Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with The Poisoned Well
I had promised myself to give the issue of Feminism a rest for a while, and fully intended to keep to that promise, until I came across The Poisoned Well’s latest… I do not even know how best to label it. It beggars belief.
Oh well… Broken Promises all over again.
I have always approached the subject with humour, although the message is a serious one: If you are a democrat, you are a feminist, and I will endeavour to be equally moderate (?) in my reply to what I deem a rather immoderate attack on what the movement stands for.
The first poisoned chalice on offer in this well, is the claim that “From day one Feminism has been elevating women at the expense of men.”*
At the expense of men? Is this a superpower zero sum game? Is it truly so difficult to grasp that to consider women to be of equal worth to men is not to the latter’s detriment? Surely the opposite is true.
We live in democracies where all citizens are deemed to be of equal worth. We got to this point by endeavouring to ensure that such equality is not an equality in name alone, and that reality comes as close to our aspiration for mutual respect, equal rights and equal social standing as it is possible.
The kind of Manichean ontology to which my opponent subscribes – that any advance for women is a step back for men – is frankly as outmoded as it is damaging. It is this kind of attitude that hurts both women and men, and not Feminism, as The Poisoned Well would have you believe.
But wait a little. It gets better. Feminism in The Poisoned Well’s depiction comes close to the likeness of a savage werewolf “Tearing men down to elevate women”* apparently.
Careful, ladies! Make sure to get that muzzle on when the Full Moon’s a-calling. I chain myself up to the bedpost too, just in case. Never know when the blood thirst will strike, and that pulsating manly vein… Argh! The scent is too much to withstand. You know what they say: the best way to avoid temptation, is to give into it.
Just when I thought I’d taken all precautions, the poison dosage was upped. Listen carefully. Did you know that “Men are excluded from most victim services even though men are more often the victim of every single crime including rape”*?
Umm… Dearest, The Poisoned Well, you might want to look into some stats on this. You will find that women are overwhelmingly the victims of rape. I’m not sure what country you live in to have experienced this, but in most civilised places, men are not excluded from most victim services. They are not excluded full stop.
What next? Here’s a juicy one for you: “Harass a man, it’s Tuesday. Harass a woman, it’s the end of the world. Inequality and discrimination really have become part of our every day lives.”*
You are right that inequality and discrimination is part of our everyday lives. It has not “become” this, it’s always been the case, but implying that the Feminist movement is somehow responsible for this is beyond inaccurate. You clearly have an axe to grind – in waiting for that Feminist Werewolf lurking under your bed, I imagine – but you may want to take on socio-political, class and economic factors into consideration, rather than bandying all societal evils under the standard of Feminism.
But The Poisoned Well has plenty more in store for your pallet’s delight: “Men are murdered much more often than women, but women suffer from catcalls. We must ignore mens lives and protect the women’s feelings.”*
Men are murdered by other men mostly, so… this is relevant to a discussion of Feminism… how?
And men’s lives are not ignored. It is not for Feminism as a movement to take on this particular issue. Perhaps you may want to call on Law and Order from the State instead. It is the failure of the state to protect its citizens that results in the type of crime you describe.
You seem to be under the erroneous impression that society should ignore sexual harassment because there are other “more important” things to resolve first. Perhaps you would like for children to continue being molested too until all murderers have been jailed? Using your logic society ought to say that it’s only assault, after all, and punishing those guilty of causing death takes precedence, right?
How can it be useful or helpful in any way to make such arguments?
For another meaty offering, The Poisoned Well decides that an attack on Religion is in order next. “Women are baby factories and men are disposable meat shields. […]Religion oppresses everyone except for the Plutocrats that own the religion.”*
Now, I find myself – a declared atheist – the defender of religion. Oh the irony!
Whatever system of thought or belief you may subscribe to, reducing religion to the above formula hardly cuts the mustard. It is a parody at best, and it’s hardly the way to encourage equality, or even the most basic form of mutual respect in this context.
Breaking News! “Women make the same as men in the same jobs. The problem of “The wage Gap” isn’t unequal pay for equal work.”*
Well, aren’t I lucky to have been disabused of this notion about the continued gender inequality when it comes to salaries? Clearly all those other studies undertaken by highly respected economists, all reports on the matter submitted after thorough investigations: researched, documented, and backed up with relevant statistics – all nonsense apparently. Thank you, The Poisoned Well for clearing it all up for us. Eternally grateful, I’m sure.
Now I could go on and tell you about some other of The Poisoned Well’s brilliant insights, such as the fact that Feminism has apparently abolished the heroic male lead in cinematography, and that there is no such thing as men’s professional sports – they are gender neutral – I say! Jolly good – and women simply can’t keep up, so now they’ve come up with their own sports that make tons of money and objectify men in the process.
Aha! You heard me right, ladies. Down, boy. Down! Let me take a look at ya simmering swim-suited bod. That’s all you’re worth to me. It’s all hot-hot bunga-bunga and no emotional involvement. Cry me a river!
Then men get objectified some more and are excluded from reproductive rights. Just as they thought they were safe, hop! they go down a dark alley and get mugged for flashing their wealth around – wealth that of course is no greater than women’s because the pay-gap is a myth obviously – and this is all because of Feminism. The horror! What kind of a world do we live in?
