Monday, February 9, 2015

20 Questions Feminists Asked of Men Answered Poorly.

Saw this article and felt the need to respond:

I really should be getting to work but this is going to bug me if I don't weigh in so let me elaborate my position.
First some general thoughts then I'll go one by one:
The most frequent problem I encountered with this article is equivocation. Just because two different issues facing men and women violate the same underlying principles doesn't mean they are the same or cancel each other out.  Both men and women get raped, therefore the fact that it happens to women at a sickeningly higher rate is irrelevant. Circumcision and abortion both are bodily autonomy issues, therefore they are the same issue. Society puts body image pressure on both men and women to some degree, so it's the same.I think relative severity is important and that you can simultaneously recognize that two problems are real and serious without thinking that all problems are equally so.
Now to his answers
1. I don't have much of a problem with this one other than to mention that "someone, somewhere is going to call me an attention whore" is not quite the same as the occurrence being "common" as the questioner said.
2. I think he's right that both men and women are belittled in this way, but I don't see any reason to believe that "that criticism comes equally from both men and women." Again, the key word is "common." Minor point though relatively speaking.
3. Yes, gender roles cut both ways, but when one gender role gives you an automatic check box in the interviewer's "do I hire this person?" checklist I don't think the two are equally damaging.  Yes there is pressure on men to put work first and family second (though that situation is improving, thanks in no small part to feminists challenging gender roles in general), but the complementary pressure on women is to not work at all and put family above career at all times.
4. Circumcision (or MGM whatever you prefer), is a bad thing. Babies die from it, have botched procedures, accidents, occasionally get herpes (from the traditional briss ceremony) and they get no say in the matter. The evidence doesn't point strongly either way for health benefit or detriment in sexual health, but that just makes it an unneccessary ellective surgery at best. Absolutely, I think the practice should be discontinued until a reasonable age of consent. It's a bodily autonomy issue that we need to deal with in this country and for the most part are not.
However, this does not mean that MGM is nearly as bad a situation as the state of abortion rights in this country. Childbirth/abortion and MGM are orders of magnitude different in terms of life impact, financial impact, an health risk. If it's not already readily apparent why giving birth and raising a kid is tougher than having a 95% functional penis (baring the complications I mentioned above) then I'm not sure what I could cite in defense of my view that would convince.
5. Femenazi and misogynist are not gendered synonyms. The former is a pejorative used exclusively to dismiss the opinions of opinionated women regardless of substance, while the latter has genuine use in describing attitudes and culturaly ingrained pressures which women have to put up with. By analogy, a racist may find the term pejorative but that doesn't make it any less of a diagnostic term (and no I'm not comparing misogynists to racists, I'm comparing the terms only)
6. "Women generally aren't funny..." That's what misogyny looks like. "see what it is that women almost universally want in a mate." Sweeping generalizations.
7. In addition to only wanting us for our sense or humor, apparently women only want us for our careers? This is mostly tone trolling, but the generalizations bug me again. Also I found his parenthetical about the "small percentage of women" who are attracted a bit entitled.
8. This one pissed me off because the comparison was so lopsided. "In the media and journalism field, it’s sure as hell not a meritocracy. Ladies, if you’re gorgeous, you don’t need to be all that talented to get a job in reporting. You just have to be able to read off the teleprompter, look great in a tight dress, and you’re booked. For us chubby white dudes, no one wants to see us on TV. We’ve got to be smarter, more educated, have all of our hair, and be willing to claw our way to the top." Saying "gorgeous ladies" have it better in media than "chubby white dudes" is no more to the point than saying handsome men with "all of our hair" have it easier on TV.
Media wants attractive people, male or female. The fact that men CAN overcome this barrier with hard work while women usually cannot is not a point in the author's favor.
9. No issue with this one, other than I think he missed the point that usually women don't have the luxury of waiting until you were established in your career before starting a family. The pressure on women to have a family early often precludes that option.
10. "And if you do reject a drunk female, beware! They’re dangerous! The best thing to do is just to ignore them, and don’t lie about having a partner because they will stalk you until they find out you’re lying, and then they will hunt you down to make you suffer. It happens. Not frequently, but occasionally." Right, NOT FREQUENTLY. Consider the converse situation. "And if you do reject a drunk female, beware! They're dangerous!" The former brings up a legitmate (though rare) concern about stalking. The latter brings up the disgustingly FREQUENT cases of rape, assault, battery, and sometimes outright murder.
Yes, men get raped. But to say that risk is the same as the all too legitmate fear that women have to deal with in this situation on a daily basis.
11. Exhibit A in missing the fucking point. Women being judged by the length of their pants or skirt happens all the time and is usually accompanied by accusations of "slutiness" or worse the victim blaming attitude of "she was asking for it." Your receeding hair line is not remotely comparable. To make it worse, saying "you can do something about your skirt" is an example of victim blaming (though I think born out of ignorance of the questioner's intent in this case). The woman shouldn't have to do a damn thing about her skirt length.
12. "I wish I could just go on a diet and be skinny and have that be sexy. No, we men have to go on a diet, AND lift weights to get ripped, shredded, cut, whatever. It’s a lot harder." Fuck you sir, I have no response to give beyond that.
13. Everyone should be a good listener. Not sure "shut the hell up" is the best way to convey that message but ok.
14. Again, missing the point. The man being expected to pay for things in a relationship is not at all equivocable to victim blaming in the case of rape, sexual assault, catcalling, etc. See #10,#11.
15. Ok, took this one a bit personal as a gamer who does enjoy identifying with RPG characters much like I would those in a novel or film. "I’ll try not to be condescending to the intelligence of someone who seriously compares themselves to Hobbits, Twileks, Elves, He-Men and mutants." Try harder. Sexism in gaming and character design is a whole separate conversation that is definitely worth having, but not here.
16. I'll pass on this one, as I'm not quite sure I'm understanding either party correctly.
17. Again, see #10,#11, #14. Entirely different forms of relief are expressed in a woman saying "made it home safe" than a man saying it in our society.
18. I disagree with the relative frequency of the occurances, but for once he's making a fair comparison.
19. Signing your initials avoids the risk that people will not take your work seriously or look at it differently just because a woman produced it. At least this time he recognized that he missed the point. For example:
20. See #15. A discussion for another time about the "girl gamers" terminology but I'll give and example of the concern. It's not uncommon for a "girl gamer" to simultaneously riddiculed for defying the (woefully inaccurate) gender steryotypes about gamers, while being belittled for her successes in game because "people went easy on her" or "she only got ahead because she's a girl." Again, another time for that discussion.