Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Feminism | 50 comments

Debunking Modern Feminism, Part 1

Note: What follows does not apply to all feminists, but only to modern feminist mobs that you’re likely to encounter on sites like Jezebel, Blame the Patriarchy, and others. Further, all women owe much to the efforts of early feminists who helped open doors and give Western women the freedoms that we enjoy today.
_______________________________________________

I get asked this a lot, so I’ll answer, briefly for now, and later, in greater detail, with statistics and links. Why is opposing modern feminism important to me? Well, for many reasons. First, I’ve experienced feminist bullying first hand, and it was horrifying. I have never encountered a less compassionate group of people in my life. What was my crime? I stated that it was wrong for feminists to publicly attack two young women who were brave enough to say that being asked to coffee in an elevator is no big deal (it isn’t). This was years ago, and things have only gotten worse since. Every man who voices an objection to anything feminists say is labeled a misogynist and accused of mansplaining. These accusations have been lobbed at some of the most kind and honorable people I know.

Feminists are blurring the definition of rape to where “eye rape” is now actually a thing. Seriously. Eye rape. This does a huge disservice to rape survivors, both male and female, who have already suffered enough. The last thing they need is to have their traumatic experiences compared to “eye rape” or drunk sex.

I hate that feminists smear “Nice Guys” and accuse them of having ulterior motives. Some may; some may not, but how is a guy supposed to show a woman that he likes her? And what’s the problem with being sexually attracted to a woman that you’re friends with? This could lead to a great relationship, or it could lead to nothing at all, but there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it.

Feminists despise free speech and use every weapon in their arsenal to silence both allies and opponents. Being that afraid of criticism is a clear sign that your ideas don’t and won’t stand up to scrutiny.

I hate terms like “rape culture,” “patriarchy,” “mansplaining,” “dudebro,” “privilege,” “male gaze,” “objectification,” “sexualization,” “creep,” and “misogyny.” They are generally used to describe both everything and nothing in particular. The purpose of these terms is emotional manipulation, and many good men fall for it like dominoes in a row.

Feminists are consistently anti-science. They prefer personal anecdote over evidence, but only if that anecdote fits their ideology.

I hate that feminists completely ignore the rights of men, and only give occasional lip service to the rights of people of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and others in need of help.

Many feminists make their feminism a career. And I don’t respect people whose career is to make others miserable.

I hate that feminists use statistics to perpetuate lies. I hate their constant hypocrisy.

I hate that feminism teaches women to be victims and whiners, rather than taking responsibility for their own actions and decisions. Women are not as pathetic and weak as feminists would have us believe.

Further, feminists can’t seem to make up their mind as to whether women and men are the same or different. News flash: We’re a sexually dimorphic species with significant physical differences. And that doesn’t just mean that some men are better at weight-lifting:http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/how-male-female-brains-differ. At this point, I think it is fair to say that on average, women are better at some things, while men are at others. But this doesn’t define where any individual falls on the spectrum of ability, and discrimination on the basis of sex is both illegal and unacceptable.

Some feminists are trans-phobic, because the logical conclusion of viewing gender as a harmful social construct is to do away with it completely, making transgender persons even more marginalized and stigmatized than they already are. On the other hand, other feminists believe that lesbians must have sex with transgender women, even if those women have fully male bodies. According to them, to do less would be discrimination.

Finally, feminist theory is a mess. It’s based on loose facts and snippets taken from postmodernism. Rationalism is what drew me to skepticism, and feminism is the exact opposite of that.

In sum, feminists have managed to prove every negative stereotype about women imaginable — they’re illogical, irrational, histrionic, dishonest, manipulative, emotional, and use men to achieve their goals, whatever those goals may be. Because that part isn’t entirely clear, not even to them.
_____________________________________________
I know there are many feminists who are good people and who do good work. I realize that women are suffering in many countries in ways that we don’t even dare to imagine. Further, I don’t believe that women have achieved full equality here, especially in terms of reproductive rights, which are constantly under attack by conservatives. However, online feminists aren’t dealing with these issues. They’re too busy reading negative comments about their selfish rants and publishing those comments as proof positive of the need for feminism. It’s a sad state of affairs indeed.

  • MichaelSteane

    You are seriously mistaken in saying that women have not achieved equality in terms of reproductive rights. Apart from having 8 methods of contraception available to them, they have the right to put the baby up for adoption, give it up, or, if within the legal timeframe, have an abortion. A man who gets a woman pregnant, even as a result of her lying about being on the pill, has NO choices. It is men who have a very, very long way to go before they have equality in terms of reproductive rights.

    • Aoi Warai

      This is hard to argue with, despite my initial emotional knee-jerk when I read it. I made a mental list of the choices men and women have, to compare.

      Between the two sexes, women seem to be only ones with recognizable choices at the moment. Men don’t get to decide if they’re going to be fathers; women get to decide parenthood for themselves, and the man they got DNA from.

      That’s not to say they aren’t under threat from religious conservatives. Men are too, and that’s awful considering they would take even more away from us than we already don’t have. It’s not something for men to turn a blind eye to; the religious conservatives and the feminazis draw conspicuously similar conclusions from variously different premises. Gynocentrist chivalry is a popular norm in both those camps, even if they differ on the issue of “male authority”.

      Men and women who don’t want to live under the moral tyranny of these cultists should foster solidarity. Everyone needs reproductive rights and control, it’s not a zero sum situation.

