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Tuesday 31 August 2021

Me So Guy Knee

Welcome, dear reader.

Many, many things in the pipeline, but today a short, sharp shock of an outing to address something that is ubiquitous but rarely presents itself so openly and completely, and in a manner worth taking more than a tweet to eviscerate.

As so often in my travels, I encountered something about how we think about things that presents too good an opportunity to pass up. It also provides an opportunity for a study in the noble art of fisking.

In this instance, it comes from a video posted by a misogynist, who shall remain nameless for the purpose of this exercise. 

Let us begin:

You know what I find funny about your account and how much you post and whine and cry about how the evil patriarchy is keeping you down?

And straight out of the gate with a falsehood. In fact, of the many vocal feminists I've engaged with on social media, I've yet to encounter one that does this. What many of them do state, quite correctly, is that the patriarchy is keeping all of us down. That is, even while you're a beneficiary of the patriarchy, it's harming you and keeping you down; keeping you from being all you could be; keeping society from being all it could be. Of course, to understand this, you need to understand precisely what 'down' is. 

You won in life. You’re an attorney. Nobody stopped you. Not the patriarchy, not other men.

This overlooks the simple and demonstrable fact that it's possible to succeed even in the face of overwhelming adversity. There are many examples of people who've overcome adversity to the degree that most would define them as successful, but one only need look at the 2016 election to show the silliness of that. That an unqualified, semi-literate, racist, admittedly misogynistic, incompetent buffoon incapable of planning five seconds into the future and laden with every possible species of toxicity found in humans can be elected over somebody - whatever else you might say about her - who is massively more qualified and with a lifetime of experience in public service and diplomacy, reveals this lie for what it is. Only in a society in which the patriarchy holds sway is this even possible.

There's a wonderful observation by Ida Auken, Danish politician, that when people achieve a degree of success that limits their exposure to the inequalities routinely faced by their demographic, it's really easy to forget that a problem exists. To achieve some measure of success through one's own efforts against adversity isn't an indicator that there isn't a problem, especially when the problem is perfectly apparent from a quick perusal of statistics.

In fact, it should be telling you something that somebody who's worked through that adversity to attain success is still railing against those challenges. Think carefully about all the people who faced similar travails and didn't make it. 

Hillary Clinton could never reasonably be described as anything other than successful, and yet...
I’m sure you’ve faced adversities in life and I’m sure some of them may have been pretty horrific, and I’m sorry for that, and that sucks, but everybody else suffers through them too.

This is classic 'pull your socks up' gaslighting. The notion that one person's challenges can be compared to another's is asinine, not least because, in terms of the emotional histories that bring us to events, no two people can be compared.

To go further and dismiss somebody's lived experience on the basis that 'other people have problems too' isn't just callous, it's privilege writ large; it's entitlement.

The fact that you sit there and blame all men for all women’s problems

Which didn't happen. Of course, when you say 'patriarchy', some idiots just hear 'men', which is daft. 

More than anything, the patriarchy is a state of mind, in exactly the same way that ALL systemic bigotry is states of mind. Just as white supremacy is a state of mind so embedded and internalised that even those subjugated by it act within the confines of it. If you think that's not true, I invite you to go and listen to Ann Widdecombe (UK politician) talking about how women shouldn't be allowed to conduct the mass.

We all internalise misogyny in exactly the same way we internalise racism; full on misogynists like this do it, women do it, I do it. Yes, you read that right; I'm a misogynist. And a racist. How could I not be, when I'm not only a product of a patriarchal white supremacist society in which these mind-viruses are systemic, but actually benefit from them? I'm really trying hard to overcome it, though. It isn't easy. Nobody likes to learn that they're a bigot. Sometimes, though, we just have to suck it up, or we'll never learn, and we'll never be anything else. 

You might be willing to accept your bigotry. I'm not willing to accept yours, mine or anybody else's.

shows how totally selfish you are, and how lack of awareness that you have in your own life and everybody else’s.

Syntactical hilarity aside, the irony of a response to somebody expressing their lived experience decrying it as selfish is quite impressive. To go on to talk about self-awareness is so colossally stupidly ironic that even a sitcom writer would pass over it as not credible.

See, you live in the safest time in human history right now, and you like you’ve been tortured.

In fact, in some respects, it's considerably less safe a time than in the past. How much thought do you give to whether you really need to go out after dark? 

Honestly, you should avail yourself of some statistics. Here's a starting point, the United Nations facts and figures page on violence against women.

For the most part, in general in Western cultures, it’s as equal as it’s gonna get.

Nice. There it is. "This is all you're gonna get, deal with it".

No fucking thank you. That you're OK with it only tells us how deeply misogynistic you are. Those of us whose world extends beyond our own noses would prefer to keep improving the society we and our loved ones must live in. 

In fact, technically, you have more rights than men do.

Oh, boy. Here it comes. 

