Fairness and Fedoras

Alright straight white males, I’ve been giving you a hard time my peers, I’ve stood on the side of demographics I am not a part of and given you a written assault worthy of note but I do so because I care, for the minorities you oppress and for what the majority could be if it tried hard enough. You dominate the world fellow white men, you’re clearly capable and intelligent as a collective so grasping concepts like gender and racial equality shouldn’t be a push should it? Fear not though, whilst you might perceive me as betraying my heritage for ideals this time the two are combined, I’m standing with the straight white guys for a reason and it’s not quite what you expect.

Ok, so at this point my entire audience is nice and confused hmm? Good. Picture for me if you please, your typical MRA (Mens Rights Activist) and perhaps you’ll see where I’m going with this. Now, did you picture a fat white guy with a neckbeard, fedora and smells of Doritos, complains he never gets any whilst being repulsive and generally has skills limited to spewing sexist abuse and kicking ass at CoD? That shit right there is a problem. What you have pictured is a stereotype, a harmful one at that and whilst it might be fun to poke fun at it as a way of mocking the butthurt outrage of the entitled amongst us, it makes us seem spiteful and only adds to their anger. I might not have the right to say this as a white guy myself (and a lover of fedoras I might add, rather hesitantly) but the mockery of an anti-feminist as a fat nerd in a hat harms feminism more than it does meninism. Allow me to further explain, if you’re not too angry to listen by now, so I don’t give the wrong impression to both sides of this argument.

I understand that perhaps many MRAs do fall into this stereotypical image of a white guy with hygiene issues and a love of trolling but the problem of branding people as this is once you force a stereotype on someone, it becomes hard for them to escape from it, at least, as far as external validation is concerned. If you want to laugh at an MRA, laugh at their ridiculous views on why they think they’re entitled to sexual relations with their female friends or why they insist they’re a perfectly nice guy despite spending their hobby time scrounging around for nude pictures but if you dare laugh at them because they might be obese or hairy or lonely then what does that say about you? Personal appearances are not grounds to make a mockery of someone and in an argument as important as the fair treatment of all genders, it should not come down to “Yeah well you’re a fat geek living in a basement!” – it’s not constructive and it offends them just as much as feminists are offended by the image of a radical emotionally unstable mad woman burning underwear and demanding global castration. No stereotype is constructive, no stereotype is a force for good and no stereotype belongs in intelligent discussion.

Furthermore, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, you are having a heated debate with your stereotyped MRA sort – full on chubby greasy loner who can’t see why his best female friend hasn’t already agreed to sleep with him by now – what do you gain by calling him less of a human being for that? You do not convince him to change, you hurt him, you attack his feelings and his identity and he’s no more likely to be any different than a feminist would if a guy called them a bra-burning bitch, they won’t go “Oh, is that how people see me? Jeez okay… Sorry… I guess men are the superior sex, I apologise”. If your opponent is as you think, do you not think they would receive enough torment for that without you adding to it? I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t side myself with whoever made a fool of me for my character flaws – I’ll grant you I would perhaps need those flaws pointing out to me but constructively so I can work on them, not made into memetic jokes to circulate across the internet. We need to engage in arguments working towards winning the hearts and minds of those we argue with, not tearing them down, whilst anger has its place in an argument to fervently challenge misguided mindsets and abusive attitudes or behaviours, making an argument a personal attack on a basis of appearance or hobbies or hygiene, you go too far.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t criticise our opponents but it is a matter of what we criticise – our disapproval of them is at their outdated notions and degradation of others, it is not at unfair assumptions that they are repulsively smelly or coated in cheese dust. I understand the use of humour to disarm an opponent and as opponents go MRAs do a lot worthy of laughing at but I don’t agree to laughing at their dress sense and personal appearance. We object to the use of stereotypes when it affects us, it is no more excusable to use them against others.

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