      • bluharmony

        I agree that women have more options, but they also bear more of the burdens and risks. I think that’s as fair as we can make it at this time. The point is these rights are under attack and you don’t have to look very far to see women called murderers for having abortions. Not to mention the recent Hobby Lobby decision. Including contraception in health care is not costly and religion should not stand in the way.

        • karen straughan

          So much win in this article, but still some way to go.

          As much as I find it objectionable to call women murderers for having abortions, if one considers the pro-life position that a human being is indeed being intentionally killed (most often for convenience, though that’s perhaps a crass way to put it), then I’m actually surprised that these people are only shouting “murderer” at women who have abortions.

          Let us consider a fairly recent paper that was published in a high-ranking medical ethics journal, on something called “post-birth abortion”. The two authors argued that mothers should have the right to commit infanticide if they preferred not to have a child right now. Their rationale was that babies are not sentient, therefore not full human beings, and like a person who unknowingly had a winning lottery ticket in their pocket and then lost it without ever discovering they’d won the lottery, a baby would have no knowledge or understanding of what it was losing. According to the authors, this reasoning would apply to infants that had not reached the stage of understanding “later” or “tomorrow” (so, up to age 2 years, basically)–the mother’s right to not be inconvenienced trumped said child’s right to life, and she should have the right to kill her child without it being considered a crime.

          Needless to say, the authors got called murderers and received all kinds of abuse and threats. And I would assume that you (or anyone with any sense of decency) might feel the extreme backlash was justified.

          Are you sickened yet? Are you wondering if I made this horror show up, just as a hypothetical example to prove my point? Because I’m not–there are people who actually think this should be a thing, and they get space in major journals of medical ethics.

          However irrational you think pro-lifers might be in their beliefs, *I* believe they are mostly genuine in their conviction that abortion is tantamount to what those two authors proposed in that journal–to them, it’s the killing of helpless human beings, mostly for the sake of convenience. In light of that, the shouting of “murderer” is not a case of women’s reproductive rights falling under attack. In fact, given how pro-lifers feel about what abortion is, I consider it rather mild. I’m almost certain that if those “ethicists” got their way, you and many other people would consider the killing of toddlers to be everyone’s business–not just a matter of merely a woman’s private decision. You might even call a woman who did such a thing a murderer…

          Anyway, that’s one nitpick, and I bring it up mainly because the pro-life lobby has been consistently portrayed by feminists as monsters whose only motivation is to control women’s bodies. This is as uncharitable and disingenuous as saying the many people who took offence to that journal article are only motivated by a desire to control women’s lives and decisions and deny them autonomy.

          And this brings me to Hobby Lobby. I mostly like Jaclynn Glenn, but I think she, and many atheists, are dead wrong on this one. I have heard all kinds of rhetoric from people who should know better that Hobby Lobby is “blocking access” to contraception. In reality, they do nothing of the kind–they have a moral objection to *providing funding* for specific types of contraception that are classified as abortifacient (or potentially abortifacient). Hobby Lobby is not preventing any employee from obtaining such methods of contraception on their own dime. They are not “forcing their values” on their employees, who are free to use whatever form of birth control they choose as long as they find someone else to pay for it. The employees of Hobby Lobby are as “free from religion” as they would be if they were not working for anyone.

          Saying, “I’m not going to purchase this product for you” is NOT the same as forcing someone to not use that product, nor is it “blocking access” to that product. Forcing Hobby Lobby to provide this particular coverage (4 forms of contraception out of 20, the other 16 of which they do cover, mind you) *would be a form of coercion* and would violate their freedom of conscience/religion as a family-owned company.

          More than this, as far as I can tell, religion does not stand in the way of coverage for these four forms of birth control–they’re still covered under Obamacare regulations, just by the government, not by Hobby Lobby. The Hobby Lobby decision did not decide IF these contraceptives would be covered, but by WHOM they would be covered.

          Do you still think the Hobby Lobby decision represents an attack on women’s reproductive rights? Because I’m just not seeing it.

          Moving on, abortion is not an equal rights issue. I’m sorry, but it’s not, since men have no such right under the law. If women had no right to abortion, men and women would have an equal right to abortion. And while I don’t believe men should have ANY right to actual abortion, you cannot claim that women gaining the legal right to abortion created “equality” between men and women. No such equality can exist.

          At best, it’s an issue of the right to bodily/personal autonomy, or the right to consent, or refuse consent, to the burdens and obligations of parenthood, or even, perhaps, the right to be free from involuntary servitude. But here lies the rub. If the issue were framed in this way–in the only way it rationally and reasonably can be framed–then it becomes a *human rights issue* rather than a feminist one. At which point, we would need to ask ourselves some questions:

          If consenting to sex does not equal consenting to parenthood for women, why does it for men?

          If forcing a woman to support a fetus she doesn’t want with her body for 9 months is an issue of personal/bodily autonomy, why is forcing a man to support a child he didn’t want with the labor of his body, and throwing his body in prison when he can’t, not considered an issue of personal/bodily autonomy?

          If forcing a woman to keep a baby she doesn’t want, rather than allowing her to legally abandon it or adopt it out, represents involuntary servitude, then why do we not consider forcing a man to work to support a child HE doesn’t want to also be involuntary servitude?

          You claim women bear more of the burdens and risks, but given the plethora of contraceptive choices and post-conception options (up to 6 weeks after giving birth in most of the West) women have to mitigate the risks and legally absolve themselves of the burdens, while men have 3 options (abstinence, condoms and vasectomy) to mitigate their risks, and NO way to legally absolve themselves of the burdens, I think you have things quite backwards.

          If reproductive rights are an equality issue, then it is men who are lagging FAR, FAR, FAR behind women. And if they are a human rights issue, then men are essentially, under the law, not considered human in this context.

