Labeling others is a necessity.

UPDATE: This entry has been posted on Reddit and now a bunch of people who don’t know me are judging me as just another stupid male. Fucking Reddit. I will not close the comments right now because there’s still discussion going on, but anyone commenting here from Reddit will be banned. I think the comments thread over there is more than enough.
***

I have been told that, as a radfem ally, I am doing a number of things wrong. These include the following:

* It is tyrannical for me to say to other women that they are not feminists.

* I should not insult MRAs’ sexuality, because that just reproduces masculinity.

* I should not talk back to women, even if they are pro-BDSM, pro-porn or pro-prostitution.

* I should not defend women to other women.

I list this not in order to complain but in order to examine them from a logical standpoint. And I will do so once I establish my role as an ally. From the radfem perspective, the role of allies is twofold:

1. I should shut up and listen to what radfem have to say, to understand the issues involved.

2. When I do understand, it’s my job to tell it to other men.

The latter is something I try to do on this blog. As for the former, I talk to radfem, I read a number of blogs by radfem, I read radfem books and I keep working on my understanding.

But beyond that, I want to talk about the logical consequences of 1. I need to listen to radfem voices. But in order to do that, I first need to be able to distinguish between radical feminists and everyone else. Not making the distinction means that I would listen to radfems, liberal feminists, trans genderists, traditional genderists, FeMRAs, etc. Obviously I wouldn’t learn anything if I did that, except to hate women, because woman-hatred is the default way of thinking in a Patriarchy.

You’d think, well, I’d have to be an idiot to think that I should listen to Sarah Palin or Phyllis Schafly as sources of knowledge about feminism. But this is literally what people have been telling me to do as an ally. But I obviously could no longer be an ally if I give any credence to such women, so this is a direct contradiction.

I need to have a basic understanding of what radical feminism is in order to know who to listen to. This is not a new or unusual principle: everyone follows it in any other field, and there’s no reason why feminism should be an exception. Before we learn biology, for example, we need to know who’s a credible source on biology (e.g. official class textbooks). Some Australian moron blabbing about dinosaurs on the Ark and seven days creation is not a credible source on biology. But if I followed people’s advice, I would have to consider Creationism just as credible as evolution. This principle can only lead to complete confusion and ignorance.

Likewise, if I intend to criticize capitalism, for example, I can’t go solely on the words of its advocates. I know they have a vested interest in lying about the nature of the capitalist system. If I tried to criticize capitalism by first uncritically accepting every statement made about it, including those of capitalists, I would end up so confused that I wouldn’t understand anything.

From what I understand, radical feminism is the identification of the Patriarchy, which is based on gender (and gender hierarchy and gender roles), as the primary source of oppression of women as a class.

Whether this is an accurate definition, I will let radfems be the judge of that, but my point here is that I personally have a number of criteria to evaluate women by:

* Feminists are not genderists (or pro-gender hierarchy or pro-gender roles).

* Feminists are not pro-Patriarchy.

* Feminists are not pro-oppression of women.

So if I see anyone (man or woman) who promotes genderism, the Patriarchy or the oppression of women, then I simply don’t listen to such people. And if they come on this blog to argue with me, I will point out to them that they’re not feminists.

So let me review the accusations again:

* It is tyrannical for me to say to other women that they are not feminists.

This accusation is misplaced. I do not tell anti-feminist women what I think about them unless they come on this blog and try to convince me that I should support the exploitation of women, which is very rare. By and large, anti-feminists do not bother with this blog.

What I must do, however, is identify who is a feminist and who is not. Again, if I fail to do this, I will be utterly unable to grasp anything about feminism. We all do this about every belief system, every ideology, every religion, every line of work, every hobby we have. If I am tyrannical then every single human being on this planet is either extremely confused or a tyrant.

This is perhaps stating the obvious, but I think it’s more tyrannical to hate women than to point out that someone hates women. If you disagree, then your priorities are not in the right place.

* I should not insult MRAs’ sexuality, because that just reproduces masculinity.

I don’t want to reproduce masculinity any more than any other ally, but I don’t think calling MRAs hysterical virgins (for example) is too out of place. It’s not as if I’m using it as an argument. I think people object to it because they think it means I endorse sex for the sake of sex. I certainly don’t, but they do. It’s insulting to them, not to me. Frankly, I don’t think calling MRAs virgins is any more objectionable than calling someone an idiot.

