Ask Men

How to deal with hatred and misrepresentation

Posted in Ask Men, Feminism, What the what? on August 27th, 2010 by steph – 7 Comments

Finally, there is hope for all those people in my life who, for so long now, have been saying “I just don’t know how to deal with her. How do I deal with an angry feminist???”. Hallelujah, an answer is finally here! Hopefully the haters are taking notes. (I have to point out this this advice is proferred by a woman, which is another level of terrible on top of the terrible sandwich it already is).

Where to begin with this ridiculous piece of rubbish?

Feminism is a great thing. As a movement, it has allowed women to be seen as people every bit as worthy and deserving of the privileges that men enjoy. Women still don’t earn as much income as men in comparable occupations and there is still a tendency to think that women belong in the kitchen, but the feminists that have fought for equality over the years have had a huge effect on gender roles in our society.

Feminism is cool, you guys. I like that it exalts the work of feminists who have fought wicked hard to be seen as human beings that deserve the same rights as men, then mentions some good examples of why this hasn’t actually happened. Without even a note of awareness of how funny this pairing of ideas is. Feminism has done so much! And women are treated decently now! Except in these two examples here, which negate my point.

While most women who identify as feminists these days are champions of equality, there is another type of feminist that despises anything male and claims that women are superior in every way. These man-hating feminists are rare and sometimes refer to themselves as “radical” or “militant.” We just think they’re angry. When you come across an angry feminist, you may find yourself instinctively shielding your balls while trying to figure out what to do next. AskMen has your guide to dealing with angry feminists.

Yeah, um, I don’t know if you got the memo that has been circulating for a good few years now, but hating men isn’t actually a tenet of feminism. Hating men kind of goes against the whole ‘wanting everyone, men and women, to get a fair and equal deal’. Busting out the tired old man-hater cliche? Ten points for originality!

Tip 1. : Don’t say you’re a feminist. Because that is her secret activation phrase, and will cause her to rip off your balls!

Don’t ever try to empathise with angry feminists by claiming that you are also a feminist. These women think that by simply being a man you are part of the oppressive male-dominated system that is keeping women down. So, even if you’ve always respected and loved the women in your life, the angry feminist will say that men are privileged in our society and, whether you actively choose it or not, you’re to blame for participating in the patriarchy.

The thing is, by being a man, you kind of are part of the system that is in place against women. Even good men who have loved and respected the women in their lives. We’re all part of the system, as much as we like to believe we are the pure and noble exception. And saying that the ‘angry feminist’ will respond by talking about how men are privileged in our society? Men are privileged in our society! Is that even up for debate?? Pointing out the flawed system, and how we too are all part of it (by virtue of existing in it) and are also flawed doesn’t make one some sort of militant. It is important to talk about these things, because this is how we start to change them. And another thing, saying that you’ve always loved and respected the women in your life? That doesn’t negate privilege. And, additionally, what you view as love and respect is easily shaped by what ‘the system’ views as loving and respectful behaviour towards women.  I know plenty of guys who say they respect women, and give an example of some sort of cliche “I’m good to ladies!” move which is more about what we are taught to believe respect looks like than it is about actual respect (and what that individual woman actually wants/needs).

Tip 2. Never ever EVER mention sex. Ever!

“…any mention of sex between a man and a woman, no matter how innocent, consensual or woman-centric, is likely to be twisted into a rape-inciting hate comment by an angry feminist. This type of feminist believes that any woman who wants and enjoys sex is contributing to the oppression of not just herself, but the entire female population. Yet, she will also argue that a society controlled by men stifles a woman’s right to express her sexuality. Pointing out the inherent contradiction in her argument will only result in her accusing you of being a rape supporter. Better to go find yourself one of those women who wishes to cement her submission to the big, bad patriarchy by allowing you to give her satisfying orgasms.”

You’re right, when someone says the word sex, feminists are really hearing RAPERAPERAPERAPE. There is so much wrong with this, starting with the fact that the promotion of sex-positivity is relentlessly promoted by feminists. Feminists generally like the idea of people having satisfying and consensual sex. Who wouldn’t like that idea? But sometimes, rape really is the issue. And sometimes the man might think he is talking about sex, but really he is talking about exploitation and manipulation and coercion and rape. So yeah, sometime the conversation is about rape. But a lot of the time, it’s about sex. If sex is really what is being talked about, it isn’t going to get “twisted into a rape-inciting hate comment”.

Also; a society controlled by men does stifle a woman’s right to express her sexuality. Again, why is this even up for debate? Why is this treated as the ludicrous hallucinations of a twisted mind? It’s simple: if one group has control over what another can do (thus dictating what is good and bad, admissible and not), then they are creating rules that hey, just might be stifling some people’s free expression. Whodathunkit? Acting like this is a silly feminist idea made up for laughs is trying to marginalize people who believe it, stifling another form of their expression too.

