An unidirectional “conversation” with an MRA on Google+

Wanted to throw this on the blog for a few days now, but it’s been… busy. Over at Google+, it seems the only people who engage with my linking back to various websites are the MRAs and antifeminists who probably make up the majority of the early-adopters of the technology.

I had posted a link to Chris Clarke’s thoughts on the latest skeptical sexism imbroglio, and the only answers I got were from one guy who was entirely disinterested in engaging with the points I attempted to make in a pithy, I-don’t-have-time-for-fisking-this kind of way.

Seriously, it’s a hell of a gish gallop. You should see it.

Allen HildebrandtJun 13, 2012
I think this is a trivialization of the issue men have with the topic.  You’re likely correct that there are bad actors in the argument, name callers, people who attack the women making the claim.

However, whether or not the claim is just and fair isn’t ever really addressed.  From the arguments I’ve been in with people, it isn’t so much as an assumption that all the men are guilty, it’s that the argument is that all men should be treated as potentially guilty, that the perspective of the person claiming victim is the only one that matters and the harm that it does is irrelevant so long as the woman involved is protected from harm.

Watson was unfair, both for posting what she did as well as having the expectation that men should behave in a specific manner that only considers her comfort.  As I said then, she’s perfectly welcome to be uncomfortable… but just because crimes occur doesn’t give anyone the right to treat every man as if he were a criminal and publically shame him because he didn’t technically do anything illegally wrong.

Jason ThibeaultJun 13, 2012Edit
That’s terribly reductionist of any of the argument, considering Watson is ONE ACTOR IN IT. She is not even a focal point, except how the anti-Watson brigade make her that.

But your worry that women might potentially have something to fear from “all men” stems from a culture that practically protects rapists from justice. So do something about that, so we men might be reasonably trusted.

Jason ThibeaultJun 13, 2012Edit
In other words, I think you’re making a terribly trivializing argument and you’re co-opting the whole thing as “men vs women” when here’s a man right here who’s done more for men’s rights than most, who thinks you’re not doing the arguments justice and Chris Clarke’s thoughts are spot-on.
Allen HildebrandtJun 13, 2012
Am I correct in parsing that last sentence in your previous post as implicit sanctioning of men not being trusted?

Trust should be the default mode, don’t bring to an interaction anything that it doesn’t warrant.  Implicit sexism swings both ways, and the implicit assumption that men should be treated as untrustworthy is an unacceptable position to take when trying to discuss the subject.  It taints a persons arguments in noticeable ways.

I would wager that about a third of the men who are being tossed in the same basket as the people who are misogynistic aren’t.  They just want men to be talked about fairly, treated fairly and not have to be treated like everything is always their fault.

You’re correct that Watson isn’t a focal point, the Elevator situation is just one of myriad examples of situations where no harm occurred but are being used as examples of unacceptable behavior.  People make mistakes, treat people with the common damn courtesy of accepting that we’re all sometimes lonely and don’t always think about our own situation and how things might come across.

Humility and tolerance is exactly what this controversy lacks, on both sides of the aisle, men and women alike.

Jason ThibeaultJun 13, 2012Edit
Read this.

Seriously, people like you, who miss the plot so completely yet put on airs of being the “reasonable ones”, are why I normally have a do-not-engage-on-G+ policy. >_<

Allen HildebrandtJun 13, 2012
You do realize that saying “People like you” bunches me in with people that I probably have not as much in common as you are currently, at the time of this conversation, you believe I do?

Misandry isn’t an acceptable position, and allowing some to participate in misandry in order to win some good favor from the misandrists isn’t exactly productive.  Just as humoring Misogyny isn’t.

Address my points, right or wrong, I’d prefer you to do that than to go to the “People like you” sentiment. At least by addressing my points, you’re being honest about the conversation.

As to your link, I read the link; Fear is not an acceptable response nor does it excuse sexist behavior.  Likewise, tailoring your behavior to cater to everyone’s perceptions of how the world is isn’t doing them any favors, and it’s a form of deceit.  I abhor deceit, even if it would win me friends, even if it’s the nice lies and the comforting ones.  I’m familiar with the people who say, “If other people are uncomfortable with that, maybe you need to change your behavior” that is often the underlying root of bigotry lobbied against gays and lesbians… that they should behave in a way that society feels more comfortable with.  Yet somehow, that’s supposed to be an acceptable way to treat half the population? It’s bad in one situation, but in THIS one it’s good?

I don’t accept that it is reasonable to treat men in the way some of these women treat them.  It’s a justification for them to continue their distrustful and often hateful behavior towards men.  Often men who’ve been thrashed and beaten by the same kinds of behaviors in the past for not being in any way a desirable potential partner.  It’s an implicit justification for judging people based on their looks and not the content of their character.

Jason ThibeaultJun 13, 2012Edit
You’re exactly what I described in “people like you” — people who’ve lost the plot but still think they’re the reasonable ones. I’m lumping you in with people like you. Jebus.

If you’re not working to end rape culture, you’re screaming against a symptom of the disease, not the disease itself. You’re complaining of sniffles when the body of society has a killer flu. Fix rape culture, and you fix the unfair fear people have of men. It’s that simple, and it’s not misandry.

