February 24, 2011 Challenge for Elizabeth Farrelly: shut the fuck up
You know I have occassionally read something by Elizabeth Farrelly and enjoyed it. This is now a fact that makes me question my own critical thinking capabilities having read a couple of her articles on ’women’s issues’.
I’m not quite sure what the bug up Ms Farrelly’s arse is about, but it seems to have something to do with hating feminism. I’m not sure if she sincerely understands feminism to be the way she portrays it (I find that hard to believe since she appears to be an educated woman and the rampant misrepresentation going on is, well…both blatant and rampant) or if she wilfully talks a bunch of trash since it’s way more fun and emotive to set the old Straw Feminists on fire then piss on them than actually engage with real feminists and feminism.
But onto the article in question. The ‘Challenge For Feminism: To find an honourable role for men’. Thanks Liz, couldn’t have found a challenge without you and I’ll get right on that, it’s obviously top priority.
On a small note before I launch into the substance of what is MY bug up the arse re this shitpile of an article, I would like to question the entire premise. Say that men ARE lost and looking for a newly honourable role. Firstly who’s to say feminism doesn’t already try to address issues of feeling anchorless and not knowing what the ‘rules are’ anymore, but secondly and more pertinently to my mind WHY EXACTLY DO WOMEN AND FEMINISTS OWE IT TO MEN TO FIND THE ANSWER?
Has a revolution occurred that I am unaware of? Have men started uprisings in the street for gender equality and women’s rights to be paid equally, to have control over their fertility, have men taken sudden and decisive action on combatting rape and domestic violence? Have laws been passed that allow women to decide when and how they will carry a pregnancy to term? What I’m getting at here is that women have larger and more immediate fish to fry than some vague ‘Men WANT to be good but don’t know how and feel lost in the workplace and have no place because all women everywhere are SO SO efficient that it’s bad and makes men look bad’. And if we’ve not had large scale comprehensive male assistance in frying those fish exactly WHY is it our challenge to drop those collective frying pans in order to sort out some vague male ennui?
Further, since I don’t actually want to be all tit for tat, it is mostly for me about the fact that feminists (unlike Farrelly) believe that men are fully capable human beings able to examine and find resolutions for their own questions of How To Be A Good Man. Men can’t find an honourable fucking role for themselves? Who’s treating men as weak and pathetic now Farrelly?
Nevertheless, put that to one side if you will since the ACTUAL feminists I know are in fact concerned about gender roles and what they do to all of us, except that we concentrate on what they have done and continue to do – you know in real life – rather than on constructing fairytales of bullshit and deceits like Ms Farrelly’s article of today.
So onto a consideration of this steaming pile of horse dung (must we?).
Where or WHERE to start?
It is the beginning of an article. Cast your mind if you will to a fabricated scenario where Wonderful Men are simply trying to enjoy the celebration of their birth and All They Have Earned. But BitchFaced McGee wants to ruin it all with her SOUR and ugly visage, her bitterness of spirit that shows forth on her face. For yes, she (like most women – women Ms Farrelly would like to distinguish herself from) Hates Men and wishes fervently for their Utter Demise.
BitchFace McGee is clearly representative of all women (or at least all feminists – other women may have sweet kind faces that come from doing exactly what is amenable to others, particularly men, at all times). She is a card carrying member of the Monstrous Regiment (no I’m not paraphrasing, those are actually her words. Monstrous indeed, seeking things like fair pay and the right to have sex when and only when they want to and with whom they please….scary evil bastards!).
It’s about here I start to get lost. Sourface at a party says ‘It’s our turn’. Ergo men need affirmative action (but affirmative action for what? Why? What’s changed. And oddly it seems affirmative action for women or on the basis of race would be bad or silly). Because you know how it works. A woman makes a comment at a party and the world changes, bibbity bobbity boo.
So now the world is different. And it’s UNEQUAL…in womens’ favour! And clearly if that *was* the case (though we have no evidence whatsoever that it is) it would be an International Crisis. Whereas unequal in mens’ favour is the norm, is natural, is a situation we can all understand and relax under.
