Monday, February 09, 2015

Echidne Thoughts For Today: On Misogyny, Mostly

1.  Absent-minded web-surfing can result in interesting findings.  Like turning over a stone to see what slithers out.  For example, I saw a comment attached to an article about feminism (yes, one should not read those comments, but at least they demonstrate the importance of feminism) which stated that feminists are out to to either kill all men or to subjugate all men.

The commenting system allowed me to see what else this concerned person has in his writing routine, including comments on other sites.  Lo and behold (!), he had recently expressed the view that all women are emotional lying basket-cases who need to be dominated and ruled.  That's every single one of the billions of women on this earth.  The gentleman (pretty sure he identifies as a man and pretty sure he does not identify as gentle) also expressed various racist views in his comment history and all sorts of extreme right political views.  But the majority of his comments were about the perfidy of women and the diabolic nature of feminism.

This is interesting, not because I'd be a masochist (NO Fifty Shades for me, however poorly written) who loves reading about Men Who Hate Women Too Much, but because of the package in which these hatreds come (is this the sub-group the Republicans seek?)  and because  that odd fishing experiment (I've never done this before) cast a sharp light on how a little orphan comment floating all alone in the cyber-sphere looks very different when we see its parentage.

2.  It's always fun to see someone take out their hind-brain, shake it on a piece of paper and publish the result.  That's what a British barrister David Osborne did in a blog post about what constitutes rape and how women can protect themselves from getting raped (stay at home or at least dress decently and don't drink) and how "red-blooded lads" are ill-served by policies which regard raping an inebriated woman as rape.  She's out there, isn't she?  With her ass hanging out, right?  That's like the dinner bell, mates!

Osborne has removed the relevant blog (though the above link has it) which means that the evil feminazis are ruling the world.  Indeed, Osborne suspects that already because he wrote:

I have been following the latest machinations over rape allegations with some interest, as they have serious consequences for all red-bloodied males who are out on the rut. 
  For the past ten years or more, a politically driven agenda has been thrust down the throats of  court users about the deplorably low percentage of rape allegations that lead to conviction, and successive governments have been enjoined to do something about it.
My considerable experience tells me that there are basically two defences to an allegation of rape: either “it wasn’t me gov”, or “she was gagging for it”. It is also correct in my own experience that most of those accused of rape are acquitted, not simply as a result of the brilliance of my advocacy, but  because the jury did not believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim did not consent.
Into this squirming sack of grubby emotions steps Ms. Alison Saunders, who is apparently the Director of Public Prosecutions, so she should know better.  And is it just me, or are women taking over the world?  And is it just me, or do you share my dislike for the prefix ‘Ms’?  It’s all to do with political correctness, or so they say, but speaking for my wife, and I suspect millions of other wives, when she agreed to marry me, convention dictated that she took my name and became Mrs. Osborne.  She does not wish to be referred to as Ms. Osborne, nor does she wish to be known as my partner.  It’s insulting!

Here's the bit about roots and history I mentioned in #1.  Mr. Osborne doesn't like powerful women, and that fact must be studied together with his proposals for "reform" in the British rape laws.  Note that "red-blooded" adjective, too.  It's a biological argument meaning that men cannot control themselves in the presence of a woman and shouldn't have to, really.  It's up to the women not to be there (stay at home or dress in a sack if you have to go out).  All clear now?

3.  That links nicely with the supposed rules for women of the Islamic State (IS, ISIL, ISIS, a beloved child has many names).  Marriage is OK at the ripe age of nine but should certainly happen by the age of seventeen, women should study lots of religion, a bit of sewing and childcare and some science, women should never leave the house if at all possible, and remain behind the veil at all times if they do have to go out (to fight the jihad, in the absence of men,  or to get religious education).

4.  Finally, something not having to do with misogyny directly:  I've seen the term "misogyny" applied when the issue in question is not misogyny, I've seen the term "misandry" applied all over the place to issues which have nothing to do with misandry.  I've seen the terms "Islamophobia" and "racism" applied rather loosely, too.  The US right applies various terms of disparagement in similarly diffuse and hard-to-define ways.

All that exasperates me because the more I see incorrect use of such terms the less the terms themselves mean.  They become shorthand for "shut up" or "I'm right, you are wrong."

At the same time, the terms themselves are hard to define.

Take misogyny, as an example.  In an ideal world we'd reserve that term to the cases where women are hated just for being women, where nothing the women themselves could do would have any effect on that hatred.  We'd have a second term for the widespread contempt of women and all things feminine.  We'd have specific terms for the hatred of women who belong to specific subgroups, such as misogynoir (a term used by black feminists already) for the hatred of women of color and so on.  Then the use of a particular term would have a clearly defined meaning, or at least a meaning people could discuss.

As things are, all I have for this post is the general term misogyny.  In the first part the case is pretty clearly someone who hates women, who describes all women by the worst stereotypes he can find and so on.

The second part addresses a slightly different issue:  The case of a man who views women as a lower sub-group of humanity and with fewer rights than men (red-blooded men!) should have.  He's unlikely to hate his wife or daughter as long as they obey him, for instance, but he distinguishes between them and those sluts in the streets.

The third part is about religious extremism, trying to read the Koran in a way which gives women the fewest possible rights imaginable.  What kind of misogyny is that?  And what does it mean that the plan may have been written by women themselves?