In order to understand the full context of this post I refer to you here to db0's blog.
I think I made a bad and unjustified comment on his blog about the topic of feminism. I said I think feminism on the whole was misandric. This is obviously untrue and a strawman to boot. I don't really like identity politics, especially in the context of gender rights. I yank ideas from both MRAs and feminists, I gladly do this. It suits my purposes. Indeed, my actual attitude towards gender politics is "egalitarian humanist" I am a non-feminist and a non-MRA.
The knee jerk assumption of misogyny from MRAs honestly provoked me to make a similar statement about feminists. I do think that both feminists and MRAs can be sexist(and many are). For many sexists, it is my opinion that they use the labels to have some sort of legitimacy for their sexism. The egalitarian aspects of both the MRM and the feminist movement should be emphasized and the sexist rhetoric/actions needs to be minimized or non-existent.
I do like the "kyriarchy" idea, and I think it's more accurate than saying men have more power than women by default. I personally see class as the biggest indicator of oppression and I do think that sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. can add on to that and make it worse. However, I think the issues are not so black and white, sometimes the same issue can be looked at in different ways and in different angles. It also seems to me that many people are looking at offensive comments as though they are really signs of deeply rooted oppression. Well...as a queer woman, I have been offended several times about the assumptions about my moral character, my attitudes about heterosexual people, or even my attitudes about sex. I wouldn't say I was oppressed.
As an anarchist, I am for the empowerment of people to be responsible and ethical members of society. This also means we have to recognize and address bad behavior when it crops up. Anarchy cannot work if people are coddled and not made to to accept the consequences for their bad behavior. It also has to be said, that we need to be firm with real bigots and the real enemies to people's freedom and equality and stop worrying about someone's poor word choice. I make bad word choices all of the time, I regret it, but I learn from my mistakes and get on with my life.
TV Tropes get to the core of the matter, and despite being for examples in media, one can apply these real double standards to real life. Shit should be on levels 4-6 on the Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality. There are somethings that men are better at and there are other things that women are better at, I do not think we will ever have a 5, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't strive for it.
Most of the issues could be said to be human issues anyway and not just men's or women's issues: DV, rape, poverty, restrictive gender roles, social double standards, and so forth. These issues affect everyone, and while I'm not saying these double standards are exactly uniform or that one gender is more screwed than the other, but we need to have this cultural awakening and realize that we are all screwed and that real change requires all of us to work together.
Musings of a Pro-Human Woman: My Views on Gender Politics: A Response to db0
Very rarely do I bitch about shit like this. I actually hate identity politics. I hate them with every moral fiber in my body. Yes, I frequent MRA sites and blogs, but I still frequent feminist blogs, despite finding most feminists to be insufferable due to the oppression olympics that pervade them.
The fact of the matter is, we are all oppressed, some more than others and that's not limited to any characteristic, it's related to classism and state-capitalism. I know that, and hopefully you know that. A man is screwed by social factors that force him into a soldier/robotic servant role and a woman is screwed by those same factors that forces them to be dependent on the state or others by being a baby machine. Whether you want to call these factors "patriarchy" or not, doesn't concern me, what matters if you recognize that we are all screwed by the system. The state isn't our friend, it has proven that consistently, and yet it still has the audacity to call itself our friend. Heh.
The system of statism and capitalism creates an hierarchy that favors divisiveness and and hierarchical relations between people and anything that doesn't fit at the top(99% of people) are oppressed. If there is anyone above us, we are by necessity, slaves; anyone below us are our slaves. We need to start looking at people as our equals, whether we have an advantage or disadvantage. We are all in this together and justice requires us to look at people as equals and start working together.
