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antifeminism antifeminist women gross incompetence lying liars MRA oppressed men

The E-Day Concert that Wasn’t: The Canadian Association for Equality turns a PR disaster into a PR catastrophe

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MRAs seem to think that they can spin their way out of pretty much anything. And on the internet, particularly in their own little echo chamber, they can kind of get away with it. It’s when they venture out into the real world that they run into some trouble.

Take, for example, the mad spinning that accompanied the implosion of the Canadian Association for Equality’s “E Day” concert scheduled for last weekend. CAFE, you may recall, is a Canadian Men’s Rights group that’s probably most famous for organizing a series of talks by Men’s Rights-friendly folks on Canadian campuses that, well, caused a tiny bit of a stir.

Oh, sorry. The group says that even though its “focus is currently on men and boys … [W]e do not consider ourselves a Men’s Rights Group.”

Anyway, so this non-Men’s Rights group decided to hold a concert on Toronto Island celebrating “Equality Day,” a holiday they made up just for the occasion. They found a venue, got some sponsors and even managed to convince a bunch of bands to sign on.

Everything was ready to go until a few days before the concert was scheduled to happen, when some of the people who had been roped into the event discovered just what they had gotten themselves involved with.

A headline from the Huffington Post sums up what happened next with admirable succinctness:

Men's Rights Concert In Toronto Cancelled Upon Discovery It Was A Men's Rights Concert

The exodus from E-Day kicked off after a post appeared on the lefty Canadian news site Rabble.ca pointing out what CAFE was really about. Musicians and sponsors quickly distanced themselves from the event, and CAFE lost its venue as well.

CAFE’s response to all this? A press release stating:

CAFE received overwhelming support from musicians, sponsors and the general public for Equality Day. After several months of productive collaboration, the original venue Artscape Gibralter-Point cancelled the use of their location after receiving a small number of misinformed complaints.

That’s a rather … odd way to describe what happened. According to a good number of those who had originally signed on for the concert, it was CAFE that was actively spreading misinformation about their own event and hiding its Men’s Rights agenda.

The musical group Giraffe posted a statement on Facebook saying:

We feel that we were not fully informed about what it was that is being supported here, and also that calling it a festival that celebrates “equality” as opposed to “men’s equality” was intentionally misleading to us in it’s effort to entice us to play this show.

Hogtown Brewers, one of the sponsors, offered a similar explanation for why they pulled out. “We’re kinda surprised that an event that built itself on being for equality turned out to be anything but that,” the president of the company told the The Star. “The minute that it came to our attention that it wasn’t a concert in line with our values, we moved to remove our support. We regret any involvement.”

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Artscape, the venue that was to have originally held the event, told The Globe and Mail that

[t]he premise of the event as it was given to us was a fair and equitable event that was family-friendly and a lovely music festival. It has since turned political and we anticipated that there could be health and safety concerns as well.

Perhaps the most amazing revelation: Jagermeister, which had been listed as a sponsor on CAFE’s publicity materials, said it had never agreed to be part of the event in the first place:

CAFE’s creative, er, spinning continued in an interview the group’s outreach director Denise Fong gave to NowToronto. I’m not even going to summarize this one. Go read it.

A scaled down E-Day celebration of sorts did go ahead last weekend. It consisted of some CAFE volunteers standing on a corner handing out pamphlets and talking to passersby about their support of “boys, men and families.” (That’s a strangely limited notion of equality, huh?)

In their press release last week, CAFE announced that

Equality Day musical activities will be postponed to next Sunday, June 8. Details to be announced.

So far no details have been announced. But, hey, they’ve still got a couple of days to go.

On a totally unrelated note, I will be holding “E-Kwalitee Day” in my apartment sometime this afternoon. I am proud to announce that I have managed to book some outstanding musical acts for this extravaganza. They don’t know it yet, but I have written their names down in my appointment book.

Here’s the headliner:

I support kittens, cats and families. Ask me why!

