Archives for posts with tag: #YesAllWomen

The infamous “they,” who are the anonymous creators of all conventional wisdom, say that when men go out on first dates, their biggest fear is being rejected, but when women go on first dates, their biggest fear is being murdered. I’m fairly certain this originated around the same time that online dating became a thing, and scary internet strangers followed the already-established internet trends of generally being terrible people. This saying that “they” so ruefully divulge is meant to illustrate the severity of a woman’s plight in a man’s world. Death is much more deserving of fear than rejection, after all.

This fear is endemic beyond the realm of Tinder creeps, however, and men in parks, parking garages, and on transit are all potential attackers. The term “Schrodinger’s Rapist” was coined to illustrate that a strange man is both a rapist and not-a-rapist simultaneously until he has proven himself to be one or the other. By linking this fear to the intellectual heights of quantum physics, it becomes that much more convincing because people will always just nod along rather than pretend to know anything about the nature of the subatomic universe. The burden of proof to overcome this categorization lies with the man, of course, as men are the ones seen to be responsible for this fear.

When I first heard what “they” said, my first thought was, why? If there is even an inkling that a man on a first date is going to be a murderer, then avoid going on that date! Problem solved! This was the result of my ignorance of the endemic nature of women’s fear of men, but the question still holds against that generalized fear. Why? Fear is not self-justifiable. Someone can be afraid of spiders, just because, and no one cares because that doesn’t impact the world at all, but being afraid of a subset of human beings requires more critical analysis. A person that says, “It doesn’t matter why I’m scared of black people, just that I am and that fear needs to be respected” is clearly a racist and represents a systemic problem of anti-black sentiment that would need to be addressed. One could even argue in an American context, “The biggest fear of a black person going into an all-white establishment is rejection, but the biggest fear of a white person going into an all-black establishment is being murdered.” Remember that scene from Animal House? It’s not even that much of a stretch: an all-white establishment is more likely to be in a wealthier neighbourhood in contrast with the all-black establishment which will more likely be in a poorer neighbourhood with a higher crime rate, and blacks disproportionately commit more murders than whites.

This isn’t totally fair. Women who suffer violence are only very rarely attacked by other women, and men are so predominantly the perpetrators in this violence that the fear becomes justifiable as simple prudence. If a woman is walking down the street at night, it is far less of a gamble to come across another woman than a man. Yet an acceptance of prejudicial caution based on statistical probability can set a disturbing precedent. Aboriginals in Canada suffer alcohol-related deaths four and a half times more than their non-Aboriginal counterparts; does this mean a bartender or liquor store clerk should scrutinize their Native patrons beyond the normal purview? In the United States, of all the under 18 robbery arrests, blacks represent 68.6% of offenders (despite black people only representing ~12% of the general population); does that justify a store owner sending an employee to follow a black youth until they leave the premises? Increased racial scrutiny is quite rightly decried as racist among progressives, despite the statistical prudence, because it forces the conversation away from the structural causes of these statistics and onto individual behaviours which cannot be universalized. Placing the burden of proof on the “antagonist” in any of these situations and acting “prudently” until a verdict is reached will only ever serve to protect a harmful prejudicial worldview based on an unjustifiable fear that only ends up distorting the much needed conversation of the reformation of those structures.

Hold on, though. Violence against women is targeted. A store is usually robbed because of the economic incentives of the robber. This is not the case when it comes to violence against women. Similarly to how racial and sexual minorities are singled out, so too are women attacked for no other reason outside of the fact that they are women. Rape culture is emblematic of a society where rape victims are often blamed for their own rape, where the justice system fails to convict the majority of rapists, and these tragedies are met with apathy or bafflement by most public officials. There is a permissiveness in regards to violence against women that permeates the dominant culture that women have to swim in every day of their lives. Enduring that burden surely merits a fearful reaction.

And yet, the violence faced by men and women are at about parity. Yes, women suffer a greater number of sexual assaults, but men are more likely to be the victims of aggravated assault, homicide, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, etc. If we acknowledge the gendered implications of the prevalence of female victimization in specific crimes (as we should), then we must too acknowledge that men are singled out when they represent three quarters of all homicides, three quarters of all aggravated assaults, and two thirds of all assaults with deadly weapons. No one talks about these crimes as being gendered, despite the male propensity to being their victims, and the common criticism of “violence against women” that it doesn’t include men as the perpetrators is highly ironic when gendered male crime is just called “violence” and does not even acknowledge the victims.

