This comment is just so important, so original and such a game-changer that I wanted it to have its own space:
This isn’t going to go over well, so you might as well get angry before I even get to my point. As a male the problem I have with feminism is that the word and the attitudes of many who self identify with it implies elevating females and female causes above males. There are plenty of doucebag males and cowed females, and that’s societies stereotypical fantasy of New Zealand, but in my experience there are just as many, if not more, dominant and even douchey females and cowed males. I’m all for equality and fairness, and I’d love to see any systemic gender inequalities New Zealand still has corrected, but there are inequalities in both directions and I cannot believe that any equality can be brought about by promoting one gender/race/religion/sexual orientation/etc over any other.
Oh, Anon. I’m so sad that you think so little of me. How could I possibly get angry with such a thoughtful, insightful comment? Truly, when our nation is experiencing a cultural shift around our treatment of sexual assault survivors, when we’re having serious conversations about victim-blaming and power structures which allow rapists to walk free …
Wow. You’re so right. What we should really be talking about is how some mean feminist women don’t give you a boner.
I ‘m not mad, Anon. You’ve opened my eyes, man. This is a whole new day in the life of Queen of Thorns, and I shall go forward and feminist no more.
Thank you for educating me about the real nature of feminism.
May I do you a favour in return? I feel like we’re really friends now. We’re on the same level, you know? And I want to help you like you’ve helped me.
Maybe you – and every other person who has, in the past week, made comments like “let’s remember we have to be anti-rape, not anti-men!” or “it’s unfair to act like all men are scary rapists” or “freedom of speech!” – could take some time out and ponder the following questions:
- When people are discussing rape culture, why is your first response to downplay it?
- When we are faced with a very real case of a gang of rapists preying on young women, why is your first response to start talking about mean women who “cow” men?
- Do you think you’re just terrified of having to act like a grown-up when negotiating sex with a partner, instead of relying on alcohol and peer pressure to get your wick dipped?
- Or do you not want your previous sexual partners to start feeling more comfortable using the r-word to describe your coercive, abusive behaviours?
This might not go over well with you, but don’t get angry, I’m just expressing my problem with rape-excusing women-hating doucebags [sic].
Ah, Twitter. I knew exactly what I was getting into when I posted links to the most excellent Mansplained Tumblr, but this one is just so perfect.
Because @otherdavidsmith, after seeing a retweet on this post – which involves an individual telling a personal story of a single incident which happened to them – just had to explain something to myself and the retweeter:
So, just to be clear, that’s (a) dismissing women’s stated experiences because it just doesn’t sound right to him, and (b) explaining what “anecdotal” means … although he doesn’t actually understand that anecdotes can, in fact, be truthful.
I mean, hello, entire concept of mansplaining with side order of dismissing the power of talking about our experience openly. It’s 2nd Wave / internet feminism fusion cuisine night tonight!
This was, ahem, pointed out to him, which of course he took with good grace, taking some time to think about how he might have presented himself and whether in a social context of male privilege he might rethink his approach to inserting himself into feminist conversation in future.
I really have a deep and abiding love for this argument: the idea that I (as a silly little woman who doesn’t know how things work, obviously) just don’t understand that tweets are public, and that people have the capacity to reply to them.
Thank fuck for the mansplainers of Twitter or I might have gone on blissfully unaware of these complex 21st century interaction concepts.
The thing is, though … this always comes up after the guy in question has inserted himself into a conversation with no actual regard for the conversation. With nothing to actually add, merely to make it clear that He Has Important Views On Something which We Must Listen To.
And to top it all off, he insists that it’s his OPINION and he’s ENTITLED TO IT … after dismissing a post on a Tumblr with literally hundreds of similar stories because OMG it’s too anecdotal.
Treating a neckbeard’s opinion as sovereign while denigrating the testimony of women: not mansplaining at all there.
I swear, the only thing that gets me through the complete lack of self awareness from these guys is the fact that, instead of making me question my feminist rage, they just reinforce it.
And because – did you realise? – Twitter is public, they do it for the whole world to see.
