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Question Time: Backlash, Frontlash, The End of Men?

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It’s Question Time again. I’ve been reading through Susan Faludi’s Backlash and her more recent book on men, Stiffed, as well as some of the discussion surrounding Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men and Kay Hymowitz’ Manning Up. Faludi, writing in 1991, obviously saw the 80s as a time of antifeminist backlash.

My question is how you would characterize the years since she wrote her book. A continuation of that backlash? A time of feminist resurgence, from the Riot Grrls up to Rosin’s predicted End of Men? A mixed period of progress and regression?

I’m wondering both what your general assessment of the situation is, and also what specific evidence you have — either hard data or personal experience — that underlies your overall view. This could be anything from data on employment segregation or the prevalence of rape to your sense of how media representations of women and men have or haven’t changed, or even how people you know have changed the ways they talk about gender. What do you think are the significant data points to look at?

The question isn’t just what has changed for women but what has changed for men as well — with my underlying question being: what if anything in the real world has changed that might be making the angry men we talk about here so angry? I think we can agree that most of their own explanations are bullshit, but could there be a grain of truth to any of them? Or something that they don’t see that’s far more compelling?

In the interest of spurring discussion and providing some data to work with, here are a bunch of articles responding to (or at least vaguely related to the issues raised in) Rosin’s End of Men, including a link to her original Atlantic article.  In addition, here are some posts by sociologist Philip Cohen challenging many of Rosin’s claims, as well as more general posts of his on gender inequality. (Feel free to completely ignore any or all of these; I just found them useful resources.)

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rjjspesh
7 years ago

A lot of people don’t want to hear this, but: Porn

It has some serious, harmful consequences, not the least of which is resentment of women.

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

It certainly can. I’d argue all media has that power.

Karalora
Karalora
7 years ago

I keep meaning to read Stiffed. What are some of the points it makes? I read the introduction and/or…part of the first chapter?…back when it was new, and I seem to recall the overall thrust being something like “Boomer dudes grew up believing basically that they were the natural inheritors of pretty much everything worth having, and now that this has turned out not to be true, they are pitching a fit.” Am I close?

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

My guess would be that the anger is caused by the fact that the backlash didn’t succeed in shutting feminism down. I think a lot of guys thought that all they needed to do was complain and they’d get what they want.

Also, the fact that the gaps are closing in some areas. Misogynists can’t bring themselves to accept that if women are doing as well as men in X field it might be because they’re just as adept as men, so they assume that women must be being given an unfair advantage.

Basically it’s becoming more and more obvious that a. feminism has succeeded in making some major changes and b. most of society, although it dislikes feminists as a group because ew angry hairy lesbians, actually supports most of those changes. They’re angry because we won the culture war, basically.

Bob Goblin
Bob Goblin
7 years ago

I think the growth of the internet was helped fuel a lot of feminist backlash. It’s now a lot easier for misogynists to find each other and create echo chambers. It’s not just misogynists, of course; lots of other groups of people have exploited this new resource, too.

But the side effect is that, at least when they are in those spaces, they never have to talk to anyone but the like-minded. And this reinforces their ideas.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

That too. The internet has been a boon to all kinds of groups focused around the desire to do harm to others. Pedophile groups are a great example. Anonymity plus the ability to connect with people all over the world can be a great thing in some ways and a really terrible thing in others.

Cthulhu's Intern
7 years ago

I think I can compare feminism to ages of comic books: The Golden Age would be the suffrage movement. Back when it was well-known, a much more major political movement, and these days, pretty much everyone (save for a few dickholes) approves of it today. The Silver Age would be the 60s. It was a bit awkward then. While it was pretty obvious that it was for things such as sexual equality, family, and the workplace, there were a lot of arguments over what was actually wanted. I know that different types of feminists still argue these days, it’s just not to that degree. The 70s and 80s were a time of backlash mainly because that was when Dworkin, Solanas, and other radical feminists were popular. While earlier feminist movements could have been seen as being critical of the government or other people in power, those radical feminists were more anti-patriarchy, which some men could have seen as personal attacks. When someone does something you perceive as a personal attack against you, you tend to think a lot worse of them. I think that a lot of the anti-feminist backlash back then was not actually lying about feminism, even if it is something feminists at the time never said, I think they actually genuinely thought that they were saying those things, being blinded by anger. Part of what makes today’s MRAs “tick” is that those attitudes have not quite died out.

