Friday, 11 December 2015

Script of my response to SFU's GSWSSU's open letter...

On December 8, 2015, Simon Fraser University's Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Student Union wrote an open letter to SFU's Advocacy for Men and Boys Society in regard to my November 8 lecture on Toxic Masculinity and Toxic Femininity.

The full text of the letter can be found here.

I posted a video response to their letter, which can be found here. Some individuals have asked if I could post a transcript. I'll post here the script I used when filming, which will likely differ slightly from the video version

To the SFU Advocacy for Men and Boys Club,
We the Communication Graduate Caucus and the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Student Union write this open letter to express our concern with your November 8 2015 event, “Toxic Masculinity & TOXIC FEMININITY” co-sponsored by the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) and the Canadian Foundation for Equality (CAFE). We are not alone in our concerns. Both the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) and the Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG) are troubled by this event and by what seems to be the rise of anti-feminist and anti-woman activism on campus. SFPIRG will be releasing their own open letter soon.
We believe that your student fee-funded club is not organizing in good faith and that you are using men’s issues as a way to attack feminism. 

For decades, men’s advocates attempted to organize in ways that did not oppose feminism’s stated principles nor its underlying methodologies. Many of these advocates described themselves as feminists and were active within the broader feminist movement. Not only were their efforts ineffective in raising awareness for the problems faced by men and boys, their most vocal opponents were the very feminists who had been their allies. 

During the 1970s and 80s, the men’s movement split into two main factions: the mythopoetic men’s movement which remained firmly allied with feminism, and one comprised of non-feminists and anti-feminists that has become the modern men’s rights movement.

Which of these movements has been more successful in bringing public attention to the problems faced by men and boys? 

More than this, men’s rights activists did not start this ideological war. Since 1979, researchers like Murray Straus and philanthropists like Erin Pizzey have been systematically silenced, marginalized and intimidated by feminists for the sin of unearthing and disclosing facts that run counter to feminism’s “patriarchy” narrative. 

People conducting solid social science research into family violence have been attempting to address the existence of male victims and female perpetrators for almost 40 years, and it has been feminists blocking them at every turn. 

That these individuals and many others have set themselves in opposition to feminism is not “using men’s issues to attack feminism”, but rather a necessary component to the addressing of men’s issues. Governments across the west are using a feminist model of family violence that men’s advocates believe is wrong-headed and inadequate. This model is the primary barrier for male victims seeking victim services or justice in the criminal system. There is no way to remove these barriers without removing the feminist model from our laws and policies, and there is no way to remove the feminist model without saying, “feminists got it wrong.”

That is not “attacking feminism” for the sake of attacking feminism. It is simply reality. 

You seem to be framing feminism and efforts to address sexism as being in necessary opposition to the interests of boys and men – we see this as a false polarity. 

Feminism no longer gets to enjoy a monopoly on describing what sexism is, or mandating how to address it. Where feminism stands in opposition to the interests of boys and men, men’s rights activists will necessarily stand in opposition to feminism. 

If and when feminism ceases to be a barrier to addressing men’s issues, many men’s rights activists will gratefully cease to oppose it. When governments cease using the feminist model of family violence, or when feminists adjust their model to comply with reality rather than their ideology, men’s rights activists will no longer have a reason to stand in opposition to feminism on that issue. 

Until that day, men’s rights activists will necessarily oppose the feminist model and the theoretical framework it was based on. 

You claim that your club and your events are not anti-feminist, even as you invite anti-feminist speakers […]

Groups which are not specifically feminist or anti-feminist may be interested in hearing both feminist and anti-feminist speakers. 

It is called a free marketplace of ideas. It is called not existing in an echo chamber. It is called diversity of discourse.  

[…] and brand your posters with a biohazard graphic surrounding a sign historically used in Western culture to symbolize womanhood. That is an extremely offensive, hostile, and aggressive move coming from a group that claims not to hate women and seek only to help men and boys. 

A poster that uses a symbol for “toxic” and a symbol for “femininity” to advertise a talk that would explore the idea of “toxic femininity” is somehow inappropriate or hateful of women? Would the GSWSSU be raising the same complaint if the talk had been about toxic masculinity and had used similar symbolism on its posters? Would you be crying misandry and hostility? Would you take offence? It was feminism that first put the word “toxic” side by side with a gender. To now complain about visual symbolism that accurately reflects feminism’s own choice of words (toxic), simply because men’s rights activists served up some sauce for the goose, is sexist and reactionary.

We ask, how does that help raise awareness of men’s issues or help them in any way?

How do feminist discussions of toxic masculinity help raise awareness of women’s issues or help them in any way? Toxic masculinity has been a fixture in feminist discourse for decades, yet somehow the mere broaching of the concept of a toxic femininity is off limits to men’s advocates? 

This is nothing but special pleading, sexism and a knee-jerk defence of feminism’s ideological turf. Will feminism now claim that there are no socially reinforced attitudes and behaviors attached to femininity that are harmful to women, men or society? Will feminism now claim that toxic behaviors ascribed to femininity do not have the capacity to harm men or boys? 

Again, feminism has enjoyed a monopoly on these types of discussions for too long, and has become little more than an echo chamber where robust debate and the vigorous challenging of their ideas is framed as misogyny. This hegemony feminism holds over the discourse should be regularly contested and scrutinized for that reason alone. 

Whether my talk helped raise awareness of men’s issues is a question that should be asked of the people in the audience. 

You claim that your use of this is justified because feminists discuss toxic masculinity, but the idea of toxic masculinity has nothing to do with declaring men or masculinity to be inherently toxic. Rather it is a critique of dominant discourses of masculinity, and the belief that these forms of masculinity harm people of all genders, men and boys included. 

And here I discover that you didn’t watch my talk, or if you did, you were not being an “active listener”. At no time did I claim feminism declares men or masculinity to be inherently toxic. In fact, I specifically stated at the outset that feminists would not define toxic masculinity in that way. 

I used a definition of toxic masculinity from a feminist website that was the first google hit using the search term “toxic masculinity 101”. 

My own talk was a critique of dominant cultural discourses of femininity, with an emphasis on how these forms of femininity harm people of all genders, women and girls included. 

Further, when feminists talk about toxic masculinity, we ask what we can do collectively to remedy its effects. 

Again, someone was not “actively listening”, given what was discussed in the Q&A section. 

We do not invite speakers like Karen Straughan who promote ideas that men are irrational subjects who commit violence against women because they cannot find consenting sexual partners. But you do.

Given that you linked to a comment thread with almost 600 comments, rather than to whatever comment it where you claim I said this, I simply have no answer to that. If the GSWSSU wants me to address a statement they believe I have made, it might behoove them to link to that statement. 

You claim that men are oppressed by feminism. 

Who claims this? Is this part of the mission statement of SFUAMB? If so, I can take no responsibility for it. However, there is only one instance of any variant of the word “oppress” in the entirety of my speech at SFU, and it was in reference to feminist beliefs regarding women’s oppression.

You seem skeptical of the validity behind social issues such as men’s violence against women and the gendered wage gap, presenting flimsy evidence in an attempt to discredit us and deny our incredibly well-documented lived experiences. 

The most credible social science research demonstrates that no matter the gender of the perpetrator, violence is more likely to be targeted at men and boys than women or girls, starting before the age of 1. 

