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a woman is always to blame dozens of upvotes evil women facepalm grandiosity imaginary oppression literal nazis matriarchy men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny MRA oppressed men playing the victim reddit shit that never happened straw feminists whaaaaa? woman's suffrage

Men’s Rights Redditor: “By giving women the right to vote without being subject to conscription, feminism has brought on wars, killing, concentration camps, starvations and endless cruelties.”

Evil women voting for starvation.
Evil womens voting for starvations.

So over on the Men’s Rights subreddit, the regulars are engaging in a bit of self-reflection. Well, that may be a bit of a generous description on my part. They’re discussing the question “Are we fanatics?” Not surprisingly, they conclude that they aren’t.

Yet this is the most upvoted comment in the thread:

linearthink

Those of you who have studied twentieth century history may have remembered Lady Hitler’s war on the Jews, the Romani people, and homosexuals; the Great Feminist Purges of Lady Stalin; the Cultural Revolution of Lady Mao. (Oh, wait, there actually was a Madame Mao, and she was a pretty evil gal, though she owed her power largely to her husband and was ousted shortly after his death.)

Moving on from all that war and starvation stuff, let’s return to that first sentence, since MRAs are so fond of blaming eeevil feminists for the draft.

The link in that sentence goes to a discussion of an organization called The Order of the White Feather. Take it away, Wikipedia:

In August 1914, at the start of the First World War, Admiral Charles Fitzgerald founded the Order of the White Feather with support from the prominent author Mrs Humphrey Ward. The organization aimed to shame men into enlisting in the British Army by persuading women to present them with a white feather if they were not wearing a uniform.

It’s worth pointing out that at the start of WWI, people of all political stripes and in all the countries involved were pretty gung-ho for the war. Even the big socialist parties of the day quickly forgot their pledges of international solidarity in favor of supporting their national war efforts.

So where do the evil feminists come in? Well, a couple of the most famous British suffragettes signed onto the White Feather crusade:  Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst. And yes, they supported compulsory national service — though they supported it for both men and women: men would go to war, while women would be required to work in factories.

Of course, the Order of the White Feather didn’t represent all feminists at the time. Indeed, it didn’t even represent all the Pankhursts: Christabel’s sisters Sylvia and Adela were pacifists.

Even aside from all that blather about feminists being responsible for wars and concentration camps, it’s highly misleading to present the story of the Order of the White Feather as “proof” that feminists are warmongering all-male-draft-lovers. As a quick visit to Google will demonstrate, feminism has a long history of antiwar activism, dating back to the 19th century — when feminists first organized Mother’s Day as a protest of war.

But, hey, MRAs, if you want to invent your own mythological version of history, knock yourself out. You only make yourselves look like the fanatics you are.

Thanks to this thread in the AgainstMensRights Subreddit for pointing me to this most edifying discussion.

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anadiomene122
anadiomene122
7 years ago

Here’s my theory for why menopause exists:

The laws of physics are such that cells can’t divide without error infinitely (there’s a pretty consistent error rate when it comes to genetic mutation in human cells). The longer a cell line exists, the more likely it is to have accumulated errors in its genome. Over time, this results in errors great enough that tissues and organs stop functioning correctly. Then eventually this breakdown becomes significant enough that we die.

There need not be any “evolutionary” explanation for death. Our bodies breakdown and die because the laws of physics mandate it, not because there’s some kind of evolutionary imperative. Menopause is just the pre-death shutdown of an organ system that requires a whole lot of energy to function and a whole lot of cooperation with the endocrine system to run properly. Doesn’t surprise me at all that something as complex as the reproductive system would be one of the first to cave under the weight of years of mutation and environmental stresses on the cellular level.

