Before Friendship

It probably comes as a surprise to none of you reading this that my opinions earn me just as much ire as they do respect. For every feminist that stands at my side or ME sufferer that applauds the awareness I raise, there is another person willing to call me an over-sensitive wuss or accusing me of ignoring the struggles of men. Don’t be mistaken, this blog doesn’t get the traffic necessary for anonymous hate mail and when I do receive that, I can shrug it off as easy as anything. No, far more often, the people waiting to the sidelines to jump in with snide comments and putdowns are friends and family. My usual response is try to talk to them one to one to explain my point of view but if they’re gonna be pig-headed or, heaven forbid, insulting, that’s that and their name is quickly scratched from any Christmas card list I have going. I’ll never back down on my morals, I just can’t, morals define who we are, our codes are unique and we must not let others force us to against them or we lose ourselves. I won’t deny it can be disheartening but I won’t ever compromise on that aspect of myself. That said, here are some common arguments I want to lay to rest:

1. “That’s just your opinion”

I will not cut you out of my life for having a different opinion to me. I will not cut you out of my life for following a different religion or voting differently to me (Unless you support a party such as UKIP or Britain First). I understand my friends will have different opinions to me, I have friends who think minions are adorable, that Transformers are dull and that Dynasty Warriors is a braindead button-mashing experience but I don’t unfriend people over that. Opposing feminism isn’t having a different opinion to me, it’s an entire viewpoint away from mine, a whole different set of rules and values that just aren’t compatible with my own. Using feminism as an example, if you’re anti-feminist, then there a whole host of views that you may or may not fall in line with – victim blaming, slut shaming, the ‘place’ of women in society, friend-zoning, supporting such views is anti-feminism and opposing them? Pro. You might not wear the label but if you believe a woman shouldn’t deserve to be abused because of what she wears, that’s a feminist belief. Opinions are singular, you can look past those, what I am talking about is so much more than “That’s just what I think”, it’s “That’s what I deem to be morally correct”

2. “You’re refusing to hear what you don’t want to”

I think it’s fair to say that in this day and age of technology and viral videos and such, burying your head in the sand and ignoring the world around you is harder and harder to do unless you exclusively use the internet to do your Tesco food shop and watch porn and even then there’s probably going to be some crossover. We have the right to speak, the right to listen and the right to ignore, it’s a big deal with free speech. In all fairness, I’m not so much rejecting the viewpoint, I have to accept that such views exist and I am constantly aware of it, that’s why I do what I do, what I’m rejecting is the association of friendship between people like that and myself. I am AWARE of Donald Trump, that doesn’t mean if we met I’d have to have him added on Facebook to know that he is a racist orange gibbon.

3. “Refusing to talk to people with different views is cowardly and proof you can’t beat them in a debate”

This, I hear a lot, a sort of “If you don’t fight your case, you’ve lost” deal, like I’m on trial every time I put a link to a Laci Green vid in a status. I’ll start by saying that flat out refusing to talk to someone just because they’re right-wing or such isn’t how I start, that’s certainly a buffer I have up against new friends or partners, if a date makes a joke about Poland being full of cut-rate builders ruining the British economy by taking our jobs, I know I won’t need to bother asking her out on a second date. I do try and talk people around and I find, more often than not actually, it is not me that first resorts to personal attacks. Granted, in the past, I’ve had a tendency towards dismissing my opponents as imbeciles but more recently, it is often my critics that come forth with harsh barbs. A wide belief is the first to resort to such, is out of actual intelligent points to argue. I will try and talk someone around but if they’re being unpleasant or mocking me or such, I have no obligation to listen to the rest of what they might say

4. “What about Echo Chambers?”

Echo Chambers, for those who are unaware, are the idea of having a social media account that is loaded with nothing but people who agree with everything you say or do and as such, you become both big-headed and narrow-minded. I mean, if a hundred or so people are telling you on a near daily basis that you are very clever, attractive and morally righteous, surely it stands to reason you might one day believe all that to be fact? Well, aside from my hilariously out-of-hand anxiety having the power to keep any sort of ego of mine in check, not all my friends agree with me on everything I do and we are all capable of critical thinking. Dangerous as it is, I will always peruse the comment sections of news articles and videos, to see different views being expressed beneath. Largely, I’ll admit, it is people making vulgar remarks and such but there are a broad spectrum of opinions represented in these places, some fact-checked, some not, and I will take my time to mine the internet for comments actually worth reading. However, beyond that, on something like Facebook, can you blame people for wanting to be surrounded by people that like them a whole bunch and tell them nice things when we as a society are so readily prepared to pull one another apart? If you want an Echo Chamber, go ahead, you can always self-administer some doses of reality by watching the news or going outside, you don’t need a quota of dickheads on your Friends list to water down your self-confidence.