          Other than that, excellent article.

          • bluharmony

            I think you may be right in that the options have increased since the time I considered myself “at risk” for an unwanted pregnancy. I agree with you that the abortion issue is not black and white, and that pro-life people are sincere in their concerns. But given that these people often tend to favor aggressive wars and death sentences, I sometimes have a hard time with their belief in the sanctity of life. Basically, the line I draw is at the ability of the baby to survive outside the mother’s body, and to lead a healthy life. It’s a political choice, and it’s consistent with my sense of morality. I think that unwanted children in an overpopulated world are a bad idea, and to force a woman to carry an unwanted baby to term and then to give it up is extremely cruel. But I understand that this is not the right choice for everyone, and that people who view it differently are not “bad people,” and are not necessarily wrong. I also understand that men are left without any choice in the matter once a woman becomes pregnant, but at least in my jurisdiction, it’s pretty easy for them to shirk all responsibility for the baby. As an anecdotal example, my father has never paid a penny for my support, and my parents were actually married at the time of my birth. My father decided it was too much hassle after the fact, and then went on and did the exact same thing with another woman. .

            As for Hobby Lobby, I oppose the decision more because of my economic views than my position on women’s rights. I’m a mixed economy socialist, and I would prefer to see strong regulation of corporations and a welfare state, as well as complete separation of church and government, meaning, no special privileges for religious organizations. That’s the heart of my objection, and since you’re a libertarian (I believe), I would expect that you’d have good reason to disagree with me.

            I guess what I’m saying is that I understand your position and find it reasonable, and yet on these particular issues, I still disagree.

          • Aoi Warai

            Hey Karen, love your videos, big fan here. Since you brought up the personhood question, I’d like to kick that football around with you for a bit, if you’re game.

            You mentioned the extreme example of infanticide. I say “extreme” because, while its fair to observe that someone dared to consider it, it’s just as reasonable to observe that 99.9 percent of people with any position would regard infanticide as nothing but an extreme example.

            I would like to play Devil’s Advocate and explore that idea. Just what exactly qualifies living matter as a “person”? People are often brain dead following accidents, but their bodies are kept alive on life support. Families struggle with the question of whether to unplug them, because their instinct is to anthropomorphize their “personless” body.

            But once a person has been sufficiently dead for sufficiently long, we cease to regard them as people. Corpses are not seen as having rights, except perhaps by the most distraught, disturbed, or childish minds. The reason we don’t confer personhood to corpses is precisely because they do not function as persons. They do not think, desire, or make choices that person make.

            Similarly, when infants are born without brains, or with just a brain stem, (except for concomitant deformities of appearance) they are more or less indistinguishable from infants that are born with normal brains. Enough so, that parents (in their grief) impute qualities of normal infants onto them. They try to convince themselves that the baby recognizes them, is responding to their smiles, their words, etc.

            In some sense, the babies are responding. The brain stem is responsible for a great deal of the behavior that we associate with personood, but no “person” will ever emerge from “just a brainstem”. It almost seems like a paradox, but its not; much of what we call “a person” is an illusion. The result of involuntary, mechanical aspects of our nervous system.

            The only “personhood” that humans in early development possess is potential personhood. Until a person has emerged, there is no person to be wronged. Obviously, every instinct we have evolved not to feel this way, so we are alarmed by the thought of a viable offspring, with its potential personhood, being terminated.

            This might have been appropriate for primitive times, when infant mortality was far higher. It is arguably still appropriate for the present, since we still reproduce this way, and raise children from infancy.

            But strictly speaking, if we concern ourselves morally with wrongs against persons, how can we conceive of infants — that do not display the traits of persons — as any more deserving of personal protections than corpses?

            (cheers)

          • bluharmony

            And in this case, it’s not a corpse’s rights we’re considering versus an infant’s, but a woman’s.

          • Aoi Warai

            Well, if an infant is said to have the same rights as a woman (by conservatives, i.e., “what about the choice of the unborn”), one would naturally ask “What makes the infant more of a person, and thus deserving of rights, if it doesn’t even know its a person, and is incapable of choices?”

            So in that respect, we are talking about corpses, because they have a possible equivalence with fetuses… and infants, if my Devil’s Advocacy hasn’t been taken too far by now.

        • Aoi Warai

          Thanks for the reply, and for the blog post. I enjoyed it.

          I hope its clear that I’m not anti-abortion, birth control, etc. I’m for expanding reproductive control, for everyone.

          Who faces more risk doesn’t alter the objective matter of who has more reproductive control. Men have none in terms of medicine, and none in terms of the law; their birth control is “abstinence”, which is basically “none”. Right now, women have the power to choose parenthood for themselves and anyone else involved, unilaterally.

          But I guess the elephant in the room is “rape pregnancy”, and that’s ultimately what makes women see themselves as of more concern. Men obviously don’t face that risk, but that’s more a question about reproductive control remaining legal, not about who has more and whether or not that’s “fair” to have a disparity.

          The point is that men don’t get to decline parenthood, and the ruin of debt and prison for a child they didn’t want to have. Women facing more risks in pregnancy doesn’t make that wrong, into a right.

          But I digress. We’re taught to see our interests as divergent. That’s that lack of solidarity I mentioned, of seeing things as zero sum. Either women are primary, or men are, and we endlessly battle for that perception — but to our detriment.

          That’s right where feminists and religious conservatives want us to be, battling, because it fuels the identity politics that pays their bills. Men and women need to see their interests as shared, because they are. Women losing their rights to reproductive control mean men will lose even more than they already don’t have.

