So recently I’ve gotten into quite a few “discussions” (read: arguments) with people on Twitter that tend to go as follows:
- I say something verifiable
- Some smart ass says “but what about *insert same GOTCHA argument I’ve seen 1000 times, which is always a fallacy or otherwise easily debunked*?”
- I list why they’re wrong, then shut them down
- They accuse me of perpetuating the terrible stereotype of feminists/science enthusiasts/agnostics/atheists by not engaging them in “intelligent dialogue”
I don’t have the time or the desire, nor the respect for anyone engaging me like this to explain everything over and over again to a new asshat every time one decides to start an argument with me, so I am putting this together in the tradition of John Scalzi; a list of responses that explain my side and why yours is wrong, so that I can just link and forget about you. This is by no means a complete list, and I will likely add to it in the future, but this will suffice for now.
I will provide links where possible to support my position so you can ignore them if they disagree with your preconceived ideas
First and last thing I’ll say on Gamergate: It was an asshole ex-boyfriend and a bunch of other assholes getting revenge on a woman for breaking up with him. Nothing else. Journalism had nothing to do with it.
Also, if you think game journalism is that important, either grow up or never reproduce.
“Feminists hate men”: No, we don’t. No doubt some do, because there is literally no group of people on earth that no one hates, but no, as a group feminists just want women to have the same opportunities and rights.
“I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist/egalitarian”: This is a terrible argument. Yes, everyone should be treated equally, that is the entire point of feminism. Read this for a better explanation than I could ever give (but I know you won’t). However, these arguments act like a problem can be solved by lumping it with all other problems. Say your fridge breaks down. You paid money for all the food in it, so you should try to get everything into a new fridge immediately, right? Sure. Do you have a spare fridge lying around? Probably not. So you triage; what can stand to not be refrigerated for a while? Produce. The dairy, though, needs to get on ice now because it’s going to go bad quicker.
Men are produce; they already have an advantage in this situation and therefore should get less attention because…
Women are the dairy; they have a systemic disadvantage simply by existing in their current state.
In this example, if you take the humanist/”egalitarian” approach, everything goes sour and everyone loses. The feminist approach saves the milk and butter, and you can always go to the store and grab some ice later for the produce, or even leave it on the counter overnight. It’s built-in advantage (“privilege”) protects it for the long term.
“Men get discriminated against too!”: Yup. Again, somebody hates everyone, you just have to look for it. is it systemic? Are men passed over or paid less for the same work? Are men under-represented across the board? No, no we aren’t. Are there more women in say, hair styling and teaching? Yes. Are men prevented from doing these things? Nope. And when men do them, often times, they still make more money. Women, on the other hand, need laws to protect their wages because they WILL be paid less for the same work, regardless of qualifications in many many cases. Again, no one is saying it doesn’t happen, the argument is that it is systemically in favor of men, so women need legislation to even the playing field (and for the record, the Republican party loves shooting down bills that would make things fair for women, including women republicans)
This is also where it usually gets brought up that men have to sign up for selective service (the draft) and that women are typically given custody in divorce. You can blame misogyny for this one, boys. Women weren’t allowed to be in the military for a long ass time. And then, they weren’t allowed to participate in combat missions. This argument is the same as locking someone in a room, and then telling them they have it easy because they don’t have to mow the lawn.
As far as custody is concerned, thank other men, again. The current divorce rates are as high as they are because feminism has made women realize that they don’t have to put up with their husband’s bullshit, and when they tire of it, they leave. The reason they typically get custody is the societal assumption that a women’s job is to raise her kids. Did women introduce that? Nope. Men came up with “A woman’s place is in the home.” You made your bed, now sleep in it.
(UPDATE: It was also pointed out to me that there is a high frequency of men opting out of custody of their kids (Thank you Manna and Jennifer Willcut). Chalk this one up to being super our fault, guys. Now you can stop bitching about it as beign a reason you cry that men’s lives are unfair.)
There is also the fact that before women had this level of agency, most divorces happened because the physical/mental/sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of their husband reached a point that she needed to be away from him to protect her. Should the children be left with a man so abusive his wife needed to become a pariah to protect herself from him? No, the answer is “no.”