5. “You won’t win anyone around to your way of thinking by unfriending them”

Err… I’m sorry, when did that become my obligation? When did it become my job to try and win the hearts and minds of every person I meet? No, you see, the BLOG is where it’s my job to defend my viewpoints because that’s all this is, this is literally a website full of me saying shit I think and believe. My Facebook is just my day-to-day thought journal and means of contacting friends and sharing dumb photos I like because penguins are in it or it contains a pun or something. In my daily life, I have every right to just tell someone to piss off because Jacob Wolfe needs his space, Old Man Wolfe, on this site, is the guy doing the debating and lengthy arguments and such and if I need to illustrate my point, I can just tell Facebook friend “Go read this thing I wrote THEN talk to me”. I’ll defend my beliefs at any point in life, sure, but a highlight of the digital age is that if someone is an annoying wanker, you can click a button and they no longer exist in your radar, why would that not be a feature I would make use of?

Well, that’s that then, feel free to use these points in your own rebuttals when you have to explain to your parents why you blocked Aunt Carol on Facebook because she won’t stop sharing anti-vaccination posts on her profile. Your media, your choices, you don’t have any obligation to argue with people if you don’t want to and your beliefs are more than just opinions, they make you who you are and if people can’t accept them, they can’t accept you and that’s not on. Tolerance is all well and good but it’s a two-way street so don’t just put up with nonsense for the sake of being a good person, you have to let yourself break away from toxic influences. Just keep up to date on the world affairs and you won’t lose sight of reality behind rose-tinted glass (And hey, fuck reality once in awhile, take an evening a week or something or an hour of the day to just forget David Cameron is in power and go play a game or watch a film). Remember that you are no less for wanting to spend more time in the company of people like you and that it is a clever move to remove people from your life who will only cause you harm or upset. Okay? That’s all.

Really need a sign off phrase…

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Feminism and Egalitarianism

You know, despite the best efforts and good intentions of pretty much every feminist out there, we still encounter those disheartening individuals who say they support gender equality and women’s rights… but not feminism. I have made posts before about calling it Humanism, a mistake because Humanism is a philosophical belief system about the destiny of the human race as being “to be good people”. However, perhaps you or someone you know says it’s not feminism they support but egalitarianism? An egalitarian society is one in which race, income, gender and background do not affect what rights you have, everyone gets the same chances and that’s that. Awesome right? Ehh…

Egalitarianism was the philosophy that served as the starting point for fair and equal societies, the argument stood as thus – everyone is fundamentally the same, we are all human, we all therefore deserve the same as one another. In the early days of society, those who spoke of egalitarianism got the ball rolling for the formation of fairer societies in which equal rights were not available. Slavery, colonialism, sexism, many creeds of people were denied the most basic of resources on flawed grounds and egalitarianism is the idea that this can be rectified by giving everyone the exact same entitlements. A great concept, if everyone was given £100, everyone is £100 better off right, especially those who are without any money right? Well the problem with this idea is egalitarianism fails to take into account some factors that might drastically alter how far that £100 goes – maybe you already have £100,000, what’s £100 more? Maybe £100 isn’t enough to pay off £500 of debt? Maybe what you need more than money is a home and food? Maybe your problem, say, a disability, can’t be fixed by throwing some money at it? Egalitarianism doesn’t address this, everyone gets the same resources, everyone has to make do.

Feminism, as a concept, only really existed as a combination of ideas and legal battles and protests, taking its name as a means to represent the under-represented class of citizens at its time, women. Women wanted the same rights as men, rights to an education and to ownership of property, to be allowed to divorce unfaithful men and to be allowed to earn their own keep. However, what is often overlooked is what feminism stood for and still stands for – gender is not a fair basis for discrimination of any kind. Feminism grew to encompass the idea that no discrimination is acceptable and a feminist will not stand for discrimination on the basis of sexuality or socio-economic status just as much as they won’t stand for discrimination based on gender, because every human issue affects every human being, regardless of gender. To the outside world, you are defined by your gender, your race, your religion, your sexuality, and feminism says that whatever the world sees, you are never fair game for being discriminated against. Feminism was the word chosen for the movement that defends the rights of those that were unspoken for, it was the name given to the gauntlet cast against the uncaring majority. If a feminist claim isn’t one that seeks to achieve equality in terms of rights and protections for all, it’s not a feminist claim and feminism is still a valid name, though that’s a blog post in itself.

