Men War Z

The so-called “War on Men” isn’t a war on men at all—it’s a war on inequality. Oh, you’re feeling marginalized and underrepresented? Complain to me after you’ve been marginalized and underrepresented for 200 years. You haven’t even made it a day (mainly because it’s not actually happening to you yet—you have always had and WILL always have representation). And we can tell that you aren’t really subjugated, because if you were you would be coming to us, the supposed dominant group, for help—just like we’re forced to come to you, groveling, and beg for our reproductive rights, marriage rights, and equal pay for equal work. Instead, you’re insulting and alienating us and trying to shove us back down where we “belong.” Women and people of color and LGBT Americans have the right to complain because we’ve fucking earned it.

-Lindy West, on Jezebel

Also worth reading: “The Distress of the Privileged” on The Weekly Sift.

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  • aerothorn  On 12.04.12 at 6:52 pm

    This is a can of worms, but I’ll bite (does that work as a metaphor? Because, like, people use worms for fishing?)

    This paragraph is pretty representative of why I don’t read Jezebel – while we more or less share the shame ideology, I find they tend to try and advocate for it via rhetorical broadsides; there’s an argument that that’s the most EFFECTIVE way to advocate, but maybe that’s the issue; they do treat it like a war (on inequality) and I’d rather it be a peace conference, naive as that may be.

    To better explain what I mean; this paragraph starts by shooting down the “War on Men,” which is, of course, a notion with little connection to reality. So far, so good. But then it goes on to tie the people who use it to any and all people who ever complain about the treatment of men – a right that men, as a whole, “haven’t earned.” There are a few problems with this:

    1. I don’t think complaining is a right to be earned, but more importantly

    2. It takes the position that because men have a systemic advantage which translates into an obvious and outright advantage in almost all situations, then that makes it a totality, and any and all instances in which a man experiences prejudice/poorer treatment based on his sex/gender are either non-existent or not worth noting. This is a leap.

    I think the reason they do this is that such situations are usually brought up as attempts to derail, or used to try to equate the lot of men with the lot of women; but that’s confusing bad intentions (or poor education) with the realities on the ground. These situations do exist, isolated as they are; and I don’t think men should be castigated for advocating equality in these limited situations simply because they are the exception.

    To put it another way: most people who call themselves “men’s right advocates” are just strident anti-feminists (displaying what one could fairly call the “distress of the privileged,” though the term is a bit too rhetorically loaded for my tastes), but that doesn’t mean that any and all things they advocate for are bunk. Again, confusing the messenger with the message. Perhaps I’m just asking for unreasonable nuance, but then I suppose I’m just compelled to counter such a simplified narrative.

    And that narrative ultimately backfires, because it draws attention to the weakness of the argument (what I’ve just spent this long post replying to) rather than the strength of the overriding philosophy and goals. It pits leftist against leftist.

    (apologies for insanely long comment)

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