The Greenhouse of Negative Feelings.

I posted a comment to a post in Facebook about FGM (female genital mutilation).

MGM is a far larger problem than FGM. We are so acculturated to this violence against boys that we son’t even think it should be illegal.

“Son’t” is a typo for “don’t”. This comment elicited this reply from an FGM activist.

I do agree that we have a MGM problem and that it also needs to be discussed however I feel that it needs a seperate discussion as the cause of it is completely different to FGM. As a FGM survivor I’d like to be able to discuss my mutilation and how we can work towards eradicating that without being side tracked by MGM. Lets have separate important conversations about what amounts to child abuse.

I was struck by the need to discuss her mutilation without her stage being “sidetracked” by MGM (male genital mutilation). This ignores the fact that MGM is almost permanently “sidetracked”. The nedia gets more excited about FGM than it does about MGM. It ignores the fact that male circumcision is a far bigger problem affecting a far larger number of men.

  • Q. But isn’t male circumcision a lessor deal and less severe than female circumcision?
  • A. In fact not. There are 4 types of FGM and most cases are not of the more severe types. Most FGM are not more Severe than most MGM. Please read this document about male and female circumcision.

The FGM activist did mention that she wanted to “work towards eradicating” FGM but if this is the case it shows poor judgement if her aim is change. This is because she wants to have have a “separate discussion” which means duplicating efforts at eradicating circumcision. All so that she can have a stage on which she can tell her story exclusive of anyone else’s concerns. It makes more sense for intactivists (MGM activists) and FGM activists can combine in consensus for a common cause. How much better to have gender neutral legislation addressing both male and female circumcision.

This reminds me of the “splitters” scene in “The Life of Brian”. The Peoples Front of Judea. not the Judean Peoples Front. Listen, the only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean Peoples Front.

LoB

So the FGM activist would rather kick intactivists to the ground when they could be far more effective working with them as allies. It seems to me that displaying one’s victimhood status is more important than effective action. The FGM activist does not really want change. She wants a stage on which she wants to display the golden prize of suffering and injustice. The injustice is the object of adoration and attachment. She doesn’t want anyone sharing the lime light of HER suffering. This is the Victimhood Olympics. Victims are affirmed and validated in their experience. The FGM activist is nourishing a hurt feeling in a greenhouse for this purpose.

This sort of game opens the area up for fantasists and candidates for a Munchausen Syndrome diagnosis grab a spot in the glory of suffering. This has become a thing other areas of feminist activism like the “rape culture” hysteria. Feminism is enabling and rewarding borderline personality disorder, narcissism and histrionic disorder; in fact weaponising personality disorders into a political movement.

Where once a narcissistic “daddy’s little rich girl” on campus would be given feedback and her misconceptions corrected if she was receptive. Today a personality disorder can be indulged, encouraged and rewarded with complete impunity protected in a cone of “misogyny detection” force field in the event of criticism; itself an attack of “misogyny” and “how dare you” with the bouncer of a university disciplinary board minus due process. The same is true increasingly outside of campus as well.

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Oppressive Etiquette

There is a common notion that manners separate humans from the other animals. We are higher than the animals. We have manners because we are not animals. I completely disagree with this notion. Humans have manners not because we are not animals but precisely because we are animals. Manners or etiquette as I will now refer to them as is really nothing more than the dominance/submission behaviour we see in animals. The nature and degree of etiquette varies from culture to culture but in this it is like language. All humans speak some language and human brains are biologically to process language but which language is spoken depends on the culture of upbringing.

I have an untested hypothesis that the degree of etiquette in a society matches inequality in that society. Take the example of Edwardian England. In that period in the early 20th century inequality of wealth was at its zenith. At that time the degree of etiquette was at its most extreme. The separation between upstairs and downstairs staff in the great English houses, the forms and courtesies in the social arena and the protocols of ladies and gentlemen. A downstairs maid could never allow herself to be seen by the household family as she cleaned. There was limited fraternisation between the classes except as prescribed.

