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antifeminism apex fallacy citation needed entitled babies gender swap grandiosity homophobia imaginary backwards land imaginary oppression kitties mansplaining men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny MRA oppressed men patriarchy patronizing as heck pedophiles oh sorry ephebophiles pig ignorance playing the victim reddit that's completely wrong TyphonBlue

In MRA-land, women have never been oppressed, but men have been "disenfranchised" by having power over them

Somehow, we doubt that MRAs would appreciate this kind of "protection" for themselves.
Somehow, we doubt that MRAs would appreciate this kind of “protection” for themselves and their fellow men.

One classic bad argument against feminism is the disingenuous claim that “we don’t need it any more.” In the bad old days, proponents of this argument would concede, women may have faced some pesky little obstacles, but now that they can vote, and own property, and briefly work as the executive editor of The New York Times, there’s just no need for feminism any more. Problem solved!

But these days the great minds of the Men’s Rights movement have moved beyond this bad argument to a worse one: feminism was never really necessary in the first place, because women have never been oppressed.

The other day a Redditor by the name of cefarix earned himself a couple of dozen upvotes by posting a version of this argument to the Men’s Rights Subreddit.

I often see feminists make the claim that women have been oppressed for thousands of years. What evidence is there to back up this claim?

Personally, I don’t think this could be the case. Men and women are both integral parts of human society, and the social bonds between close relatives of either gender are stronger than bonds with members of the same gender but unrelated. So it seems to me the idea that men would oppress their own close female relatives and women would just roll over and accept this oppression from their fathers, uncles, brothers, sons, etc, for thousands of years across all/most cultures across all of humanity – and not have that society disintegrate over the course of a couple generations – is ridiculous.

This is so packed with such sheer and obvious wrongness that it’s tempting to just point and laugh and move on. But I’ve seen variations on this argument presented seriously by assorted MRAs again and again so I think it’s worth dealing with in some detail.

Before we even get to the facts of the case, let’s deal with the form of his argument: He’s arguing that history cannot have happened the way feminists say it happened because he doesn’t think that could be the case.

Trouble is, you can’t simply decide what did or did not happen in history based on what makes sense to you. History is history. It’s not a thread on Reddit. You can’t downvote historical facts out of existence the way, say, Men’s Rights Redditors downvote those pointing out facts they don’t like.

Cefarix follows this with an assertion that’s become rather common amongst MRAs: men can’t have oppressed women because no man is going to oppress his wife or his daughter or his mother, and besides, they wouldn’t have put up with it and it wouldn’t have worked anyway.

It seems to me that if the core of your argument is the notion that men would never harm members of their own family then you’ve pretty much lost the argument before it’s even begun. Husbands batter wives, fathers abuse children, boyfriends rape their girlfriends, and so on and so on; all this is not only possible, but it happens quite regularly. And only quite recently, historically speaking, has any of this been regarded as a serious social problem worthy of public discussion.

And so the idea that men might “oppress their own close female relatives” is hardly beyond the pale.

Of course. history isn’t about what could have happened; it’s about what did happen. But the evidence that the oppression of women did happen — and is still happening — is everywhere. Indeed, it takes a certain willful blindness not to see it.

History, of course, is a complicated thing, and the ways in which women have been oppressed have been many and varied over the years. Nor, of course, has the oppression of women been the only form of oppression in history, which is not only, as Marx would have it, a story of “class warfare” but also of ethnic warfare, racial oppression, and many other forms of oppression, some of which are only now beginning to be fully understood.

So if cefarix is genuinely interested in evidence, let me make some suggestions for places to start.

For a history of patriarchy that looks in detail at how it developed, whose interests it served, and the various complicated ways it was intertwined with class and other oppressions, a good place to start would be Gerda Lerner’s classic The Creation of Patriarchy, and her followup volume The Creation of Feminist Consciousness. Here’s an interview in which she goes over some of the points she makes in these books.

To understand some of the hatred of women that has been baked into Western culture from the beginning, I’d suggest taking a look at Jack Holland’s highly readable Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice. Meanwhile, David D. Gilmore’s Misogyny: The Male Malady offers an anthropological take on the same subject.

