Many of you are no doubt aware of this already, but I just wanted to highlight a recent appalling example of the rampant misogyny in the gaming community online: the harassment that feminist pop culture analyst and video blogger Anita Sarkeesian has gotten for her Tropes Vs Women Kickstarter project, a video project designed to “explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games.”
Her YouTube page has been inundated with comments calling her, among other things, a “Dumb ass nazi [obscene gender-related slur],” “faggo.. I mean lesbian,” and “the reason why womens are the inferior gender for the whole history of mankind.” IRONY ALERT: while some are calling her a Nazi, or comparing her to the KKK, others are denouncing her as a “bolshevik feminist jewess” and a “fucking ovendodger.”
And, joy of joys, Men’s Rights buffoon Bernard Chapin has weighed in on the controversy as well. After dismissing the harassment — using a “funny” voice, apparently the most powerful weapon in his rhetorical arsenal — he suggests that women complain about video games because games are a male thing, and women are jealous that men are paying attention to something other than them. “Whatever the male is enjoying himself at,” he says, “it diverts him from taking orders; that’s got to be the focus of their ire.” Then he accuses Sarkeesian of being without “honor” because she’s asking for money to fund her project. (Might want to take that critique up with your pal Paul “Donate Today” Elam, dude.) His video is below, if you want to waste your time with it.
But before you get to that, here’s something a bit more encouraging on the gamer misogyny front: Comedian/actress/gamer Aisha Tyler’s take-no-prisoners takedown of the misogynist assholes who attacked her for allegedly ruining an Ubisoft press conference at the recent E3 gaming extravaganza, apparently by being too female or something. Here’s a screenshot of her comments, and a surprisingly un-disgusting Reddit discussion of the controversy.
Over on In Mala Fide, our dear friend Ferdinand Bardamu has responded in an amusingly monologuey manner to Arthur Goldwag’s followup to his earlier article for the Southern Poverty Law Center on the Men’s Rights movement. Bardamu whips himself into a bit of a lather, describing “Snerdling and his compadres” – for some reason he’s decided to call Goldwag “Snerdling” – as the
vanguards of a dying institution, desperately jamming their thumbs in the dike to keep the truth from drowning them. They’re on the losing side of history. Their shrieks are the shrieks of the dying and damned.
Oh, but there’s more. This earlier comment in Bardamu’s post is sort of a classic in the “implied threat” genre so beloved by MRAs like Paul Elam and his gang:
You’ve bitten off far more than you can chew here. You’ve antagonized the fastest-growing and most relevant movement/entity in America and the Western world. With every sling and arrow, the manosphere swells in size, a voice for the most powerful and deadliest force on Earth — the disenfranchised young man.
Amazingly, in the very next paragraph, Bardamu waxes indignant that Goldwag had the gall to refer to “threat[s], overt or implicit, of violence” from MRAs. Bardamu responds with a big, insincere “who, me?”
I’ve made threats of violence? Leftists always pull this game — they never give specific examples … .
You want a specific example? LOOK AT WHAT YOU JUST WROTE IN YOUR LAST FUCKING PARAGRAPH. That bit about Goldwag allegedly antagonizing “the most powerful and deadliest force on Earth — the disenfranchised young man?” That is an implicit threat of violence. It’s kind of hard to miss.
Further down the page, in response to a feminist who has stopped by to call the IMF regulars on some of their bullshit, Brigadon elaborates further:
I have called it a ‘war’ before, and I will again. It is not a cold war, it is a hot war, with constant and socially-approved violence against men. The only way to fight a hot war is with violence. …
So, maybe it sounds like a call for violence, but at this point any woman that calls herself a ‘feminist’, regardless of their protests that they are ‘not like those other ones’ Is a criminal, a traitor to their species, their culture, their honor, their family, their nation, their gender, and their world. There is only one punishment that fits a traitor.
How dare Goldwag suggest that MRAs ever threaten violence!
Apollo, meanwhile, somehow manages to overlook the threatening language in Bardamu’s post and suggests that the real threatmongers are … you and me:
[T]he Internet is full of people making violent threats. … Yet in the Manosphere, where I think real injustices are being brought to light, and people surely have a right to anger, you will NOT see the threats of violence that are so very common in so many other places of the Internet. When such a violent comment does pop up in the Manosphere, it is usually very quickly squashed by mods. And any such comments stand out simply because of how rare they are.
