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Simple Answers To Overwrought, Hysterical Questions

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 11:13 EDT
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Well, sort of. People writing meltdown pieces about the supposed evils of feminism don’t actually ask the questions that their shitty freakouts are based on. Perhaps if they did, they might realize that their fear and anger towards feminism is really misplaced and really, women can be equal to men without everything falling apart. So, as a public service, I’ve grabbed two recent examples of people losing their goddamn minds because they aren’t asking basic questions that would resolve the problem.

Example #1, linked from Group Think: A website called Stop Tech Feminism, dedicated to preserving male dominance in the tech industry by encouraging employment discrimination against suspected feminists, which conveniently can really only be done by not hiring most women. A sample:

The tech workspace is under attack from the wholly destructive force of feminism. What it seeks is the antithesis of the open and safe work atmosphere we’ve all worked to create within our industry. It aims to divide and conquer, to turn people of all genders against each other on the basis of loyalty to the ideology.

Unasked question: Is it impossible for men to simply refrain from harassing their female colleagues?

While there’s a lot of loaded, freak-out language about feminist “ideology” and other blather, it’s clear from this page that the real concern here is that tech spaces are “unsafe” for men who wish to harass women. There’s a lot of hand-wringing over women who push back when you “disagree” with feminism, i.e. with the belief that women are full and equal human beings. A lot of anger that comments are “taken out of context”, which is a euphemism we all know for sexual harassment. So the question here is simple: Is it that hard for men to not try to provoke their female colleagues by sexually harassing them and baiting them with comments about how women just aren’t as good as men?

If you ask the question, you have the answer: No, it is not that hard. It’s a very simple process. If you wish to sexually harass your female coworker, all you need to do is to pause for a moment and go do something else until the urge passes. If you find yourself tempted to roll over to your colleague who is minding her own business and say, “I just don’t know why we have so many women around here. Larry Summers said their brains aren’t as good at programming, go take a walk instead. When the urge to talk to your female colleagues like they’re too stupid to tie their own shoes grips you, go back to your computer and get some work done until that urge has passed. If having to behave like a grown person who holds a real job makes you feel “unsafe”, you might want to consider getting over yourself.

Men avoid harassing women every day. You, too, can learn how to not do it. Eventually you may level up and, like many men, have no urge to harass at all.

Example #2, from Man Boobz: This irate ranting from a woman who wants the rest of women to stop being all feminist and shit. She quotes this supposed “wisdom” from a male reader:

Feminists lost long ago. Men are in control – at least the ones that understand. We get to call the shots – now instead of being able to keep house, have children, and cook (very, very few women can cook these days) women are ONLY sex-objects. It is the only thing they have to offer to a man, that will get a man’s attention and to hold it for a while. And we don’t have to marry them to get it [...]

He goes on to gloat that women totally do it now, assuming that it’s because they’re suckers and not because they get any pleasure out of it. To be fair, I have no doubt that the highly exaggerated number of women he’s gotten into bed probably didn’t get any pleasure out of the experience, so his anecdotal data set might be the problem here.

Unasked question: Why should women want the attention of men who see them as nothing more than unpaid servants and semen toilets?

If he had bothered to ask this question, he might see why his gloating rant makes no kind of sense. He starts with the assumption that male attention is so precious that women will and should subject themselves to any kind of degradation to get even a scrap of it, even if the man providing the attention is a terrible misogynist who sees women as subhumans whose only purpose is to clean after him and drain his cock without anything in return besides occasionally acknowledging her existence. This is a ridiculous idea, albeit one that is widespread amongst anti-feminists: That women need male attention, no matter how degrading it is, and therefore should do whatever we can to get it.

Even given the briefest of examinations, this premise falls apart. The alternative to having a hateful misogynist around who expects you to clean up after him, accept his ranting about how women are a repulsive subhuman class whose only purpose is service to men, and to masturbate him without any hope of sexual pleasure yourself is simple: Not being with such a man. As many feminists can tell you, there’s a really pleasant alternative: Men who like women and like to hang out with us and aren’t just tolerating us in exchange for sex and housework. But even if, like this commenter, you believe that such men don’t exist, well, so what? Being alone is better than being with a man who thinks you’re part of a degraded class put here to serve him. No matter how much misogynists may rant, they can’t get around this inherent problem in their philosophy, which is that “alone” is always a superior alternative to their company.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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