The unfathomable mystery of American gender politics…

One of the blogs I read fairly regularly is that of Hugo Schwyzer – an american gender studies lecturer, in a college in Southern California. His blog is interesting, and his manner genial. The weird thing about it is the amount of vitriol that gets heaped on him from a group known as ‘the men’s movement’ – now, being a man, you’d have thought someone would have told me about this movement, about the need for ‘men’s rights’, but apparently I missed the memo informing men that we are somehow hard done by and feminists are out to get us… no, wait, I remember something about that, on sitcoms in the 70s. Surely the idea that feminism is about man-hating monstrous women trying to take over the world was dispensed with before the beginning of the 80s? Do people really think like that? Apparently they do.

The latest shit-storm that Hugo has blogged about doesn’t actually feature him. This time it’s Jill from Feministe – another friendly blog about feminist issues – who has taken a load of flak. Initially, it started out as some horribly insulting stuff posted about her photos on a message board for a college in New York (I think – I’ve not really been following the details that closely), but spilled over into a whole slew of personal attacks, and some really really stupid anti-feminist ranting from the goons over on the college forum.

All of which points to there still being a very definite gender-war ongoing in the states. My guess is that it’s still going on here too, I just haven’t come across it, but it reminds how fortunate I am to hang round with such a wonderfully mellow and enlightened bunch of people, but also how sheltered I am from the lunacy that is prevalent in parts of the world. A lunacy that I wouldn’t encounter at all if it wasn’t for the wonders of the global interweb highway thingie.

I’m genuinely stunned that men still see feminism as a threat, that men who don’t conform to really crass gender stereotypes are labeled as effeminate and ‘not real men’. Just bizarre. Maybe it comes from the same place as all the homophobia that seems to permeate large sections of the web. Maybe such neanderthal thinking is way more prevalent that I’d ever have given it credit for, and this is just the place where my world and its collide. It’s like when UKIP got a whole load of votes in the European elections – I realised that the general populus is considerably more stupid that I often give it credit for…

Anyway, have a read of Hugo’s blog, and Feministe – they all seem like lovely people, and not at all the people you’d think to attack in anyway… And avoid the ‘MRAs’ (I think that’s what they are called – Men’s Rights Advocates? something like that…)

I can’t imagine writing a blog that stirred up such ire – I guess I might wind up the occasional bass-fundementalist, though I haven’t even had any of those ‘you can’t do that on a bass’ emails for quite a few years… lucky me.

One Reply to “The unfathomable mystery of American gender politics…”

  1. My you do live in a closeted world Mr Lawson!

    Next you’ll be telling us that you’ve never heard anyone utter the phrase “it’s political correctness gone mad!”.

    Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of the construction industry…I’ll show you loads of somethings that just might blow your mind 😉

    As a random example of how petty it gets let me present exhibit A: the vitriol, whining and general fuss made by certain of my male colleagues, when one of the two sets of toilets on the first floor was at long last switched to a ‘ladies’ (previous to this women, including at one stage a heavily pregnant technician who worked for me, had to trudge to another floor in order to take a pee). Seriously you’d have thought the end of the world was nigh the way certain men reacted to the change 😉

    Or more seriously Exhibit B: A bloke who simply couldn’t cope with the concept of working for a female (an extremely lovely, easy to get on with colleague of mine, not myself thank God) such that he cited it as one of the primary causes of stress that led to him having a heart attack. You can imagine how conflicted she feels about that…

    So despite all the evidence demonstrating that women in this industry are still paid less and rarely get decent promotions etc (heck we have to fight to get decent access to the basic loos, let alone the executive washroom!), there is plenty of men who apparently feel threatened and that the pendulum has swung too far etc etc

    We hear their bitching every day…

    Very sad…and after 13 years of it I have to say very, very boring…

    Here endeth the rant!

    Ooofff I feel better now 😉

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