          If men think its bad not getting to choose some of the time, if women can’t prevent pregnancy, then men also can’t. Everyone loses out.

          • bluharmony

            There’s also the pressure to have sex that women receive from men and worse still, the pressure to have sex without condoms. Consent in the heat of passion can be a bit of a slippery thing. While anecdotal, such experiences have been so common for me and my friends, that they undoubtedly color my view of these matters.

          • Aoi Warai

            Oh definitely. I am not claiming that there aren’t different concerns for women and men, and that those that women must face aren’t valid. Women have to worry about rape pregnancy, for example, men don’t. My overall point is, men’s rights are tied to women’s, and everything we face would be made better with solidarity instead of seeing men and women in isolation or competition for rights.

          • bluharmony

            I agree completely. These are problems we need to fix together, with understanding, empathy, and compassion for each other, especially when biologically and culturally, we’re faced with different burdens and choices. I feel that the feminists’ claims of “oppression” eliminate that possibility, and place blame where it does not belong.

            Even in countries where women truly are oppressed, the root cause isn’t misogyny, but violent and unstable living conditions.

          • Aoi Warai

            Definitely. I’m a cynic, I admit, but I truly believe Feminism’s goal has been to alienate men from as many conversations as possible. They’ve succeeded to a large degree to alienate men from the reproductive rights convo. Men don’t even realize until they wind up in a situation what their problems will be. Women grow up being taught to fear their future problems. Big difference there, so big difference in outcomes.

  • mofa

    It is refreshing to see this side of the argument presented in a popular internet ‘space’. I hope that any feminists who read this piece consider the points made, which may be in conflict with their own beliefs, and I ask them to question both sides of the argument. In questioning I suggest not only contemplation but I encourage investigation and research looking at independent sources that are not influenced by feminists or feminism.

    • Eric Reed

      I’ts not that that people who care about or are involved with feminism haven’t considered these points. It’s that these points have nothing to do with mainstream feminism. There’s a principle in rational debate that you should engage with the best of your opponent’s arguments, sort of the opposite of the straw man fallacy. This instead raises the bogeyman of postmodernism as somehow foundational to or representative of all feminism. Certainly by and large the feminists in the skeptical movement want nothing to do with the postmodernism.

      Or take her “eye rape” example. Google the term. There’s basically nothing there, an urban dictionary definition that has nothing to do with feminism, and like a ‘yahoo answers’ things. Maybe there’s some blog post or article deep in the web alleging this problem, but casting aspersions on feminism for this one extreme, non-representative belief is disingenuous at best.

      Lastly, her allegation that feminists don’t recognize there could be biological differences between men and women. They do. No one argues men and women are the same, they argue that our culture and society should be arranged in a way to give equal opportunity and standing to women as men (and all genders that don’t fall into that strict binary). They also argue, and this is important, that there is probably no human trait uninfluenced by culture and environment. Biology is never the sole determining factor when it comes to human behavior. So whatever the brute facts may turn out to be, we are not resigned to accepting biology as the end of the story, but can still make positive change.

      And often things that are cultural (and therefore mutable) are alleged to be unchangeable. You’ll frequently hear the argument that if you dress slutty, in some way you should expect what happens in response. (Maria has said it as well, to quote her from Facebook “And finally, if you dress slutty, you are saying something about yourself. Of course you don’t deserve to be raped for it. But people will look at you differently.) But “sluttiness” in wholly determined by culture and values. In a fundamentalist Islamic country, slutty might be flashing an ankle, whereas various native cultures might find bare breasts perfectly respectable. Is it really so wrong to want to change the culture so that women aren’t labeled slutty and looked down upon for dressing however they want? (And what if there is good reason to dress scantily? What about a woman who wants to wear a bikini top and shorts because it’s 90 F outside? She has to expect that in exchange for comfort she’s going to get harassed?)

      • bluharmony

        There are mainstream points, as explained by another commenter, and often they’re based on false information. I plant to flesh them out in the next piece on this topic.(The wage gap, the Koss 1/4 rape statistic — that’s as mainstream as it gets, and it’s FALSE.)

        As for dressing appropriately for the weather, of course you should. I don’t think “slutty” is a negative word, actually. I see nothing wrong with dressing that way, and studies have shown that it has no effect on incidence of rape. Nor did I ever say that you should be harassed for dressing like that. But it will get attention, from men and women alike, simply because it isn’t the norm — unless it’s hot. Then no one cares unless you’re dressed so that your sexual bits are clearly on display. And even then, we care because we’re sexual creatures, not because we hate each other.

        For eye rape, look up “male gaze,” as that’s the more common term.

        The blank page argument deserves more space than this short piece would allow, but even wiki has been edited to ague that women may not actually be physically weaker than men. Neuroplasticity is the word you’ll often hear from feminists. But it doesn’t go as far as they think it does. And I’m certainly not arguing that culture doesn’t have an impact; of course it does. The question is one of degree.

        • Eric Reed

          I don’t know what your particular arguments are regarding the wage gap, but if it is that women are choosing to pursue lower paying jobs or putting their career on hold for family or the like, it may be true that those things account for the difference and without them it goes away. But what is not true is that it means there is nothing that can or should be done about it. For example, there is evidence to suggest gender bias in the sciences in real. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/unofficial-prognosis/2012/09/23/study-shows-gender-bias-in-science-is-real-heres-why-it-matters/

          So while on the surface it looks like women might just have a “preference” for particular fields, there can be cultural reasons why that preference exists that can be changed. Which fields are paid highest are also reflective of culture, how you advance in a particular field is influenced by culture, and so on. Now, you can argue for the status quo, and make your case for capitalism and markets as we practice them, and all that, but those are more about values than reason or evidence leading you inexorably to those positions. And cultural influences may be one of degree, sure, I won’t argue that, but to whatever degree it can be changed, we want to change it.