So what about identity politics? They are very divisive. I do not have a problem with say a MRA bringing attention to an issue affecting men, but attacking women is divisive. I actually have the same attitude towards feminists, it's one thing to bring an issue affecting women out in the open, but for fuck's sake don't blame men or attack men. It is fair to address selfish behavior in both men or women, but it isn't fair to paint all men or women like that. NAMALT and NAWALT are very true concepts and they hold up. There is always a significant exception. Even, in final analysis, NAMRAALT and NAFALT holds up too. People are people. Do I have a disdain for most feminists? Yes. But I have encountered feminists in all my time as an activist for various causes that I respect. I am in contact with MRAs that despite our differences, I happen to respect very much despite disagreeing with them about politics and other issues.
In conclusion: Shut the fuck up about how your demographic is the most oppressed or whatever. Contributing to the divisiveness and hierarchy that pervades our culture is not conducive for social revolution or even libertarian. We are all oppressed and we don't need oppression olympics to prove that a group is oppressed. What we need is the willingness to put aside our differences and do real work to liberate humanity. It is because of my desire for real equality and liberty that I give a fuck about human rights issues and not a specific demographic's issues.
My blog has been overhauled to include other causes related to my anarchist activism and on anarchy
“If there be a human being who is freer than I, then I shall necessarily become his slave. If I am freer than any other, then he will become my slave. Therefore equality is an absolutely necessary condition of freedom.” -- Mikhail Bakunin
It is often said that socialism is unnatural and that it is incompatible with libertarianism. This is a lie. My vision is that socialism is first and foremost about freedom and therefore about overcoming the domination, repression, and alienation that blocks the free flow of human creativity, thought, and action. I do not equate socialism with planning, state control, or nationalization of industry, although I understand that in a socialist society (not "under" socialism) economic activity will be collectively controlled, managed, planned, and owned. Similarly, I believe that socialism will involve equality, but I do not think that socialism is equality, for it is possible to conceive of a society where everyone is equally oppressed.
At this juncture, you might be wondering what the hell are the libertarian parts. The simple answer is that I am in support of limited government though I could easily justify no government. My personal vision is a socialist minarchy, though I accept that most libertarian socialists/ left libertarians are anarchists and will support anarchism in the event that I am unable to justify a state(which after some thought I think there are legitimate functions of a state*). I think equality is a valid part of freedom and after some deliberate thought, one requires the other.
So you might be wondering what's wrong with capitalism. Well, the problem that I see with it is that it is an exploitive system and is authoritorian. The problem with capitalism is that it creates shit heaps called neighborhoods and reduces the poor and other disadvantaged workers to animals. This is anti-human and not good for human dignity. It is true that I accept the labor theory of value and that I accept that Marx's criticisms of capitalism are good. However I disagree with Marx's solutions, well more specifically Engel's. It is obvious that Marx is heavily influenced by German Idealism and in many ways I think he was spot on about capitalism. I do not believe there needs to be a transition period for socialism to take root and I'm actually more of a fan of a certain French man.
What I do support:
Socialism. Socialism, in it's traditional and true definition, means "the workers democratic ownership and/or control of the means of production". Such a definition implies that rather than a government bureaucracy for managing such means, there is a focus on highly democratic organization, education and awareness, and every individual is encouraged to become an active, rather than passive participant in that which effect their lives. Only the workers themselves bear the knowledge of what their own freedom and liberty means, and only they know what is best for themselves, ultimately. Advocates of the state, be they on the left, or the right, have repeatedly defined the meaning of "socialism" to mean arbitrary rule by a set of "leaders", or a political con-game in which socialism is no more than capitalism with a few token adjustments for bearability.
Individual Liberty. Libertarian Socialism is an anti-authoritarian form of socialism and the main principles are liberty, freedom, the right for workers to fraternize and organize democratically, the absence of illegitimate authority and the resistance against force. Libertarian socialists of all stripes hold that the people can make the best judgments for themselves when given enough information and therefore stress education rather than regulation. In our current society, the individual worker is separated from her or his fellow workers and not permitted to organize against his or her own exploitation... the state is the force which permits this lack of freedom to continue.
I personally see humankind divided in a struggle between different social classes: the property-owning class, and the working class. I am against all forms of coercion, state and capitalist, and do not seek to regulate human behaviors by way of the state, including such issues as possession of firearms, drugs, sexual conduct between consenting individuals, and related issues.