Male violence against women is a thing. It exists. What does not exist is a culture or a system of institutions that condones and normalizes it. We have legislation and policy enacted specifically to address male violence against women because 1 in 3 women will be raped or assaulted in their lifetimes. For the 1 in 1 men who will be, we have nothing special. 

The wage gap is a thing. It exists. What does not exist is a 23 percent wage gap where women are paid less than men for the exact same work. Even the American Association of University Women was compelled to admit as much in their most recent research on the topic. I’ll convey to them the “flimsiness” of their evidence if you like. 

These claims are ridiculous and insulting. 

So what? 

But we will acknowledge some of the valid points you make. You cite elevated suicide rates, workplace injuries/fatalities, and child custody decisions as examples of issues men face. Many feminists acknowledge that men deal with these issues and actively work on them. 

Citation needed. Please, show me one feminist organization who has successfully backed a shared custody bill. I can show you many who successfully quashed one, despite overwhelming bipartisan public support for it.

That is why some of us specifically focus on challenging hegemonic models of masculinity that sanction men for expressing emotions. 

Is this where you call MRAs whiny piss-babies? Maybe take a swig from your male tears coffee mug?

Oh, wait. Now I get it. If we just convince Joe Schmoe that it’s okay to cry, the judge will totally give him reasonable custody of his kids. We don’t need changes to the laws or policies—what we need is for men to change themselves and thereby society’s conceptualization of masculinity before they’re allowed to maybe have equal parental rights. 

This is why many feminists support socialist governments that fund mental health. It is why many feminists support unionisation and occupational safety efforts to end worker exploitation. 

Why yes, I’m sure you’re willing to allow men to benefit as a side effect of your advocacy for women. But somehow, the ratio of deaths and maimings on the job has remained constant for decades, and men’s suicide rates have actually increased in many western countries, not only as a proportion of suicides, but as a proportion of population. 

It is also why so many feminists seek to end women’s economic dependence on men by challenging the wage gap and the patriarchal assumption that women are “naturally” suited for childcare. 

But not by supporting alimony reform legislation, or shared custody bills, nor by opposing flawed models of family violence that assume men are always the primary aggressors and therefore less likely to be fit to parent. 

Instead, you feminists do it by calling father’s rights groups not a movement for justice but an abuser’s lobby, whose primary goal is to help men abuse children and ex-partners and to get out of paying child support. 

And yes, you feminists challenge the wage gap. #giveyourmoneytowomen How about the “man tax” that feminists have suggested? Or giving bonuses based on vaginas that one university in Australia is doing? Government programs to help women make ends meet? 

Where do you think all that money is coming from, ladies? It’s primarily coming from men. If women are getting bonuses and men are not, those men are subsidizing those bonuses. Men pay over 75% of the taxes into the system. Every government program to help mitigate the wage gap depends on men’s money. 

So your answer to the problem of women being economically dependent on a man is to make women economically dependent on all men. Brava!

Those of us working on these issues believe that our work benefits everybody, and yet you still cling to the belief that our work advantages women while disadvantaging men.

Florida’s chapter of the National Organization for Women convinced the governor of that state to veto alimony reform legislation that enjoyed 80% support from the public and had passed both houses with overwhelming bipartisan support. Why? Because it would disadvantage women. Thereby harvesting gallons of male tears to fill feminists’ coffee mugs. 

How did that benefit everybody? 

If you are serious about improving life for men and boys, you might want to learn from those branches of feminism working from a broad commitment to ending all forms of oppression instead of attacking an imaginary monolithic version. 

Or I could learn from the stymied efforts of the mythopoetic men’s movement, who accomplished little more than organizing group therapy sessions in the woods. And I’m not disparaging the value of that to some men—being able to unload all your trauma and baggage in a safe place among people who understand your pain is valuable and useful. But I’d rather concern myself with preventing that trauma and baggage in the first place. 

When I first became interested in the men’s rights movement, the attitude of most feminists toward it was blanket ridicule. They laughed. They mocked. They belittled and insulted MRAs. A bunch of losers who can’t get laid. Over a very brief period, that attitude changed. Soon, instead of mockery, we were subjected to accusations of misogyny, violence, terrorism and the like. Now we weren’t a bunch of losers, we were dangerous reactionaries who need to be stopped.

And now we have some bizarre hybrid of these strategies, combined with something new: “feminism is working on these issues. You shouldn’t hate feminism. You shouldn’t oppose feminism. Feminism fights for men’s issues, too. Feminism is the light and the way and the solution to all of men’s problems.”

We have Emma Watson trotting out men’s issues at the UN and extending her formal invitation to men to sit at the equality table because feminism cares about them, too, only to pull a bait and switch and direct people to a website where men pledge to work to end sexism and violence against women and girls. 

But feminism sure cares about men’s issues. Suicide’s the leading killer of men under 40 in the UK? Well, the solution to that is for men to pledge to end sexism against women! Natch!

Feminism at its best is firmly grounded in a commitment to things like anti-racism, decolonization, disability justice, justice for all gender identities, and so much more, and when we work from this model, we are an immensely strong and effective movement. We recommend doing the following to strengthen your activism and broaden your work:

All I’m hearing here is “feminism has a habit of co-opting other people’s issues so they can continue to seem relevant.”

Need I remind you that the president of SFUAMB is a transgender woman? And that I’m a gender-queer, bisexual woman? And that some of the men’s rights movement’s most admired individuals are women? People of color? Transpeople? Disabled people? 

These people are attracted to our movement not because we are exclusionary, but because we have a solid mandate. We get that discrimination against men often disproportionately affects poor men, men of color, gay men and transpeople. We get it. But we’re not interested in co-opting issues of race or class or sexuality or gender identity and dragging them under the rubric of our movement. If the gender gap in the criminal justice system is 6 times larger than the race gap, then our efforts to close that gap will benefit men of color just as much, or more, than white men. 

Consciousness-raising: The personal is political. This means that the issues that people face are not simply individual and privatized but collective and social. 

Erin Pizzey has a different definition, one she acquired while participating in the early women’s liberation movement: You take your own personal damage and project it onto all of society. If my dad was a shit, it means all men are shit.

Consciousness-raising occurs when people gather and discuss common experiences to build a group identity, and we can see that you are doing this. 

Scientologists say this kind of thing as well. So do the agents of ISIS in Canada who recruit and radicalize young people. 

I am not in this to build a group identity. I’m in this to hopefully inform people of what’s going on. Group identities are inherently tribalistic, and I want no part of that. 

But consciousness-raising is more than just that. It also involves engaging with new information and the perspectives of people who are different from ourselves. 

Really. From everything you’ve said here, I can’t imagine the authors of this letter listened to any of the “new” information presented in my talk, or effectively engaged with my perspective. Everything in this letter is designed to protect the hegemony of a group called feminism. 

It involves naming the many systems of injustice that are working together to shape our society, and acknowledging how members of our own group or community are advantaged/disadvantaged along the lines of race/ethnicity, nationality, class, sexuality, disability, and more. Consciousness-raising asks people from privileged groups to acknowledge how they benefit from, and even perpetuate, certain forms of oppression themselves. 

So you will now concede that feminism is privileged in terms of its voice within the gender discourse? It will now ask itself how it benefits from this hegemony? It will ask itself how it might be perpetuating certain forms of oppression?

Yeah, didn’t think so. 

Does your group actually consider the evidence that sexism works to harm girls and women, and at the same time creates a narrow and rigid understanding of what a ‘real man’ is, thereby doing harm to boys and men? 

Did you even listen to my talk?

Do you talk about the ways that some men oppress other men, and how they can try to unlearn or challenge these patterns and behaviours?

Did you even listen to my talk?

Structural analysis: Intersectional feminism has come a long way from forms of feminism that simply identify patriarchy as the sole cause of women’s oppression. Due to the efforts of women who are facing multiple forms of oppression—and indeed people of all genders who are multiply marginalized—that narrow understanding of sexism is being challenged. 

So what you’re saying is you took a bowl of male privilege and female oppression, added some croutons, dried cranberries, mandarin slices and grilled chicken, and voila! Suddenly it’s not salad anymore! It’s something that’s not salad, even though it’s pretty much salad.

Globally, many feminist movements examine how racism, colonialism, imperialism, economic exploitation, heterosexism, ableism, and other forms of injustice affect women and indeed all of society, at both the local and transnational level. 

Uh huh. You know, I notice how you were very quick to provide a link when describing what a rape apologist I am—a link that requires the reader to pick through 600 comments, but still, a link. Yet you provide no links to back up your claims here.

We must name the systems that harm us and discuss how they harm us in order to help each other heal – but feminism doesn’t stop there. 

No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t ever stop.

Sometimes those who dislike feminism frame our work as playing the victim, but quite the contrary – around the world, feminist movements are working to empower people to take action in ways that actually address the root causes of oppression. 

Citation needed. Evidence needed. Proof of what are and are not the root causes of oppression needed. 

Your group seems interested in the rates of violence men face during times of war and incarceration. This is an incredibly important issue, and yet we see little evidence that you are interested in confronting militarization or the prison-industrial complex. 

Well, considering you didn’t listen to my speech before commenting on it, I’m not confident that you looked very hard for evidence of that. 

Nor do we see signs that you are working to identify how racism, colonialism, and poverty lead to men of colour, Indigenous men, and poor men’s overrepresentation and victimization in these institutions. 

You mean how there are 3 to 4 times as many missing or murdered aboriginal men than women in Canada? You mean how Adam Jones’ article regarding the establishment’s erasure of these men at the National Post was posted on the men’s rights subreddit, and how his work on gender and genocidal violence is cited all over the place by MRAs? 

Where are the feminists standing up and telling the Canadian government that missing and murdered aboriginal men should be included in a public inquiry? 

Given how necessary it is to address root causes of injustice in order to achieve meaningful levels of social change, we ask, which structures you are working to dismantle?


We are under no pretence that feminist movements are immune from critique. 

Could have fooled me.

Those of us who identify as feminist regularly find ourselves in conflict as we wrestle with systems of injustice that cut through our communities and organizations. And of course, there are many versions of feminism. 

Ah, yes. So many versions of feminism, it’s like swordfighting a fart. No matter what feminists do, other feminists can come in and say, “well, no true feminist” or “that’s not what feminism means to me” or “a real feminist would never”.

We all have our knowledge gaps and social movements often contain divisions, but we are all committed to ending sexist oppression by placing women’s diverse lives and experiences at the centre of our inquiry, analysis, and activism. 

Yes, we know. We know you put only women’s diverse experiences at the center of your inquiry. Well, and not all women’s. Anti-feminist and non-feminist women can go fly a kite. And if we keep making waves, you can just cry “internalized misogyny” and continue to ignore us.

If you want to work alongside feminist efforts to build a more just world, while focusing on boys and men, we support that. 

I wouldn’t touch feminism with a ten foot pole soaked in disinfectant. 

But if your activism continues to spread lies and misinformation about women and feminism, agitates angry men online without giving them a way to address destructive systems and heal, and attempts to restore an historically unjust imbalance of power, then we do not think that you are working in the interests of men and boys. 

Examples, please. 

See, here’s the thing. 90% of my emails are from men. And strangely enough, they’re mostly from men who tell me things like, “you’re the reason I didn’t commit suicide.” Or even more interesting, “I was starting to hate women, but then I found your videos.”

Now you tell me. If you received more than a dozen such emails every week, would you have reason to believe you were working in the interests of men and boys?

You accuse me of inciting male hatred and anger toward women, but the majority of men who contact me tell me that it is my work that calmed all that shit down. That gave them reason to hope. That made them realize that maybe there was someone out there who understands what they’re feeling. 

And you think I’m dangerous. 

And please, let me be clear. I am dangerous. Not because I “agitate angry men”. These men are already angry and agitated. I’m dangerous because I’ve given these men moral permission to not like feminism. To not like how it has consistently maligned men from its inception, all the way back to the Declaration of Sentiments. To not like how it casts them as the villains of history. To not like how it treats them as second class citizens by ignoring their pain and excusing the women who’ve hurt them. To not like how feminism can engage in hashtag campaigns like #killallmen and #giveyourmoneytowomen, all while drinking from “male tears” coffee mugs, and then in the very next breath tell these exact same men they’re man-babies and misogynists for complaining that these campaigns upset them, while simultaneously telling them that suppressing their emotions is toxic masculinity. 

I am dangerous. Not to women, or to society, but to you, feminism. 

Right now your “activism” not only reads as thinly-veiled misogyny, 

Thinly veiled? Now that’s a change of pace. Usually MRAs get accused by feminists of blatant, in your face misogyny. 

but, we believe, it also harms men and boys by failing to address the social, cultural, political, and economic issues that affect them. In short, you are doing a disservice to the people you claim to want to help.

Yes, you care so much about men and boys. We get it. Men and boys are more likely to be raised with feminist values than at any point in history, and yet their suicide rates are soaring. But I’m doing a disservice to all those men who contact me to tell me I changed their minds about suicide. Have you ladies EVER considered that you might be wrong? That what you’ve been doing might be having negative effects on men, or women, or children? Or is your moral high ground so unassailable that you can’t even conceive of the possibility?

We hope that this open letter sends a clear message to SFU AMB as well as members of the broader university community. 

Your message is loud and clear. Feminism is to be the one and only voice on gender issues. Heterodoxy will not be tolerated.

The rise of what has been framed as “men’s rights” activism on university campuses is sadly in line with other conservative reactionary groups

That’s a very interesting statement when considering SFUAMB is led by a transwoman, no? When the speaker you’re criticizing is a bisexual divorced mother of three. When some of the most popular voices in the movement are women. When our movement is comprised of men and women of all ethnicities, nationalities, races, religions, sexualities and gender identities. When the majority of MRAs are pro-choice and pro-marriage equality. Isn't it interesting that you would say that? 

(e.g. White supremacist student groups, Gamergate) 

Uh huh.

that often use the language of liberty and free speech to both discredit the experiences and voices of marginalized groups and commit co-ordinated campaigns of terror against them when members of those groups speak out. 

How do we do that? Free speech necessitates that the voices of marginalized groups be heard. This is a very bizarre statement coming from an ideology that has had a stranglehold on the gender discourse on university campuses for decades, particularly when it targets a fledgling group with marginal institutional support. 

Coordinated campaigns of terror? Last I checked, it was Gamergate that had received threats credible enough for police to evacuate buildings and search them for explosives. Last I checked, it was not feminists ejected from conventions for not toeing the ideological line—it was a diverse group of men and women who didn’t agree with feminism who were ejected, and then had the police called on them while they were picnicking in the park two days later. 

Have you ever had four cops with two police vans show up to one of your events because of reports that you’re violent and dangerous? How would that measure on the “campaign of terror” scale? You do know that police have guns, right?

Until SFU AMB can demonstrate that they are interested in doing anything more than blaming feminists for problems that are in fact rooted in patriarchy, racism, colonialism, heterosexism, capitalism, ableism, and other forms of oppression and exploitation, we encourage other members of SFU to join us and speak out against them. 

And that’s your right. Please, continue to oppose us. We’ll make the best use of the resulting press that we can, to highlight the issues of men and boys, and to illustrate how totalitarian and abusive feminism has become.

In a campus climate where women are always already dealing with intolerable levels of institutionalized sexism in the form of discrimination, harassment, and violence, 

Citation needed. 

SFU AMB’s insistence that we should allow this “activism” to go unchallenged in the name of liberty and equity is perhaps the most intolerable of all.

Oh please. Please challenge us. Please keep giving us a reason to challenge you. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

My summary of the Thunderf00t vs Laughing Witch controversy

So as many a YouTube denizen will know, there’s been yet another insane dust-up in the internet atheist community.

The central characters are YouTube science vlogger and atheist/skeptic juggernaut, Dr. Phil Mason, AKA Thunderf00t, and four relative pipsqueaks of hyper feminist bent going by the names Jenny McDermot, Laughing Witch, Hannibal the Victor 13 and Bewildered Ape.

As well as making videos on the wonders of science and his love of research, Dr. Mason has a longstanding habit of debunking bullshit, from creationism to Solar Freaking Roadways. His videos have attracted a massive following of ardent fans, with his channel boasting over 400k subscribers, and some 95 million video views. During the Atheism+ fiasco that split the community a few years back, he began taking a closer look at certain brands of feminism, and, well, he spotted bullshit.

Feminist icon and professional victim Anita Sarkeesian has become a perennial favorite target of his to take the piss out of. Her videos and public behavior are loaded with bullshit, and there’s significant overlap between fans of his skeptic videos and the saner elements of the gaming community, who’ve been undergoing a similar social justice onslaught to the one the atheist community is still struggling with, an onslaught spearheaded by Sarkeesian. Mason’s videos on Sarkeesian and other popular internet feminists are some of the most viewed on his channel.

Enter our four intrepid feminist dunces. They were not at all pleased at Mason’s targeting of Sarkeesian, arguing that his videos were largely responsible for the “waves” and “barrages” of harassment and hate the poor dear receives. After all, the mere act of criticizing Sarkeesian or her ideas acts as a literal call to action for one’s loyal evil minions to embark on campaigns of sustained abuse. Of course, the takeaway message from this would necessarily be that no criticism of her ideas should be allowed at all.

At first, their antics involved mild pokes at him in the form of videos spreading lies and misrepresentations of his positions. Next, Bewildered Ape, the only member of this “not exactly fantastic four” to have never shown his face, took it into his head to write Mason’s employer in hope of getting him fired. 

The accusation? Holocaust apologism and nazi sympathizing. For Mason, who lives and works in the Czech Republic, this was a bit of a problem, as like many European countries, the Czech Republic considers this type of speech to be a criminal offence. 

Of course, nothing came of it. Dr. Mason was not fired, as his employers apparently have IQs at least equivalent to that of Forrest Gump, possibly higher. Indeed, Mason made a video roundly scolding the Ape for such underhanded tactics, and indicating on no uncertain terms that further attempts would in no way jeopardize his employment nor his good standing in his field. You know, because they’re not retards. He also reminded Bewildered Ape that fraudulently making such allegations is a crime, and that taking internet disagreements and differences of opinion into meatspace sets a dangerous precedent that could potentially backfire.

Bewildered Ape shot back that his actions were “performance art”. I’m not joking. And the not so fantastic four retreated back to bitching and moaning on their mostly empty channels to people at least as crazy and intellectually challenged as they are. Hannibal the Victor uploaded a particularly lovely rant wherein he threatened Dr. Mason with physical harm and swore that it was now his life’s mission to utterly destroy him.

And then just this month, these feminist crusaders blatantly and publicly organized a letter writing campaign similar to the Ape’s erstwhile self-described performance art. 

This time, the letters were sent not only to Mason’s employer, but to the local police and various news outlets.

One has to wonder what kind of moral certitude is required for four gnats such as these to pit themselves against a goliath when they were well aware he had 400 times as many minions as they did, and when they seemed to genuinely believe Mason’s minions are capable of sinking to any level of depravity and atrocity.

If there was an award for self-destructive, deluded ideologue of the year, Laughing Witch put herself in the running. Over the course of several videos on her since-deleted channel, she was observed to have boasted that as a “boss” within a small business her husband owns, she’s untouchable. She can’t be fired. She was observed to have boasted, providing video evidence, that her email to Mason’s employer, the police and the media, was written under her real name. 

In other words, believing herself immune to the type of attack she was about to launch against a superior power, she doxxed herself. 

And in a follow up video, believing he’d been fired from his job, she gloated and celebrated it as a victory.

Mason’s response, on October 20th, was more circumspect than it might have been. In a video response to the campaign, he informed her that he had not been fired, and showed clips of her own videos that demonstrated her megalomaniacal levels of hubris, including the one in which she generously gave the internet all the information it needed to attack her—her real name. He also questioned the ethics of a woman who gives glowing online reviews to a company she co-owns and helps operate and negative reviews of other companies. And he warned her that her delusions of immunity were just that: delusional.

Oh the morbid deliciousness of it all. He deliberately and unerringly gave the internet everything it needed to detest her even more than it already did, and everything it required to exact revenge. And in a masterful demonstration of cynically preserving the moral high ground, he demanded a grovelling apology from her—not to him, but to the internet in general, which is populated by people who work in coffee shops and PR firms and insurance companies and software firms, and whose jobs are not as resilient to such attacks as his own.

Mean? Certainly. Intentional? Oh yes. But I have a hard time pitying Laughing Witch. 

Within hours of Mason’s video going up, Laughing Witch’s business’s Yelp page began to be flooded with bogus one-star reviews. Most were obviously fake, my personal favorite being, “I hired these guys to renovate my bathroom, and all they did was paint swastikas everywhere.” I’m not sure if Laughing Witch realizes what a courtesy that is—reviews that are obviously fake are easy to spot and remove, making the damage to a company temporary rather than permanent. They’re also easier for potential customers to spot and dismiss as pranks. 

Laughing Witch then deleted her channel, hoping to minimize the damage.

On the 24th of this month, Laughing Witch’s husband quietly uploaded a video to their business’s channel, narrated by him, and describing the situation in the most Sarkeesianesque terms. I shall paraphrase it thusly:

"My wife 'stumbled across' Thunderf00t, and [something something vague something that's not her fault because she dindu nothin other than just be a feminist online] and now there are dozens of misogynistic trolls posting 1-star reviews of our company on Yelp just because my wife 'stumbled across' this hateful evil guy and he decided to attack her for no good reason. Also, I was disabled in a work accident years ago, and the recession, and here's a picture of my dog with a sad face... My wife didn't do anything to provoke this, other than find herself in the evil Thunderf00t's line of sight. Please send us innocent victims your money, or these 14 employees will go hungry, because my wife came across Satan and Dick Cheney’s love child online and even though she was nothing but friendly to him he decided to destroy her life.”