Egalitarianism opened the door to this discussion for the masses when people proposed the concept of an equal society but feminism is the only mainstream movement actively making strides to achieve just that, in fact one must consider that what we often seek is equity, not equality. Equity Theory, as it is known, is the recognition that our varying backgrounds not only make us who we are but that they must be reflected in what must be done to render us all equals. Confused? Say you have a room full of people to feed and you offer everyone in that room peanut butter sandwiches. Here is the difference between equality and equity:

EQUALITY: “You are all entitled to a plate of peanut butter sandwiches”

EQUITY: “You are all entitled to a plate of peanut butter sandwiches but if you are wheat-intolerant, allergic to peanuts or just don’t like sandwiches, we’ll fill your plate with something more appropriate”

Like the £100 analogy from earlier, just offering everyone £100 is equal means but not a fair playing field, some people only have that  £100 and some have that £100 added onto the £100,000 they have in the bank. A fair society is one that levels the playing field so there is nothing outside of the individual’s control that is affecting their chances at a happy life. Equity, therefore, is the offering that if you need more, you can take more and if you can give more, you should give more so that we all share in the wealth and thus, share in the happiness of a secure life. Where does Feminism fit into this? Feminism, at this buffet, is the person at the buffet table telling people not to push and shove because we should all get what we want, everyone deserves to eat and that even if you are entitled to your sandwich, which you are, you shouldn’t force your way through the crowds because when it comes down to that, it’s the weak that get left the crumbs at the end.

The notion of equality can be exploited but equity is harder to fool if implemented correctly. Feminism seeks equity and for a truly fair society, so should we. To fight for social justice and a fair standard of living for all, where all needs are met and everyone feels safe, valued and able to contribute, is to be a feminist and that names does not need to change. By our very human nature, we are social animals who want to better the world we live in, even those of us who commit crimes think we are doing the right thing in some capacity, so a society of equity would ensure everyone’s basic needs were met whilst everyone’s talents were put to use. That is what feminism fights for, that is what a fair society is and that is why we are not egalitarians, we are feminists! 

The Break Up About Makeup

So I don’t often read The Mirror, it’s too closely related to The Sun and it’s mostly just scary fear-mongering bullshit you could pick apart for hate speech as easily as one could pick apart flaky pastry but I saw an article about a school in Manchester that are getting tougher on their makeup ban by having teachers come prepared with wet wipes to rub the makeup right off the faces of their students. Now, as British people, we like to fall into two polarised camps about the most inane shit (A 5p plastic bag charge is reasonable and environmentally conscious/ TAKE THAT SMUG CASHIER OUTSIDE AND KICK HIS TEETH IN FOR CHARGING ME FIVE PENCE) so obviously, this has the same level of division – some say it’s entirely understandable and students shouldn’t wear makeup of any sort and some say it’s unfair to enforce a series of rules designed only to affect female students that discriminates against them on an appearance basis. Where do I fall? Guess.

Now, I’m going to regale you with some more personal experience stories, because that is clearly very interesting. In my school days, I was not a feminist, I believed a woman had all the same rights as a man so by that definition I was but I could be prone to some deep-rooted casual sexism that a young man picks up in a male-dominated culture. One such sexist belief reflected itself when our school tightened the rules on makeup to include absolutely no foundation or mascara of any sort, plain face, aside from brushed hair and clean teeth, that’s your face done. The female body of students, or at least a good chunk of them, organised a sit-in protest on the playground and my initial reaction, at that time, was to laugh thinking “How pathetic, they’re really going to waste everyone’s time just so they can keep their precious face paint? Morons”. I thought it insignificant, not worth debate and when the protest fall apart after one particularly strong-worded ultimatum from a teacher, I laughed my teenage ass off. This big protest, I thought, fell flat at the first hurdle, well that says something for the people stupid enough to get involved in it that they wouldn’t defend it more stubbornly, seems even they know they’re time-wasters. Looking back on that, that’s not fair of me to say that about them and though the protest ultimately didn’t even last a day, the cause was valid, they were students not wanting to get into trouble at school is all. Well, allow me now to make amends.