Okay, well we’ve all heard this old chestnut before, political correctness gone mad, equality gone too far, feminists don’t want equality they want to dominate men, blah blah fuckity blah.
This (somehow) leads to Farrelly asking what women want, then (rapid change) to the question of ‘Do feminists want to feminise men?’.
So from women are about to take over, to men need affirmative action, to ‘What do women want’ (failing to see the links), to ‘Do feminists want to feminise men?’.
Well stop just a minute: this only works if being ‘left behind’, having lesser job opportunities is something that belongs to women, is a feminising thing, is linked to femininity. The market always told me it was supply and demand, efficiency, the best person for the job. And now someone’s telling me that gender does have something to do with it!
We can’t pause here, there is too much shit to cover.
Does feminism – do we – really want to feminise men? Probably, on balance, not. Most women would say no, they’d rather have men as men. It’s just that women unleashed – as fully operating political, professional and economic (as well as personal) entities – have proved themselves so terrifyingly competent, there doesn’t seem to be much left for men to do.
Women unleashed! Terrifying competency. Stop and marvel a moment. I’m terrified by many things but competency isn’t one of them. Or unleashed women come to that. The concept of “men as men” makes me kind of concerned because I’m not sure what this Essential Manliness would play out as, but given the context of the article it sounds as though it’d be some kind of conquering barbarism tamed just sufficiently to be stuffed in a suit, given the top job and a mistress and a glass of scotch and going back to the good old Head of the Household days.
I’m not even going to touch the idiocy of the ‘smacking is similar to sadism/paedophilia’ (or sadism is anything like paedophilia) stuff.
Blah blah men do everything to impress women, blah blah til we get to: “research shows that even in divorce, even in bachelorhood, women fare better than men”.
Research? What research? Oh piffle, don’t worry about that, carry on, look ho another False Feminist for me to fell!
So I think what she’s just said is we’ve usurped the traditional role of the man as bread-winner, flower-buyer and bottom smacker (and of course are responsible for the decline of society since women are Not Smacking Enough Bottoms). Which (somehow) leads to this:
This is a turn-up. It’s as if women’s power could only grow by sucking it from men. And as if, having gained power, women cannot stop themselves, even when it’s not what they want, using it to remake men and boys in their own image.
WHAT is a turn-up? Apart from these ludicrous claims being made.
Where is the evidence of this increased power of women? What is the link between increased power in women and decreased power in men? Is there only X amount of power to be had? Why was it okay when men had more power than women but automatically bad IF we can say that it’s reversing? Where is the evidence of men languishing, crying into their beers, wistful for a child’s bum to smack, flowers wilting on the bar top with no one to give them to? Why is smackig a kid’s bum a ‘man thing’? Who hates flowers rather than saying it’s not necessary for men to buy gifts constantly? And remaking men and boys…what? Just gimme a break lady, one outrageous claim at a time!
It’s all about a totalitarian desire to force others into conformity claims Farrelly. Hmm. With what *might* do women ‘force’ anyone? What conformity? Conformity with what? Inherent Female Beliefs and Characteristics? Like what? Unemployment and a refusal to smack kids’ bums? Really that whole paragraph seemed to be about Farrelly’s desire to name drop Westboro Baptist Church and compare feminists with religious extremists and totalitarians.
And here I think we’re getting a little closer to the bug/issue:
For it’s not that women, as mothers, teachers, wives and bosses, want to switch roles with men. It’s not like we’re staging a mass walkout from our child-rearing or home-making roles. Rather, it seems we want to be men and women, both, and we want men to do this also.
If we were neglecting our children to become men, Farrelly could like respect that. But the absolute audacity of demanding to be treated as fully human, to participate in all areas of life whether traditionally ‘mens’ or ‘womens’ domains? Well it’s outrageous. And expecting to see and holding out that full humanity to men. Well, you might as well lop off his dick with a carving knife ladies because you’ll be turning that man into a pussy by expecting him to take part in child rearing and cleaning as well as paid work!
The effect – in terms of roles, but also looks, behaviours and even disease (with more women now suffering male-pattern disease, include reduced longevity) – is a gathering of both genders towards some central norm.