They linked this video to an indiegogo fundraiser asking for 25,000 dollars to help them weather the damage that was incurred by this completely unprovoked and unjustified attack that was a result of Laughing Witch falling afoul of Thunderf00t for no reason whatsoever and by no action of her own. They have so far raised a little over $2000.

The next day, Laughing Witch created a new channel for the sole purpose of uploading the apology TF had demanded. She said she was sorry, and I believe she was. But not because she believed what she had done was wrong, or because she felt bad for the harm she might have caused TF (3 to 5 years in prison, if someone in power took her allegations seriously), but because the blowback from her actions had hurt her husband’s business and other people she cared about. There’s a huge difference between, “I wish I hadn’t done that because it could have hurt someone” and “I wish I hadn’t done that because it backfired and hurt me.”

Of course, the sincerity of this apology is undermined by the fundraiser video, in which Mason is described as “evil” and Laughing Witch as an innocent victim who just happened to stumble into his view. As one commenter on the debacle said, “it’s hard to trust the honesty of someone who’s waving a white flag when they’re still shooting at you…”

Since then, notoriously neutral and fair YouTube skeptic Agent of Doubt has revealed that a court judgment was levied a few months ago against LW’s company by a bank to the tune of about $25,000—what a coincidence! An update was quickly posted on the fundraiser’s page indicating that the company was already in trouble, and had filed for bankruptcy protection before any of this debacle started. Another update indicates that Laughing Witch and her husband have contacted their state senators and the FBI in hope of criminally prosecuting…….someone. 

Of course, Laughing Witch is not the only massive casualty in this debacle. The denizens of chan-life reportedly released Hannibal the Victor’s real name along with that of Jenny McDermot, and certain individuals intent on proving once and for all that no, Hannibal was not actually studying anthropology at an accredited institution of higher education, stumbled upon the uncomfortable news that he’s a sex offender fresh off the the registry, convicted by way of a police sting operation of attempting to procure a sex act from a minor. When his dox dropped in chanland, he deleted his channel and hasn’t been directly heard from since. 

Meanwhile, during the heat of the confrontation, Jenny Mcdermot, so outraged at the completely unprovoked attack on Laughing Witch who had done absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever, uploaded a video wherein she publicly engaged in criminal extortion, demanding that Mason somehow, someway, call off every single one of his 400k subscribers he doesn’t know from Adam, and anyone else who might be involved in the “cyber attack”, or else she’ll send letters portraying him as a nazi to pretty much every media outlet that has ever given Anita Sarkeesian any screentime. As an added twist, she then set conditions even more outside of his control—if her video got more than X upvotes or Y downvotes, she’d send the letters regardless of what he did or didn’t do. 

Oh the drama. Oh the stupidity. Oh the human carnage. 

It’s looking like the only member of the less than fantastic four who might emerge from this dust-up unscathed is Bewildered Ape, that master of performance art, who has never shown his face to the public.

Friday, 5 June 2015

A round-up of interviews and appearances

Unfortunately, I'm seriously lazy when it comes to self-promotion, and I don't tend to announce when I've done an interview with, say, The Young Turks, or on a given radio show. I thought it would be useful to make a post linking the many interviews and appearances I've done over the last year or two that are posted in places other than my channel.

I might not get them all, but hopefully I can remember most of them.

Spring of 2014, Edmonton AB:

Libertarian Party of Wisconsin annual convention (sorry about the sound quality):

My appearances at the Free State Project's Liberty Forum (New Hampshire):

My interview on Free Talk Live Radio at the New Hampshire Liberty forum (segment begins at 43 minutes):

Discussion of men, women, feminism and marriage on Unlock the Door Radio:

Interview with Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks:

Interview with David Pakman:

KSUM (ZenMen) Men in Peril conference:

CAFE events:

Interview with Tommy Sotomayor:

Accent Overlords podcast:

Veemonro (Vee) podcast:

Talks with Stardusk (Thinking Ape TV):

Anyway, that's all I can think of for now. Just wanted to post a round-up of different stuff I've done that people might not be aware of.

Hugs, all. 

Thursday, 14 May 2015


Last Sunday, CityTV news reporter Shauna Hunt was pranked by several not so gentlemanly gentlemen who shouted “Fuck her right in the pussy!!!” into her mic as she was attempting to tape a segment. 
FHRITP is a bit of a fad lately, the modern day equivalent of “rabbit ears” or streaking across a football field. The entire thing began with this unfortunate gaffe during a live news broadcast in the US:
Anyway, this phenomenon has been a bit of a plague for on site reporters both male and female for the last year. However, according to typical media spin, it's being portrayed as sexual harassment against women, and a degrading of all things female, instead of as the goofy, sophomoric (and yes, inconvenient) potty-humor it is. 
What makes it funny is the fact that it's offensive. And if the above reporter had been talking about his morning bowel movement on a live broadcast, young men would be running up to reporters' mics and shouting "I pooped so much corn!!!" 
This isn't about sexism. It's about the thrill of shouting something completely inappropriate in a situation where it will be guaranteed to annoy.
It's silly, it's childish, it's unadulterated fun. It's every fantasy I've ever had, while sitting in a Ukrainian Catholic church listening to a eulogy that was more about berating the living for not attending church enough than it was about honoring the deceased, of standing up and yelling, "I have a butthole, and my butthole and I are outta here! WHO'S WITH ME?" (And yes, I have had such fantasies. Don't be judgy.)
Of course the tragedy of this entire debacle is that a somewhat innocent man was punished for the collective crimes of thousands of "FHRITP"ers. This man, Shawn Simoes, didn't even shout the verboten phrase, only explained to Ms. Hunt that he found it hilarious and that he respected it as a new instalment in a long series of pranks people pull when they're in the mood to channel Tourette Syndrome. And he got fired. From a very lucrative job. For defending a prank.
And yes, FHRITP is immature. That's the whole point of it. 
What it isn't is sexual harassment or degrading to women. If anything, it's mocking the hapless reporter who started it all by being completely, boneheadedly inept.
The Honey Badgers are not amused by the fact that this man has been fired. 
And we are, yet again, asking for your help. We'd like you to send us video clips of you saying, "I fucked her right in the pussy!" (totally deadpan, silly, shouting, melodramatically "I am Spartacus-esque", or all three) to us, so we can put together an "I am Spartacus"-esque montage to show solidarity for this man who somehow managed to become the whipping boy of the professionally outraged not even for shouting "FHRITP!" into a reporter's mic, but merely for saying he thinks it's funny. 
I'll update this post with suggestions for different variations on the line, such as, "A gentleman never kisses and tells. But yeah, totally fucked her right in the pussy."
And if any of you can enlist Milo Yiannopalous in this endeavor, I would be honored beyond belief if he saw his way to contributing a clip: "Fuck her right in the where? .....ewww...."
Upload clips to google drive and send the links to
Please help raise awareness for this injustice. Whether shouting "FHRITP!" is legal or not, this man did nothing illegal. And what he did do was arguably 100X more benign than Sharon Osbourne describing the actual castration of an actual human being as "quite fabulous" (and last I checked, she still has a job).
This is not a stand against censorship--it's about this man who has been collectively punished for crimes not his own, because he dared to say he found "FHRITP" amusing. 

Well, I find it amusing. I am Spartacus. Are you?

Monday, 11 May 2015

Hate male.

