Feminism Is Creepy (and full of contradictions)

Posted: April 21, 2012 in Feminism, homosexuality, Identity, Masculinities, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

‘I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo, what the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here.’

What is the worst thing you can call a man? According to feminism, it seems the worst thing you can call a man is a ‘woman’ or a ‘girl’.

Most feminist writing on masculinity focuses on ‘misogyny’. If men are shown to also suffer belittlement and stereotypes, as well as women, feminists always seem to bring the conversation back round to women. They are self-absorbed like that!

So it wasn’t surprising to me when two feminist articles, one by Laurie Penny, the other by Hugo Schwyzer, focused on insults to men being ‘misogynist’.

According to Penny, who has suddenly transformed into an expert on masculinity:

‘The first thing little boys learn at school is that there’s nothing in the world worse than being “like a girl”, with the possible exception of being “gay”. ‘

And Hugo Schwyzer, resident feMANist at Jezebel wrote:

‘A man who gets penetrated behaves like a woman and is labeled as feminine — a fate that we raise small American boys to fear more than almost anything else. (This is why, of course, words like “bitch” or “pussy” when used by one man to another, are so much more likelier to lead to blows than “dick” or “prick.” Men are unlikely to be enraged by references to their own anatomy, only to a woman’s.)’

I often find that this ‘misogyny’ analysis of men and masculinity (including homophobia) is very selective of the kinds of insults it chooses to focus on.

Some other insults that refer to men and masculinity that DON’T draw on ‘misogyny’ that I can think of are:
Troll – often presented as a ‘loser’ man alone in his room with no social skills, addicted to computer games and internet forums

Rapist/Rapey – You don’t have to actually rape someone to get these monikers, and as I have written the ‘rapist’ is constructed as male in our culture

Wanker – again, wanker is a masculinised term, and again suggests loneliness and lack of social skills

Hoodie – this is a gendered (and often ethnically loaded depending on the context) term, that conjurs up a young man in a tracksuit, up to no good.

Man – I have been called a ‘man’ as an insult by feminists a number of times! The very idea of masculinity is considered low and wrong, sometimes.

Mansplainin’ – If men dare to engage in debates with feminist women they often get accused of ‘mansplainin’ ‘, which suggests they are looking down on the woman they are debating with and assuming superiority due to being a man.

Whatabouttehmenz ? this ‘whatabouttehmenz’ insult is used to silence men (and non-feminists in general) when they bring up any disadvantages men face compared to women.

And, again, homophobia is not JUST based on misogyny. In the  comments on his blog he recently remarked:

‘Homo­pho­bia is often dis­guised misog­yny. But what makes male homo­sex­u­al­ity so much fun for all the fam­ily, cul­tur­ally speak­ing, is that dis­gust for it can also be dis­guised misandry — dis­dained for being too male, and beastly. And some­times it can be just be dis­dained for rea­sons that have noth­ing to do with either. Such as tight t-shirts.’

So I reject Penny and Schwyzer’s assertion that men insult each other mainly using misogyny. This means my understanding of the term ‘creep’ is different from Schwyzer’s analysis. He says:

‘ if fear of the feminine is what gives male insults their power, why then is “creep” worse than “pussy?” The answer is that creep is the only insult that instantly centers women’s perceptions. To call a man a “pussy” is to make a comment about how his behavior appears; to call him “creepy” is to name how he makes women feel. If a man wants to disprove that he’s a “pussy,” all he has to do is act with sufficient macho swagger or courage to make the insult obviously inappropriate. But trying to disprove “creepy” involves trying to talk a woman out of an instinctual response to a potential threat, a much more difficult thing to do. Most men recognize (or eventually learn) that the harder they try to deny their creepiness, the creepier they appear.’

Apart from the fact that Schwyzer is contradicting his own belief that the worst thing you can call a man is a ‘girl’, he is also ignoring some important aspects of the use of the term ‘creep’ by women.

I think ‘creep’ functions in a similar way to words like ‘troll’ and ‘rapist’ or ‘rapey’. Yes, it is accusing a man of making a (often) woman feel bad. But the power of this accusation lies partly in the power of feminism in our culture. Schwyzer is dismissive of MRAs, but MRA websites are FULL of men who feel hard done by, due to women’s ability to assert a moral superiority over men.

