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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Faith & Rage: Misandry is also Misogyny

This post was originally to be published on a friend's private blog, however in order to avoid bringing any more drama I have decided to blog it here at my place, where I may moderate comments at my discretion while reducing the amount of trolls, flamers, and otherwise haters at her place.

It is in response to a rebuttal of a guest-post I made at my friend's blog which I have archived [here] for you to peruse before diving in to this one. Please be sure to read for comprehension!

Are you ready? Okay, let's go.

A blogger named Faith saw fit to attempt [a rebuttal of my post] at a friend's blog. Upon seeing her link in the comments section, I clicked it and began reading. By the first paragraph I was already troubled. (And not just because it's written in 10 different fonts, colors, bolds, italics, and other stylistics, making it look like a death threat from some stalker cut out of magazine clippings. But I digress…) What I read seemed to scream out from every sentence on the page: bitterness, vitriol, anger, rage, hatred, fear, paranoia, and most of all MISANDRY.

While my first inclination was to give this person the benefit of the doubt, based on that they knew the blog-host, but now I have decided to go buckwild on this blogger like her post was a piñata. Because unlike some people, I do not put up with prejudiced bullshit.

To start, Faith remarks on her experience as a single woman, and how she fell for the lies that men she met had told her. She talked about being used for sex and being dumped harshly. It was a sad story, and I feel sorry for her situation, having suffered through the exact same thing myself at the hands of other women. It sucks to be used, and I empathize.

But then she wrote this, "men coerce or encourage women to work against their best interests", and this, "Dangling the carrot of couple-dom aka “connecting intimately” is the new modern warfare between the sexes." And this, "Women need to understand the true nature of men and act accordingly in protecting themselves. You cannot rely on benevolence, social conditioning, having a conscience, exceptions to the rule or his having a sense of fairness to kick in." 

I object, in good faith, to the portrayal of men as monsters like Faith seems to think we are. Yes there are men who do coerce women to their detriment. Yes there are men who use women's emotions or naiveté to manipulate them. Yes, there are bad men out there. But there are bad people in every group out there, and yet they are not the majority of people. Why is it that a minority of douchebag men are held up for scrutiny and made to represent all men? Would we tolerate this kind of stereotyping for women? Should I judge all women by the crack-head prostitutes living in the Tenderloin of San Francisco? Should we judge all Jewish people to be rich and greedy because of the few prominent ones in Hollywood? Should we judge Black people as inherently criminal or stupid because one scientist thinks so? Do you see the rationale being utilized here? I hope so, because it's disgusting.

I object, in good faith, to the portrayal of individual male-to-female interactions as a "war" between the sexes. Sure, groups have power struggles, but for individuals trying to date each other that's not a reality. Men and women interact with varying needs, or desires, but domination or power is not typically what single people are thinking of when they go to the bar, or the club, or on a first date. That Faith views social interaction between two people this way is a testament to her negative experience, not to real life.

I object, in good faith, to her saying that women need to understand the "true nature of men". What "true nature" is she referring to? Our masculine one? Our love of sports or video-games? What exactly is she referring to? Moving on...

Faith then starts in on myself, calling me an "anthropologist poser", which I find funny since she could look me up and find out that I'm getting my degree in anthropology as we speak. But okay, so she doesn’t believe I'm actually an anthropologist, however then she calls me a "wolf in sheep's clothing" (which isn't so bad, since it sounds like something somebody's grumpy grandma would say) followed by "hipster misogynist".

Full stop. Excuse me? Because I had the audacity to say something true about male views towards sex, I am suddenly a misogynist? And not just any misogynist, but a hipster misogynist?? Did this girl even READ my blog before making a comment? I had to laugh at that part, because [I regularly make fun of hipsters] and distance myself from them as much as possible in social situations. That she'd confuse me with one shows she probably doesn't know what a hipster is — or, apparently, a misogynist.

Faith continues, "When I read this post I was seething, because I saw the harm validating his opinion as being even remotely appropriate would negatively impact some unsuspecting women."

