Longtime Friend of Man Boobz Ozy Frantz, cofounder of the No Seriously What About teh Menz blog, is writing a book with fellow NSWATMer Noah Brand about men and feminism titled, naturally, What About the Men. The first chapter, written by Ozy, is up on the Good Men Project web site, NSWATM’s (sort of) new home. It’s even got footnotes, and illustrations by Barry Deutsch!
Ozy explains the book’s central aim:
We live in a sexist society, one where gender programming starts at birth (though the advent of the sonogram has allowed parents to get a head start by painting the nursery pink or blue and stocking up in advance on gendered toys and clothes) and is so pervasive as to be inescapable. Feminism has done an excellent job analyzing and challenging the ways that these assigned and enforced gender roles damage and deform the lives of women. The same tools of analysis can be applied to the damage and deformation that men suffer. And that damage, sad to say, is severe.
Meanwhile, over on The New Statesman, Helen Lewis looks at the continuing harassment of Anita Sarkeesian, the women who dared to ask people to donate money for a video series on sexism in video games and thereby unleashed a misogynistic shitstorm.
One of the most disturbing examples of harassment: an online game in which players are invited to “beat up Anita Sarkeesian.” Lewis censors some of the images, but not others, so let me just put a TRIGGER WARNING for depictions of violence against women, including a grotesquely photoshopped “beaten up” Sarkeesian. Anyone who thinks Sarkeesian and her supporters were making too big a deal of the harassment needs to go look at these images in Lewis’ article here. (The game itself, posted on Newgrounds.com, has now been removed.)
Again, this is all because Sarkeesian asked people to donate for a video project. If they felt like it was worthwhile. That’s all she did. And this is what she got in return: someone so angry that Sarkeesian was pointing out sexism in video games that he literally sat down and made a game inviting angry internetters to “beat this bitch up.” Irony doesn’t even begin to cover it.
On Think Progress, Alyssa Rosenberg underlines why we need to take this kind of harassment seriously:
[A]nyone who thinks that feminists who push back hard against online harassment are being oversensitive needs to understand that we’re all trying to keep ourselves from becoming Anita Sarkeesians. No matter how strong you are, and no matter how much support you have, this kind of concentrated campaign of harassment affects the targets of it. And the goal of these campaigns is to terrorize people into silence. It’s not disagreement. It’s not creative trolling. It’s deployment of a weapon.
But it’s just as important to point out that Sarkeesian wasn’t silenced; in addition to helping her raise much more money than she had originally asked for, those who attacked her simply reinforced (and helped to further publicize) the argument she was making — in the case of the “beat up Anita Sarkeesian” game, quite directly indeed. The cowards and assholes who try to shut down feminists online with this sort of harassment are not only losers — they’re losing.