Another thing that I think causes anti-feminism backlash today is that I think we’re currently in an awkward transition period between sexism and equality. While we are a lot better than we were years ago, we still have a lot of aspects of society are still inequal and the more equal parts seem a bit more awkward when around the inequal aspects. Some of the anti-feminists think that feminists are done or close to done and see these awkward aspects of society and think “well, see, this doesn’t work, what’s wrong with these people?”

I’ll admit, I’m not as in tune with the history of feminism as I’m supposed to be, and I may not be making sense at some points, but this is what I think.

Fibinachi
Fibinachi
7 years ago

Nothing is all that different

That’s my opinion. The only major change that I can readily see over as compared to , say, 1980 or earlier, is that the barrier of entry into misery and hate has been lowered infinitely. People are still angry, and you will still find those railing against feminism, but they don’t say anything that hasn’t already been said a million times over the last 30 years.

The only major difference is that we see it more. It’s more visible. Blogposts, comments, sites, email lists. Anyone can pick up a link with access and use it to look at these things, join the conversation, rage against “femimism” or “sluts” or “hypergamy” and then leave again, instantly. No repurcussions, no nothing.

I don’t deny that there’s been some legislative changes, and that the demographic make up of the world has changed. There’s the oft cited notion of more women on campus, so on, but by and large, I think the most significant difference is simply that it’s much easier to accumulate evidence of direct, vitrolic hatred and it’s much easier for those who feel that way to express it.

After all, no one has yet implemented the Round Up All Men And Kick Them In the Nads Act, or the Throw Rocks At Boys, They Are Stupid Act. But you’ll still find people angry and irrate. Facebook is a good example of an example people will use to posit and example. Example example. How many of the posts here have guys railing against “Social media sluts who stalk facebook all day for likes” and have that weird twist where how many likes a picture gets is an example of “female priviledge”?

They’re not saying anything new (Women are shallow), but they are saying it repeatedly and in a forum where others then repeat their opinions back at them, giving them this sensation of a much, much wider field of backlash. So people take their angry words and repeat them.

As for porn, I disagree. I don’t doubt that someone who watches porn obsessively might find thought patterns different, but I don’t think the porn in that case is the leading cause. It’s just not possible, becaue, well, I’ve yet to see any books, movies, videogames, songs, hymns, roleplaying activities, knitting circles or exercise be stripped down as a reason for hating women. And you can find some pretty egregeriously nasty examples of stuff in all of those. So it couldn’t have changed all that much, in my opinion. No more than any other source of media input.

It’s really just a case of increased visibility – you see it more now because it’s easier to spot, not because there’s really more of it.

Fibinachi
7 years ago

Actually, if there’s one thing that might have caused a change, it might be Neil Strauss. The Game. It was published in 2005, and sort of popularized the notion of pick up artistry for a general audience. It’s also where one finds good examples evo psych, nature of this, nature of that, gender essentialism, so on.

Personally, I quite like the book, but I think it showcases a good example of people finally getting up their entire underpinning mentality.

You have Warren Farrel’s Myth of Male Power, with the positions it has, and then you have “Game”, as a kind of red pill one can swallow to see the matrix and become more of a man, someone who doesn’t have to fear women getting power over them and who no longer has to be so afraid of feminists because deep down they’ll know how to handle their shit tests and so on and so on and so on.

I’m sure you’ll find examples of all of that before 2005? Obviously. But I think after someone could literally go “This is a best selling book, about this thing, and I’ll teach you all about it, to take the red pill! We have a forum!” it all came to a head. And here we are.

Pear_tree
Pear_tree
7 years ago

Fibinachi, I wonder if things like The Game makes life worse for men because it has a premise that if you do the right thing you can get any woman. That means if you fail to pull it is always your fault and if you were different it would have worked. In reality the person you are trying to pull might have a headache, be wanting to get home early to watch a TV show, or be emotionally distressed about something etc. It sets men up to see themselves as a failure for not pulling. I can imagine that would make men feel more rather than less betrayed.

Julie
Julie
7 years ago

I try to see the bright side. I think the internet is a part of it. I think weirdos are more visible. The TEAliban can also be a factor. I also feel that the more virulent the backlash, the better the better the positive social reform’s power. In other words, the worse it gets, the better it’ll get. Desperation leads to more zealous craziness. I think the reactionaries’ time will soon be up!