Yet one visit to Manboob, or any other Feminist site, and you will be able to quickly be able to find threats of violence. The blatant hypocrisy here is just sickening
Also, though this is a whole other kettle of beans, the fact that Goldwag is Jewish seems to have inspired a number of the anti-Semites in the In Mala Fide crowd to crawl out from under their rocks – one of them being our old pal JeremiahMRA, who weighs in with a comment calling Goldwag a “creepy Jew,” in two words combining anti-Semitism with “creep shaming,” which in the weird world of the manosphere is the most hateful kind of hate ever perpetrated upon any mortal soul. (Goldwag offers a brief but pointed response to Bardamu’s post, and to the anti-Semitism, on his own blog.)
Is any of this really surprising on a blog whose name means “In Bad Faith?”
Someone posted this in the comments a while ago, and I couldn’t help but think of it as I wrote this post:
Another day, another apologia for male violence from the Men’s Rights crowd. This time the apologist is W. F. Price at The Spearhead, who uses several recent news stories involving violent men as an excuse to attack feminism.
Repeated provocations against men, systematic discrimination against men, and state-sanctioned debt slavery are starting to have the inevitable effect. In a triumph for the feminist movement, men are lashing out violently against women, fulfilling the feminist fantasy of a gender war.
In the old days, everything was (presumably) peachy keen between the sexes. Then along came the feminists, and all hell broke loose. Those “take back the night” marches feminists love so much? They’re just red flags to the bulls – that is, our society’s ample stock of “mentally unstable and out-of-luck men.” You don’t want to make these guys mad!
[W]omen were encouraged to be militant against all males, which can only have unfortunate results, given the hands-down male superiority in combat. …
In other words, the fact that there are violent men out there is why women shouldn’t complain about violent men. Presumably the only marches women should be organizing would be “No, Go Ahead, You Keep the Night” marches. Don’t want to offend those rapists –that’ll just make them even rapier than usual!
According to Price, though, feminists actually like violence against women — because it keeps them in business.
For feminism to exist as a valid movement, there must be violent conflict, so many of the efforts of feminists have sought to provoke just that. … You see, for a feminist to justify her job there must be some degree of brutality against women. … So, if you are a feminist, the hapless women murdered or assaulted by the damaged men feminists have created are necessary sacrifices for advancing the feminist agenda.
So not only do the feminists provoke these “damaged men” – they created them in the first place, by being so feministy.
Wouldn’t this whole provoke-the-men strategy make life more dangerous for feminist women as well? No, because feminists are all rich ladies, and everyone knows that rich ladies are never beaten or raped or murdered:
[W]e all know that feminism has never been about the typical woman who lives a humble life, but rather the ambitious elite who want to have access to the big boys and big money on Capitol Hill and Wall Street. … Disadvantaged women are truly the cannon fodder of feminists.
So what “proof” does Price offer for his claim that men are “lashing out” at women because of feminism? He cites three news stories: one dealing with a woman-hating trucker who’s accused of killing several prostitutes; another involving a man who went on a shooting rampage at a church, killing his wife and wounding two others; and finally, the case of James Ray Palmer, the Arkansas man who shot up the offices of the judge who’d handled his divorce and custody case more than a decade earlier. (I wrote about his case here.)
How do these cases relate to feminism? You’ll have to ask Price, because none of the news stories suggest any connection, and Price doesn’t explain why he thinks there is one. True, the trucker is said to be a misogynist, but misogyny is far more ancient than feminism. Meanwhile, we have no evidence that the church shooter was angry at any women other than his wife.
In the case of Palmer, there may be an indirect connection, if it turns out that he was influenced by the angry, violent rhetoric of the Men’s Rights movement. As I pointed out in my post on Palmer, many in the MRM have made a martyr out of Thomas Ball, who committed suicide on the steps of a courthouse, leaving behind an manifesto that urged men to literally burn down police stations — and courthouses. It is certainly conceivable that Palmer’s courthouse rampage was inspired by this sort of rhetoric.
But to blame feminism for any of this is ass-backwards. Feminism is a response to misogyny, not its cause. To blame feminism for violence against women is a bit like blaming Jews for provoking the Holocaust. (Forgive me, Godwin; it was the clearest analogy.)
