Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


WAF? More like WTF.
July 25, 2014 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Still shaking your head over that ridiculous "Women Against a Feminism" tumblr? The inimitable Bloggess weighs in with some welcome comic relief. (Time, right on schedule, helpfully pops up to explain it all for you).
posted by misha (246 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Women Against Feminism seems more like it should be called Women Against A Cartoon Version of Feminism That Has Been Promulgated By Dumb Media And Talk Radio.
posted by JHarris at 8:31 AM on July 25 [59 favorites]


It seems to me that those WAF posters are reacting more to internet forum evangelizing (which, tone arguments aside, can be obnoxious just like anything else on the internet) rather than actual feminism but they haven't been educated enough to know the difference.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 8:32 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


Confused Cats Against Feminism
posted by mcmile at 8:33 AM on July 25 [57 favorites]


Rebecca Brink had a good response.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:41 AM on July 25 [12 favorites]


It seems to me that those WAF posters are reacting more to internet forum evangelizing (which, tone arguments aside, can be obnoxious just like anything else on the internet) rather than actual feminism but they haven't been educated enough to know the difference.
It's hard to say, really. I think JHarris nailed it by characterizing it as a reaction against Cartoony Straw Man Feminism. It's like saying, "I'm not a conservative because I don't believe in eating poor people."
posted by verb at 8:41 AM on July 25 [9 favorites]


insofar as the people against feminism are legitimate people, their concerns are legitimate. I'm glad that the conversation is happening but I fear that actual dialogue, as opposed to mountaintop-shouting as a performance art, isn't happening.
posted by rebent at 8:43 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


"I don't need feminism, I need a man who will respect me."

The irony is strong in this one.
posted by Talez at 8:43 AM on July 25 [76 favorites]


insofar as the people against feminism are legitimate people, their concerns are legitimate.

So what would make a person illegitimate enough to make their concerns ignorant nonsense?
posted by griphus at 8:44 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


I have only looked at the first page of that Tumblr, but a lot of them read to me as not actually in opposition to feminism (or at least the non-cartoon version of it). Statements like "people deserve to live their lives freely and equally" sound a lot like the 1970s feminism I grew up around, for example, rather than some zinger that refutes it.

And some of them just make my brain hurt: "I don't need feminism; I just need a man who will respect me." How can someone not see the connection between feminist gains, such as women not being chattel property, and having men respect women as people? Amazing.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:45 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


So what would make a person illegitimate enough to make their concerns ignorant nonsense?

Being poor or black.
posted by Talez at 8:46 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Remember 22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution a few months back? Somewhere in the discussion surrounding it someone noted that when all you know about evolution comes from other creationists, you're going to get it all very, very wrong. The same happens with feminism. The only definition for feminism a lot of people come in contact with is a strawman version, spread by anti-feminists.
posted by jklaiho at 8:46 AM on July 25 [46 favorites]


When I was 18, I thought the world was an open door too. We shouldn't blame these young women for their naivete. They will learn too soon.
posted by Dashy at 8:47 AM on July 25 [8 favorites]


Calling feminists hysterical hipster whores is pretty unambiguously an attack on all forms of feminism. So I don't really think it is a straw man attack. Sure you can point at all kinds of hair splitting and misinformation but most of these women are quite explicitly rejecting equality. They are anti-feminist not anti misconstrued-feminist and it is dangerous to think otherwise.
posted by srboisvert at 8:49 AM on July 25 [17 favorites]


it's so easy to say "Of course I'm right, as long as people understand things the way I believe them, they will agree with me and my rightness will grow" but that doesn't take into account how societies progress to more liberalism but also more conservativeism.

The idea that women deserve equality is fundamental to our cause. But if someone does not believe that - if someone believes that women should be protected from dangerous men - then no statistics on the wage gap will win them over.

I think that is one of the big gaps in our outreach right now. We seem to be proclaiming our favorite arguments, instead of the arguments that people need to hear. I don't mean to imply that anyone is doing anything wrong, but I am interested in supporting a powerful branding movement that seeks to outreach, engage, and convert, similar to those social justice programs that provide hands-on, personal conversion efforts for white supremicists.
posted by rebent at 8:49 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


That tumblr is like some kind of false flag operation, right? Because they're just so bad... they read like a parody of MRA talking points.
posted by kmz at 8:50 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


Remember 22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution a few months back?
Because science by definition is a "theory" - not testable, observable, nor repeatable.
MY HEAD ASPLODE. MY HEAD JUST FUCKING ASPLODED.
Why do you object to creationism or intelligent design being taught in school?
BECAUSE IT'S EXPLICITLY BASED ON A GOD DAMN FAIRY TALE THAT'S NOT TESTABLE, OBSERVABLE NOR REPEATABLE. IMHO if she wants to force her beliefs on the public school system she needs to follow her own god damn religion. In particular 1 Timothy 2:12.

Yes I know it's sexist to refer to that particular passage but god dammit, so is the bible.
posted by Talez at 8:51 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


This seems a little bit "look at these assholes"
posted by Hoopo at 8:51 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


I was dumb as shit when I was young too.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:52 AM on July 25 [15 favorites]


Apropos of nothing else I have consternation over the trend of images of text.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:52 AM on July 25 [12 favorites]


Fem-splaining, heh.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:53 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


In a country where millions of people who are far from rich defend unaffordable healthcare and millions of working people have successfully been turned against organized labor, I suppose this isn't surprising.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:54 AM on July 25 [15 favorites]


In addition to some people who are no doubt very confused, there are here (and, presumably, will always be) women who are genuinely non- or anti-feminist. Every regime of power that depends on oppression will find at least some collaborators among the oppressed, and perhaps patriarchy wouldn't ever get very far if a substantial amount of women didn't reproduce and reinforce it.
posted by clockzero at 8:55 AM on July 25 [12 favorites]


I don't need feminism; I just need a man who will respect me.

Notice, not men. A man. She doesn't want equality; she wants a husband.
posted by BrashTech at 8:56 AM on July 25 [20 favorites]


Apropos of nothing else I have consternation over the trend of images of text.

Yeah, that's certainly a questionable stylistic choice. It doesn't quite give them the gravitas they seem to be trying for, at any rate.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 8:56 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


FEMINISTS LIKE DRAGONS BECAUSE THEY TRY TO KILL MEN
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:58 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


I know I saw a study (but I cant find it of course) to the effect of if you describe a stance on an issue a certain number of people will agree with you, if you then describe the same stance and attribute it to feminists (or environmentalists) a lot fewer people will agree with it. This is a fundamentally frustrating fact about America today to me.

I mean, who the hell doesn't care about women or the environment? Don't they have wives, sisters daughters? Don't they breathe air? My dad, not the world's most enlightened man, said to me in like 1975 that women's liberation was men's liberation too. Maybe not the most nuanced opinion but a solid starting place I think.

It seems to me that "feminism"is a cultural marker not a real debate, like being pro gun control or loving NASCAR.
posted by shothotbot at 8:58 AM on July 25 [7 favorites]


In addition to some people who are no doubt very confused, there are here (and, presumably, will always be) women who are genuinely non- or anti-feminist.

The Just World Hypothesis works wonderfully with the Patriarchal Bargain.
posted by sukeban at 8:59 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


"I don't need feminism because my sex life is not a political agenda."

What is this? I don't even. How the? What the? I.... What?
posted by Talez at 8:59 AM on July 25 [20 favorites]


FEMINISTS LIKE DRAGONS BECAUSE THEY TRY TO KILL MEN

Wait, is that the post that fired off the whole dragon-as-feminism-mascot thing that was going around on Tumblr a few months back? Because if so, that meme-fad was twice as great as I thought.
posted by griphus at 9:00 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


I am so confused about the dragon thing.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:01 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


That tumblr is like some kind of false flag operation, right?

I get that feeling. About 90 percent of the antifeminist tumbl blogs they link out to don't exist -- probably closed down by the people who started them. Of the ones the remain, quite a few are by men, and they are just flat out MRA types. (There's actually one called "Talking Fedora" that describes itself as "Here to answer any questions about anti-feminism, the MRM, and egalitarianism," which feels like it must be parody, but isn't.

I can't quite wrap my head around this one. It is very hard for me to believe that there were hundreds of women just waiting for the opportunity to scribble an MRA talking point onto a piece of paper and pose for a photo with it, and just never had that chance until this blog came along. It's exactly like the messages from creationists posted above, and that was organized. It's feeling like astro-turfing to me.

Not that I think the people who posed for the photos aren't in earnest. But I feel like there is some sort of organizational entity behind the scenes, and I want to know who it is.
posted by maxsparber at 9:03 AM on July 25 [10 favorites]


I AM OPPRESSED BY AN INVISIBLE, EVIL UNICORN
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:03 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


There's also one pic that had... a young mother holding her infant, with a sign that says 'she's my daughter, not a choice'.


It should be noted that the tumblr is part of a broader set of right-wing politics.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:05 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


I mean it's just Reddit comments in Tumblr form.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:06 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


Calling feminists hysterical hipster whores is pretty unambiguously an attack on all forms of feminism

...that they know of. This still leaves room for the straw man angle. For a woman to truly reject actual feminism, she needs to a) be informed about it and b) have some very interesting opinions about it, given that she's informed. These people do exist, no doubt, but I'd imagine they are rare specimens. Some hardcore religious types come to mind, women who welcome the idea of being inferior to men based on scripture.
posted by jklaiho at 9:07 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


For a woman to truly reject actual feminism, she needs to a) be informed about it and b) have some very interesting opinions about it, given that she's informed.

"I don't need feminism because if my husband beats me he's only damaging his own property!"
posted by Talez at 9:08 AM on July 25 [10 favorites]


I know a woman who thinks this way. She'll say she hates most women ("but not youuu guys, you're different!") and then go on about how feminism is bullshit. She thought the Steubenville victim "shouldn't have been drinking." Surprise surprise, she is a libertarian who spends a lot of tie on Reddit. We don't talk much anymore.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:10 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


"Women have the right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions. As long as I don't disagree with them."
That seems to me to be the gist of so many comments on the blue lately when the daily post about gender issues comes up.
I know I'm in for a beating. But I'll take it.
posted by huguini at 9:10 AM on July 25 [10 favorites]


These would be a lot more internally consistent if at the bottom they added

Okay I'll shut up and get back in the kitchen now sir.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:10 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


WHAT, YOU’RE NOT A BLACK PANTHER MEMBER?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:11 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


"Women have the right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions. As long as I don't disagree with them."
That seems to me to be the gist of so many comments on the blue lately when the daily post about gender issues comes up.
I know I'm in for a beating. But I'll take it.


Honestly, it's more like "everyone has a right to their own thoughts, beliefs, and opinions, but if their belief and opinion is that I should be a second class citizen then my belief and opinion is that they can go fuck themselves."
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:14 AM on July 25 [110 favorites]


I'm looking for the one that says

I DON'T NEED FEMINISM BECAUSE 73% OF THE PAY FOR THE SAME WORK IS ALL I DESERVE
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:17 AM on July 25 [15 favorites]


"Women have the right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions. As long as I don't disagree with them."

That's a pretty outrageous position. Who said that?

That seems to me to be the gist of so many comments on the blue lately when the daily post about gender issues comes up.

Ah, ok, so...not an actual quote. Nobody besides you actually said that.

I know I'm in for a beating. But I'll take it.

And you're already characterizing still-hypothetical disagreement with your fabricated quotation as "a beating."

Leaving the issue of feminism completely aside, it seems pretty clear that this is trolling and I think you should stop. This is neither the place nor the time to bring up issues you have with the site, and that's not even the right way to do it, anyway.
posted by clockzero at 9:18 AM on July 25 [32 favorites]


TIME: I’d like to see feminism have a little more respect for chaos and ambiguity.

Yes, I would like for this highly varied phenomenon that I am reducing to a single, monolithic entity to appreciate complexity too, please.
posted by univac at 9:19 AM on July 25 [22 favorites]


I know I'm in for a beating. But I'll take it.

I'm not going to beat you, but I'll offer advice that I myself am trying to take in general, which is when you paraphrase something and say "that's what you sound like," there's a really good chance you're just demonstrating that your paraphrasing skills are limited.
posted by maxsparber at 9:19 AM on July 25 [20 favorites]


There's lots of scope here for making your own versions of these though:

"I don't need feminism, I just want a lover with a slow hand."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:20 AM on July 25 [7 favorites]


no one said that these women in this tumblr don't have a right to their opinions. how did you miss that?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:20 AM on July 25


She'll say she hates most women

Female misogyny is fascinating, and troubling. My wife isn't misogynist, but still maintains through (somewhat limited) personal experience that exclusively female workplaces are horrible drama and hostility incubators, where the introduction of even a single man into the mix improves things considerably. I'm in no position to dispute her on this, though I suspect it could just be bad luck in terms of personalities and that gender isn't the defining factor here. Or perhaps it is, combined with some aspect of the patriarchy?
posted by jklaiho at 9:20 AM on July 25


This seems a little bit "look at these assholes"

Yes, but it's ok to mock the beliefs of young women in this instance.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:21 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


"I don't need feminism, but I feel the need ... THE NEED FOR SPEED."
posted by maxsparber at 9:21 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Once again, we're conflating criticisms of feminism with the ideas of hating women.

Or the trope of "If they only knew what X really was, there would be no way they could disagree."

I do have to say though that W.A.F. has to be loving the Streisand Effect that keeps popping up.
posted by Setec Astronomy at 9:21 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


It's funny how anti-feminists always complain about "the victim complex" or whatever but when it comes to online martyrdom, few are as adept as they are. So oppressed.
posted by kmz at 9:22 AM on July 25 [11 favorites]


> we're conflating criticisms of feminism with the ideas of hating women

They are rather difficult to separate.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:23 AM on July 25 [7 favorites]


This thread is worth it just for the Confused Cats Against Feminism link.
posted by rtha at 9:27 AM on July 25 [16 favorites]


Once again, we're conflating criticisms of feminism with the ideas of hating women.