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
7 years ago

As one of the original transfeminists (I don’t remember exactly when I first labeled myself a transfeminist, but it was either 93 or 94, and I had to invent the word to do so*), I think one of the things you’re missing is the rise of a transfeminist movement.

The more people become aware of the breadth and depth of gender choices available, the more it becomes obvious that people have choices and are thus in a position to be held accountable for those choices.

One of the profoundly central aspects of the MRM is that they want to define certain behaviors as “natural” to men and women, then to escape accountability for “natural” behaviors while imposing heightened accountability for “unnatural” behaviors – because only the unnatural ones are truly “choices” and so only they should be [or could be] subject to social suasion.

While among transsexual folk there is a position taken from defensiveness (and I mean literally out of a need for defense) that asserts that transsexuality is natural. Yet even in communities where this is an important rhetorical tactic, the follow up is, “therefore let me deal with my gender in the way that works for me” – which still implies choice, and certainly allows other people with the same gender to make different choices.

While trans oppression may not be a[n explicit] central goal of the MRM, it was one thing for 60s and 70s feminists to assert that it was normal for women to desire some of the things that men desire – that just validates the values of men’s culture. (“See! We’re so right about what’s important that even women who shouldn’t want manly stuff want manly stuff.”) It’s another thing entirely to start tearing apart normal and highlighting a multiplicity of desires, motivations, and, crucially, choices.

So I’m disappointed to see you ask only what’s different for men & women. Though they speak only of men & women, that’s because they are trans oppressive jerks making trans oppressive assumptions. It doesn’t mean that trans people and trans liberation have no effect on the MRM.

Far from it.

*which doesn’t mean that it wasn’t independently invented by someone else earlier, just that there was no sufficient mass of transfeminist writing that one was likely to come across the word by happenstance in trans writing or feminist writing

khantron
khantron
7 years ago

As for porn, I disagree. I don’t doubt that someone who watches porn obsessively might find thought patterns different, but I don’t think the porn in that case is the leading cause. It’s just not possible, becaue, well, I’ve yet to see any books, movies, videogames, songs, hymns, roleplaying activities, knitting circles or exercise be stripped down as a reason for hating women.

While it’s true that the rest of media is terrible in its representation of women, I don’t think it’s too much to assert that porn is probably the worst. It targets (white? It is pretty racist.) men and boys almost exclusively and so it doesn’t have some of the most basic controls for not completely alienating other audiences. So while other media does generally target white men it still considers women and PoC as peripheral audiences that they don’t want to completely alienate, whereas the porn industries in general haven’t cared one bit about the audiences they’re not targeting.

katz
7 years ago

So while other media does generally target white men it still considers women and PoC as peripheral audiences that they don’t want to completely alienate, whereas the porn industries in general haven’t cared one bit about the audiences they’re not targeting.

Not sure I see this. Other industries sometimes seem pretty hell-bent on alienating women.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

The idea that porn only targets white men seems really off to me. First of all, the US and Europe are not the only markets that produce porn. The Japanese market, for example, is definitely not producing porn with white men as primary consumers in mind. Even with the US market, I’m pretty sure that they realize that MOC are watching and would be very happy to take their money.

Also I think that focusing on something like The Game shows a weirdly limited understanding of the backlash. I’m pretty sure that the right-wing legislators who want to ban abortion, for example, are not particularly familiar with that book, nor would they be fans of it if they were.

Maude LL
Maude LL
7 years ago

@ Crip Dyke

Good points.
I think the increasing difficulty of maintaining gender binary as the only two possible identities with assigned natural (for cis men) and proper (for cis women) behaviour is a threat to people who fit what is traditionally considered the norm.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Ok, disclaimer, I was born mid-80s and thus have no personal knowledge or pre-90s anything. However, Crip Dyke is right. Idk, maybe it’s the increased access to, and importance of, the internet, but when I was a kid it was seen as weird, and wrong that my mother wouldn’t even attempt to policy my utter flaunting of gender roles (my father was another matter entirely).

Now, whether in practice or because of the ubiquity of the internet and trans* friendly spaces, I can opt out of gender // ID as androgynous and one of two things happen: people like y’all go “oh, what pronouns do you use?” or, and this is the really relevant bit, assholes try extra hard to police gender. Eg NWO’s “zie creatures”.

So yeah, the more noticable feminism, trans*, LGB, etc rights become, the more upset people get about being forced to recognize us as human.