This power dynamic has real implications, e.g. in the law. It is predominantly men who are accused of rape, because in the UK, the law says a penis is required to commit that specific crime. And women in divorce/custody cases are far more likely to gain custody of children. Why? Because women are naturally good? and naturally maternal? Because men are often just losers and creeps?

And can women not be creeps too? I myself have been accused of misogyny, of being aggressive and ‘menacing’ online. But this has always come in conjunction with a questioning of my status as a woman.

Maybe, as Radiohead have done, it is time to reclaim the word ‘creep’!
http://jezebel.com/5903883/why-guys-really-hate-being-called-creepy

 

Comments
  1. Hugo’s piece annoyed me. Laurie Penny just made me laugh, the metrosexy blog gets it right. To be honest I’ve got less of a problem with LP admitting (at great length) that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about than I do with HS speaking as the avatar of righteous knowledge on everything pertaining to masculinity. .

    • I agree about HS – though surprisingly I do have some time for the man himself, if not his writing on feminism and gender . But I don’t know if Laurie admitted she doesn’t know what she is talking about, so much as, she seemed to say now she has finally discovered masculinity everyone else should too.

  2. I know what you mean, but strip away all the Pennyisms and what she is basically saying is that we, as a society, need to pay more attention to constructions of masculinity and male sexuality in particular. I’ve said the same thing myself many a time.

    Hugo’s the kinda guy you could whack in the face with a rusty tent-peg and he’d say “I’d like to thank you for sharing your anger…” Hard to really hate such types, but easy to be annoyed by them!

    • I agree to a point about HUgo and ‘feManism’ but I dont think Laurie’s article was humble at all. You, me, lots of other people have been discussing men and masculinity for ages. It does not just become important when Laurie says so!

    • Danny says:

      Hugo’s the kinda guy you could whack in the face with a rusty tent-peg and he’d say “I’d like to thank you for sharing your anger…” Hard to really hate such types, but easy to be annoyed by them!
      More like he’d go and write a post about how the real reason you hit whacked him was because you hate women. That’s what’s bugging about his work. It seems like his sole goal is to pin everything bad that’s ever happened on either a hatred of women or men being as bad as he is.

  3. “It does not just become important when Laurie says so!

    Of course, but is it better that someone recognises an issue late, or not at all? I agree that it is amusing that she seems to think she’s had some unique and unprecented flash of insight, but I don’t think her actual points are bad in themselves. It’s easy to mock LP just for being LP, but I don’t think it is mandatory!

    • but it has not been raised late. masculinity has been raised, not least by the Good Men Project that hugo helped found. I am sorry but here, I actually respect Hugo more, even though I disagree with pretty well everything he says.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Strange that HS is talking about creepy because I find him incredibly creepy. Just that photo of him on his site looking right at me with a mouth full of perfect teeth. *shudders*

  5. Henry says:

    “According to Penny, who has suddenly transformed into an expert on masculinity..”

    We can only hope she’ll transform into an expert on something else next week.

    I think it’s fair to say that people who’d actually bother to respond to Penny’s survey might not represent the whole spectrum of masculinity (whatever we decide that is)

    Then, of course, all that data is subjected to her scrupulously scientific analytical method – whereby she doesn’t at all choose the bits she already agrees with. Not a bit of it!

    Sorry, sarcasm valve broken today.

  6. typhonblue says:

    You have to understand, QRG. All ways of insulting men are legitimate, except for the ones who imply men are female. Women should be able to call men ‘rapey’ and ‘creepy’, because that’s about women protecting themselves. So they aren’t really insults.

  7. redpesto says:

    A man who gets penetrated behaves like a woman and is labeled as feminine — a fate that we raise small American boys to fear more than almost anything else.

    …until they learn the joys of strap-ons…

  8. Missile Smile says:

    I have a hard time seeing articles like those as sincere observations on masculinity. I’ve seen the arguments made before

  9. Missile Smile says:

    Agh, pressed ‘post’ by accident.

