A Dose of Stupid v.68

It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:

Feminism never causes problems for men

When I read that David Benatar wrote a soon-to-be published book about sexism against men call The Second Sexism, I knew there would be a feminist backlash. There is always feminist hostility directed at anyone publicly talking about men’s issues, especially when that person wants to present a reasoned argument.

So it comes as no surprise that some feminists are taking Benatar to task over a book none of them have (or likely will) read. Melissa McEwan offered her insightful commentary:

The primary decision-makers—the legislators and cultural leaders—who shape and facilitate societies in which violence against men is tolerated and in which men are not valued as nurturers (some of Benatar’s other complaints) are not women, but men. And privileged men, at that.

The oppressions of men identified in the article are natural outgrowths of the Patriarchy—and of the Kyriarchy, which disadvantages queer men, men of color, men with disabilities, poor men, etc. But MRAs are so intractably invested in the idea of the binary “battle of the sexes” that they cannot see their argument is not with feminists/womanists, never has been and never will be.

[...]

Men like Benatar shake their fists and aim their rhetorical arrows at feminists, because they don’t want to hold other men accountable. Thus do they effectively mask the real sexism that is directed at men—the Patriarchal narratives that continue to encourage displays and expressions of a “traditional masculinity” (and the systemic misrepresentation of that construction as evolutionary imperative to discourage alternative displays and expressions) which are increasingly at odds with modern culture.

MxEwan wrote that despite Benatar stating in an interview:

It’s a neglected form of sexism. It’s true that in the developed world the majority of economic and political roles are occupied by males. But if you look at the bottom – for example, the prison population, the homeless population, or the number of people dropping out of school – that is overwhelmingly male. You tend to find more men at the very top but also at the very bottom.

While some of the issues men face existed before feminism came along, others are a unique result of feminist views, and even the prior problems are often worsened by feminist policies. For example, the number of boys dropping out of school, being held back, and failing to graduation is a direct result of changes to the educational system pushed by feminists which were made in an effort to help girls. By shifting the focus to girls, many schools ignored boys’ needs, assuming that boys could just make it on their own. The push to remove competitiveness from school activities is also a feminist position, and that position kills one the very things help boys learn.

McEwan gives the typical “men brought it on themselves” feminist response, yet she never actually addresses Benatar’s point, making her argument, if one can even call it such, come across as a pathetic attempt to absolve feminists of any responsibility for the aftermath of their own policies. Feminists made women the focus of gender issues, they pushed policies that downplayed, ignored, or denied male suffering, they actively oppose efforts to address men’s issues, and then blame men and boys their own problems. No matter what social expectations existed before feminism, there is no denying that our current dismissal of men’s plight is primarily feminist in origin, something another feminist blogger went out of her way to show.

Jo T took issue with Benatar’s position, and like McEwan, her analysis relies solely on feminist rhetoric rather than critical analysis, which is how Jo manages to grace us with such gems as:

“…[men are more likely to] to be the victims of violence…”

Overwhelmingly, this happens at the hands of other men [PDF - see page 13]. And this formulation also elides and downplays the horrible reality of violence against women and girls.

Many feminists trot out this line, and it usually happens because the feminist argument is about who has it worse. Since feminists argue that whoever experiences more violence are most in need of help, by their own logic men should be the focus since men are more likely to be victims of violence. However, that would put a damper on the “women have it worse” argument, so feminists switch to “who commits most of the violence.” But it does not matter who commits the violence because the issue is who are the victims of the violence, and the overwhelming majority of victims of violence are male.

(Coincidentally, the report Jo linked confirms Benatar’s positions: “Men are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than women. [...] Around 15 per cent of men and 7 per cent women of this age reporting that some sort of violence had been used against them. Domestic violence is the only category of violence where the risks for women are higher than for men. Risks of stranger violence remain substantially greater for men than for women, with men four times more likely than women to suffer this form of attack.”)