Before you mention that some women cheat on/abuse men, again, duh. That’s an example of my friend “false equivalence.” Just because examples exist on both sides does not mean there is any fair comparison to be made. If I have 400 oranges and you have an apple, we are not equal because we both have fruit. Men are overwhelmingly the bad guy here, so let’s not cherry pick because it’s convenient to your world view.
“It’s okay to make fun of men!”: This is the punching up vs punching down discussion. It’s the same reason you can make fun of Nazis but not holocaust victims, rapists but not rape victims, wife beaters but not their wives, etc etc. The people who are down are easy targets, they have already been wronged. Quit piling shit on them because that makes you a coward and a bully. You want to be the hero in your own narrative, right? Then don’t pick on the less fortunate.
This includes women because of the societal disadvantages they face on a daily basis.
Punching up is fine, it’s how comedy exposes inherent problems in society. Men enjoy a privileged position by being born with Y chromosomes, so grow some thicker skin. “Man up” as it were, you crybaby.
“Male feminists are just Social Justice Warriors/White Knights trying to get laid”: This one says a lot about the person who posts it that they probably never intended. How shallow are you that you can only comprehend standing up for another or doing something for them for personal gain? Do I get something out of it? Sure, a sense that I’m hopefully either helping someone who needs it or letting them know that they aren’t alone. Do I like sex? Absolutely, with women even. But this isn’t some sad attempt to get some free sex; never mind that I’m married. Are we trying to get nude pictures as a thank you? Again, no… You really don’t understand feminism if you think any of us think that would be a worthwhile pursuit. I’ve made quite a few woman friends because of my views. I guarantee the second I asked one for nude pictures or sexual favors, I would be outed (rightly) as a sack of manipulative shit and lose all of them as friends. I don’t hit on my friends as a rule, and most feminist guys I know don’t either. Plus; married.
I also find this one ironic because I have seen countless anti-feminists, MRAs and GamerBators jump to the rescue of another dude getting his ass handed to him for being a dumbass. Which makes me wonder, are you only helping them because you want something from them? Money, sex, nude pics? if not, why is it so hard to accept that we would do the same? Believe it or not, women have objective value as humans beyond a collection of parts. Try just talking to some about common interests, you’d be surprised.
“But the new rape laws they’re pushing could hurt innocent men!”: The operative word here is “could.” And they “could” prevent the rapes of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of women that are actually assaulted every year as opposed to the microscopically few men that are falsely accused. I have known at least a few hundred men and women in my life. I know several women who were raped and never reported it, often because they knew the odds were against them. I have known exactly 0 men who were falsely accused. I know of a guy who was accused, ACTUALLY DID IT, and walked.
The entire point of this law is that when a woman is raped/coerced/drugged it takes away the ambiguity on her part. She no longer has to ask herself “are they going to say I was dressed like a slut, or drank too much, or should have known better than to go anywhere with him,” she can confidently say “I never said yes” and then many the many many men who actually rape women will get reported, and hopefully prosecuted.
If you think the small possibility for corruption outweighs the very real, tangible benefits of a law, then stay out of the discussion. If you insist on participating,then let me say on behalf of all the empathetic humans in the world, fuck off.
More to come, however this is likely to be preaching to the choir because anyone who would benefit from this likely didn’t bother to read it (or even click the link) or is so set in their belief that they are right that they won’t bother to consider any of these points and instead will just begin with the “nuh-uh, here’s why men have it so hard” bullshit.
But don’t consider this as an invitation to argue with me about this; if you disagree, you are wrong. You may not actively hate women, but you sure as shit do passively. This is not an invitation for discussion from those that disagree, it’s a lecture to those that might stand a chance of learning something about being a better human.
Just because you have an opinion does not mean:
- It has any merit
- You have the right to be heard
NOTE: Should you think “well you’ve met some nice women there, but there are horrible harpy women in this world that would change your view if you knew them!” read this. I bet I grew up with women worse than anyone you’ve known. And yet I’m still here, a feminist.