Tuesday, 8 October 2013

TomSka, I AM an angry feminist

So, TomSka wrote a blog on his Tumblr about his journey with feminism, from "MEN HAVE PROBLEMS TOO!" arguer to "oh crap, sorry I was all defensive and thanks for calling me out on it". It's a good post and I recommend you read it.

Within it, he said how he wanted to make a video about feminism and how close my video got to the particular type of thing he wanted for his young, largely-male audience. However, he did have some criticism, which I found fair, but I also want to clarify a couple of things spoken about in this bit:


"Although when it comes to making my own video I’ll probably try to avoid slating “radical feminism” as much as Ellen does because it’s extremely hard to quantify what is radicalism and what is justifiable frustration. In the same way people are often quick to brush off valid criticism as “hate” I reckon there are plenty of folk ready to write-off an angry feminist as a “man hater.” That being said, it’s also important to note that sometimes people are just crazy and that there are assholes on every side of every argument."

I don't think that feminists aren't allowed to be angry/frustrated. I am angry/frustrated a LOT of the time. There are so many times when I want to scream into someone's face, but I usually bite my tongue (except when I put a snarky comment to highlight their sexism/stupidness/ignorance). When I express annoyance at something obviously sexist & I have someone tell me to worry about something "important", it pisses me off. When I read through the tweets on Everyday Sexism's Twitter feed, only to see replies from men going "are you sure they were even talking to you?" or "that's not sexist" or "take a damn compliment" or "well I wouldn't do that [so it must not have happened]", it pisses me off. I want to tear my hair out every time I see some ignorant idiot "mansplaining" or suggesting that women are overreacting, reading too much into stuff, being over-emotional, etc.

I have no problems with angry feminists, because I am one. I'm just a passive-aggressive, overly-British, mildly-socially-awkward one.



I was focusing on the small minority of crazy assholes/arseholes who think all men are inherently evil. In my video I spoke about my dislike of "angry, man-hating feminists" - when saying that, I specifically meant the women that hate men, the women that have become so riled-up with sexism against women that they have become sexists themselves; I was not meaning women who were just angry (who I would then assume were "man-haters"). In fact, that's one of the reasons I get annoyed at the very vocally-angry men-hating arseholes - any woman who labels herself as a feminist and is rightfully angry about something sexist is shouted down & silenced by being accused of being a sexist "man-hater". It sucks.

Feminists are allowed to angry and frustrated, else most of us would have to hand in our membership badges, but we cannot fight sexism with sexism. Feminism, to me, is a campaign for freedom and equality, and I've come across some extremist man-hating ladies that scared the crap out of me, who became one of the reasons I didn't call myself a feminist for a long time. I just couldn't relate; I wanted change for women, but, I liked most of the men I knew and didn't want to write-off the idea of maybe getting married to one one day. I also didn't understand all the women saying crap like "if women ran the world there would be no war" - I went to an all-girls school, and to that I say HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. Every woman has a right to be angry at a lot of the crap we go through, but you can take anger at injustice too far; I don't believe you can fight fire with fire - at least not if you want a happy ending. Female feminists are more than welcome to be angry about the patriarchal systems holding many of us back, but I don't think we should mark all men as arseholes - in fact, a lot of the feminists I know are actually men.

The extremists also create double-standards of sexism that MRA groups then latch onto and go "SEEE, FEMINISM IS EEEEEVIL. They don't want equal rights, they want DOMINANCE." Urgh.

In truth, though, I am also as equally pissed off with these idiots that look at the extreme man-haters and assume that they are a fair representation of all feminists. Really? You think any woman that points out an inequality also wants to destroy all men? However, I didn't approach my video like this, because they were some of the the people I wanted to get through to and I didn't want them to just switch off. I wanted to explicitly explain to them that feminism isn't about hating men, but hating complex social systems that have separated men and women into arbitrary groups (outside of sexual reproduction functions), creating the idea of "masculine" and "feminine" traits which each group must stick to (and god forbid you go in-between, else you're a weirdo/"gaaaaayyyy"/"tranny"/other vile insults here). (Just to clarify, these are all entirely social constraints that people are free to ignore - just pointing out that those that do - and did in the past - can come under intense scrutiny and be shunned by those in society that prefer traditional gender roles. Just look at this example).

I could've gone in guns-blazing, but I decided to rationally explain my thoughts & feelings on the matter, saying "hey, I had problems with feminism too, but then I actually learnt about it". I explained that feminism is also about letting men embrace their "feminine" side, not have to shun them and "man up" all the time, and about women wanting to be treated equally in all ways, good and bad. The problem is, "man-haters" are the ONLY thing a lot of these people see about feminism; people argue that I shouldn't call myself a feminist if I like men, because liking men means I'm not a feminist, apparently. So many people think feminism is this extreme "thing" because of Internet people like TheAmazingAtheist and others only talking about the extreme groups, because, hey, what YouTuber wouldn't be angry at all that sexism and want to make a video about it? 

I wanted to show people that there are different types of feminists and different branches of feminism, and not all of them relate to each other (ideologies can be very similar to religions in that respect). I just wanted to put across the other side - the passive-aggressive side that gets lumped in with the more vocal, extreme groups because people are lazy and stereotype. As you (and Neafcy in his wonderful video) have said, women are allowed to be angry, have every right to be angry - I just think that we need to calmly explain to people why we're angry as well, because - fun fact - unless we do so, people will likely label us as: over-dramatic, over-reactionary, attention-seeking, buzz-killing, PMT-ing, over-emotional and over-sensitive.

Because, you know, we're women, and all women are hormonal messes that just need to calm the hell down. (See what I did there...? I'm a bloody comic genius.)

Anyway, thanks for the shout out and the insightful comments - I always try to be clear in my videos and it seems I didn't make it clear that I was talking about the tiny minority of feminists that actually hate men, not justifiably frustrated women. Sorry about that. It's great to see that you're not afraid to talk about stuff like this and that you're taking everyone's comments on board. It takes real maturity to admit when you were wrong about something, and I love that you want to share this stuff with your young, male viewers. Sadly, with this topic, guys won't always listen to a woman/girl, because they have an "agenda", but they might just listen to you.

Although I would suggest you brace yourself for the inevitable white-knight comments... Let's hope the rational ones drown those out.

Also, if you want to see me really angry at sexism, I suggest you watch my videos on Street Harassment and some woman telling teenage girls what to do so as not to "tempt" her innocent sons with their pyjama-covered boobies. I get a bit more shouty in those two...

2 comments:

  1. I very much see and respect your point there but I do not believe that society has made it impossible for men/women to act out of their stereotypes, there's a little something called free will and I believe the more people use this "free will" the more people will follow up and stop being douchebags to each other about stupid stuff like showing emotion. In addition I can see why the 'Extreme Feminists' think that men had made it impossible for them to be free and such but mark my words the future generation WILL change knowing that the majority of the girls in my AP classes are hard working, honest people which is just what major companies are or will be looking for. I just think its stupid to think that jobs are being sexist and not allowing talented individuals who happen to have a vagina.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello there icklenellierose! I'd just like to say thank you for standing up for the sensible people of the world. It is sometimes forgotten, or just merely overlooked, that men and women can use the feminist card for terrible, and usually quite ignorant, reasons and to give such an eloquent response to this is wonderful. Hopefully in the future people won't merely see men or women as caricatures of social stereotypes or an embodiment of their genitals (and yes I know that sounds a bit weird), but I assume people like that will always spring up like a... spring? Yeah, I'm not in a simile mood today but thank you for the great post and I hope to see more great stuff from you in the future!

    ReplyDelete