*Argenti needs sleep and probably isn’t being clear*

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Maude LL — you meant “feels like a threat” right? Because I really don’t give a shit if girly girls want to be girly girls and manly men want to be manly men…just don’t expect me to fit neatly into those narrow boxes.

Aaliyah
7 years ago

Crip Dyke makes some excellent points (also, welcome! ^_^).

La Strega
7 years ago

I keep meaning to read “The End of Men,” but I just really, really hate that title.

I think a lot of the white middle-class guys I know are in despair because of lack of jobs. The women I know have survived the economic downturn better, in part because they were already making so much less money and their expectations were different. For example, I still have my $35,000/year teaching gig, while a male friend will never get his $200,000+ commercial real estate job back. So he’s bitter: he played by the rules, he worked hard, and he didn’t get rewarded as promised.

I see the world increasingly to be one where flexibility and fluidity are essential survival traits. People (men) who are always looking backward to a “simpler time” of “traditional values” and clear cut gender roles are going to be left in the dust.

I’m not trans, but my GF is, and part of what attracted me to her is that I saw our relationship as an opportunity to live outside the gender box. We could just be ourselves with each other without falling into tired old stereotypical roles. (It hasn;t always worked out that way but it’s a work in progress.) The idea that there is one way to be a woman and one way to be man is over, but the dinosaurs are still howling.

Fibinachi
7 years ago

Crip Dyke makes some very good points.
(In fact, most of these points are quite good)

@CassandraSays:

That’s actually probably very likely, yeah. My closest exposure to legislation in the United States comes from reading books, news articles and secondhand exposure when people talk about it.
I wasn’t even considering right-wing legislators.

Not because I don’t think you’re right, I just wasn’t aware it was a thing until you mentioned it. I understand that there’s some argumentators that do wish to ban abortion (And other things), but I believed those were just… fringe extremists. I guess I’m wrong? It’s not a surprise, but it’s a weirdly jarring thought. My understanding is weirdly limited, I guess. My only interactions with the… hm… specific, traditional blend of men’s rights and male supremacy comes from reading Manboobz

and from that, most of them seem to speak very highly of the red pill, natural orders, being alpha, evolutionary psychology, women as having power and needing to “fight back against female oppression”, all of which pulls pretty heavily from that curious little fear / terror / desire mixup of the PUAdoms.

I have to confess: when people show newsclips of speakers rallying against abortion or demanding ultra sounds some part of me has to actually concentrate to accept that what I’m looking at is not a joke. So I shouldn’t have said nothing has changed. You are right in asserting that there are other, far more independent causes.

@Thread:

it’s another thing entirely to start tearing apart normal and highlighting a multiplicity of desires, motivations, and, crucially, choices.

and

and this is the really relevant bit, assholes try extra hard to police gender. Eg NWO’s “zie creatures”.

That’s interesting.

La Strega
7 years ago

I work primarily with international students, and it seems to me that a lot of what we’re fretting about here applies to the new generation of Asian kids as well. That is to say, most of the boys seem less motivated to perform academically, while the girls are going full-tilt. I’m not sure why this is happening, but the girls seem more excited about education and professional achievement, maybe because it’s still a new avenue for them, and even today isn’t handed to them on a plate.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

For anyone defaulting to the idea that this is an internet-only problem it might help to read Backlash. It’s out of date, but in a way that’s almost helpful in that it illustrates how much of this stuff predates widespread internet use. A lot of the stuff she wrote about has continued to be a problem, and she did a good job of getting at the underlying factors.

Basically I think anyone looking for one factor that explains everything is on the wrong track. The way in which societies function is complicated, and there are often a lot of different contributing factors behind social phenomenon.

Shaenon
7 years ago

Hmm… Well, the 1990s, when the Third Wave started, is widely seen as a period of resurgence for feminism. Second Wavers often criticize the Third Wave for being less political and more culture-focused, but the Second Wave was crucial in welcoming queer women and women of color, and shutting down some of the racism and homophobia that had infected feminism in the ’70s.

The 2000s was another backlash period. The political right dominated social discourse, pop culture got more misogynistic (often with that Family Guy-style “but I’m a young hipster white guy so it’s cute and transgressive when I do it!” pseudo-ironic vibe), and, of course, hardcore misogynists found each other on the Internet and made hideous hate-babies together. The anti-choice movement made huge strides. Abstinence-only sex ed created a generation of young adults who have no idea how their bodies work.