And no, that isn't a typo in the title. Men are some of my most ardent and vocal opponents, and are often the ones most likely to go out of their way to say mean things to me, rather than just about me.

Female feminists will typically write articles and blog posts, or make videos, trashing me behind my back (*coughSaelPalanicough*), but it's more typically men who will send me emails or PMs, or make videos and then send them to me. Why, it's almost like male and female feminists fall well within traditional gender norms when it comes to aggressive behavior!

Anyway, I don't get many threats (I think most of my opponents know by now that I'm pretty impervious to them), but I do occasionally open my inbox to find something like this (received today), with the subject line "Your anti-feminist views":

...really suck and serve to demonstrate your complete ignorance about women's rights or lack of, throughout history, up to and including now!
 Your ugliness and inability to look feminine is likely your reason for hating women!  You certainly look male, so go ahead and epouse your sick, ignorant views.

"D" is for Don, by the way (as per the name provided in the email meta-data or whatever it's called). So either this is a man, or someone pretending to be a man.

Anyway, I'm not going to pick apart his many erudite, relevant and cogent arguments that don't reek of sexism at all. I just thought it would be good for a laugh to post an example of some of the stuff I find in my inbox every once in a while.

Cheers, all.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

No More Angry Mothers?

First, some caveats. I'm a bit of a fence-sitter when it comes to abortion rights. That is, I would never exercise my right to abortion (other than, perhaps, in the case of life-threatening complication or catastrophic birth defect such as anencephaly). At the same time, I'm not about to impose my views on abortion onto other women, or wider society, in the form of a legislated ban.

So here I am on Mother's Day, reading the following, by feminist theologian Kristine Holmgren...

...and I'm also of two minds regarding its message.

In a perfect world, no woman would be faced with the difficulties involved in the necessary decisions following an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy. In a perfect world, the only children conceived would be wanted, and the only children born would also be wanted.

By both parents.

I recall the day I told my ex we were unexpectedly pregnant. I was 30. He was pushing 50. Neither of us could have conceived (ahem) of such a thing happening. We took precautions. Every. single. time.

He turned to stare blankly at his computer monitor for a moment, and then unleashed a diatribe of frustration that began with the words, "Great! JUST FUCKING GREAT!" I'm sure you all can imagine the monologue that followed, given our ages, the ages of our two kids (both in school full time), and the fact that we were supporting the entire household on less than $30k/year.

Don't get me wrong. He didn't blame me or accuse me. But he wasn't going to conceal his outpouring of anger, frustration, grief, despair, worry, terror. And I didn't hold it against him. I felt the exact same things he was feeling. In particular, "how the hell are we going to afford another kid?" I'm sure he could see all those same fears in my face when I broke the news.

After shouting his piece, he stormed out of the house. I let him go so he could be alone with himself and collect his thoughts.

When he came back a couple hours later, he had flowers. To the best of my memory, this was the only time he'd ever bought me flowers (without my daughter talking him into it) in our entire 15 years of marriage. I'm not a "bouquet of flowers style of sentimentality" kind of woman, and never have been. But I think maybe the situation had so untethered him from any sense of normalcy that such a mundane and cliche gesture was comforting.

He apologized for shouting. He apologized for not being supportive, for not being steady. Told me we'd figure it out and make it work somehow. He knew me well enough to understand that abortion would not have been an option, even if I hadn't been weeks past the deadline before discovering I was pregnant, and I knew him well enough to understand that abortion wouldn't be what he wanted, either. We both knew from the moment the words "I'm pregnant" left my mouth, what we were going to do about it.

I hugged him and told him it was okay, that I didn't expect him to be a stone, and (good Canadian that I am) apologized to him for whatever vagaries of the universe caused the contraceptive sponge to fail at exactly the wrong moment on exactly the wrong day.

And make it work, we did, even though it was difficult.

My youngest, we'll call him Bubba (because that was one of the many nicknames we gave him growing up) knows he wasn't planned. What he's never heard or been allowed to believe for even one second was that he was an accident, or unwanted, or "my final mistake" (the heartbreaking "endearment" Holmgren's mother applied to her as she was growing up).

I recall an episode of Roseanne from ages ago, where the couple's youngest (DJ) tells his mom that his sisters said he was an accident, and he asks her if this is true. Roseanne pauses for a moment, and then replies, "You were a surprise." When asked what the difference is, she elaborates, "An accident is something unexpected that happens to you that you didn't want. A surprise is something you never realized you wanted until it happens to you."

Would that all mothers could see their children this way. As I've said in the past, given the availability of birth control and abortion, there's no such thing as accidental motherhood. Each child born is a decision made by the woman who brings it into the world. And the ability to bring forth a life created by the union of two microscopic cells is a power that should be respected--it is both a burden and a privilege.

So too is the power to shape that life once we have chosen to bring it forth.

And here lies the rub, and what the author of the HuffPo article seems unwilling to face. That even if we had no power to decide whether or not to bring a child forth, we DO have the power to treat that child with love, kindness, respect and dignity, or with resentment, anger and a cold, selfish withholding. We have the power to give that child the best life we can manage, or to give them the worst of ourselves. We have the power to treat that child like an accident, or like a surprise.

Women have this power, with or without the Pill, with or without accessible abortion. Because it's not a power we hold over circumstances or our practical ability to make whatever decision we deem best for us--it's a power we have over ourselves. We have the power to take our anger at our own mistakes, whatever they were, or our resentment at the vagaries of the universe, out on the little human persons who were created, through no fault of their own, as a result. And we have the power to transcend that selfishness and resentment and celebrate the wonder and joy that can, if we let it, be an emergent property of such surprises.

What Kristine Holmgren doesn't understand is that being angry at an innocent child because it unwittingly became a consequence of your own actions is a choice. She doesn't want to say her mother was a bad person for that cruel and dehumanizing nickname "my final mistake". She wants to say her mother's anger was justified by circumstance, if nothing else, and it may well have been.

But her mother's use of her as an outlet for that anger, as the whipping boy strapped to a post in order to spare herself, or as a more accessible and tangible target than "the vagaries of the universe", is not in any way noble or righteous or acceptable. It's not okay. It's the hallmark of a profoundly selfish and cruel human being. It's a transfer of blame: "MY decisions led to you, and that ruined my life. Therefore, despite your innocence, this is all YOUR fault."

And somehow, somehow, Holmgren believes that cheap birth control and accessible abortion will change this? How, when the problem lies not in these women's options or lack of them, but in the women themselves?

I'd like to thank Holmgren for writing an article that made me actually think about motherhood on Mother's Day. An article that describes mothers as they actually are--good, bad, loving, cold, kind, angry.

But I wonder at her naiveté that she could absolve her own mother, and so many other mothers, of the sin of punishing an innocent for the sins of others, or the remorseless caprices of nature.

Mother's Day should not be a day to pedestalize the biological ability to bring a baby into the world, nor a day to gloss over the many ways in which even the most dedicated of us fail our children, in favor of mindless worship of, and devotion to the sacred womb. It should be a day for us to see and acknowledge both the burden and the gift of the power nature has given us, rather than to demand gifts as compensation for a burden most of us these days had every right and ability to decline.

Happy Mother's Day, all.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Some thoughts about my appearance on The Agenda

So last Monday, I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on privilege and political correctness. Next day, I found myself in CBC studios in downtown Edmonton, mic on lapel, earpiece in, doing my best to stare for a solid hour into the merciless and unblinking eye of a TV camera. 

