Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Prior to writing this, I had the pleasure of watching a video in which a collection of young and apparently dim-witted individuals recited a list of everyday social situations, along with reminders for men in those situations to not commit the violent crime of rape.
When your dropping off your date at night, don't forget to not rape her, mmmkay?
Whether this is more hateful towards men, or stupidly inane is an open question. But to imagine that anyone besides a mental defective thinks men, or even a significant fraction of men are a bunch of rape-inclined predators needing a reminder to not rape beggars belief. But, we currently live in a social climate where the asinine and powerfully hateful message of a “friendly reminder to not rape” is socially normal, and material of this character gets regular air play in our mainstream media.
Another public service announcement currently getting play on Canadian television, called “it's a girl” depicts a baby shower, attended by an ethnically diverse group of middle class women. This shows the audience of this PSA that women are united as a social class, and united in the message this PSA is delivering. One gift package passed over to the bulging new mother is unwrapped, revealing a sinister black object on a lanyard. The gift giver explains to the gathered women, and the audience that the gift she's brought for the soon to be born infant girl is a rape whistle. Text appearing on screen sells us the lie that fully half of girls in Canada will be raped in their lifetimes. The implication being that a corollary 1/2 of all canadian men are rapists who lack only opportunity.
Aside from being factually and numerically false by more than 2 orders of magnitude, this is not a message about averting criminal and sexual victimization, rather its is entirely about acculturating girls to fear and hate men, and teaching men and boys they are amoral, violent criminals. And messages of this character are normal.
Similarly, we are regularly treated to the awareness-raising efforts of half educated champions for that most euphemistic of goals, “women's equality” such as Anita Sarkeesian. This being the women's studies indoctrinee who swindled the public out of over 200,000 in donations for the purpose of lecturing the video gaming community that the players and developers of video games are no more than a collection of sexist, bigoted woman haters. This attribution of malice based on the fact that as elements of a genre of fantasy entertainment, the female characters in video games often portray exaggerated sexual characteristics, such as improbably large boobs, and tight fitting or revealing costumes. But Sarkeesian collected 200 grand to make sure male gamers and developers knew just what sort of low level scum they really are, while somehow failing to notice the equally unattainably hyper masculine, hyper muscular physiques of male game characters, or the fact that in all entertainment, male characters are killed, dismembered and disposed with such abandon that a culture of anti-male dehumanization has as viable a case as Sarkeesian's female sexualization trope. But who cares about male objectification, right? As long as Anita gets her 200 grand and male gamers learn what human garbage they are.
But it doesn't stop there, on any particular night, television audiences are treated to women belittling men, slapping them, kicking them in the groin – all of which stands for comedy. Violence is apparently only violence when it targets women. And in the world of scripted comedy – proving that men are an inferior species. Stupid, sex obsessed, violent, regressive, in comparison to the beauty, grace, good humour and general superiority of women.
We also now enjoy a culture which, when women or girls engage in violent, abusive, antisocial, or criminal behavior, our media rather than using simple descriptive adjectives such as those just listed, refers to such women and girls as if they are adopting masculine behaviours. The attachment of male identity to social pathology just one more point of data on a line of public though relentlessly demonizing, marginalizing and criminalizing the concept of masculinity.
How about sexual dismemberment, and a culture which when reporting on the pre-meditated sexual mutilation and dismemberment of a man, treats it as slapstick comedy. But when one voice of reason, from Sarah Gilbert pointed out that a female victim of equivalent mutilation would not be laughed at, the consensus excuse for mockery of a mutilated human being was “it's different”. This Explicit statement of separate standards of human consideration for male and female human beings.
When discussion turns toward education, in a climate which after 40 years of engineered female advantage in the education system, outcomes of 60 – 65 percent female graduates are treated by equality-seeking feminists not as a gross and growing imbalance to be repaired, but with triumphalism. The system dis-enfranchising men, socially and economically marginalizing them celebrated as a victorious and appropriate tool of growing fiscal and cultural subjugation.
And these few examples are just a tiny sample of the climate we now live in. One in which men are pigs, men are stupid, men are violent, men are all potential rapists, men are the problem, masculine sexuality is violent, and masculine identity is openly described as a force of anti female violence and bigotry. This is the world we are living in.
However, recognition of this social climate is relatively easy. What is more difficult to grasp is the prevalent public response to it. Men, in the majority are aware of their own untermensch status. But why do most of them not stand up in loud, clear objection to what is an obvious and multi generational trend of ever growing sexual apartheid?
To understand why most men, who despite a sharp awareness of their own barely human status in society do not repudiate this climate of hatred, an understanding of male public identity is necessary.
In the world of social identity, Women enjoy innate ownership of personhood. This is to say, a woman does not have a requirement of performance, behavior, or utility on which her social personhood hangs. Women are seen as people, or as complete human beings simply by existing. This is a hold-over of ancient hominid instincts which were based on the survival economy of reproduction in pre-technological hominid history.