I see such things as gun control, speech codes, drug, alcohol, pornography and prostitution prohibition as a waste of time, and an unnecessary violation of individual choice. Most of humanities woes arise from the inherently coercive, undemocratic and un-libertine capitalist and state systems which human society is currently forced to follow. The answer is not regulation or limitation, but organization and education with a working-class emphasis. I pretty much reject the "social democratic" solution of keeping the state and military apparatus
Let's begin with a strain of thought:
Do I think that LGBT organizations should help fight for heterosexuals? Yes, I do, actually.
Modern feminism has put people into a state where they’re starting to force themselves into an Us vs. Them mentality. I see it all the time. I’m pan-romantic and demisexual but I always see LGBT organizations purposely make others that prefer the same sex seem like “aliens”. Opposed to trying to get people to understand them and find common ground, all of the focus is on making LGBT people to be these loud, unapproachable individuals. We’re all human. Why do we feel the need to keep dividing ourselves from each other?
Yes, LGBT orgs have their obligation to spread awareness and fight their issues. That’s not what I have a problem with. I feel as though it’s trying to take an eye for an eye in a battle for equality here. By trying to define themselves as people worthy of respect in all areas of society and invading the ‘straights only’ club, they’re creating a ‘gays only’ club. I’ve even talked to feminists about this. There ARE instances in the LGBT community where some people start to see their issues as more relevant or harsher than heterosexuals.
Straight people commit suicide. LGBT individuals commit suicide.
Straight people lose their jobs. LGBT individuals lose their jobs.
Straight people have emotional issues. LGBT individuals have emotional issues.
Straight people are struggling economically. LGBT people are struggling economically.
Straight people get bullied and hated. LGBT people get bullied and hated.
We’re ALL the same and like modern feminism, I don’t like the fact that these movements are so adamant about ignoring other groups because they feel as though it’s justified.
I don’t even like attending LGBT events because I feel as though a great deal of the people in there blow themselves up to be special snowflakes. Yes, we’re all unique and beautiful. But in no circumstance should we start losing sight of the fact that we’re all on this Earth together and that a certain group’s issues is more “relevant” than another.
In terms of issues that feminism doesn’t focus on, here are some things I’ve come up with off of the top of my head:
• Why is it so common for men to be reported on the news for committing a crime? Why is it so common for men to be incarcerated? Why is there still a large percentage of men not winning custody battles? Why is it that pro-body image groups emphasize the body issues of women opposed to realizing that there are just as many distorted, photoshopped images of men? Why is it that men are suddenly getting laid off when they’ve had their jobs for years? Why is it that modern feminists will ONLY pay attention to a struggle of a man if he’s being condemned for being gay, bisexual or transgendered? Why is it that men are collectively categorized as rapists when you have radical feminist groups hanging signs in men’s bathrooms that ‘Teach’ them ‘Not to Rape’? Why is it that domestic abuse statistics are only spoken of when it concerns violence committed against a woman? Why is it that no one ever speaks of statistics or consider it possible when a woman rapes a man or a man is the victim of rape or harassment by his own sex? Why is it that people only post statistics of how rape is ‘on the rise’, but don’t report about how false rape claims are on the rise as well? Why is it that women get offended when some men check them out or hit on them, yet condemn a man if he openly rejects them?
Why is it that when objectification is spoken of, everyone remembers how a woman was portrayed, but no one mentions how there’s a strict standard for men to uphold a toned, chiseled physique in the entertainment industry? When suicide rates are mentioned, why is it that it’s much more common for people to care about it being a guy if it was linked to his sexuality? When people speak of how atrocious poverty is, or how horrible a natural disaster was, why do people emphasize more if it’s a woman and a child being affected? When people speak of the casualties of war, why is it that it’s more common for people to consider it a ‘crime against humanity’ if a woman is killed or tortured, yet don’t hold that same sympathy for a man that was killed or tortured? Why is it that there’s an obsession with women wanting the ‘perfect man’ who’ll be kind, considerate, intelligent and who’ll have the job, the car and the means of providing for a woman, yet it’s those same women who’ll find it offensive if a man applies outlandish, unrealistic standards to a woman?
