Anti-feminist arguments


#1

One of the interesting phenomena that I’ve noticed is that feminists are often a lot more confident when they talk amongst each other on their home ground, or facing (real or imagined) outright misogynists. There tends to be very little discussion with critics, particularly egalitarians. One of the annoying things is that despite there being quite a lot of feminists on Quora, you can have two different threads like this:

Feminists of Quora, what questions would you like non-feminists/anti-feminists to answer?

All but one basically just say “Why do you hate women, want to restore the patriarchy and love rape?” which are answered by people saying that this isn’t actually what they believe at all, they’re just tired of the intellectual dishonesty, name calling and lack of self-awareness from too many feminists. Where feminists ask anti-feminists to explain feminist concepts, several people give answers showing that they do in fact know them. There was one thread that emerged in response to one of the non/anti-feminists, but much of that involved claims of misogyny. Criticising feminist theory is not misogyny. Questioning feminist statistics is not misogyny. Saying ‘what the fuck’ is not misogyny. Being exasperated at repeated and unsubstantiated accusations of misogyny is not misogyny.

Non-feminists of Quora, what questions would you like feminists to answer?

Several questions on the feminist movement and particular claims or policies, and crickets in response. One woman who said that she guesses she’s a feminist responded to one of the 17 sets of questions, to say that they were good questions and she couldn’t answer them. There just hardly seems to be any willingness to engage with critics with a good faith argument at all; a lot of the time I just see feminists looking for the most egregious examples of misogyny, followed by attempts to label everyone who doesn’t call themselves a feminist as fully on board with this. It’s actually quite religious in that way, particularly in the way that the name feminism is so important. If you don’t consider yourself a feminist, it doesn’t seem to matter what you actually believe or do. If you do, there’s a huge spectrum of all sorts of beliefs from egalitarianism to overt man hating (“Feminists don’t hate men, they’re about equality!” [lists several anti-men and anti-equality statements from prominent feminists] “Not all feminists!”). If you’re anti-feminist, you must really hate women – even if it’s just how people in the movement often act rather than its espoused claims that you dislike.

The problem is that if feminists want to avoid polarisation, they have to engage with the arguments of critics without just ad hominems in response. Many MRAs are anti-women; that is clear. Many feminists are also anti-men. There are also many on both sides who are more reasonable.

I wrote this article a while ago, and also got no response (well, none from feminists at least). The question was “What male/female double standard do you hate the most?

Honestly, there are a lot of ones that women have to go through that annoy me. Slut shaming, body shaming, the expectations that some women have on them to adjust their life to make everyone around them happier, the fact that their opinions are often not taken seriously, the way that men and women’s emotions are often treated (women are allowed to be emotional, but often respected less because of this and assumed to be emotionally compromised. Men are not allowed to show ‘feminine’ emotions, but are allowed to show more negative ones and deny that they are emotional at all).

However, I will name two ones that affect men that annoy me. Feminists often claim that any difficulties men have are due to the patriarchy or toxic masculinity, so here are two difficulties directly championed by feminists, and based on research that has been known to be false for decades. (This is not to be seen as an attack on feminists in general, as I am largely in agreement with them).

Abuse. This must be tackled and men are guilty of a lot of abuse, but the way that it has been dealt with is to state that domestic violence IS violence against women. You see this in any UN literature on the topic and in government information and initiatives. PSAs basically universally depict IPV as men attacking women. Feminists have known that the Duluth Model is not accurate for a long time (just ask the founder), yet they continue to push it. This is based on the theory that IPV is men exercising control over women through violence (as if women can’t do the same). It dances around the actual data that women commit more unreciprocated IPV than men and goes as far as to blame the patriarchy for lesbian IPV. It does not adequately describe reality and in many cases does not even describe the reality of men who beat their wives. It ignores the needs of men who are abused by women and those who look for support from helplines, shelters or the police often find these avenues the most hostile to them. Partner and child abuse by women is ignored, even when presenting data showing that it exists. This is the only part in the explanation of the following table that mentioned gender: "The largest categories in the nonparent group were male relative, male partner of parent, and “other.” We certainly wouldn’t want to give the impression that mothers can also abuse their children.

