So yesterday I had a strange conversation, of sorts, with blabby FeMRA videoblogger Karen Straughan, aka GirlWritesWhat, via private message on Reddit.
Given that, in the recent WoolyBumblebee controversy, she put herself in the position of defending Men Going Their Own Way against WBB’s mostly accurate attacks on them, I found myself wondering what she might think of my post yesterday on the MGTOWers who felt it was appropriate to let a four-year-old-girl drown because she might grow up to be the next Betty Friedan or even the next — gasp! — Amanda Marcotte.
I was especially interested in what she might have to say about MGTOW elder Zed, the friend and mentor of her A Voice for Men boss, Paul Elam; in the MGTOWforums discussion, you may recall, he was firmly in the “don’t rescue little girls” camp.
So I asked her about that, and asked why she was defending MGTOWers when so many of them don’t even think women should be part of the Men’s Rights movement at all.
Here’s some of what she wrote back:
You seem to be deliberately trying to evoke an outrage in me. First, Zed, “Paul E’s mentor and idol” would not save a child he doesn’t know. Then “MGTOWers…don’t actually think women should be part of the MR movement…”
Do you think I should be expected to die to save a boy I don’t know? Speaking as someone who almost died once to save my son and my nephew, why should I be expected to potentially leave my children orphans to save someone else’s kid? And the truth is, I wouldn’t be expected to do that. In reality, no one would have blamed me if I had chosen not to nearly drown to save my own kid and my sister’s kid. I like your quote mine: Men shouldn’t rescue 4 year old girls… Not what it actually is: Men shouldn’t sacrifice their lives or health to save 4 year old girls they don’t know or have reason to care about…
It’s an interesting way she’s chosen to, well, reframe the issue. Zed didn’t say he was only talking about situations where the rescuers life would be at risk. He said, simply and categorically:
When a female is in trouble, if I don’t know her, I don’t see her.
After demanding that I denounce a random radical feminist who said something terrible, she moved on to my second question, though not without accusing me of “needling” her by pointing out that MGTOWers hate women. Or, as she prefers to look at it, they don’t “trust” women.
Do I have to list every single psychological lever you’ve attempted to apply in this message? Do you really think I’m going to react like a typical woman? “OMG, those MGTOWs don’t trust women!!! And that means they don’t trust me! I am a herd animal! I am incapable of ignoring naysayers! I can’t stand the fact that perhaps somewhere, someone doesn’t appreciate me!!! How dare they express themselves if it will hurt a woman’s feelings???????”
Woah, there. I think that might have been a bit more revealing than you intended it to be.
So your definition of “typical woman” is “herd animal?” I’ll take “internalized misogyny” for $1000, Alex.
Instead of me asking, “Why would I need anyone’s permission to make videos and assist a movement I believe in? Why would I take it as a personal failing that a man would not risk his life to save my child when I would not potentially orphan my kids to save the kids of some random person? Why would David Futrelle think my outrage over what a handful of MGTOW say about women in the movement should outweigh my own principles?”
Uh, you don’t need anyone’s permission to make your videos. Jewish people don’t need anyone’s permission to start making videos glorifying Adolph Hitler. Black people don’t need anyone’s permission to make videos on behalf of the Klan.
The question is why do you want to? Not just: why are you willing to make videos on behalf of a Men’s Rights movement driven by misogyny. But why are you willing to defend and make excuses for MGTOWers who not only hate women in general but hate you personally?
Why are you willing to lie — apparently even to yourself — and pretend that they don’t really hate women — that, really, it’s just that they don’t “trust” women because some awful woman has hurt them, or because some mean feminist said something insulting about their favorite video game, or whatever the excuse is.
And if you have any doubt that most MGTOWers really and truly hate women — hate hate HATE them — I invite you to read through the archives here. I suggest you start with MGTOWer extraordinaire Christopher in Oregon, and then move on to the posts dealing with MGTOWers in general.
And if you doubt that MGTOWers hate you, you personally, just go down to MGTOWforums, the biggest MGTOW hangout around, and take a look at the threads devoted to AVFM. A lot of the guys there hate AVFM with a passion — and they hate it largely because Paul give a platform to you and other women.
For someone so obsessed with me, you sure don’t know a lot about me.
Huh, wouldn’t that sort of suggest that maybe I’m not actually that obsessed with you?
