Monday, August 4, 2014

Are You Peak Male Feminist Yet?

Are you a man unsatisfied with the inadequate extent to which you've colonized women's activism and theory? Do you find yourself wishing you could wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and say confidently: "I've successfully co-opted a movement meant to address the violence and hatred from which I directly benefit"?

You've come to the right place. In this post I'm going to describe three simple practices you can start integrating into your life today to exponentially improve the degree to which you obfuscate the reality of the violent oppressive system of patriarchy, for thousands of women at a time. But first, I want to show you a man who is clearly following my three steps, without having even heard them before. As is the case wherever else there's a cent to be made, the right technique comes naturally to the pros. It may be instructive to read his tweet and try to guess at my three practices yourself -- I wholeheartedly believe that my system is not special and that anybody could discover my simple formula for success on their own:

ABC: Always Be Clyming

As the keen reader will observe, this one tweet represents a synergy of elements, some or all of which can found in most examples of effective liberal male hijacking and gaslighting. Without further ado, I will present my three principles and deconstruct how Charles' tweet is a quintessential example of each:

1. Prioritize Male Suffering (or, PMS) - A frequent mistake we men make when attempting to abuse our platforms for personal gain is to focus too much attention on women's issues. When we make "our feminism" mainly about women, we pass up a crucial opportunity to capitalize on a reality that many men miss. The key first step to understanding this wisdom is: don't get too focused on feminists and women themselves - rather, look at the reputation that feminism has in the general public. Like Charles, you will find that people (and women, which is an important point for reasons I reveal below) generally feel that "feminists don't care about men".

Why does this matter? Because, as you may have guessed, it's an opening for you. The more you fill the air with complaints and announcements about men's suffering, the more it will seem like you are doing something to help the feminist movement, and the less air there is for the pesky discussion of "women's oppression" that tends to plague feminist spaces when we aren't around. The most effective male feminists have co-opted this sort of women's language, crafting decisive slogans and non-sequiturs such as "men are oppressed too," "sexism hurts men and boys as much as women and girls" -- I'll go more into the importance of attention to feminist words and phrases in another post.

Many men have come to me flabbergasted at how effective this simple mindset has been in enhancing their campaigns of invasion into women's spaces and resistance. Why does such a small change make such a giant difference? The secret is this: women's interest in feminism stems from the violence they notice visited upon all women, and this minority group of women are desperate for other women to join them in reacting to our violence, rather than submitting. But the men before us have already cleverly convinced everybody that the general lack of feminist interest is women's own fault; so when you appease the popular notion that feminism should not be so harsh on men, and should acknowledge our suffering, you inspire a spark of hope in your marks that a few more women may become interested in feminism. In reality it is just appeasement and hijacking -- indeed, with an easy maneuver, you've made the women want what you want. This is a practically ancient principle of social engineering.

2. Inject Subtle Essentialism - Have you found the woman-hating part of Charles' tweet yet? Even myself, a seasoned expert on the strategic derailing of feminist discourse, had to reread the tweet once or twice to notice it. Here it is: "[I]t's fine to be like girls and women".

For decades, well-paid academics have pored over experimental data, trying to find the perfect way to maximize the feminist appeal of all different breeds of woman-hatred. This man was able to do it right in a single tweet, proving you don't need ivory-tower academia to poison women's organizing (though a degree always helps). The woman-hating is so straightforward, yet so brilliantly executed, that I cold devote an entire new tutorial to its details. For now I will stick to the basics, and explain how you can apply this technique more generally.

Men who are new to the business of passing misogyny off as women's liberation tend to balk at the seemingly incredible difficultly of their task. How do you even begin to dilute the established activism and theory in this new environment, where women are consciously on guard against woman-hating? As on the previous point, such men ignore the important work of the infiltrators before us. They have in fact been duped -- it is an understandable and easily fixed mistake! -- into believing in the extinction of the useful notion that femininity is natural to women, when we are actually in a whole new age of stereotype legitimization. Charles here has gauged the scene with an experienced eye; no one will question what women and girls "are like" because he and other male feminists have already done the labor of naturalizing submission and painting it as a choice. (Also notice that the phrase is at the end of a sentence: the perfect place to hide your misogyny. This general practice is a common way of drawing attention away from a part of your sentence, as a few women have unfortunately begun to realize.)

When you find yourself stuck on your gaslighting article for The Guardian, or your poorly-drawn Tumblr comic, think: am I taking full advantage of all of the new forms of femininity-essentialism on the market right now?

3. Extol Femininity - This trick both follows from and reinforces the previous two methods, which were heretofore unrelated. Fittingly, this technique is most strongly realized in the "kicker" of Charles' tweet; it is truly the most potent of the male feminist trinity.

You may wonder how this method exactly integrates the previous two. Are you taking notes? Ok, here's the rub: by first switching the focus to men's suffering upon performance of femininity, and then naturalizing it for women, you have already set up the perfect conditions to completely reverse any consciousness of patriarchal reality for any woman who is listening (in Charles' case, thousands). Charles, being the master he is, automatically flows into this conclusion; with practice, you can in a short time approach his level of intuition for abusive rhetoric.

"Femininity is not bad" -- Clymer has clearly taken cues, as any pro does, from the propagandists of history. The best male feminists deeply understand that from every woman's birth, us men have successfully imposed femininity upon her; and throughout her life we have blackmailed and terrorized her into adhering to femininity's (read: our) demands. But until recently, we have found it difficult to explicitly sell femininity to women, which, if perfected, would constitute a total revolution in the art and science of subordination. Charles is a pioneer of this new practice, which comes at a time when the meager feminist critiques of femininity are almost totally wiped from history and silenced in the present day, thanks to the wonders of modern pseudoscience.

Study this tweet well and you will soon find yourself working the sale of femininity, the centering of male experience, and the sly stereotyping of women into your daily male feminist routine, opening up countless doors to new opportunities. Tell me your success story in the comments section below.


I dedicate this work (“Are You Peak Male Feminist Yet?”) to the public domain using the Creative Commons 0 declaration.

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A young man