Just a thought (clipped from a response I made to a comment on an old post)

9 Jul

The problem these days is that men have (intentionally or otherwise) misinterpreted the meaning of equality. Men think they ought to be considered equally put upon simply because they can come up with an example of a time a man suffered. They, from their loftily oblivious position, don’t have to think very hard about the issue at hand. If they can come up with a single example to show that they, too, have at one time or another been victims, then they are off the hook and don’t need to acknowledge their privilege. They argue that if women want equality, then women have to be willing to give men equal room to whine about what they’ve been made to suffer. They don’t see the big picture, but rather each tiny incident as if it weren’t connected to larger social forces. Hence, you have men complaining about some overblown case of a false rape accusation but unwilling to confront the reality of what it means to be female in a culture in which women’s sexuality is seen as the property of men. Or you see men suing bars that have ladies’ night because it’s not fair to make men (who make more money than women) pay a cover when women don’t have to, taking no account of anything other than the “unfairness” of unequal cover charges. It’s similar to the whole, “If black people can say nigger, why can’t I?” bullshit. It’s utter tomfoolery, but it’s the crux of every MRA argument, this conception of equality that’s completely myopic (at best) and/or dishonest.


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13 Responses to “Just a thought (clipped from a response I made to a comment on an old post)”

  1. Windstorm July 9, 2008 at 6:26 PM #

    Absolutely, Nine. Perfectly said.

  2. Claire (CJ) July 9, 2008 at 6:37 PM #

    YES. This is something I’ve known instinctively, but have never been able to articulate as well. Rock on, ND!

  3. Anonymaus July 9, 2008 at 7:50 PM #

    THANK YOU for articulating that concept so well. I have an otherwise good friend who has recently started developing some frightening MRA sympathies, and every time we get in a discussion about gender rights issues I end up sputtering like an idiot because my flabbergasted, frustrated brain didn’t come up with these eloquent, concise words that explain exactly what I’ve been trying to say.

  4. A.Y. Siu July 9, 2008 at 8:13 PM #

    In my mind, it’s just evidence that established systems of privilege and oppression are not ultimately for the good of anybody. Even the privileged groups experience negative repercussions from such a system. Life is not a zero-sum game of “I win and you lose or vice versa.” The best way to improve society is to have mutualism and equality.

  5. pload July 9, 2008 at 8:18 PM #

    This is something I mentioned briefly in the comments on my blog and plan to blog about more in the future. The real issue at stake here is that making women equal with men results in a loss of male privilege.

    Men get benefits right now simply because they are men. If you make things more even (for example, changing the definition of rape or mandating equal pay for equal work), then men see a reduction in their ‘rights.’ They won’t be able to indiscriminately fuck women or they’ll get paid less for a job they have now (because equal pay for women will depress salaries for men). Men see that as in intrusion upon their rights. They are losing something as a direct result of women getting more rights.

    Now male privilege as it currently stands isn’t fair. So there is no actual justification for them to be upset about adjusting the balance. But that hasn’t stopped the backlash over affirmative action (or see the ERA fight, which is before my time, but still a poignant example). People don’t like losing things they see as being owed to them. And men have a long experience of reaping the rewards from female debasement.

    But I don’t see it so much as truly being a question of equality as being male resistance to changing the status quo. The fight for ‘male equality’ is just a stalking horse for the real issue, which is that most men are fine with women having equal rights as long as it doesn’t cost men anything. Which is impossible. Hence the resistance from men.

  6. Nine Deuce July 9, 2008 at 8:22 PM #

    Exactly. I wrote about that in my MRA post.

  7. Konservo July 9, 2008 at 8:43 PM #

    The problem these days is that men have (intentionally or otherwise) misinterpreted the meaning of equality. Men think they ought to be considered equally put upon simply because they can come up with an example of a time a man suffered.

    I’m sure this is true of some men and other special groups advocates. It’s had for some people to understand that social equality and freedom does not mean the loss of individuality. Each one of us will have unique experiences and will develop his or her interests and skills in accordance with his or her wishes. The solution to “ladies night” (or whatever) is simple: stop frequenting that establishment. To be free and equal does not mean that we must be subjected to equivalent violations an equal number of times, that’s ridiculous and, in fact, a sort of pre-determined state of being which is the opposite of what it means to be free.

    For me, freedom is the formal guideline that alone allows human-kind to be equal. Equality is a relationship between two or more human-beings, each human being free provides the framework for this relationship to manifest itself. This is not to say that humans will treat each other justly, I’m just saying that it’s the only way authentic justice can occur. I draw a distinction between artificial justice (which is imposed upon human-beings in courts by the government) and authentic justice. Authentic justice is the state of equality that exists between human beings when they exercise their freedom harmoniously, this implies a sort of voluntary co-existence in which no one individual or group is subordinate to any other.

