Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Should Misandry be a Hate Crime?

The UK contemplates making misandry a hate crime. According to the BBC:
Last month, it was announced that a review by the Law Commission would look at whether offences driven by misogyny - dislike, contempt or ingrained prejudice against women - should be treated as hate crimes. 
And now it's emerged the same review will also consider the opposite - crimes motivated by misandry - hostility towards men. 
Ageism and hatred of certain alternative cultures, such as Goths or punks, could also be included in future.
I've always been suspicious of hate crimes laws, prohibitions on hate speech especially. The recent issues surrounding internet censorship make clear my reasons why.  Who decides what is and isn't hate speech? I don't condone the hatred of anyone, but to criminalize it smacks of thought policing. Could people in power exploit these laws and simply shut down voices they don't like or that threaten their interests? That Facebook has recently shut down some 800 pages, ostensibly due to "terms of service" violations or something such exemplifies why I dislike this. It's authoritarianism from behind a happy face.

Especially since this comes suspiciously close to the midterm elections, and observe how many of the pages shut down are the most skeptical of US military aggression in the middle east. The parallels with the Satanic Panic censorship craze as a lead up to Gulf War 1 in the early 1990s should worry us. Get the public worked up about some moral panic or another, so as to give big government and big business broader license to censor with relative impunity.

So with that in mind, I'm quite leery of any bid to expand the definitions of "hate crime" or "hate speech" and think we need less of this, not more. That said, if we are to have such rules, let us at least have them apply to everybody. The idea that some groups of people deserve special protection and treatment as a means of making them equal always seemed Orwellian to me. Shall we raise the chocolate rations from 5 grams to 4 while we're at it? Praise Big Brother!

The fact that this is occurring in the UK, a country wherein a silly prank involving training a pug to salute like Hitler results in a national show trial, is also concerning. While civil liberties are under attack everywhere, the situation there seems especially bad, at least by supposedly democratic 1st world standards.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the feminist establishment in the UK isn't too happy about this, in ways that are not at all surprising.

Making misandry a hate crime will embolden abusive men, writes Jessica Eaton in an opinion piece for ... surprise surprise ... The Guardian!
A campaign started by the Labour MP Stella Creasy to consider misogyny as a form of hate crime has resulted in the Law Society deciding to consider whether misandry should be categorized as a hate crime, too. It is the ultimate example of whataboutery – when a group of people cries, “But what about X?”, to distract attention from any legitimate discussion of Y.
Well, not quite. If the entire moral basis of your ideology is that your demographic - women - are exclusively targeted for hatred based on their gender, then if it can be established that men are also targeted, then a major pillar of your ideology is knocked out. Plus, while we're on the subject of logical fallacies, that acknowledging the existence of misandry would somehow automatically result in distraction of legitimate discussion of issues facing women is the ultimate example of a false dilemma. The idea that we can't discuss issues facing men, unless from an approved frame already established by feminists, because women have it worse overall is the ultimate example of a fallacy of relative privation.

That we can no longer have honest discussions about women's issues if we acknowledge the existence of misandry is not only bad logic, it's also untrue and even anti-true. Our discussions of women's issues would become more, rather than less honest, because these discussions would actually be about treating everybody fairly, instead of continually having to preserve the notion that only women are victimized due to their gender and therefore only women are entitled to remedies for the ills their gender faces. A notion that sounds a lot like defense of privilege to me.

Eaton goes on to describe hate mail and numerous spurious accusations of misandry that she's faced in the past, and her and her husband's role in establishing a male mental health center in the UK. Well, good for you, Jessica, and sorry to hear about your ill treatment at the hands of angry men.  Again, acknowledging the existence and harm of misandry does not equate to the excusing and justification of threatening and harassing behaviors towards women. It does not even mean that we put misogyny and misandry on equal footing as far as actual harm done in the real world is concerned. This leads to an "oppression olympics" dynamic that benefits no one in the end.

It does, however, mean threatening the widespread perception that women are innately morally superior, a perception that probably causes more misogyny than it alleviates. A lot of men would be a lot less angry if there was some collective acknowledgement on part of women that their rules apply to themselves also.

But as you're about to discover, "when you're privileged, equality feels like oppression."

So claims Victoria Smith in an Independent opinion piece published Oct. 16.  Beneath that:
It seems there’s nothing women can have – not even their status as a marginalized sex class – that men will not expect them to share.
Well, isn't a group wanting something to themselves exlusively, a perk shared only by one gender but denied others - the very definition of privilege?