ETA: after writing up this post, the saga continued, with @otherdavidsmith insisting that he wasn’t implying that the original poster was untrustworthy, it’s just that the post sounded anecdotal to him. (Which, you know, he already said, but being a man it strengthens his position to just repeat himself). Like a script. Which might have something to do with the fact it’s in script format, like many of these kinds of social-network relay-your-experience platforms.
He then links to a freedictionary definition of “anecdotal” to back himself up … which makes no sense in the context, because the specific Tumblr post is an anecdote but not anecdotal in the sense of containing multiple anecdotes, but men don’t need no stinking context when they’re undermining women’s experiences.
And then … then he asks me about a local sports team.
Did I just get mansplain-negged?
So I wrote a post about 3News’ racist coverage of the whole should-non-New-Zealanders-be-allowed-to-buy-land issue. This was retweeted by @Ellipsister. Cool! I like being retweeted.
Enter Mark Hubbard, who replies:
Whoa! Did you see that, dear readers? If I didn’t know better, I’d think Mark hadn’t even bothered to read my post! The clue is where he says “Not racist, but xenophobic”, which is kind of exactly what I had said and then links to his thoughts on the issue, which have nothing to do with how issues of nationalism and sovereignty are framed in racist terms, nothing to do with anti-Asian prejudice, really just nothing to do with anything I was talking about.
So I asked Mark,
@MarkHubbard33 So … Not one to bother reading the post before linkspamming?
And oh lord, dear readers. I’d gone and done it, hadn’t I? I’d questioned the big powerful libertarian dude about his bizarre need to hawk his unrelated point of view at people who had shown not a single jot of interest in the topic he was talking about. I’d challenged the idea that he had a right to butt in and completely ignore the fact that I’d already expressed some silly little opinions on Topic A, because dammit, I needed to understand his perspective on Topic B!!!
Hell, I’d basically invited his linkspam because that’s totally how the internet works.
Also, it is 100% my fault that he’s earned a lifetime ban from The Standard, because, you know, we’re a leftwing hivemind and dammit we need to understand his perspective and it’s illiberal (apparently Mark’s favourite word) to ban him.
(For fun, I had a look at his comment history at TS, apparently under the handle “Tribeless“: who knew sprout wouldn’t take kindly to being compared to a mass murderer after giving repeated warnings about derailing posts? What an injustice! Five hours after the fact, Mark came up with a hilarious Stalin reference which he also felt the need to share.)
Also, I’m foul-mouthed! Fuck! Why the fuck did none of you shitwanks bloody well tell me?
Here’s the deep sexy analysis bit: Mark is a dude. A white dude. With white dudely privilege. So for his entire life, he’s been absorbing societal narratives which are pretty clear on the fact that his opinion should always count, his voice should always be heard, and when women have the audacity to talk, and retweet each other, he has every right to insert his 2 cents on a completely different topic.
And by doing so, he is of course being completely civil – because any behaviour on his part must be acceptable if it doesn’t actively involve physically attacking people with swords while screaming “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck”.
White male privilege: I think Mark Hubbard haz it.
There’s a little thing I’ve been noticing since posting more at The Standard. Mansplaining.
Good, the Evil Feminist Jargon should have scared away the wankers.
Here’s the Know Your Meme summary. Ah, the good old days of Livejournal.
In practice, it looks like this:
Woman blogger: “It really bugs me how passionfruit cheesecake usually has those gritty pips on the top.”
Male commenter: “You’re completely missing the point! Cheesecake doesn’t have to be passionfruit flavoured!”
Because given two options:
- the woman blogger likes passionfruit cheesecake except for the pips or
- the feeble lady-brain is too small to encompass thoughts like “there are other types of cheesecake”,
… option 2 is obviously the one a rational, helpful dude is going to come to.
Woman blogger: “I hate the way recreational drugs like marijuana are stigmatised by a society which embraces tobacco and alcohol.”
Male commenter: “You and Barry Bonds!”