Price ends his piece by urging women to, in effect, shut up and fix him a sandwich:
Women’s best bet for security is not in denouncing and fighting men, as feminists would have it, but in cooperating with them and taking on their proper role.
Then he ends with a weird coda suggesting that feminists should be locked up for having the temerity to speak up in the first place:
The United States will once again be a righteous society only when feminists are jailed for interfering with families, and their academic apologists are removed by security from their jobs in taxpayer-funded educational institutions. This would be the most humane course of action to take. Far more humane, in fact, than provoking men and women to physically attack one another, as feminists would have it today so that they can unleash state agents on confused and demoralized families.
I didn’t have the stomach to read all of the comments responding to Price’s argument, such as it is. But here are some highlights – lowlights, really – of the highly upvoted comments I did read.
Anger against feminism has been building for years. As the men’s rights movement has gained momentum, feminists and their lackeys have doubled down and become more virulent in their anti-male hatred and propaganda. Women today are becoming more and more nasty on an interpersonal basis, and they are doing so more frequently. A breakpoint will come. It will probably take a catalyst; another severe economic downturn might do it. But it will come. Feminists and their pet femboys will push things until it does.
Wait. If the Men’s Rights movement is, in effect, provoking feminists to get more feministy, then wouldn’t (by Price’s logic) the allegedly increased violence be the fault of the MRAs?
Rod worries that in the case of a real gender war, men might actually lose – all because of those darned “white knights” and their reluctance to beat up the ladies:
I’m afraid that if it ever came down to a real physical war between the sexes, men would unfortunately lose. There are too many men who can’t stand the sight of men harming women, and would immediately step in to save them. Perhaps nature instilled in us a visceral reaction to women’s suffering, making us want to step in and help, and at one time in the history of our species, that reaction was no doubt a salutary thing. Now it just works against us.
Antiphon, meanwhile, blames it all on the Jews. Or, more specifically, the Jewesses, who apparently control the feminist movement in the same way that their husbands control the banks.
Needless to say, this being The Spearhead, Antiphon’s comment has three times as many upvotes as downvotes. Apparently, the only thing worse than a feminist is a Jewish feminist.
I guess my Nazi analogy earlier in this post wasn’t so out of place after all.
Anyone who has spent much time at all on MRA message boards knows that they tend to be littered with vague and ominous “predictions” of an inevitable violent backlash of men driven to fury by our supposed feminist overlords; some of these predictions are delivered with such obvious relish that they seem little more than justifications in advance for future murderous rampages on the part of people not too far distant in their ideology from Anders Breivik.
Of course, most of those making such predictions-cum-threats don’t want to actually face any culpability when their bullshit gets real. Fear not, MRA prognosticators, for one prominent British MRA has come up with what he sees as a brilliant way for MRAs to avoid getting implicated in future terrorists attacks. According to longtime MRA blogger Angry Harry we shouldn’t blame violence on the beliefs of right-wing terrorists – we should instead blame it on the people they’re mad at.
Angry Harry uses this bit of sophistry to explain away any culpability the right seems to have in the Norway massacre:
The recent massacre by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway is being portrayed by the left-wing media (such as the BBC) as being motivated by extreme right-wing groups – the idea, as ever, being to demonise and, hence, to intimidate, as much as possible, anybody who does not support their malicious self-serving agenda.
But if you look more closely at the evidence, it is quite clear that, if anything, it was the various machinations and rhetoric engaged in by the deceitful LEFT that infuriated this man. …
Quite simply, it is the Left, not the Right, who are the more to blame for this incident.
Ingenious. Of course, this logic only really works if you agree with the extremist ideology of the terrorist or murderer in question. Let’s apply Angry Harry’s approach to a historical example that also involved extremism and murder on a large scale:
Hitler hated Jews. Hitler killed Jews. Therefore, according to Angry Harry’s logic, we should blame the Jews for getting him so mad in the first place.
Is that unfair? Given that Breivik is a mass murderer with many ideas strikingly similar to those of Hitler, I think not. The logic is the same, whatever the body count.
Apparently Harry thinks his bit of rhetorical sleight-of-hand will absolve MRAs when, not if, the violence comes:
MRAs need to get to grips with this type of situation because it won’t be long before they are being blamed for something or other – perhaps a family court judge being murdered.
