Thursday, April 28, 2011

...and what of the boys?

I’m morbidly curious about feminism backlash. The F word is still not considered very “cool” by mainstream standards – and if you should share your beliefs with others, more than likely they will tell you how “far women have come,” that women have just as many opportunities as men, and stop whining you dirty man-hating hippie.

While these are pretty apathetic and ignorant comments at best, there are far worse still floating around. Something that so many people claim to be “irrelevant” still conjures up a decent amount of defamatory statements.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve recently seen a rebirth of this classic anti-feminist argument: feminism hurts our men.

This is far from a new tactic, but puzzling how an idea so antiquated would rear its ugly head in 2011. Guess the right wing is out of new ideas....either that, or they’re too busy solving the problems of the economy – oh!

To summarize this school of thought: feminism is bad for [heterosexual] men because without traditional gender roles, men…..gosh darn it…..just….don’t know what to do! While women are advancing their education, in their professions, putting off marriage (or rejecting it altogether), and realizing they don’t need a man to ride in on his white horse and fix the toilet – this has somehow turned our men into immature, lost little boys. The Little Boy Syndrome then reinforces the desire for heterosexual women to not seek out a mate, since prospects swimming in the dating pool aren’t very appealing.

And, there goes the neighborhood. The traditional family is lost! Our morality is declining! The sanctity of marriage flushed down that toilet fixed by a female! Zomg.

The most recent and nauseating display of this anti-feminist backlash comes from Tea Party nutjob Allen West (R-FL). Here is what he told the attendees of a Women Impacting Nation (WIN) meeting last week:

Hmmm. Interesting. So, basically the proper role for women is seeing to it that we produce great men – whether it be through birthing them or sacrificing our Selves to make sure they have all they need to be great. If we women demand any type of self-respect or independence, we are in effect “castrating” our men.

And they wonder why we’re such angry types.

Seriously though, for the 6,746th time, feminism is not about “castrating” men, literally or figuratively (nice job at hijacking the message). It’s about mutual respect and having agency. In the words of bell hooks, “feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.”

Feminism is not detrimental to men – in fact, it’s just the opposite. Feminism supports dismantling repressive gender roles, putting an end to required “machismo” and the like. Both sexes are free to pursue interests that are not traditionally in line with their gender. Women and men share the responsibilities of providing for the household. Feminism intersects with issues like race and class and seeks to eradicate their respective -isms.

The fact that Rep. West’s argument paints a picture of men as so god damn incompetent should be just as insulting to them as it is to women. Feminism does not preach that men are inherently incompetent – however, if a man does feel incompetent due to the presence of strong women, that problem lies within the individual (coughAllenWestcough).

No, we liberal "Planned Parenthood Code Pink women" are not the problem – we are the solution.

And please read more bell hooks.


Anonymous said...

Before I start, Just an FYI. My comment has been copied and posted to various MRA boards so even if this is censored - i know you read it and I know the men and women who care about actual equality have read it.

Start ~
You do realize that you lose all credibility by linking the Tea Party to the MRA movement.. Right?

Especially considering that we as a group despise the Tea Party for their idiocy.

Good Work.

PS - no, men are not acting like little castrated boys. We are just avoiding crazy women who buy into the feminist ideology like the plague. We are not stupid, do not say feminism is about equality by quoting one persons definition of feminism. A dictionary (a much better source for the meaning of the words you use) defines feminism as: : the THEORY of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. The inherent problem lay within the actual proposed measures coming from said group. All of which give the word "equality" a new meaning. One that tips the scales towards women every time, with the exception of cases involving overwhelming evidence against the female in question.

Lisa said...

Thanks for your post. First, I don’t understand how I’m losing credibility when I did not link the entire Tea Party to the MRA movement – or even Rep. West. I simply linked to the video of his misogynistic comments. Whether or not he is an active MRA, I have yet to see. Nor can I speak for the entire TP agenda – they can’t even seem to agree on social issues within their own faction.

I’m guessing you’ve never taken a philosophy class, or you’d know Webster’s is not where you go to find answers. At no point did I say I believe feminism is about “equality.” I do not consider myself an Equality Feminist, since “equality” doesn’t cover it. WHO exactly do people want to be “equal” to? Men aren’t even equals among themselves. If you’ll re-read my post, you’ll see I quoted bell hooks as saying, “feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” Ending these aspects should not be, as you say, something that “tips the scales towards women every time” – denigrating men in order to achieve this goal. Ending sexism, exploitation and oppression is good for all.

Anonymous said...

"I’m guessing you’ve never taken a philosophy class, or you’d know Webster’s is not where you go to find answers." - It is in fact a great place to find definitions, which is exactly what I did. Be careful with your assumptions.

Also, “feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression." Is that why on march 27, 1997 the US government outlawed FGM by pressure from feminists? The ban is sexist at it's very core as it fails to protect the other half of the population from non-consensual genital cutting. Male Circumcision is genital mutilation - just as female genital cutting is mutilation.