You have the right to choose not to be a parent

So do you. 

because of your right to have an abortion.

You have the right to have an abortion as well. Do you need one?

Facetiousness aside, you have this all arse-ways up, for all sorts a of reasons, but let's start with the basics.  The 'right' to have an abortion isn't a right in and of itself. Rather, it flows as a natural consequence of rights we all have. Primarily, it stems from the notion of bodily autonomy which, for those where you are that haven't looked at the constitution any deeper than 'but mah guns!' is a function of several of the inclusions in your bill of rights. The first is the first, because freedom of speech and thought is the basic outward expression of bodily autonomy. It also stems from the fourth amendment guaranteeing freedom from government interference in one's person without probable cause, and the ninth and fourteenth amendments in their provisions to guarantee rights not specifically enumerated in other amendments and no interference without due process respectively.

It's also worth noting that women aren't the only ones who can have an abortion, but I have a feeling getting into that discussion will cause your little brain to explode.

Ultimately, abortion is the exercise of a single right; bodily autonomy. You have the right to bodily autonomy. Nobody has any more rights than you do.

We don’t have that right; we have no rights to our child.

 Child? I thought we were talking about abortion rights. You should get yourself to a biology class. What you're talking about isn't a child, it's a foetus. And you're quite right that you don't have the right to use a woman's body as an incubator without her consent. Do you know somebody who has this right you're complaining about not having?

But here’s the thing, though. Men and women have different advantages in society, and in life – nature – because we’re different and that’s how we’re built, and you’ve failed to acknowledge that.

In fact, I think you'll find that this has been and is being acknowledged. That's entirely the fucking point. Here you are, acknowledging your different advantages whining about somebody pointing them out, and then you want to say they're going unacknowledged?  

And that's OK, that’s fine. You can live by the sword and then die by it

No idea what you were trying to achieve with this nonsensical cliché. You should do what I do, and avoid them like the plague. 

because, at the end of the day, whatever trials and tribulations you go through in life are, for the most part, random.

In fact, a big part of the problem is precisely that it isn't random. Of course, I don't know what personal definition of 'random' you're talking about, which might be factor. In the sciences, we define the term 'random' as 'statistically independent', which basically means that, of a range of potential outcomes, any outcome is exactly as probable as any other.

When we're talking about, for example, violence - domestic or general - there is a very heavy statistical weighting that shows that violence against women is very much the opposite of random. The same is true of every challenge routinely faced my any demographic. if it were actually random, dude, we wouldn't be able to say it was systemic. That is IS systemic shows that it's anything but random.  

Your failures and successes are all your own.

To an extent, certainly, but that extent isn't the whole story.

In fact, it wouldn't be difficult to argue that, in many cases, those who've achieved success have done so not in spite of the adversity they've faced but because of it; because the person who came out of those adversities was different person than the one who went in.

My mother, for example, was horribly abused and beaten by my father for years. Afterwards, she had a strong sense of social justice, and went on to university and qualified as a social worker. Worth noting that many survivors go on to community-based work such as social work, healthcare, law, etc. Trauma changes you.

Yeah, you’re gonna come up against roadblocks and mountains and stuff like that, but that’s life.

And there's the admonition to 'suck it up' again. What's most fascinating in this is that attitude is nowhere to be seen in your response to what's been posted about men. I see very little sucking it up in your attitude, I only see whining at the suggestion that something should be done about the patriarchy, and simpering about how you have it bad, too.

I have a favourite analogy that I wish I could claim credit for here:

If your wife came to you and told you that her father had died, would your response be 'everybody dies'? If it would, you're a dick. If it wouldn't, you need to revisit your entire approach to this topic. 

Everybody has to go through that, including men.

It's hilarious that you think this is any sort of rebuttal, especially in the presence of somebody who, contrary to your complaints, is on record as being as concerned about the damage systemic misogyny does to men as well.

Worse, though, you seem unable to grasp a really simple concept; privilege. Women face societal challenges purely as a function of their gender and society's inherent misogyny. Men face none of those challenges. That's not to say we face no challenges at all, but we don't face the same ones, and women also face many of the challenges men do, but with the additional challenges inherent in systemic societal misogyny.

I know you don’t think that, and that’s OK, but your rebuttal to everything that your ideology is challenged to is ‘waha, male tears, wooh!’

Oooh, ideology as a pejorative and playing the martyr. Very common tactics among bigots, which makes me wonder what other bigotries you have hiding under that face-badger.

That’s not an argument.

Of course it isn't, nor was it employed.  

You just wanna cry on twitter and have everybody acknowledge how great you are, and how brave.

Your logical fallacy is: appeal to motivation 

This is nothing but poisoning the well, which is very definitely not a good argument, because it's fallacious. Luckily, you're in the right place, because logic is what we do here.

I'll let you have the last word, but as if I'd said it. 

You’re not brave. 

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