          The Koss statistic I would characterize as a good faith effort to count rape as it is legally defined. If you want to take issue with how rape is legally defined that’s a whole separate thing, but briefly I would argue there will always be grey areas around the boundary. As a matter of law there will always be a arbitrary and imperfect dividing line. And in general there are just a lot of difficulties in counting something like the incidence of rape. Which information you choose to accept is going to largely depend on your worldview. (I’ll point to studies like this: http://news.ku.edu/2014/03/03/law-professor-more-1-million-rapes-unreported-official-us-crime-statistics, you’ll point to your studies, and on and on.) To me, the important thing is, whatever the actual incidence of rape, we have good systems in place to help women, men, and all points between. And again, to work on changing any cultural reasons that might influence the incidence of rape.

          Male gaze is a hypothesis about how women are portrayed in media and I’ve never seen anyone conflate it with physical rape, except those arguing against feminism.

          • bluharmony

            Actually, I agree with all this, and I do think this is the problem we need to work on.

          • bluharmony

            Actually, after doing a bit more research, I have to correct myself. Allegations of “stare rape” are more common than I thought: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025101076.

          • Eric Reed

            How does that thread show anything more than that most reasonable people think stare rape is a silly term, but some agree that leering is gross? And some note the whole thing is so silly and unreflective of feminism, that it may well be a fake meme from an MRA source. Whether or not that’s true, it indicates that many people who identify with or as feminists have nothing to do with that kind of silliness. There is no indication there that serious allegations of “stare rape” are common. To be honest, and I hope this doesn’t come across as rude, but I think it shows more that your perceptions of feminism are somewhat distorted so that things which are almost certainly parody or satire appear to be the genuine in your eyes. (Such as the white guys suck thing as well.) You’re so eager to believe the worst that everything gets filtered through this lens of what comes across to me as personal hurt and anger, and you’ve almost completely dehumanized the other side.

          • bluharmony

            I wrote that I thought the “White Guys Suck” thing was parody in the first comment. But have you not seen this one and many similar ones? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_uRIMUBnvw. They’re not. That is not the only photo or allegation dealing with “stare rape” or “eye rape.” There’s even an article on Skepchick about it. Do your research.

          • Eric Reed

            What is Dear Woman supposed to demonstrate? All I see is that self identified feminists around the Web think it’s weird and creepy, which doesn’t support your contention that modern feminism has gone off the rails. Extremes exist in any movement, and you can’t reasonably paint feminism as a whole from such selective examples. Lucia who responded here is probably more representative of the movement. Certainly in my experience she is the norm.

            I can’t find the skepchick article, albeit I am on my phone. If you have a link please post it. Regardless, the fact that it is difficult to find any decent examples should indicate that it’s a minority position and not representative.

          • bluharmony

            I already conceded that it’s a minority position and not representative. But the “wrongful” invite to coffee, which Myers classified as both harassment and assault, was not. And certainly drunk sex is not. PIV sex as rape is a radical position, but now a fairly well-represented one. There are also feminists who are anti-trans and anti-gay. While I generally hate slippery slope arguments, this is a slippery slope indeed.

          • Eric Reed

            It’s hard for you to credibly claim you’re simply going after the minority extremists when the title of your post is “Debunking Modern Feminism” and when you’ve stated you identify yourself as “anti-feminist”. (In reaction to a fake “i need feminism” meme no less.)

            I can’t find a thing that indicates PZ Myers said it was assault. He did characterize it as harassment, but the context clearly read that he considered it primarily insensitive and the fellow a “clumsy sap”. Hardly damning stuff.
            http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/03/oh-no-not-againonce-more-unto/

            No one says drunk sex is always rape. Legally, you can’t consent if you are intoxicated, but there’s no clear criteria that says at what point someone is too drunk to consent. Once again we have an area where there cannot help but be a fuzzy line between what gets classified as rape and what does not. As a matter of practicality lines have to be drawn. There is simply no evidence to suggest a rash of false rape allegations stemming from regret sex.

            PIV sex as rape is not well represented. I think you’re referring to Andrea Dworkin’s contention that all PIV sex is violent. Which is not the same thing at all and she is on record saying she doesn’t think sex is rape. Or the quotes wrongfully attributed to Catharine MacKinnon who is also on the record saying she doesn’t think all sex is rape. (http://www.snopes.com/quotes/mackinnon.asp) Ultimately, it seems to me to be an expression of the fact that women do risk more from sex, ie, pregnancy, higher risk of disease, and social stigma. And while much of what those two do actually say is not intuitively true to me, that could well say more about me than the validity of their views, and I wouldn’t dismiss them out of hand.

            I will concede a large enough strain of transphobia within feminism to be concerning. And of course many many feminists are very much concerned by and speak out against those views being held within their ranks. I would personally compare it to the anti-woman sentiment in the atheist movement and how we are divided by it.

            Look, I can’t have this conversation anymore. You’re too far gone for me. if you truly value skepticism and rationalism, I implore you to take a good look in the mirror. You provide no credible evidence for your views (indeed have posted parodies of feminism as evidence), you ignore all nuance, you cherry pick the worst examples and interpret everything in the worse possible light, you ignore points made by other people, and you seemingly accept anti-feminist rhetoric uncritically, taking as true talking points that have been debunked. I doubt any of that will sink in, I know humans don’t really work that way, but I don’t know how else to express it.