    I have a hard time seeing articles like those as sincere considerations of masculinity. I’ve seen the arguments made before and I think those making them think they’re diversifying feminism by absorbing a different point of view or something. But the context of these positions is usually ‘patriarchy hurts men too’ and as such is still just a way of abdicating women of responsibility (infantilising them in the process) and blaming men for how men have turned out (demonising them in the process).

  10. redpesto says:

    Penny – Take 1: But with all this panting, endless obsession with women’s sexuality, why aren’t we talking about men? – because every time ‘we’ do, men get told to STFU. So they did.

    Penny – Take 2: The time has come to have an honest talk about masculinity. – because she’s got a book to write and frankly the market’s flooded with ‘Livid Doll’ and ‘Isn’t Feminism Brilliant!’ books already.

    If Penny had actually bothered to either read texts such as Male Impersonators or Sacred Cows, or reacted to below the line comments with something a bit more sophisticated than campaigns against online misogyny, she might have noticed a lot sooner that masculinity is a lot more complicated than feminists think it is.

    I know the arguments in favour of ‘better late than never’, but really… Faludi had the same belated realisation in Stiffed over twenty years ago. Yet here we are now with ‘whataboutthemenz’. There’s a big chunk of contemporary feminism determined to make the same mistakes on issues like masculinity and porn all over again. It’s like the 1980s never happened.

  11. redpesto says:

    One last point (for now at least:

    Penny:[…] if [men] aren’t aroused by digitally enhanced, soft-porn women, or submissive women, or women, the last thing they’re supposed to do is talk about it.

    It’s easy for men to say they don’t like porn; if anything, some feminists will welcome them with open arms if they do (unless it’s for religious reasons, in which case they’ll turn a blind eye). Penny fails to realise the consequences of men talking about any kind of porn they do like (e.g. with male submissives), especially in a feminist context. It’s the same reason men don’t talk about paying for sex: there’s both the ‘loser’ discourse (because ‘real men’ get their sex for free) as well as the social stigma that includes feminists who repeatedly equate commercial sex with enslavement.

    PS: @Missile Smile – Yes, we’ve been here before. No, I’m not getting my hopes up either.

  12. Titfortat says:

    I always thought it obvious why boys or men would refer to another male as a “girl” or “pussy”. It isnt because they hate women but more likely because females, in general, are physically weaker than men. The insult is just that, inferring weakness. But why view it from the obvious when it is so much more colourful to think there is some nefarious plan behind the insult. ;)

    • good points! I agree. And sometimes insults lose their original meaning too. I think ‘cunt’ is an example. It is more for its phonetics that it has lasted, rather than its connotations I’d say.

    • Jared says:

      And as for why “bitch or pussy” are more likely to lead to a dust up than “dick or prick.”

      As stated, the former is an accusation of physical weakness while the latter is an accusation of overweening forcefullness. This makes a punch in nose an appropriate (if unwise) rubutal in the first instance, but rather counter productive in the second.

    • Henry says:

      Yes physical weakness and perceived or traditional need for protection. Nothing sinister. These aren’t men with deep unresolved hatred of all women (though some men – ridiculously – are persuaded that they do have such problems)

      Yet feminists fill columns in newspapers claiming that this IS the case. We can (and do) pick apart every such claim, but it does not seem to stop the relentless flow of jibberish from appearing in the Guardian week after week.

      One occasionally loses patience and announces that feminism is full of sh*t. But what is needed is a site that concisely demolishes all the dubious claims, and shows how these claims diminish any good points feminists have to make – they pollute and damage discussion on gender.

      Because in my view Penny, Ellen, Moore and the others are taking the p*ss. And as for the guys who go along with it…well, stupidity is gripping the nation.

    • Danny says:

      I always thought it obvious why boys or men would refer to another male as a “girl” or “pussy”. It isnt because they hate women but more likely because females, in general, are physically weaker than men. The insult is just that, inferring weakness. But why view it from the obvious when it is so much more colourful to think there is some nefarious plan behind the insult.
      Precisely!

      What most feminists miss in their never ending struggle to make women the true targets of all things bad is that the first rule of insulting a man is to attack his masculinity. Full Damn Stop. Its not about hating women or harming women. Sure a disregard/hatred of women does come into play but the idea that its all about hating women is akin to saying that Al-Queda is dangerous because they have AK47s, while totally ignoring the extremist and dangerous beliefs and ideas they hold and act upon.

