eSOANEM wrote:I'm distinguishing MRAs (the jackasses who describe themselves as such, talk about being friendzoned, complain more about false allegations of rape than that women are afraid to report rapes etc. etc.) from people who care about gender equality and are interested in men's issues stemming from that
I think I agree with what you're explicitly saying, but some of that part in parentheses seems like the kind of unnecessary antagonism that I'm concerned about curbing. Specifically, pitting concerns about false rape accusation against concerns about women being afraid to report rape, as though these were causes in conflict with each other. Both of those are bad things, and someone fighting against one problem isn't necessarily dismissing or perpetuating the other problem. Someone can focus their energy on fighting one in particular and not the other, without becoming an enemy of those focusing their energy fighting the other.
I'm reminded of a video I recently saw, just some raw footage of some conflict between a self-described feminist group and a self-described MRA group protesting on opposite sides of the street somewhere. Both sides had some very angry people shouting at the other side, and I noticed that the message was basically the same from both sides: "If you're so concerned about gender equality, why do you oppose our cause? Why are we your enemies? Shouldn't you support us? We're not advocating any of the things you're fighting against!" This from both the feminists to the MRAs and the MRAs to the feminists. And I just couldn't help but wondering why people in either group can't just be "good work fighting against that problem there, I'm over here fighting against this problem here, our causes are complementary but separable, I wish you luck in that endeavor but I'm focusing my energy on this one".
That seems to me a specific example of a wider problem I notice with many social justice movements: there is often a very strong us-vs-them mentality where if you're not actively part of the solution you are seen by default as part of the problem. Any time there is some form of aggression, violence, or exploitation, you've got four groups of people with respect to that: the perpetrators, the victims, the defenders, and the bystanders. It seems like many victims and defenders want to divide the world into them together on one half, and the perpetrators and bystanders together on the other half. The conflict between the truly egalitarian parts of both feminist and "MRA"/"masculist" movements looks to me like it's a side-effect of this: each side sees the other as standing by and not joining their fight, and therefore as part of the enemy camp along with the perpetrators of the aggression they're fighting against. If everyone could just stop thinking of bystanders as "more enemy than ally" but just completely neutral and potentially friendly parties instead, I think a lot of these different movements could get along much better.
And of course it could help if everyone would accept a neutral umbrella term like anti-sexism or gender egalitarianism and frame feminist and masculist issues as complementary subtopics within that broader movement, too.
Agreed. My point is however that MRAs tend to focus solely on the issues affecting men even when there is a very closely related issue affecting women which is vastly more common and damaging to the victim (as is the case with false allegations of rape and unreported rapes).
I agree as well about this attitude being a common problem in social justice groups, particularly those which seem to be particularly active on tumblr. The main problem I have with the term MRA adn masculist/masculinist is that men do not need protecting to anywhere near the same extent as women from injustices in the world because they face fewer; furthermore, there is no history to the term.
In short, there is no reason for a gender egalitarian to declare themselves an MRA or masculist/masculinist; there are a few why they might want to declare themselves a feminist. Because of this, MRA groups, to a much greater extent than feminist groups are dominated by sexist elements who play up perceived injustices where none exist/demonise "them"/work to extend and perpetuate their own privilege.
Like I say, I think there will come a day when gender egalitarian is a better term than feminist, but I do not think this is that day.
eSOANEM wrote:My post was not worded clearly however, as I have acknowledged. This is because I initially intended to post a stronger statement but thought that it wasn't properly valid. I didn't rework my post thoroughly enough once I'd decided to make that change however.
It still bears the marks of that "not properly valid" statement, though. And that's, I believe, what most are objecting to.
Besides, I hope that we can agree that it's not your
definition that matters, as the discussion about "-isms" was started not by you, but by cmyk:
Yes, I misunderstood his statement based on my past experiences with the term ism. I have moved on from this and responded using the definition you all prefer. There is no reason now to keep dragging up the fact that I initially used a different conception of the term other than idiotic point-scoring.
Kit. wrote: eSOANEM wrote: cmyk wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:My university is doing a campaign at the moment where they get people to write "I need feminism because..." along with a reason on a whiteboard, they take a photo and put it on their website. I've already done one, but I'm very tempted to do another with today's comic drawn on it.
I fail to come up with any reason why anyone, anywhere, needs any kind of "-ism".
While proisms and antiisms are not needed (and they are generally unhelpful), feminism (at least as I, and almost all non-misandrist feminists use the term) is not a proism in favour of women any more,
There is nothing unusual in it for proisms. Communism didn't end up as pro-communes either.
True. At that point, it fits the ideology model where the name is potentially broadly irrelevant. At that point, I think blanket statements such as that cmyk made become pretty meaningless (it can be used to argue that no-one needs science because science's most fundamental principle is empiricism and apparently, there isn't anyone, anywhere who needs that). As such, I restricted my discussion using the broader "ism" definition to true proisms and antiisms because the statement is obviously phrased far too absolutely for the other types.
Kit. wrote:Now, enough with formalities, let's go straight to the point: it's not the egalitarians who benefit from calling egalitarianism "feminism". It's just the opposite, i.e. chauvinists of all sorts. In particular, both male and female chauvinists are interested in presenting gender egalitarians as a kind of "female chauvinists", and that's exactly what this labelling does.
Again with the read my posts:
eSOANEM wrote:I agree with this entirely. Feminist is not a good name for the movement. I use it because I feel like, at the moment, society is still imbalanced enough against women that the good done focussing it on women (and therefore distancing it from the MRAs who don't get what egalitarianism is (not, I'm distinguishing MRAs (the jackasses who describe themselves as such, talk about being friendzoned, complain more about false allegations of rape than that women are afraid to report rapes etc. etc.) from people who care about gender equality and are interested in men's issues stemming from that) outweighs the bad of making the movement appear misandrist.
At the moment, my preferred approach to dealing with misandrist calling themselves feminists is to call them out on it. Sadly, as a man they're likely to ignore me or just shout back angrily. Maybe in a decade or two's time when gender equality is more of a reality I might consider it worthwhile to start identifying as a gender egalitarian instead but, in my mind, that time has not yet come.
There are legitimate reasons why an egalitarian might want to use the term feminist. The history is, by and large, incidental; the main one is based on the fact that the equivalent terms to feminist have been co-opted by anti-egalitarian MRAs and it is important for egalitarians to distance themselves from that movement. Working under the broader umbrella term "gender egalitarian" would make it easier for MRAs to claim unity and try to legitimise their position of trying to perpetuate and extend their privilege. If the term MRA and masculist/masculinist had not been co-opted like this though, I would certainly prefer the term egalitarian.
Furthermore, I feel like it is important for gender egalitarianism to present a united front. If there are feminist groups and MRA groups and egalitarian groups all lobbying separately, it becomes easier for people in power who want to ignore such lobbyists to say that these groups are small and do not represent the people. Ideally, I would prefer it to be united as a gender equality movement, but given the current status quo I believe it is best to unite behind the feminist label (there are lots of things I feel similarly about i.e. X would be the desired outcome, but getting to X would cause too much harm to be a good thing, it would be better to do Y in the hopes of achieving X over a longer time period).
Using the term feminism does not benefit me
, but I feel like it benefits the movement (as with many things though, its effect is not simple and it is entirely reasonable to take the position that the name creates the us-and-them mentality which gives rise to MRAs in the first place and that this harm from continuing to do so outweighs the benefit from distancing the movement from the MRAs that do exist).