long shot.


uremo said...

I don't know, Danny.
Are you against any of the feminist organizations current US projects, such expanding the definition of rape, or doing things such as described at the False Rape Society blog to lower the evidence requirements on college campuses?

If so, I'm sure there are plenty who will call you "anti-feminist" -because, to many of these ideologues being critical in any way, shows bad faith.

Danny said...

Sadly you are right Uremo.