2 Jan 2013

'The Men's Rights Activists' versus 'Radical Feminists' debacle

I used to be confused by any extreme hatred of feminism.  I thought the rabid haters of equality ought to be stopped.

Nowadays, I can relax more.  What I used to experience as attacks on my right to be treated with humanity no longer bother as  I was only threatened whilst I was gasping for air.   The ability to understand oneself, and to have enough material wealth to survive on, has made all the difference in my ability to put up with ideological hostility.

People talk about having thick skin or lacking it, but 'thick skin' isn't what you think it is.   If you have nothing, your skin can be very thin, but then once you gain more, your skin grows a bit. This indicates that 'thick skin' is neither a biological, nor a psychological determinant, but has to do with one's existing standing in society.

I've visited the sites where male You Tubers pour their scorn on feminists. There they enjoy depictions of cartoon women crying with voices very high and helium-inflated.

Whilst surfing in my random and chaotic way, I also encountered other YouTube videos 'recommended for me'.   So, I watched a little of the militaristic patriotism sung about my African past, and then I moved back to the gender-related videos, where positions were being falsely portrayed in all sorts of cartoonish depictions.

The videos that got the highest viewers were made everything they wanted to believe seem justified in believing -- as if backed up by reason or by 'science'.  I found that young men have adopted a Men's Rights orthodox belief that women ought to tolerate trolls on the Internet, as this is 'character building'.    One spokesman even suggested that women today should put up with being trolled, as should everybody, because they might do well to develop the physical toughness of a World War Two fighter pilot.

Well, certainly, it would be nice to see more people being more courageous, but I won't be tricked a second time.

I  come from a culture where men really did put their bodies on the line for what they believed in.   That level of courage was worthy of respect, because it wasn't just a mental thing:  It wasn't just "putting up with trolls and getting some thick skin":   It was real. The consequences were also real -- and they  were bad for men as well as women.

I don't deny that there is a craving for meaning, for a rite of passage or for some consolidation of a sense of self-hood.  Hegel said that until one is ready to face death, one does not become a free person.  But, let's get real. Accepting trolling as a fact of life is not facing death.

Also the meaning of enduring trolls is different for women than it is for men.

Nobody demands to be treated with unconditional acceptance, unless they are a child, so arguing, "we will be trolls, so you have to accept this as normative," is begging to be treated condescendingly, like a mother would attend to a small child:

"No, Johnny.  Being a troll is not the same as being a fighter pilot."

How am I sure I KNOW this?

Because for better or worse (and often for worse, I tell you!)  I've known the real thing:

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