Of course, that argument is obviously stupid, so in order to negate it some feminists will throw out the “you’re silencing women” line. Except acknowledging that men are more likely to be victims in no way downplays violence against women for two reasons. One, because violence is not a mutually exclusive act. It can happen to two groups at the same time. Two, male victims are typically mentioned as a result of people like Jo only talking about women as victims.

Jo went on to add little nothings like this:

“…Boys lag a year behind girls at reading in every industrialised country.”

How is this the fault of women and/or feminists? I’d say the “man box” view of masculinity, combined with a culture which views reading as a “sissy” activity, has rather more to do with it than a conspiracy of women looking to give their daughters an educational boost.

and this:

“[Men] work longer hours, too…”

Was this statistic adjusted to take into account the fact that women, who are much more likely to be primary care-providers for children as well as for other relatives, tend to work part-time a lot more than men? Again, is this evidence of “sexism” against men – or of devaluing women in the workplace? By itself, it’s pretty much worthless.

Never mind that the primary reason boys lag behind girls is because of the shift in the educational system to focus on girls. Never mind that women make up the majority of teachers, the people responsible for teaching children and making sure they pass their classes. And never mind that there is a stark difference between working at a business in which one gets paid and taking care of one’s children and home.

But perhaps the most insidious comment was this:

“…young men are three times more likely to commit suicide.”

This is an issue I feel especially strongly about, and it disgusts me that MRAs often cynically use it to back up their points. The thought that young men in severe emotional distress may feel unable to talk to others about their problems or to seek help should be of concern to everyone.

It should be, but it is not. One does not see anyone talking about male suicide, unless the males are gay or someone wants to make fun of the issue. One certainly does not see many feminists talking about male suicide, let alone reaching out to boys and men thinking about killing themselves. To my knowledge, no pro-feminist male organization like NOMAS or Men Can Stop Rape ever reaches out to men and boys to specifically help them with their own problems. One does not see Michael Flood, Jackson Katz, or Michael Kimmel talking about this unless they want to beat down “teh Patriarchy.”

Jo blames the lack of concern about male suicide on said “Patriarchy”:

But again, this is a consequence of patriarchy before anything else. “Boys don’t cry”, “stiff upper lip” and the “strong and silent type”: society teaches boys that to be masculine is to be self-contained, to be in control of one’s emotions. Talking about feeeeeelings is ‘girly’, right, and we all know that – for a boy – being called a “girl” is a terrible insult, yes? All this sounds like old-fashioned sexism (rather than MRA Bizarro World anti-male sexism) to me.

Yet she spends the bulk of her post basking in nonchalant, sexist tropes as she attacks men’s rights groups for essentially “whining.” She does the very thing that leads men to keep their emotions to themselves — mocking them and their pain and — and she does it as a result of her feminist views (and a heaping dose of jackassery).

Her entire post punishes men like Benatar for daring to say, “I don’t like the hand I was dealt, and I don’t like that these people over here — these feminists — keep telling me my hand doesn’t suck as they put shittier cards in my hand.”

McEwan and Jo’s posts are examples of the very misandrist hostility Benatar is getting at. This idea that men’s problem are their own, that men caused them all on their own and must solve them all on their own (while also arguing that their problems are not “real” problems) is sexist, it is the predominant view in our society, and it only comes from feminists. Benatar is not pointing at the wrong people; he has got feminists dead to rights.

One can see why some feminists like McEwan and Jo, or those quoted in the Guardian article, would pitch hissy fits over someone calling feminist bigotry and sexism for what it is. No one likes to be called on their bull, especially when they are having so much fun talking shit.

Nevertheless, Benatar’s book is not even out yet. A handful of interview quotes does not an objective analysis make. So before feminists jump all over Benatar for his positions, wait until his book is published so you can read his actual arguments first.

Do not worry. You will have plenty of time to grace us with your stupidity.

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28 thoughts on “A Dose of Stupid v.68

  1. Very interesting write up, you’re very brave! I do believe feminism has become, in some ways a ‘second sexism’. In saying that, I’m not saying their cause is not just. Nor is their work done. However I think the time has come for feminists to start to work on their public profile. When you look at how much they’ve achieved in, what is in grand scheme of history, a very short time – you have to start to wonder why they’re still so confrontational. Aggressive feminism is starting to look like female chauvinism, which will not help their cause.

  2. “And how many of the top earners in the world are male? And how much of the leadership of the world is male. And how much of advertising geared towards (hetero) males? How much gaze is (hetero) male? How much of EVERYTHING is geared towards (hetero) males?

    Yeah, methinks the Guardian is a might bit off base here…”
    Interesting comments, is that a radfem website? It’s full of snark, dismissal, they seem to be quite different to the feminists on the GMP for instance.

  3. Melissa and Jo’s rebuttals are so predictable, I don’t find them surprising anymore.

    They’re so predictable that I take their opinions with two grains of salt instead of one.

  4. The GMP is swinging back to their openly pro-feminist roots. Not only have they recently brought NSWATM over, but their censorship seems to be getting more severe as well. It may be time to regard them as just another feminist echo chamber and move on.

  5. “because they don’t want to hold other men accountable”

    McEwan, here, seems to be expressing the exact inversion of what she knows herself to not want.

    With quality projection like that, she should have no problem finding work in a movie theater.

  6. The GMP linked article is actually on NSWATM, not the gmp from what I can tell so the moderation there would be up to NSWATM.

  7. Archy, I realize that. The entire GMP website is ramping up the censorship of non-feminist voices, not just the NSWATM stuff. Take this article, for instance:

    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/slutwalk-why-they-walk-why-i-walk/

    I posted the following, which was held for moderation and subsequently censored:

    [censored post]

    “Today’s generation faces unparalleled challenges around bullying and harassment that come with our internet age; people living their lives online as much as in person through social media and in the online world of video games. Look at this incident with video gamer Aris Bakhtanians who made extremely offensive and oppressive comments during an episode of “Cross Assault”, a promotional competitive web-TV series, which reflect the sexual harassment, sexist behaviour and offensive language prominent in video game culture. You can see and hear in a compilation of Bakhtanian’s sexual harassing acts and comments in this video.(**Trigger Warning**)”

    Here it is, in all its horror. This is an example of a man feeling entitlement, oblivious to consequence or impact on others. Is this an experience you can relate to? If not, is this a wake up call inspiring you to do something? Whenever we hear discussions of bullying, sex-shaming and sexual harassment, the sexism and misogyny is treated as a after-thought instead of a hot-trail leading to the source of the crime.”

    This entire passage about the supposedly “misogynistic” gamer is nothing but a hollow attempt to cast his words in a different light than the way he obviously meant them.

    Idiotic phrases like “rape that bitch” are common amongst the often puerile members of the video game community. 99.9% of the time such phrases are used against males. In the way that this guy uses such a phrase towards a female, when most males would have shielded her against such crudeness like a fragile damsel, he is in fact showing the ultimate act of egalitarianism. He’s treating a female gamer just as he would a male one.

    The manner in which the author chooses to frame this incident, as well as promoting words such as “rape” in and of themselves as misogynistic (while men and boys are raped in comparable numbers) displays an unmistakable anti-male bias.

    [end censored post]

    Meanwhile, a thought-provoking comment on the same article from a feminist consisting entirely of “lol misandry” is apparently acceptable. I’m done taking the site seriously whatsoever and I will no longer attempt to engage in discussion with the people there. Their “friendly” feminist moderators, with their talk of having no agenda and welcoming everyone, are nothing but a smokescreen while they manipulate the narrative behind the scenes in service to their feminist agenda.

    Essentially, the GMP is feminism’s Good Cop. They just don’t do a very good job at it.

  8. Beste, I did read that and I thought it rather silly. Feminist wrote articles about female suicide long before men’s rights advocates spoke up about male suicide. And the part about downplaying those who try to kill themselves but fail does not hold water. Most suicides are cries for help. We know this because it comes from the mouths of those who tried to kill themselves. Heather does not think about the illogic of her argument. It is far worse to have someone succeed in killing themselves than have them fail. My uncle, one of my friends, and one of my foster bothers killed themselves, but only the latter tried multiple times. While that was hell, it was nowhere near as bad as finding out that he actually did it.

  9. Forweg, keep in mind that Noah Brand (of NSWATHM) is the current EIC. It makes sense that in having a feminist run the magazine that the magazine would take on the EIC’s political position. I do not have a problem with GMP leaning so much to the left or playing to feminists. I do have a problem with GMP’s editors denying the bias and failing to reach out to non-feminist and non-progressive voices. As I noted on GMP, I doubt that they will include any non-feminist blogs in their blog feed. GMP presents an unbalanced reflection of men’s issues and men’s experiences, and if the magazine actually does want to reach men and not feminists, then they need to reach out to those who do not share their political views.

  10. If you attack the author, it will get censored I think as per the new rules. Maybe try say “it sounds like anti-male bias”, avoid stating it as a fact but more as a feeling and it might get past the filter. I see there is talk on the NSWATM of how the GMP is going “MRA” and a few feel afraid to comment there, which is interesting because many of the GMP commentators actually report very similar experiences on some feminist blogs. I’d prefer the comments to go through, regardless of the EIC’s political views, as long as they aren’t offensive/violent/etc.

  11. Archy, I read that as well. My problem is that the same thing does not apply to feminists. Plenty of feminists specifically use words like “sexist” and “misogyny” without couching it in “it sounds like anti-woman bias” caveats. This sort of game gets GMP nowhere very fast. It shores up their feminist base, but it runs away the very men they would like to talk to. The average man is not going to put up with having his comments blocked just because he stated an opinion someone did not like.

  12. I am noticing it too, hell even Noahs recent article generalizing about MRA’s was pretty silly. I haven’t seen any of my comments blocked, I make sure to really specify who I refer to but if they do block them and if it does become just a feminist-uncensored, opposingview-censored area then I think I’d walk. No point having a discussion if opposing views aren’t actually debated.

  13. Toysoldier, I’m glad you wrote this. Earlier today I followed a link on NSWATM to the f-word piece and apparently Ozy or Noah banned me for my slightly provoking comment on it. I’m a reader and occasionally commenter on the blog pretty much from the start. I guess the plan is to turn NSWATM into a complete echo chamber.

    Anyhow, both posts McEwan’s and Jo’s are willfully misinterpreting Banter’s position. I didn’t read the book either but I listened to a BBC interview with him. His statements in the interview don’t resemble the position the two assign to him. In short their arguments rely on a straw man. IMO, this is about power. Feminists won’t tolerate discussions about gender outside of their framework, that is women = oppressed class and men = oppressor class. Even people who write about men’s issues and are sympathetic to the feminist movement (Banter calls himself a feminist in the interview) have to make sure to strictly stay in that framework to avoid feminist disapproval.

  14. I’m getting tired myself of always having every comment I make go into “Awaiting Moderation” mode at GMP. Seriously fed up.

    I recently made a rebuttal to a feminist named Kit and when that got put into “Awaiting Moderation” I was dreading the “Delete button” being pushed by the moderators. Thank god it appeared eventually. Their moderation job is making me extremely paranoid of posting there. Like that one time when I attempted to answer a response to my “Bullied by Girls and Women” article, I got moderated. MODERATED IN MY OWN FUCKING COMMENTARY SECTION!

    They eventually got posted but Jesus Christ, even when they explained they were short on moderators for the job and it wasn’t personal, how in the bloody hell am I supposed to take it whenever a comment that didn’t violate their policies goes into “Awaiting Moderation”? If they’re so hard up on moderators then they should put more effort into attracting them because this is getting aggravating.

    Meanwhile, a comment that Toysoldier spoke of called “lol Misandry” by “A Sex Worker” along with a link is allowed through with no batting eyes.

    Whatever. I’m now in a state where any single thing I say is likely to get slapped with “Awaiting Moderation” no matter how much I try to adhere to their rules.

  15. Eagle, I am not sure how they have the moderation set up. Even though I have limited moderation control here, comments typically end up in moderation if they have too many links or because of certain words. For example, your comment ended up in moderation because of the profanity. As far as I know, GMP uses the same methods, which makes it difficult random people to consistently end up in moderation, especially if they write neutral comments. The only way it could happen by accident is if the thread itself blocks comments until they are approved. But that clearly is not happening, which suggests that either a person’s name, email address, or IP address is queued to automatically go into moderation.

    This is not the first time this sort of moderation thing has happened on GMP, so I doubt it is accidental.

  16. GMP are wary of critique/attacks against GMP itself (Lisa has said as much) and my guess is that they have a list of trigger words triggering moderation and I bet GMP, Lisa, perhaps the article author name etc. is in that list. All of my comments lately there have been put into moderation, but all have eventually appeared. I comment mostly on issues regarding male rape so I guess that might be a reasong why I might have a higher chance of hitting any “moderation”-words.

  17. I comment mostly on issues regarding male rape so I guess that might be a reasong why I might have a higher chance of hitting any “moderation”-words.

    I suspect that plays a role, but do you not find it curious that the moderators would flag words about an issue like sexual violence against males? The people most likely to write about that topic are male survivors, and imagine how they might react to their comments constantly going into moderation while comments about women’s issues seem to get through.

    To me, that undermines their efforts to reach out to that male audience. I wonder how much of this happens because few, if any, of the people running the magazine have ever tried to create a men’s space before.

  18. There could be a lot of triggers for auto-mod, that it might be hard to realize why they’re in moderation. Many of my comments sit in moderation for a bit before they’re allowed, give it time and usually they get posted.

  19. Toysoldier:
    Yeah, having comments ending up in moderation when I havent made any generalizations and have made specific critique of another commenter or the OP does rise my blood-level pressure in cases where the subject matter hits close to home so to speak. I dont’ think I can fault them too much since my essentially identical comment on your blog also ended up in moderation (I can only suspect that it was caused by my use of the words sl_t and g_y or by my gmail address making the anti-spam filter very sensitive.

    But, yes, too much moderation (comments held too long in queue) are undermining their effort – and it also (as I mentioned in another thread) have other negative side-effects where commenters who suddenly receive multiple similar rebuttals (which were written unaware of eachother since they were held in moderation) may feel piled up on. Me and Arcy made a very similar point in both out replies to Sarah. If I had seen his response while I wrote mine I wouldn’t have felt the need to duplicate that point (and vice versa I suspect).

  20. Tamen, my problem with the moderation is that it seems inconsistent. If it is just key word lists, then the lists are so disjointed that it results in random, benign comments getting caught in moderation. If it is because of a specific policy moderating certain types of comments, it makes it look like certain people are not welcome. There is also the pile-on side-effect you mentioned. It might be wise for them to use a similar commenting policy that Feminist Critics use by limiting replies to any one comment until the person has a chance to respond.

  21. I don’t think I’ve ever commented here on why I got banned from No Seriously What About the Menz, so because I think it’s instructive as to how moderation at NSWATM works, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Noah Brand is doing his best (and not necessarily openly or with the knowledge of Tom or Lisa… I think moderators have pretty vast powers there and when a mod is also the EIC..well…) to make the “normal” moderation of his threads and maybe even all threads on TGMP more like that on NSWATM.

    I was banned because of a few comments I made in the comments section of another blog entirely. I was banned without warning and there was nothing in the moderation rules on NSWATM that indicated that somebody could be banned because of what they said on another blog. I was discussing the appearance of a few feminists (and I didn’t even bring up the conversation in the first place) in a way in which I guess Ozzy didn’t like.

    One can draw their own conclusions about what that means. I honestly don’t know though I have my suspicions.

  22. Clarence, someone removed the link to my blog from NSWATM because of my comments on Manboobz, specifically because of my comments about my abusive feminist aunt. So I am not surprised that Ozy banned you.

  23. TS, I have a link you might be interested in for a dose of stupid v70, where can I post it?

  24. Pingback: A Worthy Debate | Toy Soldiers

  25. Pingback: Books: The Second Sexism by David Benatar | EQUALITY 4 MEN

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