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A Voice for Men's Alison Tieman: Winning women the vote was “Feminism's first act of female supremacy.”

I don’t often write about Alison Tieman – the eccentric FeMRA videoblogger known better as Typhon Blue – in large part because, well, have you ever watched one of her videos? Her arguments and assertions bear so little relation to what the rest of us know as reality it’s as if she lives in some weird inverted world of her own making.

It’s rather difficult to address the arguments of someone when virtually everything she says is wrong – logically, historically, morally – in some fundamental way.

But I’m going to have a go at her latest video anyway, because, well, it’s only 4 minutes long, which will make unpacking its fractal wrongness a little less of a daunting task. Also, there’s a kitty in it.

In the video, Tieman, in the guise of “Professor Hamster,” makes the startling claim that Women’s Suffrage was “Feminism’s first act of female supremacy.”

How, you might wonder, does equality at the ballot box count as “female supremacy?”

Well, according to Tieman – one of A Voice for Men’s self-proclaimed Honey Badgers – it’s because women (at least in the US) don’t have to register for the draft.

This is an old argument of hers, based on the strange belief that voting rights for men in the United States are contingent on them signing up for selective service, something that’s not, you know, true. She seems to be confusing the United States with the fictional universe of Starship Troopers, in which “Service Guarantees Citizenship.”

In any case, because suffragettes didn’t demand to be drafted when they demanded the vote their demand, Tieman concludes that they weren’t seeking equality but supremacy.

Never mind that at the time the notion of women being drafted would have struck the general public as absurd.

Never mind that when draft registration was being considered for reinstatement in 1981, the National Organization for Women sued to have registration expanded to women as well, because not requiring women to register would relegate them “to second-class citizenship by exclusion from a fundamental obligation of citizenship,” as the New York Times summarized their position.

Ultimately, over NOW’s objections, the Supreme Court ruled that registration could be restricted to men only. The all-male Supreme Court; the court didn’t get its first female Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, until later that year.

For all of the hullabaloo, the requirement that men register for the draft is an essentially meaningless “obligation.” The draft is a dead issue in the US, about as likely to be revived as Jarts.

Tieman goes on to note that “female suffrage enabled women to vote for wars that only men had to fight in.” In fact, as anyone who’s paid any attention to real world politics knows well, women are consistently less likely than men to support war.

Tieman’s arguments about women’s suffrage are just bizarre. It’s when she starts talking about the civil rights movement that she moves beyond bizarre to offensive.

Throughout the video, she contrasts what she sees as the good and humble civil rights movement with the “privileged” and “entitled” suffragettes; it’s a strange and backwards argument, at odds with historical reality, and one that insults not only the suffragettes but our greatest civil rights heroes as well. “During the civil rights movement,” she proclaims,

black moderates believed that black people needed to EARN their civil rights. Extremists at the time believed that blacks people should receive their rights by virtue of being human beings. …

Minorities felt they had to earn their rights and often had to make enormous sacrifices in war prior to even having their requests for rights considered reasonable. Women felt they were simply owed. …

Minorities approached suffrage from the usual mentality of people who are actually oppressed: We have to earn everything, including citizenship rights. Whereas women approached the issue of suffrage from a mentality of privilege and entitlement: We are owed our rights.

Where even to start with this jumble of wrongness?

Let’s start with her most basic misapprehension, that human rights are something that have to be earned. In fact, the basic premise of human rights is that we have certain rights because we are human beings. This isn’t entitlement or extremism; it is the fundamental basis of democracy.

You would think that someone who calls herself a Men’s Human Rights Activist would have a better understanding of the rudiments of  human rights.

In the Declaration of Independence, you may recall, Thomas Jefferson famously proclaimed “that all men are … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” He didn’t say they had to earn these rights; he said that they were born with them.

Granted, it took quite some time before this sentiment applied not only to white men but also to women and African-Americans, but this had nothing to do with anyone “earning” rights; it had to do with the fact that some human beings were seen as more human than others.

When Martin Luther King made his case for civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s, he harked back explicitly to Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence. In his most famous speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963, he declared

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. …

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

This was not the first time he had made this argument. In a 1957 speech also delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he declared that

The denial of this sacred right [to vote] is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic traditions and its is democracy turned upside down.

So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact — I can only submit to the edict of others.

It’s our humanity, not a signature on a selective service registration form, that entitles all of us to the right to vote.

If the Men’s Rights Movement wants to campaign to end selective service registration, go for it. Just don’t pretend that this has anything to do with the right to vote. Or that demanding basic human rights is a sign of “entitlement,” much less “female supremacy.”

Also, maybe lose the stupid hat?

Below, a song that kept popping into my head as I tried to make sense of Tieman’s most peculiar views. Well, the chorus anyway; the rest of the lyrics don’t really fit.

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cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

Forehead doesn’t seem to be a very happy person. He needs to go pet a puppy or something.

kittehserf - MOD
5 years ago

Ewww, why inflict that on a poor innocent puppy?

Sounds like forehead’s too cheap to pay for a domme, so he comes here to get his “relief”.

brooked
brooked
5 years ago

Lea and others were commenting on a presumably male poster pretending that registering for the draft puts them in any real danger when there is no draft and no chance of it returning, baring some incredible war much larger than the two we just fought.

war is not easy on the men that participate.

That’s true and no one said it wasn’t. It’s also very hard on the people whose country it’s fought in because war is horrific all around. That doesn’t have anything to do with the arguments about selective service and voting rights in the OP or Noyourhistory’s comment.

katz
5 years ago

And yes, I have seen combat. Over 2 years in country. Yes, I know guys who have been in combat too, oddly enough. Yes, I went of my own free will.

How is the draft of any possible disadvantage to you if you chose to enlist anyway?

I’m going to forego Russian aviatrices today and instead give you some soldaderas from the Mexican revolution.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7CYamfj7O3Q/U_-bRHQIK1I/AAAAAAABumk/JYb4pAbY7pQ/s1600/3.jpg

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Didn’t we have to explain to forehead that feminists have traditionally been participants in the anti war movement last time he was here? MRAs are all the same so it’s hard to tell.

Beam, your Google homework is to look up Code Pink and the origin of the mother’s day.

sparky
sparky
5 years ago

Ah, just read back a few pages and now I remember this one! This is the one who couldn’t understand “what feminism has to do with being female.”

The whole lack of understanding basic points makes more sense now.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

I wonder how much cuteness he can be exposed to while still being a miserable git?

http://33.media.tumblr.com/a378af558c0f02777e7059eb65516ceb/tumblr_n1zl1oGZzK1r3gb3zo1_500.gif

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

I wonder how much cuteness he can be exposed to while still being a miserable git?

That seems like a waste of good cuteness, to expend it on someone who thinks that volunteering to go fight in another country is WAY WAY HARDER AND MORE OPPRESSIVE Y’ALL than living in a country where foreigners come to fight in one’s back yard.

But, I got to see the cuteness too and maybe that balances it out.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@thebeam2008:

Talk about not understanding easy mode: war is not easy on the men that participate. Argue against it all you want…argue the Earth is flat too.

No, it’s not easy on the men that participate. It’s also not easy on the women that participate, nor on the civilians around which the war is happening. Being a man doesn’t make war harder, though in some aspects being a woman does.

Yes, war is awful for all those involved. My sarcasm was directed at Lea who failed to appreciate the irony of stating that women have it hard and yet their troubles are belittled and ignored…while belittling and ignoring the troubles of men.

Those aren’t the troubles of men, though… those are the troubles of people. To the extent that most soliders have been men, feminists (including Leah) agree that this is a problem and have been fighting for equal inclusion of women in the armed forces, so they don’t belittle or ignore the situation in the slightest.

And yes, I have seen combat. Over 2 years in country. Yes, I know guys who have been in combat too, oddly enough. Yes, I went of my own free will.

You came in here arguing that the draft is an example of problems that only men have. I asked you if any men you’ve known have been affected by a draft, and you haven’t answered. Thus, your original argument is not supported.

Being called an ignorant imbecile here is a relief as this is the same thread that shredded the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights when I presented those points…so I must be doing something right.

Funny, I recall the situation differently. It wasn’t the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights that was being shredded, it was you. Nobody was fooled when you quoted the declaration and pretended that it was in any way relevant to your bizarre claim that white men were the most discriminated against.

katz
5 years ago

It’s belittling the troubles of men to acknowledge that women can also have those problems. Even problems get cooties when you have to share them with women.

contrapangloss
5 years ago

RE: UN paraphrase.

It isn’t paraphrasing when you change the entire meaning to something upside down and backwards with orange and purple polka dots.

Pull the other one, my dear troll.

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

No one belittled the “troubles” of men. It is you who are belittling the institutional oppression of of women by pretending that the draft = men are oppressed and women are not. You’re a fucking liar.
You’ve never been drafted. You will never be at risk for being drafted.
Oh, and some women can be drafted. They’re called nurses and doctors.

chronic lurker
chronic lurker
5 years ago

Tedious troll is tedious.

Robert
Robert
5 years ago

Some of us remember when the Selective Service registration started. The National Organization for Women lobbied for it to be for women, too. Apparently, Go ‘head Fo’head thought that detail went down the memory hole.

Also, how could he have been two years ‘in country’ without noticing the servicewomen? Must have been averting his eyes.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@Robert:

Also, how could he have been two years ‘in country’ without noticing the servicewomen? Must have been averting his eyes.

He thinks he’s doing something clever. Since the majority of soldiers have and are men, and it was only in 2013 that the military finally dropped the policy that forbid servicewomen be in direct combat (christ, that was a hell of a TIL), that must mean that he can use “dying in war” as a beat stick the way feminists totally use the topic of rape as a beat stick.

To him, it doesn’t matter if women have always been or are in the military, just so long as men have been the majority of soldiers.

Of course, besides the myriad of reasons why his attempt at analogy fails, he also has lost sight of the original force of his argument: that dying in a war is particularly a male problem because the draft, which hasn’t existed for over 30 years. And the reason that it’s bad is because you are forced into a situation where you might die, but for some reasons civilian death (which has mainly been women and children, ie the people who aren’t soldiers) can be ignored.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

Ooh, more TIL.

One, I’m a horrible person because I never told the SS system that I changed address. Whoopsie.

Two, while the draft had existed for many of the large conflicts (Civil War, WWI and WW2, Vietnam), it has basically always been met with huge resistance and movements against it. 1973 marked the end of the draft when the military moved to an all-volunteer force in response to the anti-war movement during Vietnam.

It now exists basically as a highly unpopular relic that, although there are hefty punishments associated with not registering with SS, in practice those punishments are almost never given (according to a claim on wikipedia there are only a few recorded cases as of 2009). I remember when the topic of the draft came up in the Bush era; nobody believed it would be used because it was so politically unpopular.

So, basically, the one proof that men face the worst discrimination:

– Hasn’t meant anything since 1973
– Has been ineffectual largely due to the anti-war movement, a (I assume) largely liberal movement that has included plenty of feminists
– Has been rendered meaningless as a gendered issue by feminist campaigns for women to serve alongside men equally

And this issue is apparently comparable to rape, which:

– Continues to affect an absurdly high percentage of the population
– Is an issue that recent politicians have made asinine comments about (hello Todd Akin)
– Is an issue that anti-feminists rabidly attempt to discredit

But soldiers die! (They do!) And that’s bad! (It is!) And therefore men have it worse! (Fuck you, you disingenuous scumbag!)

/rant

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

This idea that war is something that people go away in organized military units to fight is a peculiarly American one. The United States hasn’t fought a war in North America for a hundred years, aside from a few invasions of Caribbean islands and of Panama which hardly anyone in the US remembers today. Certainly they don’t count as wars “on American soil.” This meme that “war only happens to soldiers in the military, therefore: men” wouldn’t hold up in any other country on earth.

There’s a lot of privilege in that, which Trolly, for obvious reasons, is going to deny.

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

I would point out to Forehead that lying about serving in the military is kind of disgusting, but literally everything he says is kind of disgusting.

Robert
Robert
5 years ago

PoM – good point about how insulated Americans* have been from many of the consequences of war. I still remember reading about how the ‘American Century’ (circa 1945 to 1973) was only possible because most of Europe and East Asia had gotten their heavy industry bombed to Hell and back. After Stalin’s death, Beria planned to trade Eastern Europe to the West in exchange for help rebuilding (one of the reasons he was arrested and killed by the people he had planned to arrest and kill). Britain’s wartime rationing didn’t end until 1952, IIRC, and one reason for the Mossadegh coup was the fact that the UK wouldn’t have been able to afford the Royal Navy without cheap Iranian oil. The Marshall Plan was a reaction to the very real possibility of an impoverished and disillusioned Europe going Communist through elections, not invasions. Like the hobbits of the Shire, we’ve been protected for so long that we’ve forgotten that we are.

*Used in the sense of citizens of the USA.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

The United States has benefited from being not physically connected to Europe since it’s founding. American exceptionalism is a thing, and that thing is the Atlantic Ocean. That’s what has shaped United States history and made that history different from the histories of other, similar Western countries. Do you know how the US played England and France off one another during the Civil War to keep both of them from intervening? That wouldn’t have worked if North America had been more readily accessible from Europe.

Not having had to fight WWII on domestic soil is just icing, really. I would have to say that most Americans are not cognizant of the massive privilege the geography of the globe has offered us.

Spoonwood
Spoonwood
2 years ago

This is an old argument of hers, based on the strange belief that voting rights for men in the United States are contingent on them signing up for selective service, something that’s not, you know, true.

No, I do NOT know that. Nor do I know it now. Failing to register is a felony for men only. Felony imprisonment carries with it loss of voting rights in 48 out of 50 states last I checked.

Some of us remember when the Selective Service registration started. The National Organization for Women lobbied for it to be for women, too. Apparently, Go ‘head Fo’head thought that detail went down the memory hole.

It re-started via a decision of Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter is a feminist.

Also, I do NOT think that the National Organization has joined the National Coalition for Men in it’s lawsuit against the Selective Service System.

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