Since gendered-violence as it relates to male victims hasn’t really been discussed very much, I’ll offer a theory of my own as a potential answer to why there is a social acceptance of committing violence against men: throughout history, men have typically been the warrior class. Historical acts are considered particularly savage when women and children are killed, because they are considered “helpless” compared to the men who are simply expected to be victims of warfare. The noble assassin in contemporary media is the one who refuses to kill women and children. The expectation is of men to participate in the Game (to steal a phrase from The Wire), and to be willing to kill and die to protect those women and children, as seen in the rules of boat-sinking: they are the ones to get into the lifeboats first. Based on the social attitudes that all men intrinsically belong in the Game, dramatic violence against them is therefore considered normal.

Despite the comparable permissiveness of violence against men, men are less likely to be afraid of violent crime than women. One study showed that 3% of men aged 25 to 54 stayed in at night to avoid being the victim of a crime, compared to 17% of women. Considering that men are more likely to be attacked by strangers in a public place than women, it becomes clear that the blanket fear of the male stranger is not based on the permissiveness of violence, but is as socially constructed as all the other discriminatory phobias.

Let’s look at another socially constructed fear: Islamophobia. The Middle East is a hotbed of normalized violence and cultural warfare with routine calls for the destruction of the West from groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. All these groups are steeped in Islam, yet the cause of the anti-Western sentiment is more than likely due to the forcible implementation of secularization on an unwilling populace and the colonial exploitation of the area for its resources. Islam became the vehicle for the inevitable aggressive reaction because it was already the established religion and does contain scriptural elements that denigrate non-believers.

Despite these external influences being the catalyst of the violent instability of the region, Islam is still rife with controversy. The Quran condemns homosexuality in a similar fashion to all the Abrahamic religions, allows moral exceptions to cheating and plundering non-believers, and advocates for a global caliphate as an appropriate method of world governance. The Quran also forbids murder, coercive conversion, and demands that prisoners of war be treated as cherished guests, meaning that most terrorist propaganda videos are distinctly non-Islamic. There are genuine problems with Islamic ideology, as with all religious doctrines, as well as many positive aspects. The root cause of violent Islam today is the reflection of the hostile and oppressive social environment in which it exists. Similarly, the horrific nature of medieval history under Christianity was a mark of the times, as was the Islamic cultural enlightenment as its stark contrast during the same period. Even Judaism is finally getting a chance at oppressing others based on the relatively new ideology of Zionism mixed with anti-Arab sentiment created by the unending hostilities with Israel’s surrounding nations. Context is key for understanding ideological violence, yet it does not forgive it and technology today allows the hatred of people thousands of miles away to kill innocent civilians in its name.

There is no dispute that there are more deaths caused by local violence than of terrorism, but that is a privilege of the West as cities like Fallujah succumb to terror on a near daily basis. Attacks on the West, such as Paris, Brussels, Boston and of course New York show that the possibility of a Western attack is non-negligible. It is also indicative of the targeted nature of violence against Western civilization which we’ve already discussed as grounds for justifiable paranoia.

Western media tends to hype terrorism with fear-mongering scare tactics, but how is that much different from the #YesAllWomen campaign that literally suggests all women are victims, or the uproar over Brock Turner and the permissiveness of rape in American justice? In both cases, people are pointing at their antagonist and shouting, “See? See? There is a culture of violence that establishes a permissiveness regarding targeted violence!” Not to dismiss the abomination that the Brock Turner case ended up being, but I feel that a comparison to the attacks in Paris is not unfair. The progressive response to the construction of Islamophobia is, completely ignorant of the irony, essentially #NotAllMuslims, and then detractors argue that acknowledging that not all Muslims are terrorists is irrelevant and distracts from the very real and critical conversation that needs to be had about the violent nature of the Islamic religion. What is Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims if not a prudent reaction against Schrodinger’s terrorist, placing the burden of proof upon them to quell his prejudicial fears? Is the Islamophobic response to terrorism truly based on a reaction to the horrific deeds of a Muslim minority, or the proliferation of media-hyped imagery creating a fearsome stranger? What about with men?

Obviously there are problems with the culture of masculinity, just as there are problems with Islam and all other dogmatic ideologies. One could even argue that the toxic aspects of masculinity pervade the toxic aspects of Islam. Hell, even I would argue that, but fear is not the solution to either of these cultures, and a blanket fear of one cannot be condemned while tacitly accepting the blanket fear of the other.