This is a huuuuge problem with the popularization of the “adaptationist” view of evolution, as espoused by Dawkins, Dennett (at times), and that whole group, at times very sloppily. (The guy from Pharyngula is a lot more careful about making hand wavey evolutionary claims, probably because he’s an evo devo expert…) Not everything that happens to humans is the direct cause of an “adaptation”… Evolutionary psychology, which is neither, works from the basic premise that *everything* humans think, feel, do, can all be directly explained by proximal causes and “adaptations” left over from the earliest ancestral environment. It’s inconceivable to me that a working molecular biologist would find this assumption unproblematic, but unfortunately, there are many quacks out there… and now many armchair quacks who’ve taken up their cause…

Nepenthe
Nepenthe
7 years ago

@anadiomene

That’s a nice conjecture, but the fact is that we don’t know exactly what causes aging and death. There’s no particular reason that a cell line can’t divide indefinitely. Single celled eukaryotes have been doing it for nigh on a billion years. There are even metazoans which don’t appear to age.

Menopause is also probably not proximally caused by “years of mutation and environmental stresses on the cellular level”. Nor is the reproductive system particularly costly in humans. (If you were talking about Daphnia, I could see your point.) It seems that the leading hypothesis is that human females simply run out of oocytes.

There’s no selective pressure for immortality and the way human oogenesis works constrains our ability to be indefinitely fertile.

Brz
Brz
7 years ago

@God’s Fool

Ah, no! I don’t want peace! I’m totally pro-negativity, like Camille Paglia :

Our philosophy should be both contemplative and pugilistic, admitting aggression (as Christianity does not) as central to our mythology. The beasts of passion must be confronted, and the laws of nature understood. Conflict cannot be avoided, but perhaps it can be confined to a mental theater.

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/camille_paglia.htm

The problem with peace lovers is that there’s always a tentative of pacification at the end, there isn’t people more peace loving as women, therefore, men must start confronting women, something they’ve never done, something they tried to avoid by confining women to place where mothers, wifes and grandmothers always have the last word but only in this places. It’s the great challenge of women’s suffrage : the world is now threatened by a herd of women who is perpetually plotting to coerce everybody to peace, a threat in front of which men are disarmed because there isn’t something more unnatural for men than confronting women, than having a argument with women.
We should teach men how to not let things go.

auggziliary
auggziliary
7 years ago

anadiomene, That has literally nothing to do with physics. That’s still biology. You’re talking about telomeres(I think). However we still don’t know if those are the only cause of aging, or if they even contribute.
Females have a limited number of eggs. Those eggs cause many hormone triggers for the reproductive system. That is something that could probably be related to menopause.

Brz, da fuck?

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

Doesn’t surprise me at all that something as complex as the reproductive system would be one of the first to cave under the weight of years of mutation and environmental stresses on the cellular level.

You realize that you sound like every quack who’s ever attempted to sell dodgy supplements on the internet, right? I was expecting to see a link to a site where we could buy your specially branded and extra-potent astaxanthin at the end.

Shiraz
Shiraz
7 years ago

He quoted Paglia…who couldn’t get published until she figured out a formula; disagree with prominent feminists publically then get a book deal. Do it some more, get more book deals. Because, you know, the whole world loves a cat fight.

anadiomene122
anadiomene122
7 years ago

Ooh, I missed these rebuttals.

It has everything to do with physics.Biological systems are subject to the law of physics. It’s the laws of physics that cause spermatazoa to mutate and are ultimately responsible for the paternal age effect. And no I wasn’t talking about telomeres.

Cell lines can divide indefinitely, but depending on the species, they won’t do so without making genetic copying errors and sustaining oxidative and other forms of damage to their genomes. Genomes across species also have a baselines mutation rate due to stochastic events that remains fairly consistent (but which varies across species). There are many species of bacteria that can repair their own genomes quite easily. Human cells don’t do this very efficiently. Everything in our bodies, all of the proteins that comprise our tissues, are constructed according to our genetic code. Over time, between the baseline mutation rate and environmental/oxidative and other damage to genetic material (not to mention cell cycle disruptions that often lead to overgrowth and cancer), accumulated genetic defects cause defects in protein products. This is why we age and ultimately die.