* I should not talk back to women, even if they are pro-BDSM, pro-porn or pro-prostitution.

* I should not defend women to other women.

If you come on my blog and push this absolute nonsense, then you should expect me to talk back. If you don’t want me to talk back to you, don’t post here. It’s as simple as that. I have no quarrel with anyone, but if you come here and expect me to be bowled over by your defense of BDSM or pornography, you will be sorely disappointed.

My sole concern is to try to figure out the truth and defend whatever truths I do find. I am not concerned by anyone’s fees if they are unconcerned with, or oppose, women’s rights and well-being.

I know some will say that this is a very masculine thing to say, that I can afford to be uncaring about people’s fees because I do not have to adapt to men’s threats. I think this is a valid point; as a man writing on feminist topics, I have the huge advantage of going under most bigots’ radar. But why should I waste this advantage by refusing to speak up?

37 thoughts on “Labeling others is a necessity.

  1. Miep August 19, 2014 at 22:00 Reply

    I don’t know where all this is coming from, but telling you not to respond to people who comment on your blog certainly seems unreasonable. There is a certain amount of nervousness about men writing about feminism, because of some unfortunate episodes with posers, but you seem to pretty much get it.

    • Francois Tremblay August 19, 2014 at 22:04 Reply

      “I don’t know where all this is coming from”
      One is from reddit, another is from the comments on this blog, another is from an ally blog, and another is from a libfem blog. I destroyed the latter here:
      https://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/stop-complaining-about-the-exploitation-of-women-sit-down-and-shut-up/

      “but telling you not to respond to people who comment on your blog certainly seems unreasonable. ”
      I certainly think so! This is my house!
      I could just censor people, but then people whine that I’m a censoring tyrant, so… *rolls eyes*

      “There is a certain amount of nervousness about men writing about feminism, because of some unfortunate episodes with posers, but you seem to pretty much get it.”
      I do admit to some trepidation. I always ask my wife before I write anything I think might be controversial (she’s a radfem). But I think I’ve been getting a lot better grasp of the topics, esp. the relatively simple stuff I write about here (anti-genderism, anti-pornography).

  2. Heretic August 19, 2014 at 23:45 Reply

    This is in the same vein as what I had seen on tumblr by radfems, that other radfems shouldn’t be quoting males who support radical feminism (even if they don’t call themselves allies), or alternately, how men need to stop talking about feminist issues – that they’re just doing it for cookies and not to talk to other men, even though their audience does include men. To me it’s just a variant of women telling other women they are misogynist for criticizing their choices. They know they’re not legit because they don’t actually cite any real wrongdoings and continue vagueblogging with no names, ’cause then they’d have to face a discussion, and possibly be proven wrong.

    “Frankly, I don’t think calling MRAs virgins is any more objectionable than calling someone an idiot.”
    No reason why you shouldn’t call them names. I’m gonna call them “bitch” and the like because I know they hate being compared to women. They’re not going to listen, but you can at least make them remember you.

    • Miep August 20, 2014 at 00:02 Reply

      The problem is less about men correctly discussing patriarchy than it is with women tending to pay more attention to them, than to women who do or have written similarly.

      Calling men “bitch” just reinforces the idea that the worst thing you can possibly call someone is something female, so I don’t see how that’s helpful. “Virgin” is at least gender neutral.

      • Francois Tremblay August 20, 2014 at 00:06 Reply

        I totally agree that men shouldn’t be given nearly as much attention in the feminist movement as they are given now. Hell, even the radfem conventions have men in them!

      • Heretic August 20, 2014 at 00:27 Reply

        Like I said, they’d need to prove that instead of being passive-aggressive about it. Maybe if they weren’t passive-aggressive more women would listen to them. They do it to women too. And I’m not going to be a fan of a woman who instead of confronting me about something I wrote, resorts to vagueblogging. Same for women who don’t acknowledge their privileged status over other women; nextyearsgirl (who is pro-Israel) went so far as to call a socialist feminist who was formerly a sex worker an “aging hippy nightmare.” That’s fucked up.