And the Feminist coup de grâce? Men are NOT represented in the White House!!! No. Apparently the politician’s desire to be re-elected puts them well and truly at mummy’s skirt and under women’s Jimmy Choos. Result!
Final Poisoned Well pearl for the grand finale: “There is nothing that turns my stomach more. Don’t worry I won’t be reading Jesus Feminist any time, ever. If I want to read a distopian horror I’ll just read 1984 or Animal Farm.”*
I hear you, sister. Don’t think I’ll be turning to dystopias any time soon either. I mean… just read your article. That’s quite enough dystopia for one day, thank you very much.
*All quotes in this article are from The Poisoned Well‘s How Feminism Hurts men.
Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.
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I love this, and I don’t know if I’m allowed to comment, but I’ll just say. I personally do not view life in a sort of separation between the genders, they’re just parts, in my opinion. Humans are humans are humans. That said, I’d much rather sit down for a cup of coffee with a woman, in equal appreciation and friendship, than with some ego-ridden man who doesn’t share my views. The only people I seem to get along with are women, all my friends are women, because the men who try to befriend me, are shortly out of my life due to their pig-like discussions, wandering leers, and immature opinions. I only hope that women do not group all men together. Some of us are different.
Thank you, Erik. I’m so pleased that you said “I personally do not view life in a sort of separation between the genders, they’re just parts, in my opinion. Humans are humans are humans.”
To me we are first and foremost human beings. I wish that was the attitude shared by all in contemporary society, but unfortunately that is not the case, and it is for this reason that I call myself a feminist.
As chance would have it, I am not a militant bra-burning man-hating feminist. Quite the opposite, and I think very few feminists fit that particular description nowadays 🙂
To me it’s just about equality – and an equality that goes both ways, no discrimination against men or women.
Not only is it ok to comment, I encourage it with everything I write, but particularly so when it comes to Let’s Talk Opinion pieces.
I started the series once my Project R: Relationship Interrupted ended, and although these pieces do not focus on relationships alone as Project R did, they have the same ethos, insofar as it is all about making connections with other bloggers by engaging in discussions on topics that are important to them.
-Not sure I’ve made a friend in The Poisoned Well with this one, but then it’s not the first time we cross swords on this topic.-
In an interesting twist, amongst my closest friends I count more men than women. Some may find this counter-intuitive for a feminist, but hey – I’m not a stickler for fitting nicely into boxes 😉
So – yep – very much aware that “Some of us are different.” as you say – and very happy for it.
Great comment. Thank you!
I just want to point this out. Male rape whether it is male on male of female on male, is often not reported, which keeps the statics low and fuels the belief that men can’t be raped. Also look at the stats on male rape in the military or in prison, both those statics help to shatter some of the misconception.
I also concur with Eric. As a woman I often felt that the topic of modern feminism was a way of building a wall and further separating the genders. It helps some people to believe that they are entitled equal pay when they have neither the skill-set or the same effort put into a job.
I tend to collect male friends. I find it intensely hard to connect with a lot of woman, the topics and things female tend to talk about I have little interest in. Example: All my female friend’s love Twilight, my best friend at the time even dragged me to see one of them on opening night. I felt like the guys just hoping I’d get laid after enduring the drizzle. (Oh yep, that was part of a literal conversation I had with a dude). I don’t hold grudges nor enjoy gossiping like my female friends do. Plus I always feel like sitting at grandma’s house in a group of woman, look your best, eat with the napkin in your lap, don’t fart of belch.
Me, I’ll pass.
Not all my female friend’s are like that, mind you, but a majority of them.
Dear Nina, thank you for your comment.
I absolutely agree with you regarding the issue of male rape. It does happen and it ought to be highlighted. More help, both at the first stage as well as therapy or counselling after, needs to be made available in those places where that is not already the case.
I would in no way wish for anyone to ever imply that men’s experience of rape is in any way less traumatic than that of women. So thank you for mentioning it. It is important.
Nonetheless, even when including the additional numbers you speak of, the women who are raped vastly outnumber the men. It is not a competition. It is a fact of life.
I don’t even know whether saying that I wish that were not the case would be appropriate in this context. Because, of course, I wish there was no rape full stop.
What I took issue with in The Poisoned Well’s assertion was the claim that men are more often the victims of all types of crime including rape.
I concur regarding men being the victims of crime – who could deny it? – but to claim that this is the case “more” than for women without any evidence whatsoever, and then to imply that Feminism is somehow the cause for this – well… It just didn’t sit well with me.
I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that friendship is once again brought to the fore in this context. Very pleased, and thank you for sharing your experience of this.
As I said in reply to Erik, the majority of my close friends are men. This may be in part due to the fact that I have a brother with whom I have always been very close, and perhaps that’s made me feel more comfortable in my friendships with men.
The reasons you mention are also valid ones for me, although I do connect on a very deep level with women too – although those women, like me, tend to be those whose prevalent relationships are with men too.
Those “female” topics, are too light, too superficial to keep my attention for long. Sure I will get involved when prompted, but I can only do it in small doses both length-wise and frequency-wise.
One thing I found that both men and women have in common is a love of gossip. The topics may differ, but it is gossip nonetheless – again. Small doses if at all 🙂
As for Twilight… I have to admit shame-faced that I have watched them all for one reason only: the lead. I was in fact so embarrassed about ogling that young man that I suspect it led me to encourage and nurse an obsession with Benedict Cumberbatch so that I may have someone of more substance to ogle. – The lengths one will go to, hey?