            I wish you the best of luck, and goodbye.

          • bluharmony

            Stare rape is a minority position, the rest if what I mentioned is mainstream, as explained to you previously. Drunk sex as rape is mainstream these days, PIV sex as rape is still considered radical.

            As for where Myers called it assault, I don’t remember, but it was in one of his pieces of E-gate at the time. But you’re right. This conversation is going nowhere. You clearly feel qualified to speak for women and think victimhood as feminism is absolutely fine.

  • mofa

    “It’s that these points have nothing to do with mainstream feminism”.
    I cannot agree with you here Eric.
    I believe that most of the points discussed relate directly to mainstream feminism…let’s look at a couple:

    Feminists DO use statistics to perpetuate lies. The Koss study is a prime example of feminists redefining a definition to produce an exaggerated result. The claim that domestic violence increases on the Superbowl weekend is false and a lie from the beginning but feminists continue to perpetuate this lie year after year…this may be done most of the time by those who are too lazy to investigate the facts but it is also done by some who know that it is a lie (Christina Hoff Sommers brings this to our attention in one of her ‘Factual Feminist’ videos)

    Feminists ARE often anti-science. Feminists such as Rebecca Watson are so pissed off with Evo-psych that they try and discredit this branch of science by making it the subject of their public speaking when they are not an expert in the field…this is how anti -science they can get.
    And the whole nature verses nurture thing. Scientists through their research continually support the proposition that we are influenced by both nature and nurture. Many mainstream feminists believe that men and women are born with exactly the same brains, a clean slate and that it is only society that determines our gender identity and our personality…in other words we are not hard wired to any degree…this belief flies in the face of what science shows.

    Feminists DO despise free speech (freezepeech). Feminist refuse to debate feminism in the public square..they never have and they never will because feminism does not hold up to scrutiny. Feminists will only discuss feminism in so called ‘safe spaces’ where they can control the conversation and they can instantly ban anyone who they disagree with. This is the main reason that the whole atheist schism developed in the first place.

    Feminism DOES ignore men’s issues. Take a look at the objectives of Atheism+, they just about cover all of the contemporary rights issues that exist in modern Western Societies except for men’s rights…no mention of men in their objectives…it stands out like a sore thumb. Why is this? Because your average feminist believes so strongly in ‘The Patriarchy’ that they then go on to argue that men do not have any rights issues.

    Feminists ARE hypocritical. They are hypocritical all of the time. Let us take one simple example that comes to mind. The Patriarchy is used to blame men for everything, sometimes the menz are blamed for opposite things at the same time! Back in the late 19th century all secretaries were male (women could not get work as secretaries) why? because of The Patriarchy. Sixty years later in the 1950’s all secretaries were women. Why? Because of The Patriarchy.

    Feminists DO preach misandry. The concept of ‘Rape Culture’, the use of the word ‘Creep’, the free use of the slur “misogynist!’ to shame and thwart discussion are just some of the examples of ‘tactics’ used by your mainstream feminist both on the ‘battlefield’ and in day to day living. Men and boys are demonised by the language and concepts that stem from feminist theory.

    This above is all very much mainstream.

    • bluharmony

      All I can say to that is a resounding “yes.” We’re seeing the same things.

  • Dave

    I think the situation with Jaclyn Glenn is worth a mention. She pisses off watson and co and suddenly they are implying that she’s only popular because she’s pretty or ‘dresses in a camisole’

    A woman deviates from the party line and then out comes the marginalization and borderline slut shaming.

    • bluharmony

      I plan to address this using a different example, more specifically, the response to #womenagainstfeminism.

      • Aoi Warai

        I look forward to a #WomanAgainstFeminism post.

  • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

    You’re treading into a minefield with this one. I admire that. The thing about minesweeping is to pay particularly close attention to the one right in front of you. ;)

    The feminist label is far too amorphous to analyse as a whole, but I very much look forward to specific arguments against specific instances or practices that run counter to rationalism. Particularly the ethical and semantic questions around sexualisation and objectification.

    • Brenda Weber

      I like to be very specific in my language. I normally try to use “feminist” and “feminist extremists” in the same way we use the the common “theory” and “scientific theory” to differentiate between two separate concepts.

      • bluharmony

        Probably that’s not specific enough either, as there are many types of non-extremist feminists and many types of extremist feminists. In fact, much as with religion, there are probably as many types of feminism as there are women. My objection is solely to those who cruelly attack women for independent thinking, who engage in silencing tactics, who provide false information as fact, and who attack males for both male and female biology. And unfortunately, a lot of feminists fit into that category, especially online. .

    • bluharmony

      I plan to discuss the different types of feminism in my next installment. That was part of a presentation I gave to Seattle Skeptics, and I think it’s important to get the definitions straight. In fact, I should have started there, but I ended up writing this on a lark after I saw a group of feminists cruelly attack and shame yet another woman.

    • http://www.skepticink.com/incredulous Edward Clint

      Actually there’s just one kind of feminism. I have confirmed this through numerous interviews. Feminism is the thing extending from the noble tradition of social activism, but not whoever you take to be extremists. It promotes whatever is unarguably consistent with any articulable social virtue but excludes any unpopular person(s) who have adopted the label because they are not true feminists. The body feminism is a movement or possibly community of unified principles and goals. Unless you ask about what those are or attempt to compare any two random feminists, at which point feminism is an infinitely personal snowflake-identity in which only the self is the one true, if impossibly elusive, rendition.

