The hate on feminism


#1

After talks on The last night and how the designer past tweets talked about how he felt feminism wasn’t right, and the obvious talks from other people about be very negative on the movement, has me wondering why? Why are people so angry at the movement who are just asking for equal rights to improve their lives?

My best guess is that is feminist talks on certain products like games, anime, and other media and people feel they are getting in the way of things people like. And sure they do talk about it since it make them feel uncomfortable but many are willing to talk to others about if there is a problem or not and I had nice talks with many feminist about subjects like sexuality.

Also I do want to help in anyway and better understand feminism so suggest me some places to look into, what I can do, and who I can trust in the movement.


#2

It’s a fundamental failure to understand what criticism (the academic topic, the structured critique of media, not “expression of disapproval” definition) looks like. Combined with a failure to inspect an invisible privilege.

Here are some 101 topics. Here is a basic map if you’re confused by references to waves.

I would read something with decent politics like Bitch and Feministing and support them with a donation or subscription. You may also find very accessible sites like Everyday Feminism a good start. Find authors and follow them as their work is published in various publications.

Find books that offer an entry point (especially if you’re already broadly a Lefty), something like Laurie Penny’s Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution is under $10 for a digital copy and acts as a good entry point. There are hundreds of great books so make sure you pay attention to who you’re being told to read as you develop your understanding (to avoid being blind to intersectionality or it only taught to you by White women describing concepts originally developed by women of colour).

If you’re really lucky, you may find someone who wishes to discuss the topic with you and already knows a lot about it. Be careful to understand that a lot of your questions can come off as combative and dismissive, plus they will almost certainly be something she has had to answer thousands of times. Ideally, try and find some of those male feminists who are always wanting to talk; just don’t take them as an absolute authority on the topic.


#3

This is very informative, thank you so much.


#4

I won’t speak on resources for learning for feminist theory because many people on this forum are more capable than I am there, as Shivoa has already shown. I will speak on where the hatred for feminist critique comes from based on many long conversations with straight white cis men who think I am “on their side.”

I think a lot of those dudes have an all or nothing mentality. I cannot enjoy Dishonored overall but have problems with its portrayals of sex work; if I dislike some aspects of a thing clearly I hate the whole thing. When you couple this with decades of marketing telling nerds that they should tie their identity to the things they like, critique of sexist things sounds to those dudes like you are critiquing them. And then even you pair that with millenia of gender roles telling men they have to assert dominance in all situations, that critique of the thing they like feels like a personal attack that must be met with a personal attack. If you’ve heard the term “toxic masculinity” this is one asspect of it. Another aspect is men being taught not to really consider other perspectives. So often men will really only consider their POV, and not consider the POV of women or queer people or whoever. And when you can’t or won’t do that, feminist critique of the thing you like sounds like it isn’t based in reality at all, which escalates problems even further.

I think I just barely scratched the surface, and like I say that’s all my experience not like research or whatever. I just happen to be stuck talking to shitty cis het white dudes a lot.


#5

@Shivoa killed it. Sticky that shit and tattoo the whole post on my forehead


#6

As far as I could tell, the people who showed any anti-feminist tendencies in the thread about The Last Night were either banned or had their comments hidden, so I don’t think you’re going to get an answer out of the horse’s mouth because their opinions are not being represented on these forums.


#7

On the topic of intersectionality, anything by bell hooks (Ain’t I a Woman?) and Angela Davis (Women, Race & Class) is a fantastic start.


#8

Everything @Shivoa brought up is on point and anyone reading this thread who is in a situation similar to the OP should definitely take their advice. To address @Metalsnakezero’s origianl question though:

has me wondering why?

Let me give you a mild, personal example from my experience of taking a feminism course this past semester. The course was structured around building an understanding of feminism through an intersectional and global lens. As such, one of the first and most foundational readings we were given was Marilyn Frye’s Oppression. In this essay she details her metaphor of the bird cage, in which oppression can be best understood not simply by its minute, individual manifestations, but by the gestalt quantification and formation of these individual manifestations.

Now, this is an essay I absolutely love and would recommend to anyone today, but when I first read it I struggled with aligning to what Frye was saying. Not because of the birdcage metaphor itself, but because of how Frye was defining oppression. First, she stated that men cannot experience oppression compared to women, and then went on to describe men holding a door open for women as a manifestation of the oppression unique to women. For context: I’m a queer, white, male feminist, and I was definitely having some “Yeah, but…” moments when I initially read all this. It wasn’t until the next class where we discussed the essay and had to summarize Frye’s thesis that I realized just how “typical” I was being. While I may currently retain some (much more minor) disagreements with Frye here, I realized that I wasn’t allowing myself to adopt her point of view – I was trying to force Frye’s writing through my own.

This habit of bias is something everyone experiences, and it can be so hard to break it – especially if one isn’t actively aware of it. For me it took a lot of self-reflection and processing, but I was eventually able to see the flaws in my understanding. I had to learn how to “sit down; be humble.”