It’s not a well-understood, clearly defined process, but aging is ultimately driven by the same sorts of physical factors that cause a car to rust and stop running.

The center cannot hold…Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

auggziliary
auggziliary
7 years ago

Yeah that’s still biology. Just because something is subject to the laws of physics doesn’t make it physics.
Please, quit with the giant scientific assumptions. What causes aging is still unknown. There are a shit ton of theories.

anadiomene122
anadiomene122
7 years ago

Also, I was not trying to speak for every scientist up there: there are competing theories of aging. I was pointing out that I personally think it makes more sense to look for molecular and physical causes than to believe that selective pressures caused organisms to evolve aging “death”…

Here’s some wikipedia for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_damage_theory_of_aging

anadiomene122
anadiomene122
7 years ago

There’d be very little science going on in the world if people stopped discussions at “we don’t know”, but fair enough… don’t want to derail.

auggziliary
auggziliary
7 years ago

I’m not saying that we should “stop”, I’m saying it’s very unscientific to make huge generalizations like that.

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

@Brz
Women voting kills extremism and pushes the world toward a boring, grey, moderate state? I can refute that assertion with a single word.
America.

@anadiomene
While it’s true that all things, at least all naturalistic things, in the universe are subject to the laws of physics, it’s not really helpful to use physics to explain everything. I mean, you can measure the width of the universe with a 30 centimetre ruler, so long as you make sure to be accurate, but it’s silly, just like it’s silly to measure an atom with the same ruler.
Physics tells us why atoms are attracted to one another, but explaining that phenomenon with chemistry makes it far easier to understand. Chemistry tells us how chemicals can be dissolved into liquids, and how differing densities allow for those chemicals to pass through cell walls, but biology makes it easier to understand. Biology tells us how our brains are built, and how that influences the way we think, but psychology makes it easier to understand.
Basically, what I’m saying is that you can use physics to explain anything at all, even why two people disagree over where to go for lunch… but it’s silly to do so when we have perfectly good and more easily comprehended explanations on a more relevant scale.

anadiomene122
anadiomene122
7 years ago

I know. I’m a PhD student in the life sciences. I would never pretend I was “doing science” up there in that post, just speculating because I think the topic is interesting. The debate about “adaptationism” in biology is more philosophical and based on first-principles than it is experimental (unfortunately), but again, it’s a debate best saved for another blog. Permanent disclaimer: not even trying to be rigorous, and evolutionary biology is not my field.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

This conversation is starting to remind me of all the jokes about “physics envy” that I heard as an undergrad.

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

This conversation is starting to remind me of all the jokes about “physics envy” that I heard as an undergrad.

Every student has physics envy, ours is the best subject in the world! Well, unless you count chemistry, which is really only applied physics anyway. 😛

anadiomene122
anadiomene122
7 years ago

I wish more biologists had physics envy! Now informatics is taking over and we can generate data faster than we can analyze it, because our models are not robust. Pretty soon all biologists will be doing is statistics.

Bertrand
Bertrand
7 years ago

Physics is important, but it’s not the only thing. Jeez.

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

I think the solution for that would be to build more robust models, rather than turning to physics.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore physics, it is a beautiful exploration of a beautiful universe, it is the field I intend to dedicate myself to, but it was a physicist who told geologists that the world was far younger than they had shown it to be, because it should have cooled solid if it was millions or billions of years old. The geologic record showed billions of years, but without knowledge of radioactivity in the core, physics disagreed.

Aaliyah
7 years ago

“Ah, no! I don’t want peace! I’m totally pro-negativity, like Camille Paglia

*giggles incessantly*

anadiomene122
anadiomene122
7 years ago

Of course not… and mathematicians have led physicists down the garden path many times. I was being facetious about physics envy, but the readiness with which certain people will trot out evolutionary “just-so-stories” with little to no experimental validation does bug me. And when I say “experimental”, I don’t even mean “hard and quantitative”, necessarily. Just any sort of decent experimental evidence.