What harm comes from admitting that men see sex and intimacy as one and the same? What harm comes from some random blogger like me saying that I think men (myself included) see sex as a means to emotional closeness? The only harm I see happening are the dangerous levels your blood pressure may reach from all that "seething". But what harm have I done to "unsuspecting women"? And who are they that you're protecting them through a blog post?? (Seriously, does she think she's actually accomplishing anything like she's Motherfucking Theresa?)

Yet I have no motivation for luring women into giving up their power or giving up their snatch. [I already have a loving and beautiful girlfriend.] So where does Faith say my motivation for this dastardly deed comes from? What rationale does she give for calling me "poison" and other weird insults? Well, she doesn't! Or, at least, she doesn't give one. And that's actually because there is none!

I don't care what other people do with their lives as long as they are doing what they want to do. I'm about freedom, because that's the law of the land. But it seems Faith believes that is a threat. Threat to what, I don't know. Maybe her pity party? Maybe her angry, bitter, and misandric blogging party? Or maybe she's like the old and decrepit next-door neighbor, forever running out onto the lawn when the kids around the block are enjoying their summer by riding bicycles back and forth. Moving on...

"The thing that got me riled up in particular was how he so easily called into question a woman’s right to choose…to say NO." At this point color me indignant. When did I say a woman didn't have the right to say "no"? When did I even imply that? I'd love to have someone point it out for me who's actually [read my post], because Faith goes on to state that I make the argument that everyone should engage in casual sex (something she believes isn't in women's best interests). Apparently she didn’t carefully read my post and notice that I said, and have only ever said that people should have sex when they want to. Not when their partner says they should. Not when their pastor or rabbi says they should. Not when some random guy on the internet says they should. A person should ONLY have sex when they want to.

But to Faith, that was apparently an attack on women. She calls men like me, who believe in having sex when we and our partners want to "stalkerish", "manipulative", "passive-aggressive", "petty", "man-children", and even more sinister things like, "outright physically and emotionally abusive". She seems so offended at the mere idea of people having sex on their terms that I believe she's projecting her own lack of male-attention and bad romantic experiences onto those of us who happen to be in happy, loving relationships. (Seriously, she even took a dig at my girlfriend! Which is funny, since Jasmin is, for those of you who know her, the least likely person to notice when someone's talking smack, but the first person to shut them up with cold hard reality.)

Another major misunderstanding occurs when Faith says I feel that I am "entitled" to have sex so I can connect emotionally. I'm not sure where she got that idea since I never said it, but I can assume that she got it from the same place as all the rest of her bullshit. She pulled it out of her ass!

I said that men -- certainly many men -- connect emotionally through physical intimacy. And I did say that I'd be suspicious of a woman's interest in me if she didn't kiss me, or show any signs of being physically attracted to me. And since Faith is all about common sense, let me tell you something: if someone is dating you, but giving no outward signs of being attracted to you, then it is common sense to be suspicious of their interest! And I think even Faith would agree with that. She herself makes the assertion that common sense means protecting yourself.

However for her that doesn’t seem to apply if you happen to be a man, apparently.

Her post continues declaring that women need to use their sexual power in order to empower themselves, but for Faith this means not having sex — even if they want to! She writes, "DON’T GIVE AWAY YOUR POWER", which is insulting to all women that she views their only source of actual power as being the vagina between their legs. Women are more than their vaginas. They are people.

Faith again demonstrates her view of gender interaction through a lens of warfare, which is just not how people actually interact in real life. Go to any social setting: coffee-shop, concert, or club, and nobody is thinking about how to dominate or oppress each other. Anyone who makes that conclusion is projecting their own fears and experiences onto these innocuous situations.

This is best illustrated when she writes about the experience I shared on this very blog regarding my "half-night stand" where she turns an experience I had (and it was one among many, I might add, unfortunately) that was exactly like one that she shared earlier in her post. But instead of understanding or empathy, she chooses to make a random speculation, "The way he gripes about it like he’s the victim makes me wonder if he tried to coerce her to change her mind by wearing her down. 'You don’t have to do anything. Just let me put it in for a few minutes.' Forget her pleasure, relaxation or satisfaction. -- yeah I went there!"