Now, it may come as a surprise to some of you but when a woman wears make up or revealing attire, it isn’t always for the attention of others, especially when she is young. As a teenage girl hitting the ever so lovely stage of puberty, that girl’s face and body undergo a lot of changes, some that will empower her and some that will make her feel awful. Oh hey, that goofy roundish chubby child face has slimmed out? I look good… except it is covered in enough spots to look like a dot-to-dot of the Mona Lisa. Good thing I have this AMAZING PRODUCT THAT SUBTLY HIDES ALL OF THOSE IMPERFECTIONS… only that’s not allowed. You might say well hey, boys don’t get concealer, they have to endure a puberty of strained voices and greasy faces, why shouldn’t girls? Well, there’s not as much pressure on boys for their appearance as there is for girls, teenage boys aren’t supposed to be hot yet by societal standards, we accept that there are cute boys and hunky men but teenage boys are hideous and everyone is cool with that, aside from the odd joke. Teenage girls? Well that’s when a girl stops being a girl to society and becomes sexualised, it’s when people start mentally undressing her and wondering what kind of woman she’ll be. With men, it is not as obvious at what stage they are in their development, we don’t exactly all stand around like “Jim’s grown a few inches down there… he’s looking good” but we do notice that suddenly Ginger Katie got boobs and now everyone’s trying to convince her they never once called her Ginger Minge. The pressure mounts and with puberty varying from person to person, women can much more readily be left feeling weird and excluded than teen boys. All teen boys, bar the exceptionally lucky and unlucky, are spotty-faced sweat machines with weird voices but teen girls? Casey got hot, Sophie got super spotty, Tara currently has the biggest bust in all Year Ten, they are compared and criticised by their peers and, in a way, by their teachers. No, I don’t mean in a pervy way, let me clarify.

A female student who wears make-up is seen as masking something, as beguiling people with regards to her looks and depending on the varying degrees, some assume she is either just wearing a little to look good or a lot because she’s a full-on sexual deviant. The same is true of girls who wear short skirts at school, is she just a girl in a skirt or is she trying to catch the eyes of the boys? The students ponder this but so do teachers, who will then criticise overly… glamourous(?) students for “distracting the students”. This, this I hate, and no not because I enjoy oggling teenagers, don’t be so crude. If you send a female student away from a lesson to rub makeup off and wash her face, you send her out of class for ten minutes and that’s ten minutes of lesson time she’s missed and a lesson learnt in that your self-confidence in your appearance is less important than this class. I do so hate the school system for breaking down individuality into “Learn subject material and learn to regurgitate it on cue, the more you can memorise, the more you’re worth” and I understand arguments in defense of uniform appearance but this gets worse. The makeup, bad but worse than this, the classic “Go home and change, you are distracting the boys”

What?

1. I would rather discriminate against one girl than try to teach the future generation of men that they should not stare up skirts

2. Rather than punish the boys for perving on their fellow student and allowing themselves to be distracted from their education, it makes more sense to take you out of school for an hour because your education means less to me than theirs

3. I am telling you to change your appearance FOR THEIR SAKE. I am teaching you that your body is not your own, it is subject to the thoughts and perversions of men. If your appearance distracts a man, you are at fault.

With the pressure on girls to look good, they try just that, be it to feel good or to fit in, but we pin blame on them for trying too hard or not trying enough. Concealer and foundation, which do not distract a man, are not attempts to be fashionable but to cover over spots and flaws they know they will be bullied for having. I was a lucky youth, I wasn’t particularly spotty and where I was spotty, fell under my fringe so no fucker could tell most of the time, but if I had a face covered in enough spots to make a dalmation vomit, I’d want something to remedy the solution too. Don’t tell me Clearasil and Oxy and whatever are the answer, you try that shit, it takes six weeks to kick in and all it does is make the bastards a shade less red. Awesome, guess I’ll invest in a good paper bag. Women are forced into a lifelong beauty pageant, whilst school for boys is a battleground, school for girls is a Miss Universe contest so no shit they want to cover up that zit that looks like it needs its own postcode. Boys, we just comb our hair, wash our junk and spray deodorant, that is it, that is as hot as we can hope for but nobody gives a shit. Girls, unless teen you look like how films portray teen girls (As basically “You’ll hope I’m 18 or you’ll feel so weird watching me strut around in shorts”), you can bet cruelty will circle around you.

Oh, and one more thing, can we talk about how female teachers, in makeup, say makeup is unacceptable in a school? Teachers have their own dress code sure, but if we’re saying that makeup is a distraction, why is it only a distraction on teen girls? Doesn’t distract boys when teachers wear it, ever thought maybe teen boys don’t care? If they do, why are teen boys never challenged? This is my biggest thing, why was I never challenged? I recall one incident in which a student at my school, whom was quite attractive, had water spilt down her shirt and it revealed the bra she had on underneath. The teacher ushered her out and told her to go get a clean shirt and stop causing a scene and that she shouldn’t be wearing a bra that’d show so clearly under a white shirt. Yeah, her UNDERWEAR was not in line with school code, for being a bold colour that’d show up should she spill water down herself. She left, teacher looks to the lads who are of course discussing her bra and I happened to be sat near this group. Do we get told off or told to grow up? Nope, just “Alright class, settle down, let’s continue…”. WHAT? I didn’t care then but I care now, why aren’t they being called out on sexualising a fellow student and discussing her in an inappropriate manner but she’s a trouble-maker for wearing underwear? She didn’t start a wet t-shirt contest, she didn’t plan to perform a burlesque routine, she just happened to go “I’ll wear the black bra today”, that was that. She wasn’t distracting the boys, the boys distracted themselves with a lengthy discourse about tits, challenge THAT behaviour.