 

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fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago

I hope Just Give Up will talk to us soon 🙁

Ally S
6 years ago

@kitteh

It’s all right. If you want, you can also compare our oppression with that of lesbians in the closet. Sure, no one knows they’re not straight and so some people may think she’s straight, but she does not navigate the world as a straight woman.

kittehserf
6 years ago

[frivolous derail]

I was thinking about the different ways people navigate the world, with or without passing privilege, and how I never thought of myself as anything but heterosexual until relatively recently (never having heard of asexuality, f’rinstance). Then it struck me: my own designation is Lsexual! Much pithier than calling it single-target sexuality, which sounds like an archery contest.

[/frivolous derail]

Leum
Leum
6 years ago

@Ally S:

Yeah, even in a post-gender society some people will probably still identify as men, women, etc. It’s just that the structure of oppression will be absent, so those identities won’t play any role in oppression. And they will no longer be associated with what we now know as biological sex.

I’m confused by this. Wouldn’t a post-gender society by definition not have people with gender identities?

kittehserf
6 years ago

Post-gender-roles, maybe?

Ally S
6 years ago

Identities would still exist, but not the grid of identities that facilitated the gender oppression. So labels like “man” and “woman” might still exist but they won’t have any significance as symbols of domination.

Ally S
6 years ago

Of course there can also be a society without even the categories men and women, but it’s just one of many possibilities in a post-gender society.

Leum
Leum
6 years ago

Note: Massively ignorant post follows

What would the role of gender identites be though? Like, as far as I can tell, their main purpose now is related to dysphoria. Cis men and cis women don’t experience it, trans men, trans women, and non-binary people do, and the nature of that dysphoria determines their gender identity. If gender was completely divorced from biological sex, what purpose would it have?

Like, the reason I identify as a man is because I have the phenotype associated with the term “man” and don’t experience dysphoria. I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t bother identifying as a man if the term had no connotations wrt biological sex.

Ally S
6 years ago

@Leum

Transness doesn’t depend on dysphoria, as many trans people don’t have dysphoria at all.

Anyway, you’re right that gender wouldn’t actually have any purpose in such a society. They would be devoid of associated roles.

Ally S
6 years ago

I can try to elaborate further on my views, but it might be a lot to explain since my ideas on gender are inherently tied to my views of capitalism, disablism and white supremacy as well.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Leum — you’d identify as “meh”? Only thing I can think of that it might matter for would be pronouns, if you wanted to use ones traditionally associated with men?

Maybe we’d all make up our own terms, or not use any, idfk. Regardless, it’s moot as to whether people with dysphoria would still want medical solutions.

Leum
Leum
6 years ago

@Argenti:

As a concept, gender has become nearly meaningless to me except in discussions of power and privilege or dysphoria. I identify as male solely because I have no reason not to; I’m not particularly attached to the designation, but it’s convenient and I have no objections to it.

In terms of pronouns, I don’t like being gendered as female, but mostly because that creates inaccurate impressions with respect to my physical appearance and position within the kyriarchy (e.g. I don’t want to people to have the impression that I don’t experience male or cis privilege because that could disturb them if they needed a safe space for women or trans people only and assumed I belonged there).

Ally S
6 years ago

@Leum

Believe it or not, there are tons of cis people just like you.

katz
6 years ago

I also identify as “meh.”

kittehserf
6 years ago

I never thought about it, growing up, or in my younger adulthood. I identify as female because I have a woman’s body* and all the damnnuisancethingsthatgowithit (yes I’m looking at you menstruation), and I certainly don’t identify as anything else, nor as far as I know have any reason to. As far as playing out gender roles goes, I don’t consider myself particularly feminine, regardless of wearing dresses and makeup and, yes, pink.

*She hasn’t asked for it back yet.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

I think I am the same as kitteh. It’s like I’m-female-because-there’s-female-things-my-body-has-and-does-and-I-would-like-to-see-the-day-that-none-of-this-matters-in-society.

