Thursday, October 27, 2005

I don't like feminazis.

I don't like feminazis. By which I mean two things. First, I don't like many of the opinions held by those people who are frequently called "feminazis". But, second, I also don't like the term "feminazi". The word "Nazi" is hyperbole. It's a "nya, nya, you suck and we're the gang who don't like you" sort of word, it provokes more than it criticizes and consequently says more about the user than those it is directed at. Given that I have great sympathy for the view of many of the people who use the term, its use saddens me for its cost in credibility. Even the more extreme feminists are not Nazis. Although they do say some pretty unpleasant things from time to time, they are not the same league as the National Socialist Party of WWII Germany. If one is attempting to have a reasoned debate, "feminazi" is the sort of word more likely to put backs up and polarize discussion than to achieve actual progress.

I am reminded of a wonderful scene from The West Wing where Toby is assigned to talk to a crowd of protestors in an auditorium. I don't remember what they were supposedly protesting, which is telling. They have no organization, they have no agenda, they're just a loud mob. Toby finds someone with a megaphone and makes the point that he's got plenty of time, and if they can't get their act together, he'll just sit back and read the sports pages. The owner of the megaphone manages to quieten the crowd long enough for Toby to get to the podium, declare that he's there to listen to what they have to say and be silenced by a wave of heckling. He promptly sits back down and reads the sports pages. (The simultaneous interplay between Toby and his mildly macho policewoman minder is a nice piece of writing and acting too, bewailing the impression that people don't know how to protest any more.)

In my previous post, I wrote about Trish Wilson, a self-professed "progressive feminist" blogger who repeatedly belittles men's and fathers' rights activists as a bunch of macho fools. By saying this, she provokes people with valid grievances and helps to turn them into exactly what she's calling them.

True feminists should be pro men's and fathers' rights. True feminists seek equality of opportunity, not the default superiority of either gender over the other in any given theatre. By touting the opinions that she does, refusing to acknowledge that men's and fathers' rights advocates have valid positions and failing to engage them in productive debate, Ms. Wilson betrays herself not to be a feminist at all.

Is she a feminazi? Many would call her that. I'd prefer not to fall to her level and call her as she is. On many of the issues that she and others hold forth, they know they have the advantage and they know they're in the wrong. They also know that by making you angry, they reveal and promote your powerlessness, and can claim that it is deserved. In the face of implacable presentation of facts, on the other hand, they often fall into shrill defenses of morally suspect positions, which is exactly what is needed to expose them for what they are. They are reminiscent, in fact, of the male chauvinists of days gone by who opposed the admirable aims of true feminism. In reasoned debate, such people ended up looking like the bigoted fools that they were.

Yes, there is a place for protest, yes, loud, obnoxious complaints get needed attention, but there is also a place for discussion with a view to convincing the right people of the right path, even if they start off opposing it. Take the moral high ground, speak to the balcony, that's where the power lies: in getting the attention of reasonable minds. Don't let heckling from the stalls provoke you into wasting your energy on petty argument over transparently irrational positions. Even if they have unreasonable opinions, all thoughtful people want to be good guys, reactionaries don't care.

Let's use the language of their more honest predecessors, let's call them what they are: female chauvinists. Some are even female-supremacists. Believe me, I make no apology for them, but they aren't Nazis.

(Simulposted on Just Another Disenfranchised Father.)


Blogger Masculiste said...

Well said and very well written.

10/28/2005 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger The Geezer said...

How about rad-fems. Can I call them rad fems?

And what if I WANT to get their backs up, like the crafty cats they are. Then can I use it?

And what if I am offended, by their lies, by their denegrating and prostituting of equality?

Can I no longer respond in kind?

Aren't they like Goebbels, repeating lies and falsehoods over and over, so often that they are now taken as truth, as the DV Divas do?

I respectfully agree with your points, but disagree with your conclusions.

While I have taken more to rad-fems of late, I am still using feminazis when it is more descriptive of their tactics and disinformation.