That said, it took a lot of mental work for me to drop my own ego and worldview, and allow myself to truly understand what Frye was saying from her perspective. With feminist criticism as a whole, that’s going to be the case for just about anyone who doesn’t already align with the ideology being professed. And even then, there will still be intra-ideological differences/conflicts that can be perceived as hatred/animosity to outside observers. When hegemonically masculine/masculine-adjacent ideologies are so embedded in an opposition to feminist intervention, any perceived “attack” on the things that non-feminists/“egalitarians” love will inevitably be seen as an attack on them as people. Therefore, out of animosity and self-preservation they fan the flames of inter-ideological conflict, and gang up on attacking a skewed understanding of what they perceive as “feminism” (or to use recent parlance, “Cultural Marxism”).

It’s a complicated thing. After listening to Waypoint discuss Rob’s interview with the Last Night dev, I’m somewhat curious to see what that game actually becomes. But if his game retains its weak understanding of what the creator views as unfettered feminism, then I think it’ll be safe to say that he still hasn’t learned to eschew his own biases and empathize with different worldviews.


#9

I think second-wave/radical feminism (the variety that is largely known as SWERF n TERF these days) did a fucking number on public perception of feminism through the mid-20th century, and we’re still overcoming a ton of that baggage

Second wavers are the PETA of feminists - you basically had to be a rich white lesbian to thrive in that movement and third-wave+intersectional feminisms are a reaction to that. Sadly, there are still plenty of the baby boomer second-wavers around still


#10

I sometimes wonder if feminism suffers from it’s name and being an “ism” it makes it sound like a more extreme position than it is. It calls to mind “racism” or “communism” nobody wants to be an ism and I think that makes it easier to certain people to hear things like “smash the patriarchy” and mentally append “and establish a matriarchy” to the end of it. I think that’s why you sometimes see people disputing feminism with “well I want all people to be equal” which is what feminism is but in their minds they imagine it as an inverse chauvinism.
I think another problem with the branding is that it underplays the benefits that feminism has to men. and I realize it is the most self centered and entitled thing for a man to say “well what can feminism do for me?” but some men are just self centered and entitled and they are either going to be sold on feminism’s benefits to them or they are going to keep hating. in all the toxic grossness of “men’s rights” there are a handful of legitimate problems, an astonishing number of middle aged men are depressed or suicidal, men tend to be at a disadvantage in child custody disputes. but what gets missed is that feminism can fix those things, by balancing out the toxic masculinity that creates fragile men with limited emotional support structures and by breaking down the dichotomy child care is the domain of women. the mens rights movement is a hideous sense entitlement wrapped around a few very real problems and their chosen sworn enemy feminism has the capacity to solve all of it by disabusing the entitlement and addressing the real injustices.
Now does that mean we throw out the feminist label and rebrand as an equality movement for everyone? I’m not sure. we’re so far down the chauvinism end of the spectrum that even the centre looks like reverse chauvinism. and I don’t know that just pulling from the centre will ever get us to equality. to paraphrase last night’s Giant Bomb late show of all things, there’s no such thing as organic diversity. men have been favoured thousands of years of human history and it is going to take some deliberate favouring of women if we ever hope to reach real equality and also have built a society where that equality is self sustaining.
and a lot of it has nothing to do with branding and everything to do with men and human nature. being told you are, by association, the villains of the story is a rough thing to hear if you aren’t ready for it. a lot of men, hearing the message that they are partly responsible for oppressing women and all that goes with it will chose to reject the premise out of hand rather than live with that guilt. and I know because I’ve been there, not as much with feminism, but boy, years and years of a well meaning Canadian education drilling into me that Canadian First Nations got a really raw deal, and they got it from the people who look like me, who are my ancestors or my heritage. more than anything I just started to shut down to that message, I got incredibly tired of learning about colonialism and I kind of just got low-key racist about the whole thing. at one point, in one of my lowest all time moments I asked in class “well why don’t we just leave and go back to europe and take all our snowmobiles and guns and electricity with us” yeah. it was pretty bad. It took me a long time to get to a place where I could say: "look, I am the beneficiary to some pretty rotten things which I didn’t ask for, and maybe I wouldn’t have been party to, but that’s the way things are, and I can either be complicit in it or I can use that advantage to help those who don’t have and to empower them to have a better future and to leave their children with a position that we can keep paying forward down the line. I’m not sure how much of that we can teach and how much of that is just time, perspective and luck, but I think we need to opponents to feminism to that point.

all of this with the caveat that I am a feminist but a badly read one and that when I sometimes hesitate to call myself a feminist it isn’t because I don’t believe in it, it’s because I don’t feel I deserve to claim the title. so there is a very real possibility that I don’t know what I’m talking about here, Lord know women don’t need some white dude preaching to them about feminism. also, Hi, Mods, who are no doubt watching this thread like hawks, I hope we are keeping it civil.


#11

Personally I feel part of this comes from a place of people who mean well but do not know how to communicate in a way that doesn’t end up accidentally offending someone through word choice.

