Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Fauxminism or irrational illwill towards men?

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Recently, I encountered a German blog giving an analysis of the argumentse in an (English) complaint against “fauxminists”e (men who, in the eyes of the feminist writer, are faux feminists).

(Why would I care whether a useful idiot is considered a feminist or a fauxminist? I do not. In fact, it is better that feminism is divided and internally squabbling than united and fighting the rest of the world. However, the text in question is an excellent example of the incorrect reasoning so often used by feminists and within gender studies. Notably, the author, Meg Milanese, is a “recent graduate” with a “BA in women’s studies”, which, in itself, raises more than one warning flag.)

Below, I will analyze this complaint from my own perspective, specifically the ten defining characteristics:

  1. He interrupts women that he speaks with.

    Melanese argues that this is rude, would show communicative incompetence, and that men interrupt women more than they do men.

    Interruptions can be rude, but they need not be. Indeed, they are often necessary and most interruptions that I have observed or been involved in (be it as the interrupter or the interrupted) have been legitimate. Further, the need to interrupt is often based on the communicative incompetence of the … interrupted: There are many people who simply do not observe the cues others send that they too have something to say, who monopolize the discussion, go on long contentless ramblings, spell out over two minutes what the counter-part understood in two seconds, whatnot.

    Indeed, these problematic people are (in my experiences so far) disproportionately common among women. (Which gives us some clues as to why women are interrupted more often…)

  2. He expects to be given leadership roles far before he’s ready for them.

    The text gives no real support for this claim, but describes something more akin to men (unsurprisingly) being more likely to take initiative than women. Furthermore, in as far as this claim would be true, there is nothing male about it: I have met plenty of women with exactly this mentality—often among those clearly unsuitable for leadership. Indeed, this type of entitlement-thinking is very common among Swedish women (and, in my second-hand impression, US women).

  3. He mansplains.

    The accusation of mansplaining (feminists’ favourite way of discrediting their opponents without actually having to provide any factual arguments) has been dealt with at length.

    The claim “A feminist man should be able to understand the difference between mansplaining and simply explaining something while simultaneously being a man.” is almost comical, seeing that this is a difference that feminist women seem unable to grasp—with far more accusations of mansplaining being raised because the explainer happens to be a (usually dissenting) man and the dissented a woman than for what feminists claim that “mansplaining” would imply.

  4. He insists that feminism must make equal time for men and men’s issues.

    I cannot judge this issue, in particular the frequency of the demand being made, within the feminist movement itself. However, many of the statements made by Melanese are detached from reality and demonstrate that her take on men’s issues is a very destructive and prejudiced one. Take “So yes, men have issues. However, in no way, shape, or form are they of the same caliber as the problems and oppression facing women.” (a bullshit statement, cf. e.g. [1], [2]) or the attempt to make men’s main problem to be … masculinity.

    In the end: As long as feminism remains about women’s issues, not equality, feminism will remain a force of evil. (It is refreshing, however, that a feminist admits this onesidedness so clearly.)

  5. He continues to partake in media or activities that objectify/degrade women.

    The whole issue of objectification and degradation is cheap rhetoric. Cf. e.g. parts of [3]. That Melanese irrationally finds e.g. porn to be degrading does not imply that men (feminist or otherwise) who use it are doing anything wrong—nor that the many women who also enjoy porn would be.

  6. He calls women he doesn’t agree with “bitches”, “whores” or other gender-based slurs.

    This particular item is specifically dealing with how this use by a feminist will affect the cause of feminism (i.e. that it is harmful). That part of the analysis is likely to be true; however, this has nothing to do with whether a man is a feminist or a fauxminist—unless we assume that these words would be anti-woman per se. (They are not: They make a statement about a particular woman—not women in general.)

    Further, I note that personal attacks and insults is very common from feminist women, which makes the item odd: Melanese’s efforts would be better spent attacking the “argumentation” methods of feminists in general.

  7. He feels entitled to the trust of the women he works with in feminist activism circles.

    The basic reasoning behind this item would be sound, but for two issues:

    Firstly, the problem of unwarranted and exaggerated distrust is treated to cavalierly.

    Secondly, it is based on a very distorted view of reality. Consider e.g. “[…]the daily normality of cat-calling and slut-shaming that women endure” or “the person who is distrustful is a member of a class that is disproportionately affected by harassment, violence and degradation and the person who is not being trusted is a member of the class that most often perpetrates that degradation”—not only cheap rhetoric, but also sexist, one-sided, and prejudiced bullshit.

    In addition, the claim “It could be rape, it could be domestic violence, it could be emotional abuse.” is likely equally off: Yes, this would be an understandable reason for distrust, even misplaced distrust. At the same time, rape is rare, women commit more domestic violence than men, and emotional abuse (from what I have seen so far) is much more common from women than from men—yet, the way the text reads, it sounds like this would something that women would be regularly exposed to and men not.

  8. He will not hold other self-proclaimed male-identified feminists accountable.

    The text does not really deal with the topic of the title; however, the statement “If a man cannot be expected to do this much [risk his social reputation/being called a mangina] while women are enduring sexual assault, violence, and verbal abuse for standing up for their rights, the mantle of feminism has been proven to be too much to bear for him and he is undeserving of the title.” should say enough. How often are women enduring sexual assualt and violence for standing up for their rights? Hardly ever and likely less often than men. Indeed, when I have heard of violence in the context of feminism it has usually been perpetrated by the … feminists. (Cf. e.g. [4]e.) Certainly, feminists commit far, far more verbal abuse than anti-feminists—indeed, they may possibly be the single greatest source of verbal abuse around.

  9. He uses the tone argument on you.

    Frankly, I am not certain that I understand this item. However, it does sound like something women do to men, rather than the other way around.

  10. He is pissed off by this article.

    The very predictable conclusion: As usual, the whole thing is setup with an illogical “damned if you do; damned if you don’t”—either you agree with me, or your disagreement proves my point. The same evil trick of pseudo-reasoning is regularly used e.g. with regard to the alleged male privilege (“Not having to admit privilege is a male privilege!”) and mansplaining (“Your criticism of the term ‘mansplaining’ is just mansplaining!”).

Generally, many of the items contain prejudice, belief in the “Patriarchy”, and a world-view (e.g. with regard to men’s and women’s situations) that does not match reality.

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Written by michaeleriksson

July 24, 2011 at 9:02 am

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