Really enjoyed reading your comment. Thank you so much for contributing to the discussion.
Pingback: How to be more equal than others | The Poisoned Well
Let’s see, where to begin? Humour? Link the bleaching of the nether-regions post with vic-chaining-herself-to-the-bedpost?
Best not. Dear vb is clearly passionate about this one.
Vic, while I do not agree with everything PW says or how he (or she) interprets aspects of feminism and the broader gender dialectic, I commend him (or her) for raising substantive and controversial topics. I also defend his (or her) right to do so, and I refuse to vilify him (or her) or see him (or her) vilified for those of his (or hers) views or interpretations which are inconsistent with my own or those of others.
Having been on the receiving end of feminist “social justice,” and having watched as feminist judges, lawyers, and social workers gleefully, knowingly, maliciously, and criminally saw my children subject to expert-confirmed child abuse (a form held by some experts in the field to be more harmful than sexual abuse) in a neutral, court-appointed parenting capacity assessment, PW isn’t just fabricating this.
You are advocating. Now try judging, which requires an unbiased and rational finding of facts. Look into the published works of Professor Don Dutton (University of British Columbia) on domestic violence; former A/Prof of ethics Christina Hoff Sommers; Prof Emeritus Sandford Braver (“Divorced Dads – Shattering the Myths”)’; Warren Farrell, Ph.D.; the “Misandry” series of books by McGill University academics Dr. Paul Nathanson and Prof. Katherine Young, especially “Legalizing Misandry”; the writings of the wonderful University of Ottawa Professor of English Janice Fiamengo, who used to be a card-carrying feminist, but left the movement when she came to realize its inherent false scholarship and how ruthlessly it was destroying men’s lives while proclaiming they were villains; and “National Post” columnist Barbara Kay.
This is not to suggest that there aren’t women victims in this world, nor that there aren’t societies which do not afford women the equal respect they deserve (with obvious exceptions).
In terms of men being the predominantly violent gender, beyond Dutton’s rigorous and peer-reviewed published work, try this as an intellectual exercise. Take virtually any English-speaking nation in the 1st world, and instead of considering cases of abortion where the mother’s life isn’t at risk as being concerned with her “right to her body,” treat them as a acts of violence. Murder even. Then look at what your gender-violence stats say. Try comparing the number of UK dead in WWII with the number of abortions performed in the UK, and see how those compare. (It’s a shocking comparison for Canadian numbers.)
Fire me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send you my manuscript for the book that’s coming out in January. You’ll see the true face of feminism.
In defiance and love,
Your arch-villainy knows no limit 😉
Thank you for your comment, navigator. I appreciate it. This post has made for some heated discussion, and in-depth debate, so I am really glad that I decided to respond to The Poison Well’s piece. Did you get a chance to read the reply to this reply? Blow by blow – excuse the pun – answer below if you have.
I may be repeating myself once too often when I say that if one is a democrat, one is a feminist. One cannot claim to be a democrat and simultaneously believe that half of the population does not deserve equal rights. As far as I am concerned, feminism stands for this. It is called a feminist movement only because of patriarchal arrangements that have held in our societies for as long as modernity first made its forward step, and before that too, to a much greater extent.
I am a supporter of all citizen rights, whether men or women. And am opposed to discrimination and vilification of either gender. We’ve discussed this before so you are aware of my position in this case.
Like you, I do not agree with everything PW says or how they interpret aspects of feminism and the broader gender dialectic. Like you too, I am in favour of PW raising a substantive and controversial topic. Whilst I disagree with PW’s views, as a democrat and a feminist, I am ready to defend their right to do so.
You appear to imply that my article in reply to theirs vilifies them, but to me – engaging at the level of ideas with a fellow blogger – is a mark of respect.
One cannot and will not engage in dialogue and discussion with an opponent they do not respect. At least I would not.
I am sorry that your personal experience of feminism, and with feminists, has been of such a damaging nature. But I hope that you do not extrapolate from this to include everything feminism stands for, and all feminists, into the “gleefully, knowingly, maliciously, and criminally” -minded types you have encountered in the past.
I do not think that all men are misogynists simply because I have come across quite a few that are. I take each case on its own merit, and make my conclusions based on the evidence on offer. I hope that the same courtesy is extended in return by others. I am sure from our previous discussions that this is the case with you too.
I am not sure why my engagement with the topic has been deemed advocacy. I do speak up on subjects that I find of interest, but I hope that my tone is never preachy. It is never intended to be such. Humorous perhaps, and honest too, but other than that…
Thank you for the recommended further reading. I think it is important that substantial research and writing is done on both sides of the argument. As with all ideologies and theories, implementation in practice is never straightforward, and thorough investigation into potential abuses is key in order to ensure best practice.
I think nonetheless, that the vilification of Feminism as a whole is counterproductive. In the same way in which the vilification of the male gender as a whole is senseless.
Patriarchy has negative impacts on both men and women. All we can hope to do, is work together to address the problems it poses to contemporary society, and in time perhaps erode and eliminate those in-egalitarian arrangements, attitudes and practices altogether.
Thank you for the offer of the manuscript. I will send you an email and look forward to reading your views on the matter in more detail.