But thanks for handing me a blog post in those gish gallops of yours. I’m copying this onto my blog so others can see what kind of nonsense memetics fester around these parts.

Allen HildebrandtJun 13, 2012
So again, not addressing my points in any way, merely denegrating rather than discussing.

Wanting men to be treated fairly isn’t endorsing “Rape Culture”, whatever that might be.  Just because a subsection of a group behaves in one way does not make it at all right for people to treat the entire group as if they are a subsection.

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An unidirectional “conversation” with an MRA on Google+

66 thoughts on “An unidirectional “conversation” with an MRA on Google+

  1. 52

    @Jason Thibeault #50
    I read Crommunist’s take on the matter when he wrote it (I think Pharyngula linked to it that day). I agree with some things, yet also disagree with some things that he said. POC don’t have a hive mind you know, we are capable of looking at the same information and forming different conclusions. There is much to be said for making people more comfortable if their discomfort is based on things like your skin colour, your sexual orientation or your gender. To clarifiy, what I mean to say is that it is MY CHOICE whether or not I adjust my behaviour to comfort others, and if I have had a bad day, if I have come up against a particularly egregrious form of racism this particular day, I won’t feel very disposed towards making others less congnizant of my race, because at the end of the day, it’s who I am. In a world where Trayvon Martin can be shot for walking while black, sometimes I don’t feel like making allowances for other’s prejudice.

  2. 53

    @Jason: Just wondering, do you ever read slashdot.org? It’s a website I frequent, and while conversations on tech-related things leave you impressed with the breadth and depth of knowledge the commenters have, whenever race, gender or LGBT issues come up (Why are there no women in the tech industry? Apple has banned anti-gay app from the App Store) you realize these knowledgeable, erudite people are often pig ignorant racists/sexists/homophobes. If parts of the skeptic movement are anything like the slashdot community, I feel for the feminists in the movement. They have one hell of a battle in front of them.

  3. 54

    We must all endeavor to treat each other as fellow humans fully deserving of respect and dignity, even in the face of not being accorded the same respect and dignity.

    What? No. Just no. Maybe you should read MLK’s Letters from a Birmingham jail.

    Please bring up Nelson Mandela next as an example of “We must all endeavor to treat each other as fellow humans fully deserving of respect and dignity, even in the face of not being accorded the same respect and dignity.” I am South African and I LOVE NM, so I am BEGGING you.

  4. 55

    @Gen, Uppity Ingrate. #54
    No. Just no. I have no intention of delving into minutiae of warring quotes that some accomplished activist said at different points in their lives. If you read my comments in #52, you will realize that I also do not always treat people respectfully or tolerantly. I ENDEAVOR to do so, but acknowledge that I stop when circumstances make me forget myself, or I am just tired of bullshit.
    I would say something about Nelson Mandela if I wanted to, but I won’t just to please you. But what might please you, O Unpleaseable One, is that I have read the letter from Birmingham Jail, and I don’t understand what relevance that can have. It is a defense of civil disobedience in the face of unjust laws. What have I failed to comprehend about it that your no doubt immense intellect will soon educate me upon?

  5. 56

    @ samoan biscuit #45

    @CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain #19:
    Well, LGBT people are pressured, both by heterosexual society (and also by elements of the LGBT population who are better able to “pass” for heterosexuals) into changing their mannerisms, relationships and even gender expressions into forms that are considered more “relateable” to heteronormative ideals. Femme gay men are pressured to acting more masculine, butch women are pressured into acting more feminine, trans people are pressured into completely transitioning or not transitioning at all, polyamourous people are told to stick with conventional monogamous norms, the list goes on and on. The promise of gay rights was that consensual, non-harmful behaviours were supposed to be allowed without judgement, but the paradigm seen nowadays is that a certain “blessed” subset of the LGBT population are lionized and praised, while people that don’t adhere to the cookie-sutter stereotypes are still treated in many ways as if Stonewall didn’t happen.

    QFT.

    Also, the attitude of “I don’t mind them but they shouldn’t do it in public,” is a real and big problem.

    Case in point: A straight couple would not get kicked out of a restaurant for sharing a kiss.

  6. 57

    samoanbiscuit

    My point was that using people like MLK and Nelson Mandela as examples for why accomodationalism and “just be nice to them, they’ll come around, more flies with honey” is bogus since MLK wouldn’t have had the option of “niceness” without someone like Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela himself actually formed and headed the military wing of the political resistance.

    There are some articles on the use of “politeness” as a tool of continuing oppression, like http://comehellorhighwaterbook.com/politeness.html

    That said, I do apologise since I now see that I did jump the gun a little bit on that assumption – I see now that you were in no way making an accomodationalist argument, which is what it looked like to me yesterday. What a difference some sleep can make!

  7. 58

    Just wondering, do you ever read slashdot.org? It’s a website I frequent, and while conversations on tech-related things leave you impressed with the breadth and depth of knowledge the commenters have, whenever race, gender or LGBT issues come up (Why are there no women in the tech industry? Apple has banned anti-gay app from the App Store) you realize these knowledgeable, erudite people are often pig ignorant racists/sexists/homophobes.

