Friday, 18 February 2011

Why Men Scoff, Part 2: Why the Third Wave is Lacking

At first I thought I had merely a bone to pick with sex-positive feminists and now I find that I have a bone to pick with the whole third wave. Head over to Feministing which is one of the most popular representations of the third wave and what do you see? Mainly their logo: a woman. Their bloggers: all women. They explain their logo as being ironic. "We wanted to take a traditionally sexist image – the mudflap girl – and subvert her. Hence, the middle finger. We like to think of her as saying “fuck you” to the sexist beauty standard she is supposed to represent." In the sense they describe the logo works, but only for that purpose which I find to personally be very narrow. 

A recent blog post on the site is entitled "Attacks on Planned Parenthood are attacks on American women." In the spirit of continuous improvement, I would like to point out that attacks on Planned Parenthood are also attacks on men. Being a parent does not come with a following descriptive gender qualification. Women are not the only parents out there. In fact, male, female, or anywhere in between and you can be a parent. And why is it 'American' women? We have loads of people who live in our country, legally and illegally, who would not identify themselves as American, don't these attacks affect them as well?

"It pains me a little bit to say this, but I have to admit it. I’m kind of a hypocrite. I’ve spent over a year on this blog exploring most every facet of being a teen girl in this culture through a feminist lens. I’ve bitched (and rightfully so) about how there’s still a shit ton of sexism out there and how we still need to fight for equality, but I never really mentioned the guys." -Julie Z from

Julie Zeilinger has been pretty widely recognized within the third wave and she's openly admitting this just now. Sexism goes many different ways. I mean come on people!

I understand that the default when talking about feminism is to talk about women. As I mention in Why Men Scoff (part one) this is also the most repetitive, so much so that it is a joke. I've heard on more than one occasion fellow students saying that they don't feel the need to show up when the lecture is on feminism because it's the same thing every darn time. However, feminists have themselves created this culture and none of them, with the exception of bell hooks (see quote in part one), seem willing to do anything to change it. This changes with yours truly. 

I believe that in order to be a true feminist one must also believe that patriarchal systems are oppressive to men. Straight men. We have women, gay guys, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, and transexuals that get recognition from feminists but what about the straight guys? Essentially, they don't fit anywhere!

I suggest we start with the term feminism in the first place. It suggests that you need to be feminine and further so, female. Female feminists want men to identify themselves as feminist yet the term itself is not neutral at all, even if the ideology behind it is. Some go by equalist. I'm not sure I'm okay with this one either. Being a woman, man, transexual, or transgender each have their own lens and experience. They are all of equal importance of course but they are not the same experience. I'm not sure what the new term(s) should be but I think maybe there should be some talk of creating one(some).

Similarly, gender studies should be a study of gender, not women. Gender is not a synonym for women. Gender studies suggests that both women's studies, men's studies, queer studies, etc. are all included. To be honest, this rarely to never seems to be the case. Gender is constructed and therefore ALL of those constructions need to be given attention. 

The LGBT movement needs support from those that wouldn't identify themselves as LGBT because homosexuals only make up about 10% of the population and never tend to reach more than that. They can't do it by themselves. The feminist movement on the other hand seems to believe that because we make up 50% of the population that we do not need outside support. And I'm here to tell you that we're dead wrong about that. Firstly, and primarily, because not all women are feminists! Right off the bat we do not have 50% of the population and certainly not 50% of the vote. 

It's high time we start reaching out to people who would love to join our cause but can't just because we aren't willing to make a space for them. 


Anonymous said...

"Aren't willing to make space for them" = bigotry.

I don't want to join the KKK, why would I want to join a movement that openly and gleefully discriminates against half of humanity?

Feminism is just sexism writ large.

No thanks, you can keep your clubhouse to yourselves, bigots.

A said...

I was trying to argue that there should be a movement that is concerned with issues of both genders and not focused solely on women (ie gender studies should not just be women's studies).

Apparently I did not to a very good job of this because your tone seemed to have quite a lot of animosity in it.

Anonymous said...

Not at all. If you want to build a true equality-based movement, calling it "feminism" comes with a whole lot of vicious anti-male baggage, and implicit in your post was a somewhat condescending tone of "and we'll talk about some of he men's stuff, too, if we feel like it".

If you do want to stick to the current structure, then acknowledging and lobbying for some type of equity might be a starting point. But when I read your earlier "girl effect" post that implicitly denies the crisis that boys face in the US, I know I am just watching a rerun of the same PR efforts that attemted to whitewash past feminist bigotry.

Numerous family court issues, Title IX "positive discrimination" and failure to acknowledge and resource victims of female sexual predators and female batterers - these are all examples of why the word "feminism" has credibility among many only as a hate movement, and not as a force for equality.

A said...