Vic, a great response, for which I thank you. Yes, I caught your response at PW’s place.
I await your email, after which you will have one manuscript incoming.
It is I who would like to thank you for taking the time to comment and offer such a comprehensive counter-argument. The only way to further our own understanding is by not thinking alone. This is what I attempt to do with Let’s Talk Opinion posts, and therefore all comments are very welcome, and of course, will not be left without a reply.
Will send the email shortly 🙂
– In reply to the Pingback: How to be more equal than others | The Poisoned Well –
Dear The Poisoned Well,
Thank you for the return post. As you said, engaging is key.
You accuse me of “Quote mining and misinterpretations.”
One cannot be expected to copy paste the entire Leviathan in order to comment on Hobbes, so goes for all else. I have included a link to your article so that readers can inform themselves of the context.
The post was already rather long for a blog and I had to extract quotes – it is basic research and writing practice – one that you use as well. So the “sad”ness may have to find home elsewhere. As for having something against you. Not the case, I assure you. I disagree with your stated views. That is all.
You claim that I took your quote “From day one Feminism has been elevating women at the expense of men.” out of context.
You argued that this is a statement of truth. I disagree. My post indicated the basis for that disagreement. The “elevation” of women as you call it – emancipation would be a more appropriate term – did not happen at men’s expense. It is not a zero sum game.
The views you attribute to Feminism are not those held by feminists, especially when it comes to your language of choice. You have sifted those views through your own prism and then coated them in language that is dissonant to the original.
You stated in your reply that the above quote was followed by a “full paragraph comparing Male privilege to slave ownership.”
That “paragraph” had exactly three sentences. I read them. The conclusion I reached was that whereas as far as you are concerned the abolition of slavery and emancipation of African-Americans was justified on – presumably, as you do not actually give a justification – egalitarian grounds, the emancipation of women was not justified on… the grounds that women were not unequal to men to begin with?
Unless you are in fact in favour of early feminist movements and their accomplishments insofar as equal rights are concerned, and only argue against contemporary feminist movements. If so, I’m afraid your position is unclear in this respect.
Is the endeavour of any society to ensure equal rights – whether to vote or in all else – to all citizens justified? I’d say yes.
You appear to require further justification for democracy’s raison d’être. I’m not sure what justification would satisfy you. You would need to expand on this to further discussion.
Mentioning the werewolf, dearest, was not an instance of solipsism, whether in its philosophical, epistemic or metaphysical variants.
It was the image that your loving repetition of “Tearing men down” brought to mind. I had a good laugh and decided to share it with other readers.
“Women are not overwhelming the victims of rape,” you say.
I wish (?) that were the case. Your post self-references a lot, and reading another two or three of your own articles on the subject, without substantial vetted statistics to get my werewolf teeth into does not persuade me against the findings of countless well-researched studies I have read on the subject.
I’m afraid that the statistics you offer – from whence they come I am yet to be informed – come with an unacknowledged bias. I have already written a Let’s Talk Opinion post about conspiracy theories, so I won’t get into that here.
Regarding victim’s services for men. I would not like to pass judgement on what is or is not on offer in the US – a country that incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than any other, which may well have resulted in men being raped repeatedly once in those institutions (still by other men I presume, as I’m not entirely sure how those 40% of female rapists get into male-only institutions) – but when it comes to the UK, the number of services available to men reflects the demand, and is amended accordingly if and when demand increases.
Britain may not claim itself to be “the land of the free,” but neither does it make a business out of incarceration. It also has a better human rights record than the US – and I’m not referring only to Guantanamo here – and this too has the beneficial effect of greatly limiting inside-institution abuse.
You quote me in saying “Men are murdered by other men mostly, so… this is relevant to a discussion of Feminism… how?” and then go on to say that “Well because YOU just made it a gender issue. […] Who is doing the murdering is irrelevant, unless you want to make it a gender issue, and then it is most decidedly relevant in a discussion of feminism.”
Your argument is circular.
It was not I, but you who made this a gender issue when you included it in your discussion of Feminism, and I quote, again: “Men are murdered much more often than women, but women suffer from catcalls. We must ignore mens lives and protect the women’s feelings.”
I was merely pointing out the fact that men being murdered more often than women wasn’t relevant to a discussion about Feminism.
I’m tempted to surmise that you knew the example you used to be irrelevant and used it for shock value. You could’ve said instead that – men are sexually harrassed, but women suffer from catcalls – to make your point, but I guess that wouldn’t have driven it home enough so you went for murder instead. Well… you could easily reverse that statement to say that “women are assaulted, raped, and murdered, but men suffer from occasional objectification. We must ignore the lives of women and protect men’s feelings.” Doesn’t quite get the balance right, does it? Each part of the sentence deals with a completely different set of offences, just like yours. Relevant to a discussion of Feminism? Still not.
You say: “What should we pull resources from to make sure less women’s feelings get a boo boo?”
I am yet to come across an instance where a woman has required any resources from the state to deal with catcalling alone. It appears to me that you use that term to mean a lot more than your average catcall, and sexual harassment is a crime and it has to be dealt with before it becomes rape, or indeed murder.
The scarcity of resources when it comes to implementing the law is not a satisfactory reason for the law not being implemented.
The “prioritising” you mention takes place already. For a society to function well, giving the signal that some offences will be tolerated because of a lack of resources could only make things worse in the long term.
