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Men’s Rights White Knights rush in to protect Karen “GirlWritesWhat” Straughan from MRA criticism

Karen Straughan, in an uncharacteristic moment of silence
Karen Straughan, in an uncharacteristic moment of silence

So FeMRA videoblogger Karen “GirlWritesWhat” Straughan flapped her gums for nearly two hours the other night and sounds came out. This time she wasn’t sitting at her kitchen table blabbing to a webcam about female “hypoagency” and regurgitating misremembered factoids about bonobos but was speaking to an audience of mostly white dudes at Ryerson University in Toronto Canada.

I haven’t watched her performance — which is of course online as well — because life is short, and frankly I’d rather endure this for ten hours than subject myself to the tedious GWW for nearly two.

But I did take a look at a thread on the Men’s Rights subreddit started by a dude who hoped he and his fellow MRAs could have “a proper discussion about the talk, pros and cons, without descending into a circlejerk or a downvote party.” That’s right: he actually wanted GWW’s biggest fanboys to discuss her ideas (such as they are) on their merits.

This did not go over very well with the regulars, who jumped up to defend their favorite damsel in distress. ManUpManDown argued against the very notion of criticizing GWW, on the grounds of 1) her being supercool and 2) giving talks is hard:

ManUpManDown 18 points 21 hours ago (30|12)  Ok, I totally understand the good intentions behind, and the theoretical utility of, this thread. But I really don't think this is helpful. Karen has come out of obscurity to being invited to panels with internationally known feminists, all in a very short period of time. Considering everything, she's been awesome, and she was awesome last night, and I am not particularly inclined to start telling her why she's not perfect. Get me? She's not our mascot.
Huh. But by NOT offering any criticism, aren’t you in fact treating her not as a writer or activist or, god forbid, a thinker, but precisely as a mascot?

Still, a few brave MRAs did bring up substantive critiques of her talk. For example, both 2095conash and memetherapy noted that she probably said “Right?” too often. Bluecharge, while proud of her performance, noted with brutal honesty that her “way of wrapping up points by saying ‘so there you go’ was a bit trite.”

So there you go.

Oh, I forgot to mention one dumb criticism some dumb guy made. GWW apparently suggested that if all the men in the world took three days off it would take three years to recover from the disaster that would ensue.

Essemd implied that this was a bit alarmist, arguing that if you gradually replaced men in the workforce with women — over the course of many years — it wouldn’t be the end of the world, because women could do these “men’s jobs” too. “[S]aying either gender is required because this and this job is mainly occupied by men or women is just false,” Essemd concluded.

Luckily there were a few real MRAs around to teach this fella a thing or two. Like Rikevo, who offered the powerful rebuttal that women can’t do shit:

Rikevo 3 points 1 day ago (4|1)  The sectors men occupy which is what keeps society afloat, would collapse if there aren't any men and the likelyhood that women will let alone could do is low given the gendered preferences in the work place.  Feminist would be the last people to even know how to change a tire.Right?

And xNOM had a little list:

xNOM 2 points 1 day ago* (11|9)  What on earth are you talking about.  Without men:      science crippled. almost all major advances done by / creative geniuses are male. yes even today.      no technology. 98% of all patents filed at the EU office in Munich are by men. almost all coders are men. almost all companies that go on to have billion dollar revenues are founded by men.      art crippled. see science, above.      construction of everything crippled      maintainance of everything crippled      firefighting crippled  Without women:      no kids. the end.
So there you go.

NOTE: I actually had that loop of “What is Love” on during most of the writing of this post. Hey, it’s a catchy song.

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Free Mars
Free Mars
7 years ago

I wonder how much overlap there is between these “men run everything” Galt types and the “patriarchy is not real” types.

Crane
Crane
7 years ago

Why the hell would Karen Straughan be speaking in an academic setting?

alysonmiers
7 years ago

Dudez get all uncomfortable at the thought of anyone offering constructive criticism of a woman’s public speaking work. Weird. It’s like they think women should be held to totally different standards, or something.

katz
7 years ago

Amused that he left “no kids” off the “without men” list.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

Well, we have those hypergamy-enabling sperm banks. They’ll keep us going for a while, at least.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Also amusing that he doesn’t realize that “no kids” actually would be “the end”.