As an example take these two statements:

vs

Both can be taken as meaning the same thing, the person is upset about the cast of characters. However the first one is more aggressive and can be taken as an attack as the supposedly wrong thing with the characters the writer has is that they are cis white males. Making someone feel bad about themselves because of something they can’t help is not the way to win support. Do that again and again, especially against young people, and you become convinced the writer hates you. It’s why some people see the word cis as an insult because they feel it has been used as an insult against them.

When making arguments and criticism it’s important to remember there is another human being on the other end reading it and if we want them to understand our point of view we have to also look at it from their point of view. Instead of immediately reaching over to type out a retort on social media we should instead maybe take 5 minutes to ask ourselves “why do they feel this way and what can I do to make them understand where I am coming from”. It’s a hard thing to do and it’s something I still struggle with because it’s a lot easier to come up with an insult then it is to come up with something that will maybe make them see where I’m coming from.


#12

I suspect they just want to control women or atleast attempt to do so without repercussions.


#13

How is this not just tone policing?


#14

There’s a way of thinking that tends to reduce all change in the world to zero-sum transactions. If they get something, we lose the same amount. Like there’s a Mass Effect meter but instead of Paragon / Renegade it’s rights for men / rights for women, and if you move towards one end you’re necessarily moving away from the other. So you get by in a world like that by trying to make sure your group, the people who look/act/think the way you do, gets the better deal, because that’s what everyone else is doing. If anyone tells you different, if they say that we can make things better for everyone, they’re just trying to take something from you.

Now I’m not saying everyone who hates feminism thinks like that, and it’s never made as explicit as I just laid out. But when you see enough anti-feminism (and related sorts of argument), you can often see the bones of this pattern underneath.


#15

A lot of specifically men who hate feminism really just don’t like women. We culturally and societally dislike and disempower women. It’s why feminism was started. Oppression stemming from sexism and misogyny are real. Anything relating to or of women’s interest is repugnant but hating on feminism is a way to give a respectable pass on it when they are demonized and criticized in a way that isn’t rooted in reality, but rather, that feminists are women (and other genders) that are too uppity for their own good.

There’s legitimate reasons to criticize methodology, ideologies and activism within feminist circles. That is not what is happening typically when a dude talks about how much hate hates feminists/feminism. He probably also hates women in a lot of ways, but that’s way more of an intrinsic bias and one that is normalized so it goes relatively unsaid.


#16

i feel like there’s a misunderstanding happening in this thread where men who want to engage with feminism and want to help be an ally to the cause are expecting it to be easy or simple? you need to understand that it’s going to be alienating. you’ve been taught your whole life, consciously or not, that the goal of feminism is not only not achievable but fundamentally against the rules of nature.

if it feels alienating when people complain about “cis white males”, then try and harness and explore that feeling to understand how the things you encounter on a day-to-day basis might feel alienating for the women in your life (or the LGBT community, or people of colour, etc.). these are things you have to internalise and understand about the way things are, and the deep deep foundations of our political and societal structure that have to be uprooted for change to begin.


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#17

There are many reasons, the following is just one that I see my fellow men expressing. I think like lots of ideologies, you have a very vocal minority using charged rhetoric to galvanize radicals and people outside that group perceive the minority as the majority.

So terms like “mansplaining” and “CIS white male” get thrown around and suddenly start alienating men from supporting feminism because they feel like they’re being attacked. Sure, these terms refer to real phenomenons, but the negative connotations make men feel uncomfortable and feel like they are being attacked by women for simply being males. Instead of actually having a conversation and expressing to a man how he is doing something that might be hurtful to women, a derogatory term is used that attacks men in a way that feels like an attack on their identity instead of their actions. And in the internet edge, short, volatile language trumps the messy, nuanced work of having a genuine conversation.


#18

Because tone policing requires actual policing? There’s a difference between controlling the dialogue/telling people how to speak, and pointing out that human beings are emotional and react to stimulus. People can talk how they want - it’s nobody’s “responsibility” to take time out of their own life to educate ignorant people - but if you say something in an inflammatory way people are gonna be inflamed, regardless of whether you’re objectively right, or even if they’re misunderstanding what you’re saying in the first place. It’s up to you whether you give a shit and like, i’m not going to throw shade at anyone who wants to yell at bigots and ignore their feelings (all power to you tbh), but you can’t pretend that people aren’t going to react emotionally to shit just because they don’t have a real argument or a logical basis for that emotion


#19

But making feminism more friendly for men seems like it’s just another attempt to re-center men as the default power-broker that must be appeased for anything to actually change.
From personal experience, it wasn’t coddling that got me on board, it was genuine frustration about how unjust the current circumstances are. I find it hard to believe that they have any real use as allies if they first need to remove the use of the word “cis” from the discussion.


#20

Apologies if I’m misrespresenting what you’re saying, but what I’m reading is: “this method of expression is not persuasive for these people.”

The corollary to which is “if you want to change things/persuade these people, adopt another method of expression” Further corollary to that is, “if you don’t adopt another method of expression, guess you didn’t want to change things that much, did you?”

Which neglects to address that people of so little self reflection that they would inmediately repond with hostility to “cishet male” (or whatever) maybe aren’t in a place where they could be persuaded regardless of choice of words.