I agree that feminism is not the term to go by, that's why I suggested discussion of new terminology. Is there anywhere in particular that I sounded condescending? If I did, it was genuinely not on purpose I can assure you.

What is the 'crisis that boys face in the US' referring to? I stand by the girl effect because I think it is a useful model of development. Also, I am of the understanding that the girl effect is not so much relevant to the United States as it is to those countries that are considered to be 'developing' therefore I am not sure how I am implicitly denying anything.

First off, I do not agree with positive discrimination, so there you go. Secondly, I completely agree that there needs to be recognition and resources directed at the situations you mentioned. However, the majority of sexual predators and batterers are men and therefore it is easy to see why that is given the focus, no?

Correct me if I am wrong but "No feminists have murdered and raped men. Feminists have not been jailed day after day for their violence against men. No feminists have been accused of ongoing sexual abuse of girl children, including creating a world of child pornography featuring little girls." (hooks)

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see you have a perspective that is about equity and is not focused on the sexism and bigoted social engineering that characterizes so much feminism today.

Regarding your bell hooks quote, she was quite wrong. Many studies show female sexual predators constitute at least 25% of true child sexual predators. Legally speaking, it was not illegal for a woman to have sex with children in many states until the early 80s because the laws were written such that penetration was the crime, an act which is not common to female child molesters.

Also, sadly, the child victims of so many female predators not only see their abusers get off lightly with very reduced sentences compared to the male equivalent, but they are frequently forced to pay their abusers child support for an indefinite period of time, given the total liability component of child support laws.

Can you imagine paying 18 years of child support to your rapist (or the State forcing your parents to do so), under penalty of prison if you refuse to do so? Unbelievable.

Yet, I have yet to hear a "feminist" address this injustice, which is much more common than you think.

These laws also apply to female nurses who rape their invalid male victims and then become pregnant as a result.

If you add the ruinous effect of false accusations of rape and domestic violence to the mix, situations where the woman is rarely punished, you can see a pattern of violence by women that is completely ignored by the entities producing statistics gleaned by psychologists and law enforcement to compile "official statistics".

bell hooks also said "Being oppressed means the absence of choices." .

For male victims of female sexual assault, domestic violence, and false accusations that is so true, and doubly exacerbated by the feminist conspiracy of silence around these issues.

It's hard for the bigot to give up her prejudice when all of society rewards her for it.

A said...

“Female sex offenders research is limited, though Canadian statistics show an alarmingly high rate of sexual abuse by women (a range of 59% - 80%) in the backgrounds of rapists, sex offenders and sexually aggressive men (Matthews, 1996, p. 301).
Sexual abuse by women rarely gets reported. Victims often don't understand that what happened to them was abuse until years later when they are adults. The following table identifies why abusive behaviour by female perpetrators is frequently unacknowledged.”

It’s very interesting to me how rapists, sex offenders and sexually aggressive men have a quite high rate of abuse by women in their past. And obviously sexual abuse from a male towards a female is seen as more invasive because it involves penetration, whereas from a woman to a man it doesn’t seem as bad, even just now when I’m giving thought to it. Because of the lack of penetration from a female towards a man it takes longer for the victim to realize what happened, as the above quote mentions, because the whole encounter could be seen much more vaguely.

I guess what this really proves is that sexual abuse is a violent cycle, irrespective of gender. I guess it’s just the more high-profile cases so to speak that involve women as the victims and therefore overall men are seen as the bad guys because of the general under-reporting of cases of the opposite set up. It seems even more difficult in defining what sexual abuse from a female towards a male would constitute, you know? I mean where is the line drawn from being possibly ‘overly motherly’ to ‘abusive’? I see how those could be easily blurred.

This also seems to play into how if a man is abused by a woman he is somehow less of a man. Because surely if your a man you must be stronger and therefore to be abused by a woman makes you less of a man! And right there is how patriarchy affects men as well in this instance.

This brief from the Justice Department was very informative.

I guess bell hooks wasn’t wrong per se because she said specifically feminists, not women. But if she had said women I would definitely be agreeing that she is indeed wrong there after reading through that brief.

I really appreciate you commenting and this dialogue. I’ve definitely learned a lot from it and I hope that you’ll continue to call me out in the future!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your objectivity, though I certainly think to blame the current situation on "the patriarchy" isn't very accurate.

Looking forward to more of your blog posts that have a similar slant in terms of equity between men and women.

Lathe of Heaven said...

You may find it worthwhile to meditate on this perhaps odd reality: Given that sexual assault on women by men is a terrible occurrence, you might think that people who sympathize with women -- ie feminists -- would be the first to lionize the peaceful man, the gentle man, the decent man who could never harm a soul. Instead, just the opposite is true. When women, including feminists, speak of men, the absolutely most vile epithet they can deploy, what marks a man as the absolute bottom of the barrel that no one would ever touch, is to describe him as "harmless". Take a while and think about what that really means.