For example: I had terrible dysmenorrhea for years (the pain was awful, let alone the bloating) and now I get not-uncommon estrogen-related migraines. I’m also dealing with another sex-related health problem at the moment.

I’m torn on the idea of a post-gender society. Will healthcare be better for women in that society, because most medicinal drugs on the market have been mainly trialled on men, there’s stuff all medicines that are known to be safe for pregnant women, and even what appears to be good health advice (e.g. what are the signs you are having a heart attack) are male-based (women have different symptoms, and therefore tend to not detect when they have had mini-heart attacks, which increases the risk of a major attack later because they don’t seek treatment).

And then, heck, I assume (please correct me if I’m wrong) that things are even worse for trans-people because I don’t notice their inclusion in many (any?) clinical trials.

So I’m stuck. Maybe I’ve misunderstood what a post-gender society would be like?

kittehserf
6 years ago

Pallygirl – yes, it’s too easy from here to think that post-gender would revert to cis dudes as the default, and everyone else just … well, variations on them, at best.

I had dysmenorrhea in my teens and twenties; it was the main reason I stayed on the pill so long. Never had migraines, that sounds awful.

Back in the 80s we had to fill in medical slips at work stating what was wrong when we’d had a sick day (privacy, what is this thing?). I took great pleasure in writing dysmenorrhea, because my slightly prurient boss probably guessed what it meant, but didn’t dare ask.

A bit of good news from today’s Age for one trans girl. At least some schools have a clue.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/when-the-dress-fits-carrum-schoolgirl-leaves-gender-definitions-behind-20140606-39osp.html

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

That sounds like a great school. I get a happy whenever I read about a school taking a firm stance against bullying and doing really positive actions to prevent it. Those teachers sound awesome, as well as the principal!

Arctic Ape
Arctic Ape
6 years ago

When I try to imagine a postgender society, I imagine people people just dissolving gender roles as much as biologically possible. Then, what gender identity people had left would be strictly biological, based on what your sex is or what you feel it should be. While biological sex isn’t strictly binary, it would be likely perceived as binary in general discourse, despite some people being inter or trans. Then again, many people’s biosex would be obscure in casual encounters and nobody would care anyway. Trans people wouldn’t have to transition socially, only medically.

Language would likely have a minimal amount of gendered terminology and no grammatical gender structure. Like, men and women or stallions and mares would be just male and female humans or horses, if you need to specify that much. Brothers and sisters would be just siblings. Parents would be usually just parents, although you could specify them biologically as mothers (womb and/or egg mother), fathers or adopters. Grammatical gender (like different pronouns) already doesn’t exist in all languages.

Eh, what a confusing topic. I could spend all weekend writing out this thought experiment.

Ally S
6 years ago

what gender identity people had left would be strictly biological, based on what your sex is or what you feel it should be.

That depends on whether such a society would still have the coercive birth assignment of sex. I think that a non-patriarchal society would have to do away with such a thing because coercive sex assignment is a practice rooted in the discourse of patriarchy i.e. these are “male” genitals, those are “female” genitals, etc. I think that instead of people being told what sex (and therefore gender) they are, they should be left to come to terms with and understand their gender on their own.

Ally S
6 years ago

I mean, coercive sex assignment is the same mechanism by which intersex people are oppressed, and in general it sets up a dynamic in which people are inevitably forced to be one gender or the other (even though many people conform to their assigned sex). Sex is a social construct just like gender, and its main purpose in my view is to establish a material division and an ideological justification for patriarchy.

kittehserf
6 years ago

pallygirl, yeah, I was chuffed to read that article – yay school, yay principal and teachers, and yay parents!

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Yeah, ideally biological sex should only exist for medical related reasons, and then be far more broad. Almost the way I try to use uterus-haver for those seeking (not) to get pregnant, and similar. So instead of “female” it could be “has the anatomy to need pap smears”.