No we aren't. Unless you can find me a body of feminist thought that argues that women should be shamed for being a stay at home mother, that is not a critique of feminism.

Unless you can find me a body of feminist thought that argues that you must be a misandrist to be a feminist, that is not a critique of feminism.

Unless you can find me a body of feminist thought that argues that it is impossible to believe something in a meaningful way without an "army of angry vaginas" supporting you, that is not a critique of feminism.

These are not critiques of feminism. We don't have to respond to nonsense as though it is a researched, considered opinion. That is not how to free market of ideas works.
posted by maxsparber at 9:30 AM on July 25 [57 favorites]


I know I shouldn't have because, I was feeling pretty calm and laid back but I skimmed the first twenty of the images on the tumbler and Oh My GAWD ::facepalm::
posted by Faintdreams at 9:30 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


"Women have the right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions. As long as I don't disagree with them."

For the trillionth time on the intarwebs, disputing a belief does not violate your civil rights.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:32 AM on July 25 [25 favorites]


The idea that women deserve equality is fundamental to our cause. But if someone does not believe that - if someone believes that women should be protected from dangerous men - then no statistics on the wage gap will win them over.
I had a conversation with an acquaintance of mine at a bar a year or two ago. She's in her early thirties, she's the lead singer for a local classic rock band, she's married to a bass player, and when she gets the chance, she hangs out at the local bar and shoots the breeze while he watches the kids.

So there she was, a married woman hanging out with the guys at a dive bar, saying that she hates "feminism" because she likes guys, and just wants to have a job and be their equal and do whatever she wants instead of turning it into a "fight."

The fact that feminist "fighting" is what allows her to hang out at a bar with the guys and have a job and basically do the things she wants didn't seem to click. I asked her about it, and she just said that "feminists are all bitches, and it's annoying."

I can understand someone who actively opposes the things that feminism fights for -- a woman who believes that women shouldn't own property, for example, or who doesn't believe that women are able to do "men's work." I can disagree, but it makes sense to my why they would be anti-feminist. But when someone whose life and ambitions literally depend on the work feminism has done, I get super sad and frustrated.
posted by verb at 9:33 AM on July 25 [43 favorites]


That is totally why I like dragons. Very dangerous, man-killing dragons.
posted by Sequence at 9:36 AM on July 25


Apropos of nothing else I have consternation over the trend of images of text.

Yeah, that's certainly a questionable stylistic choice. It doesn't quite give them the gravitas they seem to be trying for, at any rate.


Honestly, I think that this is the most interesting thing going on here, as well as in the similar anti-evolution thing — the right-wing appropriation of a familiar form of center-left testimonial protest rhetoric. Someone upthread called it "this is what an anti-feminist looks like," which I think is exactly right. The idea is, as I read it anyhow, that the images are seen as more rhetorically powerful than mere words because the accompanying seriousface renders them personal. The reason the right finds this congenial is probably connected to evangelism; it seems not that dissimilar to "witnessing" in church. I mean, to me as an outsider it's often just funny to see how unselfconscious people are about their shitty spelling and thinking, like they're beaming at me while holding up a homework assignment with a big red C- SEE ME AFTER CLASS on it, but to them it obviously doesn't look that way.
posted by RogerB at 9:38 AM on July 25 [9 favorites]


Once again, we're conflating criticisms of feminism with the ideas of hating women.

But there isn't any actual critique. The sentiments in question are simply making disparaging implications about what "feminism" means, and little more.
posted by clockzero at 9:41 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


I am seriously tempted to make a macro for this that says "I am not a feminist because FUCK YOU, GOT MINE", but there aren't enough hours in a day.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:43 AM on July 25 [7 favorites]


"Women have the right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions. As long as I don't disagree with them."
The right to believe false things is sacred and unassailable.

There is definitely a problem when people boldly dismiss differing opinions by saying, "If they actually understood the issue, they would of course agree with me." It's a variation on "Everyone agrees with me, they're just lying about it."

Growing up in the evangelical world, this was common: Atheists, we understood, actually did believe in God and feel guilt for their sins -- they were just deep in denial to avoid making necessary changes in their lives. As one might expect, this approach didn't lead to a lot of productive conversations.

However, there's a big a difference between that kind of dismissiveness and a critique of clueless, factually incorrect straw men. "But I BELIEVE this, I have the RIGHT to!" is not a defense of an idea, or backup for a facile assertion.
posted by verb at 9:44 AM on July 25 [9 favorites]


FEMINISTS LIKE DRAGONS BECAUSE THEY TRY TO KILL MEN

*blank stare*
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:44 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


There is definitely a problem when people boldly dismiss differing opinions by saying, "If they actually understood the issue, they would of course agree with me." It's a variation on "Everyone agrees with me, they're just lying about it."

...which, if you apply it to feminism, is just as valid of a critique. For instance, further up in the thread is this exact idea:

For a woman to truly reject actual feminism, she needs to a) be informed about it and b) have some very interesting opinions about it, given that she's informed. These people do exist, no doubt, but I'd imagine they are rare specimens.
posted by Setec Astronomy at 9:48 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


I think the criticisms in "I Really, Truly, Fully Hate ‘Women Against Feminism’—But…" could be equally applied to any issue discussed on the internet.
posted by Kurichina at 9:49 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Or perhaps it is, combined with some aspect of the patriarchy?

I usually argue it from the other direction: workplace/group dynamics are just as terrible with men, it's just partly in different ways and partly in men getting away with a little more.

But I am a borderline misanthrope that sometimes half-jokingly mentions going Benedict Arnold on humanity if aliens or robots offer even a slightly better alternative to things now, so what do I know?
posted by FJT at 9:51 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


It's the feminists who are oppressing women. It's the unions that are the enemy of working people. It's the black people who are racist. John Kerry and Max Cleland are cowards. Atheism is an oppressive religion. 2+2=6
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:52 AM on July 25 [43 favorites]


Do you think these are the "hysterical hipster whores" this anti-feminist had in mind?
posted by foot at 9:53 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


I actually strongly suspect that a lot of the women on this particular blog would not in fact become feminists if they just knew more about it; I think it's considerably more likely that they're being disingenuous about their reasons for disagreeing with it. "They judged me first! Therefore this totally justifies all of my long-held beliefs about the superiority of my particular life plans, and why can't they just be happy being wives and mothers, anyway?" They wouldn't be more in favor of an egalitarian world if it weren't for their straw feminists; they need their straw feminists to make it look like they aren't really as regressive as they are.

Which is so not a new thing. The conservative Christian evangelical movement's been doing it for decades. "I believe that women are just as valuable as men, they just aren't anything like men and can't do anything men do as well as men do it, and they belong at home and if any of them don't want kids then they're broken." Just as valuable, right. Just admit that you have ideas about men and women that you grew up with that you have no intention of giving up no matter who gets hurt by them because they're working for you, and be honest about it, and I'll at least respect you for the honesty, but I don't respect this, no.
posted by Sequence at 9:53 AM on July 25 [16 favorites]


Setec Astronomy, I said "truly reject actual feminism" because I wanted to make the distinction to rejecting straw man feminism, which I'd already posted about before. Maybe I'm not expressing it terribly well, but I don't hold the opinion that you seem to think I do. For a woman to think that she does not deserve equality is holding a "very interesting opinion", but I don't see how that's "dismissing a differing opinion".
posted by jklaiho at 9:55 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Dear Women Against Feminism:

If you're writing on this site, you were allowed to be taught to write.

You're welcome.

Love,
Feminism
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:58 AM on July 25 [48 favorites]


The more I read these the more I feel like they're the equivalent of being opposed to astronomy because you don't believe the stars and planets can determine your fate.
posted by griphus at 10:00 AM on July 25 [129 favorites]


Favoriting's not enough. That is a spectacularly perfect comparison.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:03 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


This feels so much like the anti-vax arguments.

"I don't know what staying inside during the summer because of a polio epidemic is like, so I won't vaccinate my kids."

"I've never experienced misogyny that I can identify, so I'm against feminism."

Gah.

I was young once too, but I was a young feminist from the minute I knew there was such a term.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:04 AM on July 25 [9 favorites]


I love Ann Helen Petersen.
posted by Ennis Tennyone at 10:04 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


The more I read these the more I feel like they're the equivalent of being opposed to astronomy because you don't believe the stars and planets can determine your fate.

Very nice. I was thinking "what have the Romans ever done for us?" myself, but yours is better.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:06 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


Hmmm.don't all the male bees get pushed out of the hives to their deaths by the females in winter. Because the males are useless except for fertilization purposes
posted by Bwithh at 10:08 AM on July 25


My favorite bee-related thing was when a professor of mine said that we shouldn't think about a bee as a single animal, but rather we should think of a beehive as a single animal which can come apart and put itself together again.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:11 AM on July 25 [18 favorites]


Drone-ist!
posted by sio42 at 10:11 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


The more I read these the more I feel like they're the equivalent of being opposed to astronomy because you don't believe the stars and planets can determine your fate.

The analogy I made in the comments on The Bloggess thread (er, uh, yeah, I was in there) was that it's like saying you're opposed to Christianity because you dislike the Westboro Baptist Church.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:11 AM on July 25 [11 favorites]


Seeing a woman holding a sign that says they want to "end misandry" on it makes me really sad. What on earth is the story that got them to the place where they decided to state that message, take a photo of it, and post it to this blog?
posted by mathowie at 10:14 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


What on earth is the story that got them to the place where they decided to state that message, take a photo of it, and post it to this blog?

Listening too much to MRA's.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:15 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


The analogy I made in the comments on The Bloggess thread (er, uh, yeah, I was in there) was that it's like saying you're opposed to Christianity because you dislike the Westboro Baptist Church.

At least the WBC is real, notorious, and more or less accurately represented in the media.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:15 AM on July 25


What on earth is the story that got them to the place where they decided to state that message, take a photo of it, and post it to this blog?

"The Patriarchy", volumes 1-198219218.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:17 AM on July 25 [10 favorites]


Do you think these are the "hysterical hipster whores" this anti-feminist had in mind?

I don't understand this comment at all.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:19 AM on July 25


It should be noted that the tumblr is part of a broader set of right-wing politics.

Well, duh. I'm fairly certain this started as astroturf, by the sort of women who make a good career out of being the token female antifeminist/MRA, before it got trolled hard.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:19 AM on July 25


At least the WBC is real, notorious, and more or less accurately represented in the media.

Yeah, but the folks over at the Bloggess would also understand that they are an EXTREME minority, so that was language they'd understand.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:19 AM on July 25


Hmmm.don't all the male bees get pushed out of the hives to their deaths by the females in winter. Because the males are useless except for fertilization purposes

Yes. Fun fact: an unfertilized bee egg will develop into a fully functional male bee. Only females require both sperm and egg to develop. So every hive in a given area could be totally devoid of males all winter, but come springtime, the queens can just make more of them.

(More amusingly horrible bee sex facts: queen bees are fertilized one time, by multiple males from other hives, and then they store the semen alive inside themselves for the rest of their lives. The mated males immediately die. Man I love bees.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:21 AM on July 25 [22 favorites]


If you're writing on this site, you were allowed to be taught to write. - Feminism

I thought first-wave feminism was defined (retroactively) as the suffrage movement?

By 1893, in the UK at least, we had universal education until the age of 11. Teaching everyone to write is, in fact, a product of a reform movement that was concerned for the plight of the poor, not, as far as I know, any form of feminism.

Maybe it was different in the USA.
posted by Leon at 10:29 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Don't they have wives, sisters daughters?

Loving someone and believing that they're your equal are two different things.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:32 AM on July 25 [15 favorites]


The last parenthesized sentence is the purest head-asplody territory. Just all kinds of messed up, I don't even know where to begin.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:32 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


the suffragettes weren't feminists? Is that the type of argument I am now encountering in the world?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:33 AM on July 25


Seeing a woman holding a sign that says they want to "end misandry" on it makes me really sad. What on earth is the story that got them to the place where they decided to state that message, take a photo of it, and post it to this blog?

Misunderstanding about what feminism is, seeing comments like this: "(More amusingly horrible bee sex facts: queen bees are fertilized one time, by multiple males from other hives, and then they store the semen alive inside themselves for the rest of their lives. The mated males immediately die. Man I love bees.)" and feeling/thinking they're unfair to men or man hating, they're having a bad/day/week, experience with only radical feminists who really are anti-men, etc, etc. Really, the list could go on.

People are generally ignorant. X number refuse to believe menlanded on the Moon or that Obama is secret Muslim, in astrology or that their particular belief in an invisible sky God matters to their personal lives. That's the dark side of the internet, ignorance can easily find more ignorance and band together in an impregnable Fortress of Ignorance.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:33 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


So there she was, a married woman hanging out with the guys at a dive bar, saying that she hates "feminism" because she likes guys, and just wants to have a job and be their equal and do whatever she wants instead of turning it into a "fight."

The fact that feminist "fighting" is what allows her to hang out at a bar with the guys and have a job and basically do the things she wants didn't seem to click. I asked her about it, and she just said that "feminists are all bitches, and it's annoying."


I think I'm going to have to stop being so nice about women my age (there are many) who say "I believe in (equal rights/equal pay/whatever) but I'm not a feminist."

YES. YES YOU ARE A FEMINIST. THAT IS WHAT FEMINISM IS.