      • bluharmony

        That is perhaps the best explanation of feminism I’ve ever read. It renders any discussion of the subtypes moot.

  • Lucia Flaura Guatney

    1. I’m sorry that you were bullied. However, please try to understand that just because one woman doesn’t feel unsafe does not invalidate the fact that another woman feels unsafe being propositioned for “coffee” (which of course connotes more than just coffee) in a confined space at a wee hour of the morning. Dismissing this is not simply a lack of empathy, it is telling somebody that their feelings are invalid because they are different from your own. It does not excuse the actions on the part of your bullies, but I hope that lends insight into how you may have hurt them emotionally in a way that led them to retaliate.

    2. I consider myself a “radical” feminist and I’ve never heard of the term “eye rape”, though I can simultaneously see your point about how it can de-legitimize rape and see how both concepts reflect men imposing a sense of powerlessness on women. While I can see the latter, I still agree that using the word “rape” itself is probably inappropriate.

    3. Expecting sexual favors out of a woman because you are nice is not nice, it’s sexual ownership. It’s not the “niceness” of the guys that is being disparaged, but their attitude of entitlement to a woman’s body and disrespect of their autonomy to choose the men they want to be with.

    4. Again, I’m sorry you were bullied and I generally disapprove of such methods which I agree are more rampant than desirable in the social justice community, but if you express an opinion on the internet and someone on the internet argues with you that’s not inhibiting free speech. The term “freedom of speech” is closely associated with the legal implementation thereof.

    5. I hate those terms too, they can be inaccessible and are not pleasing to the ear. However, I find them necessary and useful as all language is to convey thoughts and ideas as symbolic logic makes dealing with complex ideas simpler by reducing them to symbols. For reaching out to non-feminists however, they are unfortunate.

    6. Morality is inherently and ultimately based on subjective moral values. And, yeah, empathy is very important because pure logic can’t teach people how to treat others the way they want to be treated. Hey, I’m a biology major, but I’m probably going to turn to Dostoevsky or Koestler or Camus for my ethics and not “Synthetic oligonucleotides with certain palindromes stimulate interferon production of human peripheral blood lymphocytes in vitro.” Science is great for a lot of things, but not everything.

    7. Feminists who make feminism their career are probably trying to help women be less miserable. If you think sexism doesn’t exist please see the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court ruling. Did that affect men? Does street harassment not happen disproportionately more to women than to men?

    8. I hate that men can say “but she was wearing a short skirt” instead of taking responsibility for their choice to put their dick in someone else’s body without consent.

    9. Feminism is only a small piece of what I care about in a social justice cake. I, and the real life feminists I know (which I am willing to guess is more feminists than you know) make an active effort to call out racism, transphobia/cissexism, etc. as often as direct women’s issues. This is called “intersectional feminism” but I just consider myself a social justice activist, a subset of which is feminist.

    10. Gender is not as cut and dry as “if gender roles are bad being trans is bad”. Social justice recognizes an infinite spectrum of genders including agender, genderqueer, cis, and trans. Unlike traditional gender roles where it would be unacceptable for a cis man to wear a dress, if a trans man wants to wear female clothing that doesn’t invalidate his identity as trans. It is actually traditional gender roles in this example which seek to invalidate his identity, not feminist deconstruction of those roles.

    If you have an more questions or challenges I would be happy to discourse about them with you.

    Though it’s a bit difficult to find a proper study on rape frequencies, the numbers I hear that aren’t from the 1/4 study are consistently around 20%. I also leave this Cambridge study on rate of false rape allegations. http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/6478/1/Dow

    • Lucia Flaura Guatney

      On that invitation to further discourse, I probably won’t be checking this post again but feel free to message me on facebook.

    • mofa

      “(which of course connotes more than just coffee)”…Most definitely not necessarily so.

      What we can take from Ms. Watsons’ anecdote is that Ms. Watson does not feel comfortable talking with male strangers in lifts in Ireland at 2.00pm in the morning…but this is JUST Ms. Watson’s reaction to this event and what see has to say on the matter is only her personal opinion. The men of this world, who have knowledge of this incident, NOW know that we should keep our eyes ‘glued’ to the elevator floor and not say a thing if we were to find ourselves in an elevator with Ms. Watson at an early hour in the morning. But Ms. Watson does NOT speak for all women. Some women might wish for conversation in an elevator and some may look at it as a compliment. How dare Ms. Watson assume to speak for all women…how dare Ms. Watson (with “guys don’t do that”) tell all men how they should interact, engage and share their feelings with women.

      “Science is great for a lot of things, but not everything”….what are your thoughts on some new courses of ‘feminist science’ being introduced into some educational institutions via the ‘back door’ (Women’s Studies Dept.)

      “I hate that men can say “but she was wearing a short skirt” instead of
      taking responsibility for their choice to put their dick in someone
      else’s body without consent”….men can say ANYTHING you put in their mouths for them!

      “Though it’s a bit difficult to find a proper study on rape frequencies,
      the numbers I hear that aren’t from the 1/4 study are consistently
      around 20%”….please take a look at FBI statistics.

    • bluharmony

      Lucia, I have no objections to thoughtful responses like yours. In fact, I appreciate them greatly and think that they’re a great start to a meaningful.dialog. The coffee incident taught me that some women are indeed fearful in that situation, and I think that’s too bad, as an elevator in a posh hotel (going up one floor) is one of the safest places you can be, frankly. However, everyone is entitled to their feelings and I respect that, what I cannot respect is when feminists purport to speak for all women. Also, I recently read a feminist piece (I don’t have the link handy), where that particular feminist argued that an invite to coffee late at night does not imply sex. What was the difference? The person doing the inviting was female. I don’t think we should judge either sex or gender prematurely.