The next example I will use is shogunate Japan. In feudal Japan there was extreme inequality and this was reflected in the power of samurais over ordinary people. A samurai had the power of life and death over subjects. He could draw his sword and decapitate anyone for any and no reason. It is no wonder that the custom of bowing is so entrenched in Japanese culture. A biological act of submission seen in many animals. Reducing one’s height as an act of appeasement is universal not only among humans but across species. The top dog, underdog routine is familiar as is the tail between the legs. To express dominance in a challenge or as a bluff in reaction to danger the opposite holds true. A cat arches its back to increase its height. A dog will raise the hair on its neck. Seals will rear up into the air. Frill neck lizards flare their necks to increase their size. For humans hands on hips serves to increase at least our width. Raising our heads and “looking down our noses” slightly increases our height. The disparity in power relations has improved since feudal Japan but etiquette forms continue in more subtle ways.

For exhibit 3 there was the Jim Crow south in the United States. There was such inequality which translated into oppressive etiquette in a really extreme and deadly way. A black man just looking at a white woman the wrong way could be lynched.  It imposed impossible and onerous etiquette obligations on the black community. Anything could be construed as lynch worthy.

Enter the now dawning etiquette in the feminist age but before going there I will clarify further my thoughts on the link between inequality and etiquette. The uneven distribution of wealth in Britain reached its peak during the Edwardian period. Wealth became more evenly distributed in the decades following for various reason centred around redistribution measures by governments and wealth destruction episodes like the great depression. The waning inequality was matched by more relaxed standards of etiquette. This accelerated after WWII as did the redistribution of wealth. In the third quarter of the 20th century another peak occurred and that was the peak of wealth equality. Since the late 70s under Margaret Thatcher and onwards wealth has been becoming more concentrated among the very rich. We also saw in the 3rd quarter of the 20th century concern about a decline in good manners, young people not showing respect, people not knowing their place and so on. These concerns are all centred around lower etiquette standards stemming from a less stratified society. The same was true for other western countries. The decline in good manners at this times disguised the good news of a more egalitarian society. The good manners” in particular related to the treatment of women, opening doors, pulling out chairs  and the like. Women were not necessarily privileged but inter-sex relations became medium and currency for the expression of etiquette. Under my model it wasn’t so much the feminism of the 1970s which caused men not to open doors for women but a more relaxed climate of etiquette in general. If one does not have to bow to one’s master why would one bow to a women or open a door for her?

Today the world is moving towards extreme inequality of wealth but we have not seen the rise of etiquette forms to match. It is my prediction that we will. There may be a lag period. Just as in the Edwardian period the relationships between men and women we be the most natural fracture line for increasing forms of etiquette to flow. Enter the ready made rock formation already laid out with such fracture lines called feminism.

There have been campaigns to make men more appreciated by men and treated well. How to behave in the workplace. How to date. How to proposition a women, the answer being you must get a “yes” at every stage. How long you can look at a woman (remember Jim Crow). The the USA Tittle IX has been used used to impose ever more onerous etiquette obligations on men in College. Men must be aware that “she fears you” and must always be attentive to making women feel comfortable. Imagine substitution “white: for “woman” and “black” for man”. Jim Crow again. What constitutes sexual violence and rape on American campuses is becoming more vague. Some colleges have stipulated an eye contact time before it becomes a campus discipline issue.

Here is a post on the blog Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced. The gist if it is that a guy must behave as though he could be injured if a woman is spooked. The justification is because “preventing violent assault or murder”  is a daily routine for women.  She gives this advice.

My best friend will call or e-mail me the next morning, and I must answer that call or e-mail before noon-ish, or she begins to worry.

She calls every man a “Schrödinger’s Rapist”. He may or may not be a rapist. She  then gives this advice.

…you must be aware of what signals you are sending by your appearance and the environment.

In other words you must be a mind reader. This is REAL Jim Crow material. If she is mad and demented that is all tour fault. You should know before hand. If she strikes out unprovoked by you she is justified because she is a women living in a war zone of her own imagining. Pity the poor aspergers sufferer. Too bad for the bloke with awkward social skills.  This is oppressive etiquette.

Although seemingly unrelated the increasing inequality in our society will usher in a new more anxiety inducing onerous form of etiquette and feminists fears and hysterias will form the substructure for the form it takes. Some men will suffer a “lynching” like experience. Other men will be recruited as “white knights” to defend the honour of our ladies against the “rudeness” of socially fumbling awkward men. An opportunity for a game of “let you and him fight” over pretty old me and to the victor goes the spoils.

The best relationship I never had

This is a brief account of an earlier episode in my life.  The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

I had started working in a new work place in a new city. I did not have many friends and my life was very quiet. I was in the mood for more excitement in my life. I had unmet needs including a lack of experience with women.  In this workplace was Helen. She stood at 5 foot 9 inches making her about an inch taller than myself. She was not beautiful in a classic sense. Her face had some distinctive features including a prominent nose which in combination with her other facial features made her appear to me as a pretty face. She was impulsive, carefree to the point of careless, wild partying, heavy drinker and assertive where I was quiet, cautious, withdrawn, thoughtful and relatively sober. She had spunk and I was what you might call a dork. Helen’s work and punctuality was the subject of adverse performance feedback from her supervisors mainly due to her partying lifestyle. I very quickly developed a fascination with Helen to the point of obsession. She was never out of my mind. She was always friendly and ready to talk and I revelled in such occasions. I knew deep down that a relationship with her could never work but I had turned off my intellect and I could not think of anything else. I wanted her. I was in love. I had flipped from my normal caution into stupidity. From intellect to raw emotion.

To cut a long story short I was jilted. My working relationship with Helen deteriorated to hostility as she had not only rejected me but wanted that rejection to hurt. I descended into a deep depression to the point that my work performance was affected. My outlook on the world was very dark. I descended into the depths of a mental hell from which I emerged very slowly. In Jungian analysis it could be viewed as the shadow emerging and rather disastrously. In transactional analysis it could be viewed as a poorly adapted and not a very well protected Child after a lifetime of living in the Adult and following Parental precepts. However with psychology models one should keep a pinch of salt ready because they all have limitations and problems centred around unfalsifiability.

Helen went from partying most nights of the week to enter into several successive relationships with men. The most significant of these was to a fellow worker Simon. She was growing up a bit and her work had improved. Despite growing more mature she had deep insecurities which would sometimes manifest. Helen was extremely jealous and prone to acting out.  Then the stories of her turbulent relationship with Simon started emerging. Simon would come to work with a black eye. He would visit me at home after the latest argument with Helen. They were both living together not too far from myself. Helen would throw heavy pots across the room at Simon. Men at work would mock Simon behind his back for being “hen pecked”. The insecurity of Helen was the extraordinary good looks of Simon. Simon would be regularly propositioned by women. He had been voted by the women in the office as the most attractive man on site. He had extraordinary problems fending off lusty ladies. He was that rare species known as a “chick magnet”. A problem most men would envy and it was definitely not a problem I shared.

Simon shared with some other people at work including myself an account of Helen in a nightclub. Her group of female friends had some issues with another group of girls in this particular nightclub. It was resolved by Helen and her friends intended to take knives into the club to teach the other group a lesson. Simon persuaded Helen to call off this act of vengeance. He was very good at talking sense calmly and with reason. Helen and Simon eventually parted ways. Helen became a single mother to someone else’s baby.

I can make several observations from this story. First I was fascinated by what was a violent woman. I was ready to start a relationship with a violent woman. It was lucky for me that she wanted nothing to do with me. Another observation is that female on male domestic violence is an object of amusement for other men and women. There is a tradition of laughing at this form of domestic violence in the media and in films and I saw this in real life. For men it is a case of “scream quietly or the neighbours will hear”. What could Simon have done? The answer is nothing. There are no sympathetic police officers and quiet a few who will quickly arrest the male victim instead. There are few friends a male victim of domestic violence they can turn to. I was one such non judgemental ear for Simon. There is no lobby group for such victims. There are no political candidates who will waste any time on an issue which by general consensus is met with heads buried in the sand. There are no shelters for such men. There is nothing but derision for such male victims. There is only the never ending media tirade of “how violent men are” and how men must feel guilty about domestic violence against women.

Statistics in most jurisdictions show that domestic violence against man by women is about on par with domestic violence against women by men. The level of domestic violence in the gay and lesbian communities is on the same level as in the heterosexual community. Erin Pizzey founded the first women’s shelter in the world in Britain. For the trouble of pointing out the above facts she was precluded from a women’s group, was subjected to hate, had to have her mail vetted by the police for fear of letter bombs, received death threats and had her dog shot by angry feminists. She was forced to leave Britain for her own safety. The feminists were objecting ironically to the notion that women can also be very violent. Anne Cools in Canada opened up Canada’s second women’s shelter. She has also been subjected to hate for making similar observations to Erin Pizzey.