Growing up, if you were a smart, ambitious girl, decrying "those other girls" in order to be accepted by smart dudes was a definite thing you did. Sort of the female equivalent of Nice Guyism, often with a similar aim: maybe the Smart Dudes will date me! (they never did. Or they did but were assholes. Anyway). But then! If you were a smart, accomplished girl who called someone on some egregiously sexist bullshit, you'd get sneeringly asked "You're not one of those FEMINISTS are you??" and all your hard work getting accepted was suddenly at risk. So many of us (yeah I did it) would hurriedly say "Oh no, I'm not a feminist, but Bob was being a jerk to me!" and try to defuse the situation.

It felt gross, but it the temptation was strong. It's so hard to get validation when you're a girl, especially a young one, that it's easy to sell your soul for any scraps you can grab.
posted by emjaybee at 10:38 AM on July 25 [52 favorites]


the suffragettes weren't feminists? Is that the type of argument I am now encountering in the world?
From what I've read and experienced, contemporary feminism has an ambivalent relationship with the women's suffrage movement, both because it engaged in some race-baiting and other problematic behavior, and because anti-choicers have attempted to co-opt that history.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:40 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Regarding education for girls: you don't even have to look very hard to find people opposed to educating girls and women. It is for real. Just ask the girls kidnapped in Nigeria, if you can find them.
posted by tuesdayschild at 10:45 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Yeah the frustrating thing is that plenty of these are fine points and even made by people who identify as feminists.

I too thought feminism sounded like a horrible thing when I was younger, and I still think there is ableism, classism, racism, and a lot of other problems with a lot of things that are stated as feminism.

But those are not problems with feminism itself (the concept of women being equal to men and ensuring there is systemic reflection of that equality in policies and social ideologies and practices)- those are problems that need to be addressed as problematic views themselves. If we view all people as equal and feminism as one aspect of that larger human rights and social justice perspective, then a lot of the weird executive leader oriented feminism is built on values I have a problem with to begin with-- but again, this is nota problem with feminism but with taking the concept of "equality" between people and using feminism to ensure more women are getting to perpetuate inequality in the way men are allowed to.Neither men nor women should be perpetuating such inequality or claims of higher status and income worthiness for people who ruthlessly climb career ladders and leave everyone else behind (including all the people who work in sweatshops for them, are underpaid house servents and child carers for them) on and on.

I thought feminism had nothing to do with me when I was younger because I didn't want to be a an engineer or a business executive, and what's more, I personally am OPPOSED to those meausures of success being held up as the ideal or as a more superior way to be. I too thought feminism degraded women who like traditionally female ways of behaving and thinking and I think specific people claiming to be feminists have in fact done some of that.

You can address that as a problem without claiming the problem is "feminism" though.

I also think that a lot of people (usually libertarians however) who tend to have this very hardline view that being a woman is purely a social phenomenon and all else is equal, may be causing damage if female vs male parts and hormone's and biology actually does impact ability-- i.e. if equality should be instated EVEN IF WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT it shouldn't matter if women did statistically have different strengths or weaknesses- what's more, if women DO tend to want to be caregivers and nurturers do their experiences with birthing and nursing children or even the hormones and physiology involved in that, we should be arguing for better pay and acknoledgment of these forms of work as part of feminism rather than pushing women into mathematics position IN ORDER to promote equality. Women deserve equal pay even if they do "women's work" not just if they convert to "men's" work that is more respected and better paid simply because the men tended to the be the one's who did it.
posted by xarnop at 10:53 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


A lot of these reminded me of this old Tomato Nation essay, because (as has been noted above) a number actually are feminists by definition, according to their sign, they just don't like the word and the connotations it holds to them.

It's understandable some women who actually agree with the tenets of feminism don't identify with it; I feel like feminism, like liberal and politically correct and socialism and a bunch of other words, have had their meanings tarnished and warped by the concerted efforts of those who would seek to discredit the concepts behind them. So, much as you see people backing away from being considered 'liberal' because of the connotations, so will people back away from 'feminist' for the same reasons. There's only so many times you can hear a word used with utter contempt before it starts to feel like an insult, even if it isn't.

And, of course, some of these women just might have had bad experiences with self-described feminists, and want to make sure everyone knows they're not like those women.

Overall, I'm not surprised, and while it could still be an astroturf, I don't think it has to be. The internet is full of people being wrong; of course it's going to include women being wrong about feminism.
posted by gadge emeritus at 11:03 AM on July 25 [9 favorites]


I hate Christians because they picket funerals saying people deserved to die

What do you mean that's not all Christians and just a radical sect
posted by halifix at 11:05 AM on July 25 [11 favorites]


I don't need feminism; I just need a man who will respect me.
Notice, not men. A man. She doesn't want equality; she wants a husband.

Not every husband respects his wife.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:14 AM on July 25


I have identified as a feminist for a long time, way back to the days when people referred to us as 'women's libbers'. I have a daughter, who is now 21. During her teen years, she often used this type of rhetoric as a way of rebelling. In her opinion, feminists were hairy-legged lesbians with no sense of humour and I was just an anomaly amongst them. When I took women's studies classes, she mocked me incessantly and she, and her boyfriend at the time, trotted out versions of these types of canards regularly. She left home two years ago and is now making her own way in the world. Now that she's seen the ways in which she is disadvantaged through gender, she is an ardent feminist. I figure that, given the youth of most of the young women on the 'not a feminist' tumbler, it is likely that many of them may change their minds when they, too have moved away from home and have to deal with the patriarchy on a personal level.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 11:16 AM on July 25 [39 favorites]


The Westboro analogy isn't great because 1) Westboro exists, straw feminists do not, and 2) it's a lot easier to point to the historical benefits of feminism than the historical benefits of Christianity, and 3) women are not invisible
posted by shakespeherian at 11:18 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


They might have some deeper reason for doing this, hell if I know. The format of "Hold a small hand written sign up to a camera," does not exactly promote deep conversations. It's kind of like looking at Twitter comments. Even if there is depth behind the thought, it's mostly invisible to random readers.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:22 AM on July 25


There have been one or two women who have professed the beliefs of the "straw feminists", however. Mind you, I'm talking about people like Valerie Solanas. But they - like the WBC - are very much so the exception.

I knew exactly what I was doing when I made that comparison, shakespeherian.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:22 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Not that I think the people who posed for the photos aren't in earnest. But I feel like there is some sort of organizational entity behind the scenes, and I want to know who it is.
posted by maxsparber


Agreed; this looks anything but spontaneous to me.

These women bear a strong family resemblance (right down to the signs!) to the women in front of the Supreme Court the day the Hobby Lobby decision was announced, and that whole thing was clearly very carefully orchestrated and choreographed.
posted by jamjam at 11:26 AM on July 25


As I pointed out in the Beyonce thread, it started to gain steam around the time Title IX violations were making news. That so many of these are by young white women hardly seems coincidental, especially the prevalence of posts minimizing discrimination, sexual assault, and harassment.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:42 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


I think I'm going to have to stop being so nice about women my age (there are many) who say "I believe in (equal rights/equal pay/whatever) but I'm not a feminist."

YES. YES YOU ARE A FEMINIST. THAT IS WHAT FEMINISM IS.


Someone actually pointed this out to me in a MeFi thread just a few years ago (pretty nicely actually, but I don't think your version is out of bounds, either) and I changed my mind about it that day and started calling myself a feminist. So the system/cabal works etc.
posted by sweetkid at 11:46 AM on July 25 [15 favorites]


3) women are not invisible

Not all women.
posted by griphus at 11:52 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Misunderstanding about what feminism is, seeing comments like this: "(More amusingly horrible bee sex facts: queen bees are fertilized one time, by multiple males from other hives, and then they store the semen alive inside themselves for the rest of their lives. The mated males immediately die. Man I love bees.)" and feeling/thinking they're unfair to men or man hating, they're having a bad/day/week, experience with only radical feminists who really are anti-men, etc, etc. Really, the list could go on.

Must I go on record as NOT believing that human males should be immediately killed after sex, because bees and humans are different?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:06 PM on July 25 [11 favorites]


FEMINISTS LIKE DRAGONS BECAUSE THEY TRY TO KILL MEN

*blank stare*





*sidles up* She's right- do you know that?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:10 PM on July 25


Must I go on record as NOT believing that human males should be immediately killed after sex, because bees and humans are different?

See the thing is is everyone knows that feminists have no sense of humor so OBVIOUSLY you couldn't have been joking because if you are a feminist you don't make jokes! It's all very logical.
posted by rtha at 12:12 PM on July 25 [10 favorites]


I give a lot of talks to young women, ages 12-18 usually, about being a woman in a STEM field. It's one of my favorite things to do, and I've been doing it for years.

I've gotten a wild variety of questions over the years, and one of the things I most enjoy is dispelling odd, patriarchal rooted questions about what it means to be a woman in science. The majority of the questions have been usually more about doing science, however, and less about being in science (i.e. a question about what math you need versus will I get dirty?)

But in the last, oh, maybe year and a half or so I've noticed a disquieting trend about the questions I've been getting. Now the majority of questions have been more about being worried that being a woman in science will give them particular labels, if guys won't date them, if you have to date "nerdy guys", can you still wear dresses, will people look down upon you? A lot of the questions have been alarmingly close to some of the sentiments on that WAF site. (And not more than a few related to watching those asinine stereotypes on the Big Bang Theory, god I loath that show.)

I don't know where this is coming from. It disturbs me, a lot. I wouldn't be surprised, zombieflanders, maxsparber, and jamjam, if the WAF site was some kind of coordinated thing. But I'm getting a horrible feeling that something else is out there, working its insidious will on our young women, and what makes it worse is I can't quite put my finger on what it is.
posted by barchan at 12:15 PM on July 25 [25 favorites]


Must I go on record as NOT believing that human males should be immediately killed after sex, because bees and humans are different?

Noted feminist on record saying males should NOT be "immediately" killed after sex.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:19 PM on July 25 [15 favorites]


STOP BEE MISANDRY
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:25 PM on July 25 [4 favorites]


But in the last, oh, maybe year and a half or so I've noticed a disquieting trend about the questions I've been getting. Now the majority of questions have been more about being worried that being a woman in science will give them particular labels, if guys won't date them, if you have to date "nerdy guys", can you still wear dresses, will people look down upon you? A lot of the questions have been alarmingly close to some of the sentiments on that WAF site.

Okay, you have just renewed my commitment to get my niece a copy of Free To Be You And Me when she turns six next month - because my aunt got that for me when I turned six, and that had a huge impact on me.

...Actually, among my friends who most seem to Get It, that was a major touchstone - I think it affected a lot of Gen-Xers in a good way. I was pretty sure I was gonna give this to her, but now I'm definitely going to.

(Along with a copy of Eloise just because.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:35 PM on July 25 [6 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised, zombieflanders, maxsparber, and jamjam, if the WAF site was some kind of coordinated thing. But I'm getting a horrible feeling that something else is out there, working its insidious will on our young women, and what makes it worse is I can't quite put my finger on what it is.

It should be noted that the two are not mutually exclusive.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:38 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


will people look down on you?

This is so horrifying I just have to ask - do they explain how or why this is supposed to work?
posted by winna at 12:38 PM on July 25


> STOP BEE MISANDRY

MISAPIARY
posted by narain at 12:40 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


I think one thing I found unsettling about feminism is that often the solution to dealing with misogyny is being single and liking it, because women need men like a fish needs a bicycle!

These kinds of messages were lost on me because I see love and intimacy as the entire REASON for having a career or doing work, the bonds between family and lovers are the whole purpose of why we endure suffering here and deal with so much shit- so we get to have that something awesome between each other and yeah that includes sex and romance.

And too often women are given the option of choosing EITHER being appealing to men and being submissive and agreeable or being independent. In order to be independent you can't need intimacy or love, whereas I hear men who claim to be totally independent claim that sex is a fundamental human need all the time. Men don't get shamed as being too needy for NEEDING sex, for having a NEED to look at porn or buy sex from an industry or have access to women's body in some way through industry or relationships, but women are shamed for their needs of financial assistance during the early years of pregnancy and childbearing and the that that takes to their careers, and for needing a different kind of intimacy more women I know tend to report that includes long term trust and intimacy and reliability.

But for women to have such needs however... well it's shameful to "need" a long term partner because that's codependent! This was a problem I had even with the way feminism often seemed to present itself to me, because it still kind of seemed on women to give up things that mattered most to them in order to "stop sexism" but yeah then we're sitting around with our cats and some career we didn't even care about to begin with but were peer pressured into as much as some women are pressured into being a SAHM or whatever so we aren't shamed for being one of those yucky needy women who just wants to get married and have kids and feels like that is great.

I don't know I'm just sharing where I was coming from because I think these are things feminism could possibly address better to meet the needs of women who don't "think" it's for them when it should be.
posted by xarnop at 12:52 PM on July 25 [4 favorites]


From their WHY I AM AGAINST FEMINISM page:
Patriarchy Fantasy: There is no “Patriarchy” because a real patriarchy would not allow women to vote, divorce, go to college, have a career, live single, get abortions, etc. If this is a patriarchy, then it’s a pathetic patriarchy and attacking it is like attacking a little boy as if he were a man.
Um, those are all things that women have had to struggle to get the rights to do, constantly need to work to maintain, and strive to prove that they "deserve." I mean, OK, I'll give them a freebie on the voting thing, EXCEPT NO I WON'T. That was less than 100 fucking years ago (in the states). My own grandmother was born just a decade after the 19th Amendment, which itself was the product of concerted effort for decades!

As for the rest? Holy Pogo-sticking bell hooks, women embraced getting a university degree because they were systematically excluded from high-wage, low-education requirement jobs in industry, which then got gutted by de-industrialization. And women with lower education still earn significantly less than their male colleagues (and of course, women earn less across the board in general).