“I do not have nor do I want mutual respect with bigots,” you say.
We are on the same page there, but not all people who believe in a God or gods are necessarily bigoted. Many find a way of reconciling liberal views with a belief in a deity. Those people do, I think, deserve to be respected.
Regarding the pay-gap. “Did you read past the first line?” you ask.
I can reassure you that I did read beyond your first line. I read your article fully, several times over, in order to formulate an answer.
And I know, again, from thorough research, that your statement “Men and women are paid the same for the same work.” is falsified by the evidence on offer.
I do not refer to different jobs being paid differently due to the skill and qualifications required. I refer to the same job within the same company, where one employee is male and the other is female, and the female employee gets paid up to 17% less for doing the same number of hours, being as qualified as her male counterpart. In a large number of cases, the female employee gets paid less even if she puts in more hours, is better qualified and gets better results.
There are exceptions, but those are exactly that: exceptions.
Governments have invested a lot of money and time into getting this data. Why would they lie?
Thank you kindly for your suggestion: “I do have a suggestion for you. Re read your post. And for every single point, ask yourself how is this different than the right wing anti-choicers?”
I believe that perhaps you may want to do the same and then give me a breakdown as to how the points I make are supposed to parallel those of “right wing anti-choicers” as you call them.
Simply because you disagree with my line of argumentation it does not make it flawed.
It may reassure you to think so, but that is a choice that says a lot more about your manner of approaching the debate than anyone else’s.
As for the “deeply held foundational beliefs” you refer to, this is neither the time nor the place for me to explain them. I am in the process of finishing a political theory and philosophy thesis on the subject; that just about scratches the surface of what my ontological standpoint is. One could hardly expect me to summarise it here.
Finally, regarding there being no Patriarchy, like you say: “Just because you believe it does not make it true.”
If you believe this to hold true for others, it must hold true for you too.
Thank you for a thrilling discussion.
You did include a link and the pingback and are continuing the conversation. It was an oversight to not include this in post. You do deserve credit for this honesty. You are being much more honest than most people that argue these points. While I stand by calling the quotes quote mines, the intent is not malicious. There is a great deal more misunderstanding and misinterpretation than maliciousness on both sides of this conversation.
Elevating women is not a zero sum game. This does not mean that there are no losses. I’ve explained this twice now. Men’s votes lost half of their value when the number of voters doubled by including women. Women’s votes gained infinitely more power by existing. This is not zero sum. The gains for women was a hugely disproportionate gain compared to the loss that men faced. Not zero sum, but not no loss either.
When we start talking about the issues of 2013 not 1913 then the equations for being a zero sum game come much closer to actually being zero sum, or negatives as women surpass men in many areas.
I agree with much of what early feminists did, but not 100%. These actions are now an immutable fact of history. What I have a problem with is not history, but current action. Modern feminism. We need to ensure equal rights to all citizens, not just “equality for women”.
You thinking that I view feminism as a mythical man beast would be an interesting therapy session. I can see how you would find the imagery amusing. The difference between “Tearing men down” and a justified redistribution of power is if men actually have an unjustified excess of power. Redirecting money from males to females in higher education is a good example of this. Redirecting more money to women when women already outnumber men almost 2 to 1 is supporting female supremacy, tearing men down, not fighting for equality.
Women are not overwhelming the victims of rape. Did you read the post I linked? I know I self reference. Many other people that discuss these points have been badly burned and use very harsh language. My posts attempt to be more reasonable. I could have linked to another post that included the sentence “(quote about rape, edited out at the request of PW to eliminate foul language from the debate)” While I’m saying the same thing my word choices are much less offensive. My wording is much less hateful.
40% of rapists are women and 50% of victims are men in non-institutional settings. Including prison rape will change both of the numbers because women are not the victims or perps of prison rape. You just have to remember. It’s rape regardless of if the rapist uses a vagina or a penis to force non-consentual sex.
Domestic violence is a human problem. I don’t have a UK study handy, but I expect like the US and Canada the victimization is 50/50 not 125 women abused for every man abused. The number of services available does not reflect the need. It refects how badly men are excluded from victim services.
Men are at greater risk than women. Who is putting men at greater risk is irrelevant. Murder is not a gendered issue, well unless you try to say that most men are murdered by other men, so these victims don’t count. Then it most decidedly is a gendered issue, one that is sexism against men, and it needs to be addressed. Men have much more to fear walking down the street than women do.
Being the target of Catcalls is really the only place where women are actually at higher risk. It is not just state finances that are a limiting resource. My words, your words are a limited resource. We only have so much time to talk. By worrying about the feelings getting a boo boo from catcalls, and not just telling women to “grow a thicker skin” we are distracting and detracting from the very serious issues we are talking about elsewhere. By including cat calls and other feelings boo boos in with discussions of rape and sexual assualt, we are not going to end cat calls. We will dilute the meaning of rape so that it’s no longer a prison worth offense.
“Governments have invested a lot of money and time into getting this data. Why would they lie? “
Because they have invest a lot of money and time into getting the data. It would be a very bad day for them if the data did not support their preconceived notions that they had already been campaigning on for 6 months. You know marketing to the emotions of the 56% of voters that are women. Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.