Now I think we’re moving into another feminist resurgence. Feminism has grown more intersectional with gay and trans* rights and gender issues in general, which has been great for the exchange of ideas and perspectives. Womanism and the writings of feminist women of color are getting more attention. There’s also been a lot more focus on women’s rights as an international issue, which is a huge deal.

I’m also starting to see a cultural shift against sexism and misogyny in the wider culture. Rape and domestic violence are taken much more seriously than in past decades. Equal education and equal pay are major issues, and it’s interesting to see how the debate changes as male students are increasingly the ones in need of Title IX protections. People even seem to be getting sick of sexism in pop culture. Pixar movies have girls in them now. Interesting times.

Bob Dole
Bob Dole
7 years ago

My general understanding is that the 80’s in general had a backlash against the social causes of the previous two decades, so naturally feminism would be included in this.

Also, as the self-declared amateur economist here, factors such as international trade have genuinely negatively impacted predominantly male jobs, the auto industry being a prime example, and the outsourcing of many other manufacturing jobs to China and other east-asian countries. So MRA’s are technically right about declining male employment in relative terms, but when they rant about the economy devaluing the “valuable male jobs” or whatnot, they betray both misogyny and economic illiteracy.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Whoops, didn’t catch that you’re new around here Crip Dyke, or I’d have offered the complimentary welcome package!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

In terms of specific issues like the public conversation about rape I think a big part of what we’re seeing is that some men are really uncomfortable with the progress that feminism has already made. The way we talk about rape is still far from perfect, but if you compare it to what it was 30 or 50 years ago? We’ve made a lot of progress. I think that a lot of men who feel angry about and threatened by that change are aware that it’s no longer socially acceptable to express that in most social spaces, which a. makes them even angrier and more frustrated and b. leads to them acting out about it on the internet, where anonymity allows them to feel safe in doing so.

Aaliyah
7 years ago

and this is the really relevant bit, assholes try extra hard to police gender. Eg NWO’s “zie creatures”.

Most definitely. I’ve noticed that when I argue with the worst transphobes, they use a host of different insults for me (“she-male,” “tr*nny,” “etc.). It seems they’re trying their hardest to ensure that their privilege is left intact, so they use all sorts of insults in an effort to so.

Aaliyah
7 years ago

My general understanding is that the 80′s in general had a backlash against the social causes of the previous two decades, so naturally feminism would be included in this.

I agree, and I think part of this is due to a backlash against “political correctness,” which many right-wingers have taken as an opportunity to discredit leftist politics (which includes all of those social justice movements like feminism, anti-racism, LGBT rights, etc.).

Being “politically incorrect”, as many of you probably notice, is still considered to be “cool.”

Bob Dole
Bob Dole
7 years ago

I’ve heard about political correctness being an in-joke among left-wingers before the right took it up as an insult. Hell, my dad says the first time he heard about the concept was his professor wearing a button saying “politically correct and proud.”

And then there are the folks who think “political correctness” is an actual ideology, much in the way that morons are a nationality.

M Dubz
M Dubz
7 years ago

I think that there has been movements both forward and back. Forward, in that young women growing up today have SOME role models in the sciences, academia, clergy, business, and government, whereas women growing up in the 70s had almost none of that. And there is a real sense that young women and girls need role models and nurture to achieve their dreams.

And Crip Dyke is a world of right. There is much more of a sense today (at least in the circles I run in) that gender is a range of options along a range of axes, which hopefully forces people from all over the gender spectrum to really look at what works for them and what doesn’t. I’ve seen that work really well, and also produce some really awful backlash.

The’s been a lot of backslide though, in that gender presentation standards for women have gotten much more rigorous. The average model is taller and weighs less. She is wearing more and more makeup. And that leaks into the increased prevalence of eating disorders. There is also an ever increasing backlash against female bodied people’s reproductive rights, which scares me deeply.

I feel like the conversation has shifted to “You can go and achieve at your career as long as it in no way affects the dominant message that you are the sexin’ and raisin’ babies gender. If your career aspirations and your Natural Role conflict, that’s on you to figure out.” But with people in the progressive/radical margins (although increasingly moving mainstream) wanting to opt into a 3-dimensional gender spectrum, rather than the binary. I feel like the poles of how bad it can be and how good it can be are slowly moving farther and father apart.

… I THINK that all made sense?

Shaenon
7 years ago

I see the world increasingly to be one where flexibility and fluidity are essential survival traits. People (men) who are always looking backward to a “simpler time” of “traditional values” and clear cut gender roles are going to be left in the dust.

So true. Part of Faludi’s thesis in Stiffed (it comes up a lot in Backlash as well) is that many men, especially working-class men, have legitimate reasons to feel betrayed by society. But rather than fighting the corporate and political interests responsible for their problems, they turn on scapegoats–women, minorities, immigrants–who have it worse than they do.

I get the impression that a lot of MRA types feel overwhelmed by society in general and are angry about being left behind. And frankly, they’re right. Modern society has less and less need for antisocial bullies. (Unless they have computer programming skills.)

I work primarily with international students, and it seems to me that a lot of what we’re fretting about here applies to the new generation of Asian kids as well. That is to say, most of the boys seem less motivated to perform academically, while the girls are going full-tilt.

I also teach international students, and I’ve noticed the same thing. A lot of my female students are intensely driven. In China and Korea, especially, women are getting more freedom at the same time that the economy is opening up and providing new opportunities. Many of them seem eager to take advantage of the zeitgeist.

M Dubz
M Dubz
7 years ago

@Cassandra- I think you have a point. For some really nasty right-wingers, we may be in the “then they fight you” part of the Ghandi quote. I just wonder, given that we have been fighting these battles in America for over a hundred years at this point, and given the long view of how women’s power and autonomy shifts in society over time, how long it’s going to take before we win, and if the win will ever be permanent.

becausescience
becausescience
7 years ago

The backlash itself isn’t new but the men’s rights movement as it currently exists is largely thanks to the internet. Most of their communications is through blogs, forums, etc and most of their “activism” is spamming blog comments sections. Like someone mentioned above, the echo chamber effect makes it easier for them to surround themselves with other people who constantly reinforce their views.

A lot of the anger I think is also being amplified by the economic crises and people looking for a scapegoat to blame. At the same time the mrm has gotten more attention, there’s been a surge in memberships in white supremacists groups in the US, extreme right wing groups in Europe, anti-immigrant sentiment in various places around the world. People see a rapidly changing world and many of them react by lashing out at the groups they see as responsible for disrupting what they see as the natural order of things.

So it’s not just that there’s a backlash against feminism, there’s a backlash by some against progressive change in general, being amplified by legitimately disruptive changes in the economy and uncertainty and fear of the future.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I think that the MRM focuses on trolling blog and newspaper comments is a pretty good indication of the fact that they’re on the losing side of history and they know it. Basically this flurry of anonymously expressed rage about the fact that the world is changing is an extinction burst, imo. I just hope they don’t go offline and commit too much terrorism before the whole thing burns itself out.

cloudiah
7 years ago

I haven’t done any of the assigned reading, but I have an opinion. 😀 (I know it was only suggested, not assigned.) I agree with those who’ve said it probably has more to do with general economic instability & injustice, and then looking for a scapegoat that seems possible to win against. Global capitalism is, after all, a pretty big target. On the other hand, lots of men think they can & should dominate women, so we should be an easy target. Living in California, I see this with people attacking immigrants all the time, even though the evidence shows that they (a) take jobs others don’t want (even in this economy) and (b) often create whole new markets, such as the huge growth in the market for manicures/pedicures that opened up when Vietnamese immigrants started offering those as a standalone, affordable service. (I say this as someone who has never had a mani/pedi in my life.)

I disagree with the idea that porn is behind it. Not that porn is not problematic in its own ways, but misogyny so far pre-dates widely available porn that I suspect that misogyny drives the form that porn takes rather than the other way around.

Okay, back to my last day of vacation, which is a bleah rainy day in CT. Argenti, didn’t you promise me good weather? 🙂

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

Even the escalating nastiness in porn I think is less a reflection of increased misogyny and more about the fact that people get bored with watching the same thing and seek out more and more extreme stuff. People who write about porn addiction have talked about this a lot, and watching the really extreme stuff seems to have less to do with a person’s underlying attitudes towards women and more to do with getting habituated to the milder stuff to the point where it isn’t really working for them any more and thus feeling a need to escalate. So it works like any other addiction, where people need stronger and stronger fixes over time, and again, the people who study this consistently say that it’s a small group of hardcore users that drive the whole market, since they’re the ones willing to pay for it.

La Strega
7 years ago

@Aaliyah,

If you’re still reading, have you read “Whipping Girl” by Julia Serano? She’s a trans activist and feminist. It’s a few years old, but still very relevant IMHO and made me see the intersection between transphobia and misogyny in a very powerful way.

Sideliner
Sideliner
7 years ago

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned that I think has prompted backlash…paternity testing.

When I first started reading MRA blogs, one of my first thoughts was “wow, these guys seem really angry that women can now prove that they fathered children”. For all that MRAs gripe about the pill changing the sexual dynamics, paternity testing was the first time in history a woman could provide irrefutable evidence that a man was the father of her child an that courts would hold him responsible for that child no matter what he said. I think a lot of them are still really mad that they can’t just deny it and move on.

It wasn’t available at all until 1988, and the price has just dropped since then. I know plenty of MRAs only talk about paternity testing in the context of women lying, but the flipside of that “30% of those who challenge paternity aren’t the father” is that 70% ARE.

Additionally, the welfare reforms of 1996 ordered courts to pursue fathers for child support before giving welfare benefits to children increased this pressure on father’s who previously would have been on their merry way.

I honestly think that this really drives some of the anger…especially the “women have all the power in sex” stuff. It gave new things to be angry about, just as the backlash might have died down.

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

I think that the MRM focuses on trolling blog and newspaper comments is a pretty good indication of the fact that they’re on the losing side of history and they know it. Basically this flurry of anonymously expressed rage about the fact that the world is changing is an extinction burst, imo. I just hope they don’t go offline and commit too much terrorism before the whole thing burns itself out.

Yes, this.

Aaliyah
7 years ago

@La Strega

@Aaliyah,

If you’re still reading, have you read “Whipping Girl” by Julia Serano? She’s a trans activist and feminist. It’s a few years old, but still very relevant IMHO and made me see the intersection between transphobia and misogyny in a very powerful way.

Indeed I have! I cherish that book. Not only is it relevant and insightful as you say it is, but it also helped me understand myself better and so eventually come out to myself.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

It’s all of the stuff people are bringing up, honestly. There’s been a slow but steady erosion of male privilege, and a small but significant number of men are spitting mad about it, mostly because they know it’s too late to stop it.

Like I said before – we’re still fighting lots of specific battles but on a macro level they lost the war at least 20 years ago.

La Strega
7 years ago

Porn seems to me to be both a mirror and a driver of societal attitudes.

I’ve noticed how porn has changed mainstream aesthetics, for example. Popular fashion plates like the Kardashians are an example of how the “porn queen” look has come to be accepted as the beauty standard. The young men who frequent the PUA sites certainly hold the porn starlet look up as the feminine ideal. The line between the “trashy underworld” and the “glamorous elite” world has disappeared.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I wouldn’t say the line has disappeared at all. The porn aesthetic is more acceptable and has leaked into the mainstream, but people still draw very clear lines between “beautiful” – fashion models, movie stars – and “sexy” – porn star aesthetic. There are definite connotations to the more porny look as far as class and perception of sexual availability and the judgement attached to that are concerned.

La Strega
7 years ago

@CassandraSays:

“Like I said before – we’re still fighting lots of specific battles but on a macro level they lost the war at least 20 years ago.”

Exactly.

And all but a few of the most deluded know it. But some of them are like those poor Japanese soldiers they found decades after WWII, still hiding in caves on Pacific atolls and paying homage to the Emperor.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

That’s what makes them potentially very dangerous though – people who feel like they have nothing to lose always are, which is why we need to keep an eye on them.

MollyRen (@MollyRen)
7 years ago

Porn is also… a really huge topic, which makes me reluctant to just say “porn is a reason for X” any more than I’d say “TV is a reason for X”.

Like, how are we defining porn? Anything created by a large porn studio? What about “indie” porn like Crashpad? Does fanfic count?

becausescience
becausescience
7 years ago

I’m not sure if this fits neatly under the category of backlash, but there’s also a lot of preying on men’s sexual insecurities that’s an extremely recurrent theme within the manosphere as well, and that contributes to a lot of the anger. The whole alpha/beta thing and the idea that there’s only a certain type of guy who all women are universally attracted to* because science, and if you’re not one of those guys, you won’t get any sex, or women will cuckold you and make you raise the alpha males kid (the alpha baby??).

*Depending on the strain of manosphere dude telling the story, this idea is either immediately followed by “And I’ll show you how to instantly become that type of guy, for just the low low price of $497.97!” Or “And that’s why women are all shallow, cheating whores who can’t be trusted!”

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