For anyone who's never done a live remote TV interview, it's a disconcerting experience. All you have to anchor you is what you can hear coming in the one ear, and the black abyss of the camera lens. You can't see who you're talking to. You have no nonverbal cues to go on. A lot of the time, if there are several people involved, it's hard to keep track of who is speaking at all.

Anyway, the focus of the topic was on white privilege, rather than gender privilege. I wouldn't qualify myself as an expert on issues of privilege and race, other than to acknowledge that the intellectual concept of privilege is a much more appropriate and effective model when applied to issues of race, class and sexual/gender orientation than it is in describing the relationship between men and women, and that race can amplify the more complicated effects of some of the gender stereotypes of men and women.

This was a point I managed to at least convey to the other panelists, even if it mostly just bounced off the forcefield generated by their feminism-infested university educations.

At one point, Desmond Cole, a black freelance journalist who's been outspoken about racism, even admitted (once I brought up the fact), that there are problems, like "driving while black", that black women will likely never experience, yet he still felt that he, as a man, had more privilege than a similarly situated woman.

Being the only panelist not in studio, and considering the focus of the topic (race), I wasn't about to go off on any diatribes about the male privilege fallacy except where opportunities clearly presented themselves. And given that three of the panelists have the full-on SJW mindset, while the fourth was a moderate sympathetic to the other three (though with concerns about the unpleasant places the "privilege discussion" might inevitably lead), well, I wasn't necessarily interested in being dogpiled by people I couldn't even see.

I spent a lot of time biting my tongue.

At some point in the discussion, one of the women on the panel asked the men if they felt they'd ever been targeted by some negative prejudgment because they were a man. To my disappointment, the answer across the board was "no". For Desmond, it was all about him being a black man. Jonathan Kay (a white secular Jew) even went so far as to say that a well-dressed white man practically has to punch someone in the nose (I have to assume that by "someone" he meant "another man") before there's going to be any real problem.

These two men simply did not feel that any of the disadvantages and problems they might face, or the negative prejudgments of other people, could possibly derive from their maleness.

I wasn't particularly surprised by this, and because the conversation was primarily about white privilege I allowed them to maintain the illusion that because they aren't aware (let alone hyperaware) of something, it doesn't really exist, though this blog post will largely focus on that. Likewise, I would like to point out that just because you perceive something is rampant and pervasive doesn't mean it does exist.

As an example of the latter, I will copy and paste here a portion of one of my comments under the Youtube video of the episode, where I refer to the very white-looking First Nations woman's lived experience of "the scowl" she typically receives when people recognize her as First Nations:

Maybe, as she mentioned, in the summer this would be more common?
Then again, she may have a hyperawareness that leads her to perceive things that aren't actually there? 
I remember one time I was standing at the dairy counter at the store, trying to do math in my head regarding the price per gram of cheddar cheese so I could get the best deal. This can be annoying when Kraft sells in 904 grams, 700 grams and 450 grams while Black Diamond sells in 750 grams and 400 grams. Dude, it's a lot of math to do in your head when you're pinching pennies.
So I glance up with this enormous scowl on my face and notice a man kind of checking out my butt. He looked up and noticed me scowling into the middle distance but unfortunately in his direction, spun on his heel and hightailed it out of there. It took me a moment to realize he thought I was scowling because he was looking at my butt, and when I did, I kind of wanted to chase after him and tell him, "No! It's okay! I have a butt. I like that men think it's nice to look at! You weren't being rude or gross, you were just discreetly checking out my butt in these jeans I bought primarily because they make my butt look good, and that's okay! I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the cheese!" Alas, it was too late.
Anyway, Jonathan Kay mentioned that as a white person, his first thought when he gets a scowl is "what did I say or do?" For some people who are visible minorities or women, that's the last stop on the train of thought--the first assumption is "I'm being judged based on my identity." The reality is, both questions are good to ask, because sometimes a scowl is about prejudice, sometimes it's based on something you did or said, and sometimes it's just about freaking cheese.

It's entirely possible that having grown up in an urban neighborhood with many First Nations people (and yes, I know how very hostile and judgmental people (not just whites) can be with aboriginal people in Canada, particularly in cities), and being considered one of them during her childhood, if not by looks then by association, she developed a hyperawareness of racist attitudes that caused racism to be the go-to assumption whenever anyone looks at her funny, even now that she's a well-dressed lawyer who could pass for white. To her, particularly because her legal advocacy is so focused on aboriginal issues, it's always about racism, and never about the freaking cheese. It may even be the case that because the racism is, in her mind, inevitable, she's giving off all kinds of prickly nonverbal cues that are actually causing some of the scowls that she's attributing to racism.

On the other hand, there is clear evidence (of the empirical, statistical sort) that men and boys face many challenges and negative prejudgments that women and girls will be much less likely (if at all) to face. Just because most men don't feel this is the case does not make it stop existing.

While men are disproportionately represented in positions of authority (usually through self-selection--you can't vote for a woman who doesn't run, after all), they are also disproportionately represented in positions of marginalization: victims of child abuse (particularly the most extreme forms), youth excluded from school, the unsheltered homeless, those injured or killed on the job, victims of murder and aggravated assault, victims of state violence (such as police shootings), and victims of gender bias in the criminal justice and family court systems.

When men and boys suffer harms or injustices, we take it less seriously than when women and girls suffer them. When men or boys commit harms or injustices, we take it more seriously than when women and girls commit them. This is true across cultures. And the entire model of "male privilege" cooked up in feminist academia only tells us we are entirely justified in feeling that way, because the male privilege model presupposes that men don't and can't suffer genuine harms or injustices because they are men, while all harms and injustices women suffer, even if men suffer them in equal or greater proportions, are suffered by women because they are women.

As a case in point, we could look at the current attention being given to online harassment of women.

The popular narrative is that women are targeted for abuse, harassment and threats online because they are women (or sometimes, because they are women with opinions). However, research indicates that men in the public eye receive as much, if not more, abuse, harassment and threats. There were some differences. Women were more likely to receive rape threats, while men were more likely to receive threats of murder against themselves or their families. And there's certainly a conversation to be had there as to why people attempting to upset a man would threaten to kill his family, while people attempting to upset a woman would threaten to rape her, but still. This is a problem suffered at least as much by men as by women, and yet the narrative in the mainstream is that this is a problem women suffer because they are women, and therefore a feminist issue. That the internet is a uniquely unsafe environment for women.

This can only cause many women to harbor unwarranted fears about speaking their mind online, while simultaneously erasing or minimizing the experiences of male victims of online abuse.

While Jonathan Kay may have asserted that a well-dressed white man needs to punch [some other guy] in the nose before getting into trouble, a whole host of social experiments easily searchable on Youtube involving altercations between men and women demonstrate that he's very much mistaken. Time and again, bystanders will step in, sometimes violently, to protect a woman whose boyfriend is menacing her. On the other hand, a woman can physically assault her boyfriend for hours and hundreds of people, including an off-duty cop, will walk right on by.

And even in areas of extreme societal apathy caused by racism, such as the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women issue that is finally getting some attention, well, I have to wonder if Mr. Kay, or even First Nations lawyer Katherine Hensel, are aware of (or if they are, care a great deal about) the larger numbers of missing and murdered aboriginal men.