And maybe it would largely do away with identity related terms after awhile — would I ID as neither man nor woman if neither concept existed? Idk. Would I still want a surgery or two? Most likely.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

I think that instead of people being told what sex (and therefore gender) they are, they should be left to come to terms with and understand their gender on their own.

That would be wonderful!

Viscaria
Viscaria
6 years ago

This thread is interesting to me because I’m cis, but I’m not even a little “meh” about my gender. And it’s not about a feminine presentation, though sometimes I do present in very traditionally feminine ways; nor is it about my body and how it behaves. It’s just… I’m a woman. If someone were to misgender me I would feel very uncomfortable — but of course nobody misgenders me, and even if they did the potential consequences would be nothing like what trans people, particularly trans women, face, so I’m definitely not trying to say that I can directly relate to how trans people feel if/when they are misgendered.

I don’t mean to blather on about stuff nobody cares about, it’s just I find it interesting how much variation there is in experiences of gender.

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

When I try to imagine a postgender society, I imagine people people just dissolving gender roles as much as biologically possible. Then, what gender identity people had left would be strictly biological, based on what your sex is or what you feel it should be.

This is a pretty weird statement to me. A post-gender-role society would be really different from today’s society, and obviously I don’t know what it would look like. But I think that either people would still have gender identities that were pretty independent of their bodies, as people have today, or gender identities would just dissolve and disappear. That gender identities would still exist, but be strongly connected to biological sex, seems weird. Why would that happen?

I think that if gender identities would disappear in the future, then so would terms like “male” and “female”, because in most cases people would consider it completely irrelevant whether someone had XY or XX chromosomes, whether someone had a penis or a vagina and so on. In certain biological or medical contexts where it is relevant, people would use words like “XX-chromosomed”, in a discussion about chromosomes, or “those who have vaginas” in a discussion about something vagina-related, and so on.

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

Regarding privilege, I have a friend who’s a trans man who’s blogged quite a lot about privilege and oppression… He’s written that there’s no contradiction in claiming that he’s oppressed as a trans person (gets hate for being openly trans, is at a high risk for hate crimes, was forcibly sterilized because trans and so on) but that he’s also got various male privileges (when people who don’t know who he is sees him, they just see an average middle-aged white man, and there’s all kinds of privilege that comes with that – such as being taken more seriously, not sexually harassed and so son).
I think lots of people gets a bit confused about privilege when it comes to trans people because they confuse cis-privilege/trans-oppression with male privilege/female oppression, and although they interact in important ways, they’re not the very same thing.

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

Regarding gender, you might say that I also identify as “meh”, because being misgendered really doesn’t bother me if someone just assumes that I’m a man. It’s happened online quite a few times, and I don’t bother to correct people or anything, because it doesn’t matter to me. Happened a few times when I worked as a practical nurse as well, and really not bothered by it. I wouldn’t even be bothered a bit if the entire world started calling me “he” tomorrow morning.
I do get pissed off though, when some random dude comes up to me and demands to know my gender, because that’s fucking rude and transphobic (see open thread for personal stuff…)

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

I’ll always say that I’m “cis” though if anyone asks. Afaik, if you’re assigned a female gender by society and it doesn’t bother you that you are, you’re a cis-woman. (Sorry for making so many posts in a row – I kept posting and then coming up with something new that I ought to add to the discussion…)

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

forcibly sterilized because trans

They do that to people?

🙁

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

Lea, yeah, until last year trans people were forced to undergo sterilization (and they were not allowed to freeze eggs or sperm either) in order to change their legal gender. I know, it’s completely fucked up. It was eventually deemed unconstitutional (hm, not quite sure whether this is the correct legal term in English, but whatever). Defenders of this sterilization law kept claiming that it’s wasn’t forced, it was a choice, since if they didn’t want to be sterilized, trans people could just continue having the gender they were assigned at birth their legal gender and have that gender in their driver’s license, passport and so on. So totally voluntary! The European Supreme Court had already criticized Sweden for years for this law, claiming that it is forced sterilization when the government goes “either you get sterilized or you…” following some consequence that the person addressed is desperate to avoid, and it was finally deemed unconstitutional to force trans people to be sterilized in a Swedish court last year.

Also, I know another trans guy whose doctors kept pushing him to get sterilized a couple of years ago. They were like “they’re never gonna change the law, you’re never gonna get a new legal gender unless you do it, come one”, but since he was pretty active in the trans movement and knew how things were developing he knew they were wrong and chances were that the law was gonna change. So he never caved in to the pressure, and still got eggs.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

It was eventually deemed unconstitutional (hm, not quite sure whether this is the correct legal term in English, but whatever).

If you mean “in violation of one’s constitutional rights” then yes, it’s correct.

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

Emilygoddess: I’m not quite sure since the Swedish “grundlag” (literally “basic law”) is not quite comparable to the US constitution, but… sort of like that.

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

The “master argument” from conservatives defending the sterilization law was pretty much this: “If we don’t force trans people to get sterilized, then it might happen that a MAN becomes PREGNANT and OMG that would be SO STRANGE!”.

Ally S
6 years ago

I like how a series of angry responses to a TERF sympathizer has turned into a meaningful discussion about gender abolition. You folks are awesome. <3

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Dvärghundspossen — if your “basic law” as you put it, is the laws the nation is founded on, then unconstitutional might not be truly an accurate translation word wise, but concept wise it probably is.

I do wonder if there’s a non-US-centric word for that though.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

Is it really US-centric? Lots of countries (and states and other smaller entities) have constitutions.

Arctic Ape
Arctic Ape
6 years ago

Ally:

I mean, coercive sex assignment is the same mechanism by which intersex people are oppressed, and in general it sets up a dynamic in which people are inevitably forced to be one gender or the other (even though many people conform to their assigned sex). Sex is a social construct just like gender, and its main purpose in my view is to establish a material division and an ideological justification for patriarchy.

Obviously I’m culturally biased, but I can’t see how any society could avoid constructing sex as binary in mainstream understanding. Maybe in my scenario intersex kids would be assigned as “not quite usual” or something.

Argenti:

So instead of “female” it could be “has the anatomy to need pap smears”.

Well, that’s essentially what “female” would mean. I was maybe thinking in terms of my native Finnish, where you can’t apply the corresponding word “naaras” to humans unless you want to sound like a biologist gone rogue.

Dvärghundspossen:

This is a pretty weird statement to me. A post-gender-role society would be really different from today’s society, and obviously I don’t know what it would look like. But I think that either people would still have gender identities that were pretty independent of their bodies, as people have today, or gender identities would just dissolve and disappear. That gender identities would still exist, but be strongly connected to biological sex, seems weird. Why would that happen?

I was thinking that most of the stuff forming our gender identity would indeed disappear, and the biological stuff would remain. I dunno if it would be substantial enough to be called “identity” any more.

In certain biological or medical contexts where it is relevant, people would use words like “XX-chromosomed”, in a discussion about chromosomes, or “those who have vaginas” in a discussion about something vagina-related, and so on.

Karyotype is rarely even discussed, but vagina and some other anatomical features correlate closely enough that people would likely conceptually lump them into “female anatomy”, I would think.

The European Supreme Court had already criticized Sweden for years for this law, claiming that it is forced sterilization when the government goes “either you get sterilized or you…”

Now, if only the ESC would start pressuring Finland on this same issue…

LBT (with an open writeathon!)

RE: Leum

Wouldn’t a post-gender society by definition not have people with gender identities?

It’s the difference between being FORCED to ID something, and being able to make a free choice. I’d still be a man, regardless of my society, because it’s an intrinsic part of my identity. In a post-gender society, I just wouldn’t have to put up with truckloads of bullshit for it.

‘Male’ is a completely meaningless term to me. It seems amusingly appropriate that it’s a meaningless, MASSIVELY IMPORTANT term to me. I have never been ‘meh’ on my gender. However, in singlet presentation, I get uncomfortable being called ‘he’ because I feel like I’m shafting my system.