We all know Helens and Simons in our lives and if we haven’t buried our heads in the sand conclude that 1) it’s not anything more than a 1 in a million problem, 2) he must have have done something to deserve it, 3) that’s so funny and 4) Yay, girl power, go girl.

Time to get real. Time to stop pretending. Time to stop gazing at the world through ideologically tinted sunglasses. From the 1930s on the abuses by Stalin were clear for all to see but otherwise quiet intelligent socialists were hand waving them away, burying their heads in the sand and making up excuses. George Orwell is one notable exception. He was a socialist who spoke out against Stalin’s abuses. In the 1950s it was no longer possible to pretend as Khrushchev himself came clean about Stalin. We observe the same devices being used in feminism today in respect of violence by women. Time instead for some good old fashion intellectual honesty. Time to realise that domestic violence is not a gender issue. It is a criminal issue and a mental illness issue. It is not to be used for scavenging opportunities for idealogical feminists in their hate campaigns.

Why I am not a Feminist

My politics are of the left. I am a friend of the environment. I believe in a mixed economy with strong welfare. I eschew growth capitalist economic policies. I believe that democracy is increasingly becoming a corporate run oligarchy. My model of humanity is of the economy as a subset of society and of human society as a subset of the environment. As a result economic and population growth is not sustainable and can only be perused by driving more species into extinction.  This not being the subject of this blog I will not go into detail except to say that politically this is my home.  I am a member of the Australian Greens. I am a hetero male.

But I have a problem. Feminism is de rigueur for the left. I no longer identify with feminism. I have divorced myself from feminism. I have not divorced myself from feminism because I do not believe in the equality of the sexes. On the contrary I have divorced myself from feminism BECAUSE I DO believe in equality of the sexes. Whatever the dictionary definition of feminism, feminists do not practice what they preach. I have come to believe that feminism is a menace to the left, an embarrassment to the left and the achilles heel of the left.  I said “divorced”. Yes I was married to feminism. I was very passionate about feminism. I dovetailed nicely with my passion for human rights. My move away from feminism has been a troubling journey for me causing me much angst. I feel like the village atheist in a village of evangelical Christians.  I don’t think there was really a “road to Damascus” moment. Rather it has been a longer journey with a disease I might call ideological leprosy. That is bits and pieces falling off  my feminist ideology along until finally I had to just step out of  the burka of feminism and enjoy the freedom of fresh air on my body.  Strangely a feeling of lightness and freedom has come over me since I have come out and decided come what may. The relief of putting a heavy load.

As an atheist I have often heard the story of committed Christians, strong believers from fine Christian homes and communities who devoted themselves to the task of reading the bible cover to cover and came out of the experience as atheists. The case that a little knowledge can make you a believer but a lot of knowledge can make you a skeptic. So it was for me in the area of feminism. What an eye opener!  What a shocker! First there was feminist anthropology. Once there was a Garden of Eden which was a matriarchal paradise and everyone was happy and peace reigned supreme. Then came along the patriarchy to take control of the Agrarian Revolution. This was like the fall in the Garden of Eden. Since then everything has been war, empires and imperial exploitation. Not all feminists buy into this narrative. It’s nonsense. There is a comparison with religion here. Not all Christians buy the Genesis narrative of creation. I contented myself with safe in the knowledge I did not have to buy into feminist anthropology. Feminism was about equality and human rights and believing in fantasy notions of a prehistoric matriarchy wasn’t needed.

I had my first WTF moment one day listening to the radio as a feminist talked about ALL heterosexual sex being exploitation of women in ALL circumstances. It was an early hint that feminism having a dark side. I put this out of my mind because feminism is about the equality of the sexes. Then came my first disillusionment moment. I picked up a book by Katie Roiphe called “Sex Fear and Feminism”. It was opposed to feminism. The book was an account of her years in college but she made reference to studies about the incidence of rape and domestic violence.  The first knowledge I was to have about flawed and fraudulent research methodology. I was surprised but several worrying questions in my mind seemed to fall into place, mainly the inconsistency between the claims of what males were  and my experience and how weak and vulnerable women are and in need of protection and the alternate narrative of how strong women are, very often in the same sentence without irony or insight by the feminist in question.

