Mike over at The A-Unicornist has an excellent post about Feminism, the Patriarchy, PZ Myers, and other trigger words that I want to briefly mention. Here’s an excerpt:
The thing is, we don’t all agree on the severity or relevance of this sort of thing. We don’t all agree that there actually is a “patriarchy” in modern America. We don’t all agree whether ads featuring scantily-clad men or women, in an attempt to appeal to our biology to drive the free market, are indicative of any kind of broad social problem. We don’t all agree that, at least in modern America, the areas where women still experience inequality deserve more attention than the areas where men experience inequality – areas such as life expectancy, medical research funding, homelessness, widespread acceptance of male genital mutilation, suicide rates, victims of violence, workplace deaths, domestic violence and family court biases. Some of us have a hard time caring when the Rebecca Watsons of the world complain about sexy women in commercials and being awkwardly invited on a date when in other countries, women are treated like cattle (some of us like, I dunno, Richard Dawkins).
The problem is, though, that in the mind of PZ Myers, Watson, and the those of that ilk, there is no room for measures of disagreement. If you’re not totally on board their train, then you are the enemy. You are, as PZ describes it, an “anti-feminist”. No – you are not allowed to broadly support women’s legal equality and support their right to accept or reject certain normative gender roles while disagreeing about the extent and/or severity of these issues in modern Western civilization. You either swallow the whole doctrine, or you are part of the problem.
This is one of the factors that drove me away from PZ’s site and the group-think cohort that is Freethought Blogs. It’s a pure George Bush mentality of, ‘If you aren’t with us, you’re against us’. It’s a very black and white, immature view of the world – one which more often than not results in ‘reverse’-sexism that is roundly ignored. (In fact, people who dare mention the existence of double-standards tends to be denigrated horribly.)
I try not to write on the subject of Internet/caricature feminism much any more because, aside from often being so mountain-out-of-a-mole-hill boring, it isn’t even a philosophy. Indeed, it’s little more than an extremist reaction to conservatism. Ironically, though, its consequence-only outlook holds much in common with libertarianism (which is the philosophy that says, “I got mine, so screw you”). It’s like these people have never even heard of Kant.
Another reason I tend to avoid this subject, however, is because it’s virtually nothing but a minefield of code words. Whenever I see “patriarchy”, I know the person has already shut down the conversation and is merely waiting for me to apologize for being a white man. And to make things worse, we have terms like “rape culture” that are thrown around entirely carelessly, minimizing how horrible the actual act of rape is. (People like Steven Olsen, owner of the useless and unfunny site Carl Sagan’s Dance Party Humor, or csdphumor.com, is guilty of this and should apologize not merely to women, but to common fucking sense.)
I know these non-serious thinkers will continue on regardless of what I say, but I deem all these science-second, atheism-third people to be complete jokes that belong in the dustbin of the Internet. They haven’t added anything useful to the conversation; if anything, they’ve invented a cloud of fear for women who want to attend conventions and other events, likely encouraging actual assholes to make life worse for innocent people. Fuck these people.