Which is of course another one of their rabblerabblerabble points, that the wage gap is a myth, because "differences in pay can be shown to come down to different choices in careers that have different earnings." You'd think that maybe the fact that these disparities in jobs would give them pause and maybe think that there could be some sort of influence on the choice women make to "have a career" (we'll call it "Spooky Patriarchal Action at Distance") and that maybe that would point to some sort of internal inconsistency in their logic. But of course not. I mean, it's not like women are still expected to pull a double-day and spend still spend significantly more time on household chores and childcare. Nope, it's because "they would rather complain."

And live alone? What and be called a spinster/whore who should stop her frigid/slutty ways, get married, and make babies? And in the meantime should get a dog, a gun, or (better yet) a man to protect her tiny frail woman-body from the gangs of murder-rape-thieves who roam the streets? This all bullshit that women living alone get heaped on them. WAF seems fine with breaking down gender roles since one of their critiques is "Gender Roles…only for men," but apparently they don't think feminism should keep working to break down gender roles for women. I'm trying to put myself in their shoes but it's only making my head hurt, and I haven't touch on abortion.

Actually, in lieu of listing all the way abortion and reproductive rights for women are routinely abrogated, challenged, and denied, I think I'll just see if I can find a vaginal ultrasound wand that I can mail them.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:53 PM on July 25 [21 favorites]


I think one thing I found unsettling about feminism is that often the solution to dealing with misogyny is being single and liking it, because women need men like a fish needs a bicycle!

I agree that the message could be a bit clearer, but the point of the "fish/bicycle" comment wasn't so much "who cares about men" - more like, there's a difference between needing someone and wanting someone.

I don't "need" a man to take care of me, in the sense that "I am a helpless woman who can't make money by herself". I very much want a partner, but I don't need one. That's more what it's about.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:54 PM on July 25 [12 favorites]


I think people confuse the definition of feminism with unfortunate messages they've heard about it.
posted by bleep at 1:04 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


It should be noted that the two are not mutually exclusive. Agreed.

This is so horrifying I just have to ask - do they explain how or why this is supposed to work?

Some of them do, and the explanations vary: anxieties that people will think they don't like men, and aren't interested in getting married or having kids; people will think they're obsessive nerds; they might be considered (I wince giving this description) hairy legged women who don't take care of themselves or have little to no femininity; and substitute people for "guys" - I get a lot of questions straight out asking or alluding to whether or not guys are interested in women who like science; some of them seem worried that guys won't like women who are smart or opinionated.

There's something else that gets touched upon, frequently, and the best way I can describe is it to give an example: I hear biology referred to as a "chick science" a lot. From young men, not women.

Also, I tend to give these talks in towns that are pretty conservative, and there's a quiet and not so quiet struggle being waged against education - math, and science in particular - in some of those places, some of it faith-based, some of it not. Many of these young women are worried that having an interest in STEM fields either marks them as not religious or with some kind of political identity, I think, or that it's wrong....I've also had a few remark to me that they'd love to get into science/math but they're not atheists, which always makes me pretty unhappy. One of the saddest things I've heard was from a young woman who wanted to be an engineer but was afraid that would hurt her family, so she was going into nursing instead.
posted by barchan at 1:08 PM on July 25 [16 favorites]


Men don't get shamed as being too needy for NEEDING sex, for having a NEED to look at porn or buy sex from an industry or have access to women's body in some way through industry or relationships

Men are constantly shamed for this.
posted by Setec Astronomy at 1:16 PM on July 25 [10 favorites]


oh my god barchan. I'm going to be sick over your last sentence.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:17 PM on July 25 [6 favorites]


I think one thing I found unsettling about feminism is that often the solution to dealing with misogyny is being single and liking it, because women need men like a fish needs a bicycle!

That thing - women need men like fish need bicycles - was in response to the cultural assumption that a woman without a man was worthless and something to be pitied. Feminists didn't come up with it as a YAY NO MORE MISOGYNY! solution.
posted by rtha at 1:24 PM on July 25 [17 favorites]


barchan, that last sentence: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by seyirci at 1:25 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


So there she was, a married woman hanging out with the guys at a dive bar, saying that she hates "feminism" because she likes guys, and just wants to have a job and be their equal and do whatever she wants instead of turning it into a "fight."

The fact that feminist "fighting" is what allows her to hang out at a bar with the guys and have a job and basically do the things she wants didn't seem to click. I asked her about it, and she just said that "feminists are all bitches, and it's annoying."

I can understand someone who actively opposes the things that feminism fights for -- a woman who believes that women shouldn't own property, for example, or who doesn't believe that women are able to do "men's work." I can disagree, but it makes sense to my why they would be anti-feminist. But when someone whose life and ambitions literally depend on the work feminism has done, I get super sad and frustrated.


Fun game time, not intended as a real discussion point lest we derail, but replace the following words/references as follows and it's kinda interesting, at least to me:

feminists -> unions
guys -> companies
women -> workers

/sidetrack
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:26 PM on July 25 [5 favorites]


... and when I say game, I mean thought experiment, because this shit isn't a game. Not for anyone who really needs a fair wage, fair treatment, and a fair shot at equality and shit.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:27 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


I get the analogy but I wouldn't want to lump in all "guys" like that. It's really the same parties that executed the union poisoning operation, and for the same reasons.
posted by bleep at 1:35 PM on July 25


One of the saddest things I've heard was from a young woman who wanted to be an engineer but was afraid that would hurt her family, so she was going into nursing instead.

Jesus. This hurts. I'm an engineer, I've met a lot of male engineers... some of which I didn't like. But every single female engineer, admittedly fewer of them, I've met has been awesome. We need more female engineers for various reasons not the least of which is that, from my experience with working in teams on projects at least, females tend to bring less.. uh, testosterone for lack of a better word, and more... how can I put my finger on it... cooperation I guess. Not to mention, probably based upon the technical biases and such mentioned above, the fact that they also tend to bring more technical competency to the table than a comparable male counterpart, pound for pound they tend to be... well better.

Sample size of one and all, so take all of that as you may.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:38 PM on July 25


barchan, those talks sound like a fantastic service to science.
...they might be considered (I wince giving this description) hairy legged women who don't take care of themselves or have little to no femininity; and substitute people for "guys" - I get a lot of questions straight out asking or alluding to whether or not guys are interested in women who like science; some of them seem worried that guys won't like women who are smart or opinionated.
I think I've commented before on the Blue about projects to expose kids to diverse example of scientists, without which they tend to picture a mix of Einstein and Hawking. Photos of my previous labmates (mostly female, mostly not white) were shown to a few primary school* classes, primarily to show what a scientist's job can look like. Fairly reliably, kids were surprised to see that their stereotypes weren't accurate, and more than one girl reacted with comments along the lines "...but she's too pretty to be a scientist!". Heartbreaking.

As to the second point, I know more than a handful of women in science who find that guys switch off as soon as they reveal what they do. So, horribly, it's actually a fairly rational fear. (I've known a couple of women who were spooked by the same thing coming from me (male), but I think it was more "eww, nerd" than "yikes, too smart".)
I've also had a few remark to me that they'd love to get into science/math but they're not atheists, which always makes me pretty unhappy.
Less seriously, I've met at least one young earth creationist with a physics masters (with extra astrophysics modules!) and, in my institute right now, a biology masters student who doesn't believe in evolution. Maybe they should go on tour, reassuring people that anyone can enjoy and get advanced degrees in science, even if your beliefs flatly contradict core concepts in the field!

*elementary school
posted by metaBugs at 1:44 PM on July 25


I'm about to use a shitty analogy but I think too many people, some women and way more men, think of feminism as a big tent instead of a big campground with a lot of tents. You can travel between them or find your tent and stay in it. Some of these tents will be all-inclusive and some will have a hard-line (I'm sure that there are some Catholic women out there who are fighting for equal-pay legislation and not reproductive rights, which is a fundamental part of most tenets of organized feminism). Too many people, I think, find the wrong tent first and think that "feminism" doesn't want them.

A lot of POC don't see themselves being represented in #whitefeminism on Twitter. Radical queers aren't necessarily going to get out the vote for Hillary. A lot of sex workers feel thrown under the bus by social justice workers. Someone focused on rights for mothers in the workplace may not be devoting a lot of time to the treatment of LGBTQI folk in Russia or Uganda, or honor-killings and revenge-rapings in India. But these are all feminists.

I follow a bunch of what I'll call Don Rickles feminists in Twitter. They aren't an organized movement but they're allied by a bunch of liked-interests, say feminine strength, body positivity, sex positivity, radical acceptance, an acerbic sense of humor and a love of (if not acceptance of the lyrical content of) rap music. They pronounce a lot of hyperbolic self love and throw a lot of shade and one of the big uniting factors between them is... they don't need male allies, especially the we're-not-all-like-that dudes who speak a lot more feminism than they act.

So say (former FPP-subject) @moscaddie makes a serious point, and a guy tries to put a button on her point with a little joke, the kind of offhand shit people do on twitter, she might thank him for his "dry dick input". Some of these "allies" will realize that they wandered into the wrong tent in the wrong way and either take their lumps or walk away; others will snap and say "this is why so many people hate feminists" and you wonder how much of an ally they ever were. Some of the most important parts of feminism in a lot of these tents are creating safe women only spaces and teaching males to accept rejection and move on.

I'm friends with some of these women in real life but I don't sit at the cool kids' table. Some spaces I spout off, some I engage in a back-and-forth, and some I listen and learn and become a better person.

I wouldn't ever want these women to compromise, but I do hope that the young potential - ally who finds them first and gets told that his opinion is as worthless as his low-rent dick, keeps exploring feminism, instead of retreating to the open arms of a pretty hateful, selfish society.
posted by elr at 1:49 PM on July 25 [7 favorites]


But I'm getting a horrible feeling that something else is out there, working its insidious will on our young women, and what makes it worse is I can't quite put my finger on what it is.

Seriously, it's the same pattern with everything now: a systematic cultural unravelling of everything that has advanced the cause of civilization and equality to bring us to where we are today:

- Science and the enlightenment under attack by people who owe everything about their lives to them
- Disestablishment of religion under attack by people who owe their own religious freedoms to that principle, and who would be the first to admit that a compulsory religion is a deadly horror -- if it's somebody else's religion
- The safety net under attack by people who've been paying into it all their lives and who will certainly need it someday
- Organized labor under attack by people who owe the rules that have protected them throughout their working lives to organized labor
- Now feminism, and women's sexual and reproductive freedom under attack by women who owe their liberty and equality -- to the extent they have it -- to a century of feminism, whether it traveled under that name or not.

All of this appears to be grass roots, which to me says it's a product of useful idiots, astroturfing and expensive and elaborate long term propaganda.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:54 PM on July 25 [11 favorites]


A lot of POC don't see themselves being represented in #whitefeminism on Twitter

That's because a lot of white people like to see "people of color" as one big tent instead of various small tents. Damn, sometimes y'all can't even be bothered to write out the phrase.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:56 PM on July 25 [4 favorites]


rtha-- I totally get that, as an older person. There have been so many different types of feminist thinking that are in agreement with my own perspective about things.

The problem's that I had with "feminism" were really just sexism that is built into the system as a whole and that still exist even after you say "men and women are equal" but "feminine" things are still underpaid, embarrassing, and shameful... and when you simply apply capitalism and pure "might makes right" extremism to the idea that men and women are equal, women tend to come out under because of the fact that childbearing and nursing and rearing has a very significant impact on a competitive edge in the workforce (and many other reasons that being female is often a position of extra vulnerability that might require EXTRA efforts to balance out rather than equal efforts).

This is all stuff lot's of great feminist thinkers and righters have had great things to say about but I think when girls first hear about feminism it's in it's watered down and simplified form and they don't realize that all the concerns they have about it are actually things that actual feminists work on alleviate, not the other way around.

I guess what I meant is that maybe there's a better way to help girls and young women get more educated about how feminism serves them and does actually take into consideration diverse perspectives. There is however a difference in trying to serve diverse perspectives and permitting some women to TAKE AWAY rights of other women (i.e. conservative women who are trying to take away birth control access, rights to needed services and medical care, or even childcare and family services for the poor making it impossible for poor women to stay at home with theirchildren even while daring to simultaneously advocate how great being a SAHM is for kids as if poor kids don't innately deserve the same quality of care if you think beinga SAHM is so great?)

Support diverse needs and intersectional issues does not give one person the right to use their voice in the social justice movement to promote harms to others. That's not how that works and I can see why conservative women would be opposed to feminism that puts the rights of women with diverse needs (including those who want birth control, those who want abortions, those who want to give birth to a child and use welfare to raise their family etc). There is such a thing as woman on woman oppression, I think, and it is worth standing up against.

I'm still upset that to be involved in a lot of the sciences, you HAVE to work very long hours and basically give up any of that time with your kids. I feel like that should be a feminist issues, creating more flexibility for women who want to be part of fields like this to have part time schooling and working options so they can also be there for their families.
posted by xarnop at 2:00 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


@brandon I thought I was using a widely - accepted term. Apologies if I worded anything in a way that made white feminists, nonwhite feminists, people of color, women of color, or men as any sort of monolithic group, as the point I was trying to make was exactly the opposite of that.
posted by elr at 2:02 PM on July 25


Actually, xarnop, there are feminists who do embrace the whole "y'know, why does society perceive the traditionally-feminine stuff as 'lesser' anyway?" thing. You'll find a lot of them in the DIY/Maker communities; Debbie Stoller, the woman who kick-started all the "Stitch & Bitch" knitting clubs a few years back, is definitely one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:05 PM on July 25 [6 favorites]


Oh, also -

I feel like that should be a feminist issues, creating more flexibility for women who want to be part of fields like this to have part time schooling and working options so they can also be there for their families.

Those are feminist issues and always have been.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:06 PM on July 25 [14 favorites]


This is not new or sudden. As for where it's coming from, look for the usual cast of characters, i.e. patriarchy. There is always pushback when the dominant group perceives a threat.

