Gender equality needs sensible activism - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Gender equality needs sensible activism

Last week, FCKH8.com released this video, which has been making the rounds through social media. It features little girls dressed as princesses yelling at the camera, detailing the abuses of the patriarchy against the female population of the world. Excellent concept, effective delivery, great message; but at 1:56 the girls are replaced with adult women, who also shout at the camera. For me, something gets lost at that moment. The video ceases to be an appeal for a solution which will help keep our daughters from growing up into the world we did, a world which, admittedly, is rather screwed up in regards to the way certain groups are favored or oppressed, and it becomes a parody of the angry feminazi, a caricature of a caricature. Never mind the video’s logical fallacies and outdated statistics, grown-ass adults shouting at each other rarely arrive at any kind of civil discourse.

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!

And I see the perspective that maybe the time is done for civil discourse, but who the hell are we going to fight? Is anyone willing to commit to the view that men today should bear the punishment for the sins of the men of yesterday? Of course not, that’s the same kind of mentality that brought this news anchor to tell young women to stay on tinder instead of vote. That’s ridiculous!

 No one should be on Tinder.

No one should be on Tinder.

So is the point to express outrage that no one’s thought of a solution yet? Fine, great, I’m pissed off too, but that just seems like wasted energy to me. I’m more pissed off by the shitty solutions that are being offered, like SB-967, AKA the ‘Yes Means Yes’ law from here in California, which states that sexual consent is only real if it’s explicit, because people are always unambiguous with their desires.

 “I would like to have fun naked time with you now.”

“I would like to have fun naked time with you now.”

My criticism is that the video offers no solutions of its own, it just flails its arms in the air; but more than that, it’s the latest in a string of points along the timeline for the fight for gender equality that, while on the right side of things, missed the mark, like gamergate. Based on what I saw on facebook and reddit and tumblr, I thought gamergate was a fight between people who wanted developers to stop filling games with sexually objectifying images and people who wanted those people to die. After doing some searching, I’m still not entirely sure what all the kerfuffle’s about, or even which side the title ‘gamergate’r’ actually represents.

What I’ve gathered is that it started with someone accusing a video game journalist and a video game designer of sleeping with each other, and then one reviewed the other’s new game. Apparently it never happened, and some people saw it as a scandal, which, sure, but how did it get conflated and twisted into a situation where sides are taken and Chris fucking Kluwe is writing this inflammatory article about it? It seems like it became a platform for a lot of pissed off people to hurl scathing ad hominems and threats by and at both sides. But that’s how humanity works, isn’t it? Human beings, and particularly, it seems, men, have a severely dualistic mentality that forces us to split the world into false dichotomies, into us vs them.

Versus Blend

But that’s not how it has to be! Remember the #notallmen, #yesallwomen stuff from a few months ago? This guy shot up a sorority because he felt that he had no opportunity to get with those girls and that he needed to punish them for having sex with other men. Once it happened, it raised a ton of awareness for the violence perpetrated against women on a daily basis, hurried right along by the twitter hashtag #yesallwomen, as in, “yes, all women worry about getting attacked or raped.”

This prompted a confounding and misguided response from some men on the internet, that great storm drain of human thought, that went by the hashtag #notallmen, as in, “not all men attack or rape women.” As if anyone needed to be reminded of that. IF we lived in a world where people really thought out their actions and reactions, all of that hashtag stuff would’ve faded away, trampled by the herd on the path toward progress, whatever that actually means.

Alas, we don’t live in that world and the #notallmen men were raised up for ridicule and attack by every clickmill on the internet. The whole crux of the attack was that men have nothing to say about feminist issues, with no one actually stopping to consider that when you attack a group whose platform is entirely one of “we don’t attack or rape people”, regardless of how unnecessary that platform is, or how absolutely bat-shit its members are, saying that they don’t have anything worthwhile to say is the same as taking away their voice, giving them the exact delusional complaint that they thought they had in the first place.

 Oh man, I KNOW there’s a word for this!

Oh man, I KNOW there’s a word for this!

Now, I should probably clarify my position as being neutral. I’m not an MRA, I’d actually call myself an egalitarian before anything else, and I accept that the tide is turning, chickens are coming home to roost, and white males in general are probably going to experience an equal and opposite reaction to the dominance and atrocities of the past eons, but I also really hope that we don’t. After all, an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

But on the other hand, eye-patches ...

But on the other hand, eye-patches …

I don’t think it would be productive to talk about whatever miniscule problems men go through as a result of the patriarchy. Those issues are just has hackneyed as the others because you can’t go on the internet today without 20 articles about gender inequality blasting your faceholes with more and more statistics and you just stop caring. You start thinking, if everyone really knows about the issue, why is it still around? Why has no one thought of a good solution? I don’t have one, which basically means that, according to my own article, I’m part of the problem. But its worth noting that in the last few months, at an inordinate frequency, if I smile at a woman or say hi to someone leaving a place as I’m arriving (because I’m not a dick) I get serious stank eyes.

In the industry, we call that “shade”

In the industry, we call that “shade”

To be sure, the irony that I might feel like I wasn’t allowed to express my sexuality or approach a woman I was interested in isn’t lost on me, but isn’t the whole point of the equality movement to make it so that no one has to feel that way?

My issue is only this: pointing out the problems and getting mad as hell is all well and good, after all, everyone was 15 once, but feminism doesn’t need arguments and anger any more. We don’t need to draw lines in the sand, because that’s what’s going to alienate people from the cause. What feminism needs now is unification with the other issues (like healthcare and financial injustice), solutions to the problems, and to stop pushing people away who aren’t already on board. Our side is the one that advocates a better future for EVERYONE, and I’m worried that we’re losing sight of that.


About the author

Anthony Stevens

Hello? Is anyone out there? If anyone can hear me, I'm trapped. I don't know where I am and it's dark. I can hear the rats, they scurry in the dank. Making my way home, I felt a bludgeon on the back of my neck, now...I don't know. I can hear the scraping of knives on forks and it's getting closer. Please help. Contact the author.
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