In summary, I don’t see makeup and short skirts as being a huge distraction, if anything making them banned in schools makes them a distraction when someone doesn’t adhere to that rule, as all rule-breaking behaviours are. Boys are not animals, if they care about their education they will not let blue eye shadow detract from that and if they don’t care well then hey, you are either a teacher/parent, make them care. If boys are so easily distracted by a short skirt, rein them in, don’t teach them that women are to blame for their minds straying, teach them how to focus, teach them that they’re going to encounter makeup and short skirts and attractive women for the rest of their lives, they can’t let themselves be distracted by it and they can’t think it acceptable to stare at their peers like they’re rotisserie chickens. Let teenage girls be teenage girls, let them build confidence in their appearance and in turn, let teenage boys know the difference between right and wrong.

Give A Little; Get A Little

Feminism, let’s take this blog back to territory it belongs in, wash our hands of Transformer posts and personal stories for a while and once again utilise this blog as the launch pad for topical discussion… or at least, hopefully. I want to talk to you about sex and in particular, how society sees sex as something to be given or something to be pursued, depending on how you fit into that power dynamic we’ve settled on. I’ve been inspired by “That’s What He Said”, a YouTube series I fully recommend in which just ordinary men sit and discuss feminist issues in a calm civilised manner, there’s no aggressive “Change this!” rant going on like I’m prone to, it’s more just a group of men exchanging ideas and you are given this seat at the table to overhear their discussion. What inspired me was one participant in the discussion described sex in a way I had always thought of but not consciously, not in any depth – sex is something women give and men get and as a man, I’m gonna get it. Paraphrasing but he essentially pointed out that sex is seen as the end goal, the flag on a conquered fortress that a man has to earn and a woman has to relinquish which puts strange standards in place that I would like to address here.

You probably don’t need me to point out that men are typically somewhat aggressive in the quest for sex, typical male tactics of machismo, cat-calling and even forceful coercion and women either play along, resist or utilise such tactics themselves (though they are seen as whores for doing so). Men play the quest-taker then, they have a goal and must utilise whatever they deem best to do so be it honest communication, money, blackmail, dinner dates, whatever, the end goal is sex and women play the part of the goal and the goalkeeper, by this model they can either choose to let the player win or ensure he loses somehow and this creates a weird disconnect and competition between ourselves that needn’t exist, for the sake of everyone involved.

I’ve highlighted this before but between men, frequent sex with multiple partners is seen as an aspirational thing, like war stories you’d expect to hear in a Viking meadery, whereas between women it’s seen as a lack of self-respect, a willingness to go along with the whims of any old idiot. Why? Well, this standard of men get, women give, ties into how we view ambition and charity and other such things. Someone who gets what they want all the time? Ambitious, commanding, successful. Someone who gives everything away? Foolish, naive, a pushover. As a result, the more men get, the more we think of them as conquerors and the more women give, the more we think of them as conquered, even though the women have to give for the men to get (Obviously not the case of homosexual men, I realise this blog post applies to a cishet gender binary and apologise for that, I am boiling down this issue to the most basic principles. If you have anything to say with regards to sexualities and genders outside of cisgender/heterosexual, leave your comments below, I’d love to read them). By doing this, we put pressure on men and women alike, for men to get as much as they can whilst women must give as little as possible, essentially making sex much less fun for everyone and turning our biological urges into a battleground.

Men, you’re told to get, if you don’t get laid soon enough or often enough, you’re a loser right? Single men are seen as creepy or pathetic a lot of the time, your mates talk about past girlfriends as if they were boss battles in a video game and your role models are always seen as attractive and strong. I mean, there’s no male role model in the modern world that doesn’t have some strongly infatuated fangirl community and it’s not like you’re after that, even just two or three girls secretly thinking of you would be great wouldn’t it? The pressure to “be a man”, to get action, means that men develop a variety of tactics, as indeed they would if they were actually fighting. Some use charm, some use money, some are honestly just attractive and well-endowed but what about the men that aren’t any of those things? Here are where you find the cat-callers and “good guys” waiting for their female best friend to offer him a blowjob just for being a nice person – they don’t see themselves as attractive, or society doesn’t, and they lack charm or impressive talent so they resort to underhandedness and aggression, they blame their failures on women. After all, you get stuck on the same level in a game long enough, you start blaming the game for being too hard or unfair or not making the answer more obvious. The same logic applies here and men are only ever seen as playing the game, very rarely is it that men can be the game. A man is told to get, not give. Why? A man has every right to be called desirable and chased after, it’s not pathetic, it’s wanting validation and wanting someone else to put some effort into you, men deserve that. Men should have the option to give, to be engaged by a stranger or to have someone crush on them without it being weird. Sex isn’t a trophy and if it is, men can give the trophies if they want, that’d be fun for all involved.

Women, by contrast, are put under pressure to not have sex, to ‘save’ themselves for someone and even in this day and age, I hear women talking about saving their virginity for their husband or true love, as if it already belongs to a man they might not even know yet. If a woman expresses a love of sex or long track record, we judge her, we think her irresponsible and stupid, we think of her as ‘easy’, again tying into this whole competitive game. Easy? The level everyone cleared, the tutorial for getting a REAL woman. Heaven forbid she’s a liberated woman who decides who she sleeps with and how often, that’s madness, no she must just be some floozy moron that can’t stop herself. Women have to give in too, that’s how that works – a certain number of dates, a certain number of drinks or a man with enough masculine presence and she’s supposed to give herself to him. We see fictive works of men like Christian Grey, men who are bold and ruthless and unafraid to take advantage of a woman and that’s supposed to be an erotic image for women? Maybe for some but to me, alarm bells ring that this man is essentially a very handsome psychotic stalker and rapist abusing a very naive woman. Women shouldn’t give in, it’s not about giving in, it’s about seeing another person you honestly want to have sex with and both parties agreeing to it, or all parties, go crazy.

I realise our biological differences mean men are naturally inclined to seek more sex more frequently, nature tells a man to spread his seed far and wide to ensure his genes carry on whereas women are the fields to be ploughed in this model but we are more than the sum of our urges and even so, this competition doesn’t ensure anyone gets the best deal. Picture a society in which sex is just another run-of-the-mill thing, it’s casual, it’s given and received on terms we all agree on as individuals and there’s no pressure on anyone about anything. Still a virgin at 32? Nobody bats an eyelid. Fucked a different man each day of the week? Cool, you’ve made seven different men very happy and you had fun too, awesome. Men have nothing to prove so there’s less coercion and pestering and women have no false reputations to lose so if they fancy an idle fuck, woot, go ahead. I realise to some of you this sounds like a godless debauchery but our warped views on sex are much more harmful to society than this alternative vision could ever be.

I will end on this note, if anyone ever gives you grief about your sex life, well I guess just Sodom! (EYYYYYYYYYYYY GET IT? GET IT?!)

The Letter ‘T’

Disturbingly, a petition online of about 600 signatures has been circled around the internet by gay men and women calling for the T in LGBT to be erased from all media concerning them, might not sound like much but in the same year we’ve had Germaine Greer say trans women are just demented cockless men, announcements of a thriller action movie using gender reassignment as a gimmick and the movie Stonewall turned a black trans character into a white gay character. Basically then, this petition is summing up the increasingly dark treatment we as a species are giving the trans community – urging them to disappear.

Straight off the bat, let’s make it clear that even within feminism and LGBT movements there are poisonous individuals, spoiler alert, defending equal marriage rights doesn’t exempt one from being a total asshat. Germaine Greer, case in point, equated being trans as having ear extensions and fur added to your body and calling yourself a dog – because you know, one of those experiences is a harrowing journey of self-exploration and the other is a hilariously misguided use of medical resources, please don’t make me point out which is which. There is apparently no malice intended by this petition, it isn’t saying they want the trans community to be brutally killed off but apparently these individuals feel that the T in LGBT is what is holding them back from achieving fair treatment. Funny, I remember the issue being a modern society objecting to the concept of love being love because of a book written two-thousand years ago but whaddaya know, it was those darn transitioning twatmonkeys holding back the human race, go figure.

So what other criticisms do we have of the trans community here? Oh, this old gem, the “I can pretend to be a trans woman and still be a straight cis male and thus get free looks at boobs!”. I have many qualms with this transphobic trope – one being there are zero recorded incidents of that happening and whilst that doesn’t mean it has never happened, it certainly doesn’t happen as often as other invasions of privacy such as men molesting women on trains or inappropriate same-gender interaction in a changing room (I’ve been in a changing room and had other men comment on my underwear/penis, it is not just banter, it is fucking terrifying and weird and unless I invite you to look at my dick, do not discuss it). Secondly, it’s pretty fucking noticeable when someone is sexually aroused in a changing room, if this is someone’s master plan to watch women undress, please take this person and introduce them to porn, I beg of you, it will make their life so much easier. Trans people want to use the changing room or toilet they ask to use because that is what feels right to them, they aren’t there for a cheeky nose around in the same sense you aren’t. If you see someone wanting to use a different changing room and your first response is “Ohhhh so you can stare at other people getting changed?” then what does that say about you? Is that what you’d do? Heck, stick me in a women’s changing room, I’d just get changed, I’m waaaaaaaaay too self-conscious to spend my time oggling (That and y’know, I fucking respect their right to not be stared at)

