A Worthy Debate

Originally posted on July 9, 2013

Over the years, several people have asked me why I debate with feminists. According to those people, feminists will never consider my positions no matter how balanced, so I should not bother with them. Many people hold that view. Mensactivism has a post arguing a similar position. In it, Matt wrote:

Occasionally MANN admins receive an email from someone saying they said something on a feminist web site that got them banned immediately, or flamed and put on moderation, and gee, why did that happen? The thing they said is usually simply a questioning of a presumption or an ask for more evidence, usually not something inherently offensive. But to feminists, any questioning of their ideas, presumptions, or evidence is. I was sent a link to this video for my own “amusement” but have decided to post it. It’s a collage of what it looks like to actually try to have a debate or public encounter with feminists about men’s rights issues. It’s NSFW since there are a lot of curse words hurled around.

Debating/reasoning/arguing with feminists is an utterly futile cause. In my experience, the only feminist who stops being a feminist is one who realizes him/herself in a moment of epiphany just what has been going on here. So IMO, it’s better to spend time and energy educating others than talking to a wall with no ears (and one that hurls obscenities back at you, to boot). But if you want to argue with them because you think it’s constructive in some way for the movement or there’s a chance you may be able to persuade one to see reason, then by all means; you got more optimism than me!

I see Matt’s point. For the most part, ideologues of any type will not budge from their position no matter how much evidence one puts in front of them. Think of the hardcore conservatives who continue to refute climate change. Think of the Christian right who deny evolution. Think of the progressives who argue that an unborn child is somehow less human than its mother.

Those type of people cannot be convinced even if one beat them with the evidence. This also applies to many feminists. People like Jessica Valenti, Hugo Schwyzer, Amanda Marcotte, Michael Flood, and Michael Kimmel dismissed clear evidence disproving their positions. They are so adamant and narrow-minded in their worldview that one could imagine that if they witnessed some of the acts they might deny they occured.

However, my reason for debating feminists is not to convince them of my position. I never assume that anything I say to feminists in general is convincing, and I always assume that the more ardent the feminist, the less likely that person will believe anything I say. My reason for debating them is two-fold.

First, to demonstrate the flaws in their arguments. Most feminists are not used to defending their arguments against substantive questions. They can rally against “feminist hate men” arguments, but when asked to explain the misandry in their doctrine and community they quibble. By challenging them to explain what they think and why they think it, I can allow them to point out the flaws in their own arguments.

Second, to demonstrate just how feminists think. Much of the counter argument against claims that feminists hate men is that, feminist argue, they do not actually think like that. However, when asked to explain what they do think, one often finds that many feminists who claim they are not biased support and endorse very biased views. There are scores of examples of feminists contradicting their claimed positions on various issues.

I think the best way to show someone’s bias is by having that person reveal it themselves. That is why I debate with feminists. Many feminist ideas are so wrapped in fancy language that it can appear the ideas make sense when they do not. By having feminists actually explain what they mean by “rape culture” or “male privilege” I can show how biased those ideas are and, more importantly, how biased and closed-minded one must be to accept them.

I also think it is important for those who support men’s issues and to engage with feminists in a civil manner because it shows that feminists do not “own” the gender discussion. They are not the purveyors of these issues. They do not know everything about these issues. In most instances, it was not until men’s rights activists and male victim advocates began complaining about these issues that feminists even knew they existed. By debating with feminists, you show people where feminists’ focus really is.

This is why you debate feminists. Not to put them in their place, but to show flaws in their arguments and show that they are not as informed or as unbiased as they claim.

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23 thoughts on “A Worthy Debate

  1. Congratulations, I assume a paid advertisement, Coca-Cola no less. Very mainstream. That’s a big feather in your cap.

    Enjoyed the montage of the Toronto debacle. Found another link you’ll appreciate.

  2. Pingback: A Worthy Debate | Viva La Manosphere!

  3. honestly, i just like getting them stirred up, then grinning as the ramble on; only to reply with, “if you say so.” then i walk away. lol.

  4. Engaging fascists is the cornerstone of MRA

    Its not just feminists we have to engage, its also race fascists who believe all white men deserve no rights

    Race fascists are the cornerstone of liberalism

  5. Engaging fascists is the cornerstone of MRA

    A fascist is someone who wants to control the populace for the purpose of use for the state. That does not remotely describe feminists, who are neither concerned with the protection of the state or its perpetuation. This also applies to so-called “race fascists.”

    It is always important to know what words mean before you use them. The word you are looking for is “bigot” or “sexist.”

  6. I agree with rmax on this one TS. Think if “Emily’s List” actually produced a feminist controlled government. The results would prove to be much more fascist than democratic.

  7. Perhaps you need to revisit the meaning of feminism …

    Feminism as an ideology is not specifically concerned with the state. It is concerned with women’s position in society as a whole. Therefore it is inaccurate to call them fascists.

  8. Sorry, but I can’t agree with rmax here. I’ve to agree with toysoldier. To go from feminism to fascism, you will have to make several assertions, prove each of them, and have your arguments being valid and good at each step. Do those two look similar? Do they seem like they can be connected? The answer is ‘Maybe’, not a complete ‘Yes’.

