I find that I keep capitulating to the ideas that many people on the internet hold about gender issues. There’s a narrative which, if you don’t agree, people will try every twist of logic in the world to convince you otherwise. They’ll shame you, and have you thinking you’re a bad person and that you don’t really respect women unless you accept this narrative. That you don’t REALLY mean it when you say that you believe women are equal. That your logic is flawed. You’ll be accused of being a men’s rights activist if you so much as hint at the idea that maybe men have it similarly bad, but differently.
They will cart out statistics, but if you share data that conflicts with their data, they will claim that your data is just “mansplaining”. In fact, any argument that conflicts with their narrative, if expressed by a male, can be dismissed out of hand by simply calling it “MRA propaganda” or “mansplaining”.
Yet, there are a ton of women who don’t buy the narrative. Many will even say they’re not feminists themselves. They’re told they don’t understand feminism or privilege. That they are just trying to capitulate to men. It’s assumed that somehow they’ve never had to deal with catcalling, assault, rape, and the many other things that ALL women endure. How could they not be feminist when they have to deal with those things?
Well, because feminism is an ideology. You’re told that if you believe that men and women should be equal, then you’re a feminist. But if you claim yourself that you believe in this equality, then you will be told that’s not enough. Which is it?
See, the women who say they aren’t feminists, it’s not just because of some bad apple SJWs. It’s because it paints oneself as a victim, and they refuse to be a victim. You can’t call yourself a feminist without saying that you believe that there is vast inequality, and therefore you’re the victim of this inequality. Otherwise, why be one? What would be the distinction?
There is equality. There isn’t fairness. That’s the difference. And everyone is in the same boat when it comes to fairness. Men get shafted on pay all the time. They get abused at home. They get raped. They get degraded. They get objectified. They get passed over for promotions for bullshit reasons. With the exception of pregnancy and periods, men experience all the disrespect and abuse that women suffer and in comparable quantities and intensity. And if they’re gay, or transgendered, god help them.
Gender issues are not about gender anymore. The privilege that a man has compared to a woman in society balances out when you take into account wealth and class. Of course, if you bring this up, that’s just more mansplaining. Trying to shirk the blame. But wait, I thought it wasn’t about blaming men…
Women who have enough money and status will have far more privilege than the vast majority of men will ever experience.
When you try to nail it down, many feminists will claim that they sympathize with men and agree with you that men are suffering under patriarchy too. If it was actually patriarchy, wouldn’t the men be better off in general? By a wide margin? Also, after saying this, they’ll go and post something that yet again blames men for their problems. It’s always a fleeting admission that doesn’t coincide with the things they usually say. It’s like people who identify as Libertarian because they don’t want to be associated with Republicans, but they spend most of their time sharing the exact same narrative.
I keep running into women who resist this narrative, and they’re the bravest ones I know. They are willing to be vilified by the vast majority of their gender to stand up for themselves. They refuse to blame men. They refuse to be a victim. They refuse to view everything they encounter through the lens of “is this sexist?”. They don’t feel objectified when they see scantily clad women in advertising or video games. Some of them play these games and like the skimpy armor. They live their life and try to enjoy it and don’t take any shit. Because they’re not victims. They are the most mentally and emotionally healthy women I know of.
The fact is, most men are just trying to wade through the miasma of “gotcha” that feminism has become. If they try to be nice and respectful, they’re just trying to get laid. If they don’t give any special attention and instead just treat them as equals, they’re assholes. It’s a minefield where there is no way to traverse it without setting off a mine, or several. It’s bullshit. It’s a manipulative system of bullying that is used as a tactic by people who identify as victims in order to fuck with and “get back at” men. The only way to not be assailed by judgment is to agree unconditionally, but he still won’t really be accepted.
If a man says he’s not a misogynist and is respectful to women, and furthermore that he’s a feminist, he’ll be interrogated Gestapo style to find faults. There’s got to be some way he’s just another bad man. He can’t really believe in equality or even understand it because of his penis privilege. Plus, as a man, he’s not really allowed to speak on these issues because he’s not a woman. Without the comparison and equal discussion of both sides, then what are we left with? If one half of the equation is not allowed to weigh in, then how do you get any accuracy? If you’re not willing to consider the validity of the suffering of men, how can you expect their sympathy for yours? How can you expect respect that you don’t equally give?
I’ve realized that I’ve given into people pleasing. I’ve agreed with concepts that just haven’t fit my observations in reality. I’ve met too many women who don’t give gender issues a second thought, yet are somehow not oppressed, not a victim, and not blaming anyone else for their problems. They know that there are lots of assholes and lots of good people, and that goes across every demographic. They know they don’t get paid less because they know what they’re worth and refuse to accept less. They don’t take any bullshit.
Of course, it’s probably just Stockholm Syndrome, right? I mean, they obviously can’t think for themselves…and so goes the narrative.
© 2015 William Suphan
- Ethical Hedonism
- Friendly Feminism