Some forty-five years ago when 'women's lib' was happening, a lot of guys reframed it to their advantage by challenging, "If you're a liberated woman, prove it (by having sex with me)." Some guys doubled down and not only demanded proof of women feminist credentials sexually but also 'refused to insult women' by being responsible for them -- no more opening doors for them or paying for their half (or any) of the check. That was from men (not all men) who 'accepted' feminism.

On the other hand, people who overtly disapproved of feminism made it abundantly clear that feminists were unattractive to men so the girls always said "I'm not a feminist" or even "I'm not a feminist but...". The goal of both tactics was to keep the women from getting out of hand. It has never stopped. W.A.F is yet another manipulation of young women via a patriarchal reframing of feminism. Nobody freely gives up power; they negotiate or they fight. The truth about patriarchy is that power is the goal and violence is a fundamental part of it and we ignore that at our peril.

If there is an answer, we might do well to look for it in the direction bell hooks points us in "The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love."
posted by Anitanola at 2:08 PM on July 25 [5 favorites]


EmpryssCallipygos-- that's my point exactly! That before I was familiar with the quality of feminist thought I didn't realize great feminists thinkers were already addressing those things, and whole sections of feminism in history and at present have been devoted to intersectional issues and placing feminism within a social justice framework that is more socialistic than capitalistic and that challenges the way society tends to default to what is typically considered "male" structures and formats and value systems.

I just mean to see, that many of these women seem to think that because they want to be a SAHM feminism doesn't serve them, and they have totally misunderstood that feminism is exactly what will help them continue to deserve respect and resources and social support even as a SAHM. It's feminist thinking that pushed against dependent women as property who deserve to be beaten and trained to obey by their husbands-- and without some sort of movement dependent people are and always will be vulnerable which is why we have protections for children, the elderly, the disabled, and women in domestice violence and abuse situations (and feminists are often doing a lot of the work of making sure men get domestic violence and abuse help too and challenging the ideas that it's shameful to be abused or to need help with it especially for a man).
posted by xarnop at 2:15 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


To me this just looks like a politically framed version of Cool Girlfriend Syndrome: "it's cool, I'm not like all those other girls. I'm too chill to care that you catcalled that woman across the street while we were walking back from 7-11. You're right, she should have taken it as the compliment that it was. I'd never yell at you like that bitch did. You're right, you're the real victim here." please love me.
posted by Shouraku at 2:26 PM on July 25 [18 favorites]


That's because a lot of white people like to see "people of color" as one big tent instead of various small tents. Damn, sometimes y'all can't even be bothered to write out the phrase.

In notable developments in grievance-mongering, use of acronyms now a symptom of your privilege.

#notallacronyms
posted by amorphatist at 2:28 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


this whole tumblr could probably be replaced with just one sign:

I don't need feminism because I'm rich, white and well-educated so nothing bad will ever happen to me personally anyway and fuck all the rest of you morons for not doing what I did to get here.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:37 PM on July 25 [13 favorites]


Which is another version of "Those bad things that happen to other people are their own fault, and that's the magical thinking I use to ensure that nothing bad ever happens to me, because the world is a terrifying place and this is the only way to feel safe."
posted by bleep at 2:53 PM on July 25 [18 favorites]


Sigh.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:46 PM on July 25


Deadspin has been all over that and awesome.
posted by rtha at 3:53 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


That's enough internet for today.
posted by bleep at 3:54 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


This argument has been all over my FB feed today, and I have tried (emphasis on tried) to engage respectfully despite my anger. I agree with bleep -- people cling to magical thinking and the just world hypothesis, and I assume that's because they're subconsciously terrified. Their resistance makes me even angrier -- is a little empathy so much to ask? -- so I start to see red and have to walk away. A small part of me wishes them ill ("maybe now you'll understand!") but I try to squelch that to avoid the bad karma.
posted by GrammarMoses at 3:56 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


I learned about Women Against Feminism from Manfeels Park and I thought it was a joke until I realized, no, this is the same shit Marabel Morgan and her ilk were peddling when I was young.

Kristin Luker wrote a book that discussed how abortion rights are a bellwether for a whole bunch of social issues that boil down to women's life strategies. Women who have invested in themselves (e.g., have a college degree and career plans) want control of their lives and their reproduction. Women who are invested first and foremost in traditional American-style femininity and plan their lives around marriage, motherhood, and a man have different priorities. All of that seems to apply to Women Against Feminism.

Also there seems to cranky middle-aged me to be a lot of re-reification of gender roles that were a lot less binding when I was young. It would never have occurred to me to ask whether being an engineer would lose me dates when I was in college. I just didn't like the STEM classes I took and wasn't particularly good at them compared to the social science classes I loved. And maybe that was the patriarchy and gender roles in action ("math is HARD!") but damn, at least it wasn't as explicit as "will I get a date if I'm a nerd?".
posted by immlass at 4:17 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


I spend a lot of time thinking about how to respond to peoples' beliefs when I disagree with them, but in such a way that I don't 1) trigger their defense mechanisms or 2) trigger correction fail.

What I have found seems to trigger others the least (though my measures of efficacy are pretty poor) is a combination of being very specific, and being very personal. That is, instead of talking in generalities about what everyone should do, I talk in specifics about what this thing which is troubling me makes me think and feel. I also try to keep straight out correction for personal relationships - family, friends, etc...

I recently learned about the Moral Foundations Theory, which is a new exploration of ethics and morality and offers some actual neutral language for talking about the differences between groups. The theory posits six current axis of morality (with room for more): Care/harm, Fairness/cheating, Liberty/oppression, Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, Sanctity/degradation.

Individuals with emphasis in Liberty will have difficulty dealing with people who have emphasis in Authority because authority can be oppressive (and vice versa, since liberty can be subversive) but a balance of authority and liberty is actually healthier than emphasis on only one or the other.

I think we see this sort of conflict both within and without feminism; there is conflict between various forms of authority, various forms of loyalty, etc... and differences in who is considered to be in the "in group" both consciously and as a matter of unconscious assumptions. Feminism itself is a priori more about Liberty than historical Authority, but feminists have different measures of comfort and women may sufficiently dislike the subversion of feminism to work against it.

I don't want to fall into the fallacy of means, but I think being able to name all of these values within ourselves, our communities, and our movements might be a way of productively working despite the people who don't want us to accomplish things.
posted by Deoridhe at 4:20 PM on July 25 [14 favorites]


Honestly I've been pretty pleasantly surprised by which groups support feminist ideals and which don't - and they don't always follow a neat conservative/liberal dichotomy.

When I organised my local Slutwalk a few years ago our auspicing organisation - a political party that primarily supports sex workers and is known for very liberal and secular policies - got upset with us and withdrew support because we rejected a potential sponsor who discriminated against one of our team members for their gender presentation. (The head of the party claimed that our tenent of inclusivity was 'too idealistic' and that we were 'discriminating against small businesses' - the sponsor was a friend of the party head.) At the same time I was also dealing with a Twitter attack from someone - also supposedly liberal/progressive - who protested my decision to invite a professional dominatrix to speak about slut-shaming and sex work, and then shamed me for the speech I made the year before because it involved kink and therefore was "alienating to survivors", even though I was speaking as a survivor.

On the very same day, I was invited to talk about Slutwalk with a radio station that leaned conservative right-wing. Already frazzled by the Twitter fracas (which made news, which is why the radio station contacted me) and the withdrawal of the sponsor, I was not really looking forward to having to defend myself as a queer sex-positive WOC* to a conservative straight white male.

The host asked me about SW and I told him the basics: it was to protest against shaming survivors of sexual assault based on their behaviour and attire. His immediate response? "Of course! That's an awful thing to do! Why don't more people understand that it's never the victim's fault?!"

I could have kissed him.

I shared the link to the Blogess article on FB and there's some discussion about Argument by Meme and frustrations about feminists whose main way of communicating is through "lashing out". I'm ambivalent about that - I've had my efforts at explaining racism and sexism, even in the most diplomatic of ways, dismissed or attacked as "lashing out" because I was essentially saying they did something wrong. (Hell it's happened on this very site.) So I don't know what people's standards of "lashing out" are - especially when people are really not self-aware of how they are reacting disproportionately while accussing me of the same.

But I'm also reminded of radfems - a particular set of second-wave feminists that are very anti-femme, anti-sex worker, anti-trans women. I used to be one of those kinds of people and it took me a while to realise that being feminist doesn't mean I had to denigrate femininity. I know people who refuse to call themselves feminists despite sharing the politics because they were so burned from being dismissed by these radfem types that they think the entire enterprise is corrupt. I like the tent analogy, but there are also some tents that are trying to burn other tents down, and we need to find ways to not destroy each other in the name of "destroying patriarchy".

(as for the term POC: I am ambivalent about the term itself due to its US-centrism, but this is the first time I've ever heard of the acronym being problematic - and I know a LOT of activisty types.)
posted by divabat at 4:21 PM on July 25 [12 favorites]


I Don't Need Feminism Cause Spoilers
posted by divabat at 4:29 PM on July 25 [9 favorites]


Apparently, Women Against Feminism has a Facebook page, too. According to the Daily Mail:
Women Against Feminism issued the following statement on its Facebook page, which has amassed over 13,800 'likes' and counting: 'So feminists have been calling us lots of names lately. Basically they are saying, "You're too stupid to know what you want. You need us to tell you what's good for you. And if you try to get away, we will throw insults"... Are all feminists like this? No. Are a lot of them like this? Yes. Just look at how the "feminist media" has treated us this week.'
posted by misha at 5:27 PM on July 25


But I thought they didn't want to be thought of as victims.
posted by rtha at 5:33 PM on July 25 [17 favorites]


I think too many people, some women and way more men, think of feminism as a big tent instead of a big campground with a lot of tents

Yeah, but at least we're all in agreement that camping is pretty awesome. Women Against Feminism and innumerable other feminist-backlash groups can't even admit that. They're like the kids who, when you ask them what they did that day say, "Well we went hiking to a waterfall, took a swim in the lake, then cooked dinner in the fire, and now I'm roasting marshmallows -- CAMPING IS SO BORING!"
posted by Panjandrum at 5:34 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


why not bee rights
posted by elizardbits at 5:58 PM on July 25 [8 favorites]


Is there a single woman on that Tumblr who is over 30, or even 25? All I can think is that they have likely been privileged so far, and expect their privilege to continue.

Back in the 70s, feminists talked about the "click"-- the moment when they realized that their problems were not unique but were the result of systemic forces in society. I imagine that in ten years a number of these young women will have cause to reevaluate their statements, which sounds grim, but it's long been the experience of many women once they've had to negotiate the workplace or academia or politics. We'll see.
posted by jokeefe at 6:15 PM on July 25 [11 favorites]


I shared the link to the Blogess article on FB and there's some discussion about Argument by Meme and frustrations about feminists whose main way of communicating is through "lashing out". I'm ambivalent about that - I've had my efforts at explaining racism and sexism, even in the most diplomatic of ways, dismissed or attacked as "lashing out" because I was essentially saying they did something wrong. (Hell it's happened on this very site.) So I don't know what people's standards of "lashing out" are - especially when people are really not self-aware of how they are reacting disproportionately while accussing me of the same.

There was a study done a while ago about how we physiologically and psychologically perceived receiving and giving finger pressure. Essentially, one person would press down on the other person's finger at what they perceived was the same pressure as what they received. There was a monitor underneath the fingers to measure actual pressure output.

What the study found was that each person gave more pressure than they received, but perceived it as being the same pressure they received; they also perceived the other person was increasing the pressure each time (accurately). Symbolically, if not scientifically, this has some interesting implications for calibrating all of our perceptions of given and received pain.

One of the interesting aspects of how the Bloggess tends to respond to things is she takes an immediate side step into goofyness, which has the bonus of dissipating a lot of the stress/anxiety around whatever is going on. I would imagine this is learned behavior, given her history with depression and anxiety, and it can sometimes sidestep hostility through both signaling that someone isn't a threat, and through offering bright shiny things as a distraction.

A lot of women have very strong internalized shame/guilt. One of the bonuses to line drawing and in-group making is that it is one way to offload those uncomfortable feelings - 'I'm fine, they are bad people who should feel bad.'

A lot of women have a very accurate sense of their own vulnerability, and a corresponding strong self-defense system. This can take a lot of forms, but shibboleths and strict in/out group markers can be one way of trying to keep out the dangerous people. They can also serve as cargo-cult-esque rituals against the fear of future harm (I have a "always close the first floor windows" anti-rape ritual, for example; total nonsense, can't sleep unless I do it).

I don't have a lot of answers, but in my experience practicing careful thinking, consciousness of my own pain and mental state, expression of a desire to connect with others, and an accurate separation between "I did something wrong" and "I am a bad person" seems to be working out better than what I was doing before.

Is there a single woman on that Tumblr who is over 30, or even 25? All I can think is that they have likely been privileged so far, and expect their privilege to continue.

I'm on Tumblr; almost 40. I have a lovely mix of feminists, social justice minded people, some of black tumblr, cat pictures, geekery, and recipes on my feed. Like Twitter and Reddit, a lot of your experience is determined not by the platform but by the webs of connections you make to other people and what you chose to follow. I use Tumblr both as relaxation and pleasure, but also as a way of challenging my own beauty assumptions and identifying unconscious assumptions that I then can try to uproot using various associations and increased familiarity.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:22 PM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Deoridhe: I think they mean on that particular Tumblr, not in general.

Also is the research you're quoting suggesting that we are more hostile than we think we are?
posted by divabat at 6:33 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


I think they mean on that particular Tumblr, not in general.

My bad, if so. I have enormous fondness for tumblr, though, and defend it whenever I can.

Also is the research you're quoting suggesting that we are more hostile than we think we are?

Not more hostile - hostile implies an emotional response, and the test was set up to minimize that as much as possible so far as I remember (I wish I could find it; my googlefu is weak).