[Source]

Another one is divorce: research has shown that After Divorce, Women Rebound Faster But Stay In Poverty Longer. This cites the claim by George Mason University Sociology and law professor Lenore Weitzman in her book “The Divorce Revolution,” (http://www.amazon.com/The-Divorce-Revolution-Unexpected-Consequences/dp/0029347106) that a typical woman endures a 73 percent reduction in her standard of living after a divorce. Her typical ex-husband enjoys a 42 percent increased standard of living.

Unfortunately this was debunked over 20 years ago, but it’s still being stated as fact. Women do lose household income, but not nearly that much.

Dr. Peterson re-evaluated Dr. Weitzman’s data and concluded that women have an average 27 percent decline in their standard of living and that men have an average 10 percent increase in their standard of living after divorce.

Additionally, he found that 9 percent of men experienced a 73 percent decline in their standard of living after divorce.

This research has been used in several supreme court cases though, and it has been used as the justification for the idea that the husband’s job is to ensure that the wife continues to have the lifestyle she is accustomed to. On the other hand, no such safeguarding is given to the man, as “household income” is considered to be a good proxy for “standard of living”. This is not true, and it should be obvious from the fact that men tend to suffer more psychologically from a divorce.

The whole point of divorce is that you want to leave the lifestyle you’re accustomed to. The financial support comes as part of the relationship; it’s not some disembodied reality. Where men’s work is taken for granted and the psychological benefits (particularly children) that were part of the relationship are taken away, of course they will take longer to get over it. Where the men who lose huge amounts financially as well as socially from a divorce are overlooked, of course there will be bitterness toward feminists. Where men are prevented from sharing custody (and actually enabling women to make up that difference in standard of living!), of course they will doubt the idea that even feminists think the change in standard of life after a divorce is about the money.

I do not hate feminists at all, and I certainly don’t want women to suffer from divorce or have to endure abuse from men. However, when I see issues affecting men being responded to by feminists saying that this is all about the patriarchy and that they are the cure (or that men are just not resilient enough), I have to say that I hate the double standard that only women should benefit from equality. Iceland is one of the most equal and happiest countries on earth, and both men and women’s contributions as parents are embraced. Custody is assumed to be shared, men spend more time around kids and less time in prison, and abuse is lower despite all the opportunity men have to do it. This is the feminism I want.


#2

Unless it is your job, I can’t imagine why a man would participate in this conversation. Not that we don’t have a voice; we just have nothing to gain by talking. I like to listen, but when it’s feminism time, I’ve learned to shut the hell up. Are you having fun? It doesn’t sound fun.

As for anti-feminists, I find they are almost all trolls with an axe to grind. Why engage them?


#3

Replace “feminist” with “integrationist” and see how that reads.


#4

That’s a point, but it would read a little odd in spots due to the occasional reference to misogyny.


#5

The question I usually ask is “do you support legal and social equality for men and women?”

  • If they say “yes” then I point out that they fit the dictionary definition of “feminist” and we’re disagreeing over terminology and implementation rather than principle.
  • If they say “no” I usually find that they aren’t likely to be swayed by any arguments I can make.

#6

I’m always flabbergasted by misogynists’ explicit and implied indications of superiority to women, and yet – by doing so – illustrate just how fearful they are of them and/or how insecure they are with themselves.


#7

i disagree with the unstated assumption of your post–that a man can’t be a feminist. indeed, in the milieu i grew up in, small town texas in the 70s, i was one of the few feminists in my cohort. i have always been willing to argue from a feminist position because the true liberation of men cannot occur without the liberation of women.


#8

Guess why it’s unstated?


#9

if i’m misreading the implications of your post i apologize, if i’m not misreading it but missing something else please elucidate.


#10

Hell yeah.
I consider myself a feminist. That is, there’s changes I want to see that can best be made through feminism.
Whether or not I’m a good one is open to debate, but that’s just down to a matter of opinion, not definition.


#11

Yea, you misunderstood. I agree with you completely.


#12

Addressing the topic very broadly here:

I’ve personally found that on average, feminists on the Internet are average. Meaning they don’t have anything unique to say, and that which they do say is usually of average or uninspiring quality. They don’t become better at argumentation, analysis, or synthesis because they picked a particular point of view. In other words, Sturgeon’s Law applies like it does everywhere else: “90% of everything is crud.”