Alas, after going through his commenting history, I’m not sure that cefarix will be open to changing his mind on any of this, given how wedded he seems to be to a number of other rather appalling opinions — like his contention that homosexuality is a “disease” and his belief that “the whole age of consent thing is a modern Western aberration from what is considered normal for our species.”

Of course, if you look at the discussion inspired by cefarix’ post on Reddit, you’ll see that most of the Men’s Rights Redditors posting there don’t seem much interested in looking at facts that challenge their beliefs either. Most of those dissenters who pointed out the various ways women have been oppressed throughout history found their comments downvoted and dismissed.

Consider this amazing exchange — and notice which of the two comments is the one with net downvotes.

Little_maroon_alien -2 points 1 day ago* (1|3)  Women weren't allowed to own property or request divorces in most countries until the last 80 years. That is pretty oppressive. China didn't allow divorce or land ownership until the 1950s. Women in the U.S. only got to start owning property in the mid to late 1800s if their husband was temporarily unavailable (they couldn't "control it" though). Women coulldn't request a divorce in Great Britain until 1857, two years before women were allowed to teach in Denmark (wayy before Austria allowed it) or attend college in Russia (but not Sweden, Japan, Brazil, France, the Netherlands, etc) and 10 years before New Zealand women could own property in their name.  In 1865 Italy allowed married women to become the legal guardian of her children and their property if abandoned by her husband. How progressive!  How is this not both oppressive and possible? It was very widespread for a very long time.      permalink     save     parent     give gold  [–]tactsweater 1 point 1 day ago (2|1)  Are cats oppressed? They can't own property, or decide who they get to live with.  None of what you're describing is oppression. Sorry.  Throughout most of human history, we had a couple of hard truths that needed to be faced. The strength of a society is largely based on its population, and women can increase that population, while men can't. This meant that if a society needs to lose one or the other, they're going to send the man off to die nearly every time.  Another hard truth throughout most of human history is that overt power makes you a target. Leadership meant assassination attempts. Property ownership meant you had something to lose. Since the cost to society was greater if a woman died, men were forced into taking those roles just as much as women were forced out of them.  Maximum protection comes with a cost of freedom, and that doesn't at all imply oppression.

That last bit, about men being “forced” into having power, is quite something. But I’m still stuck on the whole cat thing. I mean, I like cats and all, but cats are not people, and it really wouldn’t be appropriate for me to lock a woman in my apartment, feed her on the floor out of a can, and make her poop in a box, even though my cats seem quite content with this arrangement for themselves.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of the comments that won upvotes.

Someone named goodfoobar suggesting that men have always been the slaves of women, because women live longer:

goodfoobar 3 points 1 day ago (3|0)  A woman made the claim of thousands of years of slavery to me a few months ago. Did not have a good response at the time. I have a response today.  Slave masters have a better quality of life than slaves. Life expectancy is a good measure for quality of life. Over most of history the average female life expectancy is longer (historical exception during child bearing years) than the average male life expectancy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy#Gender_differences[1]

And our old friend TyphonBlue. who turns not only history but logic itself on its head by arguing that men are “disenfranchised” by … having power over women.

typhonblue 5 points 1 day ago (5|0)  When you expect a group of people to be in a position of power because of human psychology (look up moral typecasting) you remove their ability to command compassion from others.  The expectation that men assume leadership positions was, in itself, disenfranchisement of men.  When we put a crown on a man's head we no longer care as much if his head gets cut off.

Yep. The most badly oppressed creatures in history are the ones wearing crowns on their heads.

I’m really not quite sure how Typhon manages to avoid injuring herself with all of her twists of logic.

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sparky
sparky
5 years ago

They also conveniently forget the coal miners’ wives and daughters and mothers and sisters.

christopher allman
5 years ago

So, is Todd Palin oppressed? He doesn’t have nearly as much power as Sarah Palin?
Historically, neither men or women had many rights at all. Neither could divorce (even the king, hence the formation of the Anglican Church) neither could vote, BC voting wasn’t a thing.
What about the coal miner’s wives and kids? There lives also sucked, but in different ways. Was it worse? Probably not. Surely some of you have read jane Austin novels. When you see people who exist at the same social class, men and women, they both live very cushy, privlidged lives. The issues are primarily one of class.