And  “better to go find yourself one of those women who wishes to cement her submission to the big, bad patriarchy by allowing you to give her satisfying orgasms” ? Yes, men ‘giving’ women orgasms is what feeds the patriarchy! We’ve been trying to tell everyone for all these years, but really our hearts weren’t in it, because orgasms are just so good. This is patronizing bullshit at it’s best. There are plenty of things that cement the big bad patriarchy, but having an orgasm with a man really doesn’t seem like the biggest thing we should be worried about. I mean, I know consensual sexual pleasure will bring down the empire and all that, but we’re a bit busy with rights to work, parent, choose, etc. We’ll deal with the orgasm thing later, and stamp out that dirty practice of ladies having orgasms with men all together. Sisters unite!

Tip 3. “Don’t prove her right”.

Angry feminists can be infuriating in their stubbornness and complete disregard for any sense of logic or reason. Yes, she’s trying to push your buttons, but don’t fall for it. If you say what you really want to say to her, you’ll just be stooping to her level. Don’t supply more evidence for her theory that all men suck by acting like an asshole. Stay calm and remember that common sense is on your side.

When she’s talking about a way in people treat feminists like garbage, don’t prove her right by saying something like, I don’t know, “You’re such an angry feminist!”, even though you totally think it. You’ll show her, yes indeedy.

Disregard for any sense of logic or reason? Bish please, that’s just unfounded. I’m pretty sure saying “See this observable thing in the world? The one that disadvantages people? Disadvantage is bad, thus this thing that causes it is bad” isn’t unreasonable. Common sense may not be on the side of feminists, according to this author, but it sure isn’t on her side either.

Tip 4. “Don’t be a bother”

Sometimes, the best way to deal with an angry feminist is to put your hands in the air and back away slowly. You will never win an argument with this woman, and trying will only get you labelled as an oppressive patriarchal pig. Best to save your common-sense arguments for someone who will actually listen to them and engage you in conversation instead of blaming your entire gender for everything that makes her life difficult.

Angry feminists are like bears, y’all! Big, dangerous bears! Or maybe tigers; yeah, tigers! Back away from them before you wake them from their slumber of man-hating dreams, and sink their teeth into your sexism-reinforcing self. (Except they wouldn’t actually sink their teeth into you, because that is soooooo evocative of penetration, and penetration is satan and Garth George all rolled into one).

You know what makes someone oppressive? Having to shit all over someone’s beliefs and pwn them in an argument by shouting them down. So, were you to do that, then yeah, I would call you oppressive. You aren’t always going to  “win” an argument, which is a lesson even children learn at some stage. We all lose sometimes.

I think what you mean by “find someone who will actually listen and engage in conversation” is find someone who will nod and smile while you talk about yourself and vainly stroke your taut, muscled chest. Because the feminists I know (even then angry ones, like me!) actually really love to engage in conversation. Reasonable, logical, passionate, emotional, angry, enthusiastic, open conversation. So I think maybe your dictionary is out of date or something. Maybe you should come over and we could have a conversation about it? I’ll bake cookies shaped like male genitalia so we can rip the balls off with our teeth.

This is how the article concludes:

For the record, not all feminists are angry. Some of them are perfectly reasonable people who simply believe in equality. Not even all radical or militant feminists are all that scary, but you are certainly more likely to find the mean, frightening, extreme ones among those that use those labels. When we hear the word “sexist,” we usually picture a guy who looks down on women, but don’t forget that there are women out there who think that men are the weaker sex and that revolution and world domination are the only logical responses to the paternalistic ideals of our time. These women are every bit as harmful and distasteful as misogynist men.

Brain explode from so much ridiculousness. First up, what’s with this hatred for being angry? Why is anger a bad thing? Or is it just bad when the angry person is a lady, or a feminist? Because I think anger is fine, and healthy, and often and awesome motivator for people to do something about things they feel are wrong (also great motivator for creating a blog!). And I think part of this is a conflation of anger with passion. Neither of these things is bad.

Apparently when we hear “sexist”, we think of a man who looks down on women. Well, yes. But there are a lot of people who say “But I love women! Some of my best friends are women!”, and this does not mean they aren’t sexist, not by a long shot. In fact, “I have female friends” is a fairly good indicator of sexism… Yes, sexim is looking down on women. But the problem is, a lot of people think that because they don’t hit their girlfriends or because they hired a female employee that they are bastions of awesome woman-love and respect. But sexism is sneaky, and subtle, pervasive and ingrained. So some people don’t really get how some things can be sexist because those things aren’t “that bad”, or because they “don’t mean anything”. The thing is, they do mean something. And this is why feminists are passionate, why they want to talk about problems: because problems, both big and little, exist; and people who say “I’m not sexist because I like women” exist; and people who say feminism, a movement about all people getting treated well, is as harmful as men who hate women, those people exist too.