We don't accurately perceive the effect we have, would be how I'd say it. We think we're returning equivalent pressure, but we're actually progressing pressure. We do accurately perceive how others progress pressure, but not how we ourselves do.

Since I've been watching for it, I've seen a similar sort of thing happen in some highly emotional threads, where both sides feel besieged and silenced by the actions of the other, but don't perceive themselves as besieging or silencing. There are other power differentials contributing there as well (sometimes taking over), but I think this flaw in how we perceive our own behavior versus how we perceive the behavior of others is important - especially when the critique is coming from inside the camp, so to speak.

I also think this dovetails with the unconscious effect of our heuristic assumptions about the world. A conscious attempt to tip the balance in the other direction has resulted in me noticing more when women, people of color, etc.. aren't represented in the media I consume. This is easiest to do with podcasts and sites like twitter and tumblr because they are still in the sweet spot of pre-monetization when diversity tends to be at its highest.

I feel like I'm rambling now - but the ultimate point is that what we perceive is often inaccurate in semi-predictable ways.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:47 PM on July 25 [6 favorites]


Their facebook page is quite a thing. On the top right now is the following question-and-answer exchange:
So here's a question: there are women in the world who do not have it as well as Western women. Do they need "feminism"? How should we respond to their situation?

= They need true feminism, not this joke that some extremists have now created in America.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:07 PM on July 25


why not bee rights

I'm a beegalitarian myself.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:21 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Is there a single woman on that Tumblr who is over 30, or even 25?

There were several, yes, but they were in the clear minority.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:29 PM on July 25


They need true feminism, not this joke that some extremists have now created in America.

So true feminism is what, then? I don't think this is a particularly well-constructed position, but I guess that's not really the point.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 8:03 PM on July 25


Yeah, it seems like one of those things where there is no "right" answer for what "true feminism" is except for something someone decided in their head.
posted by sweetkid at 8:04 PM on July 25


> I can't quite wrap my head around this one. It is very hard for me to believe that there were hundreds of women just waiting for the opportunity to scribble an MRA talking point onto a piece of paper and pose for a photo with it, and just never had that chance until this blog came along. It's exactly like the messages from creationists posted above, and that was organized. It's feeling like astro-turfing to me.

The way the Tumblr is curated, it's pretty clear to me it's by a man of the MRA persuasion. There's also a couple of other odd things about it: It's been around (and reposting the same few dozen photos numerous times) since last July - why did it blow up in the last few days? And two of the photos have signs with dates that were before the Tumblr started.
posted by parudox at 9:11 PM on July 25


I think they mean on that particular Tumblr, not in general.

My bad, if so. I have enormous fondness for tumblr, though, and defend it whenever I can.


I did indeed mean that specific Tumblr page-- I also have a great fondness for Tumblr as a whole. It's a genuinely female-constructed space, and for that alone it's fascinating.
posted by jokeefe at 9:11 PM on July 25


These sources are talking past one another. There is "feminism" as some kind of Platonic ideal: the simple idea that men and women are equal. Then there is "feminism" in practice, which is full of things like excluding women of color or sexual minorities (cf. womanism and womyn-born-womyn radical feminist spaces), a misandrist fringe (e.g. Valerie Solanis), in-fighting which can get extremely petty and theoretical (such as the Pornography Wars of the 1980s), and other exclusionary, wrong-headed, and down right dumb politics. It's entirely appropriate for someone to take feminism to the mat for the latter if not the former. I also think that self-identified feminists who feel like that label has meaning and value would do better to reform feminism as a movement and prove that it's not as bankrupt as post-feminists think. It's not so revolutionary to think that feminists can learn things from women and that feminism is somehow beyond reproach.
posted by koavf at 10:30 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


They need true feminism, not this joke that some extremists have now created in America.
This is a theme that comes up a lot amongst antifeminists, and it's worth understanding. In the same way that young earth creationists insist on a line between "micro-evolution" and "macro-evolution," most antifeminists draw a line between instances of discrimination and systems of oppression.

Much (not all, naturally) feminist theory that I've read boils down to the idea that there are deep structural problems in society that have been built over a long period of time, and have far-reaching consequences. If I understand correctly, some radical feminists believe that gender is the fundamental axis on which those problems and resulting forms of oppression play out (patriarchy). I tend to side with the intersectionalists, who maintain that there are lots of different axis of oppression and discrimination (kyriarchy), and gender is a very prominent one. Both, though, believe that problems like not being allowed to vote or not being paid as much as a man are emergent issues that spring out of the systemic problems the way terrible symptoms are caused by an underlying disease.

There are also an awful lot of "functional feminists" in our culture who are not particularly concerned about, or interested in, abstract theories about societal systems. While the systems thinkers try to figure out how things work and explain the matrix to others, the functionalists just want to not get catcalled and don't give a shit about theory (for example). This isn't unique to women or feminism or anything -- most of the population is busy living busy lives and dealing with day to day problems.

The antifeminists seen in these kinds of campaigns, the ones I talk to at the bar and at family reunions and on the job and so on, tend to see things in that second way. They see that first world women have the right to vote, women go to college, women are on the supreme court and abortion is (kind of) legal... So why all this nitpicking? We've solved the problems here! Women are doing great and there are these angry feminists hair-splitting about 'microagressions in the workplace' while girls in Afghanistan get acid thrown on them for breaking an engagement! They get angry about chivalry and make fun of Nice Guys™ and once one of them said that all sex is rape!

bell hooks, in Feminism Is For Everyone, talks about the danger of focusing on the most visible egregious manifestations of oppressive systems instead of the systems themselves. And I think the kind of "We've got the vote now, stop being so bitchy!" stuff that is all over this Tumblr is a real reflection of that shallow view.
posted by verb at 10:43 PM on July 25 [19 favorites]


I also think that self-identified feminists who feel like that label has meaning and value would do better to reform feminism as a movement and prove that it's not as bankrupt as post-feminists think.
This is a bit like saying that Creationists have a real point, and that self-identified evolutionists need to reform science as a movement to prove that they aren't Larmackians.
posted by verb at 11:09 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


I don't understand this comment at all.

Oh, I'm pretty sure I do. (I flagged it.)
posted by en forme de poire at 11:11 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


@verb: It's not in any germane way because feminism attempts to speak for these women. They feel left out of it as a movement on the ground and they may well have good reasons for that. (Again, cf. with racial minority women contra second wave feminists.) It doesn't mean that they're wrong or bad or somehow crypto-fascists or associated with any other far-right ideology. If they get on Tumblr and see a lot of feminists incessantly arguing, evidently angry at the world around them, and who are needlessly provocative and foul in their language, I can see how someone might say, "I don't want any part of this." Many of the post-feminist women in this blog even explicitly acknowledge the historic strides of feminism but point out that what's going on today in the here and now from what they've seen is repugnant to them. If you want to go from repulsive to attractive, then you have to change yourself (corporately, not personally) in order to speak for and to these women.

Certainly, the Phyllis Schalfleys of the world are a lost cause for feminism but not all of these women are theocrats, John Birchers, or whatever else you think they may be. And they may have good personal reasons for rejecting the label of "feminist" or thinking that the way that feminism has developed is needlessly navel-gazing or infantilizing or hyper-theoretical or self-serving, etc. Those are genuine concerns and acting like they're not misses the point.
posted by koavf at 12:42 AM on July 26 [6 favorites]


Then there is "feminism" in practice, which is full of things like excluding women of color or sexual minorities (cf. womanism and womyn-born-womyn radical feminist spaces), a misandrist fringe (e.g. Valerie Solanis)

Solanis was an outlier who was demonstrably mentally ill. If you can show me somewhere, anywhere, that there is a branch of feminism which approves of Solanis, holds her up as a genuine role-model, or who takes her manifesto as anything other than (at best) a disturbing piece of performance art, I'll take the assertion that there exists a "misandrist fringe" seriously.

The "woman born woman" radical feminists are such a small group, and so marginal, and so firmly disowned by most contemporary feminists that I'm not sure you can consider them any sort of an influence on current thinking. You're really talking about a very small number of people here.

Feminism has been dealing with class and racism for a very long time, too, and trying to establish inclusiveness (how successful that has been is an ongoing conversation). I remember the first debates around inclusion/exclusion and strong and on point criticism by feminists of colour beginning in the early 1980s. Speaking of which:

in-fighting which can get extremely petty and theoretical (such as the Pornography Wars of the 1980s)

That's quite the characterization of extremely important debates around a gigantic industry which many, many women have a troubled relation with (and that's the most charitable way I can put it). How on earth can a conversation between women about pornography be petty and theoretical? For women who work in the sex industry, whether freely or under coercion, pornography is hardly abstract. Every woman is affected by the existence of pornography, no matter what her relationship to it.
posted by jokeefe at 2:21 AM on July 26 [10 favorites]


The "woman born woman" radical feminists are such a small group, and so marginal, and so firmly disowned by most contemporary feminists that I'm not sure you can consider them any sort of an influence on current thinking. You're really talking about a very small number of people here.

But the people who don't consider themselves feminists don't know that.

This is exactly why I used the "Westboro Baptist Church" comparison - people describe their actions all the time when they talk smack about "Christians", and use their actions to stand in for the whole of Christianity. They make vast sweeping generalizations about Christianity which lump practically all Christians into the far-right fringe that is, at best, maybe two steps to the left of WBC, even though they are just a small number of Christians. Hell, it happens right here on the blue. They're small and marginal, but they're also the ones who get the most press and stick the most in the public consciousness because they are so distinct and outrageous.

The moderate folk in both groups, unfortunately, also are reluctant to speak up or self-identify because a) they have a lot of other stuff going on and can't, frankly, or b) they're afraid people are gonna give them guff and are not looking forward to having to explain the difference each time. But that's what it's gonna take - a lot more people on both sides publically standing up and saying "okay, I'm [foo] myself, and speaking as a [foo] those people are way off." You get a lot of people who instead say things like "I'm a feminist but I'm not like that," but it would take a much more forceful, "I'm a feminist - and speaking as a feminist, those guys are wrong."

That's exactly why I define myself as a feminist still, frankly - well, really, I define myself as a feminist because I am, but I continue to do so when a lot of other people either don't mention it or soften it with "I'm a feminist but", so that there is another example out there outside of the mythic thing people hear about on talk radio. But if the mythic thing people hear about on talk radio is the only example of "feminist" anyone tells you about, the fact that it's a small subset isn't gonna make any difference to your world view.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:26 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


Certainly, the Phyllis Schalfleys of the world are a lost cause for feminism but not all of these women are theocrats, John Birchers, or whatever else you think they may be. And they may have good personal reasons for rejecting the label of "feminist" or thinking that the way that feminism has developed is needlessly navel-gazing or infantilizing or hyper-theoretical or self-serving, etc. Those are genuine concerns and acting like they're not misses the point.

Most of these concerns are "Phyllis Schafley" concerns though, which is by far the biggest criticism of the site. A quick look at their justifications (women already have equal rights, feminism is a "victim cult," feminism discriminates against men, denial of rape culture, anti-choice bogeymen, etc) reads as if it could just as well come from a random GOP politician or activist as it could a MRA group. And it's not as if there's a lot of criticisms about lack of intersectionality along various axes, either. It is largely women that seem to fit within a narrow demographic slice of race, age, and body type that often make criticisms that depend on a highly privileged place, including class. A fair number of them are sexualized, sometimes when dismissing or minimizing sexual violence. It often makes criticisms of a feminism that doesn't exist as any meaningful force in social change or politics, yet characterizes it as a dominant, oppressive force. It's pretty obvious that this is, if not astroturfed, largely garden-variety anti-feminism using the same tired arguments that have been around since the days of women's suffrage, but literally with a pretty face put on it.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:29 AM on July 26


But the people who don't consider themselves feminists don't know that.

I'd go further and say that a large number of them, I'm not sure about these posters but certainly among the religious types I grew up with, it's not just that they don't know what the proportions are, it's that they "know" and are quite sure of the factual accuracy of a thing that has no foundation in their personal experience. I'm sure there are some people out there who really did first run into some really crazypants people and that's why they have reactionary views--on anything.

Like, I'm not saying it's reasonable to be racist because you got mugged by a black guy, but I'm not going to assign a lot of fault, there, if you had some real trauma. If the one feminist you knew in your early life was someone who hated men and was vocal about it and insulted you at length for wanting to be a mom, I get that you'd have some bad associations there. But that's not actually the experience most of these people have had. For them, it wouldn't matter what the real-life population was like. Maybe all feminists have underarm hair. Maybe none do. Maybe all of them hate stay-at-home parents, maybe none of them do, maybe the proportion could skew either way, it would not change their views because their views are not based on any sample of real feminists, representative or otherwise.
posted by Sequence at 5:41 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


Or to use the WBC comparison, if you've heard a couple reports about the WBC being horrible and you use that as your ammunition that Christians are horrible, it wouldn't matter how real Christians are, you haven't ever tried to find out any more than that about any of it and you're probably just trying to back up your preexisting opinions. The WBC's brand of hyperultramegasupercalifragilivinism means that they themselves think that every other Christian on the planet is going to hell, but you don't have to get into the theology to find out that they not only don't speak for other churches, they are actively against other churches.

Similarly, a little time on Wikipedia or Google or anything would reveal plenty of diversity of thought within what's considered "feminism" on any of these topics. Either you have to dismiss every single one of these women as too dumb to use Google--when somehow they're capable of finding Tumblr--or you have to get around to the fact that it's not just that they don't have more information about feminism, it's that they don't want more information about feminism.
posted by Sequence at 5:50 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


I don't want to devalue these women's experiences with feminism, but as someone who grew up with the straw-man notion of feminism, I have to assume at least some of these women fall into that category. Many in this post had the same experience growing up, that feminism was a dirty word, was synonymous with man-hating and the subjection of men. I was also young and pretty and middle class and thought the world was my oyster. I had a large body of male friends and tried so hard to be "the cool girl " to fit in.