I find it funny since the situation — which I gentlemanly attempted to portray without the graphic content — happened so completely different from Faith's scenario that I give particular pleasure in telling you exactly what occurred. This girl was someone who I had been attempting to date. However she disappeared on me and I didn’t hear from her for a few weeks. Then, all of a sudden, she shows up at the open-mic I frequent (now host) and attempts to restart everything all over again. Being young, single, and naïve, I went along with it. She took me to a bar she likes where she got famously drunk, and asked me to come back to her place. At that point things happened, and she got all the pleasure she wanted, believe me. But as for myself, I got stiffed as she immediately went to sleep with half-hearted apologies.

But whatever, I got over it and rolled into the covers. Later during the night, I went to the bathroom and came back to find her yawning awake. At this point she said to me, "Hey I think you should go." I laughed, thinking it was a lame joke. But she continued, "Seriously. I have to get up early tomorrow." It was the weekend. I said, "Umm, really? It's like 4 AM and you made me bring all my stuff here." I pointed to my instruments and continued, "Can I at least stay till morning and catch the Muni home when it's running?" She said no, and so instead of forcing the issue I grabbed my stuff and went out into the foggy cold with blue-balls, and two cases of heavy musical instruments looking for a cab.

No, I wasn’t a victim that night (unlike other nights with other women) however I did learn a life-lesson: one-night stands are a Bad Idea. Casual sex, eh, it's okay. But putting yourself into a stranger's space where they can totally use you and abuse your courtesy is can end up very lame indeed.

Now that someone could be so monumentally ignorant as to mistake my being "rudely & unceremoniously" (to use her words) dumped for some kind of attempted rape is hilariously offensive. If Faith wants to say I am lying, then she is more than welcome to. But since I gave no evidence to any of the spurious claims Faith makes regarding the story I shared, and unless she has any proof of this, then I'd say she is once again projecting her own biases and fears onto my personal experience, something of which I would know infinitely better than her trifling ass.

And again, to Faith this story represents the evil of male sexuality, and how all guys just want to fuck women, and then fuck them over. This is just not the case, however much she may wish it to be.

But her post grows ever more troubling with subtitles like: "Men Are Not A Rubik’s Cube", as in men are simple and stupid. She continues, "They want to have sex with as many women as possible no strings attached. The end. Even the 'nice' ones. Especially the 'nice' ones." Apparently meaning that even genuine guys are just assholes underneath, especially guys like me.

Building off her ad hominem attacks against me she says, "men hold women in contempt" and bases this ridiculous opinion on the fact that a lot of women aren't married, specifically Black women. I find this ironic, since she was talking about how women are also at fault for why they are "losing" this so-called gender war, yet she fails to apply this logic to the marriage crisis when she blames men for wanting to have sex but not wanting to get married as much.

(On a side-note, she also rolls her eyes when I bring up the topic of safe-sex, demonstrating some confusion or inability to understand that proper condom use is about as easy as rolling plastic-wrap on leftovers, and that adults who can't, or don't practice safe-sex are doing it for very different reasons than ignorance. Especially in America, where contraceptives are readily available, and sex-education is a common practice.)

Altogether her post concludes on a note of self-righteous condemnation of anyone who dares have sex -- casually or at all -- as either a chauvinist pig (if male) or naïve and foolish (if female), which are both highly sexist conclusions to draw based on someone's personal choices.

And to support this she indulges in the pseudo-scientific responses from some of the other commenters, Rob specifically. But since my friend is an actual biologist, and I am an actual anthropologist (along with others there who have degrees in these fields) it seemed kind of pointless to make a fallacious argument generalizing genders in ways that aren't actually rooted in our biology but are culturally created, especially since there are a bunch of scientists in the room to contradict you! There is no inherent genetic disposition among men to spread their seed that is somehow different from that of women. All animals are biologically programmed to procreate, but men are not somehow subhuman such that they just need constant meaningless sex, regardless of what Rob or Faith, or anyone may say. Sorry, but that attitude is not only demeaning, it is also condescending, harmful and misandrist.

In fact, throughout Faith's post she constantly alludes to her points being directed — not at some men, or many men, or even most men, but to men in general. It is easy to see that's her intent since he compares men to women, and makes no distinctions of any kind but merely compares the genders at large. Again, I'd take Alee's comment into consideration, but what conclusion would any reasonable person come to when reading this post? I dare you; I defy you to show me otherwise. Because honestly I'd rather be wrong about Faith. I'd rather be wrong that a Black woman, an identity that is subject to so much structural and micro aggression (as I know only too well, having a Black girlfriend) can be so bigoted.

