Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Laurie Penny lectures. Good oh!

So on Monday the Independent decided to run a piece entitled "How should we talk to men about sexism?". A fascinating question, to be sure. The piece was a dialogue between Laurie Penny and Martin Robbins (both call themselves feminists) trying to answer the above question. There are some inadvertent points of interest in the article.

Firstly the cringeworthyness of some male feminists. Mr Robbins kicks off with:

"It’s tough being a male feminist, albeit far less tough than being a female one"

Note that Robbins seems to have learned (or been 'trained') to put in the disclaimer saying "albeit far less tough than being a female one " (so please don't be nasty to me, nice feminists). Possibly he feels he must make mention of his privilege as a male every other sentence? You tell me. 

When Robbins says 

"Where are the spaces where men can stand up and say – actually, this is fucked up? I wish feminism was seen as a discipline in which we discussed men’s issues as much as women’s"

Ally Fogg (who's been there) replies:

"I have to say there's a rather depressing answer to this question guys, which is that anyone who attempts to do so is likely to bring down the furious wrath of the feminist movement upon his or her head. Attempt to do it in a feminist space and the best you can hope for is that you'll get a chorus of mockery.."

Secondly behold the heartwarming intellectual humility on display:

"Feminists often repeat the mantra that [the 'patriarchy' affects men] without properly devoting time to explaining why"

Feminists don't need to argue that the patriarchy affects men, they merely need to explain why. Apparently the debate is all done and dusted. Another snippet:

"Martin: You almost need a sort of training arena where you can say stupid things to feminists and not get shot down in public. When I was struggling to understand patriarchy, I found feminist blogs unhelpful. I was asking questions I now realise were a bit stupid, but out of naivety rather than anything else.

Laurie: I’ve thought about this a lot and unfortunately, I do think female feminists are going to have to be a bit more forgiving and generous in our corrections from time to time..."

Ignore the nauseating brown-nosing from Robbins, just try to imagine Penny graciously being 'forgiving in her corrections'. Bit of a Mistress/slave dynamic in play there. 

This attitude didn't emerge from a vacuum, it's the way many feminists have learnt to behave towards I think it says everything you need to know about feminist's attitude towards men who try to join their ranks.