At times when biologists start telling stories, they’re being prescriptive, and, as we’ve all seen, gender norms and the status quo ends up getting justified and turned into dogma, evo psych style. David Buss, anyone? :

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

I was going to stay out of this but what’s wrong with statistics?! Get out of my math you heathen! XD

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

At times when biologists start telling stories, they’re being prescriptive, and, as we’ve all seen, gender norms and the status quo ends up getting justified and turned into dogma, evo psych style. David Buss, anyone? :

Yeah, but isn’t that exactly the same issue? Biologists reach into psychology and sociology, and it goes horribly wrong. That just shows that it’s all fields that go screwy when they start dealing with things outside of their expertise.

anadiomene122
anadiomene122
7 years ago

lol I knew this would happen if I sounded off in this thread… I’m going to guard against being “that guy” who barges into other fields for the rest of my life. It’s all the rage right now but lawd is it annoying.

I confess, I’d much rather listen to sociologists or political scientists talk about human behavior than biologists. Their explanations line up best with my own lived experience, every time. And their models seem to have much more predictive power w/r/t current events.

Nepenthe
Nepenthe
7 years ago

I would never pretend I was “doing science” up there in that post, just speculating because I think the topic is interesting.

And I was pointing out that your speculations were rather silly. The reason that humans don’t have a super efficient cell replication mechanism has everything to do with biology and little to do with physics. It’s not that aging is selected for, it’s that a super efficient replication system has not been selected for.

You give the example of a car. Left on its own, a car will rust, yes. But if there’s a reason for it to have an excellent repair mechanism, say an owner that collects antique cars, it can persist nearly indefinitely.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

@Athywren

Every student has physics envy, ours is the best subject in the world! Well, unless you count chemistry, which is really only applied physics anyway.

As the poster in my dorm’s lobby senior year went:

Psychology is just applied biology
Biology is just applies chemistry
Chemistry is just applies physics
Physics is just applied mathematics

Therefore, psychology is basically just mathematics.

Also, physicists should have math(s) envy.

@Anadiomene

I confess, I’d much rather listen to sociologists or political scientists talk about human behavior than biologists.

I agree, and not just because my degree is in a social science and I’m biased (I majored in religious studies. As me how I feel about Dawkins bloviating in “my” field). It’s also just better to listen to experts. If you have a heart problem, a cardiologist is a better source of information than a gynecologist. If you have questions about the veracity of the theory of evolution, ask a biologist, not an astrophysicist (creationists love to point out that not all scientists are sold on evolution, but those scientists tend to not be biologists). And if you want to know about human behavior, why would you ask a biologist, or even a bio-anthropologist, when sociologists and their cousins spend their lives studying that very thing?

auggziliary
auggziliary
7 years ago

anadiomene, the wiki link you sent me said this: “Numerous studies have shown that DNA damage accumulates in brain, muscle, liver, kidney, and in long-lived stem cell. These accumulated DNA damages are the likely cause of the decline in gene expression and loss of functional capacity observed with increasing age. On the other hand, accumulation of mutations, as distinct from DNA damages, is not a plausible candidate as the primary cause of aging.”

I called you out for not being scientific. Yeah, we *could* be aging from mutations, however what “could” be happening =/= what is happening. You could say that there are experiments which have results that suggest that there is a correlation with DNA repair and life span, but not that aging is caused by lack of DNA repair.
If science made huge generalizations and assumptions like you did, it well… wouldn’t be science.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Psychology is math…y’all know I was a psych major right? Yeah, there’s a lot of math, even without the physics envy 🙂

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

“Physics envy” was a joke about the social sciences in particular from one of my psych professors…he liked to needle the neuroscience students with it.

PsychoDan
7 years ago

anadiomene122 does make one very good point: people are quick to ascribe all kinds of traits to evolution because they’re in some way beneficial (or even just because they exist), and forget that there needs to be a mechanism by which that trait is selected for. Menopause falls into the category of traits that is probably the most difficult to ascribe directly to evolution, traits that don’t appear until after an organism is done reproducing.

