One thing I am struck by again and again as I read the blogs and the message boards of the manosphere is how little basic human empathy I see there, towards women in general and towards feminists of both sexes. We see it in the routine references to women as “whores” and “cunts” and other terms that reduce them to their genitalia.
We see it in the profound lack of empathy for women injured or killed. You may recall my recent post about an MRA blog that basically celebrated the possible death of a missing Las Vegas dancer. The body of the murdered woman, Deborah Flores-Narvaez, has since been found. The news inspired a moderator of the Happy Bachelors Forum to start a topic entitled “Dirty skanky whore found dead.”
And of course we’ve seen similar reactions to the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six others. While many in the manosphere responded to the shootings like normal human beings (displaying honest shock and horror) and others responded like typical internet paranoids (wildly speculating on how this meant the government would take away all our rights), there were others who found ways to blame women for the shootings or to twist the issue into one of men’s putative oppression. On NiceGuy’s MGTOW Forum, one commenter found an ingenious way to blame women for the shooting:
He [was] probably dumped by a girl and that’s what started him on the road to crazy batshit loonery. I can’t think of any other factor that could more quickly drive a man to violence than women.
Others complained that the news coverage was slanted by evil feminism. From the MGTOW proboards forum:
it pisses me off when i see all this outrage on the news and from the public knowing that if it was a congressMAN who was shot, everyone would be wondering what he did to deserve it.
this really shows you how society values women over men. and she’s not even dead!
Over on NiceGuy’s MGTOW forum, one member complained that Giffords was getting most of the news coverage and that the six others who were murdered in the attack, most of whom were probably men, were being ignored:
This is yet another example of how Femerica values female lives more than male lives. In the eyes of most Americans, men are less human than women.
The male judge gets a mention because he is a lackey for the interests of the elite. Even though he is dead, since he is a male, his death is presented by the media as less of a tragedy than the non-lethal shooting of a female politician with a good chance for recovery.
The death of the young girl was portrayed as third in line in terms of level of tragedy. By American standards, it was a tragedy because she possessed a vagina, but since she was not grown enough to be a full-fledged feminazi, her death was less of a tragedy than the non-death of the female politician.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the four unnamed dead people were men. If they were men, they would be considered less human than the others. They are not even human enough for the media to investigate and name. Their death, by American standards, was a tragedy but less of a tragedy than the non-death of female politician.
This comment is jampacked with an assortment of bad assumptions. To correct the most obvious of them: Giffords has gotten most of the coverage because this was not a random murder, but an attempted political assassination. Gender has nothing to do with it. When people talk about the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, they rarely mention the three others who were also wounded that day. (Except for James Brady, and that’s because he has gone on to be an influential gun control advocate.)
The male judge has gotten a good deal of attention, but isn’t the main focus of the coverage because he was not the target of the assassination attempt. The girl has gotten attention because she was a child. The other victims were not named at first because authorities had not yet notified their next-of-kin. There were three men killed in the attacks, two women, and one girl.
Meanwhile, on this very blog, a regular antifeminist commenter who calls himself Random Brother has made clear that he doesn’t extend basic human sympathies to feminists. Asking whether or not Giffords is a feminist, he explains:
I want to know if she has spent her whole career passing laws that harm men. I want to know this before I commit any sympathy to her. If she was a great politician who tried hard to help her constituents, was fair and just then she has all of the sorrow in the world from me. …
If she was a typical politician, a bigot or a man hater, why should I care?
Setting aside for a moment the fact that there is precisely zero evidence that Giffords is any any way a “man hater”: Because she’s a human being?
Sadly, this failure of empathy isn’t confined to the manosphere, as Marianne Kirby notes on The Rotund:
Empathy is, in its simplest form, the ability to acknowledge the thoughts/reasoning/emotions of another person as valid. It is, so to speak, being able to see where they are coming from even if you do not agree. … Empathy is, I think, coming to the realization of our own humanity and the humanity of other people – we are all simply people. …
[W]hen politicians depend on hate and violent rhetoric to stir up their followers, no good can come of it. … It teaches them that these people who believe different things are “the enemy” – that they are a danger and must be eliminated.
Is it any wonder that some people reach a point where the literal elimination of those who are different becomes the end goal?
For a long time I labeled the MRA/MGTOW blogs I’ve put in my sidebar as my “Enemies List.” It was a partially tongue-in-cheek reference to Nixon’s famous “enemies list.” But many people took it literally, and some (even if they didn’t) worried that this kind of terminology could lead to precisely the sort of dehumanizing of the “enemy” I’ve been criticizing here. In the wake of the Arizona shootings, and after pondering several eloquent emails sent to me on the subject, I’ve decided to change my “Enemies List” to, well, a “Boob-roll.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “boob” as “a stupid or foolish person; a dolt.” The people I write about may be — at least in my mind — wrong, and foolish, and sometimes hateful assholes, but they are people.
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