This means that most feminists make crap arguments because so do most people, most of the time. The most annoying part of being an adult with strong values or beliefs is the discovery that a lot of the people who share those values and beliefs end up being poor representatives. There’s not much you can do about it. This is when you start to contemplate the use of phrases like, “I eschew labels” and “I prefer not to call myself a __ist but more of a __ist.” I have my own freeze-thaw cycle going with any number of __isms at any given moment, and I’ve made peace with the fact that this isn’t resolveable. Feminism will always have issues, because it was invented by people, and people kind of suck.

Misanthropy! Maybe that’s it… No, I think I tried that…


#13

WooHoo! Sign me up! Got any soup?


#14

I have no particular reason to doubt the research in this case; but what exactly is a court supposed to do about it?

Ensuring stable household income is (comparatively) trivial because money is fungible, easily transferable, and comparatively well documented unless you are fairly aggressive about keeping stuff off the books or the the Caymans.

Social and interpersonal benefits, by contrast, are generally not fungible; pose considerable obstacles to transfer(cutting a check is easy, and the check doesn’t care; telling kiddo that they’ll be enjoying the privilege of being uprooted once or twice a week so that mommy and daddy can get their deserved quota is more problematic).

Also, logistics aside; isn’t greater psychological suffering and weaker recovery…somewhat unflattering… in what it suggests about how much you were contributing vs. receiving in the context of a relationship?

If a divorce makes you better off and your ex poorer, that’s a pretty obvious sign that you were providing a lot more of the household cash than they were. If a divorce makes you markedly more miserable; and your ex is either less affected or actually better off, what are we to conclude about who was bringing more emotional support to the table?


#15

Citation required. Seriously what?

Also. Sorry. TL;DR

Not entirely sure the point of this… feels an awful lot like gate keeping to me. “Feminists” are not a monolith. Theres a reason we use 1st and 2nd up to 4th wave to describe us.

Also I can only speak for myself but any time a man wants to discuss the “problems/issues with feminist/feminist-theory” I run far far away.


#16

The devil’s advocate is your friend. It is always good to get out of your comfort zone and consider arguments which are counter to your own ideology. The best way to advance an agenda is often that of being able to model the thought-processes of your opposition.

One person’s trolls are another’s scratching posts.


#17

So, so much this. As I have quite publicly shared, I went through a divorce. I gave her Everything. Guess what happened:

While I wouldn’t call us friends, she sent me a check for the appropriate proceeds, even though she didn’t have to. That is hard core feminism. It wasn’t a lot, but holy FSM am I proud I was married to such a principled person (even as we fought)


#18

As I was saying in another thread, I support equality, but had a serious problem with the term “feminist” for a very long time, largely because of the stereotypical man-hating feminist whom while rare, I have had opportunity to cross paths with. It wasn’t until intersectional feminism became a more dominant voice in the conversation that I rethought that position.

I would argue that in practical terms, identity labels often belong to the most vocal members of a group, rather than the most representative.


#19

Isn’t that the core underpinning of most ____phobia?


#20

Ok, you cannot seriously be surprised that feminists refused to wade into this quagmire to answer these “questions”?

How can you justify the unbridled intellectual dishonesty of the movement and of yourself individually?

Why do you continually ignore or dismiss the systemic sexism within the feminist movement?
"…feminism acts to exclude, diminish, and/or hate men"

Why do you refuse to accept criticism of any kind - usually dismissing it as not ‘real’ feminism - and then criticize sexists for not accepting any criticism?

What is the end goal of feminism?..it seems like feminism is not so much needed in the countries in which it is so vocal.

How can we separate the very real plight of third world women from the whining of first world women?

These are not real or honest questions about feminism or feminist theory. These are all traps. And kudos to every woman and feminist on that website for not wading into that den of sealions. Like, seriously dude. @jsroberts, you know I love you, but you can’t possibly think any sane feminist would engage any of these guys if those are their opening questions? Like seriously? Hahahaha.

What exactly is the “patriarchy”? What kind of insidious cabal still adheres to its agenda and continues the oppression of women? Who are its chief architects?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA - OMG I’M FUCKING DYING. THAT CANNOT BE A SERIOUS QUESTION!! NO IT CANOT BE… BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA