Cecily Strong weighs in on the fauxminist epidemic


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/08/cecily-strong-weighs-in-on-the.html


#2

I don’t think this is a new phenomena. I remember in the 80s, when I was a teen, I lived in a very hippie filled enclave, and we had men in their 40s to 50s that were leftover from the hippie movement that would hit on myself and my friends. They pulled the “feminist guy” routine, with the typical 1960s twist. That free love was our right as human beings, and if you weren’t into having sex with them, then you were being controlled by the man, and his message of puritanism, and uncool. These were grown ass men hitting on 15 and 16 year old girls.

In the 90s I worked in a pagan bookshop, and these same kind of guys would try to infiltrate women’s circles, and use modern wicca as a cover for this shit. Same behavior.

Now we have feminist guys 2017.

I think there are just asshole predatory men, and they will use any type of sheep skin they can, to get what they want.


#3

Well put.


#4

It just got better


#5

#6

Yet another sword that cuts both ways. You don’t need a dick to be a Richard.

(also, sheep skin, I see what you did there)


#7

I suppose it’s like the way people like me use every example of predatory behaviour from religious men and seize it.

There are enough of these cases now among feminist allies to say it’s a thing, and how we respond to it defines us just as, say, the catholic church’s response to child abuse defines it rather more than individual priests being abusers. It’s not an excuse to circle the wagons because our abusive predators are better than theirs.


#8

Whenever I hear a guy call himself a feminist, I’m on high alert for signs of douchebagery. I’m not saying everyone who does, is a douchebag, but the odds increase.

Calling yourself a feminist is like calling yourself a good person or a nice guy. Fuck you, it ain’t up to you. You’re not the judge of your own success or virtues.

On the occasions when someone asks me: Are you a feminist?, I ask: What do you think? If they say yes, I reply: Well, you’re welcome to your opinion, but it’s only your opinion, no more or less valid than someone else’s, except mine, since I don’t have an opinion on whether or not I’m a feminist. Which is true, because feminism is different things to different people, and I’m sure I don’t qualify under everyone’s definition. Nor have worked out my own definition because a, I don’t feel the need and b, I don’t really think it’s my place as a man to define feminism.

Which I’m fine with, because I’m more interested in the integrity of my principles than whether they fulfill someone’s individual parlance.


#9

As a guy, while I’m sympathetic to feminists, I’d never call myself one. Not being prejudiced takes effort, and I certainly have room to improve without making it worse by giving myself a title that suggests I don’t have to worry about it.


#10

I think it’s more akin to calling yourself an “abolitionist.” It should be the default state for any decent human being, but until it is we still need a word for it.

I usually just use the dictionary definition.


#11

Exactly. Be wary of those who toot their own horn.

I agree and disagree. At the core dictionary definition, yes, I agree. But abolition means something specific and isn’t widely regarded as having a lot more going on in the definition since we have other words for that. Feminism, on the other hand, is a far more mutable term, and there’s no guarantee that basic human decency will fulfill everyone’s meaning for it.

That said, this discussion (which I freely admit I began), is tangential and has the potential to grow out of proportion to other thread sub-topics. So I suggest any in-depth discussion of the definition of feminism should have it’s own thread or be continued in one of the existing ones.


#12

Misogynist here. I’m not pro-misogyny … I’ve just been in enough therapy with partners and reading and listening and feeling to recognize it.

I remember reading almost any post by one of the great moderators at metafilter … any time I would read her posts I would get apoplectic. I wouldn’t post any responses online. I would just go afk and curse and yell and be upset.

And when I would come back to re-read her comment after I had calmed down my mind I could recognize that she was right. I felt threatened by it and diminished by it. I was diminished by it, but not enough.

It has led to me to live the single/one man show life because although I can see my boundaries and foibles through years of therapy, losing friends and family; losing work opportunities, etc. But “working on it” I feel and think sometimes has yielded nothing if not going the wrong direction at this point.

racism and misogyny are currents in theses never-the-same-rivers we cross. sometimes either i am not strong enough or they are more powerful that I can understand … or why not both.


#13

Unfortunately the word ‘feminist’ is entirely over-loaded in our language. You ask 10 different people what a feminist is, and you’ll get 10 different definitions, even if you limit your sample to 10 self-proclaimed feminists or or anti-feminists.


#14

Well I agree that’s true, but I don’t think it’s unfortunate. It’s just how the word usage has evolved. Some words are easy to pin down, others are more variant.


#15

You’ve made a bucket of abusive predators that includes both: people who pretend to have values they don’t really have in order to convince other adults to sleep with them; and people who seek out positions of trust in a community so they can have sex with kids. Within that bucket, there is a lot of room for our abusive predators to actually be better than their abusive predators.

That said, I don’t see the same behaviour. I haven’t seen feminists* jump to the defense of “feminist” men who are actually abusive. (Maybe a few who seem to think we should have all gotten over Roman Polanski’s rape of a 13-year-old by now) Usually defense of abusive men comes from anti-feminists*. I’ve never heard of feminists intentionally obfuscating the past of a sleazy guy to try to pawn him off on a new community of women.

* Definition of feminist and anti-feminist here are person who feels proud to be described as a feminist and person who uses the word feminist as a pejorative.


#16

I agree, but for different reasons. I’m sympathetic to feminist causes, but I won’t claim to be a feminist because I have no dog in this fight. I am certainly not an anti-feminist either, because I don’t disagree with feminism.

Plus, any time I hear some guy making a big show of being a feminist, I just assume he’s working some angle and isn’t ready to put his money where his mouth is. This isn’t always the case, but usually he’s more willing to talk than listen (best case) or just looking to score some freaky feminist pussy on his way back to the frat house (worse case).


#17

I respectfully disagree. Everyone is impacted in some way by how our society deals with gender whether we realize it or not.


#18

True, but when it comes to women’s issues, I should listen more than speak.


#19

Why no dog? Are you saying only certain people (women?) can be feminists?
Equality of sexes doesn’t mean that women are better or worse than men, or that only women have a stake in this issue.


#20

Unfortunately, fauxminists can just as easily be women as men. I have met quite a few who feel that they should be more progressive, but they are so tentative that being more liberated to them seems more like a throwback to 1955 for other women. Like saying that women should be home-makers, but should be able to put off doing laundry for a day if they feel rebellious. People do not all develop consciousness of their situation at the same pace, and so may refuse some certain double-standards of treatment while leaving other quite oppressive ones unexamined.

ETA: While I was typing this a fauxminist ex phoned and ranted at me for nearly two hours about their take upon the importance of gender roles in our family. AAAIIIEEE!!! When I met them and we decided to start a family, they professed to be a feminist, anarchist, communist, and Buddhist northeastern progressive. Now, thirteen years later, they are bigoted, authoritarian, capitalist Christian who has moved to Arizona - and yet they still like to think of themselves as being sort-of progressive. They no longer profess to feminism, and claim to be anti-feminist, which I think just goes to demonstrate how superficial their position was in the first place.