This was my belief for the longest time: that androphobia was going unaddressed in progressive circles because of blind hypocrisy or intellectual incompetence. Sadly, the greatest threat to my convictions came in the form… of a meme.


Memes! The Scourge of the Internet!


I was a cyclist for four years, riding my bicycle to and from work every day. I am well aware of the open hostility cars display toward cyclists, as well as the fear that grips your heart each time you feel the wind of a car passing by just a little too closely. Was this the answer to my confusion over the progressive acceptance of what I found to be a crippling hypocrisy? Differing races and religions would just be different makes or models of cars, equal in every basic respects, so a fear among cars is unjustifiable, whereas the fear of a cyclist on a road full of cars undoubtedly is. Luckily I eventually remembered that memes are stupid, and came to my senses.

Cars and bicycles are not equal. An argument could be made for an equal share of the road, yes, but cars are monstrous machines of death, and cyclists are fragile. Which means that if this metaphor is adopted as the reason a woman’s fear is justifiable, then it must also be accepted that women are inherently fragile creatures. Not physically weak, as weakness is only a single aspect of being, and a weapon of an attacker would make physical strength irrelevant (remember men are attacked twice as often with weapons as women, making their natural physical strength superfluous in defending themselves). Strength is also relative, and a fear in weakness would mean a scrawny man is justified in a fear of a strong man who is justified in a fear in a stronger one. This scale of fear in men does not exist. Steve Rogers started out weak before his magical super serum, but was still courageous enough to fight back, undaunted. Weakness is not an excuse for fear, but fragility is. Fragility is holistic. It would encompass her whole being. The lightest touch of a passing car would destroy a cyclist. That is not an inability to defend oneself, that is glass.

If we accept that men and women are not equal, then feminine dependency loses its status as a social construction and becomes biological. For a just society to function, the fragile would need to be protected. We do it with developing children in their inherently fragile state, and if this extends to women then a potential solution the Middle East has already established is the insistence that women cannot go outside unaccompanied. In America, where a mandatory male escort may seem too patriarchal, maybe there could be a new law decreeing that all women must carry a gun since guns seem to solve everything. Women would need to be excluded from physically demanding careers, such as the police, fire fighters, or military, as their fragility would prevent adequate performances in those roles. The infuriating “equal but different” theory would need to be reexamined, as the nurturing role of women and the provider role of men would have new evidence supporting it.

If men and women are equal, then a prejudicial fear is exactly that. If they are not, the fear is justified, and feminism is irreparably broken. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out which option I prefer.

If a woman is victimized, is she justified in her fear of men? Of course! Trauma-induced phobia is common, associated with many prejudicial fears, and is never condemned by a competent counselor. The counselor would never reinforce those beliefs, however, and would eventually help the person overcome them in order for that person to reintegrate into functioning society. And really, most women are satisfied with their personal safety. The fear of men is not crippling the women of our country, and most live quite harmoniously despite the statistics and culture. It’s just that when that fear does arise, it needs to be acknowledged for what it is, lest we fall victim to a Trump-esque response.

Post-script: The FBI database of crimes-by-race I linked to earlier here, needs to be understood in regard to the racial makeup of America. Whites account for 63.7% of the total population, so if a percentage of white crime is hovering around that area, it is proportional to the population size: ~60% of the population is committing ~60% of crime X. If that number is including Hispanics, which it might because they’re not represented elsewhere and for some reason the Wikipedia page I linked to for racial populations has a “whites” count that includes Hispanics that would make white people 72.4% of the total population, then that second number would represent the proportional value. I’m not sure I get the distinctions, but “black” is pretty clear cut at ~12% and that’s the example I used in my post. I’m just adding this if somebody wanted to explore the link, which they might since it’s an interesting read. For instance, white people are worse at the variety of liquor violations than black people, despite the racial ghettoization that black people were forced into. Makes you think!


My first criticism of feminism is that it has become too broad, forcing me to add an adjective into my title and to use it continuously throughout the remainder of my post. It has become too broad in that within the ideology contradictory messages are being espoused. For example, there are arguments within feminism both for and against prostitution. Another example: Emma Watson, the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, can champion feminist solidarity by saying that women from Kenyan plantations to divas in Hollywood all share common ground. Watson can then, within another feminist mindset, be criticized for not acknowledging the intersecting influence of race and class on the women for whom she claims universal truths. Feminism has exploded into sectarianism, and with no ideological canon, it has boiled down to individual interpretation which really makes it difficult to say anything substantial about it as a whole. So when I say popular feminism, I don’t mean any of the established waves of feminism, radical feminism, or academic feminism, I mean the shit that shows up on my Facebook newsfeed, and it is this that I will be examining.

To be clear, I’m not one of those “humanists” people. I mean, I am in that I believe in the secular value of human life, but I do consider myself a feminist because there is an obvious disparity between men and women that puts women in an inferior role. However, I don’t believe any ideology to be infallible, so to condemn me solely for the act of critically analyzing a progressive movement would only be dogmatic zealotry. My points may be contentious, but they still need to be heard with an open mind first.

One of my concerns is how victimhood has become a celebrated mark of identity. The #YesAllWomen campaign was a means for women to go online and exclaim their grievances as universal. There are certainly grievances to be had, such as sexual harassment at the workplace and catcalling on the streets, but enforcing universality (and All Women implies universality) means that every woman is a victim. It is said that 1 in 6 women in America will suffer a rape or an attempted rape in their lifetime, and while that it is a maddeningly high percentage, it is not ‘all women’. But fear begotten by universal victimhood creates Schrodinger’s Rapists, where a man who approaches a woman on a cold, dark street is both a rapist and not a rapist until her perception proves either way.

However, men in Canada are more likely to be attacked by strangers in a public space than women. If a woman is at a party and is planning to walk home, statistically she is safer on the walk home than she is either at the party or at home. This is a horrifying reality to be sure because of what it implies about the home and the party, but popular feminism prefers to focus on the easier sell of the dangerous stranger. Schrodinger’s Rapists end up being red herrings.

Victimhood is a social construction from long ago, and as women were seen to be the weaker sex, the notion of victimhood had been feminized long before popular feminists had gotten to it. However, there has been little effort to cast off the title, and this has damaged the popular feminist dialogue. For instance, it has denied men the possibility of being victims.

Now, I don’t mean “men get raped too!” or “men suffer domestic violence too!” because those areas are so highly dominated by female victims that forcing the conversation to acknowledge the token men who suffer the same treatment is usually only ever an attempt to hijack the discourse. I do mean that in a study of 215, 273 homicides in the United States from 1976 to 1987, 77% of the victims were male. Canadian data from 2008 shows similar results of 74% of homicide victims being men. From the same data, men are three times more likely than women to suffer aggravated assault and about twice as likely to suffer an assault with a deadly weapon. This is not hijacking the discourse because I believe the cause of male victimhood is the same for female victimhood: toxic masculinity. However, saying “all women are victims” eliminates the full scope of the problem by denying men their potential to be victims, and precludes women escaping the role.

Further problems with popular feminists embracing the victimhood identity is that for every prey there must be a predator. Eric Hoffer’s view on mass movements suggests that mass movements cannot exist without an antagonist, and the predator and prey mentality forces a binary that puts women on the one side as victim, and men on the other as perpetrator. This leads to problems. I once witnessed a woman post on Facebook about how she was all for gender-neutral bathrooms, but was unsure about men using it as she wouldn’t feel safe sharing a bathroom with a cis-man. The following discussion centred around the logistics of how to solve this dilemma while still maintaining the illusion of inclusiveness, as no one seemed to disagree that cis-men are unsafe while they pee. The “Teach Men Not To Rape” slogan implicitly states that men would normally rape if not taught otherwise. Male sexuality often comes under fire, like this male fraternity putting up a banner suggesting a drop-off for freshmen daughters and moms too being condemned as an example of the pervasive rape culture in American universities. While overtly sexual and crass, the banner nowhere implies that consent would not be respected by the men at the fraternity, but it still was considered predatory. One last example: it’s usually agreed upon that crossing the street to avoid a black man is racist, but doing it because of his gender rather than his race is simply being prudent because of the nature of quantum rapists. Many MRAs cite misandry to explain these behaviours, but that’s stupid. It’s not a hatred of men. If anything, it would be androphobia because it is fear dictating these actions, not hate.

