You’re Not Helping v.28

Several years ago, I wrote about my impression of the subreddit /r/MensLib. It is a pro-feminist space for men created as a counter to /r/MensRights. As such, MensLib views men’s issues through a progressive and feminist lens. Non-feminists and non-progressives are allowed to participate as long as they do not question feminist or progressive theories.

As I mentioned in my initial post, it did not take long for MensLib to devolve into the usual heavy moderation, comment deletion, bannings, and anti-male sentiments that typically appear in pro-feminist male spaces. However, MensLib is unique in one regard: an peculiar need to “reclaim” male victimization. Specifically, an attempt to control the narrative about male victims by filtering men’s experiences through a feminist perspective. This is similar to what The Good Men Project tried to do.

This creates an interesting conundrum as feminist theory rejects the notion of male victimization as a legitimate issue in and of itself. Male victims only have value within feminist theory to the extent that they can be seen as an ironic result of men’s power, a sort of karmic backfire. Outside of the perspective, male victims cannot be acknowledged as their existence counters the feminist narrative that violence is a patriarchal tool of oppression reserved for females. This is primarily because most people who abuse males are female, and feminists argue that females lack the power, both physical and institutional, to truly harm males.

So what do you do when males are beaten or raped? Contrary to the feminist narrative, we now have decades of evidence proving men and boys are abused at about the same rate as women and girls, again, predominantly by women and girls. It is no longer possible to deny this without sounding insensitive or dishonest.

Well, if you are MensLib, what you do is acknowledge the abuse occurs and say all the proper things to make it appear that you are concerned for male victims. However, underneath that veneer of compassion lies the truth: you are not really concerned about the male victims at all. This is simply a means subtle indoctrination.

Get male victims to think you are on their side and legitimately want to help them, and then slowly convert them to your ideology. Granted, it gets tricky if the man was abused by a woman, in which case one must be careful not to reflexively tell those men “not all women” or remind them “women have it worse” or they should not “hate all women”. That is the typical feminist response to male victims of female abusers, however, those responses would run the potential converts away.

So it is the subtle route, gently reminding the male victims that all women are not abusers and suggesting through innuendo that male victims of female abusers must not be angry over their abuse and certainly not project that anger towards women, even against their abusers or other women behaving in abusive ways. The idea is to get the male victims to realize that their abuse is nothing compared to what the average woman experiences, but to do it under the table, to make it almost subconscious, so that the male victims do not leave once they realize that the people at MensLib essentially do not care about them.

Of course, everyone did not get the memo. Enter the zen viking. This person decided to chime on a post about male victims of sexual assault. The original post focused on female perpetrators, so many of the comments revolved around that topic as well. Most of them admitted there was a problem with how male victims of female perpetrators are treated. A few had some of the subtle nudging I mentioned above. The zen viking, however, decided to forego the subtleties and say what some feminists merely implied:

Lots of young men see women literally as sex objects to use and pursue for sexual gratification. It’s ludicrous in their mind that that object can then make unwanted or unconsented advances on a man. These people are the ones more likely to walk the line of acceptable behaviour because they don’t;

  1. Respect women as people
  2. Think their pursuit and success is acceptable and accepted by men who “understand”

Happens all the time at work (personal trainer) and it’s pathetic. Don’t let these guys label you as one of them

In short, male victims of female abusers feel bad because they were abused by people they see as sex objects, not because they were sexually violated. The people men wanted to abuse abused them first, and now they are upset.

One would think such a statement would receive condemnation from people who supposedly support male victims, however, one would be mistaken. The comment received two dozen upvotes, and the criticism of the comment was deleted by a moderator, who I will get to in a moment. Let us, however, address the above comment.

The zen viking argues:

Lots of young men see women literally as sex objects to use and pursue for sexual gratification.

This is a very common feminist trope, and while it is true that some men see women as “sex objects” in the sense that they seek out interactions with women primarily or solely to have sex with them, it is uncommon for men to dehumanize women to nothing more than something for sexual gratification. Most men do not do this, so the notion that “lots” of young men “literally” see women as nothing more than a sex object strains credibility.

How this relates to male victims of sexual violence is unclear. The zen viking, however, tries to link it:

It’s ludicrous in their mind that that object can then make unwanted or unconsented advances on a man.

That makes no sense. For this to be true, one must assume that these sex-obsessed men have never encountered women they find unattractive or uninteresting who want to have sex with them. This too is a common trope, so it seems unlikely that men could not fathom a woman making an unwanted or non-consensual advance.

It is more likely that such men would assume that if a woman made any unwanted advance that he would be able to stop her from going further. In other words, that regardless of the situation, he would still be in control. No woman could “make” him have sex.

Then the zen viking makes this argument:

These people are the ones more likely to walk the line of acceptable behaviour because they don’t:

  1. Respect women as people
  2. Think their pursuit and success is acceptable and accepted by men who “understand”

Notice the flip here. The actual topic at hand is how male victimization is not recognized, and what the zen viking does is twist it to the men being the victimizers. The notion that women do not respect men as people or think their pursuit and success is acceptable is not mentioned at all. Rather, the comment makes men the abusers who need to be taught not to abuse.

This type of comment is precisely why I have argued for years that we need to keep politics out of the support community. The above attitude does nothing to help male victims. At first glance, it looks like victim blaming. Upon further examination, it looks like an attempt to completely erase any acknowledgement of male victims and female abusers.

Nothing is served by that comment. Of course, the moderator on the thread removed criticism of the comment, and stated:

Gonna tell you the same thing someone in modmail was told:

They were saying that because some men don’t respect women as independent agents and only viewed them as potential sexual conquests, these same men are incapable of seeing men as sexual victims of women. They were explaining why men get victim blamed by other men.

Yet that is not what the zen viking wrote. It is clear from the statement that this person was referring to male victims, not men who victim-blame other men. Indeed, there is no mention of victim-blaming in the comment at all.

The attempt to dodge this criticism is understandable as the comment undermines the subterfuge of concern for male victims. However, let us assume that the moderator’s interpretation is true. What does this comment have to do with acknowledging male victims of sexual assault?

The comment shifts the focus off male victims and places it onto women as victims. The issue then becomes addressing the “misogyny” of these men’s views rather than the attitudes that leads people to ignore women’s violence against men.

More so, why would you shut down the criticism of the comment? Would it not better serve people to see how others misinterpret the comment and allow the zen viking to explain their intent?

This kind of double standard does not help anyone. All it does is prevent open discussion of ideas, ironically by silencing the people most affected by this issue. This too is why I have argued against having politics involved in support services. If you remove the politics, there is no need to have this sort of tit-for-tat comment. One need only address the situation at hand.

Keep the politics in, however, and now feminists will feel the need to chime in with “reminders” that men are sexist, women have it worse, and male victims do not really have it that bad. Certainly some feminists will do this regardless of situation, yet there is no reason to encourage it. After all, the idea is to help male victims, not assuage feminists, right?

1 thought on “You’re Not Helping v.28

  1. It has been months since I signed on to Reddit. I think that it my be because the threads were so temporary, there was little room for depth. As for r/MensLib, it is my guess that readers will see that it is a dead end. That is the way Freedom of Speech is supposed to work.

    As for politics, it looks like feminists have placed all their hope with the Democrats. If they lose a second Presidential election, will that make feminists a political liability?

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