Yet while my friend attempted to reason with, to equivocate and justify Faith's misandric post, Faith took it upon herself to insult them in the comments, and compare me to a Nazi propagandist.

Now I'm not sure if Faith is aware but I am Jewish. People in my family died during the Shoah. Calling me or comparing me to a Nazi is about as fucking stupid as a dumbass tramp can get. And it's also a violation of [Godwin's Law], showing that the only deadly message being spread is her ignorance.

Yet when justifying her blunt post, Faith says, "At the end of the day, I call as I see it. Agree or disagree, it needed to be said."

But the truth is it didn't. This wasn't a PSA. This wasn't no damn public service announcement about Safe Sex or The War On Drugs. This was a ranting blog post from a deranged and disturbed woman who projects her own feelings and failures onto others while condemning them for not being as angry and unfulfilled as she is. You cannot empower anyone with fear-mongering, let alone empower women.

Then I remembered that she wrote all of this based off her number of positive experiences — "I know my number: ZERO!", she says. This comment is very telling. It tells me that she's angry, bitter and upset about being used by some guy from way back to this very day.

More importantly, it shows me that she's either involuntarily celibate, or in a bad marriage. Seriously! Only someone who hasn't gotten some good dick could be that bitter about other people having sex on their terms. And on that charge, I feel sorry for her mothball ridden, cobwebbed, dry as the desert coochie! But not that sorry. She is still, after all, an ignorant bigot.

I also began to realize that I made another fundamental mistake. I assumed that because she was of a certain race and gender, ones which have often had to deal with the brunt of bigotry in this world, that she'd understand prejudice and fight for empowering others. Instead, I forgot to remember that nobody is above human failings, that just because we have the potential for good doesn't mean we can't overflow with rage as well.

Faith does help me to highlight my own prejudice, a prejudice where I want to believe the best in people from certain groups. I want to give the benefit of the doubt to people who come from backgrounds that aren’t dominant or hegemonic. But I failed to realize that we are all human, and that we are all susceptible to our own bigotry, which is a disease we Americans have in abundance I'm afraid. Even me. Even you. And especially Faith.

But I don't think she even realizes this about herself. She doesn't realize who she sounds like, who she resembles in her speech and arguments. Who else judges other people based on limited and/or incorrect information? Who else jumps to conclusions based on a person's gender? Who else holds certain people in suspicion or contempt because of stereotypes they hold of them? Who else openly blames victims for their being used or hurt by others? Racists. Sexists. Bigots.

Faith acts exactly like those she despises, and who despise her in turn. Her vitriol has seemingly overwhelmed her reason, her compassion, and her understanding to the point where she cannot control her rage at the simple truth that people do not fit into neat little boxes.

She asked for an honest discourse, saying she was trying to empower women, protect them, and condemn poisonous messages like mine that she feels are harmful. Yet by her actions she has accomplished nothing except to misquote me, twist my words, make accusations about me based on little to no evidence, portray men as inherently selfish and dangerous, portray women as powerless without sex, and engage in naked bigotry that she attempts to portray as a public service announcement. This woman, in short, is a liar, a hypocrite, and a bigot.

When I stated reading her post I was confused; I was troubled. Then I became angry, and indignant at the hateful things she was saying. But now, at the end of it, I have only pity left for Faith, for how pathetic I find her response. The rage and prejudice she demonstrates towards my post, my life, as well as those who share or sympathize with these ideas is something I cannot ever hope to understand.

Now all I can do is shake my head. And faceplam.


Cheers

13 footnotes:

Mira said...

Ugh. I don't know where to start with this reply.

The problem is, Faith resorted to ad hominem, and you doing the same in the reply doesn't help. But ok, it's your style that I don't agree with. Now let's take a look at the whole issue.

The main problem I see with Faith's post (and some other commenters' out there), is the fact many don't seem to understand the difference between nature and nurture.