Why might this be a particularly sensitive issue for Harry? Perhaps because in another posting of his, he offered a justification for doing just that — murdering family court justices and those involved in enforcing their decisions.
[A]nybody who takes away a man’s children and/or his home deserves little sympathy if they suffer significant retribution.
I suppose that for some men, arguing their case in court is a reasonable option, but for many men – particularly the less intelligent, the less wealthy, the less articulate and/or the less able they are to deal with officialdom – such an option is going to get them nowhere. And so, in my view, violence is not only understandable and predictable, but also morally quite justifiable.
To put it bluntly: If someone is taking away your home and your children then I think that you are quite justified in behaving violently towards them.
In his recent posting on Breivik, Harry offered an obligatory comment suggesting that, if course, he wasn’t actually justifying the Norwegian’s actions – oh, no! – even though the logic of his argument seems designed to do just that. Then he went on to make some predictions about what the future holds for his leftist and feminist enemies:
I think that it is fairly obvious to my most excellent readers that the war against the Left is hotting up. …
In fact, what I can never seem to understand is why it is taking so long for people – particularly for men – to rise up against the Left, given its appalling attitude and behaviour over the past two decades.
In combination with the feminists, the leftists have done their very best – with much success over here in Europe – to break up our countries, our cultures and our families, while at the same time heaping hatred upon hatred on to their very own people!
I just cannot understand how they have gotten away with this for so long.
You cannot go round continuing to display rigid intolerance and horrendous injustice against millions of men in your very own country and not expect some kind of violent backlash from them.
And matters are definitely going to get much worse.
He ends with a weasel-worded half-endorsement of this “violent backlash.”
The war against the Left will just continue escalating and, at some stage, with any luck, the leftists and the feminists will be defeated without too much carnage.
Well, that’s reassuring. Harry doesn’t want there to be “too much carnage.”
Which naturally leads to the question: just what does Harry regard as the right amount of carnage?
Among those MRAs who are actually willing to acknowledge that women actually suffered oppression in the past, you sometimes find this argument: “Sure, things were bad for women back then – in the 1950s, or 1890, or whenever — but these days women don’t suffer from sexism. It’s men who are the real victims.”
This argument not only flies in the face of, you know, reality; it also reflects a naïve and simplistic understanding of how prejudice works, and why it persists. Misogyny, like other prejudices, is deeply rooted; it’s been around for literally thousands of years, and permeates culture and cultural/social/political institutions. The idea that a couple of decades of feminism have been enough to eradicate centuries-old attitudes and beliefs is, if you know anything at all about history or sociology or psychology, simply absurd.
How persistent is prejudice? A recent article in Slate looks at a historical study of anti-Semitism in Germany. As Ray Fisman notes in the Slate article, the study found that:
Communities that murdered their Jewish populations during the 14th-century Black Death pogroms were more likely to demonstrate a violent hatred of Jews nearly 600 years later. A culture of intolerance can be very persistent indeed.
Let’s just let that sink in for a second: Six. Hundred. Years. The noxious ideas of anti-Semites in the 14th century deeply affected what their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren believed (and did) when the Nazis rolled into town six centuries later. (I’m assuming an average 4 generations per century here; if that’s an incorrect assumption you may need to add or subtract a handful of “greats.”)
Here are more details, from the study’s abstract:
This paper uses data on anti-Semitism in Germany and finds continuity at the local level over more than half a millennium. When the Black Death hit Europe in 1348-50, killing between one third and one half of the population, its cause was unknown. Many contemporaries blamed the Jews. Cities all over Germany witnessed mass killings of their Jewish population. At the same time, numerous Jewish communities were spared. We use plague pogroms as an indicator for medieval anti-Semitism. Pogroms during the Black Death are a strong and robust predictor of violence against Jews in the 1920s, and of votes for the Nazi Party. In addition, cities that saw medieval anti-Semitic violence also had higher deportation rates for Jews after 1933, were more likely to see synagogues damaged or destroyed in the ‘Night of Broken Glass’ in 1938, and their inhabitants wrote more anti-Jewish letters to the editor of the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer.
As Fisman notes,
Changing any aspect of culture—the norms, attitudes, and “unwritten rules” of a group—isn’t easy. Beliefs are passed down from parent to child—positions on everything from childbearing to religious beliefs to risk-taking are transmitted across generations.