The “grandmother theory”, at least, is somewhat more feasible than the theory in that link, which doesn’t give any reason the trait would be selected for. I’m a little skeptical that the grandmother theory’s mechanism is that powerful, that the difference between surviving grandmothers among hypothetical non-menopausal women and menopausal women had such a profound impact in survival 2 generations later that it allowed the gene to become dominant in the entire species.

If I had to guess, I’d have to say that menopause is probably a side-effect of some other aspect of the human reproductive system that was beneficial, and that it was never directly selected for at all.

closetpuritan
7 years ago

In addition to, or as part of, the grandmother theory, another reason for menopause I’ve heard is that children born too late for the mother to get them at least somewhat independent aren’t going to have a good chance of surviving, so there’s no reason to waste resources and risk health on a long-shot child. Grandmothers have a lot of knowledge about where to get the best tubers, etc. and can contribute both calories and childcare to their youngest child, their grandchildren and to other young relatives (sibling’s grandchildren, etc.).

For a non-adaptationist explanation, there’s also, “Women didn’t usually live past menopause, so there was no selective pressure to not have menopause”, though I’ve also heard some people dispute that by arguing that women lived too long for that to be a good explanation.

Sss
Sss
6 years ago

Not exactly an adherent of either ideology, but one cannot deny that to participate in the ‘white feather campaign & then follow up with this ‘if there were no men there would be no wars’ nonsense is hypocritical. Certainly it’s telling that despite Virginia Woolf’s attempt to pretend it never happened, there was enough concern from the authorities to hand out badges to serving men as proof of their bravery. Another fact that said a lot was that the BBC asked for the voices of the white feather girls in 1922 yet only two had the courage to write in, both were deservedly ashamed of themselves.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

to participate in the ‘white feather campaign & then follow up with this ‘if there were no men there would be no wars’ nonsense is hypocritical.

Can you provide even one example of someone adopting both positions?

(I’d agree that it would be hypocritical, except people change their minds and their politics over time. You yourself said there were white feather participants who later felt ashamed of their involvement)

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Gee, maybe the “white feather girls” were ashamed because they remembered that a man put them up to it? And because his warmongering served as a nice distraction from the real feminist struggle at the time, which was for women to get the vote, among other rights denied to them until either late in the war or years thereafter?

Nah…couldn’t be.

And Virginia Woolf didn’t “pretend that it never happened”. She understated the number of feathers that were handed out, rather drastically, claiming there were “only 50 or 60” of them. Seeing as she was a toff, I guess she was out of touch with general society and couldn’t have had an accurate count even if she sincerely believed that the campaign was less widespread than it was.

But hey, don’t let these inconvenient facts get in the way of your pretending to be “neutral” when it’s already clear what side you are on!

Octo
Octo
6 years ago

Gee, maybe the “white feather girls” were ashamed because they remembered that a man put them up to it?

Well, to be fair, past membership in that “order” does sound like something one should not exactly be proud of in general, because what that “order” did was kinda shitty. But the point remains that “order” did not stand for the suffragette movement, or for feminism in general, so there simply can be no argument spun from it.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

But the point remains that “order” did not stand for the suffragette movement, or for feminism in general, so there simply can be no argument spun from it.

Exactly. A couple of suffragists got sucked in as prominent spokespersons for an “order” started by a war-hungry admiral.

And then there’s the whole class aspect of it, too…conscription was an idea popular with the upper classes, to which the Pankhursts and Woolf belonged. It was massively unpopular with those who would have been conscripted, namely the working classes. Not coincidentally, that’s where the anti-war movement was strongest, too. They may not have had Oxbridge educations, but they weren’t stupid. They were already agitating for socialism, anarchism and communism at that time, working conditions in factories were deplorable, and they could smell a desperate effort on the part of the higher-ups to “keep everyone in their proper stations”. So aside from the rah-rah machos who were gung-ho for war, there was this growing movement of restless peons to be contained. How best to do it? Well, why not shame them into enlisting by impugning their manhood…and using pretty young women to do it?

