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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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inurashii
inurashii
6 years ago

inigo_youkeepusingthatword.gif

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

They are all idiots.

deniseeliza
deniseeliza
6 years ago

Some MRA’s have decided that their “checkmate” card is “but women are powerful so obviously women don’t need any help or advancement or special consideration or feminism at all because to say otherwise is to say women are helpless children which is offensive”.

And it’s so goddamn frustrating. It’s the old problem where declaring something that is stupid and and wrong makes a neat soundbite, but the rebuttal requires many sentences full of nuance, which they aren’t even going to listen to anyway.

I’m going to go bang my head against my desk now.

fromafar2013
6 years ago

I assure you, my Furinnati Overlords are not oppressed.

http://global3.memecdn.com/cats—the-soon-to-be-ruler-of-the-world_o_1724241.jpg

That goofbar guy might have a point.

/sarcasm

moldybrehd
6 years ago

The cat thing baffled me too. I mean, cats are pets(or furrinati overlords). Women are people. I’m not really sure how you can confuse the two.

The fact that *anyone* thinks the two are interchangeable is… wow, my eyes kinda popped out, anyone seen ’em?

Children of the Broccoli
Children of the Broccoli
6 years ago

They do realize that “disenfranchise” literally means “deny someone the rights of a citizen, such as the right to vote”, right? Remind me which gender had to protest to be allowed to vote?

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

moldybrehd: MRAs compare us to dogs all the time. Seems to be a thing with them.

historophilia
historophilia
6 years ago

*incoherent angry historian noises*

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Since MRAs really want the “privilege” of claiming oppressed status, maybe we should just take away their voting and property rights. That’s no big deal right?

I’m joking. I don’t think anyone, even the biggest asshole should be denied civil rights. It would be cool if a bunch of MRAs got together and decided to actually live as women did before feminism came to their countries of residence.

Actually, this is a really good idea for a reality show. Someone should make this happen. 12 MRAs get sent to a compound that’s closed off from the rest of society and run just like a small. They each get assigned a job and a female partner. The female partner controls the finances and run the town. The women harass the men when they walk down the street. The men have menial jobs and are harassed by their male bosses.

The show tracks each male participants thoughts and feelings through the whole thing to see if they change their thinking. Most of them would probably be frustrated or depressed with a day or two of filming probably.

I would watch the hell out of this.

Ally S
6 years ago

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.

Human society defined as white supremacist capitalist patriarchy? Sure. But beyond that, men and women are not essential categories that exist beyond discursive limits – limits constructed by patriarchy. Sex and gender are social constructs.

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.

Shorter version: patriarchal oppression can only exist when women are fundamentally incapable of resistance. And they accuse us of devaluing women’s agency… o_O

Also, looks like someone doesn’t know what internalized misogyny is, let alone the institutionalized violence exercised on women by men as a class in order to make women as a class yield to men’s demands.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Typo. I mean they get harassed by female bosses.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I would watch the hell out of this.

The Real World: MRA Edition. What happens when keyboard warriors stop being insulated in their hermetically sealed bedroom bubbles and have to confront their greatest fears IRL? Will they even realize that they’re being set up, or will they just sigh and say “I always knew this was how things really were outside my room”? Will they learn a valuable lesson about why it’s important to treat people like people, or will their conclusion simply be “See? Bitches”? Find out on next week’s episode.

Can we nominate manosphere bloggers for this project? Because I have a list.

Ally S
6 years ago

Maximum protection comes with a cost of freedom

Institutionalized control under the guise of “protection” is some of the shittiest “protection” ever. My dad attempts to control my life in the name of “protecting” and “caring” for me (ugh), and he has made my life extremely miserable. This is straight-up abuse culture and privilege apology. Anyone who believes that a loss of freedom is necessary for more protection supports abuse – without a doubt.

And it doesn’t matter whether some men are forced into their gender roles – they still hold institutional power over women because of their gender. One could make the argument that everyone is oppressed by class or whatever, therefore there is no “true” oppression, but that is completely meaningless and only serves to silence people who speak about intra-class analyses of power.

moldybrehd
6 years ago

moldybrehd: MRAs compare us to dogs all the time. Seems to be a thing with them.

I get the dog comparison – loyal animal companions who will love you in spite of almost everything (still dumb because pets =/= people). But cats? Cats aren’t know exactly known for that. You actually have to make an effort to get most cats to love you.

It’s like he took the first thing he saw and used it for his argument. It makes as much sense to say ‘tables don’t mind it if you set your dishes on them, so women could not have ever been oppressed’.