        “Virgin” implies the worst thing you can be is a virgin, so what gives? What if the men aren’t virgins?

        • Francois Tremblay August 20, 2014 at 00:33 Reply

          Do you really think any MRA has the social skills necessary to hoodwink any woman into foregoing their horrid personalities and hatred of women to have sex with them?

          • Heretic August 20, 2014 at 00:35 Reply

            No, but that’s why they use prostituted women.

        • Francois Tremblay August 20, 2014 at 00:37 Reply

          Dammit, I didn’t think of that. But first they’d have to find a prostitute that doesn’t make them feel inadequate.

      • Heretic August 20, 2014 at 00:37 Reply

        What slurs are “good enough” to use against MRAs and misogynist men? “Asshole” just doesn’t have the same oomph factor as “bitch” or “pussy,” and I’m pretty sure some of them can’t even spell “misogynist.”

      • Heretic August 20, 2014 at 01:06 Reply

        “The problem is less about men correctly discussing patriarchy than it is with women tending to pay more attention to them, than to women who do or have written similarly.”

        That’s true, but it’s no reason for nextyearsgirl and her ilk to accuse a male member of DGR (for example) of hiding the fact that he’s male, speaking just to get cookies and to get laid, plagiarizing feminists’ words, etc. etc. while nextyearsgirl was before that talking about how her fiance was so sympathetic to feminism! If platforming of men was their real issue, they wouldn’t be changing their argument every time I confronted them (I even talked to the guy about it and the men in DGR act as security for women’s events and he quotes every feminist he cites from) so I can only assume their problem is having men reading about and talking about feminism at all. They’re implying that there’s somehow a “male takeover” of feminism going on where men are infiltrating and replacing all the female writers and speakers and that there are radfems aiding and abetting them. Yeah, I’m such a traitor *rolls eyes*

        This talk has been going on for weeks on social networks, so it was only a matter of time before it reached Francois.

        • Francois Tremblay August 20, 2014 at 01:11 Reply

          Insofar as I’m concerned, only one of the accusations I’ve got were made by a radfem. And I admit I may have pressed my point too hard in that particular occasion.

        • Miep August 20, 2014 at 01:20 Reply

          I am acquainted with a number of male DGR members and consider some of them friends. And I have a pretty high bar for that. But some women just don’t want to have anything to do with any men, which is their choice and I respect that. And some women have had issues specifically with DGR men, though I don’t know the details. They do seem to screen men pretty thoroughy, but no one with privilege is immune from screwing up, no matter how well intentioned.

          I know nothing of any DGR man pretending to be a woman in order to manipulate women, such a fellow would get kicked out in short order, far as I know.

    • Francois Tremblay August 20, 2014 at 00:48 Reply

      BTW, I am not looking for any cookies, but they are nice to get. Given my current mildly diabetic status, oatmeal is preferred. :)

    • Francois Tremblay August 21, 2014 at 00:10 Reply

      “This is in the same vein as what I had seen on tumblr by radfems, that other radfems shouldn’t be quoting males who support radical feminism (even if they don’t call themselves allies), or alternately, how men need to stop talking about feminist issues ”

      Is that why r/GenderCritical is currently engaged in what I can only describe as burning me alive after some idiot posted this entry.

      • Heretic August 21, 2014 at 01:04 Reply

        I don’t use reddit, but I can tell you that the same radfems also mentioned you since I was quoting you as well :-P Did they have the right to tell me how to run my blog? No, but that didn’t stop them from trying. Honestly I thought this would die down after several weeks; boy was I wrong!

        • Francois Tremblay August 21, 2014 at 01:13 Reply

          Are you kidding me? People have been harassing you for quoting me? What the fuck. Are they doing this about Gender Agnostic and Queer Theory too, or is it just about me??

          • Heretic August 21, 2014 at 01:23 Reply

            No, because those two are men. It wasn’t just to me, though, but also to every other radfem who reblogged the quotes from me. How do I know this? Because I used to follow them and I’d see discussions from posts they made on their blogs about it.

        • Francois Tremblay August 21, 2014 at 01:32 Reply

          No, I mean are they complaining about quotes taken from those two guys too?