Because given two options:
- engage with a thoughtful, step-by-step argument about recreational drug use
- try to derail the conversation with something completely irrelevant and assume the feeble lady-typist won’t notice while you also try to associate her argument with a Big Bad Icon,
… option 2 is clearly the choice of guys who want to engage sincerely with your post.
Woman blogger: “I really hated working in retail.”
Male commenter: “Well, sure, but there are lots of other types of job out there and you shouldn’t be hating on all forms of paid and unpaid work.”
Because given two options:
- the woman blogger is quite aware of the boundless variety of career paths in the world but was specifically commenting on a specific case which she specified
- the silly bint doesn’t know what she’s typing! She only thinks she’s mentioning a specific instance but everyone with ManVision (now in Technicolor) can see she’s talking about something completely different!
… option 2 is the one for men who respect your intellect and ability to determine what you want to talk about.
Woman blogger: “Tonight I think I’ll have scrambled eggs for dinner.”
Male commenter: “But you do realise don’t you that to get a souffle to properly rise you have to … [okay, QoT doesn’t actually know how souffles work but go with it anyway.]”
Because given two options:
- a woman blogger is talking about a specific, fairly simple concept because that’s the concept she wants to talk about
- you just don’t understand that there are more complex things related to that concept! I must educate you! For your own good! Fuck what you actually posted about, my topic is far more important!
… you’ve almost certainly figured out the pattern by now, haven’t you?
I’m happy to be proven wrong, but I simply do not see this behaviour as frequently when dude-identified authors post. Sure, you get the trolls, the pointless abuse (as opposed to pointed abuse, which I am of course largely in favour of), the derailing … but none of it seems to come from that same starting point of “Now see here, young lady …” and none of it could have the phrase “you silly bitch” added to the end without really changing the tone of the comment at all.
(Go on, try it.)
I know it’s one of the crosses I must bear as an avowed bloggerette. And fuck knows it’s never going to change until we get some real social dynamic shifting going on. But sometimes it does you good to vent. Even if that just inspires more of the same …
Danyl at Dim Post doesn’t think SlutWalks are necessary or have any point or will change anything or are really serious and omg feminists aren’t a hivemind so it’s all doomed to fail.
In lieu of merely typing *EYEROLL* a few thousand times, some shoutouts to those with the spoons and ability to respond to Danyl without just saying (as I did on Twitter last night) OH THANK YOU, DANYL, NOW YOU’VE PASSED YOUR ALMIGHTY JUDGEMENT ON WHAT FEMINISTS SHOULD BE THINKING, DOING AND WEARING I’M GOING TO JUST GIVE THE WHOLE THING UP SINCE WHAT I WAS REALLY AFTER ALL THIS TIME WAS A MAN TO LAY DOWN THE LAW.
You don’t think the right for women to choose their own clothing is important? What do you think about restrictions on women’s clothing in religious countries? Recently a (conservative) Israeli paper erased two women from a picture – I’m sure you’re familiar with this – they don’t print images of women for, you know, the usual reasons: women are dangerous. Our bodies, our images. The way we dress. Our visibility. These women were pretty conservatively clothed: there is *nothing* women can wear to avoid this! “The right to dress like a slut” doesn’t exactly have a ring to it when you put it that way, no. But the right to be seen? The right to be heard? The right to see and the right to speak? *those* are the rights that the word “slut” is used to curtail.
How shameful I find a particular woman’s outfit is a measure of how fucked up I am, not a measure of anything about her. Just a pity the late-night streets are a smorgasbord of male fucked-up-edness.
I personally avoid skipping the other comments due to victim-blaming, mansplaining and some wonderfully petty Danyl v Russell Brown wank.
In the Gateaux has a great post up on Chris Trotter’s 2008 piece on the antichoice forces behind the political right in NZ.
Thanks Chris. As a member of your so called group of young, confident women I really enjoy you speaking on my behalf. I like how you assume how we might view the past struggles of women in the pro-choice movement. I also appreciate your advice on the need to reflect. Because, as a young confident woman, I haven’t thought about the issue at all!
Of course you hadn’t, Sophia. We silly wee things may be young and confident, but obviously we can’t get anywhere without a strong, sensible man
splainer leading us.