I was stupid. I also believed black pride was a form of "reverse racism" , and that racism was dead because I didn't know any racists (I grew up in a school with one black kid, and he seemed like he was doing alright!)

Both were examples of straight up niavity. I wanted to believe we were equal and that there wasn't this terrible system in place that harmed women (and minorities!) Doors were open to me; men treated me well, all because I was fuckable. It wasn't until years down the road that I figured out what was going on. The clicking spoken of above.

Do I think all these women are that niave? No, of course not. But my experience is far from unique, and it's really clear that there is a systemic intentional misunderstanding of what feminism is. I have to believe that a number of them are going to write almost this exact thing in a few years time, after the systemic problems kick in; the missed promotions, the invisible woman in meetings, the idea that's only good when repeated by a man, the hostile environment created by guys that have no respect for personal boundaries, realizing that you're only being listened to in a conversation that there is a perception that they might bed you later, not because you had something interesting to say.. And on and on and on.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:31 AM on July 26 [10 favorites]


Sequence and insert - you're absolutely right, and that is exactly why I'm saying that to scoff at ese women for being "uneducated" and do nothing more than that is the wrong approach.

The right approach, instead, is to say you're a feminist if you are one, and to not be ashamed of at. To speak up and say "actually, what you believe IS feminism." And, most importantly - to acknowledge that these radical folk do exist - especially if the person you're talking to has met one- and stress that they were indeed wrong about feminism, and that you as a feminist agree that what this radical person said wasn't fair.

Not that I'm saying we all have to be doing this 24/7 because who has the time. But sometimes we have to make that first move.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:46 AM on July 26 [5 favorites]


If I understand correctly, some radical feminists believe that gender is the fundamental axis on which those problems and resulting forms of oppression play out (patriarchy).

A bit of pedantry: That is what radical feminism is - the belief that it is gender that is at the root (get it?) of the oppression of women; Marxist feminism believes that class is at the root. Etc.

Regarding the negative effect that women-born-women kinds of feminists have on the rest of the movement to the extent that they are an active driver of "I'm not a feminist (but)..." people - I have a hard time believing it, if only because right here on metafilter not that long ago we had a terrible TERF/radfem performance art thing happen in the grey and many, many people were like what the fuck is with this TERF thing? What is radfem? And these are mefites who know how to find the grey and had been in discussions about feminism and transmisogyny and so on. I don't believe that otherwise non-political white, middle-class (aspiring) women don't want to be called feminists because they associate it with trans-exclusionary practices.

I had an interesting chat with a much younger co-worker the other day, and was delighted to hear her - mid-20s, Indian-American, on her way to grad school for public policy and public health - say that of course she's a feminist. Like, duh.
posted by rtha at 6:49 AM on July 26 [12 favorites]


koavf:
It's not in any germane way because feminism attempts to speak for these women.
I stand by the comparison of antifeminism to young-earth creationism. This is not, as you seem to think, an argument that antifeminists are per se fundamentalist Christians. It's an argument that antifeminism as it exists in reality is entirely centered around a lack of interest in the nature of the thing it pretends to critique. Creationism "on the ground" consists entirely of magnifying and crowing about the vigorous debate that is inherent in the scientific process.

I don't say this lightly, and I don't say this as a smug, liberal observer rolling his eyes at "the rubes." I was raised in fundamentalism, voiced the very same critiques of feminism that the women on this Tumblr put forth, and so on. I was not interested in any aspect of feminism (or evolutionary science) because I "knew" that I already understood it. I "knew" the damning flaws by heart. Eventually, when I did look closely at both subjects, I discovered that all of the objections I had were in fact already being addressed far more vigorously and honestly inside of the communities I'd been attacking. While I and my compatriots were busy crowing about the Piltdown Man hoax, the actual scientific community had actually discovered the hoax, corrected itself, and moved on to correct its own weaknesses. When I and my compatriots claimed that feminism saw every problem as "The Patriarchy" and was steeped in racism, intersectionalism had already been around for twenty years and was presenting a much more compelling vision of how systems of oppression work..

Like [insert clever name here], I do not blame "feminists" or "evolutionary biologists" for not reaching me. I and others like me were busy actively denying that answers to my 'concerns existed, and their work was an inconvenience to me.
They feel left out of it as a movement on the ground and they may well have good reasons for that. (Again, cf. with racial minority women contra second wave feminists.)
I follow a fair number of self-identified black feminists -- they have a lot of blistering critiques of exclusionary racial politics inside of feminism. But what they seem have even less patience with is dudes who claim those issues are reasons to dismiss feminism.
Many of the post-feminist women in this blog even explicitly acknowledge the historic strides of feminism but point out that what's going on today in the here and now from what they've seen is repugnant to them. If you want to go from repulsive to attractive, then you have to change yourself (corporately, not personally) in order to speak for and to these women.
You seem to want your critique both ways, insisting that feminism must be changed from within to become more appealing to to antifeminists, then say that the presence of vigorous internal debate turns people into antifeminists.the current top post on the WAF Tumblr claims that feminism "wanted the vote but not the draft." Another claims that feminism is bankrupt "because there is no poor-ist or black-people-ist" movement.

These are not critiques of feminism's failings. They are not, as you put it, "post-feminism." They are the same facile and false parroted attacks that have been used to dismiss and discredit equality and social justice movements for centuries.
Certainly, the Phyllis Schalfleys of the world are a lost cause for feminism but not all of these women are theocrats, John Birchers, or whatever else you think they may be.
Please read my actual words! They might shed some light on what I said.
posted by verb at 7:16 AM on July 26 [14 favorites]


A bit of pedantry: That is what radical feminism is - the belief that it is gender that is at the root (get it?) of the oppression of women; Marxist feminism believes that class is at the root. Etc.
Thanks for the clarification -- that was my impression but it was late, and I didn't feel up to untangling the distinction between "radical feminist" and "Radical Feminist." In popular parlance someone like bell hooks is a "radical feminist" because she believes lots of things that antifeminists disagree with. In reality she is a leading voice in the movement that critiques Capital-R Radical Feminism.
posted by verb at 7:24 AM on July 26


I should probably stop banging my head against that particular wall, because between the colloquial meaning/use of "radical" and the existence of those who have taken it to a trans-exclusionary place, it's lost meaning to pretty much anyone who isn't an academic (or old enough to remember having been a back-in-the-day radical feminist). But sometimes my editor hat is on even when I think I've taken it off!
posted by rtha at 7:55 AM on July 26 [7 favorites]


It also occurs to me that the women involved in the Women Against Feminism tumblr evince a concern, indirectly through their sentiments and claims, that there's only so much goodwill, space, and legitimate attention that women will get or that they deserve, so that has to be used wisely, and the things they're complaining about seem to them like misuses of that limited resource.
posted by clockzero at 1:57 PM on July 26 [5 favorites]


I spend a lot of time on Tumblr. When most of what you get exposed to as social justice/feminism is reblogs of idiots screaming at each other, blaming somebody cutting them off in traffic on The Patriarchy, and pronouncing their intolerance of "male cishet scum", it gets pretty old.

Thankfully, I know enough about feminism to understand that the problem here is that there are some shitty, immature people on Tumblr, not feminism.

(There's lots of good stuff going on with Tumblr too, but the loudest voices carry.)
posted by Feyala at 1:04 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


When most of what you get exposed to as social justice/feminism is reblogs of idiots screaming at each other, blaming somebody cutting them off in traffic on The Patriarchy, and pronouncing their intolerance of "male cishet scum", it gets pretty old.

Curating of the dashboard via filters and unfollowing is important regardless of opinions. What you're proposing is like, "Well, I don't know much about this fandom, but the first three blogs I found about it were crap, so clearly the fandom is crap." I just can't really think of anywhere it would seem reasonable to make a judgment like that, except with a preexisting bias against the thing. By virtue of avoiding following teenagers and unfollowing people if I found them tiresome, my dashboard rarely sees that kind of content. It's not actually endemic.
posted by Sequence at 2:46 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


pronouncing their intolerance of "male cishet scum"

Maybe this was a thing at one point, but google suggests that it is a phrase currently mostly being used by male critics of those social justice activists.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:19 AM on July 27 [6 favorites]


I spend a lot of time on Tumblr. When most of what you get exposed to as social justice/feminism is reblogs of idiots screaming at each other, blaming somebody cutting them off in traffic on The Patriarchy, and pronouncing their intolerance of "male cishet scum", it gets pretty old.

I also spend a lot of time on Tumblr and mostly see intelligent, articulate, passionate examples of feminist thought. Maybe you need to follow different people?
posted by maxsparber at 6:41 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


Even when you only follow quality people on Tumblr, you will still be exposed to idiots when you track tags.
posted by LindsayIrene at 7:09 AM on July 27


Exposure to idiocy is the natural order of things. Welcome to the Eternal September.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:58 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


> Regarding the negative effect that women-born-women kinds of feminists have on the rest of the movement to the extent that they are an active driver of "I'm not a feminist (but)..." people - I have a hard time believing it, if only because right here on metafilter not that long ago we had a terrible TERF/radfem performance art thing happen in the grey and many, many people were like what the fuck is with this TERF thing? What is radfem? And these are mefites who know how to find the grey and had been in discussions about feminism and transmisogyny and so on

Yeah, I've been a feminist my whole life, and went to Evergreen, and was affiliated with Riot Grrrls, all that good stuff, and I've never seen "radical feminism" to be associated with anti-trans people anywhere other than here. Not that it's only on Metafilter, but it wasn't part of the feminist world back when I was studying it, and it isn't part of my daily life. I don't think it's widespread outside of specific areas of interest.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:50 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


I've never seen "radical feminism" to be associated with anti-trans people anywhere other than here

There have been on-and-off arguments about who should have access to spaces defined as "women only" for at least a couple of decades now. The only one with national prominence that I know of was the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival starting in the early 1990s (which was explicitly echoed one year in the women's center at my college), but it still comes up periodically in some of the feminist spaces my partner is involved in. The tendency increasingly is to be trans-inclusive, but particularly for some of the older women this is still a hot button issue.

But I agree that the casual connection of "radical feminism" with anti-trans is something I've only seen here, and as with rtha's repeated corrections about the term, I suspect people are either using the terms imprecisely or are taking unusual situations (e.g. specific arguments by specific people over access to a specific safe space) and generalizing them to an entire aspect of feminism.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:25 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


There are self-described radical feminists who are also TERFs. One example here. So, it's complicated. I'll leave it to people smarter than me to determine whether this is a conflict within radical feminism, or a situation where people are not who they say they are, or something else.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:48 AM on July 27


I've heard about issues with radical feminists and anti-trans women and/or anti-sex work long before it showed up on Metafilter. Mostly from having friends who are trans and/or sex workers and/or have had dealings with these radfems. From my perspective Mefi was really late to the game.
posted by divabat at 11:07 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


Man, I'm literally a hairy-legged radical feminist (in the academic sense rtha mentions of believing that it is the institutional gender discrimination of the patriarchy that stands in women's way, not in the gross TERF sense). I'm also a stay at home mother and housewife who is married to a man and raising a son as well as a daughter. Feminism doesn't critique my choice, feminism SUPPORTS it, and supports recognition of the fact that domestic and caretaking work is hard, essential, and undervalued. Feminism doesn't hiss when I put on lipstick; feminism says "Feel free to take joy in your gender presentation, no matter how it plays out." Feminism is not anti-femininity, feminism is about respecting and honoring femininity in all its culturally-mediated forms. Feminism takes the notion of "women's work" from a tossed-off insult to a celebration of the work of women.

I have a lot of feelings on this topic.
posted by KathrynT at 12:17 PM on July 27 [17 favorites]


I've heard about issues with radical feminists and anti-trans women and/or anti-sex work long before it showed up on Metafilter.

Likewise, flashpointing around the Michigan Woman's Festival (which has had a regular Trans-inclusive counter-event the last few years, if my memory serves me). I would suspect this instance of feminist bigotry hit MetaFilter about the time it hit mainstream media in general, which was several years after it was covered extensively on trans* blogs.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:03 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Hm, it looks like Wikipedia now has an entry for TERF but it currently redirects automatically straight to Radical Feminism. Does anyone have enough of a grasp of Wikipedia policies to figure out how best to change that? (Here's a link to the TERF entry with the redirect disabled.)
posted by nobody at 6:46 PM on July 27


Update: I mentioned this to someone on Twitter and eventually someone came along who had the bright idea to simply change the redirect to point here. So...fixed?

(I know this is how Wikipedia is supposed to work, but there have been so many Wiki editor power struggle stories over the past couple years that I was afraid to go in and change it, especially since I don't have a real account/login.)
posted by nobody at 6:19 PM on July 28


Uh, TERF is a slur. At least type it out?

Yeah, I've been a feminist my whole life, and went to Evergreen, and was affiliated with Riot Grrrls, all that good stuff, and I've never seen "radical feminism" to be associated with anti-trans people anywhere other than here.

And, as of this week's issue, the New Yorker.
posted by jokeefe at 8:01 PM on July 28


Sorry, here's the correct link (the one I just posted is to an introduction to the piece).
posted by jokeefe at 8:10 PM on July 28


Saying"YTERF is a slur" is like saying "cis is a slur". It's a descriptor.
posted by divabat at 8:51 PM on July 28 [14 favorites]


Sorry, "YTERF"? All I get on Google is that it's an anagram for TREYF. Have I missed something?
posted by jokeefe at 9:20 PM on July 28


Clumsy fingers on not-so-robust phone that died when I tried to edit. Sorry.
posted by divabat at 9:30 PM on July 28


Uh, TERF is a slur. At least type it out?

oh cool can we have that huge MeTa meltdown from a few months ago, but with a blue background/trim instead
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:30 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Please god no not again.
posted by rtha at 9:38 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


oh cool can we have that huge MeTa meltdown from a few months ago, but with a blue background/trim instead"

It's around 28 degrees here, the sun just set, it's been a glorious summer day, and I've got both cats lolling around happily, one on my lap and one on the bedroom floor, and I'm just about to watch a movie. In other words, let's not.
posted by jokeefe at 9:40 PM on July 28


If TERF is a slur then so are homophobe, gaybasher, misogynist, and so on.

(And that New Yorker link had two attempted FPPs today, both deleted, which would seem to indicate that it is Not A Good Fit For MetaFilter.)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:52 AM on July 29 [11 favorites]


I'm not well versed in this subject, but what's the issue with the New Yorker article?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:09 AM on July 29


Conspire and dekathalon give brief but good overviews of the horribleness of the article in their comments in one of the deleted FPPs.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:20 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Thanks!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:21 AM on July 29


and it seems its not even worth reading. saved me some time!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:23 AM on July 29


Some reactions/analysis/backstory from one of the women interviewed in that New Yorker article.
posted by nobody at 6:49 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


I'm not sorry I read the article or the reaction piece nobody linked. It was worth reading it to see it picked apart.
posted by immlass at 7:14 AM on July 29


Yes, very interesting all around. It's a shame that, as a MeFi post, it would apparently be like a declawed cat in Israel and Palestine.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:19 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


To clarify: I agree that The New Yorker article wouldn't fly on Mefi as an FPP. But I thought linking it in the comments here as an example of mainstream discourse around the issue in question (Radfems/transphobia) would be acceptable.
posted by jokeefe at 8:05 AM on July 29


an article that asserts "TERF" is a slur is not "an example of mainstream discourse"
posted by kagredon at 2:12 PM on July 29 [5 favorites]


This is really (really) not the hill I want to die on, so I'll just note that I dislike it when people are addressed as acronyms, as I consider it to be dehumanizing. I don't think the article mentioned it, actually.

The New Yorker article, no matter how objectionable the content, couldn't really address its subject without talking about the positions being taken by anti-Trans Feminists. Describing those positions doesn't equal approval of them.
posted by jokeefe at 3:41 PM on July 29


I'd argue that it's absolutely an example of mainstream discourse, which (as Serano and others have pointed out) is indicative that mainstream discourse about trans women is depressing and shitty.

Here is another takedown if you want to reconsider your appraisal of the article as evenhanded.
posted by Corinth at 4:05 PM on July 29 [9 favorites]


The New Yorker article, no matter how objectionable the content, couldn't really address its subject without talking about the positions being taken by anti-Trans Feminists. Describing those positions doesn't equal approval of them.

Yeah, but if someone were to write 3000 words on the "conflict" between neo-Nazis and "multiculturalism" and every single paragraph were things like a detailed description of how the Jews were running the banks, capped with a sentence like "Groups like the ADL staunchly deny these claims" for "balance", people would rightly call that out for having an agenda.

Saying that describing people as "acronyms" is prima facie dehumanizing is...well, all I'll I say is that it's an idiosyncratic view that a lot of people are going to find baffling. I, and many other people, use "POC" as a self-descriptor, to give one common example. If TERFs come up with a descriptor for themselves that does not require implicit acceptance that trans women are lying, crazy, or fictional, I'll use it. TERF is honestly the most neutral label I've found for that particular ideology.
posted by kagredon at 4:30 PM on July 29 [15 favorites]


Co-signing the second part of kagredon's comment but s/POC/LGBT in my case.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:54 PM on July 29


The recent search for a new abbreviation to replace LGBT/Queer -- with stuff like GSM, MOGAI, etc. -- suggests that a lot of people don't just not find them dehumanising, they embrace them.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:58 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


"Dropping the F bomb" discusses "several experiences I’ve had where 'women in tech' groups have been anti-feminist" -- some women-in-tech groups, as the author says, actively work against feminist ideals. Yet another reason it's useful to explicitly identify my work and, where possible, my communities as feminist, to distinguish us from those who do the "but we're not feminist" line.
posted by brainwane at 5:11 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


That New Yorker article is terrible. It does not even remotely approach any sort of balance at all. It completely overlooks a huge part of the TERF/trans history, and the ways in which TERFs have had meaningful negative impacts on trans people. TERF lobbying influence (primarily in the 90s/early 00s) led to a lack of availability and provision of trans healthcare, the existence of shit like gendertrender, which aggressively outs trans people (often with serious consequences to their safety, personal lives, and mental health), and using their influence to get trans women excluded from women's spaces, such as women's shelters, leaves very vulnerable people without recourse to get help. It explains, at great length, what TERFs feel, and why exactly they feel that way. At no point is their logic challenged, at no point are their 'facts' corrected or questioned, and their position is generally treated favourably, with very little time even being given to other side of the argument.

I am seriously disappointed that the link was allowed to stand on metafilter. It's thinly-veiled transphobia and transmisogyny.

Trans-exclusionary radical feminist. The reason TERFs consider this a slur is that they do not feel that the first two words are necessary - in their view, the only true Radical Feminism is necessarily and inherently trans exclusionary. Needless to say, there are many many radfems that disagree with this, and the term was invented to be as neutrally descriptive as possible, to make it possible to talk about the people who actually meant to cause us harm without including a much larger group of feminists who believe that the root of misogyny and women's oppression lies in gender relations and the patriarchy.

It is not a fucking slur.
posted by Dysk at 5:49 AM on July 30 [12 favorites]


The New Yorker article, no matter how objectionable the content, couldn't really address its subject without talking about the positions being taken by anti-Trans Feminists. Describing those positions doesn't equal approval of them.

Describing them favourably and giving them a soapbox to present their views effectively unchallenged, without providing any real counter-argument (even to statements that are effectively fallacious) pretty much does constitute an endorsement.
posted by Dysk at 5:57 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I am seriously disappointed that the link was allowed to stand on metafilter. It's thinly-veiled transphobia and transmisogyny.

I hear you, but, as a comment in a thread where the discussion has gone in that general direction? The bar is fairly low there. Link and then talk about why it's problematic is pretty normal procedure in discussion threads. Or A links and B/C/D express their frustration with A thinking that represents a good addition/counter to the discussion because X/Y/Z.

I deleted it as a post twice the other day because as a post it seems like a really bad idea and becomes a very different sort of payload on the site, but that's a really different threshold and short of literally linking to e.g. a Stormfront fundraiser we don't really have a general "don't link to that because it's biased or making a crappy argument" expectation for comments.
posted by cortex at 7:31 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


a Stormfront fundraiser

I just spent like 5 minutes imagining a Nazi bake sale complete with heated internal debate on what to do if the cake was actually really good.
posted by elizardbits at 10:43 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]


And that was the start of the Bake-Sale Putsch.
posted by maxsparber at 10:49 AM on July 30


Just a quick followup note: I realize that my interpretation of the acronym TERF and its application is idiosyncratic and individual, and doesn't really fit into the terms of discussion, so I'll leave it there. Also, thanks Cortex for outlining what's okay in comments as opposed to FPPs.
posted by jokeefe at 8:34 PM on July 30


Worth noting that the trans woman the article quotes is known on tumblr for harassing other trans women and misgendering them, etc.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:24 AM on July 31


In looking back over the thread I wanted to address this:

Here is another takedown if you want to reconsider your appraisal of the article as evenhanded.

I never characterized the article as even-handed. It's an article in the New Yorker that was relevant to the discussion, and that's why I linked it. That doesn't necessarily constitute endorsement.
posted by jokeefe at 6:06 AM on July 31


as many suspected the whole time, women against feminism was started by mras (using donotlink because "a voice for men" can fuck right off).
posted by nadawi at 7:09 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


The far more startling news is that a hate group is getting both morning and evening primetime airplay from major networks. The chances that they'll be challenged or even slightly fact-checked is slim on either.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:18 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


as many suspected the whole time, women against feminism was started by mras (using donotlink because "a voice for men" can fuck right off).

holy crap. terrifying.
posted by sweetkid at 7:36 AM on July 31


I don't know if it's a sign of how shitty the economy is that a woman has taken the job of Social Media Director for that disgusting organization but I'm just going to go on believing that because the alternative is too fucking disgusting to contemplate.
posted by elizardbits at 8:11 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


Every hate group has its Dan Burros. For context, A Voice for Men has appeared on MeFi a few times because their leader, Paul Elam, is the one who claimed feminists attacked him with box cutters. He authored a piece semi-recently claiming the cure for domestic violence was increased brutality against women; our Social Media Director here claimed it was satire, which even most of the site's readers disagreed with. He has been declared a misogynist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, who quotes his mission statement: "AVfM regards feminists, manginas [a derisive term for weak men], white knights [a similar derisive term, for males who identify as feminists] and other agents of misandry as a social malignancy. We do not consider them well intentioned or honest agents for their purported goals and extend to them no more courtesy or consideration than we would clansmen [sic], skinheads, neo Nazis or other purveyors of hate."

We Hunted the Mammoth has been documenting his extreme misogyny for a while now. It will be interesting to see what happens now that the authorship of this blog is known.
posted by maxsparber at 8:27 AM on July 31


Correction: although the MRA page that nadawi linked to is alleging a connection between a voice for men and the Women Against Feminism tumblr, there is NO factual basis to that at all; just avfm trying to claim credit.

I figured most here, like me, didn't want to have to click on an MRA site to find the claim and wade through the comments there, so I bit the bullet and did the research to find out what the truth is.

Turns out, despite the avfm claim that their "social media director", Janet Bloomfield, is behind the Women Against Feminism tumblr, that contention has been thoroughly debunked by none other than Bloomfield herself. She was interviewed on prime time,television along with a panel of feminists about the WAF phenomenon and at that point the WAF movement was wrongly attributed to her. She cannot actually take credit for WAF and has been forced to refute the allegation in no uncertain terms in subsequent interviews.

One such radio interview with just Bloomfield and the host of some indie radio program (I think he calls himself "the angry man"), is linked to in the comments on the avfm site, pointing this out (Fair warning: the guy who runs the radio show is in love with his own voice; he speaks very sloooowly and deliberately, with lots of unnecessary dramatic pauses. Additionally, he (claims he) 'accidentally' edited his own voice out of the interview and had to pipe himself back in, recreating his questions, which is irritating, to say the least).
posted by misha at 8:30 AM on July 31


Here's what she has to say, from her own blog, which you can Google search if you wish:

Joe July 28, 2014 at 23:23 #

Wait, you founded Women Against Feminism, Janet?
Reply

judgybitch July 29, 2014 at 19:49 #

I didn’t, Joe, but the woman who did has gotten so many death threats from feminists she is happy to have me take the credit. We have spoken and she is genuinely afraid for her family.


I don't necessarily believe her, because I still think this is an astroturfing campaign, but whether it was started by A Voice for Men or simply absorbed by it, she's the spokesperson for it now.
posted by maxsparber at 8:38 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


Transfeminist Kill/Joys on The Land - T.L. Cowan
Getting back to Goldberg for just a second: There are so many things about her article (and that ‘Toxic Twitter’ article) that are so misleading, damaging and lousy, informed not by an attentiveness to the necessarily messy shapes of contemporary feminism in all its contexts, but by a snotty-liberal-vindictive will to make feminists, especially trans- women and women of color, appear ludicrously reactionary, censorious and even violent, for an outside audience.[ix] What she never accounts for are the complexities of the affective politics and motivations that make up feminist praxis today, that create our many overlapping scenes as places of productive tension in which we are working out ways of being in the world together. This work is characterized by rage, love, joy, disappointment, desire, hurt and hope that is so much more interesting, such a better story,[x] than the debilitating antagonism that Goldberg peddels.
The Goldberg Variations: Trans Exclusion and Old School Dialectics - Aiofe Emily Hart
Why else would the transgender phenomenon, which is recognized both legally and medically throughout North America, still remain an issue of “dispute” among the ill-informed commentariat? Why are trans women turned into topic fodder for cross-country airport reading in The New Yorker? Why else would our person or not-person status be a permissible topic for debate? To be or not to be? You enforce the question upon us do you get to be at all? Even as Goldberg concedes via quote from Janice Raymond — radical feminism’s central philosophical tenant is the eradication of trans women as an identity, experience, and legitimate sexed subjectivity.
On the “dispute” between radical feminism and trans people - Juliet Jacques
In a world where left-wing politics has often derided LGBT identities as “bourgeois” and then accused us of splitting the movement, it infuriates me that I’ve had to take a break from writing a piece on the Tories’ “liberation” of the NHS to write 8,500 words to debunk a sexological concept that was shown to be untenable before the start of the First World War.
The third piece in particular is very thorough in constructing the historical context in a way that Goldberg specifically chose not to do.
posted by Corinth at 9:11 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Corinth, thank you so much for posting that Juliet Jacques article. It is terrific.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:32 PM on August 7


You bet! Yeah, it really is!
posted by Corinth at 5:20 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Why The New Yorker’s radical feminism and transgenderism piece was one-sided
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:06 PM on August 8


The Women of the Men's Rights Movement
Punching Gloria Steinem: inside the bizarre world of anti-feminist women
Hey, “women against feminism”: Feminism still has your back so you’re welcome
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:26 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Rightbloggers Take Back the Culture with Anti-Feminist Tumblr, Religious Film Reviews, Etc.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:11 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


"TERF hate and Sandy Stone," an interview with the Olivia Records sound engineer mentioned in Jacques's historical overview as one of the first subjects of harassment. Part of TERFweek on the TransAdvocate.
posted by Corinth at 9:23 AM on August 16


« Older "My son has been suspended five times. He’s 3."...   |   The New Yorker talks with “Row... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments