by Connie Chastain*
If you pay much attention to politics and culture, you know things ain't real pretty right now -- at least, not in the USA.
The country is probably as divided as it has ever been without resorting to arms. The economy is in shambles; government at all levels is broke. The recession has hit men the hardest, so the federal government tries to fix it by spending nonexistent money creating jobs for ... women. The president disses the Boy Scouts' 100th Anniversary in order to get in front of TV cameras with the bit-- women of "The View." Sheesh.
Society is polarized. That makes it a good time to seize the energy that flows from conflict and take a stand. What we have now is a great opportunity for real women to stand up to radical feminists -- to stand up for themselves and their men in the face of baseless feminist criticism, haranguing and bellyaching.
The Internet is a great virtual arena for such a debate. An effort might be as simple as leaving a comment challenging a hostile article or praising a positive one. From there, the motivated debater can move into chat rooms and discussion groups. Really motivated defenders can start their own blogs. Anybody who's been online a while knows all this, but it bears repeating, as hard times weigh folks down and try to leach our spirits from us.
Being the somewhat contentious and opinionated person that I am (hey, I can't help it, it's my Scots-Irish mountaineer heritage) I've been e-squabbling and i-kvetching since I got online with my first WebTV back in 1999, about a great variety of subjects, including feminism. I've learned a few lessons that others have perhaps learned, and perhaps not.
First, you're not going to change the mind of a dedicated feminist, about rape culture or patriarchy or glass ceilings or anything else, no matter how logical and incisive your argument, so don't try. Realize that the whole point of the exercise is to present your argument to non-participants, to the lurkers and readers, those who may not yet realize that they, indeed, do have a dog in this fight.
Second, you're not going to do your cause any good by participating in the online equivalent of elementary school cafeteria food-fights. Nobody's convinced by name-calling and profanity, so don't participate, and if you have the authority, follow the example of FRS's great moderators, Pierce and Steve, and shut down counter-productive discussions.
Third, as important as it is to stand up to radical feminist insanity, it is far more important to stand up for the wonderful men in our society, in our families, in our lives. They're unlikely to stand up for themselves, these men -- ordinary men (who are anything but ordinary), the unsung heroes, the men who hold everything together, who make the world work and societies successful, the nameless men who invent, who maintain, who accomplish because it's what they do, not because they seek recognition or praise. But whether they seek it or not, they appreciate it.
But there's more to do than just recognize their essential contributions to successful human existence; there is also the job of defending men, particularly western men, from feminism's egregious lies. You don't read of husbands in the USA cutting off their wives' noses and ears -- but you do hear of wives cutting off their husband's penises--and being applauded for it. And yet, in a society where women are pampered and uplifted, feminists still complain about made up rape culture and the dearth of women in executive suites.
So many times when I've read terse accounts of false rape accusations on this blog, I've wondered if anyone stood up for the falsely accused, if the women in his life stood with him and let him know that he was not abandoned by those who care about him.
Arguing, on the Internet or anywhere else, isn't for everyone. But in this climate of constant complaint about men and boys, even non-confrontational types can, and should, stand for and with their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers against all of feminism's false allegations.
*Connie is a member of the FRS team. Her weekly essays appear every Friday. Her personal blog is http://conniechastain.blogspot.com/