About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (sort of a bad wordplay on Orwell and machismo) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear language'), the umbrella of several of my literary projects in Dutch. This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

White Whine #2: 'Feminazis'

The common image of the screaming, bra-burning, feminist with a square jaw and copious armpit hair is not only ridiculous and demeaning, it is also untrue. There are a lot of misconceptions about feminism. I'll try to be as brief as possible here, but what men feel selective outrage over (e.g. men being portrayed as stupid doofuses in commercials) is actually a much wider range of topics that hurts both men and women. A few statements:

- Not all women are feminist, and not all women understand feminism.
- If an individual woman happens to be a bad person, it's fundamentally wrong to attribute her bad traits to her being a woman.
- Physical, verbal and sexual violence against women is still an enormous problem.
- Feminism has no need for a 'male perspective' precisely because our entire society is informed by this very same male perspective.
- Feminism by not hostile to men, but it is hostile to patriarchy.

The common shorthand is that "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people". That they get treated fair and square, not written off, insulted, lavished in unwarranted praise, treated with kid gloves or fawned over simply because they happen to women.

If men who felt selective anger at being caricatured, what they need to blame is not feminism but patriarchy in general. In fact, if we would all take a few seconds to think that this sort of minor inconvenience is what women and other minorities face every day, we might begin to understand their plight.

One last thing: it's dumb to portray men as some sort of manchild-neanderthals, but as a man, I must say that no matter how coarse, this is a stereotype that we owe to ourselves. Some men still even pride themselves on it. And really, one joke in bad taste and men are hurt? I guess you've never tried to go in an online multiplayer game as a woman.