  9. Pingback: A Worthy Debate | Manosphere.com

  10. If people like you didn’t debate feminists, I would probably be stuck in the “feeling that something about feminism’s claims is off because it just doesn’t click with my actual experience of how the world operates” phase of my early teens to early 20s rather than the “oh GOD I’ve been lied to all my life and men are in trouble” phase of now.

    It was a disturbing experience for me to discover that there’s an entire ideological movement out there which is lying to women about their risk of being victimised and marginalised and lying to society about every problem men have – and is actually actively working to oppress and marginalise men for the benefit of women.

    People like you debating feminists frequently proves to any witnesses present that the “facts” supporting the feminist point of view are faulty, completely blind to any comparison with men, massive assumptions or just not there at all. Sometimes, also the morals are not there at all. (Men being forced to penetrate is not rape because it’s inappropriate to classify MTP as rape?!?? What the hell is wrong with you??!?!!!?)

    Additionally, it is disturbing to me that such a huge chunk of The Problem seems to be caused by feminists making claims or lobbying for a change when some measurement has been done about the extent of harm done to women, but nobody even LOOKS to see what level of harm is being done to men as a basis for comparison. Some of what debaters against feminists actually do is SO SIMPLE – e.g. “you need to have something to compare TO if you want to find out where ‘equal’ is” – it freaks me out that it took me until I was 21 before it clicked.

  11. Stars Die and Blackshirt:
    That is why I debate them (when I do). It is not for them (but maybe they will change); it is for the bystanders, who may not be so set in their mind (or who may not have heard a well-reasoned opposing viewpoint).
    -Jut

  12. There is a core difference between arguing and debating. This core difference needs to be recognized. NEVER argue with a feminist. The point of arguing is to convince the opponent. Arguing against an ideologue is pointless. Debate is something different. The point of debate is to convince the AUDIENCE. By debating in very public ways the audience, the general public, people that are not yet convinced either way can get the information they need to make an informed rational reasonable choice.

  13. Great comments. Certainly there is no point in trying to convince an ideologue. The object is to influence others by the reasoned nature of an argument. However, sometimes baiting an argument with a radical ideologue can have the same effect. This has kind of been Paul Elam’s approach, which can also be seen as goading an argument.

    I think feminists at the men’s conference were painfully aware of the likes of “Big Red” and her ilk. Men’s lack of an equally loud counterpoint essentially reeled them enough rope to hang themselves, and anti-free speech feminists in general.

    They learned their lesson in Toronto and didn’t protest the Detroit conference. Their initial protest and death threats of the Doubletree were helped out by a big union presence which also had issues with the hotel. And they managed reign in the loudmouthed louts.

  14. LOL you are still confusing argument and debate. Yes, engaging in “conversation” with the likes of Big Red is useful. It’s not because there is an argument, you are not trying to convince HER of anything. It’s useful because it’s a debate. Just letting her speak is all the presentation you need to make to convince the audience.

  15. “LOL you are still confusing argument and debate.”
    Not really, by your argument, a debate is an argument with an audience. My point is “engaging” a radical ideologue like those in Toronto may be less effective than just standing there and letting them rant. Case in point the much scarier woman that was calling a man a rape apologist because a friend had committed suicide and he wanted to hear Dr. Farrell talk about the issue. SHE is downright scary and VERY threatening. The man just stood there and took it. Sometimes that’s the best route when you’re dealing with psycho-ideologues.

  16. Ah yes. You do have a good point. When dealing with the real nutters they do much more damage to their own cause than we ever could. The best tactic is simply to let them talk. I still count this as “engaging” since something is needed to set them off on the rants.

  17. Exactly, in such cases you are neither arguing or debating, but acting as a trigger mechanism to, hopefully, get expected results. That’s the problem I have with Paul Elam at times. Baiting a reactionary response is not necessarily a good argument or debate. But then again, as witnessed in Toronto, sometimes it just can’t be avoided.

  18. I still count this as “engaging” since something is needed to set them off on the rants.

    Usually “Hello. I understand your point, but I disagree with it” will suffice.

  19. Blackshirt, mass movements work by shutting out any opposition and buttering up their views to make them palatable. They also work by making people feel terrible for questioning the movement. So your “failure” to catch onto feminism’s flaws is unsurprising. Most people do not catch onto mass movements’ flaws.

  20. Baiting a reactionary response is not necessarily a good argument or debate.

    It can be if done right. Take, for example, the counter “Don’t Be That Girl” posters. It is reactionary and prompted much outrage, but effectively proved how unbalanced the “Don’t Be That Guy” posters were. The critics of the girl posters objected because they believe the majority of women who claim rape are not liars. Yet they failed to realize that the boy posters argue that the majority of men are rapists. The creators of the counter campaign revealed that the original campaign creators were fine with rash judgments… as long as they were directed at men. Yes, many people took issue with the counter campaign. Yet many people also took issue with the original campaign as a result. It was testy, but effective.

  21. Yes but it was feminists doing the “baiting” in that instance and our friends in Toronto responding with a well reasoned spin. And expectant results.

    I can’t print it in this format but my take was a “Don’t Be That Mom” poster featuring the mug-shot of the woman who killed six newborns and hid them in her garage. The message is, “teach your daughters not to kill their newborn babies. THAT’s neonaticide and it’s bad”.

    It’s also a 40 year old word that still doesn’t register on spell checks.

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