Supernova
Supernova
6 years ago

Uh, dude… If you want proof of women being oppressed for centuries, just read any damn history book. Women (in the USA) weren’t even allowed to vote until 1920.
This kind of reminds about how MRAs complain about how women “never invented anything”, and then ignore that women have been denied education and jobs in scientific and mathematical fields for, well, almost all of history (also, women actually DID invent a lot of things, but were often ignored and written out of history books. e.g, a woman discovered the double helix, but two men got credit). I guess they just pretend that women have never been oppressed, so they can pretend that women never contributed to society because they were being lazy and taking advantage of the poor, hardworking, men.

cloudiah
6 years ago

I mean we were JUST talking about how Vox Day and his followers think husbands can’t rape their wives, and they pull out the old “But no husband would ever hurt their wife” card?

And CATS? I just … didn’t think we had to hone our arguments about how women are different than pets.

cloudiah
6 years ago

I’m sorry, Supernova, but you’re just wrong. Women were “protected” from being in history books, getting credit for their inventions/discoveries, voting, and of course that most dangerous thing of all — education! Please make a note of it, and be sure to thank the next couple of men you see for their protection.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

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?

Is there any reasoning with dudes who think women have never been oppressed? I just think it’s a lost cause. :/ (and yes, I know the point of the site is just to mock misogynists, I’m just rambling out loud)

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.

Ohmigosh, David, I can’t tell whether I should be more offended by your implication that our furry overlords aren’t people, or by your implication that women are 😉

@children of the broccoli

They do realize that “disenfranchise” literally means “deny someone the rights of a citizen, such as the right to vote”, right? Remind me which gender had to protest to be allowed to vote?

actually, I kinda doubt they know what it means. (I mean, I didn’t know exactly what it meant either, so I’m not trying to make fun of them for not knowing, just using it in a headdesk-y misogynistic, history-denying way.)

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

I’m with Hellkell. This level of stupid is beyond my abilities.

Anonymouslazycat
Anonymouslazycat
6 years ago

“women can increase that population, while men can’t”

Erm…what? Tactsweater does know that humans can’t reproduce asexually, right? It takes two to tango. And with the obsession that so many MRA types have with sperm, you’d think they’d remember that one…

Alice.Gorman
6 years ago

I have to say that while I find Jack Holland’s book on misogyny worthy and useful, it’s the biggest mansplain possible – he refers to barely any of the extensive feminist scholarship.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

Wait…..what?
So …much…no.

http://laslow.net/reactiongifs/Batch01/done.gif

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

The comic panel at the top reminds me of Egalia’s Daughters.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

This is such a good place to find good things to read and listen to. 🙂

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

Supernova,
Reading is misandry!

emma
emma
6 years ago

That’s a classic argument of MRA. Making it requires a degree of willful ignorance that is astounding, but is a standard feature of the MRA / misogynist mind.

cloudiah
6 years ago

Ooh, are we doing book recommendations? I just finished Paula Giddings’ Ida: A Sword Among Lions (about Ida B Wells), and it is excellent. Giddings clearly had a ton of admiration for her subject, but it is not a hagiography.

For those who don’t know, Ida B. Wells was an African American journalist who more than any other single person can be credited with starting a long-lasting and ultimately successful campaign against lynching in the US. It’s a long book — it took me nearly my entire week-long vacation to finish, but that is partly because I had less time to read than I expected I would.

Shaenon
6 years ago

It’s true. For centuries, society has oppressed men by showering them with power, opportunity, and freedom. Now behold the final anti-male equation, the ultimate weapon of the matriarchy:

http://www.yankeecandle.com/yankee-candles/limited-editions/man-candles

MAN CANDLES!

J.J
J.J
6 years ago

I don’t…

Wha…?

I…uh..pfft.

Okay, dudes, it was okay for a father to say ‘Okay, other guy, you may have my daughter in exchange for some cows’ or ‘Here is my daughter and some cows.’ People still do this. Not in America, but…yeah. When women die in the modern day because the price for them is in contest, don’t even. Don’t even. After yesterday’s ‘marriage means I can do whatever I want to my wife’ crap, don’t even try that.

Also, OMG books. I love books. Everyone rec me a book. I just read Hugh Howey’s Wool, which was cool beans and an interesting take on dystopia and I didn’t know there was more until now. Also a big female viewpoint character. I like that. It’s a good read, and reads quickly.

ash serban
6 years ago

Length of life = quality of life??
Not at all. If someone were locked in a small room their whole life and managed to live longer than a well-to-do person exercising their full autonomy, for instance, I don’t think you could say the imprisoned person had a better life.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Shaenon: oy vey, the Man Candles. I’ve smelled the Riding Mower one before, but when I think Man Town, I don’t think spicy.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Are we recommending serious books or frivolous books or just anything?

I’ve just started the Joe Grey series. Talking/reading cats investigating stuff while freaking their owners out by talking/reading … win!

Has anyone here read In the Tenth House? I got it as a birthday present and started it the other day, but I just can’t pursue it. I’m only five chapters in and I’ve given up on it.

fromafar2013
6 years ago

Man Candles…

Some of them I get(?) in that they play heavily into stereotypes, but Movie Night? Since when was buttered popcorn smell hyper masculine?

