Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Earnest Feminism

This is a guest post by Snark, cross-posted at his blog Remasculation.

I have noticed an uptick, in the last few weeks, in the clamoring by feminists to tell us all that feminism is not what we think it is.

They are doing this on our home turf - on MRA blogs and websites, leading me to believe that they are getting a little concerned that the party might well and truly soon be all over.

They typically phrase their objections in the form of incredulous (and leading) questions - you guys don't really think this is what feminism is, do you? You don't actually think that feminists believe that, do you? What, you mean to tell me that the sky is actually blue? Get outta here!

When Professor Lionel Tiger debated the insufferable Amanda Hess regarding the legitimacy of Male Studies, he remarked that earnest feminism cannot provide the answers so desperately needed for the problems facing men today.

His use of this phrase got me thinking. It describes so perfectly the close encounters of the earnest kind that hives of counter-feminist activity are becoming increasingly prone to.

The pattern is usually the same. After the feigned disbelief that somebody actually thinks this way (i.e. contrary to the feminist herself), she reassures us that all we are doing is obsolete, because wouldn't you know it, feminists have got our backs anyway. They will solve all our problems - in fact, they already know what our problems are. Too much masculinity, for one thing! Too much rape culture! And so on.

You see, these feminists are so earnest - and not in the slightest bit arrogant - that they do not even require our input as to what problems we face, let alone on what might be the best way to fix them.

There was an Anonymous comment on the False Rape Society a day or so ago. I do not know who posted it - a regular poster, a falsely accused, an earnest feminist - it could be any of these, I simply don't know, and so I shall make no judgement on that poster.

The comment suggested that we spend less time bashing feminism, the implication being that this distracts from our true goal of advocating for the falsely accused. Again, I reserve judgement on the motivation of the person who posted this. I simply use it as an example. The person who posted this comment may well be a falsely accused who doesn't see the connection between feminist propaganda and the high rate of false accusations for sex crimes. It's a perfectly fair point of view, though I consider it incorrect. More to the point, it's exactly what earnest feminists would want us to do.

This is a war which will be won culturally, linguistically, semantically, and conceptually. Our friends who urge us to 'follow the money' are quite correct - there is money made out of false accusations. This is a fact that should never be ignored or pushed aside. But the questions I am prompted to ask are
  1. How did this come to be? and
  2. How do we change this?

Yes, you can follow the money on a particular case. You can exonerate somebody who has been dealt a great injustice, and you can get some corrupt official, who stood to gain from an innocent man's suffering, duly punished by the system. Don't get me wrong - I recommend this course of action!

But, as worthy as such an effort is, it would be a victory in only one case. It would be the entirety of one man's world; the most important thing to ever happen in his life. But on a larger scale, it would be a mere drop in a bucket. We also need to be concerned about how we reduce and stop false accusations more generally. One man's victory against a false rape claim is cause for celebration. But how many others have lost, and are currently in prison or awaiting trial?

This brings me back to the questions I raised above. The answer to how this came about is as simplistic or complicated as you like. Western assumptions of female virtue and male vice are a good place to start. We know that false accusations were happening long before feminism proper reared its vulgar head. The victims of the Salem Witch Trials were identified mostly by girls and young women. The same applies to the brutal racist lynchings in the Southern states of the USA in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Men carried out the violence, but they were prompted by women - of whom lies were simply not expected.

Always remember this point, because it is exactly the same today. In the words of Paul Elam, "feminism is not the enemy of masculinity. It is, rather, a twisted and corrupted exploitation of it." It's not Jessica Valenti and her band of Girl Scouts who come knocking down your door when someone makes a false rape claim - it's men. Big, strong men with guns, representing the state and its monopoly on violence.

How did we ever get to the point where so many are falsely accused and unjustly punished? The answer is feminism. Feminism, which built upon the chivalrous myths of male guilt and female innocence to its own advantage. Feminism, which continues to propagandise on these very myths today. Feminism, which explicitly declared that all men are violators and all women are victims. In its more lucid moments, the movement has coalesced around grotesque statements regarding all men as rapists. Or all men as worthless, or that men cannot be victims as men, and so on and on.

I very much doubt that there is a hateful sentiment left to be expressed about men, which has not already been expressed by the feminist sector.

The point of all this is that the battle has been fought culturally. And not just culturally, but linguistically, semantically and conceptually, a society's totality of which constitute its culture in crucial ways. I will post about this in more detail another time. All that is necessary to understand for now, is that we must fight back culturally, linguistically, semantically and conceptually, on top of our more individualised efforts to bring liars and their enablers to justice.

