I always find discussions with feminists enlightening. For a group of people who want people to listen to them, they tend to be very poor listeners. For a group of people who do not want others to take their critiques personally, feminists tend to take any criticism about them and their views very personally. I am fascinated by this because feminists, like most ideologues, fail to see the irony in their actions.
Take, for example, Jamie Utt’s reaction to the criticism his piece 10 Ways Men Can Combat Sexist Entitlement in Public. The piece received a far amount of criticism, some of which Utt deleted. He then responded to the criticism:
Most generally, I find it really troubling and somewhat telling that so many people are towing the “not all men,” “this is really an issue of basic respect for all people,” and “women do some of this stuff too” tropes throughout the comments. While yes, all of these relate to basic issues of respect, there is a reason that the post is so directly targeted at men: men disproportionately express entitlement in public spaces. The very fact that some of you are demanding “evidence” of this is an expression of this exact entitlement, as the cumulative voices of the women around us are not enough. Just take one day to listen to the ways that women express having had their bodies touched and their space violated, and we can see that this is an issue men must take up. Again, this is not to say that women or non-binary people do not act in entitled ways that violate others’ space, but it is wholly incomparable to the ways men do this. If that’s not evident, then I would encourage some reflective listening.
I found this logic problematic and commented on it:
Your response is a fine example of circular logic and argumentum ad populum. Asking for evidence of a general argument is basic element of science, be it physical or social science. If you claim that something occurs, it is reasonable for people to ask for evidence supporting that claim. However, the evidence cannot simply be “the cumulative voices” you know. That you know many people who experience something does not prove that thing occurs all the time.
Likewise, listening to women talk about their experiences would not prove it an issue men should take up anymore than listening to men talk about their experiences would prove it an issue women should take up. It would only demonstrates that this is an issue that affects some women, which no one denies.
More curious is why people should engage in “reflective listening” to women but men. Why should we not listen to men when they say the same thing happens to them?
As for your claim about consent, I have yet to read a single article by you suggesting that women and girls should ask for “clear, healthy” consent from men and boys, or that boys and men should expect that girls and women should ask for their consent. That implies you either do not consider it necessary to tell females to respect males’ boundaries, that females do not have to respect males’ boundaries, or that males have no boundaries to begin with.
Regarding your comment about deleting comments, I agree it is not censorship, however, it does demonstrate that you do not want anyone to challenge your views. Attitudes like that are part of the reason I became an advocate for male survivors, so #IAmNotSorryYourAreNotSorry.
The last portion refers to this part of Utt’s comment:
There are a host of other things that I likely could or should respond to in these comments, but I just don’t have time to cover it all! That said, if I interpret your comment as abusive or if it’s just repeating crap that others are already saying in the comments, it will get deleted. People cry censorship, but this is my space, and you don’t have a right to say whatever you want in my space. #SorryNotSorry
In other words, do not question Utt’s views. I understand his position from an ideological perspective. He attempts to mount a defense of his arguments, but he cannot actually support his position, so the only option is to shut down dissent.
He did, however, respond to my comments:
The problem with your reply is that you assume that the cumulative voices of women who are calling for this type of entitlement to end (which have led to this piece being viewed 155,000 times in less than a week) is not evidence, as you seem to believe that there are only certain types of evidence that meet your scientific standard. Yet these voices are evidence. And yes, the voices of men who experience the entitlement of male and female abusers also need to be lifted up. The project of this piece, though, is to deal very specifically with that one type of patriarchal entitlement, and the evidence is in the stories of nearly every single woman I have ever talked to about these issues.
It’s not that we shouldn’t listen to men who say that things like this happen to them. It’s about refusing to allow men to derail the conversation which should be about men’s behavior by saying, “But women can be jerks too!”
You’re right . . . I never write articles that highlight the need for EVERYONE to incorporate enthusiastic consent into their relationships [he lists links to various articles]
If you don’t like the way I deal with comments on my blog, then don’t come to my blog. I’m glad that you’re an advocate for male survivors. I simply hate the way you conduct your advocacy, which is why I don’t go to your site and comment all over your ‘ish. #sorrynotsorry
And of course, he then blocks me from commenting on his blog. That is fine. I can respond here:
As I stated, complaints by some women would only establish that this issue affects some women, which no one denies.
I think the disconnect is that you are arguing from an ideological standpoint. I am uninterested in feminist doctrine. I am interested only in whether you can empirically demonstrate your argument that “#YesAllMen are socialized to feel and act entitled in society.” You cannot simply use thousands of tweets as evidence for the same reason I cannot simply use men’s complaints as evidence. All that would do is tell us that the acts occur.
Coincidentally, you seem to reject the number of complaints coming from men as valid evidence. To this extent, I am only holding you to your own standard.
As for the argument about derailing, if you argued that both sexes engage in “entitlement,” but for this particular article you want to focus on “male entitlement,” I would agree that mentioning male experiences would derail the conversation. However, you framed the situation as if only men engage in “entitlement,” while women only “get super entitled about how their drink was made a at a coffee shop.” In that instance, mentioning male experiences only corrects your misrepresentation.
Regarding the articles, the first appears neutral, however, specific references to people violating someone’s boundaries always portray the abuser as male and the victim as female. The second article frames sexual violence as something that essentially only happens to “straight, cisgender women.” It then blames male victims for their own abuse by claiming it was caused by “a system of patriarchal oppression,” which male victims are incidentally complicit in. The rest of the article frames sexual violence as something only men do to women. The third article mentions consent, but only in the context that boys should ask for their partners’ consent. The article never mentions that boys should ensure their consent and boundaries are respected. The fourth article was not written by you and only once mentions getting consent. The article focuses on teaching girls that they should enjoy sex too. The fifth is an actually gender neutral, albeit incredibly impractical, list. The sixth again blames male victims for their own abuse.
Having worked as an advocate for over ten years, spoken to hundreds of male survivors, and being a male survivor myself, I find your articles more likely to further traumatize male survivors than help them. The articles fail to address the issues male survivors actually face.
I fully disagree with your view that men and boys cause, contribute to, or benefit from their own abuse as a result of “a system of patriarchal oppression.” Likewise, I fully disagree with your view about “entitlement.” I do not think you can address behavior that both sexes engage in by only focusing on what one sex does.
As for you final comment, attacking the work I do, which I do not discuss on my blog, is rather petty and, while ironically revealing, does you no favors.
I find Utt’s responses comical and childish. His attitude is precisely why so many men felt compelled to offer counter examples of “female entitlement.” Utt is dismissive, passive aggressive, and ironically a poor listener. These are never qualities one should have if one wants people to listen to one’s advice.
Utt states that his post receives 155,000 views. I wonder how many of those views came from non-feminists or men and how many were just scores of feminists clicking on an article that simply says what they want to hear. An echo chamber is not proof that your views are right. It is only proof classical conditioning.