It's clear to me that men are the targets of social apathy, at best, and of blanket presumptions of malevolence at worst.

I would hope that if Desmond Cole ever reads this blog post, he might consider the following, which is a paraphrased amalgam of dozens of comments and blog posts by men of many different ethnicities that I have read over the last several years.

When I walk down the street, I find myself imagining that female strangers view me with suspicion and fear. This phenomenon is what American writer and activist John Doe described as "gender consciousness": how men experience reality through their own eyes, and through the eyes of a society where women fear strange men. 

Now let's add the part that so many men add to these types of discussions:

This is why I consider the possible fear that a woman walking ahead of me on the sidewalk might be feeling, and out of courtesy to her, I cross the street until I'm well past her. Sometimes I will turn an earlier corner and take a different route home so that she won't be afraid I'm following her or mean to attack her. I know that, as a woman, she may be feeling very vulnerable even just walking at night. I believe these little things are the least a man can do to put a woman at ease.

And now, let's rewrite this paragraph:

This is why I consider the possible fear that a white person walking ahead of me on the sidewalk might be feeling, and out of courtesy to him, I cross the street until I'm well past him. Sometimes I will turn an earlier corner and take a different route home so that he won't be afraid I'm following him or mean to rob him. I know that, as a white person, he may be feeling very vulnerable even just walking at night in a mixed race neighborhood. I believe these little things are the least a black person can do to put a white person at ease.
And all of a sudden, the squick factor is right there, for everyone to see.

The men who write these types of comments and blog posts don't feel targeted by negative stereotypes of men, even as they are hyperaware of them and even as they self-police their own behavior to compensate. Black men would be rightly disgusted by the expectation that they should have to go out of their way to cross a street or take a different route home to accommodate the racist prejudices of white people. Yet millions of men of diverse ethnicities not only think it's okay to cross the street to accommodate the sexist prejudices of women (and many men), they actually believe it's the least they can do. Hey, it's what any decent man (black, white, whatever) would do.

If men do not feel targeted as men by the exact same negative stereotypes Desmond complains about when they apply to blacks, perhaps it's because so much of the targeting is self-inflicted? Or because there is no social consensus that these prejudices are morally wrong, let alone a glimmer of consensus that expecting men to bend over backwards to accommodate the sexist prejudices of society (particularly women) just might be, oh, I don't know... unjust?

Mr. Cole, if you're reading, I think it bears mentioning, since race is a huge factor in how a person gets treated every step of the way in the criminal system, and I assume you would consider this unjust and racist: the gender gap in the criminal system is actually larger than the gap between blacks and whites. When committing identical offences under identical circumstances, men are:

  • more likely to be stopped
  • when stopped, more likely to be arrested
  • when arrested, more likely to be charged with a crime
  • when charged, charged with a more serious crime on average
  • when charged, more likely to be prosecuted
  • when prosecuted, more likely to be convicted
  • when convicted, more likely to be sentenced to custody
  • when sentenced to custody, will serve a 60% longer sentence on average
These differences actually skew wider as the severity of the crime goes up. That is, the gender gap in conviction and sentencing for capital murder is wider than that for shoplifting. In fact, the gender gap in the criminal system is so profound that black women are, on average, treated more gently than are white men.

Yet you, despite acknowledging that the ubiquitous phenomenon of "driving while black" is actually "driving while black and male", you do not feel targeted as a male by negative prejudices and assumptions. You and Jonathan could not conceive of a situation in which negative stereotypes of men might put you at a disadvantage compared to women. 

Any reasonable person would consider the above bullet-point list, if it were comparing blacks to whites, to be an indication of pervasive negative attitudes about blacks, yet you seem blissfully content with being targeted as a man because you don't feel you are--you've conceptualized any and all prejudice you suffer as pertaining to race alone when in reality it's a combination of your race and your sex. In fact, against all empirical evidence, you feel uniformly privileged by your maleness, because you've been told you are, over and over and over, even as the statistical evidence shows many of your complaints about how you are treated as a black person are problems common to men of all races (even whites!) and then exacerbated and amplified by the fact that you're black.

And more than simply ignoring those prejudices about men and the disadvantages disproportionately suffered by men, you have a moral duty, as a man, to acknowledge all this privilege you have, and go out of your way to be sensitive to women's feelings of marginalization, despite women in the western world doing better than men on nearly every single metric you would use to impute privilege on whites and disadvantage on blacks. And you don't even feel targeted by any of that.

Or this.  Stop blackspreading. It's a space issue.

Or this.  Blacks need to be reminded not to rape.

Or this.  Name the problem: black violence.

Or this.  Stop hogging the sidewalk, black people.

Or this.  Can blacks be taught not to rape?

Or this.  The entire black cultural identity needs to change so you all will stop shooting people.

Or this.  Look, black people, we know you've got your own serious problems, but they can best be solved by working for our benefit rather than your own. 

Or this.  Whites, do your part for society: Kill a black person. Then put on a play about how awesome it is to hate blacks for middle school students. 

Or this.  Blacks are unnecessary wastes of skin, but we'll probably keep them around because we're cool like that.

If ANY of this shit I linked to was said or done about black people (or any other minority), you would be fuming, Desmond. But because men dominate in the top 10% of society, and you are blissfully unaware that they also dominate the bottom 30% (in most, if not all, cultures), you've bought into the whole "male privilege" schtick that allows people to justify talking about you and every other man on the planet in this way.

White privilege and male privilege are NOT the same. They just aren't. They emerged through entirely different biological and cultural evolutionary mechanisms, and there is simply no way they can be treated as remotely identical. Yet there are feminists out there who have asserted that the experience of a field slave in Alabama in the 1700s was no different to the experience of the plantation owner's wife, whose pointed finger could get that slave whipped, or worse. There were feminists in the freaking mid-1800s who are now portrayed as the valiant heroines of women's suffrage in grade school textbooks, who claimed that if black men got the vote before women did, lord only knows what white women would suffer at the hands of those predacious and dangerous black men, and that black women would suffer a worse oppression under their own men than any slave suffered under slavery. 

Tell me how that last part was all about blackness, and in no way about maleness.

The higher up in society you go today, the whiter things look, and the lower down you go, the more black they look. Men, on the other hand, dominate both the tippy top and the wider bottom, while at the same time, in nearly every western country, women have better access than men to health care, housing, social spending and benefits, education, charity, their own children, government programs to mitigate poverty and social safety nets, and live longer, healthier, happier, safer and more balanced lives, than men.

While you, and not your black mother, and certainly not some white dude's mom, are getting stopped and frisked for no other reason than that you are black and male, the bias against men (particularly minority men) in the justice system leads to wildly skewed prison populations that lead people to believe those stop and frisk policies should disproportionately target men, particularly minority men.

And statistically, more than half of the bias you'll experience as a black man if you're ever arrested, which will cause you to be more likely to end up incarcerated and for a longer period, exists because you're male, Desmond.

And then the powers that be will turn around and use the result of these prejudices (the ~95% male prison population) and the portrait of masculinity it paints, to justify the profiling that, while experienced more often by minority men, applies to all men.

And the real kicker is, if you ever did start to feel targeted by this sexism the way you do by racism, and you wanted to do something about it, Canadian Human Rights bodies won't do one damn thing about it, and hate speech laws don't apply.

Because it's not actually against the law in Canada to discriminate against men. Because you men are already protected by all that sweet, sweet "male privilege".