Posts Tagged ‘misogyny’

‘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’!


‘The Female Of The Species is more deadlier than the male’ – Space.

According to an article by helen Lewis in New Statesman today, ‘female bloggers’ are the victims of regular abuse from ‘misogynists’. She writes:
‘The sheer volume of sexist abuse thrown at female bloggers is the internet’s festering sore: if you talk to any woman who writes online, the chances are she will instantly be able to reel off a Greatest Hits of insults. But it’s very rarely spoken about, for both sound and unsound reasons. No one likes to look like a whiner — particularly a woman writing in male-dominated fields such as politics, economics or computer games. Others are reluctant to give trolls the “satisfaction” of knowing they’re emotionally affected by the abuse, or are afraid of incurring more by speaking out.’

Apart from her use of the term ‘female’ to describe women who write online, which I will come back to, I have a problem with Helen’s analysis. Basically she is pitting women, and mainly feminist women, as innocent victims of nasty abuse from men, or ‘trolls’ as she refers to them. She does not provide any evidence to back up her statement she just says ‘if you talk to any woman who writes online’… Well I am a woman who writes online and the main abuse I have received has been from feminist women.  So that probably means it doesn’t count, right? She doesn’t mention men who write online, or suggest anyone talks to them about their experiences. And she certainly doesn’t mention that other ‘m’ word – ‘misandry’.  Because when it comes to ‘sexism’ and sexist language, it can only be aimed at women, according to most feminists.

She goes on to say:

‘Both are understandable reasons, but there’s another, less convincing one: doesn’t everyone get abuse on the internet? After all, the incivility of the medium has prompted a rash of op-eds and books about the degradation of discourse.

While I won’t deny that almost all bloggers attract some extremely inflammatory comments — and LGBT or non-white ones have their own special fan clubs too — there is something distinct, identifiable and near-universal about the misogynist hate directed at women online. As New Statesman blogger David Allen Green told me: “In three years of blogging and tweeting about highly controversial political topics I have never once has any of the gender-based abuse that, say, Cath Elliott, Penny Red, or Ellie Gellard routinely receive.” ‘

So according to Helen ‘there is something distinct, identifiable and near-universal about the misogynist hate directed at women online’ – what? I don’t see anything specific about ‘hate’ directed at women any more than hate directed at men. And, as I said, since most of the ‘hate’ that has been directed at me online has been from feminist women, her point falls on stony ground here.

Also she quotes David Allen Green, lawyer and ex Tory (supposedly), who seems to love cosying up to feminists these days. This is the same David Allen Green that encouraged, joined in and then tried to justify the ‘misogynist hate’ directed at me by his NS colleague and feminist ally,  Steven Baxter. So I don’t really trust anything he has to say on the subject.

(My hyperlinks aren’t working: The Baxter debacle is documented here) :

But the real problem I have with this article is the accounts it includes from ‘female bloggers’, those paragons of virtue and honesty and decency.

They include: Kate Smurthwaite

Kate is a particularly vindictive feminist blogger and ‘comedian’ who cheered when the late great Sebastian Horseley died, even though she knew him personally:

‘His deliberate refusal to acknowledge and attack the human rights abuses he was well aware of being conducted by the sex trade is inexcusable. His death is excellent news for all those who support human rights but I personally am still a little saddened by it.’

She attended Horsley’s funeral standing outside the church with a placard that read ‘what about the victims of prostitution?’  Nice. Of course I am blocked from commenting on her blog.

Also included in this piece is Cath Elliott. She also blocks me from commenting on her blog, and she also celebrated when Seb died:

‘It was Sebastian Horsley’s funeral today. Yeah I know, I didn’t cry when I heard the tragic news of his untimely death either.’

So when I hear of her tales of woe about receiving admittedly pretty nasty treatment from people online, I don’t feel that sympathetic.

‘Hate’ is expressed in many different ways. As Mark Simpson has explained, hatred aimed at men as treated as ‘acceptable’. Referring to a book on the subject he writes:

‘Men, say the authors, have become society’s official scapegoats and held responsible for all wickedness, including that done by women they have deluded or intimidated. Women are society’s official victims and held responsible for all good, including that done by men they have influenced or converted.’

So for me, regardless of the details of any nastiness aimed at the women who have contributed to this article, sorry the ‘female bloggers’, I think it is reinforcing this idea that women are ‘society’s official victims’ (and men the oppressors).

And the term ‘female bloggers’ relates to this in my view. It is falling back on the language of biological determinism, of the innate differences between the ‘male’ and ‘female’ examples of the species. It evokes the spirit of that old nursery rhyme which states that ‘little boys’ are made of ‘snips and snails and puppy dogs’ tails’ and ‘little girls’ are made of ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’.

Well I have news for the ‘female bloggers ‘ of the world: they’re not. Women can be and are just as nasty as men, and can use misandry just as effectively as any misogynist uses misogyny. But they get away with it because misandry is acceptable in our society. It is so acceptable that people such as Sharon Osbourne can appear on national TV and laugh about a man having his penis cut off by his own wife:

Sorry ladies, I sympathise with any unfair treatment you receive as writers and bloggers, but I don’t accept the rhetoric you dress it up in.