I sure don't need to explain to you that just because people act a certain way doesn't mean it's based in biology. And that just because something isn't biological ("natural") that somehow it isn't real.

But many people (not just in this discussion) seem to fail to understand the difference between nature vs nurture. Fair enough. But why do they write about it? I don't claim to know much about economics or military, so I don't blog about it.

But when it comes to stuff like this, everybody's a biologist and an anthropologist! After all, "common sense" (= someone's personal experience) says that women are from Jupiter and men are from toilet bowl!

This sort of discussion is wrong, simple as that, and it has nothing to do with "agreeing to disagree".

Also, as a woman, I don't find particularly empowering to hear that I need to equate my whole being with my vagina, which is basically what it's implied when someone tells you that your power lies in withholding sex.

Also, as woman, I don't find particularly empowering when someone denies my right to say "yes" as I see fit. That's violation of my sexual rights. But for some reason, there are people who think that "having sex whenever YOU want to" means "having random casual sex with a different person every night". I never implied such a thing, and, as far as I can tell, neither did you.

Finally, a huge problem is bringing power struggle to a personal level. Power struggle does exist, and male privilege does exist, but you shouldn't take it to the personal level, in dating and romance. Why would you want to date, marry, have kids with a person you're in a constant power struggle with?

There are other points I'd like to make (namely, about not respecting people who'd respect a woman only if she withholds sex), but I don't have time for it at the moment.

I'd just like to add that the fact someone belongs to a group that's discriminated against doesn't mean (s)he can't discriminate others, based on different principles (or the same ones). But that's hardly new.



Fair enough

Zek J Evets said...

Mira,

Honestly, I originally had a much more toned-down response, tailored for a different blog, but since I wouldn't be posting it there, I revamped it. Also, since I was attacked ad hominem (and she really went all the way on it) I felt completely justified in doing so regardless of how I write normally. When someone throws mud in my face I don't stop to consider the ethical dilemma of doing it back. It's just mud, and yeah I'll throw it back.

Obviously I did make a failure on my part to consider that just because someone belongs to a certain group they wouldn't be as bigoted, but lesson learned!

And I co-sign with the rest of your comments (here, and in the original discussion), yet it seems my words are being twisted to suit someone else's preconceived notions along with derisive comments. And yet I did apologize in the comments if I offended anyone (specifically Bunny) for if what I said was a "value judgement" against their lifestyle.

Yet when I posted about my lifestyle and that of other men, value judgements abounded! Go figure.

I will admit I could have taken the high road, but it wouldn't have been me talking -- it would have been just a bunch of questions and no condemnation.

Sherry said...

Brotha Z,

I really wanted to write to you directly and therefore more personally, but your contact link has a bad email address (#), so I'll just leave a comment here. Out here in the Internet swim, one must adopt some duck-like qualities - i.e. let some thangs roll off your back ...

Zek J Evets said...

Sherry,

Thanks for your wise words, and they are true. My fault for forgetting to remember that until vetted, anyone online can be just another hater.

Also my email address is located in my profile, but it always opens automatically in Outlook for some reason. Here it is if you still want it: zekjevets at gmail (dot) com.

Brotha Wolf said...

I think she's mad. lol

Zek J Evets said...

Brotha Wolf,

Haha, understatement of the day ; )

Pretty Preeti said...

Reading Roissy, the MRA blogs and that general corner of the online "manosphere" what other impression is there to walk about with but;

"Women need to understand the true nature of men and act accordingly in protecting themselves. You cannot rely on benevolence, social conditioning, having a conscience, exceptions to the rule or his having a sense of fairness to kick in."

???????????????

Zek J Evets said...

Preeti,

Iunno. Just the whole attitude of projecting your own fear and paranoia about men onto not just most men, but the entire gender seems about as misandric and crazy as it gets!

Faith apparently believes in men the same way Scott Adams does! =/

Eurasian Sensation said...

I agree with Mira that it's unpleasant to read you resorting to cheap personal attacks. Better to take the high road, Z.

That aside, her post is a sad bit of nonsense. And as you point out, it's an example of that mindset of viewing every interaction between the genders as some kind of act of warfare. "Battle of the sexes" thinking can sometimes be a valuable perspective with which to study situations, but it is only one way of looking at things, and to interpret everything via the assumption that MEN ARE THE ENEMY is really just fucked up and does nothing to help men and women achieve better relationships.