The Geezer

10/28/2005 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger MisAnDrope said...

I similarly think that the word Nazi as a pejorative description is way overused, but there are cases where it is appropriate:

When your rights are being systematically removed, the people who do it seem quite Nazi-like.

When they talk about imposing a 'man tax' and urge women to 'destroy the male sex', then they are FemiNazis. There is no better word.

10/28/2005 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger John Doe said...

It's just an opinion, geezer, I'm not in charge. I just like to think about the meanings of the words that we use. Words cause problems when the mean different things to different people. Right now, many are all worked up over parental alienation syndrome. I don't think there'd be nearly so much to argue about if the word "syndrome" weren't involved. Parental alienation happens, no-one seems to argue against that. Well, not effectively. But PAS per se is a concept subject to rules aside from those that are relevant to the effect on children and their relationships with their parents. I hear tell that scientists are still arguing over whether or not Pluto is a planet. Whatever, it's still a big rock up in the sky.

I'd say "feminazis" if I wanted a word to express distaste more than describe what they are. Rad-fem, or radical feminist, is fine too, but it is a bit more abstract than female-chauvinist or female-supremacist. "Feminazi" and "radfem" objectify, "female-chauvinist" and "female-supremacist" describe.

10/28/2005 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger John Doe said...

I can't argue with you there misandrope, but people who hold such wacked out opinions will dig their own graves in any reasonably open society, hence the fiasco in Sweden. They're getting what they deserve.

10/28/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Iguana said...

Are gender feminists something like Nazis? Yes, although they are even more like Stalinists.

But, here is the problem when you use terms like feminazi: YOU loose credibility. Feminists are very good at hiding behind the fact that they are women, and therefor weaker and deserving of special protection, whenever it suites them. (Of course, at all other times they claim to be equal and often better than men).

So, when someone refers to them as feminazis, they are able to easily paint that person in a variety of negative tones. Once that happens, the logic of your point or argument is lost behind the distraction of the feminazi label you used.

Really, anyone can go around using names like "feminazi." What is MORE difficult - and much, much more valuable - is to built rational and cogent arguments for why contemporary gender feminism is not only wrong, but actually destructive. Those rational arguments are what will eventually win he day, not some hot head calling gender feminists feminazis.

In all circumstances, it is much better to label the sect of misandrist feminism "gender feminists." First, the gender feminists did not come up with that term themselves, it was created by Christina Hoff-Sommers (who wrote the War Against Boys). So, they hate it when you use that term.

Second, it is an innocuous sounding, almost clinical sounding, and certianly scholarly sounding term. Yet, it is loaded with meaning. "Gender feminist" is clearly a negative term within contemporary epistemology.

So, while calling a woman that hates men a feminazi might help you to blow off some steam, you are actually doing a lot more damage to them and their ideology when you use the term "gender feminist." They want you to call them a feminaze, because they want you to discredit yourself. But, when you use the term gender feminist, you take away all of their tricks and all that is left is a rational and logical debate.

10/28/2005 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger John Doe said...

Yes, good points all, although "gender feminist" is perhaps a little obscure for the man/woman in the street, whereas everyone knows what a chauvinist is.

10/28/2005 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Swanson said...

I beg to diifer. . .In my travels I find almost no one has a remote idea what the word "chauvenist" truly means or it's origin.

10/30/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger The Geezer said...

Yeah. Gender feminist sounds all scholarly, something Iggy is more into than I, however, I am quite uncertain that the masses of sheeples would have an ice cube's chance in hell of immediately understanding what the hell you talkin'.

Yes, Femi-Nazi is a trigger. I will make a deal. I stop using it if every time the rad-fems, gender feminists, or whatever the term du jour is for them muddle headded wimmin', if they will stop using pejorative language and lying about men, their demeanor, their supposed crimes, and stop using cooked stats.


The Geez

11/01/2005 09:53:00 PM  

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