From what I do know about Straughan (not much) this seems to be a standard ploy she pulls whenever someone calls her on her shit — to try to throw them off-balance and put them on the defensive by declaring them “stalkers” or “obsessed,” as she did with spermjack_attack, a Redditor who’s done some amazing takedowns of GWW posts and videos in recent days, like this one.
I responded by pointing out that
I often write about MRAs. You’re a prominent MRA, so sometimes I write about you. I should probably write more, given that you’re kind of a big fish in your tiny pond, but your videos are so fucking tedious and slow I can’t bear to watch them.
Which is true. That’s why, despite all the attention she gets from her MRA fanboys, I’ve written only three posts about her — compared with seven about the comparatively less important but much more entertaining Christopher in Oregon, mentioned above. Well, this will make it four posts about her.
Anyway, I also called her out on her evasive answer about Zed, so she tried again, this time with a new evasion:
Zed said categorically, “When a female is in trouble, if I don’t know her, I don’t see her.” Let’s parse that. He would not intervene. Why should he be expected to? Do you have any idea how small the burden is on women to intervene? If a woman were being assaulted and a female witness didn’t intervene, would this be shameful? How about if a man were being assaulted?
That’s an odd way of “parsing” it, since in context it was abundantly clear that he wasn’t just talking about adult women being assaulted. He was specifically talking about little girls. The whole point of his argument, which he repeated several times, was that he didn’t want to help little girls because, as he put it, they might “grow … up to be another Amanda Marcunt, or Jessica Valenti, or Betty Friedan.”
Karen, you can pretend he was talking only about adult women, but he wasn’t.
You can pretend that MGTOWers don’t hate women, but they do.
You can pretend whatever you want about the movement you’ve attached yourself to, but guess what — everyone outside of that movement can see it for what it is.
Most of the rest of her comment was devoted to trying to prove how “obsessed” I am with her.
If you are curious about me and why I might involve myself in a movement you believe hates women, you might concede I’d be curious about you and why you involve yourself in a movement that I believe hates men (or masculinity, take your pick). And yet how many times have I initiated contact with you? How often do I devote entire blog posts or videos to you?
Perhaps I’m measuring you by my own yardstick. Because as curious as I am as to why you would ally yourself with a movement whose foundational ideology is hostile to men (no matter how mainstream or seemingly benign), as much as I might lie awake wondering what motivates you, I am simply not obsessed enough by the question to PM you and ask. Or to read your blog (even when you’re talking about me). Or to devote entire blog posts to you.
If I messaged you over anything regarding that, I would consider myself obsessed with the psychological dysfunction represented by you. So you messaging me indicates (to me) a level of obsession on par with that. If you are the type of person to initiate private contact with people you consider opponents on a regular basis, then I’ve misjudged you.
Yes, I confess, sometimes I ask questions of my ideological opponents, publicly or privately, in hopes of getting an interesting response. I certainly got some revealing answers, and even more revealing non-answers, from Straughan.
And it was definitely more interesting than watching one of her videos.
Oh, and for some reason, before she closed up the debate, she decided she wanted to talk about Mary Daly, of all people, whom she seems to think has never been criticized by any feminists ever except for one by the name of, uh … Dr. Mindbeam? No, that’s really what she thinks. Apparently, in GirlWritesWhat-land, it was one big feminist love-fest for Mary Daly up until Dr. Mindbeam came along in 2011 and wrote a blog post.
Mary Daly’s body was long cold before some random internet feminist named Dr Mindbeam finally excommunicated her on “no seriously, what about teh menz?” I haven’t seen any feminists who write under their real names do so.
Maybe you could educate me.
I mentioned Audre Lorde’s open letter to Daly calling her out for racism back in 1979. I suggested she Google “Mary Daly” and “transphobe” and read through some of the results. Might take a while, as there are 5000 of them.
But I’m not sure how one can “educate” someone like her, someone who has declared herself a “gender theorist” and who makes endless half-hour or even hour-long videos on feminism, without bothering to learn even the rudiments of feminist history first. (Lesson One: Feminists often disagree with each other.)
It would be like someone declaring themselves an astrophysics theorist, then declaring “the moon is a potato! I’ve seen no evidence indicating otherwise. If you think you know better, educate me!”
Her understanding of feminism seems stuck at the “moon is a potato” level, and I just don’t think there’s anything any of us can do about it.