Roiphie’s book is a great personal account of what she described as an “Alice in Wonderland” experience of weirdness of the feminist politics at college where nothing made sense and anything might be falling down the rabbit hole next. She did not write a very detailed analysis of feminism preferring to tell her story. That forensic microscopic analysis was provided by Renee Denfeld in her book “The New Victorians” and feminist Christina Hoff Summers in her book  “Who Stole Feminism”. In it is the statistic of the oft repeated “1 in 4 women are raped”. The source was found to be very flawed study by Mary Koss. Only 1/4 of those Koss identified as “rape victims” actually claimed they were raped. The other 3/4 were assigned “rape victim” status by Koss on the basis of a questionnaire for as little as regretting the night before the morning after. Domestic violence occurred equally between men and women as perpetrators and domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationships runs at the same level as heterosexual relationships. Everywhere Summers looked there was flaw or fraud. I also learned the difference between “gender feminism” and “equity feminism”. I decided with identifying with “equity feminism” because feminism is really about the equality of the sexes and all the above could be put behind. The problem that arose was that equity feminists and moderate feminists actually used the flawed statistics on a routine basis, statistics which I knew were dodgy. By this time I was not talking about feminism with anyone any more. It was filed away. I still identified with it but I was no longer passionate about it.

It was becoming more frustrating trying to discuss feminism or to air differences of opinions. If I agreed with a feminist that was well and good as a male who knew a little on the subject. If I disagreed then suddenly I had no right to an opinion as a male and I had “male privilege”. My gender matter nothing before. My opinion should also have been “male privilege” precluded when I was in agreement. I have also noticed this between feminists themselves; between feminists who have been raped and those who have not. Any feminist can speak on the subject of rape when in agreement with the party line of the “rape culture” line but those who are without the “rape card” are excluded when they challenge the party line on rape or any other issue. The years rolled on and I came to have a looser and looser attachment to feminism. It was no longer near the top of my passions but was a bit heavy and near the bottom. I was being asked to feel responsible for all the bad things other men do. Indeed not just responsible but actually guilty. I was also supposed to be innately evil myself on account of being male. Discussing differences was like arguing with a Spanish Inquisition who have already made up their minds about your guilt. This was not equality of the sexes. This was religious fervour and very likely actually mental illness in many cases.

It became apparent to me that feminism takes it’s definition from “equity feminism”, apple pie all things sweet and nice yadda yadda yadda but its actual influence comes from the darker “gender feminism” side and unfortunately so do more and more government policies and laws. So where is the influence of “equity feminism” in all this. Nowhere. “Equity feminists” spend more time spin doctoring and apologising and making noises about “I’m not that sort of feminist” than they spend actually countering their darker sisters. There is a sort of “honour among thieves” code operating.

Fast forward to 2010. In Australia Julia Gillard becomes the first female prime minter of the country. She attracted a lot of animosity. There was a lot of hate driven by shock jocks on the carbon tax issue. At this time the word “misogyny” was being branded about but the adjective was being devalued by being used needlessly. Sure there was hate of Julia but hate of one woman is not hate of all women any more than hate of Tony Abbott is not hate for all men. Pointing this out would label you as a misogynist too. Misogyny is hate of women, not one woman and misandry is hate of all men, not one man.

Another experience was the subject of a possible male contraceptive pill. This is something that brings out all the feminist insecurities. Fond of repeating that men need to take responsibility for the children they sire they are strangely reluctant to actually allow men the agency to take on this responsibility. The main objection being that “men will forget to take the pill” and that women will bear the greater consequences of this. No drug has ever been denied scheduling on the basis that people may forget to take it. This objection also ignores the fact that women do not have to stop contraception themselves. In fact the result would be far better. No child would be born unless wanted by both parents.

I finally got tired of all the fictions, myths, spin doctoring, the misandry, the denial of inconvenient facts, the unfair methods of arguing, all the vile and vitriol and I lost patience with moderate feminists to step up to the mark. I decided it was time to divorce feminism altogether. In future posts I will explain why feminism is one of the best things the one percent had going for it and why I believe feminism is the achilles heel of the left.

When I finally peeled back the last bit of feminist wallpaper I felt like a load had been lifted from my shoulders. I can appreciate how Darwin must have felt. He was very sickly but once he was forced to publish the “Origin of Species” by the threat of Alfred Wallace publishing his theory Darwin’s health improved.  Dan Barker in his book “Losing Faith in Faith” tells the story of how he finally gave up on religion and the lifting of the burden. I have heard this also from other former Christians. Pretending to believe what is false is a great drain on energy.