Quiet Riot Girl and Feminism
I recently read an article by Dr. Elly Tams, previously known as anonymous feminist blogger Quiet Riot Girl (read the article in the link attached to this post). In her article, Leaving the sisterhood: A recovering feminist speaks, she details how, through her experiences in the blogosphere, she gradually drifted away from her feminist ideology and became more of an MRA than anything else.
This article is not bad in its entirety. I have to give her credit; she’s clearly a good writer, and she has a PhD, so I can’t assume that she’s a complete idiot. In fact, she mentions a thesis paper in which she wrote about how some feminists may skew or even outright lie about some statistics; this is an argument that I’ve heard before, and yes, I think it’s plausible that some feminists do this, although I don’t know to what extent. I’d be interested to read her work and see if there’s any validity to it.
She also mentions how some feminists dismiss father’s rights issues and scoff at the idea that men are ever objectified. Again, this is true, that some feminists do this, and I agree that it’s a problem. If men and women want to meet on equal grounds, it’s crucial that we minimize our scoffing. Let’s try to show a modicum of sympathy for how each other feel, even if we don’t agree with the reasoning behind those feelings. Debating is important, and disagreeing is fine, but I think it’s crucial to be respectful when doing it, even if you feel angry, even if you’re thinking “This person is a deluded nincompoop”.
Let’s get to the meat of what’s on my mind, though. Despite the handful of merits Leaving the sisterhood contains, I feel that it contains far more bunk. She briefly mentions that the rape of women is not something that should be solely blamed on men. I couldn’t disagree more (disregarding lesbian rape). No, I don’t identify as a feminist (more on that later), but if she’s alluding to the old “Women who wear certain types of clothing and makeup are inviting men to come at them”, I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit. Rape is caused by rape. This goes for rape committed against men, as well. Just because men are (stereotypically and falsely) viewed as the more sexual beings, some women believe that men simply can’t be raped. Both of these views on rape are disgusting and need to be extinguished as soon as possible.
Although Tams’ opinion on rape is perhaps the most outrageous part of this article, it’s not what stood out to me most. What really popped out at me is the fact that she utterly, unapologetically generalizes feminists. I understand that she had some experiences with feminists that made her feel hurt and exiled from the community that she relied on most; some of the things they said to her were not only insulting to her, but were very sexist towards men, such as when they told her she now had an “honorary penis”, as if merely having a penis makes you a terrible person. The fact is, though, that not all feminists are the same, and neither are all MRA’s. I know a few feminists that are passionate not just about women’s rights, but men’s rights as well. I also know MRA’s who would probably get along famously with my feminist friends.
As I said before, I don’t identify as a feminist, nor do I identify as an MRA. I can see, however, that feminism has been a valuable tool in making society fairer; If I have a kid someday, I would want them to learn about the women’s rights movement, because it’s an important part of our history. Similarly, some MRA’s, even the more extreme ones, are coming from a place where they’ve been wronged in some way. These emotional responses reveal real problems in society; like how women get sole child custody more often than men, how domestic abuse directed at men is generally overlooked, and how men are told that they can’t be raped, that is, unless they’re in prison, in which case, they must deserve it, right?
In the end, the truth is that both feminists and MRA’s have extremists and sexists. I suspect that the angrier, more discriminatory cases of these people are coming from a place of legitimate hurt; their error lies in that they let their rage cloud their judgement. I think Tams is a prime example. There are those types that are simply ignorant assholes, however. Even so, it might benefit everyone to learn to convey their ideas in a respectful manner (yeah, even to the assholes) and consider that maybe, just maybe, not everyone who identifies as part of a specific subculture is the same. Except white supremacists and separatists. Fuck those guys.