          • Heretic August 21, 2014 at 01:36 Reply

            Nope. Although I don’t quote from Gender Agnostic I and many other radfems reblog from him.

            And I can tell you that the author of Queer Theory is the same male they were initially complaining about, but I don’t think they caught onto that.

        • Francois Tremblay August 21, 2014 at 01:48 Reply

          Well, I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t dissociate myself from radical feminism because it’s just too essential to the whole puzzle. I don’t like that they are harassing people who are requoting me, but there’s seemingly nothing I can do about it.

          • Heretic August 21, 2014 at 01:55 Reply

            I wasn’t suggesting that you do. That drama began months ago, I’m just drawing connections. It’s sad that’s how those few choose to spend their time, but it’s not a reflection on radical feminism itself.

        • Francois Tremblay August 21, 2014 at 01:59 Reply

          I didn’t say you did, I just don’t like attracting all this hostility. I know this is ironic coming from someone who has pissed off so many people in the past, but I didn’t expect to get it from radfem.

  3. Independent Radical August 20, 2014 at 01:45 Reply

    “I need to listen to radfem voices. But in order to do that, I first need to be able to distinguish between radical feminists and everyone else.”

    This is so true, how can you call yourself a radical feminist ally without a concept of what a radical feminist is? And it makes perfect sense for a radical feminist ally to criticise liberal feminists, because that’s what radical feminists do.

    “… I don’t think calling MRAs hysterical virgins (for example) is too out of place. It’s not as if I’m using it as an argument. I think people object to it because they think it means I endorse sex for the sake of sex. I certainly don’t, but they do. It’s insulting to them, not to me.”

    This argument does not really work though. Using the word “virgin” as an insult implies that being a virgin is a bad thing, when it is not. Not every virgin is an MRA and a person who has not had sex is not guilty of any wrong doing or failure. I know MRAs consider “virgin” an insult, but would you insult a Nazi by calling him a “non-Jew-killer”, just because the Nazi would consider it an insult (even though you presumably would not.) I know MRAs are not going to listen to you no matter what you say, but MRAs are not the only people reading this blog.

    If you are going to use an insult that insult should refer to a trait that is actually negative, instead of implying that a neutral trait is somehow negative. I think “wimp” and “coward” are good insults to use because while they imply that a person is unmanly, they do in fact refer to a trait that is actually negative, the absence of courage (and by courage, I do not mean that which is referred to as courage by masculinity worshipers, i.e. mindless aggression and anger.)

    • Francois Tremblay August 20, 2014 at 01:50 Reply

      MRAs listen to me enough to insult me. I know you don’t see it: most of the time I just throw their comments in the spam because they are asinine (I see no point in posting flames if they’re not going to try to be at least a little interesting).

      I don’t really see your analogy. I wouldn’t call a Nazi a non-Jew-killer because neo-Nazis for the most part claim to be the victims anyway and deny that the Holocaust even happened (as they must, if they are to have any sort of moral high ground). So I don’t think that would work.

      • Independent Radical August 20, 2014 at 04:27 Reply

        I was actually thinking of the original Nazis. If were living at that time would you have poked fun at one of them because he was not Nazi-ish enough? I think that would be a pretty stupid thing to do, because you would be encouraging him to go out and prove that he really was a proper Nazi and I don’t think that would end well.

        • Francois Tremblay August 20, 2014 at 04:32 Reply

          OH.

          Well that makes more sense.

          Your point is well taken. I don’t think an MRA having sex is a catastrophe quite on par with the Holocaust. Still, I get where you’re going: we shouldn’t be encouraging them to do it. We should be cheering for them to MGTOWing the fuck out.

          So we should call them… unnecessarily gregarious?

          I’m sure Shakespeare would be of some help here.

          • Independent Radical August 20, 2014 at 05:26 Reply

            If an MRA is whining about being a virgin it is probably because no woman in her right mind wants to have sex with him, so if that MRA were to have sex it would presumably result from him raping a woman. Still not on par with the Holocaust of course, but definitely more evil than an MRA simply “having sex”. I used Nazis because they are almost universally regarded as evil and are therefore good for proving points.

            Perhaps MRAs could be called “mindless thugs”. I think “thuggishness” is a pretty male associated trait that is not regarded as positive.

  4. ellahawthorne100 August 20, 2014 at 09:59 Reply

    I feel like you shouldn’t explain things to women even if they’re libfems, because even if their views are a bit off, they’re still women and shouldn’t be taking directions about feminism from a man. I’m not sure if all radfems feel that way. I tend to be fairly friendly toward libfems anyway, because lots of my friends are liberals and I don’t want to just get rid of a whole bunch of people from my life. If you look at what David Futrelle does, he never explains anything to women, but he explains what is fucked up about misogynist men and he addresses men’s behaviour only (well, sometimes he addresses women’s behaviour if they’re clearly anti-feminist.) If you stick to that focus you should be fine. Internet feminism is difficult work, it often involves been criticized, attacked, and trolled, whether you’re male or female. Just keep listening and learning.
    I agree about the “virgin” comment—although that MRA might have been a virgin, because we all know they’re not good with women, using the word virgin as an insult implies there’s something wrong with a person who’s never had sex. “Coward” is an excellent alternative.

    • Francois Tremblay August 20, 2014 at 12:31 Reply

      I’m honestly not sure what exactly you’re referring to insofar as giving women directions. If a liberal feminist woman comes on here to comment, I wouldn’t give her directions on how to be a good feminist. I would either argue with the statements put forward or, if she was making trollish comments, just send her comments to spam. Trying to convert people to any ideology is a lost cause as far as I’m concerned.

      • ellahawthorne100 August 20, 2014 at 12:59 Reply

        Oh, I wasn’t trying to say you’d been giving directions, just saying that’s the only thing to avoid. Maybe I read the post too fast.

        • Francois Tremblay August 20, 2014 at 13:00 Reply

          Oh okay. Yea, I don’t really see the point of doing that either way. If a woman really believes she’s a feminist even though she supports the exploitation of women, I don’t see how I could convince her otherwise. It’s a seductive ideology.

  5. redhester August 20, 2014 at 10:28 Reply

    i agree with sister ellahawthorne100. and will add that i find your tone and intent here highly suspicious. why are you speaking to us about this? why aren’t you doing the only thing you are authorized to do as an ally: SPEAK TO MEN. you are not authorized to police women, on any grounds. you are outside of your rights to speak to women as a representative of feminism because you are a man. i care too much about the revolution and your integrity to allow you to think that this kind of post is ok. it is not. please do the only thing we have asked you, as a man, to do, and SPEAK TO MEN. it’s not difficult. you sound like you mean well, which is the only reason i am engaging with you at all. may you be as brave as your sisters.

    • Francois Tremblay August 20, 2014 at 12:23 Reply

      But I am not trying to police women. Who have I tried to police?

      If you mean this entry, the point of this entry was for me to express the necessity of labeling to my readers, esp. people who might want to make similar accusations. It is not addressed to radfem because they already know this stuff.

  6. speedfreakerr August 20, 2014 at 11:10 Reply

    The first part of this comment is to redhester, as I don’t understand what is meant by: “you are outside of your rights to speak to women as a representative of feminism because you are a man” That doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like saying that a person who has a nut-allergy has no right to speak about the pitfalls of peanut butter. Have I misunderstood?
    I don’t mean to seem aggressive or anything, but I feel that I want to challenge your notion that “it’s not difficult”. Feminisms are difficult. For me, there is nothing brave or clever about feminism because it just *is*. It’s an effect. This is just my experience, for me: A feminist position is produced as an effect of the challenge to a masculinist way of thinking.

    As a general note:
    I’ve been reading this blog since 2009 and have found it extremely helpful in trying to understand the society I choose to live in. There have been times, admittedly, where I get quite upset by this blog and so I rarely offer comment, because I try to reflect and understand why I am so upset about it.
    I hope I am able to continue with reading this blog because it has helped me through some difficult times in my life and to be a little more patient with my (mis)understandings.

  7. Loni August 25, 2014 at 02:38 Reply

    “… even if they are pro-BDSM, pro-porn or pro-prostitution.” Look, everyone… a man telling us about how we should have sex and what for — shocker?

    • Francois Tremblay August 25, 2014 at 02:45 Reply

      No, the real “shocker” is women defending the verbal abuse and physical rape of other women. Die in a fire.

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