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Memeday: Least convincing arguments against feminism

Unconvinced cat is unconvinced
Unconvinced cat is unconvinced

In today’s episode of Memeday, we look at some antifeminist memes that, well, just aren’t very convincing. Is this really the best you guys can offer?

All the memes here, except for the first one, come from a Facebook page called Math 3 Feminists.

I’m sorry, Math 4 Feminists. What can I say? I’m a feminist; numbers confuse me.

So let’s look at some of these unconvincing arguments, shall we?

Feminism is bad because … Lena Dunham is ugly and has no skills:

lena

We’re off to a bad start here. Say what you will about Lena Dunham, and people have said all sorts of things, some fair, some not so much, but … really? Shes got “no discernible skills?”

Dunham wrote, directed and starred in an award-winning feature film by the time she was 24. She created (and produces and writes and stars in) an HBO series that just finished its fifth season. She’s a bestselling author.

Meanwhile, MRAs stick captions on pictures they find on the internet and call it activism.

Feminism is bad because … sometimes young women get really drunk;

drunkw

Uh, dudes, I see your “young woman in rainbow stockings passing out drunk in the street” and raise you one “drunk dude in cape leaping through a window.”

… and one “drunk dancing dude jumping off a boat.”

Feminism is bad because … if being a woman is so terrible why is there Caitlyn Jenner?

jenner

Yeah, that’s not how any of this works, you transphobic asshats.

Feminism is bad because … feminists hate stay-at-home mothers:

stayat

Weird, Math 4 Feminists dudes, because the only people I see attacking stay-at-home mothers on a regular basis are, well, MRAs and MGTOWs and assorted other internet misogynists. Like in the meme below, which I found … drum roll .. on the Math 4 Feminists Facebook page.

kerm

Feminism is bad because … women didn’t serve in the military equally in a war that ended two decades before feminism as we know it began:

tomhanks

Also, fellas, just FYI, Tom Hanks didn’t actually serve in the army in World War II. He was in a movie about it.

Feminism is bad because … Detroit:

detroit

Er, what? Are you just putting up pictures of random things and blaming feminists for them?

All I can say to that is … THANKS OBAMA!

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Dr. Thang
Dr. Thang
4 years ago

Yeah, good point MRAs, why DIDN’T feminists fight in a war during a time when they weren’t allowed in the military? They were off doing foolish things like “fighting for equality”, which would have allowed them to be in the military, when they should have been in the military they weren’t allowed to be in, fighting alongside men…so we could then mock and criticize them for not being as good at war as men.
After all, you never hear about female war heroes, in fact I hear possibly the greatest war hero of all time was some dude named Lyudmila Pavlichenko, which is an oddly feminine sounding name for what I’m assuming is a man.

authorialAlchemy
authorialAlchemy
4 years ago

I’m… not sure if feminists are in charge of Detroit? Where are they getting that from?

Detroit isn’t a bad place, really. I go to college there. I’m tired of people, mostly other white people, acting like there is nothing but ruins. They’re ignoring the culture that has always been there and never left, and the growth that is happening. (for better or worse)

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

comment image
I want to play a game.

In this game I challenge the idea I have encountered that you can’t discern a person’s motives in a conflict from what they post on the internet. I’m of the opinion that what a person posts naturally contains the information that makes their motives clear.

There are a few assumptions that go into this game.

*A bigot speaks in a way that refers to all members of a group, but since they can’t have met every member of a group they are bigoted against they are really talking about only the ones they have met, or the things they learned from other bigots. So this has to do with feminist women (or just women) they know, or things they believe about feminist women.

*Each individual emotion is associated with an instinctual action or experience that suggests and action (Table 3 of link). This helps in interpreting motivations and goals.

*Attacks always present as anger, but contain fear somewhere in the details. We fear the lack of removal of obstacles (anger is fear’s opposite), fear the effects of things we are disgusted by (delayed damage), and fear a surprise contains a threat.

*Sometimes considering inverses or opposites is useful because part of social conflict involves directing attention. To look for distractions from a negative associated with the attacker (or their group), hypothetically consider how the negative might be associated with them. For example obsession with the characteristics of victims displaces attention from the characteristics of victimizers.

In the first meme the actress Lena Dunham is presented and the text “Feminism: A movement designed for unattractive women with no discernible skills”.

1. The author feels negatively about feminism. Given the reality of emotions there are only four possible general categories: anger, disgust, surprise and fear. The rest of the image macro does not contain information about feminism’s design so the general form of this attack is an irrelevant personal attack on a possible (to me, I don’t know if she is one) feminist. This is a discriminatory attack designed to be accepted as applying to all feminists. The author fears feminism.

2. Since attractiveness is relative the author wants to force their tastes, or reinforce socially useful attractiveness standards for reasons that are useful in social conflict. Things considered unattractive are generally associated with the emotion of disgust so the author is using the social tool: irrelevant disgust at a woman’s appearance. Since disgust is connected to the instinct of expelling something threatening, the author is trying to evoke the feeling of feminist women needing to be socially expelled and fears long term damage.

3. Since acting is a skill the author is revealing that they feel negatively about Lena Dunham’s acting, perhaps a specific show. It is also possible that they don’t like something that Lena has done outside of acting and they are irrelevantly attacking her skills in a fashion similar to the attack on her appearance. Avoiding things that exist like skills is a fear behavior. So the author fears the behavior of skilled feminists, or the attention that skills bring to women in general.

*Thus the author is motivated to engage in irrelevant personal attacks in order to reinforce disgust at feminism and women’s appearance as a social tool, and disguise fear at skilled feminists and women who do things they do not like. The goal is for appearance to be maintained as a means of dismissing threatening feminists and women despite the individually subjective nature of attractiveness.

And I can’t even see how she is unattractive by conventional standards.

Shall we do more?

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

Awww….
It didn’t embed the Discord as Jigsaw image that I found.

Shaenon
4 years ago

My grandmother joined the Army in WWII. She continued to serve after the war ended because she enjoyed it so much. Like a lot of working-class people of the era, she found military life more comfortable than what she had come from.

I guess she didn’t storm the beaches of Normandy, but neither did my grandfather, or Tom Hanks.

Jo
Jo
4 years ago

Can someone explain to me what David means when he claims that feminism as we know it began after 1965? (Re the Saving Private Ryan image) Obviously Feminism has evolved, but that seems a grand claim.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@Jo
David is referring to the Second Wave of feminism. The First Wave was mostly about getting the vote.

The Second Wave was about, among other burning issues, reproductive rights; the option to not marry or have children; daycare; the right to live openly as a lesbian; keeping one’s own name after marriage; equal access to credit; equal admission to government-supported coeducational schools; equal access to work and equal pay for equal work; and identifying and working to eliminate sexual harassment, date rape, domestic violence, and child abuse.

bluecat
bluecat
4 years ago

I’d say first wave (in the UK, anyway) was about

– education.
– parental rights (a divorced woman became able to take sole custody of their child, but only if the Lord Chancellor agreed and if she was “of good character” in 1839. This was a step forwards).
– rights to divorce.
– employment rights.
– property rights after marriage (Married Women’s Property Act 1882).
– the vote.

The vote is best known because it’s an outright victory that coincides with other huge changes, whereas a lot of other achievements were bit by bit and little by little.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@bluecat
You make a good point. I know that women in the United States fought for those other gains as well — but what I’ve read about the First Wave here focuses mostly on the vote.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

That photo of Detroit? It resembles photos of the bombed-out cities of Germany and Japan after World War II. AFAIK, the furher, the emperor, presidents, prime ministers, generals, and other high mucky-mucks in that effort were ALL MEN. And of course World War II was an outcome of World War I, in which the high mucky-mucks were ALL MEN.

Naturally, the lower mucky-mucks included many men and women. But the higher ones were ALL MEN.

Then the lower mucky-mucks got to clean up the mess that the higher mucky-mucks had caused. As usual.

Witch of Endor
Witch of Endor
4 years ago

1. That picture of Detroit looks a little like Magnitogorsk- either the post-Soviet economy is a feminist conspiracy, or pollution is. My distressingly feminine brain can’t figure it out.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

Ow, ow, ow!

I grew up in a steel town with open-hearth furnaces. The air pollution was an issue when I lived there, but it was much worse even just five years before I was born. And sixty years before I was born, the streetlights might be on at 10 a.m.

All that said, Magnitogorsk is brand new to me, but already it strikes me as so much worse than anything I’ve heard of in a steel town. So sorry, people of Magnitogorsk! My thoughts and intentions are with you.