All I'm saying is that repeatedly I hear feminist cries for equality yet all of their proposed and passed legislation is gender specific - hardly just or equal.

PS if you're looking for equality for all, consider a more egalitarian name. Feminism was a great movement, seeking real equality - and it did great things. However second and third wave feminism is destroying the very foundation of equality. One law and regulation at a time...

Lisa said...

Excellent! If we want to make something more palatable to the masses, let’s just change the name. Something more…warm and fuzzy should do it. Just like Burger King: Have it your way.

FYI: “Answers” and “definitions” are two different things.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, ill thank you for responding.

Secondly, they may not have taught you this is philosophy class, but philosophy is none other than theory. While it can be helpful it can also be harmful - and should never be accepted as fact (FYI there is a difference between theory and fact).

Third, keep the name feminism for all I care but don't expect everyone to accept your ideology. Especially one that arrogantly touts equality yet blatantly disagrees with it.

Lisa said...

Well, thanks for stopping by! I guess I should add the disclaimer that is in fact a blog, where I write about my own thoughts and feelings relating to such theories.

I’m well aware not everyone accepts my ideology – and not everyone accepts yours either.

Holly said...

Jeepers, I'm used to having my students diss third wave feminism ("Why are women still whining about this stuff? Women can be CEOs now, and if only 2 percent of CEOs are, indeed, women, well then, that's because most women CHOOSE to do other things!"), but even they are usually okay with second wave feminism--making sexual harassment illegal in the workplace? Naming rape and domestic violence as crimes, and establishing legislation and organizations to help combat them? Making it illegal to fire women for being pregnant? Title IX? Those... all seem like good things to me! And it's our friends in the second wave we have to thank for all of them, and much, much more...

Also, circumcision in men, and FGM for women... a leeeeetle bit different. Not to say that circumcision in men isn't something which parents should think very carefully about, but, as Eve Ensler notes in The Vagina Monologues, FGM is just a leeeeetle more destructive for the womenfolk: "In a man it would range from amputation of most of the penis, to removal of all the penis. Short-term results include: tetanus, hemorrhages, cuts in the urethra, bladder, and vaginal walls. Long term: chronic uterine infection, increased agony and danger during childbirth, and early deaths." Perhaps something most of us can comfortably be against?

Anonymous said...


First and foremost, NON-consensual genital cutting is a heinous crime against humanity. You will never once hear me say that forced genital cutting of either sex is worse than the other. They are both terribly wrong.

Secondly, there is a terrible disconnect between what people believe happens during a male circumcision and what actually is removed during said procedure. Just so you can make an educated decision (though parents should not have the right to remove anything from their children without medical necessity) in the future - because it is still legal to cut boys.

Here is a list of the tissues removed during circumcision -

Special emphasis on the: Foreskin, Frenar band, Meissner's Corpuscles, Frenulum, Dartos Fascia, and the Dorsal Nerves.

Anonymous said...


My apologies, I should have explained why I believe "second and third wave feminism is destroying the very foundation of equality. One law and regulation at a time."

It is not WHAT the second wave has achieved, but more so HOW they achieved it. Using Affirmative Action and gender specific laws/regulations will and is ultimately causing the adverse and opposite effect on society. Any/Every law should be gender neutral, and until then - what second and third wave feminism is trying to achieve will not be equality.

I thank you both for your time and valid debate.

KJ said...

@Anonymous- If male circumcision is so bad (not saying it is or isn't, but I have no personal experience with it), then what are you (and other men) doing about it? Why is it feminism's job to solve the problem? Frankly, I'm sick of people complaining that feminism isn't addressing their pet issue, but not doing anything to work on their pet issue themselves. If you see a problem, you work to change it. That's how social justice should roll. You can make your case and try to recruit allies, but you need to be prepared to take the lead role. So what are you doing about male circumcision?

Anonymous said...

First and foremost, i dont need feminism to do anything for me. In fact I despise its recent courses of action (read my earlier post) for their proposed and passed sexist legislation. How hard would it be to change a few words and make gender neutral laws that protect everyone?

Also, if you visit the website I posted and look at the tissues removed from non-consenting infants, you will see that it is an issue on par with FGM and exceeds it in urgency when the knowledge of frequency butts its ugly head. More males in the united states alone are victims of forced genital cutting than females are in the entire world. Also, the worst type of FGM (the removal of the clitoris and external labia minor and majora) happens less than 10% of the time. Did you know that infant male circumcision is the most frequently performed surgery in the united states? Not one of them chose to or even knows what is removed from them at that age.

As for what I do to stop the wave of mutilation?

I go to DC for march 27 every year for genital integrity awareness week in protest of the sexist ruling some 15 years ago. I regularly spread information such as the link 3 posts above. I donate to , I've sign petitions at, democracyinaction, and the ashley montagu resolution to end genital mutilation of children worldwide.

I also actively provide local OB/GYN with statistics and information of the harms they are causing to young boys.

Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all those who oppose forced genital cutting - regardless of sex.