Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tits/I can't even.

I managed to hold my tongue through the Elliot Rodger debacle. 

Debacle/Mass Killing, whatever you want to call it.

My heart grew heavy, watching an all-out war develop over the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter. An all-out war between defensive women and defensive men.

The battle of the sexes moved its front lines to social media, and I witnessed heretofore never before seen amounts and examples of confusion and vented anger. Frustration, even hatred.

It became seemingly okay to say outrageously sexist and ignorant things to each other in defense of a concept of anti-sexism. You read it, you must have noticed... 

Is #YesAllWomen logically feasible? No. There exist women who spoke up and said at no time did they ever feel threatened by a man. Unfortunately it seems those women are in the vast minority, and that breaks my heart, but they exist. And all it takes for one person like that for an exception to a rule to be officially recognised. So #YesAllWomen is based on a non-factual premise, and therefore needs to be re-stated in a more truthful way.

But we get the message, and it's embarrassing and horrible and tragic.

But #FreeTheNipple? I can't stay silent any longer.

Let me commence with a statement:

I fully endorse and support gender equality.

By that, I mean, anything it's legal and okay for men to do, by extension, I feel it is equally okay for women to do. Ideally, this world wouldn't even see a difference, it would just 'be'.

I am absolutely a feminist, in that I feel women should have the same rights as men, and that men should work actively to support and help women to achieve this state of normality. Imagine if the glass ceiling was shattered from above?! I can't put into words how proud I would be to be a part of that action.

We should all start from the same place, and distinction and merit should be attained by individual skill and capability, not by the number of chromosomes we were born with. This is fucking kindergarten here.

And logically, I extend this right to people of all genders, and those of no gender.

I wrote an observation on Twitter today, regarding the #FreeTheNipple hashtag.

I observed that some women are using the hashtag as a means to get male sexual attention, hijacking the cause as it were, to advance their own agenda of ego satisfaction.

Please note that when I wrote "from the supposed patriarchy", what I was trying to illustrate within Twitter's very tight confines was that the topless photos in question were being posted in order to receive attention from normal, everyday, non-sexist males who want no part of any patriarchy; but who do appreciate a naked woman's body in a photograph, on a sexual level, without any evil intent whatsoever.

I understand that there is a real, vested patriarchy which protects its ideology with all of the resources it has at its disposal. I acknowledge it's real, but I'm trying to say that there exists a proportion of men (and let's hope that percentage is very high), who reject the credo of male supremacy.

So when I say "supposed patriarchy" I mean those men, who are in no way gender-biased, but who are labelled as such by some people simply because they are male (which is of course, sexist). 

I am aware that the ACTUAL patriarchy is the target of the campaign. But the women who post topless pics for attention and not actually to further the cause are not aiming their posts in that direction.

So let's move on...

I received replies from a number of women, most understood what I was saying, but some did not. Some of the replies were of the same faux-intellectual dramatic style that made #YesAllWomen so exhausting; from the kind of people who see sexism in everything, whether it's there or not.

This kind of thinking and attitude actually works against the cause, by making enemies of allies, by accusing them of being sexist when they actually support the same cause you do (albeit in a non-confrontational way that doesn't rely on invective and finger pointing, with no logical or even realistic basis). 

So here we go. I am aware of what the cause is about, thanks for pointing out what is already obvious. "...but of course you don't see it" is sexist. Why can't I see it? Because I'm male?

 We've already established the whole movement is for attention, that's the point of a movement. Without attention it doesn't move. But there is good attention, bad attention, and attention that claims to be part of the movement but in reality serves its own interests.

I am au fait with the concepts of how to successfully run and manage a media-based action campaign. Some of you may remember I did a lecture tour of Australian Universities in the late 90's about it, and a publication for The Environmental Defenders Office (which went on to become N.S.W. Government policy, and the training manual for almost every Police Department in the country). 

But you know, enough about me...

I was obviously highlighting two different types of attention- both desired by women, but desired by different groups of women, for different reasons. So saying "...what you tweeted is redundant" when it is actually the textbook definition of essential, (as it highlights a necessary distinction) is an empty assertion (designed solely, I think, to win arguments on the internet). 

The distinction is so necessary, that without it, my opinion actually would have been redundant. 

So Melida identifies the most non-redundant part of the assertion as redundant. There is no logic there.

Now I didn't post this to try to embarrass Melida (who I don't follow, and who doesn't follow me, so I have no idea why she'd feel attacking me on my own Twitter timeline over a fact that is observable and quantifiable would be at all warranted), but to shine a light on a particular kind of personality.

People like this feel passionate about a subject, and seek out people to disagree with (or in their mind, conquer). They feel empowered by their cause, and are extremely fast to shout "Sexist!", even when the person they are shouting at is on their side.

I tried to explain this but it quickly became apparent she had no interest in speaking logically, rather that she just wanted someone to insult and to tell herself she is better than.

And you have to ask yourself, "What's the point?"

It's very much like going to a car dealership, wanting to buy a specific car; and for the sales person whose best interests it is in to sell you that car, to greet you by calling you an asshole. Sure, you still like the car, but the confusing sales technique leaves you scratching your head, and less than interested in dealing with that sales person again.

I understand that not everyone agrees with everyone else. I also understand that perhaps some people haven't seen these examples of girls going topless, and while claiming they're doing it for feminism, they're the same girls who do it anyway for 'not-feminism'. Blaming me for pointing out a thing that exists is counter-productive, illogical, and it makes you look stupid. Like the Church when it denied astrophysics or the spherical reality of our planet.

I'm perpetually frustrated by the fact we share a common language (in this case, English), that we understand and know more or less how to use it to express our thoughts and needs; but that some people seem to view as more of a guide. Like the Dictionary is merely a suggestion, and that if you want to make-believe words and phrases mean something else that suits your agenda (but actually don't), then you can just go ahead and use them however you like, and expect everyone else to understand what you mean.

But it happens a lot.

I may be wrong, but I feel like the Elliot Rodger case was the most significant example of a polarising gender boundary of this generation. Hearing the horrible regard in which so many women hold men (whether 'some' or 'all' depends on the individual), and imagining the even more horrible things that must have happened to those women at the hands of some men, is enough to break your spirit.

Arguing about the statistics of men who are raped by women, or the fact that most men live in fear of other men doesn't help this situation. If you want to talk about an issue, talk about the issue, not surrounding issues which I believe all deserve their own talks and scrutiny and hopefully even solutions.

None of this should be about men versus women. We are all people. Unfortunately the number of people who are men and who are responsible for the repression and theft of self-agency (and worse) from women is disproportionate the number of women we share the planet with. And that's an issue.

Is #FreeTheNipple a campaign worthy of support? Absolutely. There is a disparity and it needs to be addressed. Is it the most pressing issue we face? Fuck no. But that doesn't diminish its relevance.

My message here is that gender politics has the ability to be explosive and even divisive in the wrong hands. And if we let it divide us, guess who wins? Rapists, murderers, misogynists, and misandrists. 

I would say they've had a voice for far too long. Let's work this out together...

The best thing for these situations is humour, so here's some from my twitter buddy Bianca:

If you're bored with nothing to do, here's how I tried to argue by logical counterexample (ie: massive word spaz) within the confines of Twitter's word limit: