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Oh, the questions they ask!

Here are a couple of, well, let’s just call them very intriguing questions asked of me by a Men’s Rights Redditor. Since I can’t respond to them on the Men’s Rights subreddit — I’m banned — I thought I’d respond here:

Mr. Levelate, allow me to answer your serious questions with some equally serious questions of my own:

I’ve wondered for a long time how people like you react to the men’s rights mantra of ‘all women are wombats’, when you see a woman who isn’t a wombat, how do you explain this?

Also, many MRAs advocate turning all squirrels into bologna, what makes you think squirrel bologna would taste better than regular bologna, and what would the world do with all those extra uneaten nuts, were it ever to come to that?

Here’s the thing, Mr. Levelate: those things you think feminists believe? FEMINISTS DON’T ACTUALLY BELIEVE THEM.

That “all men are rapists” quote from Marilyn French you guys like to pass around? That was from a character in a novel.

The number of radical feminists who seriously want to get rid of men, or a significant number of them, you could probably count on your fingers. I’m not sure how many MRAs want to make squirrel bologna, but the numbers are probably similar. And, fyi, there are actually more than a few MRAs who fantasize about breeding certain types of women out of existence, like this dude on The Spearhead, and a small army of MRAs and MGTOWers who pine for the imaginary future where babies are gestated in artificial wombs and women are all replaced by sexy sexbots.

Listening to MRAs talking about feminism is a bit like sitting in on a book club in which no one has read the book.

 

 

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lauralot89
8 years ago

Sorry, I mispoke. It was their position that it was super unfair that people thought female circumcision was worse than male. That was why I lost my shit.

Pecunium
8 years ago

Wetherby: It’s not about the menz… that’s what not fair.

Nimue
8 years ago

I have been strongly against circumcision for a long time, for the reasons other commenters have outlined — there is no reason to remove a normal, healthy body part without the consent of the person involved.

However, I work in HIV prevention, and male circumcision can reduce the risk of contracting HIV by HALF. The reason is two-fold. The cells on the inside of the foreskin and on the glans are the most susceptible to infection. Removing the foreskin removes the most vulnerable site. It also makes the glans less vulnerable, because it “keritinizes” — in lay terms, it toughens up since it no longer has the foreskin to protect it.

So now I’m a bit torn on the issue. On the one hand, circumcised men still need to use condoms. On the other hand, reducing transmission by 50% is huge — that is as good as any vaccine tested has been able to do so far. It seems to me that in some high-risk populations the benefits may outweigh the costs (pain, loss of sensation, etc.).

Anyhow, I’m just throwing this out there since you all are thoughtful, informed people and I’d like to hear what you think.

cloudiah
8 years ago

@Nimue I would still say circumcision should be a decision made by a person about their own body, and when they’re old enough to understand the issues.

Nanasha
Nanasha
8 years ago

@Nimue- I think that the choice to circumcise should be offered as an option to of-age males (those who are becoming sexually active) similarly to how girls who come of age can get the HPV vaccine or birth control pills.

It would require parents to be open and honest with their children, but I do not see any reason to disfigure a boy’s penis at birth just because he MIGHT have lots of sex partners in the future (and hence a higher risk of contracting HIV). He might also decide that he would like to have monogamous sex with only one partner, or that he is asexual and does not wish to put his penis into the orifices of a sex partner. And using a condom is far less traumatic and surgically invasive than removing a part of his foreskin.

@ female circumcision discussion- there are degrees of female circumcision. Some versions of the surgical procedure involve cutting a small “notch” in the clitoral hood without removing or disfiguring the rest of the young girl’s genitals. Yes, it sucks, and it’s bad in general to do anything to someone’s body without their consent, but not all female circumcision is as extreme as the removal of all of the labia and clitoris (and the sewing together of the vaginal lips).

And my husband is only “partially” circumcised. He has part of his foreskin but the rest is gone. His father is a huge bully and practically browbeat his mother into circumcising her son. But he agrees with me that circumcision is neither a medically necessary procedure, nor is it healthy (dirty diaper plus HEALING WOUND = infection!).

Infants in general should never be operated on in any non-medically necessary fashion as far as I’m concerned. And the most horrible part about the circumcision procedure on male infants at this time is that they don’t even use any sort of pain-killer or topical antiseptic on the area before slicing it off because the infants are so young that the pain killer could kill them. So, within the first few hours of life, the male infant is snatched from his mother’s arms, his privates are cut with a sharp razor on a cold operating table while he screams like crazy, and then he’s wrapped up to let his feces and urine come in contact with the wound. After that, his parents are instructed to “clean” the area with alcohol (OUCH) until it heals. The pain and infection possibilities from circumcision also can interfere with the mother’s ability to breastfeed her infant son, which is one of the most protective and healthy things she can do for his health and growing immune system. Breastfeeding rates are already abysmal, so why should we make it even HARDER for our baby boys to get the nutrition and healthy food that they need to grow strong and healthy?

In fact, after learning the particulars of the procedure, it made me confused as to why MORE people aren’t outspoke about this barbaric procedure!!

cloudiah
8 years ago

p.s. to Nimue, It took me a while to find this, but I remembered reading some information fairly critical of the studies that support the claim that male circumcision can reduce the risk of contracting HIV. There’s a pretty good, if partisan, summary here: http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2012/05/when-bad-science-kills-or-how-to-spread-aids/
The author includes links to articles criticizing the methodology and ethics of the original studies. I don’t have the scientific background to evaluate thoroughly, but the fact that the benefits of circumcision are not exactly clear cut makes me continue to think this is a decision left up to individuals when they are old enough to understand.

Polliwog
Polliwog
8 years ago

It seems to me that in some high-risk populations the benefits may outweigh the costs (pain, loss of sensation, etc.).

Anyhow, I’m just throwing this out there since you all are thoughtful, informed people and I’d like to hear what you think.

I’d agree with this statement. If I were having a son tomorrow in sub-Saharan Africa, I’d almost certainly have him circumcised, because my position is not exactly “I don’t support parents doing things to babies without their consent” but rather “I don’t support parents doing things to babies without their consent unless there’s a damn good reason.” Significantly decreasing a child’s odds both of contracting HIV and of spreading it to others strikes me as a damn good reason. Since, in reality, I live in the US, I don’t plan to circumcise any future sons unless some new damn good reason that’s more applicable here reveals itself in the meantime.

In the long-term, of course, I’d rather the solution to the AIDS crisis in Africa be things like “stopping rape” and “convincing everyone to wear condoms” and (hopefully) “coming up with an actual vaccine or cure for AIDS and making it available worldwide for little to no cost,” but in the world we’ve got right now, circumcision helps too much for me to think parents should be forced to wait for an ideal solution. Parents make decisions that permanently modify their kids’ bodies all the time – the decision to vaccinate, for example. Most people don’t see that as bad, despite the fact that there is some minor risk associated with it, much like circumcision, because it’s fairly obvious that vaccination is a net positive that a reasonable person would choose for hirself if they were capable of understanding the decision. In places where the same can be said of circumcision, I think it’s okay for parents to make the decision to circumcise.

jennydevildoll
8 years ago

Someone should warn the MRAs that their sexy robots are nothing but trouble. Not only will they turn on men and shoot them with guns in their boobs, they malfunction and explode on you, much like a suicide bomber, if subjected to songs about masturbation. I know. I saw it in “Austin Powers”, easily as good an expert a treatise on the subject of sexy robots as anything the MRA’s believe about it.

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

danielwalldammit
8 years ago

The extreme end of feminism shades off into outright mental health problems. Naturally, the men’s rights folks feel a degree of resonance when reading such work.

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

I’m really not an extremist, but I do have mental health problem. It’s really unrelated to my feminism though.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
8 years ago

That’s because he gave us The Truth. We have just been crass enough to not accept it from him; as if it were from the Mouth of God.

More likely the Mouth of Sauron!

Pecunium
8 years ago

In the TMI dept, I am mixed. I was circumcised, I can’t say as sex isn’t fun. So the claims of, “OMG you are depriving them of a decent sex life” seem a bit overblown.

On the flip side, bodily integrity.

On a different flipside, no one in the US can do a strip search to find Jews, and I’ve seen a lot of WN places saying that widespread circumcision is a plot by Jews to make it easier to hide/infiltrate White America.

Since the only partner I am thinking of having children with, at the moment, is Jewish, it’s a different question for me, but I don’t know that it’s not just providing cover to keep me from having to make a decision.

So, within the first few hours of life, the male infant is snatched from his mother’s arms, his privates are cut with a sharp razor on a cold operating table while he screams like crazy, and then he’s wrapped up to let his feces and urine come in contact with the wound.

Um… no. At least not in the west. Look up Pederson Clamp to see how it’s done these days. Most Jewish circumcisions are done the same way. Having been a primary caregiver to two infants who were circumsised I can say your description is not my experience, nor the experience of any of the parents I know who have had their sons circumcised.

What arguments there are against it, need not resort to that sort of appeal to emotion.

Amphitrite
Amphitrite
8 years ago

Nanasha, sorry to belabor the point, but I’ve never heard of that version (or degree) of female circumcision. What could notching the clitoral hood possibly do? Not truly asking; I’ll look it up. I’m assuming it’s a ceremonial, “Hey, this part of your body? Yeah, we’ve marked it. No messing around with it unless we say so!” deal.

For clarity, I have sons and all of them were partially circumcised. If I had to do it over, I likely wouldn’t have anything done at all. I was seriously conflicted about it even then – my oldest boy turned 16 this year. Where I’m from, me even questioning it had people wigging out.

I was lucky to cultivate a relationship with the pediatrician that he agreed to my “strange” demands: local anesthetic, with both he and I deciding how much should be taken, and I would hold/nurse my boys. Fortunately, my boys all slept through the procedure and they had enough foreskin still that it had to be pulled back and cleaned under all the way through diapers, then taught them how to do it themselves.

I read all the information Nimue did, which is why I caved to the huge pressure of “tradition” back then; circumcision definitely has a place and preventative logic. I also watched my cousin get horrible infections being uncircumcised about every six months, but that was his parents’ lack of prevention, not the inevitable result of an intact foreskin.

Female circumcision, though: any medical basis/aid/disease prevention? Not in any study I’ve ever read.

MollyRen (@MollyRen)
8 years ago

What could notching the clitoral hood possibly do?

*squeezes thighs together in alarm* Can we just keep the knives away from EVERYONE’S private bits, please?

speedbudget
speedbudget
8 years ago

I tried Googling this question, and all I got were hysterical articles from MRAs about the procedure itself, so I want to ask you all, what is the partial circumcision of boys you are talking about? I’ve never had kids, so I have no idea what this is about.

Xanthë
8 years ago

*hand raised* Another feminist against all* forms of circumcision and genital mutilation without the person’s informed consent. (* I do have some minor caveats, but they are minor and medical in nature – not ‘religious’ or ‘traditional’.)

The notching of the clitoral hood is categorised a ‘Type I’ FGM and is intended as something of a sop to the ‘traditionalists’ who demand something be done – and is far less harmful than either MC or Types II, III, and IV FGM. But it’s still out of the question in my book. For fuck’s sake, don’t mutilate children’s genitals.

And AntZ, you are a fucking depravity.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

That’s a lot to read, and skimming it looks like it’s mostly in disgust at AntZ, so I’ll get back to it once I answer the ice cream/flu question.

Seraph guessed correctly — ice cream sales decrease as flu deaths increase, but there’s a missing third variable of temperature. Third variables being why correlation is not causation, a concept the MRM seems to have serious issue with — two things being strongly correlated doesn’t mean a third thing isn’t causing both.

Now to read the male circumcision debate before I chime in on that.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

@cloudiah — it would take a longer statistical post than the last one to explain all the things wrong with that study. I’m willing to overlook the “not a true clinical trial” part, but then it should’ve been a matched pairs design, and then this “circumcised men received additional counseling sessions” becomes a cringe worthy research design failure. At best there’s a correlation, but there are enough obvious other variables here I’d be wary of recommending circumcision as AIDS prevention (really wary considering the risks of circumcision, versus the near 0 risks of condom use)

Re: circumcision — I explained the debate to my best friend, who happens to be a Jewish man, and then I got reamed out for missing the antisemitism of the debate. We ended up coming to the agreement that medicine needs proper studies on the risks so parents can remotely be giving informed consent, but that legally banning it would be really questionable as it’s a religious practice, that, unlike FGM, doesn’t seem to have anyone from the religious group against it. We’re also both really curious how the differences in procedure between medical and religious circumcision affects the risks — by Jewish tradition the boy is supposed to be 8 days old, not just a few hours.

I’m not keen on trying to ban a cultural practice without the support of the culture in question though. Basically we ended up settling that MOAR SCIENCE PLEASE combined with nixing the BS about how having an intact foreskin is “hard to clean” (different sure, but harder? MOAR SCIENCE if you’re claiming that) — I am not Jewish, and if I have sons, I will not be having them circumcised, but I’m wary of anti-circumcision movements ignoring the history circumcision has within Judaism. I’d be really interested in anti-circumcision arguments from Jewish authors though, if anyone has seen any.

darksidecat
darksidecat
8 years ago

To even get the numbers close within the twelve month figure (which doesn’t match the lifetime figure, likely due to ages of participants, most people experience rape during the early parts of their lives, whereas the participants skewed older in some ways) you have to not count women who are raped using drugs or alcohol, or any woman who was not “forcefully” raped. In other words, the bulk of rape victims. I’ve broken down this study before, and I don’t really feel like reading the whole report again, but it’s like 7-2 in the twelve month figures if you include all forms of non-consensual penetration, and even higher discrepancies if you include all unwanted sexual contact.

Xanthë
8 years ago

I’m not against the idea of a derail, but circumcision inevitably appears in feminist spaces as an opportunity for Teh Menz™ to play Oppression Olympics, and on that topic, the MRA position is frequently overblown, often minimising the harm of the worst cases of FGM (which constitute over 50% prevalence, worldwide). My own views are well-represented over on the forums, viz: http://manboobz.forummotion.com/t713-circumcision-2nd-thread

darksidecat
darksidecat
8 years ago

Regarding circumcision, I am against it, and the “evidence” in support of it ranges from shitty to overblown (also, hello, if you live in a place with high HIV rates, a few extremely small and not consistent in results studies regarding circumcision isn’t the solution, how about encouraging use of CONDOMS which are highly effective, and also trying to improve access to testing and treatment, which also reduces infection rates). Still, conflating circumcision with FGM is very dismissive of FGM (also, of IGM).

but that legally banning it would be really questionable as it’s a religious practice,

Not as a matter of US law, legally speaking. Facially neutral, with legitimate government interest (protection of minors). Disparate impact is not enough to render it illegal (see for example, the peyote cases).

Not that there is never anti-semitism in some arguments regarding circumcision, but the fact that a generally bad thing is also a religious right doesn’t make criticizing it biased per se. (There are Jewish groups that argue against circumcision, that’s a thing that exists http://www.jewishcircumcision.org/ but I don’t prefer to argue scriptural stuff in regards to social policy as a general rule, because I personally don’t think religion has a place in dictating public policy).

cloudiah
8 years ago

@Argenti, thanks for reading it and confirming the study was problematic. That’s how it read to me, but really not my area of expertise on so many fronts!

@darksidecat, I have often seen comments here where someone has done exhaustive research to debunk one of the many (and growing every day) myths put forward by the MRM — but I forget to bookmark them, and then it’s hard to find them again. I keep thinking I should get the permission of the poster to put those really good posts as threads in the forums, so that the next time someone trots out the “CDC shows all women have raped all men at least 40 times in the last 12 months” or whatever they’re saying these days we can just run over to the forum and link to the comment(s).

(This is not to say that David hasn’t also debunked things, but posts are much easier to find than comments.)

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

darksidecat — I should’ve been clearer, I’d be wary of a gov’n ban without studies backing it, because of the religious implications. I wasn’t trying to say there’s a first amendment issue. I’m going to go digging through that link though, at the least it might prevent my best friend sputtering at me if the topic comes up again.

cloudiah — very problematic, I second darksidecat’s point about condoms:

“also, hello, if you live in a place with high HIV rates, a few extremely small and not consistent in results studies regarding circumcision isn’t the solution, how about encouraging use of CONDOMS which are highly effective, and also trying to improve access to testing and treatment, which also reduces infection rates”

Xanthë
8 years ago

Argenti Aertheri – make that thirded (or fourthed? including cloudiah). Condoms are much more effective prevention not just for HIV, but a number of other STIs. And I can think of a certain religious organisation active in that part of the world that disseminates a whole lot of totally fucked-up lies about their efficacy.

Nanasha
Nanasha
8 years ago

The whole “religious freedom” thing is always kind of debatable when it involves another person’s bodily integrity. For example, should a religious fundamentalist pro-lifer be able to stop YOU from getting an abortion because of THEIR beliefs? Should a Jehovah’s Witness be able to dismantle our medical establishments because of their beliefs that no one but God can make you well?

Same thing about circumcision- if you are getting circumcised as a way to signify your pact with God, that’s one thing. But if you are circumcising your children before they can consent to making that pact, then that is infringing on their freedom to religious belief and practice.

So I do think it’s perfectly ok to generally outlaw it for any reason other than religious ones, and in that case, it must be the religious believer themselves who is enacting said thing on themselves.

Because, let’s face it, it’s pretty messed up for people to force religion on other people without their consent.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Nanasha —
“For example, should a religious fundamentalist pro-lifer be able to stop YOU from getting an abortion because of THEIR beliefs? Should a Jehovah’s Witness be able to dismantle our medical establishments because of their beliefs that no one but God can make you well?”

When the not-themself person in question is their minor child, they generally do have that ability (eg parental consent for abortion) — perhaps the problem here is more that religion is opposed to the rights of children?

“Same thing about circumcision- if you are getting circumcised as a way to signify your pact with God, that’s one thing. But if you are circumcising your children before they can consent to making that pact, then that is infringing on their freedom to religious belief and practice.”

Because the timing of it is A Big Deal, that’s not going to go over well with more orthodox Jews, but it seems an acceptable compromise to me — adults can consent, newborns cannot.

“So I do think it’s perfectly ok to generally outlaw it for any reason other than religious ones, and in that case, it must be the religious believer themselves who is enacting said thing on themselves.”

Ehhh, no? Outlaw it except for consenting adults, it doesn’t matter so much why they want it, so much as that they want it. (And this risks sliding into an “are you Jewish?” test, those don’t have a very good history)

“Because, let’s face it, it’s pretty messed up for people to force religion on other people without their consent.” — Agreed, but trying to enforce that would cause outrage.

Yeah, require the informed consent of the adult having it done, and figure out wtf to do about the general issue of religious beliefs conflicting with the rights of children.

ideologuereview
8 years ago

Just how autobiographical is her novel? “There is nothing in the book I’ve not felt.”

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20070233,00.html

50. You cannot tell who is a rapist by the way they look. Rapists are your friends, your brothers, your fathers and you won’t know it.

51. Do not get frustrated with a woman if she doesn’t trust you. SHE already knows that rapists don’t wear signs on their foreheads. Something you think is innocuous SHE may find terrifying.

http://firewitchrising.blogspot.com/2006/11/yes-its-you-rapist-checklist.html

lauralot89
8 years ago

Why do male supremacists seem to think that “you can’t tell a rapist by looking” and “shit that doesn’t trigger you can trigger others” are completely ludicrous statements? From where I’m sitting they’re common fucking sense. Of course, from where I’m sitting, hating an entire gender just because is stupid, so what do I know?

ideologuereview
8 years ago

1. You are a rapist if you get a girl drunk and have sex with her.

2. You are a rapist if you find a drunk girl and have sex with her.

3. You are a rapist if you get yourself drunk and have sex with her. Your drunkeness is no excuse.

Of course, from where I’m sitting, hating an entire gender just because is stupid, so, what, do, I, know,?

Tulgey Logger
8 years ago

Factfinder’s People link is broken. I would follow it, but then again the other two links he’s posted recently have fuck all to do with anything so I don’t think I will. Didn’t he used to at least think he had to try to make some kind of point using grammar and logic?

ideologuereview
8 years ago

For the fragile flowers.
With love,
IR

Tulgey Logger
8 years ago

Oh, here we go. Now try to make an actual point, FactFinder.

Go on, you can do it if you try.

ideologuereview
8 years ago

Factfinder’s People link is broken.

Have you tried copying and pasting it? I’d explain how the WordPress autolinking process sometimes fudges up links, but it would go over your head.

lauralot89
8 years ago

Pointing out things that can be done to a woman that constitute rape =/= hatred of all men. Also known as fucking duh.

And you’re the one who dreamed up Preggo Punchout, asshat. Don’t even try to pretend you’re not the hateful one in this conversation.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

ideologuereview — You also haven’t made anything that could constitute a point, either do so or make your random links about cats or something.

ideologuereview
8 years ago

So Laura thinks that if a man and a woman are both drunk and have sex, a rape has occurred and the man alone is the rapist. Well, feminism is a dogma…

lauralot89
8 years ago

Somehow I doubt he’s going to shut up, so I’ll go ahead and redirect the conversation for him.

KITTENS

(Possible trigger warnings for mentions of suicide. Also vomit.)

Tulgey Logger
8 years ago

I would copy and paste, but that would involve a few seconds of work for dubious payoff. Making fun of you is more fun than trying to puzzle out if you actually have a point to your random links or not.

lauralot89
8 years ago

Sorry, Preggo Punchout, were you strawmanning? I couldn’t hear you over KITTENS.

ideologuereview
8 years ago

@Tulgey I know feminism casts your sadism as a virtue, so I can see where you are coming from.

lauralot89
8 years ago

KITTENS PLAYING PATTYCAKE

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

“So Laura thinks that if a man and a woman are both drunk and have sex, a rape has occurred and the man alone is the rapist. Well, feminism is a dogma…”

Okay so you got the context of #3 enough to understand the woman is drunk too, but not enough to get that you’ve either found her drunk, or gotten her drunk, decided to have sex with her anyways, and then gotten yourself drunk. That you need booze to rape doesn’t make it less rape.

This would apply regardless of the genders, but logic isn’t ideologuereview’s strong suit. Does he really need to be told that deciding to have sex with someone too drunk to consent is wrong?

lauralot89
8 years ago

Does he really need to be told that deciding to have sex with someone too drunk to consent is wrong?

Apparently.

But then, this is also the guy who wanted to make a video game based on punching pregnant women. So I’m not surprised.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

“I know feminism casts your sadism as a virtue, so I can see where you are coming from.”

That sentence more closely resembles word salad than a sentence, could you please rearrange that so it makes sense?

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

>.< Ignore me, I got distracted by small kittens and read "casts" as "cats" — he can at least still string a sentence together, even if making a points continues to elude him.

ideologuereview
8 years ago

How does one “get” a woman drunk? I always thought people got themselves drunk, but then feminism is about reducing women to the level of children. Maybe they think the ladies are being held down force-fed or something.

lauralot89
8 years ago

Even reading the sentence correctly, it still makes no sense. I mean, the words should work together, but much like all of his arguments, it’s utterly nonsensical.