    Wait, what are we talking about again.

    :)

  8. Nine Deuce July 9, 2008 at 8:50 PM #

    I was wondering where you’ve been.

  9. Genevieve July 10, 2008 at 1:57 AM #

    Ugh! I HATE the “why can’t I say the n-word” question. Why? Because anyone can say any word whenever they want. There is nothing to stop a white person from going out into the streets and screaming every words which could offend a person of color at the top of hir lungs.

    But that doesn’t mean you get to do that and not get people thinking you’re a racist. Words like that were used for centuries as a way to make black people feel inferior to white people. And until society moves far enough forward that the attitudes from those times truly are seen as being ‘a thing of the past’ rather than just something that still exists but people often pretend does not in “polite company”…well, until then, it’s never going to be a word white people can use with out suspicion.

    Wow. That was a tangent.

  10. Nine Deuce July 10, 2008 at 2:06 AM #

    It’s not really a tangent. People get upset about not being allowed to say the n-word because they refuse to see the broader context in which the word exists. I often hear people saying that black people call white people crackers and use the n-word amongst themselves, and so white people ought to be allowed to use the n-word. They won’t confront the fact that the effect isn’t the same, that calling a white guy a cracker doesn’t matter when that white guy can laugh it off and say, “Oh yeah? Well, I may be a cracker, but I still run everything!” There isn’t any power contained in the insults an oppressed group deploys against the oppressor, but there is when the situation is reversed.

    I think that’s fairly similar to men taking a small example of a man having to suffer some kind of minor trouble and equating it to the whole of what is happening when women suffer something similar. Men often claim that there are more and more men being objectified in advertising, but they fail to see that the men who are objectified are choosing to be, and the objectification ends when those men decide it will. No such choice exists for women because we are reduced to our bodies without our permission all the time. But they won’t (or can’t) see that, and so equate the two.

  11. plainjane July 11, 2008 at 2:35 PM #

    Oh, for cripes sake. If I hear that bullshit whine about the blatent injustice of ladies’ night one more time, my eyes are going to roll right out of my head. Doodz, ladies’ night ultimately benefits YOU. No cover and cheap drinks for ladies means that not only will more women be drawn to the establishment, but also that they will consume more alcohol than they would if they had to pay full price. Your female meat market is expanded, with the goods now either feeling more willing to have sex with you, or being more vulnerable to your taking advantage of them. Either way, it is hardly evidence of male oppression. I avoided bars on ladies’ night due to the extra rapey brand of male that generally attended. If bars started having men’s nights, men would go and complain that it was such a sausage fest.

    Even pretending for a minute that ladies’ night were evidence of sex discrimination, it’s not in any way comparable to being denied the right to vote, the right to credit in one’s name, equal pay, reproductive agency, and the right to exist without fear in a public space. So STFU, whiney babies.

  12. Genevieve July 11, 2008 at 8:29 PM #

    PlainJane–
    The New Yorker profiled a guy like that last year. Roy den Hollander. Obsessed with ending Ladies’ Night, but not with ending any of the traditional discrimination against women. Y’know, it’s one thing to pay more for alcohol one night a week at bars no one is forcing you to go to. It’s quite another to do the same work as a man and still get paid on average 75 cents to his dollar, for your entire career, which you almost certainly need to do, in order to survive.

  13. Immir March 6, 2010 at 7:17 AM #

    Speaking of MRA’s… Holy Christ, has anyone else taken a look at ‘Principlas 101: Feminism manhood and you’?
    ??!!
    Listen to this text from the ‘Women Shielded From
    Sexual Accountability’ chapter….

    “Even though women complain about being objectified by men, they completely ignore the hypocrisy of sexualizing their own appearance. Mothers allow their daughters to wear makeup, dress in revealing clothing and flirt with boys. Permission to entice and provoke sexual response from boys is permitted as early as elementary school.

    Adult females systematize this vain self-objectification even further. Countless women buy from, publish articles about and actively promote billion-dollar make-up, fashion and cosmetic surgery industries aimed solely at drawing attention to physical appearance.

    But what about boys? Are they allowed to respond to such provocation? What protections and allowances does society afford them? The answer: none. Society requires men to shoulder the entire burden of sexual responsibility for both gender’s actions.

    Women fail to see the connection between their behavior and its possible consequences. Accountability for one’s appearance is ignored as Feminism encourages shifting blame onto men for any negative reactions. Men find themselves demonized as perverts for staring, animals for desiring, and predators for seeking.”

    End of text

    Sounds to me like they WANT us to stop dressing in ways designed to please men. I mean, it sounds like they think we’re idiots for doing it, so…

    And how about stopping being strippers and centrefolds so we can be more sexually responsible? Or so that we won’t PROVOKE them…

    Poor guys. Having to deal with cleavage. I can see why you need protection from US.

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