    The sexist culture at slashdot is the primary reason I stopped reading the site (after years of doing so on a daily basis). The secondary (related) reason would be the anti-science, anti-skeptic libertarianism that would come up in many topics, including threads on global warming.

  8. 59

    Once upon a time I read Slashdot regularly, but could rarely stomach the comments. What got upvoted and downvoted was just too random — some days misogyny and racism and antiscience was voted down, some days it was voted up hard. Libertarianism was absolutely rampant though. And I ended with an impression that the nonsense was just too thick to ever counter. I’m not one for tilting at windmills.

  9. 60

    “Likewise, tailoring your behavior to cater to everyone’s perceptions of how the world is isn’t doing them any favors, and it’s a form of deceit.”

    I love the irony of this being said while asking someone to cater to his perception of the world…

  10. 61

    @kagerato & @Jason Thibeault #58, 59
    Well maybe when sexism/racism/religion is modded down on slashdot, it’s when I or like minded people have mod points. I can see how it would seem pointless after a while, but I think I am doing something worthwhile in being a part of that community, and trying to change it in my own way, when I can.
    I usually spend a lot of my internet time on forums where sexism, racism and christian bigotry run rampant (forums with my countrypeople), so it’s wonderful when I get to read stuff on FTB, because the bloggers and the commenters are just so…. just a world away from what I’m used to on other sites.
    I suppose I just chime in when I see an argument take a form or shape that I’m more used to seeing from my opponents. Like the punch up/punch down thing. It’s something I have seen christians use, and MRAs use, and even racists using them, albeit not in the same words. Basically any group with a persecution complex that can plausibly stitch together a reason why they’re oppressed (we’re poorer, there’s less of us, there’s a history of crimes against us, blah blah blah) starts using this. So I guess it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when people I like and respect say that. You don’t have to agree with me, that’s just my two cents. Thanks for taking the time to read what I had to say.
    Also @Kagerato: I wasn’t able to find the comments saying that the guy should apologize for being in the elevator with her. My bad. I apologize. How many internets do I owe you?

  11. 63

    [samoanbiscuit]: I wasn’t able to find the comments saying that the guy should apologize for being in the elevator with her. My bad. I apologize. How many internets do I owe you?

    None. All I cared about was setting the record straight.

    [wtfbits]: Wow, this article is incredibly dumb. Also, it should be A Unidirectional, not An unidirectional

    Thanks for sharing, random insulting internet flyby bot.

  12. 64

    Here’s the nut:
    “accepting that we’re all sometimes lonely and don’t always think about our own situation and how things might come across”

    I have to admit, there is logic and even reason in his perception. It is quite possible that a number of MRAs are just reactionaries caught up in defending misogyny because of this one point. Doesn’t make them right, but it makes them comprehensible.

    The point, of course, is that if you are not considering “how things might come across” and yet you are approaching a woman you are interested in having sex with, then you are doing something wrong already. It doesn’t matter how lonely you are.

  13. 65

    Women also commit rape. According to the latest CDC survey, 4.8% of all men were “made to penetrate” and 79.2% of the perpetrators were women.
    An example of “made to penetrate” is a woman who has sex with a man who is passed-out drunk. There is some confusion is due to the fact that their definition of rape excluded “made to penetrate” and only included men who had been penetrated. That was far less common (1.4% of men) and was mostly perpetrated by men. However, if you include “made to penetrate” as rape, which you should, since it is forced sex, the majority of male rape victims were raped by women. If you don’t believe me, read the report yourself:
    http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

    Here are direct quotes from the report:
    “Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime”

    “For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%).”

    Here are some stories from male victims: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/v73r4/men_who_have_been_raped_by_women_can_you_tell_us/

  14. 66

    Someone actually brought the article to my attention again and I noticed quite a few people had mis-understood what I had inferred when I stated Trust should be the default when approaching new situations.

    Trust is a multi-layered concept ranging from common decency to absolute trust. It is not commonly decent to treat all males as potential rapists because some of them are. It is not commonly decent to insist that men change their behavior to be more suitable.

    In what other venue is bringing baggage and expectation to the conversation with a complete stranger an appropriate response? It cannot be argued as fair, nor is it equal to the person in question (As you are placing on them your biases, bigotry’s and presuppositions).

    When I referenced the LGBT social problems, I referenced them personally. I’ve had a lot of friends, and I’ve had my own issues, with regards to society’s expectations of what is and is not acceptable for LGBT individuals to do. No-one in the LGBT environment would argue that society forcing their demands on behavior upon them is an acceptable outcome.

    So I ask, why is it acceptable to force Men to do it because they were born a Gender which they didn’t choose?

    Trusting by default does not mean being a blithering moron about safety and being cautious, as I noted later. It means not forcing how you want other people to behave on them. Because no matter who does it, it isn’t acceptable and those that do propose such behavior can argue as much as they like that they are for equality; their stance and behavior demonstrates otherwise.

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