My boyfriend and I saw these in the store once, had a good laugh and got a little high from smelling and forgetting to breathe unscented air. lol

wordsp1nner
6 years ago

“Except for the childbearing years…”

Yeah, I don’t think you get to do that. “If you don’t count all the women who died of a nearly universally-female and hellaciously dangerous situation that men at minimum contributed to if not outright forced onto women, then women lived longer.” Childbirth didn’t become particularly safe until mid-twentieth century.

Also, not being able to own your own property is not oppression, but your spouse having rights to half the marital assets is slavery. Right. MRAs are so logical.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

My book rec is any collection of short stories by Algernon Blackwood as long as it includes The Willows. That’s his best one. It’s great classic horror that’s unfortunately become obscure.

Anyone who hasn’t Flannery O’Connor yet needs to get on that immediately. My favorite one is Good Country People.

I wish short stories hadn’t fallen out of favor.

If anyone wants to read something that’s so bad it’s good, I recommend VC Andrews. I love those terrible books.

fromafar2013
6 years ago

I’ve been reading a lot of WOC lately. Mostly because I’m a middle class white girl in need of a proper feminist education, and also because I’m writing a book with lots of POC characters and I want to make sure I’m doing it right.

http://mylifeasafeminista.tumblr.com/wocfeministtexts

And one that isn’t on that list that I’m enjoying immensely because I love Melissa Harris-Perry:

http://www.amazon.com/Sister-Citizen-Shame-Stereotypes-America-ebook/dp/B005HRE4BC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400288066&sr=1-1&keywords=sister+citizen

fromafar2013
6 years ago

Correction, it is on that list. I was thinking of a different shorter list that is also on my tumbler feed. Whoops.

wordsp1nner
6 years ago

If you like fantasy, I recommend the Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells, starting with The Cloud Roads. She takes really classic fantasy plot lines (minor spoiler: the first book is “Stranger joins group in trouble, helps them fight off trouble, has romantic interest with leader’s daughter) but has really amazing and unique worldbuilding that make the stories interesting. It is not anything like Europe with magic. The main character’s species are not human, don’t act human, and are not organized like humans. Also, they are matriarchal, but it isn’t just a gender flip. (You also see one patriarchal and one gender-equal group in the first book, and some other cultures that aren’t on-screen to get . There are loads and loads of species–none of them are quite human, though the most human-like one is gender equal.)

I’m not the only one who loved the series:
http://thebooksmugglers.com/2011/03/joint-review-the-cloud-roads-by-martha-well.html

Also, I named my cat after one of the characters.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

That’s actually not too bad by fancy candle standards, but I’d imagine that most Man Candles don’t smell nearly as nice as, say, this.

http://www.candledelirium.com/diptyque/diptyque-candles/diptyque-baies-black-candle/

kittehserf
6 years ago

I saw this post on Scalzi’s blog yesterday – I just love the book cover and the idea, and will get this when it becomes available on Kobo. The book’s an anthology called Long Hidden: speculative fiction from the margins of history.

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/05/13/the-big-idea-rose-fox-and-daniel-jose-older/

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

I just found The Willows free for download!
Awesomesause!

kittehserf
6 years ago

That sounds like a great series, wordsp1nner!

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

Why have I never heard of Project Gutenberg before now?

wordsp1nner
6 years ago

I also just finished reading Cancer Virus: The Story of Epstein-Barr Virus in nonfiction, and I thought it was really interesting, and the biology is correct and, I think, should be fairly comprehensible to non-biologists. I didn’t have any trouble following it, though it isn’t my specialty. It is also an excellent exploration of the complications and mysteries of cancer biology–and it only focuses on lymphomas related to the titular virus!

Also, there are lots of women in it. Because that is the reality of modern biology. Suck it, MRAs.

fromafar2013
6 years ago

@ cassandrakitty

Holy Hades, I can’t imagine spending that much on a candle! Even a super fancy one that smells like love, unicorns, clean baby head and sparkles.

That’s my freaking electric bill in a single candle!

kittehserf
6 years ago

Why have I never heard of Project Gutenberg before now?

The Furrinati don’t want you spending more time reading, that’s why. You’re supposed to be feeding them/scritching their bellies/letting them in/letting them out/standing at the door while they make up their minds.

Lili Fugit
Lili Fugit
6 years ago

I feel obligated to point out that “history” is not a general topic. In other words, you can absolutely state that, say, one thousand years ago in Europe, women absolutely were uniformally oppressed regardless of their social status in legal and personal terms, thanks primarily to religion, and to capitalism. But you can’t say one thousand years ago ALL women in the entire world were oppressed. I don’t like erasing women and their actual stories from history by using “oppression” as the stand-in for, you know, women and their history. One thousand years ago in the Americas, for example, you cannot make the argument that women were oppressed, legally and otherwise. We had to wait for white men to show up with their religion and capitalism for that.

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
6 years ago

Speaking of books, I’m on a bit of a historical fiction kick at the moment. Does anyone have any recommendations?

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