An ideology based on fear is troubling for many reasons. Primarily, it excludes the voices of those that it is afraid of. Men who make advances toward women are criticized for only backing down once the woman has told him she has a boyfriend. The popular feminist theory is that the male will only acknowledge a woman as the property of another man. However, it is far more likely that the “boyfriend” excuse externalizes the suitor’s rejection, allowing him to maintain his masculine identity which demands sexual prowess and charm. A simple ‘no’ is interpreted as an internal failure; a failure as a man. You wanna know why I think this? Because I have experienced rejection and that’s what it feels like. By explaining male behaviour without including male voices, popular feminists create damaging theories based on assumptions and falsities. Another example is what is colloquially known as man-spreading while on a bus, where men are seated with their legs open, taking up more space. The popular feminist theory is that the men feel entitled to all the space around them. Is it not possible that men have something extremely sensitive protruding between their legs that they don’t want to have to adjust publicly in order to close their legs? Similarly, men who do not get out of the way on sidewalks are accused of the same thing for the same reason. These are based solely on female-driven anecdotes, yet they are considered gospel. I mean, what about women who take the outside seat on the bus and put their purse on the inside one? I don’t have an answer, I just wanted to give a counterexample. If a problem is sought, it is likely to be found, but the bias of the seeker will be the sole influence of its origin. The reason I accept toxic masculinity as the root cause of male violence is because male voices have confirmed it. By eliminating the dialogue, behavioural theories are simply made up and treated as reality.

Fear is also alienating. Masculine insecurities are often mocked, and “male tears” has become the catchphrase of popular feminists who wish to disregard the lived experiences of men. Males hold a position of privilege, after all, so anything they suffer can only ever be a first world problem. Yet, men are three times more likely than women to commit suicide, quite probably because of the burden of masculinity which stigmatizes help and internalizes blame. This makes it a deadly serious issue, and trivializing it is monstrous. It’s like mocking a woman for buying beauty cream; she’s been conditioned to think her beauty is her most important feature, except it’s a man who has been conditioned to believe his manhood is his most important feature, and he’s more likely to kill himself (or others, really) if he doesn’t measure up to the social expectation.

The reaction to the #YesAllWomen campaign, #NotAllMen, was summarily criticized for distracting from the conversation surrounding every woman being a victim. However, #NotAllMen could very well have been the more important hashtag. By giving examples of positive male behaviours in contrast to the all-too-common negative ones, it could have brought healthy male role models into the limelight. This could have reduced the fear of men among women, and shown men that there is an alternative to the brash hypermasculinity that is touted as the norm in mass media imagery. A commonly agreed upon solution to violence against women is to integrate the perpetrators into the dialogue by saying that “a man raped a woman” rather than “a woman was raped.” If toxic masculinity is the perpetrator for violence against women, how is positive male role models distracting from the conversation instead of being the solution to it? Rather than saying, “it’s not about you” when #NotAllMen comes up, wouldn’t it be more pragmatic to encourage men to celebrate the healthy way they interact with women, and how they might influence that conduct in their peers?

I once saw an opinion piece on how good dads shouldn’t be celebrated. Dads possess just as much capacity for nurturing their children as moms, and giving a gold star for what amounts to normal behaviour is seen as the enforcement of the idea that it is a socially alien concept. It’s what men should have been doing all along, so why do they get the gold star for doing it now? Except that’s stupid. That’s like not celebrating females in the hard sciences because they’ve always had the capacity to participate in those fields. Predators in a fear-based ideology cannot be seen in a positive light, so their legitimate progressive advances are minimized.

This has been put together from the views of multiple people I’ve seen on Facebook and other social websites, and it is quite likely that a person who adheres to one part of what I’ve said does not adhere to a different part. Like I said in the introduction, feminism has become sectarian, so looking at what I’ve put and saying #NotAllFeminists is just as meaningless as me saying that every feminist believes everything I have just wrote. This is just based on things I have personally witnessed and disagreed with, and it formed a coherent enough thesis that I decided to write about it.

Post-script: Probably my most controversial topic in this post is the popular feminist embrace of victimization. I’ve had this conversation with someone before, and she argued that the lived experiences of women brought fear and victimization; that it wasn’t “embraced”. This is a fair criticism, but men face proportional violence (in different contexts to women, obviously), but aren’t afraid of walking home alone, which means that gender conditioning plays a factor in the fear we do or do not experience. She countered that maybe men *should* be afraid. I reject this. Fear based on individual lived experiences is justified, certainly, but incorporating it into a social ideology is dangerous. Telling women and girls that they are victims is entirely counter-productive to eliminating the gendered construction of victimization. The problem is they’ll internalize and believe it, as with all social constructions. This in turn leads to all the troubling things I outline here. If the #YesAllWomen campaign was about empowering women, say she lifted heavy at the gym or got an A on her math exam or she contributed a brilliant idea at a business meeting, then that would tell women and girls that all women are capable of achieving anything. But it didn’t: it sought solidarity in negativity rather than positivity, which can only feed fear and alienation rather than overcome it.