The leader of a MRA group set himself on fire and urged other MRAs to firebomb police stations because it was frowned upon when he smacked his four year old daughter in the mouth so hard she bled.
This was too disturbing for me to finish reading, but I think it’s important to know that men like this are out there, everywhere, in the world, and the need for gender equality is just as urgent now as it’s ever been.
That trigger warning was no fucking joke.
If you can make it through this article, please read it. It’s a very good piece on the state that society is presently in.
Sometimes with my feminism I feel like like I am smacking my head repeatedly against a brick wall. I wish the movement meant more to those around me so that we could work together and agree about things, but life is never that simple. More and more I feel I am being tested every day. Sometimes I want to scream in frustration at the ignorance and misogyny that exists within my social circles. But screaming isn’t the answer and would only reinforce the idea that all feminists have perma-PMS.
In general stupid trolling just gets ignored, and half the time I laugh it off, but sometimes people I know will say ridiculous things and I feel like I have a duty to challenge them. I don’t want to harsh everyone buzz and I wish I wasn’t the only person in my group who feels the need to call out blatant misogyny, but at the moment it seems to be happening more and more.
My cousin posted a wonderful picture to my Facebook wall, which I will post for you, about a man being treated like he was responsible for getting mugged. It was an interesting take on victim blaming and illustrated just how absurd it is for women to be blamed for their own rapes and assaults so constantly by our society.
Then my friend made a rape joke in the comments.
To some people that might not seem like a big deal, however literally the day before I had linked to a fascinating article (found here) on rape jokes and why they are not considered appropriate or funny by the author. I personally agree with the article and I thought she discussed a complex and controversial topic in a well thought out way.
So yeah, my friend made a rape joke and it pissed me off. It wasn’t the worst joke a person could have made about rape in that it wasn’t graphically descriptive, but I think any level of joke about rape (especially when made by someone who is less likely to ever experience rape*) is too much. Regardless, it upset me but I didn’t react. I saw it and I decided to wait and decide if this was really a battle I wanted to fight.
After no one responded to this guys comments for several hours, he posted a further comment saying “I’m a horrible human being aren’t I? lol.” That was the thing that baited me into the fight. Not content with simply belittling the experiences of millions of women with a joke, this guy had to come back when nobody laughed to seek some validation. It just really rubbed me the wrong way.
I replied to him saying “While not the worst rape joke I have ever heard, I did just post a link to an article explaining why rape jokes aren’t funny…” I want to engage with people in a gentle but firm way regarding feminist issues because I don’t want to put people off with a verbal assault when they may just be a little ignorant, but I also don’t want to excuse their behaviour. Another reason I try not to batter people too much is that I feel when you resort to shouting in an argument you’ve pretty much already lost.
Anyway, he decided to read the article and then posted that it was long and the woman just seemed angry. I explained that she was putting across an important view regarding rape culture and that her anger was righteous and directed at a system that repeatedly fails female rape and assault victims. I also expressed that this was something that the author and I shared. He then went on to defend rape jokes and say that you shouldn’t try to censor people and that pushing boundaries in comedy is okay. If you can’t joke about one issue then where does it stop?
The article says nothing about censorship of these jokes, it is simply the author explaining why she thinks people should stop telling them. She does a much better job of explaining it than I ever could so I highly recommend you check it out. The article essentially explains that if you truly understand rape, rape culture and the impact it has on women globally, maybe you wont find rape jokes so funny any more. This the example I used to explain why I don’t find rape jokes funny:
Statistics say that 1 in every 4 women are victims of rape. There are 12 women on my mother’s side of the family. Statistically speaking if we went on a family outing to a comedy club and heard a rape joke, at least three of us would be reliving our rapes. At least 3 of us would feel that joke was about us, reinforcing the shame and stigma attached to what is already a horrendous experience. At least 3 of us would have our experiences trivialised for the sake of a cheap laugh.
I also made a point that most people would consider the Holocaust an area that is off limits for comedy. Genocide is not something most feel comfortable joking about and so if he really stands by his theory that nothing is off limits would he be able to bring himself to joke about the Holocaust to an Auschwitz survivor or a relative of someone who was lost in those chambers? Their experiences were so horrific I don’t see how anyone with any shred of a soul could trivialise their suffering with a joke at any point, let alone to their face.
Anyway, the guy did not give a crap about any of this and revealed himself to be a massive bigot. He is anti-choice, thinks that the government should cut costs to childcare and force parents to take care of their kids (because most people can afford to drop a whole income in this economy *eye roll*), thinks chronically sick people should be pushed into work and have their welfare stopped and thinks that white heterosexual men are the new minority group we should all rally around.
He was talking crap about how if he went for a job up against a black guy or a woman, they would would get the job over him. It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I tried to explain that positive discrimination is there to correct an imbalance that exists because people would still pick a Caucasian guy over most other ethnicities and genders in many cases. He says it has swung too far the other way and now white men can’t get jobs!
Yes… That’s right… I don’t see white men anywhere any more… I forgot! I only ever see an ocean of colour when I walk into my local government buildings, restaurants, retailers or other places of business. It’s not at all dominated by white men… not at all…
I worked at Phones4U which is possibly one of the most sexist and racist organisations in the UK in my experience (but I won’t get into all that in this post because it will drag us on a lengthy off topic rant). Out of the 30 staff I knew in the two stores I worked in only 3 people who weren’t white worked there and they were all men. No women of colour were employed in the stores I worked for, but then again there were only 4 women employed full time with 4 others working part time. So we had 22 men to 8 women on staff and of those 22 men, 19 were white.
Yeah, this totally proves the theory that white men can’t get a jobs because of all those black people and women… I forgot two thirds isn’t the majority… Probably because as a woman I’m bad at maths…
I know that’s just my personal experience, but really it is somewhat reflective of society and I find it frustrating that this man cannot acknowledge his privilege. As a white heterosexual cisgender woman I am very aware that I have it sweet compared to some of my sisters who differ in race, sexuality or physical representation of their gender. I have never had racial or homophobic slurs thrown at me, my race, sexuality and cisgenderedness are more than adequately represented in the media, and the beauty industry values and caters to those who posses a white, European appearance almost exclusively.
I cannot comment on what these women experience because I will never understand it. I would not think to compare my experiences with theirs in certain situations because they would be vastly different. There is overlap of experience as women together, but there will be some things that I can’t truly comprehend.
Having this privilege doesn’t make me a bad person. What would make it bad is if I refused to recognise it existed thus belittling the experiences of those facing oppression. What would make it even worse is if I did not support their battle for equality. When a man ignores his privilege like this and denies that women are oppressed he is essentially declaring disdain for half the population and perpetuating the problem.
He is just one man I know who behaves like this, but unfortunately he is one of many. I also, sadly, know of some women who think like this. Women who think that we need to go back to the 1950’s and put our silly quest for equality aside and stop hating on the men (cue eye roll).
What I want these people to understand is that feminism is beneficial to everyone, men and women alike. When women are able to break free from objectification and their prescribed gender roles to live as they wish, men will also be liberated from their gender roles. Men can be true to their identities without fear of judgements. It’s not just about careers either it’s about stereotypically masculine and feminine traits. Men will be more free to express their emotions and feelings without being mocked and “feminised” and women will be respected for the aggressive business skills instead of being labelled bitches.
We aren’t here to force men into dresses and make them hold hands with each other, and we aren’t trying to make all women join the army and get buzz cuts. We just want people to be able to have the life they desire without oppression. And we mean for real, not just lip service. I will fight for my sister’s rights to be a homemaker and give birth to 100 babies if that is what makes her truly happy, and in return I hope she will fight for my right to be a career gal on birth control.
Why don’t people understand this?! Why are they so against such a logical, wonderful movement?!
*I’m not saying adult male rape can’t happen, sadly men can be sexually assaulted and raped too, by men and women. However this is not the topic I was discussing and I think it requires a longer and more in depth discussion of its own.