Its always been illegal for a man to beat a woman.

gilshalos
5 years ago

I think it’s because (as far as I know) it is one of the few jobs women didn’t do whilst men were in the army during the World Wars. I know in WW2 conscripts were sent to work in mines to keep production up, but not females, unlike factories, farms or forestry.
Women have been known to join all of the forces (often disguised as men in the early days), fly planes, fight in tanks, and practically everything else thought of as a man’s job, but I can’t call to mind a female coal miner.
Not to say there haven’t been some, but I reckon I’d have a better chance of having heard about them than a MRA, so if I haven’t, they probably haven’t.

christopher allman
5 years ago

My point is certainly not that NO women experienced suffering. Of course they did! But so did men too! Mra’s aren’t the ones trying to say the suffering of one gender was inherently worse than the other, feminists are.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

Does Jane Austin live in Texas?

vaiyt
5 years ago

My point is certainly not that NO women experienced suffering. Of course they did! But so did men too!

Everyone suffered equally and in the same way! It’s all a big happy fun ball of suffering! Wheeee!

sparky
sparky
5 years ago

Its always been illegal for a man to beat a woman.

LOL, no.

You should probably stop trying to talk about history, Christopher, as you appear to have no grasp of it.

christopher allman
5 years ago

‘Working class’ women also wrked outside of the home in all sorts of jobs. They ran theaters and stores etc. The list of jobs they held is long. But who cares, for most people, having a job is shit. Unless you are very very lucky, your job is what you have to do to survive, not because you are prvlidged.

Men like bill gates and warren buffet have wives who are equally as rich as them, except they didn’t have to work for it.

Ironically, you are basically making the mra’s point. Just because, historically their have been rich men (and women) in power, doesn’t mean men as a whole are privlidged, because 99% of the rest of the population is just doing what they must to survive. No gender is oppressing anyone. Everyone is just struggling to survive. Men were locked into their shitty gender roles just like women. If you were lucky to be rich, your life was not bad, both genders. For everyone else, your life was hard, both genders.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

Wasn’t Christopher trying to lure us over to his failblog earlier? I guess he gave up and decided to come have a conversation with himself here instead.

christopher allman
5 years ago

Yes, it really has always been illegal for a man to beat his wife! I’ve been doing research on this. Obviously, it depends on what part of the world you are in, but if you are European, it has never been acceptable for men to beat women (the reverse has always been acceptable until very recently and is still not particularly stigmatized).
Looking into this idea that men had a ‘right’ to abuse their spouse, I discovered it came from quotes made by judges, who were sentencing men to JAIL in the early 1800’s who said things like ‘its as if some of these men think they have a right to beat their wife.’/ They didn’t ACTUALLY have the right, otherwise they wouldnt be going to jail for it. And then, as now, it was primarily an issue of class.
Even 100 yrs, the KKK had as one of their platforms, the shipping of ‘wife beaters’. Even the most conservative, hateful men have always found wife beating reprehensible.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@christopher allman:

Privilege is not something that works on an individual basis, it’s a systematic thing. It’s very easy to point to very well-off women and to very poor-off men all throughout history. However, if you look at that history, there’s a pattern of certain groups of people systematically holding less power or less standing than others, when controlling for things that don’t define those groups.

You can’t argue that the US’s history of slavery didn’t affect the societal perception, position, and treatment of black people. You can’t argue that a history of treating women as property of her father or husband hasn’t affected societal perception, position, and treatment of women.

Get your head out of your ass and stop trying to come up with single persons that disprove a statistical phenomena, it’s not going to get you anywhere.

Mra’s aren’t the ones trying to say the suffering of one gender was inherently worse than the other, feminists are.

Except, of course, they are, because they argue that men have really had it worse because chivalry and other silly reasons. Feminists, when you get down to details, know that the oppression olympics game gets you nowhere. It’s difficult to rank objectively which group’s had it worse in detail, and it’s ultimately not important compared to the broad generalizations you can make.

You don’t understand the point of the conversation. The point is not, as far as I’m aware, to see who’s the most oppressed and then give extra cookies to them. The point is to figure out why and how certain groups are worse off compared to others, and to solve the underlying cause. The notion of privilege is simply a label for that societal advantage that tends to be invisible to those who have it, and blatant to those who don’t. It’s a method of arguing that, yes, there are underlying problems to find solutions for even if you, Mr. straight white male, don’t find those problems obvious.

When you offer queens as examples of how privilege doesn’t really exist because hey look, wealthy powerful woman, or hey look, poor powerless man, all it does is show that you don’t understand what you or we are talking about.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Conflating economic and gender oppression is so revolutionary. It’s not something we’ve heard and debunked a million times before. Certainly not!

christopher allman
5 years ago

I was indeed trying to get you to visit my website, yes! I’m flattered you remembered!
I was hoping it would mocked here on manboobs and this would help bring traffic and attention to my site. Unfortunately this failed…and for god knows why I came back to debate!/ So, by and large, you are correct!

However, the responses here seem like classic feminist rhetoric. Instead of dealing with the larger issues, pin point some small detail, that is probably irrelevent to the larger point, possibly even just a grammar issue and then make fun of it, as if that is in any way an argument or refutes the larger claims.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

Yep, a bunch of people taking the piss out of you is indeed what you can expect on a feminist site. Is this some sort of fetish that you have? Cause sorry, verbal humiliation I can do, but I’m not spanking you unless I get to use someone else’s hands.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Maybe if you made a coherent argument, we’d spend more time debating you and less time mocking you.

Rattling off the names of a few wealthy women isn’t really an argument.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

However, the responses here seem like classic feminist rhetoric.

And yet your familiarity with said rhetoric doesn’t increase your understanding of it in the slightest. Maybe it’s classic for a reason.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
5 years ago

The larger issue, Christopher, is your abysmal ignorance of the subject you are bloviating.
That is what people are mocking.

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
5 years ago

… and for god knows why I came back to debate!

comment image

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

Even 100 yrs, the KKK had as one of their platforms, the shipping of ‘wife beaters’. Even the most conservative, hateful men have always found wife beating reprehensible.

“Argues that privilege doesn’t exist.”

“Uses as an example a group that would never have existed save for privilege.”

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

The shipping of wife beaters? For those of us who used to spend a lot of time on LiveJournal this sentence is extra awkward.

contrapangloss
5 years ago

comment image

contrapangloss
5 years ago

…only the kiddo and the sealion have a cute story.

Our sealion just keeps being circular sans cute story.

Tracy
5 years ago

However, the responses here seem like classic feminist rhetoric. Instead of dealing with the larger issues, pin point some small detail, that is probably irrelevent to the larger point, possibly even just a grammar issue and then make fun of it, as if that is in any way an argument or refutes the larger claims.

Either you missed adding a ‘you’ in there (after ‘issues,’ and before ‘pin’), or you are directing us to ‘pin point some small detail … and then make fun of it…’ instead of dealing with the larger issues.

Which I would happily do, except zzzzzsnorezzzzzzzyouboremezzzzzzzsodullzzzzzzz. You did inspire someone here to come up with cartoon-ghost Boodica though, and that made me lol, so. Well done, you.

katz
5 years ago

However, the responses here seem like classic feminist rhetoric. Instead of dealing with the larger issues, pin point some small detail, that is probably irrelevent to the larger point, possibly even just a grammar issue and then make fun of it, as if that is in any way an argument or refutes the larger claims.

Just a few posts earlier, Kirby said literally the opposite:

Privilege is not something that works on an individual basis, it’s a systematic thing. It’s very easy to point to very well-off women and to very poor-off men all throughout history. However, if you look at that history, there’s a pattern of certain groups of people systematically holding less power or less standing than others, when controlling for things that don’t define those groups.

sparky
sparky
5 years ago

Yes, it really has always been illegal for a man to beat his wife! I’ve been doing research on this.

LOL, no again. From the Yale Law Journal, that I linked to:

The Anglo-American common law originally provided that a husband, as
master of his household, could subject his wife to corporal punishment or “chastisement” so long as he did not inflict permanent injury upon her.’ During the nineteenth century, an era of feminist agitation for reform of marriage law, authorities in England and the United States declared that a husband no longer had the right to chastise his wife.2 Yet, for a century after
courts repudiated the right of chastisement, the American legal system continued to treat wife beating differently from other cases of assault and battery. While authorities denied that a husband had the right to beat his wife, they intervened only intermittently in cases of marital violence: Men who assaulted their wives were often granted formal and informal immunities from prosecution, in order to protect the privacy of the family and to promote “domestic harmony.”3

And later:

Until the late nineteenth century, Anglo-American common law structured marriage to give a husband superiority over his wife in most aspects of the relationship. By law, a husband acquired rights to his wife’s person, the value of her paid and unpaid labor, and most property she brought into the marriage. A wife was obliged to obey and serve her husband, and the husband was subject to a reciprocal duty to support his wife and represent her within the legal system. According to the doctrine of marital unity,16 a wife’s legal identity “merged” into her husband’s, so that she was unable to file suit without his participation, whether to enforce contracts or to seek damages in tort. The husband was in turn responsible for his wife’s conduct-liable, under certain circumstances, for her contracts, torts, and even some crimes. 7
As master of the household, a husband could command his wife’s obedience, and subject her to corporal punishment or “chastisement” if she defied his authority. In his treatise on the English common law, Blackstone explained that a husband could “give his wife moderate correction,”

for as he is to answer for her misbehavior, the law thought it reasonable to intrust him with this power of restraining her, by domestic chastisement, in the same moderation that a man is allowed to correct his apprentices or children; for whom the master or parent is also liable in some cases to answer. But this power of correction was confined within reasonable bounds, and the husband was prohibited from using any violence to his wife, aliter quam ad virum, ex causa regiminis et castigationis uxoris suae, licite et rationabiliter pertinet.18

So no, it has not always been illegal in all places to beat your wife.

Unless you think the Yale Law School doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

vaiyt
5 years ago

Even the most conservative, hateful men have always found wife beating reprehensible.

As long as they could define wife-beating to be something other people do.

pallygirl
pallygirl
5 years ago

Dude, no-one is going to your website because you are tedious and incorrect. MRA websites, on the whole, appear to be tedious and incorrect. Why would people go to yet another tedious and incorrect website?

You’re in the wrong place for male whining, go to gamergate.

kittehserf - MOD
5 years ago

Does this fuckwitted troll think the world began two centuries ago?

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Yale Law has nothing on Christopher’s mighty and manly MRAlogicks!

pallygirl
pallygirl
5 years ago

@kitteh: you’re being all together too kind by asserting that he thinks. I have yet to see any evidence.

Anonymouslazycat
Anonymouslazycat
5 years ago

The shipping of wife beaters? For those of us who used to spend a lot of time on LiveJournal this sentence is extra awkward.

Or on Tumblr, but I’m pretty sure that makes it misandry.

Either way, I chuckled

kittehserf - MOD
5 years ago

@kitteh: you’re being all together too kind by asserting that he thinks. I have yet to see any evidence.

True, true. I used the word “thinks” far too loosely.

Men could literally get away with murdering their wives in the 17th century – still do – and this dipshit claims that a few nods from the law actually make much difference to what happens in reality? Bullshit.

Unimaginative
5 years ago

Also, if conservative, hateful men find something reprehensible, that mean’s it’s always been illegal. Good to know.

grumpyoldnurse
5 years ago

There is so much wrong with chris’ posts, that I find I am unable to even snark him any more So, I’m just going to point and laugh.

< ( o o ) hahahahhahaha! (deepbreath) hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

Kim
Kim
5 years ago

Maybe Chris’s point is that since it was legal, it can’t have been wife beating – they call it chastisement after all – that doesn’t sound so bad. They probably just asked her gently not to do what they were chastising her for anymore, right? Right??

Because everything that’s ever been legal is ok, because why would it have been legal unless it was ok?? Airtight logix!

grumpyoldnurse
5 years ago

I think chris is too dull to have a point.

pallygirl
pallygirl
5 years ago

LOL I see what you did there.

Unimaginative
5 years ago

OMG, those horrible history videos! Love!

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Instead of dealing with the larger issues, pin point some small detail, that is probably irrelevent to the larger point, possibly even just a grammar issue and then make fun of it, as if that is in any way an argument or refutes the larger claims.

Sloppy grammar is usually a dead giveaway of sloppy thinking. I haven’t met many poor writers who weren’t also piss-poor thinkers.

And, whaddya know! Your “larger claims” also stink. Gee, what are the odds?

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