But first: the can at Flipnotics. Good iced coffee. Really funked-up soap dispenser.
My post on fizzy wine in a pink can recently drew a “male feminist” out of his pin-up encrusted lair and into the open patriarchy-blaming field, with predictably hilarious consequences.
This male feminist (let’s call him “MF” for short), after apprising the group of his high testosterone level, his genius-level “IQ,” and his penchant for porn, announced that his feminist work (which consists of giving money to NARAL) is nothing less than a princely and altruistic gift to all womankind. Why were we to cheer MF’s selflessness on behalf of the public good? Because “[he's] married, meaning that the sexual advantage to [his] support of feminism is zero.” I’ll let you chuckle over that for a minute.
MF couldn’t seem to grasp why, after so excruciatingly dudely an outburst, there was no enthusiastic clamor to book him as the keynote speaker at the next BlameCon in Bali. His pussy was hurting pretty bad by the end, and by way of delivering a parting zinger, he chastised some of us for using—dear god—sarcasm.
Not having just fallen off the tiny tomato truck yesterday, I am familiar with this MF’s MO. It’s always the same. Dude alights from on high, beaming with his extraordinary magnanimity (“I’m supporting your cause with my bandwidth”). Expresses shock when his blithe what-about-the-men remarks about the boffosity of porn are met with curled lips and stink eyes. Enlightens me that porn empowers women. Gets defensive. Says he is too a feminist because he watches porn with his wife (whom, he’ll have me know, he doesn’t even beat). Gets on high horse. Informs me that I’m not a real feminist, because he happens to know some real feminists, and they love pole dancing, and porn, of course, him. Oh, and they aren’t the least bit hostile. In fact, they lovingly embrace the male point of view. In fact, they’re strippers. I should be more like them if I want influential and good-hearted MFs like him to listen to me. Then demands that I explain what, if it isn’t about equal pay or the freedom to pole dance, feminism is. Can’t understand why I’m so mean. Gets on higher horse. Bitches about my sentence structure, calls me “shrill,” deploys a few boring clichÃ©s, and accuses me of “not doing anything” to change the world.
I have to say, I wonder why so many people think that spending hours and hours each week writing feminist critiques of the dominant culture isn’t “doing” anything. What do they think it is, then? Some fluffy conceit? Lying in bed all day eating bonbons? Chopped liver? But that’s another essay.
Anyway, here is Ron Sullivan’s synopsis of the MF phenomenon, which is way too good to leave mouldering in the comments:
One thing an old broad like me has seen many many many times already is some huffulacious oh-so-sincere dude walking in to a group of women almost at random and telling them
a/ what they should be doing in their free time;
b/ how to do it right;
c/ how to be feminists;
d/ why he has their best interests at heart, really;
e/ why heâ€™s qualified to give them orders;
f/ that theyâ€™re intolerant, which is self-evidently a Bad Thing;
g/ that theyâ€™re preaching to the choir (and the biggest surprise is that theyâ€™re preaching);
h/ that some of his best fucks are women;
i/ how to be better feminists;
j/ that theyâ€™re not serious enough;
k/ that his wife thinks heâ€™s the greatest;
l/ what God thinks;
m/ why whatever heâ€™s doing this month is more important then feminism;
n/ that feminism is boo-zhwah, and thatâ€™s self-evidently a Bad Thing;
o/ that theyâ€™re shrill â€” wow, I almost forgot shrill;
p/ that they canâ€™t pee standing up;
q/ that they should be ashamed of themselves;
r/ that they just donâ€™t welcome open and vigorous debate;
s/ that he needs a beer (this is followed by an expectant silence);
t/ that theyâ€™re taking everything he said wrong;
u/ that theyâ€™re unreasonable;
v/ that theyâ€™re ~touchy~;
w/ that theyâ€™ve never said anything about oppression of women in (choose sauce: Iraq, Afghanistan, China, sub-Saharan Africa, the southeastern USA, the ghet-to, Brazil, Antarctica)
x/ that they should apologize to him because his parents had him circumcised;
y/ that he Is Too A Feminist (which evidently means something);
z/ how they should transcend feminism and embrace humanism.
Pick any two menu items and get the third half-price; pick any three and get the fourth free. With five you get a can of wine. And if youâ€™re the guy in question, you get a free hot cup of Shut the Fuck Up.
Thus doth the discussion, when MFs show up on the blog, often turn, as this one did, into another dazzling and effervescent debate on whether men can be feminists at all.
Yesterday a commenter opined that men can be, at best, sympathizers, but suggested that even that’s no good, that the temptation to “leech” off the cause without having to assume any personal risk is just too great, and renders them suspect.
Mandos Mandos Mandos, I Blame The Patriarchy’s self-proclaimed “scapegoat,” responded that “if men can only be sympathizers, and sympathizers are not particularly positive, then [...] there is no way for men to be positive. That has a lot of interesting consequences.”
Chris Clarke, who says he’s no feminist, likens the male feminist conceit to cause-glomming. “I read Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzalduaâ€™s This Bridge Called My Back the year it was published, and found it invaluable in understanding a part of American culture I had until then missed. Were I to call myself a Chicana as a result of my political support, I would be laughed out of the planning meeting.”
Now we’re getting somewhere. MFs protest the rock and the hard place between which they find themselves with this whole “get out of my face, I will never trust you for all the reasons Ron listed above” thing, but how, exactly, is a guy claiming to be a feminist different from Chris claiming to be a Chicana? It is much the same when white girls try to “sympathize” with black girls. I am not surprised when the efforts of my upper-middle-class-prep-school-honky-self, absent any actual experience of racial discrimination, are met with suspicion at the Women Of Color Unite Against Honky Oppression convention. There are inner circles of class solidarity into which an outside “sympathizer” simply cannot tactfully incurse or reasonably expect to be invited. Raise money for causes? Sure. Vote for progressive legislation? Duh. Support the movement rather than pretend to sympathize, risk-free, with individuals? Word. But there comes a point at which one must be content to align oneself with the ideology, and then politely get the hell out their way.
But do MF dudes grasp this? No. Unaware that they are still flaunting precisely the white male privilege from which feminists aspire to be liberated, they insist on joining the rank and file so that they can explain feminism to the stupid women. They must infiltrate right down to the core (one example of which core would be, say, this blog, which expressly caters to a female audience of radical feminists). Once in, they start leaving the seat up and throwing their weight around, with the result that they either get laid (or its blogular equivalent, successfully hijacking the thread), or start whining and threatening that we’re nothing without them and accusing us accursed ungrateful humorless prudey hairy dykes of not kissing their asses with sexy enough lips.
But this is all bullshit posturing. The real issue is that a thing is ultimately right or it is ultimately wrong, regardless of how its PR is managed. Racism, for example, is wrong, even if some black chicks think I have my head up my ass and don’t invite me to the cookouts. Likewise, these white fuckwads who say “you’re just too shrill, I don’t like your unsexy tone, the liberation of women will never happen and it’s all your fault” are not seeing the larger ideological and/or ethical picture. It is either wrong to oppress people or it isn’t. What’s it gonna be, assholes?
Although, like I said before, I don’t give a rat’s ass what these honky liberal motherfuckers do, as long as they do it somewhere else.