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/apr/12/story-of-cities-20-the-secret-history-of-magnitogorsk-russias-steel-city

finnegan
finnegan
4 years ago

I’m guessing MRAs have never heard of the Spanish Civil War? Enough women served with the Republican militias against the Falangists that it was used as propaganda AGAINST the Republicans at the time (‘Look at these people who have to resort to using women as soldiers!’). Not to mention other women soldiers such as Agustina de Aragón, Deborah Sampson, Joan of Arc…

Not to mention that women were kept out of active fighting roles due to patriarchal sentiment, yet still served vital support roles that put them directly in danger. My grandmother was a nurse and a POW during WWII. How is she less worthy?

I consider myself deeply anti-war, but the truth matters more than my personal ideology. MRAs obviously don’t see things that way.

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
4 years ago

Brony, you’re my kind of person – you think a lot about how other people think. High five!

Skiriki
Skiriki
4 years ago

@Paradoxical Intention: I dropped you a note at DeviantArt, have you had a chance to check it? 🙂

Redsilkphoenix
Redsilkphoenix
4 years ago

Does anyone know if that’s an actual picture of Detroit, instead of a random destroyed street that’s been labeled ‘Detroit’ by the meme maker? Anyone here from that city care to say one way or the other on that?

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
4 years ago

Redsilk: I honestly don’t know but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did that. Reverse image search? I’m on mobile.

Cupcakes 4 Hitler
Cupcakes 4 Hitler
4 years ago

@brony

I doubt that the author of the meme even knows that’s Lena Dunham, he’s just picked a short haired Tom boy he doesn’t fancy. Her identity is irrelevant to him.

JennyWren
JennyWren
4 years ago

Man, that WWII one pisses me off. Women weren’t allowed to serve in combat. But still, still, they found ways of helping. Despite the restrictions and the barriers, they did whatever they could, and they are ALL OVER the history of the war. They could have just said, “Fine, you don’t want our help” and sat back, but they tried so hard and risked so much to do their bit. And because they were so determined, one of them managed to get through and be there on D-Day anyway:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27677889

Hambeast, Social Justice Legbeard
Hambeast, Social Justice Legbeard
4 years ago

katz

While usually the most regressive branch of the military, you have to give the Marines credit for never giving a cute nickname to their women’s reserve, because, as the commander of the Marines explained, they already had a name: Marines.

You’ve never heard the term BAMs? It stands for “Broad Ass Marine” and was common parlance in the 1980s but I was given to understand that it originated at the same time as the other terms, even if it was never official.

rrh
rrh
4 years ago

The catchphrase of the Kermit sipping tea was “But that’s none of my business” which maybe explains why it’s attracted more than its fair share of obnoxious ignorance. Because it’s being made by people that acknowledge something is none of their business, but seem to think everyone needs to hear their opinion on it anyway.

Jarnsaxa
Jarnsaxa
4 years ago

Don’t forget dress reform as a goal of early feminism. 🙂 Nothing like wearing 80 pounds of fabric and metal, girls! The GOOD OLD DAYS.

Moggie
Moggie
4 years ago

Redsilkphoenix:

Does anyone know if that’s an actual picture of Detroit, instead of a random destroyed street that’s been labeled ‘Detroit’ by the meme maker? Anyone here from that city care to say one way or the other on that?

It’s from the cover of Seph Lawless’s photo book Autopsy of America, and it is indeed Detroit.

There’s a short interview here, and if you look at the filename of the similar image, you’ll see that it’s a factory in Detroit.

Not that I want to minimise Detroit’s situation, but you can find abandoned industrial sites looking much like that all over the developed world – sometimes even in properous cities.

Eva Vavoom
4 years ago

I am trying to ascertain whether or not these people would be up for doing something that helps boys and men in their area.

I created a non-obvious game. It’s based on my female-supremacist dominatrix character and was announced as a concept in a gaming magazine in 2009. Not all of the content is public yet. One of the tasks to level up is doing homework or “Working for the woman”. Most of the homework will be to fetch stats and do nerdy tasks. Did I mention it is non-obvious?

My name links to Masculine Topics. The first Summer Term Paper is kind of a huge deal. I mean anybody can complete it and it is sure at least one person will benefit from it.

I will sincerely ask people in the MRA space to publicize this (I do have personal protection services.)

There are people here who work in social work or in academia. I would love your feedback on the assignment.

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
4 years ago

yeah mras i’m p sure WOMEN WERE WORKING IN FUCKING FACTORIES DURING WW2 MAKING SURE YOU HAD ENOUGH ARTILLERY TO MURDER THE NAZIS

also they were DELIVERING MILITARY AIRCRAFT TO WHERE THEY WERE NEEDED

crack a goddamn fucking history book once in a while you ridiculous fools

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

@Shiriki: Just saw it, and just replied. :3 Forgive me for not seeing it sooner, I slept HARD last night and didn’t wake up until after noon. : P

Tosca
Tosca
4 years ago

Yep, nothing wins you arguments like criticising all women everywhere for not serving in combat positions when they were explicitly prevented from doing so by governments composed almost exclusively of men.

GardenGallivant
GardenGallivant
4 years ago

@JennyWren
I’m also offended by the commentary on the contributions of women in WWII. My mother served in British headquarters as the personal secretary/aide to Col Llewellyn until she met and married my American father serving as a courier for the American Headquarters. Then she worked writing for the Stars and Stripes, the military paper. She was sent to Paris in August 1944 because she spoke french and to help set up for the Paris edition of the paper to be published beginning in September. I call her noncombat role an important one, helping the allied military function.

Her role was less flashy than her brothers, who were also noncombatants for the RAF, but she lived through through London’s bombing then entered Paris when the Germans were still leaving so her group could hear the artillery accompanying the retreating Germans.

Her service entailed risk as do many noncombat roles in service; she survived being bombed out of her flats twice during the Blitz. She even survived a WWI childhood in Bristol and later Leeds with her parents, a minister and soldier for the Salvation Army working for poor relief.

I guess that makes me a second generation SJW.

Dalillama
Dalillama
4 years ago

Completely OT, but if any of you fine folks are in the vicinity of Ypsilanti, I have a friend there in a bit of a pckle and needing a place to stay. .I know it’s a lot to ask, but it’s literally the only thing I can do to try to help, because frankly all I have in the worl right now isa few networks of good hearted people I flatter myself i can consider my friends,.

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
4 years ago

@Paradoxy, re: the donation tier gift dooblie-doo. Do not feel obliged to make me anything! If you do want to, or feel obliged, or whatnot, then I have been looking hither and yon for a good looking meditative Fluttershy, or -in-a-labcoat, or -doing-maths. Editing a frame from the show would be fine also. Your choice! And thank you very much!

EDIT: I would help if I could, Dalillama, but I am nowhere near there. And I think you are my friend <3

katz
4 years ago

You’ve never heard the term BAMs?

Yes, I know that term. No, unlike the other terms, it isn’t official, which is why I didn’t mention it.

God, when did this comment section get so splainy?

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

@sunnysombrera

Brony, you’re my kind of person – you think a lot about how other people think. High five!

Thanks! Specifically I think about people that act predatory and aggressive because I’ve had to spend my whole life controlling those instincts. I’m glad that the effort includes the ability to make them more sensible to other people.

I’m not so good at other people. Kind of awkward actually. But still, thanks.

@Cupcakes 4 Hitler

I doubt that the author of the meme even knows that’s Lena Dunham, he’s just picked a short haired Tom boy he doesn’t fancy. Her identity is irrelevant to him.

That is entirely possible, and I tried to make my dissection compatible with that. I tend to act like other people are being completely honest with what they present, like all the parts actually mean something and are relevant. Any sloppiness I encounter ends up being, convenient.

EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

Women in combat positions, they say? Some armies do have them. One of those armies did quite well historically. You may have heard of them: they stopped the Nazis before Moscow in 1941, then won the critical battles of Stalingrad in 1942 and Kursk in 1943 before taking Berlin in 1945 and ending the largest war humanity has ever fought.

Let’s talk about one particular woman in that army.

http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1422361/lyudmila-pavlichenko.jpg
This is Major Lyudmila Pavlichenko, or to give her the nickname people bestowed upon her, Lady Death.

You may have come across the cultural archetype of the female sniper. It’s an especially common concept in the ex-Soviet bloc: woman are said to be good snipers, patient and not interested in hand-to-hand combat. This may be true but the reason why it’s a common cultural concept is mostly because of Pavlichenko. She was one of the highest-scoring snipers in history, beating even Simo Häyhä (albeit over a longer period.) If you consider ending human lives cold-bloodedly to be admirable then Pavlichenko is the gold standard, regardless of gender.

The Soviets loved to make celebrities out of snipers; if you’ve seen Enemy at the Gates then that bit, at least, is not exaggerated. Pavlichenko was the first of those, and was charismatic and witty enough to spin her celebrity status into a minor cult of personality which outlasted the war.

(She’s probably also responsible for the archetype of the dryly witty sniper, come to think about it.)

Because of her celebrity status, Pavlichenko wasn’t allowed back into combat in the second half of the war. Rather than just have photos taken of her, she opened a sniper school. Here’s a picture of her students in a reunion after the war.

http://laststandonzombieisland.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/dozen-female-soviet-snipers-mosin-91-30-pu.jpg
Notice the medals. Notice the guns. These people got those medals for using those guns to end other human lives. Go on, make a misogynistic joke. I dare you.

Pavlichenko was briefly sent to America with a diplomatic group, to try to encourage them to enter the war. Here’s her meeting Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the few human beings alive at the time unafraid to be in the presence of Lady Death.

http://public.media.smithsonianmag.com/legacy_blog/pavil2-500×413.jpg

There’s a story that when Pavlichenko was interviewed by American reporters at the White House, they didn’t know how to behave with a female war hero. Instead of asking about how many human beings are in the ground because of her, they asked about her uniform skirt, about how much leg it showed and whether it made her look fat. She demurely batted her eyelids at them and then mentioned it in her next letter to her mother. Her mother forwarded the letter to Joseph Stalin, who found it funny as hell.

That’s right: decades before tumblr even existed, Pavlichenko was forwarding misogyny in order to mock it. If she were alive today she would totally write for Jezebel.

In Canada, by contrast, she was fêted and given the gift of a Canadian-made hunting rifle. In the UK she spent most of her tour raising funds for Soviet medical charities.

Prior to the war, Pavlichenko had been a nursing student in Kiev. After the war she went back to university and finished her course, but never practised medicine. She later became an activist for veterans’ affairs.

Redsilkphoenix
Redsilkphoenix
4 years ago

@Moggie:

Interesting article. I’ll have to track that book down sometime and give it a read. Sounds fascinating.

So the meme maker decided to take a photo of an abandoned factory and pass it off as a street in a ‘hood with abandoned tenement housing? Or did I read too much into that meme?

ASSuming that’s the same photo there as on the interview page you linked to (I’m on a phone and can’t do a full comparison real easy) I find it interesting that the edits the meme maker did to it not only included cropping and making a color pic black and white, but erasing the lone human figure in it. That’s something the original photographer would have an issue with, if he ever found out about it.

At least, in my opinion…

Skiriki
Skiriki
4 years ago

Paradoxical Intention:
No probs, sleep is the best. 😀

Moggie
Moggie
4 years ago

Redsilkphoenix:

ASSuming that’s the same photo there as on the interview page you linked to (I’m on a phone and can’t do a full comparison real easy) I find it interesting that the edits the meme maker did to it not only included cropping and making a color pic black and white, but erasing the lone human figure in it. That’s something the original photographer would have an issue with, if he ever found out about it.

I think there are two versions of that photo, and the original photographer is responsible for both. Here’s the book’s promo picture, without the figure:

http://1vfu8ac4ogj10xzgc49u49al.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/f6b71ceb43fb8215-photo-26.jpg

“Urban explorers” often work in pairs, because of the dangers involved, so their photos often include their fellow explorer. But when you want to emphasise the desolation, it makes sense to get out of the frame.

Hambeast, Social Justice Legbeard
Hambeast, Social Justice Legbeard
4 years ago

katz – Sorry, didn’t mean to be ‘splainy. It was just a term I heard bandied about with the same frequency as WAC and WAVE by the “brown shoe” era men I served in the AF with. I had no idea you had intentionally omitted it.

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

This photo reminds me of a spooky zombie movie ‘the Chernobyl Diaries’.

Kelly L.
Kelly L.
4 years ago

I think the feminism=Detroit thing is, like so many other MRA things, racist on top of sexist. I bet the thinking is something like this. “Detroit has black people living in it. Black people are a feminist matriarchy run by single mothers (in MRA world). The city is broken in some ways, ergo, the matriarchs must have messed it all up by, like, not taking care of it or something.” You know, as if wimmenz could just tidy up decades of economic decline and racism if they just had enough gumption and elbow grease.

I feel gross even typing that.

K
K
4 years ago

I want to see some MRA heads combust when they read this:

http://neurosciencenews.com/gender-equality-mating-preferences-3654/

LOL
LOL
4 years ago

“Also, fellas, just FYI, Tom Hanks didn’t actually serve in the army in World War II. He was in a movie about it.”

What?!? I have been deceived!

LOL
LOL
4 years ago

K, thank you, thank you!