But I don’t suppose any of that makes it into an MRA’s anti-woman syllabus.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Not exactly an adherent of either ideology

Pull the other one, it’s got bells.

katz
6 years ago

“I’m not exactly an adherent of either ideology, I just go on feminist blogs and spout highly detailed decisions of favorite MRS talking points.”

cloudiah
6 years ago

I’m always impressed when MRAs ignore the male creator of the “White Feather” campaign.

Typical male hypoagency. /r/penispass

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

I’m confused.

What does the White Feather thing (shitty as it is) have to do with the right to vote? And how does it prove that women voting brings on all the horrors of war, concentration camps, starvation and endless cruelties? And is any of that even connected to the “if there were no men, there’s be no wars (which I agree is nonsense)?”

None of this makes sense.

trans_commie
6 years ago

Not exactly an adherent of either ideology,

Like that matters.

but one cannot deny that to participate in the ‘white feather campaign & then follow up with this ‘if there were no men there would be no wars’ nonsense is hypocritical. Certainly it’s telling that despite Virginia Woolf’s attempt to pretend it never happened, there was enough concern from the authorities to hand out badges to serving men as proof of their bravery.

You’re assuming that feminism has a perfect history and that everyone holds every feminist talking point out there. The white feather campaign – which, by the way, was fiercely opposed by some feminists – is an example of feminism joining forces with a militarist agenda. You won’t find anyone sympathizing with that agenda here.

The thing is, only the most naive feminists assert that feminism has a entirely clean, sinless history. Even today, many white feminists speak over women of color and erase their unique experiences of misogyny intersecting with racism e.g. misogynoir, and many cis feminists speak over us trans women and erase our unique experiences of transmisogyny (and, in some cases, making it even harder to access transition-related healthcare). There are also plenty of feminists who still perpetuate ableism (you folks know what I mean) and even feminists who still perpetuate heterosexism via centering het women’s voices, bi/pan erasure, etc.

Another fact that said a lot was that the BBC asked for the voices of the white feather girls in 1922 yet only two had the courage to write in, both were deservedly ashamed of themselves.

And this is simply additional evidence that feminism is not in the same boat as the MRM. Feminism has an ugly history of passively – and even sometimes actively – reinforcing oppression; by contrast, the MRM not only has a bigoted history, but it also lacks any initiative to learn from mistakes. Countless times I have tried to nicely talk to MRAs (not that they deserve that) about the importance of not being racist, misogynistic, ableist, etc. but they don’t give a shit. They gloat about being “politically incorrect” instead, seeing overt bigotry and insensitivity as a virtue – much inline with patriarchal expectations of men.

Even the ones who express displeasure with the bigotry from their MRA brothers sweep it under the rug and scream about the freedom of speech, as if speech exists in a vacuum. They continue to fail to learn from their mistakes because they lack any analysis of power that takes into consideration sociocultural context. The white MRAs feel it’s entirely appropriate to use the n-word for themselves “ironically” despite that words status as a slur reclaimed by black people of color only. On top of that, perhaps it is even a mistake to see MRAs as failing to learn from their mistakes. Rather, it makes more sense to argue that MRAs don’t even care about learning about their mistakes because, in their view, what serious social justice advocates recognize as mistakes are really just revolutionary acts. This is exactly how all major MRA groups and organizations have defended themselves from the charge of bigotry.

If you don’t identify with either ideology, that’s your business. But don’t try to pretend that feminism and the MRM are equally flawed and bigoted.

FromAfar
6 years ago

Wait, wait. Brz isn’t pulling a Poe?

I’ve been reading all of zir comments and adding invisible giant sarcasm tags… and laughing.

They are being serious?

Poe’s Corollary… 0_0

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