A reproductively viable female had an individually higher group-survival value than any single male. Indeed, in the small family units of a pre-technological human cultures loss of a reproductively viable female might mean the loss of reproductive capability of a genetic or a family line. By contrast, from a group survival perspective, the death of one or more male individuals would present a relatively much lower hazard to the continued reproductive viability of a family line. In fact, males within a group would only achieve reproductive opportunity by being of obvious utility to the group, or to the reproductively viable females in that group. The highest achieving males in a group would have reproductive opportunity, the lower achieving males would not. Male social identity within family groups then depended not on simply existing, but on performance.
These instincts however well they served pre-technological human cultures remain with us now, but are unaddressed in the socialization of men and women in a food-abundant, safe, modern world.
Women retain the social identity of “personhood” simply by existing, men by contrast must earn a social identity through group female consensus. A man is a good man based on his utility to women, or to higher status social entities than himself. In fact, a man's social status as a human being hangs in large part on his ongoing approval by women. If and when he ceased to be of positive utility, or of perceived utilitarian value – his human worth as a “person” evaporates. In any group dynamic bigger than 2 people, a man and a woman in social conflict will drive group sympathy instinctively towards the women, and group hostility instinctively towards the man. The most level headed, non violent and logical man, when faced with the visible anger or accusation by a female becomes, through group consensus – a bad, evil, enemy man. No longer a person, just a brute to be socially punished with exclusion, and often, punished with violence by the proxy of other conforming males in the local social group.
Unlike feminine personhood conventional masculine “personhood” is afforded to men by consensus of whatever local social group is locally relevant. This can be a family group, a collection of work colleagues, or even the line-up at the cash register of a grocery store.
This, by the way, is why most men don't complain, and don't speak up, in spite of awareness of our culture's escalating climate of male marginalization and censure. They know their social identity hangs of a consensus of approval from emotionally-instinctively-reasoning females, along with other conformist males.
In fact, conformist males – who instinctively understand their own status as “good men” depends not on fairness or rationality, but a combination of utility and of conformance with feminine group think are driven in their behavior in large degree by fear of their own social censure. This fear is what drives the aggressive policing by males of nonconformist male identity and behavior. Within the men's rights community, conformist males engaging in such policing and social enforcement are called white knights. The term is resoundingly condemning, and implies a knowledgeable collusion in male social segregation and male marginalization.
In order to cling, out of fear for their own conditional identity as a socially acceptable “real man” - white knights, or conformist men will climb over each other's bodies to attack any man who dares to stand up in defiance of this very old, but escalating climate of anti male hatred. This is the childishly simple game of the good man versus the bad man.
Knowing men as a social class carry all the cache of garden slugs, white knights, or conformist, and chivalry practicing males will attack any self defining men and non-conformist men as a tactic to deflect censure and the social stink of “all men are bad” away from themselves. By attacking men who field criticisms against the rising climate of anti-male hate, these chivalry practicing conformists attempt to distinguished themselves as “not one of those bad men”.
It appears obvious that these chivalry practicing men harbour no real belief in the recycled claims of misogyny, or any of the other boringly predictable ad-hominem arguments fielded against self actualizing or non conforming males. And this is how opposition to the populist, but violent and hateful ideology of feminism is transmuted into a portrayal of hatred, violence, and various imputation of masculine criminality by so-called men's rights activists. Chivalry practicing males, by throwing non-conforming men under the bus are attacking who they know they can get away with attacking – in an attempt to seek the approval of a collective female consensus. And they do this out of fear for loss of their own public identity as a “good man”.
White knights attack who they know is telling an uncomfortable truth, and they do this out of fear of loss of their own status as “worthwhile” humans. In the face of a growing public body of writing and evidence there is vanishingly little rational excuse for this socially toxic chivalry, it is easy to think of white knights as ethically bankrupt cowards.
However, even as such men are a continued encumbrance to attaining some semblance of parity with women in the legal rights of men and boys, these fearful white knights still need a way to overcome their fear and recognize that self defined masculine identity, apart from the consensus-based conformism they're accustomed to.
How this can be accomplished, providing a path for self-possessed male identity, while being attacked by the same white knights whose fear of consensus censure drives their toxic chivalry?
Individually, there may be no practical approach, and treatment of white knights with an absolute lack of mercy does appear to be the most useful tactic. For all the social pressure to on men to conform to a narrative in which masculinity is criminal or negative, to buy into this, sacrificing other men for the transient approval of a corrupt public ethic is nothing except cowardice deserving of contempt. But, it might be that distain towards chivalry – as if it is a behavioural atavism as regressive and socially corrosive as racism, that this is exactly what's called for to allow those few early adopters to make the cognitive leap necessary to shed a instinctive but toxic pattern of thought. Racism was once, not too long ago not only socially normal, it was socially correct. However, while we still posses the hominid instincts for the primitive tribalism expressing itself as racism, we recognize it as toxic, and for the most part, we oppose it.