House Mouse Queen
7 years ago

David, I watched just a snippet of audience questions at the end of her ‘talk.’ He made the point that we live in a society where gender is constructed and she went on and babbled about genetic determinism. He called her on it but was quickly shut down by another CAFE rep who took over Karen’s mic.

She also said at one point in her ‘talk’ that we shouldn’t be concerned that there’s very little to no women in STEM and such because well, DUH! Wimmenz don’t like engineering because infant girls don’t stare a long time at a mechanical object like infant boys do.

DUH! The stupid. It hurts.

PS I informed OPIRG about the talk and informed them that protest wasn’t such a good idea for safety reasons and the effect it would have on MRA’s and the media. ie. getting them press.

They didn’t know about it and informed Ryerson SU, which I think was a good thing. I also emailed the president of Ryerson and told him about the security concerns. Let’s hope these Universities take some national action in Canada to rid their campuses of this misogyny. In my view, it’s a safety issue. Remember MR Edmonton following those women they labeled feminists in the night and then AVFM offering money to find out who they were? Not safe for Canadian campuses imho.

cloudiah
7 years ago

My favorite part was when they started talking about Attila Vinczer’s sob story about the time his 8th grader son was not allowed to hit back when a 1st grader feeeeeeeeeeeeeemale hit him. (After that, a feminist in the audience said maybe no one should hit anyone, and then good old Danny Boy shouted her down, saying “Feminists think it’s okay for women to hit men” or something to that effect.)

Anyway, when they’re discussing that in this thread, one mister says,

Interestingly, there was a video on here several months ago about a man immediately decking a woman that hit him in class. I put forward that engaging in violence should be an absolute last resort to be avoided as much as possible, even in cases of self-defense, regardless of genders. The type of response reserved for preventing irreparable damage to self or others when diplomacy as failed. The reasons for such restraint I explained then, and I would hope they’d be are at least somewhat self-evident now Given the deluge of downvotes and hostile responses at that time, and coupled with the animosity witnessed against female attackers in similar other videos, I’ve gotten the distinct impression that “nobody should be hitting anybody” is far from the philosophy of a semi-significant portion of this forum.

Wow, that’s a reasonable comment!

Cue a more upvoted response from an internet tough guy,

The idealism behind “perfect reciprocal force” is reserved for two classes of people; those who have never been in a fight, and grandmasters in the art of combat.

For the rest of us: If you attack me, prepare to be eliminated as a threat. No eye-for-an-eye bullshit; if you go for my eye, the ambulance will either be taking you to the ER or to the morgue. Man or woman, you better think hard about whether or not you can take me down in one attack, or if your family can afford those kind of expenses.

Because I ain’t taking responsibility for you attacking me, at all. I’m not your battle babysitter, making sure time out gets called if I oh-so-unfairly overpower you – from the moment you come at me to the moment you’re down-and-out, everything that comes next is on you.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

As much as I don’t like Straughan, I worry about what all her current fans are going to do to her when she inevitably does something they don’t like.

theladyzombie
7 years ago

GWW apparently suggested that if all the men in the world took three days off it would take three years to recover from the disaster that would ensue.

I swear to all holy fuck that woman is stuffed full of bullshit. And seriously, what kind of head-space to you have to be in to become that much of a quisling? It has to go beyond simple self-loathing.

You know, she could almost start her own cult at this point. She should go talk to her BFF Stephen Molyneux. Fuckwads.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

@house mouse queen

Wimmenz don’t like engineering because infant girls don’t stare a long time at a mechanical object like infant boys do

What are we defining as ‘mechanical objects’? Because I”m just curious which ancedote with my stepsister I’d need to bring up to prove her wrong…

@cloudiah

My favorite part was when they started talking about Attila Vinczer’s sob story about the time his 8th grader son was not allowed to hit back when a 1st grader feeeeeeeeeeeeeemale hit him.

I…bwuh? How can someone think it’s okay for a 13/14 yr old to hit a 6 yr old back?

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: cloudiah

Ooh, tough guy so tough. I’ll bet he’s equally okay with someone getting the drop on him and sends him to the ER. Or draws a weapon. Doesn’t need a battle babysitter, after all.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

I tried to find a write-up of the talk as no way am I sitting through her talking. While I didn’t find a neutral review, I did find this piece: http://rabble.ca:9880/blogs/bloggers/michael-laxer/2014/01/voice-mens-new-canadian-misogynist-campaign-cafe-and-ryerson-un

katz
7 years ago

My favorite part was when they started talking about Attila Vinczer’s sob story about the time his 8th grader son was not allowed to hit back when a 1st grader feeeeeeeeeeeeeemale hit him.