  13. elissa says:

    That’s very interesting tying creep behavior to the personality of feminism – the poor unrequited love that feminism offers all, but that less seem to need or want. Then followed by the stalking of its snarly dogma

    Feminism is creepy you say…that’s the first time I’ve ever heard it put this way haha!

  14. Interesting article…

    I think comparing misogyny to homophobia is just another way to keep the focus on “women’s problems”….

    some of the manliest guys are gays-maybe not a perfect example but Rob Halford-Judas Preist-onstage in black leather with a motorcycle-I guess that is hypermasculine-don’t see anything “feminine” about that….

    • Titfortat says:

      @ Stoner

      As much as I am a BIG time priest lover, you gotta admit Halford has all kind of Tapette happening in this song. ;)

    • Danny says:

      I think comparing misogyny to homophobia is just another way to keep the focus on “women’s problems”….
      Well consider their lines of argument.

      Homophobia against gay men is based on hating men because they do something that is associated with being female (attraction to men).

      Homophobia against gay women is based on hating women because they are not doing what society tells them they should do as women (be attracted to men).

      See how it works? No matter how you look at it homophobia is based on hatred of women.

  15. anyways, I keep bringing this up but it seems to go back to Hillary Clinton’s “women are the primary victims of war….”

  16. anyways, there is an article I’m trying to get together on what I call “Privilege 2.0″ I don’t believe for one second that Marcotte, Schwyzer and Fatrelle are asking for equality….

    They might talk about the “glass ceiling” but have you heard them talk about the glass cellar–that’s the concept that more men work in “death professions” (ie coal miner) and accross the board have a shorter life span. One example is when Schwyzer was bragging about cuckolding another man, he shouted down MRA’s who said that was similar to rape. While I do believe it is a false equivalence to compare the two, I also think he was just shitting on men who believe that they should have more rights relating to fatherhood and paternity….

  17. “Hugo’s the kinda guy you could whack in the face with a rusty tent-peg and he’d say “I’d like to thank you for sharing your anger…” Hard to really hate such types, but easy to be annoyed by them!”

    people put on a public persona…

    remember he had almost killed an ex girlfreind (and himself) in a drug filled rage. yet Amanda Marcotte and David Fatrelle go on and on about those evillle MGTOW’s and “nice guy (TM)’s” as soooo awful when I doubt they have the misogynist thug cred hugo Schywzer has–or should I use the PUAtard term of “alpha.”

  18. […] Feminism Is Creepy (and full of contradictions) […]

  19. redpesto says:

    Talking of ‘creepy’, here’s an article from Salon about Stay at Home Dads:

    I’ve certainly witnessed the dad snubs myself, the circling of the lady wagons. I often suspect there’s a fox in the hen house aspect to it – the unspoken concern that any daytime interaction between hetero men and women will inevitably bust out in a Tom Perrotta novel.

    There’s also a likely darker excuse for the shunning: our unfortunate modern uncertainty of men who spend time with children, the sadly pervasive assumption they’re all predatory until proven otherwise. Stephen, an Illinois father of two young daughters, says, “If I take the kids to the playground, I’ll wave and say hi — and the moms will stay in their circle. I’ve wondered, do I look like a creepy weirdo? Am I not part of the clique? I’d understand if I rode my bike to the playground by myself, but I’ve got kids with me.” And Ryan McLuen, who writes the Dad’s Misadventures blog, says that even though “More often than not people are respectful of the fact I’m home with the children … there’s kind of a stigma to being a male who loves kids. In a lot of people’s eyes it’s creepy.”

  20. […] is now well-documented that in my -frequent – arguments with feminism, my ‘sisters’ sometimes end up […]

  21. Quadruple A says:

    I think the whole “creep” dynamic is compounded by this idea that if a guy appears shy or considerate or awkward that in itself makes him a candidate for creepyiness.Men are supposed to be considerate to women but not too considerate or else they are punished with the creep label. .I just came across a “booth girl’s” (attractive women who attend booths at conferences) post on Reddit and she said that if a guy, when posing for a picture doesn’t place his hand on her shoulder but sort of hover slightly above it, then he is being “creepy.”

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