I don't necessarily agree with all of your conclusions regarding men and what they want. But at the same time I accept that you are speaking sincerely from your own perspective. I'm sure it's true of you and of a lot of men out there. I despise Faith's assumption that since you are presenting yourself (or men in general) as anything other than horny brutal cavemen, it must be one big ploy to fool women into thinking you are a nice guy when you're not.

The reality is that men, or at least many men, are both simple and complex. Like women, we can want one thing, yet want something else that completely contradicts it at the same time.
From my own perspective: I probably haven't had as much casual sex as you, Zek, and I'm in a very committed relationship now. But for me, I'd probably have to admit that there is an extent to which the following does apply to me: "They want to have sex with as many women as possible no strings attached. The end. Even the 'nice' ones."
Yet, even if I lived in a world with no consequences in which I could actually do the above, I know I wouldn't be satisfied either. My few experiences of casual sex didn't deliver any great degree of fulfillment. I've had a past relationship which involved no-strings sex, and I ditched it for the hope of something meaningful with someone a bit nicer, for whom sex wasn't even a consideration at that point.

In a more immature time, I've been the guy who seduced a woman, got what I wanted and quickly exited just as she was getting attached - I was interested only in the challenge and in the "achievement". But it was an experience that brought home to me the importance of integrity; subsequent to that episode I've been uber-mindful and respectful of the feelings and consequences involved in any sexual encounter I have.

Hehe, I don't mean to disclose my whole sexual history here in your comment thread, but the point is that so many men are more complex than many women (and other men) give us credit for. I think we all have that "beast" nature within us; but many men keep the beast under control at all times. Many men learn and change with age and maturity. Many men display their good or bad sides depending on their environment or the qualities of their partner.

While there is much for women to be cautious about, there is so much that is good about men too. It is sad that Faith and women like her have so little optimism about men; how does someone with such a worldview ever find a relationship that is genuine and mutual?

Student of the World said...

Mmmm, I just sat that one out. I could tell I wasn't even dealing with someone who didn't love the sound of their own opinion.

In love and sex matters I just go with what works for me. But your perspective wasn't all that shocking and I didn't detect any "misogyny".

I'm not marriage or family minded at the moment. I have no idea when I will be, I suspect never but I don't want to sound cliche :p

And I enjoy sex. For me it's a friendly way to get to know someone too. In fact to me sex is easier when I don't know the person, just because there is less pressure to be act a certain way.


Neither of you knows the other so you don't have these heavy emotional expectations. It's a weird kind of freedom. You can be as uninhibited as you want and there aren't really any consequences. It's like I don't really know you that well so....whatever? Like if you want to try something sexually and the other person isn't into it that doesn't weigh on the relationship because there isn't one. It's great.


Plus if I embarrass myself I don't feel like I have to make up for it later or something you know?

My personality is that I enjoy being alone. I like to be social sometimes but not nearly as often as society seems to demand it(facebook, twitter etc). I just don't think it's necessary because I study and I work. I'm not even in school now and I'm studying, I find other people distracting a lot of the time and if I was in a "serious relationship" I'd feel pressured to be under other people's scrutiny you know? When I'm alone I can do whatever I want and don't have to care about other people's opinion.


People take this stuff waaaay too seriously. I know this girl has been hurt, and she doesn't want the same thing to happen to other people but, lashing out at someone is misguided and just shows that she's still bitter.

One thing I have found that works for me is that the best way to get over one man is to get another. If for distraction if nothing else. I mean it's always worked for me. Not right away but I was hung up on a guy before and feeling some kind of way about it, earlier this year, not though I barely remember his name or why I was so hung up on him to begin with. It's kind of funny now.

Zek J Evets said...

Student of the World,

All I can say is...

damn straight!

Satanforce said...

Ah. I see that you have had an encounter with that sad part of the Internet called Black Women's Empowerment (BWE).

HBD, with black women for white men. Get the popcorn.

Zek J. Evets said...

Satanforce,

Oh you have no idea... Thankfully that drama is long dead.