One thing I have found is that most lines of argumentation are nearly flawless, even the deeply flawed ones. The problem is not the lines of argumentation. It is not the logic or reason of the person that is deeply flawed. It is the foundational assumptions that are flawed. The foundational difference between our opinions is not flawed logic. It is belief in the existence of “The Patriarchy”. There is no Patriarchy. There is an Oligarchy and outdated traditions.
Wow 882 words, this is longer than many of the college papers I wrote.
Dear Poisoned Well,
Thank you for your comment and for including in this further clarification of your points. Appreciated. I have edited the quote you included from another blogger to (*) the language, as I think the meaning is fairly clear without using the full terms. Whilst I do not censor comments (at least I have never needed to so far), I do want to keep the language clean. I am sure you understand.
Regarding the non-inclusion of a link to my article – no worries – it is up to each individual blogger how they choose to respond, so I will leave it to your discretion whether to amend the post to include a link or not.
I did not take your claim of quote mining and misinterpretation to be malicious in intent, but I thought it worth addressing a charge laid at my door, in order to clarify my position in that respect.
Despite the fact that we disagree on essentials I surmise that it is not a matter of misinterpretation, but a disagreement that originates in our distinct ontological standpoints when it comes to contemporary societal arrangements vis-à-vis gender inequality.
Your clarification regarding the gains of early feminism was important, so thank you for adding it. Your argument against contemporary feminist endeavours would in fact be strengthened if you offered a balanced approach to this in future pieces by allowing for the possibility that democracy has been positively served by the advances of early feminism, whilst equally maintaining the position – which I understand you to hold at the moment – that having achieved its primary goals feminism is obsolete, and in fact can end up in creating inequality.
Now, I would disagree with that position, but it would be an easier one for you to justify within the broader debate. I think it would be useful for you to take a more focused approach to your discussion of feminism, and asking for justifications for women’s voting rights has the opposite effect to the one you presumably strive for. The argument of “loss” for men does not stand up to scrutiny. It weakens your argument because it attacks an area which for the majority is a clear case of a positive development. You can do better than that.
You say: “We need to ensure equal rights to all citizens, not just “equality for women””. It will come to you as no surprise that I agree with this position. I am a democrat precisely because my primary concern is equality for all citizens. You mentioned power as an important factor, and that is very much the case. Equality and power are strongly intertwined. We cannot eliminate power from society, but we can strive to democratise it. For this to happen it requires the active involvement of both men and women in equal measure, working together, not against each other.
There is one instance of misinterpretation in your reply, where you say: “You thinking that I view feminism as a mythical man beast would be an interesting therapy session.”
I do not think that you view feminism as a mythical man beast. I used that imagery for comic effect, because it fitted well with your phrase “tearing men down.”
If you re-read how I introduced the image into the discussion, to quote: “Feminism in The Poisoned Well’s depiction comes close to the likeness of a savage werewolf “Tearing men down to elevate women”* apparently.” you can see that I do not attribute the phrase to you, but simply liken your depiction of feminism to that image. I do not say “The Poisoned Well says that feminism is a savage werewolf”, but rather inferred that your choice of language makes the parallel an easy one.
You say: “The difference between “Tearing men down” and a justified redistribution of power is if men actually have an unjustified excess of power.”
I will not go into great detail on this, but would like to draw your attention to the fact that there is no such thing as a justified excess of power. Excess of power to a democrat is unjustifiable on any grounds, since to strive for equality is to strive against excess. Human beings are prone to excesses – this is hubris – and it is those excesses that make humans a-polis, that is to say “outside the polis” or “outside society.” This has the effect of destabilising society, and that is why it is important to keep excess of any kind in check.
Furthermore, for any kind of societal arrangements to be “supporting female supremacy, tearing men down,” there would have to be a female supremacy. This is not the case. There may be inequalities in certain arrangements that are detrimental to men, but a swallow does not a summer make.
Since without any further official statistics on either side to back up arguments made regarding this, further discussion of domestic violence cannot bring any new insights, perhaps we can postpone that discussion until a later time when the evidence can be made available. The same goes for the claim that men are at greater risk than women. In the context of a discussion of feminism, who is putting men at greater risk is relevant if the implication made is that feminism is somehow to blame for this. If we accept that men being at greater risk from crime than women is a development unconnected to the movement, then perhaps that issue is best left for a separate discussion that would address crime in society and what the state does and does not do to address it.
I am not yet so despairing of governments aiming to build a just society to disbelieve every single study that they undertake for that purpose. On this we will have to agree to disagree.
Finally, you say that “It is the foundational assumptions that are flawed.” The reason why I disagree with this assertion is a straightforward one: I do not subscribe to a rigid Truth as such. I do not believe that there is an ultimate truth out there to be discovered. Rather, in my opinion, all truths are contingent.
The existence of oligarchy does not preclude the existence of patriarchy. Patriarchy is nothing more than a form of social organisation that is:
1. Male dominated–which doesn’t mean that all men are powerful or all women are powerless–only that the most powerful roles in most sectors of society are held predominantly by men, and the least powerful roles are held predominantly by women
2. Organised around an obsession with control, with men elevated in the social structure because of their presumed ability to exert control (whether rationally or through violence or the threat of violence) and women devalued for their supposed lack of control–women are assumed to need men’s supervision, protection, or control
3. Male identified: aspects of society and personal attributes that are highly valued are associated with men, while devalued attributes and social activities are associated with women. There is a sense of threat to the social structure of patriarchies when these gendered associations are destabilised–and the response in patriarchy is to increase the level of control, often by exerting control over women (as well as groups who are devalued by virtue of race, ethnicity, sexuality, or class).