The petitioners fear a promotion of trans equality alongside gay equality gives them a bad name, like they had an easy ride to begin with, the only difference between your struggles is one group got called sinners and abominations and then became popular and trendy on television in bit parts of stereotyped characters, the other got all that plus being used as a comedic trope and being confused with drag queens and psychotic perverts by even the people supposedly looking out for them. Apparently teaching children as young as four its okay to be trans will encourage them to be trans is another issue, to which I say “Why is that an issue?” and also “Kids experiment, that’s part of growing up, they will decide who they are when they’re done undressing their dolls and poking parts of the anatomy curiously”. Seriously, we need to get over this idea that this stuff is too complex for children when kids are actually pretty on the ball, why do we treat our children like impressionable morons? If your child is going to do something dumb, that is your problem, not the media’s, parent your goddamn child but love that child whatever they want to be – be that straight, gay, asexual, pansexual, genderqueer, gender re-assignment surgery – and if they ask a question, answer it, because if you don’t then it will eat away at your child and confuse them for years on end until they get the wrong idea from a film or a reddit post or whatever. All children experiment with their gender and sexual identity in some way, we have to allow for that and realise they will decide what is right in their own time and we have to show them love and support, not shame and resentment. I had ‘girly’ interests at different stages in life – Powerpuff Girls, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, some of my imaginary roles I played were female – I’m ‘fine’, I’m not a deviant, the same is true of so many others, I merely use myself because I know myself best for an example but experimentation leads to the discovery of a true inner identity, without that chance to learn we repress ourselves and THAT creates deviants.

Lastly, tieing in with Stonewall, the petitioners felt the film appropriated their culture and tried to pander to trans audiences by including trans characters arbitrarily, which is odd because y’know, I’m fairly sure trans people were there (Miss Major-Griffin Gracy ringing bells anyone? Google it). The film is a terrible whitewashing of an event at which only a third of the people there were gay/lesbian white folk, the rest were drag queens, genderqueer, trans and a veritable assortment of ethnic origins, Stonewall was the definitive bar for that community, it was not just a gay bar but a secret sanctuary for anyone who didn’t fit the straight-white guideline. The film, if anything, did too much to make it white and gay, to make a friendlier and less diverse portrayal of the events, possibly for fear of being too far out there to attract an audience or get a positive response in the media. To want less trans people and people of colour in the film and in the media portrayal of the community in general suggests a fundamental lack of understanding of what the community is – a genderfluid asexual black woman deserves as much media attention as a cisgender gay man because both of those people are being denied fair treatment in some sense or another, both are called abominations and both of them, as if this needed pointing out, are human beings.

Division within the LGBT+ community only serves to harm those within it and whilst there are some issues in which you can’t lump the L,G,B and T in the same discussion (For starters, T isn’t a sexual orientation, it’s a gender identity) the problems faced are shared and are best faced united. I’m certain that the overwhelming majority of the community won’t buckle to this transphobic way of thinking but if you have, I urge you to take up your beef with someone else because it is not the fight for trans equality you need to be worried about ruining your life and your chances of being respected by your peers – it is the crackpot zealots in government jobs saying you cause floods and plagues, it is the misconceptions that AIDS was the fault of people like you, it is the educational system that refuses to teach children why you are not a freak – those are the problems the LGBT+ movement have to face and they must face them together because a house divided is a house that falls! Trans people are human, just like you and they deserve to be fought for, why are you exempt from that fight?

Humanism, Feminism and Meninism – What Does It All Mean?

So before we begin, I usually do a piece on the 5th November, something tied into revolutions and what not but unforeseen circumstances last night directed my attention elsewhere, I’m back today and rather than a late bit piece about the Million Mask March (If you can’t see why thousands of people are angry at the government by now, you’re part of the problem) I want to discuss some terms that are flung around in the discussion of gender equality and iron out some confusion surrounding them. I previously discussed why feminism is called feminism on another post (the link to which is here – https://oldmanwolferants.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/ugly-words/) but there’s still some confusion about feminism and how it differentiates from meninism and humanism, which are vastly different and even misused terms, as is the term feminism itself.

To recap, rather than explain in full all over again, feminism is a social movement to support the equal rights and opportunities of all genders, the focus is largely on women because women are the ones denied a lot of opportunities and misrepresented in the media. A tax on tampons but not on condoms, the idea of ‘independent women’ being a comedy trope because it’s somehow hilarious if a woman decides she is happy and single, one in five women being the victim of sexual assault during college and university education – all sure signs we live in a world where, presently, it sucks to be a woman. Feminism, therefore, is the fight to change that by constructing a more gender balanced system of authority and teaching future generations correct social etiquette surrounding woman, whilst combatting misguided concepts of the past (i.e we should teach people that shouting “Nice arse!” on the street is not paying someone a compliment because if it is, why is it only vulnerable women getting these compliments? Never heard myself getting the catcall “Hey mate, you look prepared for your interview!” or “I am being strictly platonic when I point out to you that you are an attractive fellow man!”. Catcalls are not compliments, they’re lewd cries from men asserting their dominance, they are degrading shouts that tell a woman she is little more than a fascination to him). Steve Shives describes this by equating feminism to the LGBT+ movement – it’s called ‘gay rights’ not because gay people should be made more important than straight people but because gay people (and all other sexual orientations beyond hetero) are the ones being ignored, declined and marginalised, just like women are in the world of men.

The ‘fem’ in feminism is still enough to dissuade some people from supporting the cause though and for this, these people describe themselves as humanists. I would like to point out to you reader that this is a misuse of the term humanist, a ridiculous use coined by celebrities who were unaware that humanism is something entirely different. Humanism is the belief in the value and agency of human beings, as individuals and as a species, over faith in a god or deities or a special invisible power that connects all livings thing or whatever. In simpler terms, humanists believe in a world that was created through random happenstance of the universe and is now being shaped and moulded by humans, that it is our responsibility as a species to look after this planet and the life upon it not because God says so but because we live here – a religion, such as it were, based on not shitting in the bed you sleep in. Humanism goes hand in hand with science, believing scientific research and falsifiable evidence to be the key to understanding the universe and not reliance on prayer or holy scriptures. I would like to state this is my own personal belief system – I think we are all a bunch of hyper-intelligent shaved monkeys clinging to a ball of mud and water that is spinning around an infinite void and we should be nice little monkeys because that is a nice thing to do, it is much better than killing each other. I could write reams and reams on my beliefs and I perhaps would but I fear it’d seem condescending and self-appreciative as I get VERY floral with my wording when I bust out the philosophical shit. Humanism, in terms of the gender equality debate, should therefore promote total equality and would be on side with feminism if one were true to the ideals of humanism but it would not object to the title of feminism like some seem to think.

Last but by all means least is meninism. Meninism defines itself as the social movement defending the rights of men, the voice for those who take offence to being labelled as rapists or thugs and whilst there are issues about the fair treatment of men to be resolved (i.e fixing the ‘absent black dad’ stereotype as it is a harmful trope, raising awareness of male victims of rape and domestic abuse, disestablishing the enforced standards of physical strength and dominance on all boys). Meninism, however, is as much a force for positive change as Britain First or the Ku Klux Klan – rage-filled groups of disgruntled white boys angry that the people they want to bully and harass and victimise without judgment now have a voice and even their fellow man will call them a misogynist or a cretin for their viewpoints. Meninism has yet, as far as I can see, to do anything for the greater good of their own membership, let alone the human race as a whole. Meninism is just the seedy underworld of the internet, a hovel of grumpy ‘friend-zoned’ douchebags complaining they aren’t getting women falling at their feet for them or lost out on a job to a woman or someone of a different ethnicity. Steve Shives, bringing him up again because he inspired this post, said meninists are annoyed they don’t get to see their kids after the divorce, which he trivialised and I respectfully disagree with him there – in the exception of scenarios where the father is an abusive figure, he should be able to see his children – I do not believe he should have any right over them that the mother does not by any means but divorcee dads shouldn’t be generalised as a bad lot – I’d agree a father shouldn’t be allowed to see his kids if he was likely to abuse them or fill their head with toxic meninist nonsense, but on the grounds I wouldn’t allow anyone abusive or toxic near children in general. Meninism is bitterment, it is rage against social change and a club built upon a warped love of a lost world ruled by muscle cars, beer adverts and women being live-in maids.

In summary then – believe in the fair treatment of all genders and equal opportunities for all regardless of their genitalia? Feminist. Believe in the idea that this world is shaped by humanity and we should be good people just because we should be, not because of a promised afterlife? Humanist. Believe that your female friends should just sleep with you already because you’re a great guy? Meninist. If you have a religion you follow, you can’t be a humanist and thus you can’t say “I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist” because humanism is a belief system, it’s akin to saying you’re not a feminist and a Christian but you are a Christian and a Pagan. The fight for gender equality is feminism, the belief in the agency of humanity is humanism, the bitter resentment towards women for wanting equal pay and the right to an abortion if needed is meninism. Ok? Ok

Glad we made that clear

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.