Chivalry is just one more regressive and socially corrosive atavistic behavior. Once, not long ago a group bias and open contempt and social violence was acceptable towards visible ethnic out-groups. Racism still exists, obviously, but we understand the problem through the ethical principal of universality. Now our instinctive sexual group preference in matters of justice, access and acceptable behavior needs to reflect an ethic of universality too.
Continued indulgence in sexually selective chivalry, and the policing of nonconformist male identity must be recognized and treated with the open scorn and contempt which open racism now elicits. The male enforcers of chivalry, while they too are trapped in atavistic thinking and a public personhood which hangs provisionally on group evaluation of their utility are best served by treatment with scorn for failing to define themselves – and letting fear rule their thinking.
Posted by John theOther at 1:08 PM
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Every day or two, I'll stumble across an anecdotal story, or piece of writing by a female writer, talking about some aspect of sexism from a female perspective. Usually, while the stories show a legitimate cause for the type of low level venting these stories present, there is another element present as well. There is almost always a degree of assumed contempt towards average men. Examples include referring to online gamers as “neckbeardy type guys”, or referring to ownership of an expensive car as small-penis compensation, or as kindness as creepiness. There are many more examples, and they are almost always a very minor descriptive element in whatever issue is being related.
However, In something I read online today, there was an addendum to the female-authored posting which, although it acknowledged the issue in the original posting, seemed also to miss the point.
The addendum was :
ALRIGHT I GIVE UP I'VE NERD-SHAMED. FORGIVE ME, [...] I'LL REPENT I'LL REPENT.
While this isn't an apology as much as it is a demand for forgiveness - that is not the main point the author missed. She does not need to apologize to the “neckbeards” referred to in her original posting, because she has not done them any harm. Men within their own communities – of which online gaming is one, are not hurt by the belittling commentary of outsiders or women. The culture of easy, casual insult by women against average men, creeps, neckbeards, mother's-basement-dweller and so on, has a effect which might not be recognized by women. Guys generally don't need to be told they're held in contempt as a group, our wider culture makes this sparklingly clear. However, individual instances of circumstantial ad-hom have the very real effect of making men not care about women's opinions.
In the original posting which prompted me to write this, I stopped reading in the first sentence, on seeing the phrase neckbeardy guys. Whatever else was said, I don't know, because that phrase erased my interest in whatever the original author was saying. Her opinion became irrelevant, and she became irrelevant as a person. I copy-pasted the pseudo -apology at the end, because it stood out, being written in all caps, but wherever else was written, I'll never see. Am I a neck-beard? No, I'm clean shaven, Im not an online gamer, I have a girlfriend, a career, I dress well et-cetera. But whenever I see some casual, throw away comment like creeper, neck-beard or other minor belittling insult used to describe average men, ‡‡ it cements my not giving a shit about the opinions offered.
This should not be misunderstood, I don't hate women, I don't believe in any “back to the kitchen” nonsense, or any other female-targeted belittlement. What I'm talking about is my personal attitude towards women's opinions, their utterances, their writing, their thoughts, their contribution to society. If you are a woman reading this, that means your thoughts, ideas, speech, writing and so on.
The woman whose post motivated me to write this might have had something deep to say, I'll never know, because she erased my interest in her opinion. I was not hurt by it, nor insulted, nor was my mood changed, I simply stopped caring at all about whatever she had to say. That is why her pseudo-apology was misguided.
I see minor, pointless throw-away comments like “neckbeardy guys” all the time. I understand that they have a purpose for those who use them. Degrading others is one of the ways for insecure individuals to feel better about themselves, and honestly, our culture of media absolutely cultivates a climate of low-level contempt towards male identity. But I am confident that my reaction to it is common and for me, it cultivates indifference to female opinion.
Obviously, I cared enough to write this, so maybe everything I've said can be ignored, right? Maybe. However, I wrote this because I'm rationally aware of that cultivated indifference. I know that if its widely shared by other men, it will elevate the degree of disfunction in the culture of which I am a part. So for the original author of the throw-away remark which motivated this response, and for every other woman who might criticize perceived sexism against themselves. If you really want men to totally disregard your opinion, and to grow even more disinterested and contemptuous of your writing, commentary, your opinion and so on, keep doing it.
Now, I'll go grow myself a beard.
‡‡ Quote-mining alert: Items within the body of the article denoted by the double-dagger symbol present an opportunity for the dishonest to take content out of it's original context and re-frame the intention of the statement. All such individuals, even those building accusations around the re-contextualized statements should expect to be treated with maximum scorn and contempt.
Posted by John theOther at 12:02 PM