Why is it that a man is chastised by some feminists for being chivalrous to a woman? Why is it that while full figured women are told to ‘love their curves’, that same sort of support isn’t garnered towards men who are normally just seen as ‘fat’ and ‘lazy’? Why is it that hardly any feminists
So I am going to take anarchist thought and apply it to my activism I have jotted down a few thoughts and I have posted them down below.
I take what I want from a bunch of radical ideas and tendencies while rejecting any aspects of them that I don’t find useful or worthwhile. So I want to reject becoming a messiah of any category, label, or ideological division. I'm interested in social war and autonomy with anyone who shares that same aim, anarchist, insurrectionary, or neither. There’s the saying that in the supermarket of ideas you should take what you find relevant and discard the rest. This should be done without buying into the complete package of an ideology. Steal what you need and burn the rest.
However, insurrectionary anarchism, which is just one anarchist methodology, makes the most sense to me as a tactic and a strategy in opposing the social order. I embrace insurrection as a dynamic and uncompromising attack against everything that makes us not free. It appeals to me because it poses itself against the failures of cooperation with the state, the Left, pacifism, reformism, fetishizing armed struggle, and so on that are prevalent thoughout history.
I think affinity is the best basis for organizing ourselves. Affinity is generally misunderstood because the term was used a lot in the anti-globalization movement in reference to organizing for various summit protests. To these people affinity was synonymous with people you simply know or who you are friends with, which completely empties the word of any meaning. Affinity is deep reciprocal knowledge of people’s ideas, perspectives, personal relations, how they work, and so on.
It’s a way of directly relating to each other that involves delving into our similarities and differences in terms of what we think constitutes the present social order and how to go about combating it. People try to develop affinity with one another with the perspective of building a foundation for action. The face-to-face interactions, in the forms of debate, discussion, planning, etc. provide us a strong base that goes much further than uncritical false unity that others promote. There’s something more genuine and direct about this face-to-face communication that allows us to know each other intimately. The internet and all that has degraded our ability to communicate about things that actually matter.
A common critique you’ll hear brought against affinity-based organizing is that it has the potential for informal hierarchies to develop. In reality the probability of informal hierarchies is equivalent in both formal and informal organizations. No matter what, we have to combat hierarchies, it’s not just the form of organization; it’s also interpersonal relationships as well, like ignoring or erasing people or positions based on someone’s gender, race, etc. On the other hand I’ve seen the reverse mirror image which validates people’s ideas based solely on these identities. I'm not interested in just inverting societal standards, I want to redefine everything.
The notion of us trying to get people active implies an organizer-organized relationship as well. I'm much more interested in relating to people in a horizontal way. Also we are not going to be the main catalyst for getting people to be more conflictual. A lot of that is going to come from men’s everyday experiences in conflict at their workplaces and in their neighborhoods. On the other hand, the part I can play in those situations is to push those ruptures further by intervening in the conflict in a way that promotes, through action and ideas, autonomy, direct action, and the rejection of the political process completely.
Sure... some MRAs may feel alienated from this, but then again, a lot of people are alienated from ritualized demonstrations with hippies, weirdoes, leftist sects, and so on marching around in circles. The thing is, many men are being socialized to be passive, to have shit thrown in our face all day long by bosses, cops, social workers, etc. This society has debilitated them, so they feel like conflict should be avoided, and we should just accept things as they are. Feeling alienated is a condition of their existence under the current paradigm, and I’ve got to undo its effects.
Every model that exists today has failed and we shouldn’t waste any more time. We need to completely abandon the stagnant formulas that dominate our ideas about how we should go about fighting back in this world. We have limitless opportunities to develop our projects exactly the way we want to, with others who share our perspectives and goals. We should attack domination while ensuring that we can sustain social war in the long term.
In solidarity, frith, and freedom