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

@Argenti, that’s the thing – the nation wasn’t funded upon the “basic law” as it looks like right now. It can be changed, although it’s a more complicated process than changing most laws. (For starters, Sweden wasn’t anywhere near being a democracy at the beginning.)

Dvärghundspossen
6 years ago

@Arctic, are you saying that you still have forced sterilization of trans people in Finland?
And you Americans, has that ever been the case in the states?

LBT (with an open writeathon!)

RE: Dvarghundspossen

And you Americans, has that ever been the case in the states?

Psh. We fucking nonconsensually sterilized cis female prisoners last year in my country. It’s one of those things that happens a lot that nobody talks about, mostly because it happens to folks in prison, black women, the mentally disabled… Google Ashley X if you really, REALLY feel up for a horrorshow.

Ally S
6 years ago

Obviously I’m culturally biased, but I can’t see how any society could avoid constructing sex as binary in mainstream understanding. Maybe in my scenario intersex kids would be assigned as “not quite usual” or something.

It is only constructed as a binary today because it provides the basis for the gendered division of labor. Once that is no longer relevant to society, then sex will no longer remain a binary category that has political implications. That we find it easy to conceive sex as a male/female binary now doesn’t imply that it can only exist as a male/female binary. Like Argenti said, the relevance of sex in social discourse can be relegated to medical contexts and so on.

If we as a society do away with normative sex assignment for human bodies, then the relevance of sex to a person’s identity will disappear or become meaningless.

vagina and some other anatomical features correlate closely enough that people would likely conceptually lump them into “female anatomy”, I would think.

But that only happens because of the dominant discourses of biological sex. We code biological traits male or female only because we associate genders with specific bodies. Even if such correlations exist outside of the discourses of biological sex, there is no reason to subsume them under an unstable system of sex categorization like the one we have now. It can be reasonably assumed that our bodies are prediscursive objects, but the categorization of those bodies is purely a product of discourse and so it can be challenged and dismantled.

LBT (with an open writeathon!)

Yeah, and the thing is, there are way more variants of bodies than people think. I don’t just mean intersex either; I know guys with gynecomastia, and I’ll bet you do too. I know women with practically no breasts at all. I’ve seen photos of women body builders. And then you have bodies like ours, which even after $8000 worth of surgery and hundreds of dollars of hormones comes off as androgynous at best. But do you think my sister can pass as cis female entirely, after all that?

A lot of people mod out their bodies. Probably more people would, if there wasn’t such a stigma and cost to it.

Arctic Ape
Arctic Ape
6 years ago

Finland lags somewhat behind Sweden on every social justice issue.

Ally, I think we’re talking way past each other. I’ll stop cissplaining and go to sleep now, as my timezone dictates 🙂

Leum
Leum
6 years ago

@Ally S and LBT:

What about sex assignment for medical purposes? There does appear to be a difference wrt symptoms and treatment that falls roughly along the coercively assigned gender binary division. How would that be handled in your ideal world?

Ally S
6 years ago

There does appear to be a difference wrt symptoms and treatment that falls roughly along the coercively assigned gender binary division.

That kind of knowledge of sexed differences is a product of the discourse of coercive gender assignment. Just because our current understanding of biology yields theories that neatly adopt the assumption of a sex binary doesn’t mean that it’s the only valid and coherent understanding. In fact, it could be that a biological model that rejects the binary opposition of sex yields more insightful and accurate understandings of the human body.

Ally S
6 years ago

Basically, what I’m saying is that we can arrive at a re-conception of human biology without the assumption of a sex binary. We don’t have to understand human bodies in terms of maleness, femaleness, intersexuality, etc.

Ally S
6 years ago

@auggz

I don’t know anyone trans who objects to the general usage of “dude”, “lady”, etc.

Ally S
6 years ago

All I can suggest is to just respect the wishes of anyone who has a problem with you calling them a “dude”, “lady”, etc.