4. Male centred: It is taken for granted that the centre of attention is the natural place for men and boys, and that women should occupy the margins. Public attention is focused on men. (To test this, take a look at any daily newspaper; what do you find on the front page about men? about women?)
Luckily, in western societies these inequalities are slowly on the wane. That is not the case for many countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and even in supposedly first world countries in Southern Europe.
Thank you for your extensive replies. I am pleased by the fact that with every reply your arguments have become more nuanced. In time, if you eliminate some of the weaker parts of your argumentation, your overall case against modern feminism will strengthen. As someone who appreciates a good debate, I would be glad of it, as the stronger the opponent, the better and more complex the overall debate – and that can only be a good thing.
*Definitions of patriarchy from http://gray.intrasun.tcnj.edu/Coming%20of%20Age/a_basic_definition_of_patriarchy.htm
I fully understand editing of my comment. If you would like to replace the entire quote with “(*Point made, but that was very foul language Vic)” I would appreciate it. I do think it was necessary to include the full words for your eyes (really big shock value there). You agreeing with the point will have much more value than just shock for others reading it. In truth I don’t want to be associated with language like that because I’m trying to be a moderate voice people like you can actual talk with. I wrote that knowing full well it should be censored after you understood the point.
I don’t like changing my posts after I’ve published them. It just feels wrong and dishonest somehow, giving different information to different people. I will add an Update: to the end.
The “losses” for men is a weak position. I agree. It is a true position, one I will defend. It is weak. It was included because it was included as part of “How Feminism Hurts Men” not because it is the best argument I can make.
It does not surprise me that you agree with the words “We need to ensure equal rights to all citizens, not just “equality for women”” I don’t know a single feminist that does disagree with the words. On the other hand I know a single feminist who’s ACTIONS reflect these words, Christina Holf Summers.
Lets just drop the Werewolf. You tried to make a joke, and it failed. I tried to make a joke, it failed. Lets stop beating that dead horse. Humor is not coming across well.
“unjustified excess” You do realize your just splitting hairs here? Semantic bickering and such.
On female supremacy. Society is not a monolith. There are different groups and different segments and different settings with very different establishments. If you want to make the case that 100 years ago these where all male dominated, that is not I point I will bother to refute. It is close enough to the truth and simple enough for every one to understand. It was around 2000 when we hit a point of equality. With groups and segments favoring women having parity with groups and segments favoring men. We have continued “equality for women” moving more groups and segments to favoring women since then. Just because there is frost in the morning doesn’t mean it’s still winter.
The connections of crime rates to feminism is a secondary thing. Murder rates are not a feminist issue. “Women should be able to walk down the street with out fear” is. More men are murdered. If women are more afraid, it is the fear, not the murder rates we need to be addressing.
We can agree to disagree on the government. I do ask that you read my post 40% of rapists are women. Not so much for the content this time, but for the bias I am highlighting. The studies are not outright lies, but distortions. Twisted definitions to fabricate predictable results with good data. The CDC publishes the NIVS, and it’s a source I site. I just make sure to use better definitions.
On “The Patriarchy”. There are almost as many definitions of this as there are for the word “Feminism”. A word that means everything, means nothing. A word that means anything the speaker wants, means nothing. It is in many ways a super mega overloaded word so crammed full of different meanings that it has by and large become meaningless in actual reasonable discussions like this. On the definition you present, I disagree with every point. Actually spelling out why and how I disagree with them would take twice the number of words already written for the comment. I can and will if you would like to move the discussion there, but we will have to drop the rest of the discussion so that We are not writing poorly researched thesises for every comment.
I thank you for your extensive replies as well. None of your words have come close to the sreaking histrionics of a stereotypical feminist. I have had many conversations with people like that and they do nothing but reinforce my disdain for modern feminism. You are bringing up valid points, valid counter arugments and exposing valid weakness in my arguments. We disagree on many things but neither of us is being overly hostile. This leads to good and useful debate.
Thank you, The Poisoned Well. I will attempt to keep my reply short in addressing the above points.
1st I have edited out the quote in your previous reply as per your request. I completely understand why you don’t want to be associated with that type of language.
2nd Thank you for offering to add an update to your post, very thoughtful.
3rd Of course it is your prerogative to defend any position you choose. In acknowledging that you agree with my assessment of it you confirmed that my suggestion was taken in the spirit in which it was intended, so thank you.
4th Like with any movement, there will be those who embrace the extremes. I prefer moderate approaches, whether they are those of liberals, conservatives, or indeed feminists.
5th Werewolf laid to rest until the next full moon calls. I find it useful to take the edge off slightly when discussing serious topics. As with everything, there are as many tastes as there are people.
6th The use of language is important in the context of politics, and not only. More often than not disagreements occur due to misused terminology. It may appear as a dispute over semantics, but as someone whose everyday work involves the precise use of language to explain theory and make difficult ideas comprehensible, I tend not to underestimate the importance of both what is said and how it is said.
7th I said “There may be inequalities in certain arrangements that are detrimental to men, but a swallow does not a summer make.”