Feminism is the linchpin of a legal and cultural system which enables false rape accusations and of its continuation. The two are intertwined so as to be inseparable. We cannot get away from this fact. We cannot object to the high rate of false rape accusations without opposing feminism, and we cannot 'ease up' on feminism without 'easing up' on a system which feasts on the suffering of innocent men and boys.

Earnest feminism is the same old shit wrapped up in a shiny new package.

As an example, I draw your attention to a post which had all the feminist blogs abuzz in the recent past. I'm not going to link to it because I in no way promote these people, but if you search for Schrödinger's Rapist you'll probably find it.

This post is exemplary of earnest feminism in so many ways. I'm writing this all from memory, because I don't want to subject myself to actually reading such crap again - once was enough.

It begins with an invitation for men to come sit at the table. Courtesy is apparently extended - look, we know that you're not a rapist, but loads and loads of men are, but we know you're not, you'd never hurt a woman, and hey, you probably make toys for orphans and take care of sick animals. Now that we've got your attention, you unusual man, let us tell you exactly how you can not come across as a rapist.

Yes, one would think that, to be a rapist, one would have to commit the act of rape. Not so for feminists, who have repeatedly stretched the term to the point of absurdity and utter meaninglessness. Here is a pristine example. The not uncommon act of striking up friendly conversation with someone on a bus is apparently an indication that you are a rapist (albeit of the non-raping kind), unless you follow the precise social and conversational rules that some silly little girl has dreamed up.

Anyone with half a brain should have figured out the ruse by now. Schrödinger's Cat - on which this bizarre argument is based - may be dead or alive once it's inside the box. For those unfamiliar with this thought experiment, please see here.

The idea is that the cat may be dead, or it may be alive, and there is simply no way of knowing if you do not open the box. We do not call it Schrödinger's Dead Cat, nor do we call it Schrödinger's Alive Cat, for the simple reason that to do so destroys the thought experiment by positing a conclusion to the unanswerable question.

And so the linguistic trickery of Schrödinger's Rapist becomes clear. It is not Schrödinger's Man, or even Schrödinger's Potential Rapist. It is Schrödinger's Rapist. The conclusion is posited, just as surely as if we referred to Schrödinger's thought experiment as Schrödinger's Dead Cat. Although I am recalling the post in question from memory, I do recall one sentence as clear as day:

"You are Schrödinger's Rapist."

This is addressed, you will recall, to men explicitly identified in the opening paragraph as non-rapists. Would it not make as much sense to call them Schrödinger's Non-Rapists? How is this any less reasonable, since a conclusion is already being posited to a thought experiment which leaves it unknowable (until it is too late, anyway)?

"You are Schrödinger's Rapist" is confirmed, by these earnest feminists, about men whom they do not know, whom they - according to the rules of their own thought experiment - could not know as a rapist or a non-rapist. The litmus test for misandry is this. Would "Schrödinger's Non-Rapist" fit just as easily with the content or the tone of the article?

No, it would not. Even though it would fit equally well (in its illogic) with the thought experiment.

Removing the word "Schrödinger's" tells us all we need to know about where these earnest feminists stand regarding men's rights. To the men who make friendly conversation with women they don't yet know, they wish to say "you are a rapist."

It is rather disgusting that they would encourage women to fear men in this way. After all, if men didn't approach women they don't know, the human race would likely have died out millennia ago. But that's a story for another time.

Earnest feminism is every bit as bad as its other forms. Feminism has no solutions to the problems facing men, because feminism is either causing or exacerbating these problems. These issues are numerous and cover a much wider scope than the narrow focus of this post. But the issue of false accusations made against men is inextricably bound up with feminism. No matter what the earnest feminists say, they can offer no solutions, because their solutions must fit within the very paradigm that is causing the suffering.

The solutions we propose are very much outside the paradigm which posits men (even non-raping men, i.e. the vast majority) as rapists and women as eternal victims. This is one reason why we encounter such violently charged opposition from feminists at times. Their new tactic, apparently, is to try to reason with us earnestly, and to prove that they're not all that bad really.

Well, I'm sorry, but I can see through this facade. Feminism is the primary force pushing for more false rape accusations, among other injustices. It is not some separate, superstructural phenomenon existing irrelevantly and disconnectedly from a base legal system which assumes male guilt. Feminism has brought about, and is maintaining, the assumptions of male guilt and female innocence.

Consider their mantra: believe the victim! Yet this posits a solution to the question of who the victim even is, before any third party, much less the court of public opinion, could possibly know. It is the same kind of trickery as "Schrödinger's Rapist", earnest on the surface and hateful at its core.

Let them be as earnest as they please. I urge you to respond with derision, sarcasm, and mocking contempt.

- Snark