Ye gods. Shouldn’t a 13-year-old have learned that it’s wrong to hit people?

theladyzombie
7 years ago

How can someone think it’s okay for a 13/14 yr old to hit a 6 yr old back?

It’s not even that. They just want to be able to hit women with impunity. I hang out on ShitRedditSays and you wouldn’t believe how many douchebros/MRAs whine constantly about how it isn’t fair that they can’t beat the fuck out of a woman who slaps them or spits at them or just does something they don’t like. Equality donchaknow.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

It would have been interesting if someone had made up and told a story about a 14 year old girl wanting to hit a 6 your old boy who had hit her, just to watch the hypocrisy play out.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

I could have been useful like a man, but then I took an arrow in the knee (NSFW because of language):

Tulgey Logger
Tulgey Logger
7 years ago

List of perfect people, apparently:

* All men
* Girlwriteswhat

Also, ten hours of “What is Love?” is literally my favorite thing.

Fibinachi
7 years ago

Help. I can’t parse Xnom’s last one.

“no kids. the end”

He could mean if women disappeared, there’d be no more kids.
He could mean kids are all women contribute to the world.
He could also incidentally be meaning that without kids, it’d be the end of the human race.

Well, Xnom, which one is it? Two of them are false, and the last one is an apocalyptic scenarion outside the bounds of the simulation (Not 3 years, total human exctinction in… 80?).

Insubstantial grammar makes mocking difficult. At least be clear about your misogynist ideas. It’s really all I ask!

kittehserf
7 years ago

Nope, all he means is that without women, there’d be no kids, and that’s the end of the list. Because giving birth is literally all women do.

Ally S
7 years ago

Oh look, more transmisogyny in r/MensRights – courtesy of u/xNOM. I never expected that! Funny how the mods aren’t calling them out for being transmisogynistic.

Don't Tell Jan
Don't Tell Jan
7 years ago

I thought womenfolk were supposed to have long hair. My brain implodes.

Got to love all those “99.9999999999999%” factoids about men doing intellectually challenging work and women only pooping out kids. Was this taken from the year 1874? I went to a large public research university in the 80s and science faculty was maybe 15%-20% women. When I went back to grad school, it was about 1/3 in many science departments. And it’s still creeping closer to 50%. Once you start treating women as more than just incubators for kids they start to surprise you with all their sciencing and inventing and hard intellectual thinking. WHO KNEW??????

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
7 years ago

Also, I work in science. Two things:

1) Science is fucking collaborative. Really fucking collaborative. There are some fields where ten names on one paper is pretty damn normal, and that’s one paper. Not to mention the fact that most science is all about working off of what we already know–it isn’t like new ideas spring from nothing, especially when we’re talking about biology/medicine.

2) There are quite a few women in science–more in biology and chemistry than physics, true, but there are women in physics. Outside of researchers, scientific support staff are, in my experience, overwhelmingly women. You try running a lab without a stockroom manager*, safety officer, someone to maintain the cell culture room** etc. Nobody wants that. Administrative support staff are also overwhelmingly women, and someone has to do the payroll, or suddenly you won’t have any researchers.

* The chemistry stockroom manager quit mid-year once when I was in college (I heard rumors she was mistreated by some of the profs). The general chemistry lab had to rejigger the entire rest of the semester because the last couple of labs were absolutely not possible without her help. (Incidentally, the professor who ran that class was a woman.)

** I have no idea what her position is called, but I love her to bits. She deals with the biohazard waste so I don’t have to and makes sure we always have plenty of sterile pipets. I have enough repetitive manual labor in my job without dealing with that shit.

Falconer
7 years ago

Beloved’s car had a flat a couple years ago. I changed it. With my penis.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

As much as I don’t like Straughan, I worry about what all her current fans are going to do to her when she inevitably does something they don’t like.

They’ll probably do what all the FeMRAs minimize when it happens to another woman–get a shit ton of threats. I’d feel bad for her if she wasn’t so awful.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Falconer: Wow.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

@Falconer: the car, or the flat?

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Thing is, a lot of the big MRAs probably know where she lives. So if they turn on her I’m not sure it will stop at just threats.

And they will turn on her sooner or later, because it’s impossible to be self-effacing enough not to upset these guys if you have a vagina.

Falconer
7 years ago

@Kiwi Girl: The flat. Ain’t changin’ no car with my junk, what am I, stupid? That would really hurt.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

Does she not realise that the MRAs aren’t interested in *her*? That they’re only interested in the parroting of the MRA dot points she does? She is interchangeable with any other woman who would do the same parroting. She’s allowing herself to be operated as a carnival side show curiosity (“roll up, come see the anti-feminist woman”). I don’t think she realises that is the role she has been cast in, and it’s the only speaking/writing role the MRAs have for women.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

@Falconer LOL.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Kiwi girl: she won’t realize that until she’s booted out of the treehouse. None of the FeMRAs seem to get it.

coolies
coolies
7 years ago

Free Mars on February 8, 2014 at 8:38 pm
I wonder how much overlap there is between these “men run everything” Galt types and the “patriarchy is not real” types.

Good point

kittehserf
7 years ago

Falconer is the MAN.

takshak
takshak
7 years ago

There’s a reason we used to call Ryerson “Ry High”. As in “high school”. & that was at my community college.

Falconer
7 years ago

Well, we’ve just been reliably informed that feminists can’t change flat tires. I’d say Beloved considers herself a feminist, so since that flat tire got changed, I must have done it, mustn’t I?

(Actually I did help — but once we figured out I was tightening the nuts and turned the wrench around, it went a lot smoother.)

takshak
takshak
7 years ago

@casandrakitty: It would probably stop at threats, because these guys reek of chickenshit, but when it happens (not if) I hope she does take it seriously, in case I’m wrong

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

The fact that she saw The Wooly Bumblebee get booted and still doesn’t realize that it could just as easily happen to her seems to indicate a certain inability to grasp what’s actually going on.

takshak
takshak
7 years ago

Denial, not just a river in Egypt

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Falconer

Beloved’s car had a flat a couple years ago. I changed it. With my penis.

My husband is duly impressed, bestows golf claps upon you, and requests to learn your ways.

BreakfastMan
BreakfastMan
7 years ago

Am I the only one a little bit concerned about the use of the term “White Knight” in the article title? I mean, I am fairly certain most people on here are aware of the massive problems with the term, so… Why are we legitimizing it by using it unironically? It is like using “man-whores” to refer to PUAs, it just doesn’t seem right. :

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

@Falconer:
Q: How many feminists does it take to change a tyre?
A: Irrelevant, since the men stopped working, all the motor vehicles are old and have fallen into complete disrepair, and women can’t make tyres.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

@BreakfastMan: I thought it was being used ironically. Now I’m confused.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

I’m getting irony from the title too.

takshak
takshak
7 years ago

@Kiwi girl. It might be sarcasm.

BreakfastMan
BreakfastMan
7 years ago

@Kiwi girl: If it was being used ironically, then I recend my comment, but I don’t see how it is being used ironically. David is using it correctly in the title (well, “correctly” inasmuch as the way it is used in the title is concurrent with the term’s meaning), and there isn’t really anything in the body to make it seem like its use is ironic.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Breakfastman: maybe because it’s the MRA go-to for any man who defends a woman? I dunno, ask David.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

Having been confused over the meaning of irony for a while vs. sarcasm, I did a google and I think it is ironic because David’s not known for using “white knight” as a put-down. If David did use it as a put-down, then I would agree that it was sarcasm.

My interpretation was along the lines of: David gives lots of examples of men coming to the aid (verbally, physically) being called white knights as a derogatory term by MRAs. Some MRAs are now defending KS. David hasn’t said anything derogatory about this, just pointed out examples where it has happened. Look, MRAs can be white knights too.

And this is why literary interpretation can be BS, especially when one can hope that the author explains their intent. 🙂

takshak
takshak
7 years ago

Of course it is of utmost importance to determine if David is using a term ironically, because there is absolutely no other way to read it except as affirmation of the term.

BreakfastMan
BreakfastMan
7 years ago

@Kiwi: I was more thinking about someone who has just come to the site for the first time. All the regulars here know that David probably isn’t the guy to use “White Knight” seriously, but a newbie? Not so sure, especially as there isn’t much in the article itself to let them know it is being used disingenuously.

Though I, for one, don’t really put any stock in authorial intent when critically examining a work, so I might be an outlier here. XD

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