I find this to be in agreement with what you commented in reply: “Society is not a monolith. There are different groups and different segments and different settings with very different establishments.”
I am not entirely sure what the critique that followed: “If you want to make the case that 100 years ago these where all male dominated, that is not I point I will bother to refute.” was in reply to.
I was not making any such point.
It is precisely because of the segmentation of society and its power structures that the project of democracy is incomplete. Perhaps it is impossible to ever reach a point where full equality at every lever can be achieved, but that is not to say that we ought to give up.
I am pleased that you have found this to be a useful exchange. I find engaging with others at the level of idea to be always a fruitful endeavour, and disagreement never impedes it. Quite the opposite.
By necessity society is segmented with different power structures. Very different rules apply in the bedroom and the boardroom. Very different power structures exist in the military and in activist circles. These differences are needed because of the goals aims and missions of the different groups/activities. Identifying the power structures that favor men, and ONLY the power structures that favor men is sexist bigotry. There are now more power structures that favor women. If we don’t identify and correct both power structures that favor women and power structures that favor men we are not moving toward gender equality, but female superiority. Pointing at what was 100 years ago does not change what IS today.
On semantics, I agree word choices are VERY important. That censored sentence is the perfect example. The message that I agree with was going to be very lost to most people because of the word choices. Word choices like “patriarchy” bug me. I agree that words are very important. I saw your point on semantics as petty because I agree, your point was my intent. If you saw differently, then I understand why you would pick at the semantics.
I like to do this on my blog also. Did it to a blogger who argued that homosexuals rape more men than straight men rape women.
Tore him a new one. With cold hard logic, Vic. That’s what I mean by “tear him a new one.” Made him look like a dumbass. Full stop. 😉 FBI stats,the works. haha.
Thank you, Kavalkade. Incidentally, I have not investigated the stat claims that The Poisoned Well makes. They do not correspond to any of the former research that I have done into the matter, or with any official stats that are available to the wider public, so I am not sure where those stats come from.
There is one particular claim, which – if you have the time – I would appreciate some help with. The Poisoned Well claims that “Women are not overwhelming the victims of rape. In non-institutional settings Men are 50% of rape victims. If you include rape in institutional settings (Prison rape) then men are 2 out of every 3 rape victims. More to the point is that 40% of Rapists are women.”
I have no idea what this is based on. When I followed the links imbedded in the article regarding these stats they led to only two other articles by the same blogger, and again there were no links to external studies that would support these claims.
Any idea where they might come from?
They quite often present biased or outright false stats from biased sources.
It’s based on his insanity. He’s a simple “internet troll” attempting to get an emotional response out of you.
I have spent far too long debating everything from ideas and ideology, to public policy and international affairs in an academic setting to be drawn into offering anything other than an intellectual response to whatever comes my way. It doesn’t mean that I am dispassionate about the subject, but it would take a lot more to rake up my emotions. Fear not, I am safe 🙂 and thank you for getting back to me regarding this. I wondered whether I missed out on something that was available in the US, but not here. Apparently not. Good to know.
I like to smack a biatch. 😉
That I do know lol
I should have read down farther before. The My Post on 40% of rapists are women does link a study.
Click to access nisvs_report2010-a.pdf
The study uses very bad definitions so I ask that you read my post before looking at the study.
Will look into it. Thank you.
I’m not convinced there’s too much merit to this.. However, there is a huge separation in regards to Child Custody issues.. I sincerely doubt that evidence can be refuted,not just opinion.. I living it
Another very important point. Thank you, maddienmaxdad.
Yes, I agree regarding child custody. In the past custody of children was primarily given to the fathers as the main breadwinners. Since women (at least those in the middle class) did not work, after separation they were not deemed capable of caring for the children.
Then, as social circumstances changed, so did the law, and today the primary custodian is always the woman, unless it can be proven that she is not able to care for the children.
I understand that advances are being made to amend this so that either parent would have an equal chance at custody where there is disagreement regarding this.
Personally, I believe that the interest of the child must always be the primary concern in any custodial decision.
And certainly, it is in the child’s interest that both parents are involved in their upbringing (unless there are serious offences on either side).
In the interest of equality, I think it would be best if a 50/50 approach was taken on this, and that the decision should always include the child’s own wishes. To exclude either parent would be damaging to both adults and child in the long term.
Thank you for your comment. Appreciated. I hope that your case is resolved, and that you will not be excluded from your child’s life.
Perhaps one day,but so far that day hasn’t come for us:(, thank you
My thoughts are with you, and I hope that in time you will reach your goal.
No worries,still standing,:)
Vic, Your views on child custody are enlightened and praiseworthy. Sadly, they are also heretical to Canadian feminists. Children are de facto child support piggy banks here, at least in Ontario.
Thank you, navigator. It is very kind of you to say so. I do hope that in time my views will be shared by the majority.
I think society could do a lot more in striving to change attitudes not only insofar as child custody is concerned, but also at an even more basic level when it comes to the shared responsibility of parenting.
Scandinavia has made the greatest advances in this respect.
If from the start, both parents were encouraged to take 50/50% responsibility for child care, if men were given an equal share of paternity leave to women, and if men’s ability to be care-givers was acknowledged as equal to that of women – then I believe this would go a long way in amending attitudes when things do not work out between parents and a separation ensues.
Current societal arrangements are detrimental to both men and women. More should be done to correct this.
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