      I too don’t see gender as binary, so I don’t think we’re going to disagree on that.

      As far as the terms I mentioned, the problem is not that they exist — I understand what they mean and that they can be useful — it’s how they’re used. And let’s face it, they’re generally used as insults by those inclined to bully. (Out of all those, “mansplaining,” however, has no legitimate purpose. In fact it’s an example of the exact same sort of stereotyping that feminists say they’re averse to.)

      I don’t think we’ll ever know the true incidence of rape due to the personal nature of the matter. Actually, I think date rape under the present definition is probably very common. But I do think there are different “degrees” of rape (as the law recognizes) and different reactions by victims and, unfortunately, these issues are almost impossible to discuss without someone accusing you of being a rape apologist or similar.

      Thank you for your contribution. I hope you stick around to discuss some of these matters in greater depth. I appreciate your tone and your willingness to engage in a real discussion.

  • Ashley Alexanda

    You speak of feminists only using anecdotal evidence and disregarding science but this entire article is anecdotal, provides no evidence anywhere and your viewpoint appears to be entirely constructed by examples of online feminists, which is a very skewed position as the internet is a breeding ground for extremism.

    Almost every paragraph in this article begins with “I hate that feminists…” or “Feminists do X” and goes on to make an assertion about modern feminism without ever citing any actual evidence on why you believe this is an accurate representation of modern feminists and not just a minority of tumblr extremists.

    You are fighting extremism with extremism, this article is just as emotionally manipulative as you claim feminists to be using sweeping statements like “feminists have managed to prove every negative stereotype about women imaginable — they’re illogical, irrational, histrionic, dishonest, manipulative, emotional, and use men to achieve their goals” and citing only one reference from webmd of all places.

    I realise that you were directing this article at people from sites like jezebel which I agree are an extreme mob but I simply don’t see how it is in any way constructive to write an entire article based on a fringe group of people from the internet.

    Stop giving air time to extremists in the first place, they aren’t an accurate representation of the feminist movement and I don’t think discussing or acknowledging them has any real value. As always in the skeptic community the focus should be on facts and evidence.

    I believe there are two things that need to be addressed in this whole ‘feminist/anti-feminist’ debate and they are the following:

    1. What are the real problems women are facing in modern society and how can they be fixed?
    2. What are the issues that have been sensationalized by radical feminists and aren’t as big an issue as may be believed?

    This article neither pointed out where the real issues lie, nor did any debunking of myths perpetuated by extreme feminists despite the title of the article being ‘debunking modern feminism’ and making claims such as “Feminists use statistics to perpetuate lies”.

    I agree with this statement in regard to extreme online feminists but I think it would’ve been much more constructive to inform people on the reality of these statistics rather than basing a whole article on examples of an extremist group of people you have encountered on the internet.

    • bluharmony

      You do realize this is the introduction to a series, right? Campaigns like “Ban Bossy” are not fringe. The videos of Laci Green, with close to two million subscribers, are not fringe. Jezebel and Twitter are not fringe. Gender studies courses are not fringe. This is the face of feminism today.

    • Clare45

      I don’t see a single anecdote in this post. Am I missing something? This is an opinion piece- not intended to be a scientific paper.

      Maria, I agree with every single point you have made. I note the disclaimer paragraph at the top of the post. I was a feminist of the sixties variety and and am dismayed at the direction post modernist or third wave feminism appears to be taking. We were all about empowering women and giving them equal rights -not claiming victimhood. Now we are not even sure who we should call women and who are men (gender fluidity).

      (Sorry to be late to the discussion-I have only just discovered this post)

  • ncovington89

    If you’re interested, I’ve written my own take on New Wave Feminism here, in the form of a brief Q&A:
    http://www.skepticink.com/humesapprentice/2014/04/11/new-wave-feminism-done-and-dusted/

  • Pingback: Feminism vs Women’s Emancipation | The Prussian

  • Pingback: Awesome article | In My Own Words

  • Distance Left

    Well put indeed. Anything associated with Post-modernism it do be automatically distrusted; you cannot build any sense on bunk of that level. This is a great dismantling of ‘Critical Theory’, which is some dodgy marxist hangover the left haven’t yet shifted. http://philosoraptor.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/stupidity-thy-name-is-critical-theory.html

    So much BS and so much beauty, so little time.

  • Guest

    Well put indeed. Anything associated with Post-modernism it to be
    automatically distrusted; you cannot build any sense on bunk of that
    level. This is a great dismantling of ‘Critical Theory’, which is some
    dodgy marxist hangover the left haven’t yet shifted. http://philosoraptor.blogspot….

    So much BS and so much beauty, so little time.

  • Distance Left

    Any movement with more snarl worlds, buzzwords and weasel positions is not doing well.

  • tensacross

    i love you, and that is all. xx

  • MarionDelgado

    I’m amazed at how close your perceptions are to mine. Back in the 80s, a good share of the men’s issues community would have totally agreed, but now the remnant is mostly conservatives and libertarians, basically. I think that reflects a triumph of Reagan’s obvious divide-and-conquer strategy. Two good articles come to mind: http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=11299 “Exiting the Vampire Castle” and http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/14/feminism-capitalist-handmaiden-neoliberal “How feminism became capitalism’s handmaiden and how to reclaim it.”

    • bluharmony

      Thank you for the comments and links. I sincerely appreciate them.