And this above a picture of women dressed in Handmaid costumes, from the film and TV adaptations of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale. Because, you know, women having to share their "marginalized sex status" is totally the same as losing their very names and identities and being conscripted to bare children for the elite in a repressive totalitarian theocracy. Do these Handmaid protesters grasp the fact that in the novel, ideologically docile and censorious feminists assisted the fundamentalist Sons of Jacob in their seizure of power and establishment of the Republic of Gilead, and that this was part of warning Margaret Atwood was trying to convey? One wonders.

And "When you're privileged, equality feels like oppression" isn't the only vacuous feminist slogan Smith hauls out and rehashes for this article:
All of our actions take place within intersecting social hierarchies which place some groups at the top and others at the bottom.
One wonders how much money Ms. Smith makes per year in comparison to, say, a dockworker or a lorry (this is the UK, after all) driver?  One wonders if Ms. Smith can turn on the BBC, or go to a college or university, or go to the print and electronic media and see feminist voices sidelined in favor of voices for impoverished unemployed men or male veterans? One wonders if major media outlets would ever bypass a highly educated feminist in favor of speaking to a men's rights advocate about gender related topics? One wonders how hard Ms. Smith really has it if she was able to afford to attend a top notch UK university and receive exclusive access to instruction in intersectional feminist ideology?

I think we all know the answers to those questions.
So-called men’s rights activists (MRA) routinely portray women’s marginalized status as something to be envied. Feminists are accused of milking historic oppressions in order to appropriate power and resources in a world where positive discrimination in favor of women is rife.
It's not to be envied, it's to be condemned. It is the exploitation of the suffering of the abused and marginalized for personal exaltation. For how long now have financially well endowed women's organizations and advocacy, especially in academia, ignored the systemic nature of economic inequality effecting both genders? Or would mention of that jeopardize that endowment? Just keep dancing to capital's tune, sisters. Just keep framing issues of class and privilege in gendered terms instead of in economic terms, and there'll be plenty of positive discrimination in your favor. Capital will see to that.

And no, the men's right's crowd doesn't present a demonstrably better alternative. While they do have some legitimate grievances that are silenced by an entrenched feminist establishment, a paradigm claiming the dominance of a feminist class at everyone else's expense isn't entirely accurate either. As I like to say, get back to class. And you don't graduate until you get good marks (it helps to say it rather than read it). 

Interestingly, Ms Smith claims, "Attempts to make misandry the equivalent of misogyny rely on two misconceptions: first, that gender is a spectrum as opposed to a hierarchy; and second, that victimhood is in fact a source of power and privilege." Okay, but isn't the notion that gender isn't a spectrum actually heretical in progressive circles these days?

Finally, Smith's article is rife with an element of progressive thought that has recently been satirized by the grey faced "NPC" meme - namely its over-reliance on continually recycled buzzwords, slogans and ideological formula, recited and executed as if it were rote programming rather than sapient thought. It's much easier to fall back on circular statements like "when you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression" than it is to address the substance of opponent's arguments.

Off hand, I'd suggest that an entrenched feminist establishment that will never want for cameras and microphones in their faces, funding both in and out of academia for research and advocacy to further their agendas and social media moderation skewed heavily in their favor has every reason to be in an uproar over misandry possibly becoming a kind of hate crime. When you're privileged, equality feels like oppression.

Eaton worries in her Guardian piece that "The concept of misandry is dangerously vague in comparison to the reality of misogyny. I predict that if misandry is taken forward as a hate crime, it will be used to curb discussions of male violence and female oppression. Again."

Well Jessica, welcome to the internet that non-feminists have been operating on for several years now, where cries of "misogyny! racism! Nazism! Homophobia" accompanied by very real risk of loss platform, employment and damage to reputation are the answers received in any discussion that doesn't frame violence and oppression entirely in terms of male power and female victimhood.

Would I like misandry to become a category of hate crime? No. I'd like to see the category of hate crime abolished and everybody actually treated the same in our courts and other institutions. The notion that we are going to achieve equality by treating people unequally belongs in a George Orwell novel. No, that does not equate to the erasure of focus on specific forms of discrimination that certain groups face disproportionately.

But that does mean that some groups are not deemed innately more worthy of concern than others. That arrogance, entitlement and dogmatism, rather than a genuine humanistic concern for the well being of all attends the feminist establishment and is routinely displayed on social media makes clear what the end result of that is kind of doublethink approach to equality is. We should also be clear that it is an elite class of professional ideologues, not marginalized people themselves, who benefit from it.

But if we must have hate crimes laws, let them apply equally to men and women.

Intersectionality is Itself a System of Power

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Should Misandry be a Hate Crime?

The UK contemplates making misandry a hate crime.  According to the BBC : Last month, it was announced that a review by the Law Commissio...