Monday, 25 December 2017

Feminist men: The Latest Failure of Guilt Based Morality

Sargon of Akkad has released a half hour long indictment of that most ill placed of all creatures, the male feminist. The poor bloody male feminist, his reputation far from secure even before the fall of Harvey Weinstein and countless other outspoken progressive men in Hollywood, the media and even the United States Senate. If there's one thing outspoken feminist women and conservative men seem to agree on, it's the creepy, predatory and dishonest nature of the typical male feminist. He really can't win.  View Sargon's video here:

Is it really fair to tar the male feminist in these kinds of terms? Are they all fated to be outed as creepy, grabby perverts? Perhaps not. And the female feminist does not escape unscathed either. If ever there was a woman who I'd suspect would have no problem, none whatsoever with male leering and so on - provided it were the right man doing it of course, it would be the outspoken feminist. Gloria Steinem apparently rather liked being swept off her feet by strong men. Jessica Valenti once lamented "living in a society that made her regret not getting sexual attention from men," or something such. Even Andrea Dworkin was married to a man. 

And can you blame them? As Jimmy Dore - one of the few Young Turks I can actually stand, recently put it: women who enjoy sexual attention from men are not sluts, and men who enjoy giving women sexual attention are not predators. Provided of course, it's mutually desired. Now go back and reread that sentence. Reread it again. And again. Let Dore's words sink in. They will be needed in the post #MeToo era. 

I think the more pertinent question here is not whether feminist men have failed feminism, but rather does feminism ultimately fail as a moral doctrine?  I believe the answer to be the later. Not only does feminism present an untenable standard of sexual conduct for men and women alike, feminism also unwittingly contributes to the very problems it seeks to solve. It does this by inducing the kinds of cycles of temptation, guilt, and inevitable fall that is the downfall of every breed of puritanical morality.  Male feminism is indeed the truest embodiment of the virgin/whore complex you're likely to find in this day and age.

We'll start by looking at the great work of Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, wherein he examines the connection between untenable belief, guilt and the kind of fanatical zeal we see more and more of in feminists, including fallen male feminists:
Whence comes the impulse to proselytize? 
Intensity of conviction is not the main factor which impels a movement to spread its faith to the four corners of the earth: "religions of great intensity often confine themselves to contemning, destroying or at best pitying what is not themselves." Nor is the impulse to proselytize an expression of an overabundance of power as Bacon has it "is like a great flood that is sure to overflow." The missionary zeal seems rather an expression of some deep misgiving, some pressing feeling of insufficiency at the center. Proselytizing is more a passionate search for something not yet found than a desire to bestow upon the world something we already have. It is a search for a final and irrefutable demonstration that our absolute truth is indeed the one and only truth.
The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others. The creed whose legitimacy is most easily challenged is likely to develop the strongest proselytizing impulse. It is doubtful whether a movement which does not profess some preposterous and patently irrational dogma can be possessed of that zealous drive which "must either win men or destroy the world." It is also plausible that those movements with the greatest inner contradiction between profession and practice - that is to say with strong feelings of guilt - are likely to be the most fervent in imposing their faith on others. The more unworkable communism proves in Russia, the more its leaders are compelled to compromise and adulterated its original creed, the more brazen and arrogant will be their attack on the non-believing world.
What it's saying, and what I think Sargon is getting at, is that feminism is an untenable doctrine and trying to live up to it with forthrightness is a fool's errand. The outspoken male feminist did not try and fail to live up to a reasonable doctrine. Rather, he never ever succeeded in living up to a preposterous doctrine, and compensated for his guilt by shouting feminism from the rooftops nearly every chance he got, until his deeper failings were finally outed and his hypocrisy exposed. The male feminist is the sick symptom of a much deeper, much deeper sickness that is feminist theory itself. The failures of both are intertwined with and dependent on each other.

ALNS, one of my co-moderators on Alternative Left's Facebook page, suggested that it is a no-win scenario. Indeed, it is very much a Kobayashi Maru - a no win scenario specifically designed as such. A no win scenario in which all too many Captain Kirks have thought they could cheat their way out of over the years.

A very different kind of philosopher, Ayn Rand, in one of her rare moments of clarity, attacks the Catholic stances on original sin and family planning in a similar kind of conceptual term in her essay Of Living Death:
But you say the encyclical ideal will not work?  It was not intended to work. It is intended to induce guilt. It is not intended to be accepted and practiced. It is intended to be accepted and broken, broken by man's "selfish" desire to love, which will thus be turned into a shameful weakness. Men who accept as an ideal an irrational goal they cannot achieve never lift their heads thereafter, and never discover that their bowed heads were the only goal to ever be achieved.
Rand's paragraph there describes feminism's true intent towards the male of the species with absolute perfection. The outspoken male feminist seeks to quell an internal guilt, a guilt that feminist theory itself induces and nurtures. A guilt over being male, especially being a cisgendered heterosexual male. Over the visual and sensory nature of his sexuality in particular. Any expression of sexual agency on his part will be put up to "power", "entitlement" , "male gaze" , "objectification" , "sexualization" or any other misused, bandied about feminist buzzword, and a single slip up and the feminist sympathizing male will be outed as yet another typical male who will not part with his "privilege" at the end of the day.

You'd think we'd have learned our lesson with the failure of puritanism and the sundry sex abuse scandals that have plagued the churches over the years. Comparisons between the the fall of male feminists today and the "family values" conservative with latent homosexual tendencies are thus more appropriate than they even appeared at first glance. They fail for the same reasons. Basing your moral system around guilt and emphasis of your own flaws cannot help but fail. Men with, shall we say, unusual sexual proclivities sometimes seek redemption, the spiritual discipline needed to repress the urges or at least easy opportunities to purchase indulgence and forgiveness via joining a morally pure church.  Perhaps the Catholic Church, perhaps a fundamentalist protestant sect, or perhaps the progressive left, feminist activism especially.  Regardless, it will fail where even relative amorality has at least a chance at success.

The correct response, then, would be to reject the present incarnation of feminist theory's inherent misandry and heterophobia out of hand, no explanations, no compromise. Full stop.

Stop equating sexual attraction with sexual objectification because they're not the same damn things. Objectification is not merely a sexual response to someone else's sexual characteristics. It requires an accompanying belief that women (or men) are valued primarily or exclusively for their sexual characteristics and are viewed with disdain otherwise, typically in situations in which evaluation based on sexual characteristics would be a truly inappropriate means of evaluating someone. Objectification and attraction are conceptually conflated almost constantly, especially in the era of social justice on social media. This conflation is dangerous, and must be challenged at every turn.

The outcome of a more reasonable sexual ethic is no unearned guilt, and thus no psychological toxicity to erode at the male's sense of self, which is the reserve of psychological will that he needs to truly conduct himself with honor and integrity in his dealings with women, as with any other kind of person. Because he does not believe his sexual urges degrade or objectify women, he does not use his sexual urges to, well, degrade and objectify women. People always act out their innermost convictions. That's what's really, truly dangerous about men internalizing feminist theory. If they believe themselves to be oppressors, objectifiers and harassers ipso-facto simply for being male, that's what they'll end up becoming and how they'll behave. Sargon's video is loaded with evidence to this point.

If it is respect for women and their equality with men that you truly have and wish to promote, the best way to start is by abandoning this postmodern take on chivalry and putting women up on pedestals that now calls itself feminism. 

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