My brain is making a dull clunky-whirring noise as it struggles to process this. Stepping outside of rigid gender boundaries it seems will Make You Look Like A Lesbian (and herein may be the real problem for Farrelly) and make you *act* like a boorish thug (or a flower buyer) and will ultimately…send you bald! We’ll have a society of bald people! Help! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
For some reason this alleged centripetal force of feminism, pulling us all towards a core of responsibilities and rights across the board contrasts badly for Farrelly with the allegedly centrifugal force of (the allegedly long distant) patriarchy where Men were Men and Women were Nonexistent and never a problem there was.
Now (according to Farrelly) women seem happy with all this, but you know men, they’re slow. They haven’t really had a reaction yet despite the fact that The Patriarchy is ancient history. And they may not cope/may not have been coping. Women coped with the former inequality, and it wasn’t a problem that required men to do anything to solve it but you know, women ARE terrifyingly efficient and men terribly slow witted…
Then she crosses the bridge too far for me and lobs in the shock bomb of the sexual assault of Lara Logan. I’m not sure if she’s TRYING to link feminism with the blame for this (though I suspect so because it immediately follows the raising of the issue of how power is obtained and what is done with it). First she implies that feminism has pulled us far from this ‘tribal’ mentality, then she wants to pause quizically and ask ‘But hang on, isn’t this to say that men are too weak to resist rape?’
Now, please do not for a second get me wrong here, when I read that story I hated the entire universe for a full 48 hours and I’m still talking myself down – I am NOT defending it, not minimising it, not suggesting for a second it wasn’t the most horrendous story I’ve read in a long time - I’m only saying that in suggesting that ‘feminism’ has pulled us far from that is to ignore the sexual violence against women that is rampant in Western societies, and to insinuate that there is no feminism in Egypt. It’s again to credit women with the ability to shape and change the world, and responsibility when it stays the same, and to cast women as ultimately responsible for changing men, for curbing their violence, and to let men off the hook regarding stopping rape what could men possibly do? At the same time, Farrelly tries to suggest that it is *feminism* who holds forth with views of men that at heart see them as ‘too weak’ to resist rape or do anything about it when she’s just done it herself. Feminism didn’t have a thing to do with how she chose to jam these ludicrous thoughts together, and feminism doesn’t suggest for a moment that men are too weak, too simple, too bad to resist rape!
Feminism demands that men be held accountable and that men get off their arses and hold each other accountable, that men treat women as fully human, that they pull their weight, around the house and in matters of politics and law and society, that they don’t leave the ‘fixing’ of the fucked up gender shit to the women, that they see the construction of society as it is, that it favours white male able bodied priviledge, and feminism does all this precisely because it doesn’t see men (as Farrelly does) as somehow ‘less able’, ‘less competent’ or ‘less efficient’. Just frequently more comfortable with the way things are. Feminism critiques the foundations of gender structuring to critique WHY it is that masculinity is constructed as combatitive and hostile, why it is that it sees itself as threatened by otherness, of how masculinity and femininity and heteronormativity and many other concepts shape and define all of us – how we can find new ways of being when there’s no escape from what we’ve learned on a bodily level. Feminism does none of the silly bullshit it’s accused of in this article.
The rest of the article decends into a lament of the rejection of chivalry by feminists (not being versed in chivalry and history I’ll leave that for others to explain) and then some fucked up shit about horses and sexuality and women not being able to see a powerful beast without wanting becoming aroused by the idea of dominating and controlling it. Apparently feminism is again to blame for this urge, and Farrelly applauds it – to a point. So the ‘muscular control’ of men (as opposed to say expecting men to “control” themselves, and be fully responsible adults and also to actually speak out when their friends are being misogynist turds) is an aim of FARRELLY’s be clear, and not feminism, but then she fears we (women?feminists? Becuase women have an inherent desire to dominate) will turn men into asses. Okay I’m paraphrasing there. But I think the jist is we’ll ruin all that sexy man-beast POWER and turn them into something ridiculous and impotent, unable to spawn offspring (like mules) and cause the destruction of the entire human race. You know, something reasonable like that.