This is another section from my post at Graunwatch about Suzanne Moore and the ‘female columnists’ campaign against ‘online misogyny’. The subject is one which is not about to go away and I am emphasising how here at QRG HQ we do not automatically accept that ‘men’ ‘dominate’ ‘women’ in society’s power dynamic. I am also grateful to regular reader and commenter Stoner with a Boner for sharing my recent posts at Feminist Critics blog. I will link back to them and follow up some of those discussions soon.
[Mark Simpson is] not very enamoured of ‘female columnists’. In a piece defending the beauty and androgyny of Andre Pejic, Simpson criticised Amanda Platell who he termed ‘an outraged female columnist’.
In the comments under his post, Simpson emphasised the way ‘female columnists’ such as Amanda Platell like to ‘pose as a defender of [their] sex, dressed in cliches’:
‘She’s just a hack columnist. A hack female columnist (writing for the Mail’s ‘Femail’ section) who likes to pose as a defender of her sex. Dressed in cliches.’
I know Simpson was not aiming this comment at Ms Moore, but it certainly applies to her, and all the ‘female columnists’ and ‘female bloggers’ who have emphasised their ‘femaleness’ in order to present themselves as victims of nasty men online and off.
Something else that Simpson pointed out to me in a private correspondance relating to Platell and Pejic, was that these ‘female columnists’ are not ‘silenced’ or ‘outnumbered’ by men. They dominate the broadsheets column and lifestyle sections. Almost all writing on gender in major newspapers is done by women. And if you include fashion and beauty the ‘female-dominated’ nature of this arena becomes even more marked. Mr Simpson, the leading theorist of masculinity of our times, does not have a column in a national newspaper. Ms Moore, complaining of women being ‘silenced’ by powerful men, has two.
While we are on the subject of ‘domination’ it is interesting to note that Suzanne Moore evoked a familiar figure from all of our psyches in her article: the female dominatrix. She wrote:
‘Other commentators face down the abuse or step in themselves. The last few times I have done this on Twitter I have not been polite and these guys – I am presuming they were male from their names – have apologised or told me they loved me. Since I get a Christmas card every year that says “I know when you see this is from a man you will be sick” I am fairly inured to it. Suffice to say, it comes as no surprise to me that dominatrices make the money they do.’
Here Moore is portraying ‘abusive’ men online as really underneath, just ‘submissive’ weak men. Apart from the *misandry* towards men who like to take the ‘bottom’ position in the sexual power dynamic, she is also suggesting that they deserve and want some kind of ‘punishment’ for their ‘bad behaviour’ from a strong woman.
Again Mark Simpson has already identified the ‘dominatrix’ within contemporay feminism. In an article reviewing a book defending masochism he said:
‘Ironically, the exclusion of masochism from the male psyche has produced a public scenario of their punishment and chastisement by women which continues today. The feminist is Ms Whiplash.’
Once again, I get the impression that Suzanne Moore has not read Simpson very carefully at all. And she certainly hasn’t taken on his ideas. She is just another illustration of his insights.
I however have read his work carefully and I have taken Simpson’s model of the feminist as ‘Miss Whiplash’ and written:
‘I am not saying feminists completely dominate men or ‘society’ in a sadistic manner. Rather that they take a punitive approach to anyone who does not go along with their dogma. If you are not a male feminist and are not masochistic in that way, you are seen as a ‘problem’ as a man, a problem that needs punishing.’
As Ms Moore’s article shows, men can’t win. If they accept their ‘punishment’ they are treated as pathetic and weak; if they don’t, they are considered to be nasty misogynists.