How to be a liberal feminist — Lavender Blume

Tip #1: Rationalize Adopt political positions that condone misogyny. Never come between a man and his sense of entitlement to sex on demand, especially his “right” to exploit vulnerable women to achieve gratification through the use of violent, degrading, pedophilic imagery. Be sure to remind men that you’re here for them and understand that they […]

via How to be a liberal feminist — Lavender Blume

I’ve shared this not because I agree with it, but because I don’t.

The post reminds me of a conversation I had with a radical feminist the other week, who insisted feminism is not about equality. This confused me, as what else is feminism trying to achieve, other than ensuring women are treated as equals with men?

Then again, to some, feminism is about creating safe space for women, away from men. That’s fair enough. To others, feminism is about completely removing men from the equation, in the sense that there are feminists out there who want absolutely nothing to do with men in any way shape or form. I can’t argue that point as there are women out there who’ve suffered horribly at the hands of men, and therefore want no male influence in their lives at all.

Then there’s the article that is the subject of this post – and to me it is a curious thing that, in a time where feminism has made strides but still has a lot of work to do, one group of feminists would belittle or attack another group of feminists. What does that accomplish? Who does it help? And is it even remotely fair? It probably won’t come as a shock that I don’t consider it reasonable.

To quote (quotes will be in purple):

Adopt political positions that condone misogyny. Never come between a man and his sense of entitlement to sex on demand, especially his “right” to exploit vulnerable women to achieve gratification through the use of violent, degrading, pedophilic imagery. Be sure to remind men that you’re here for them and understand that they can’t help themselves. They’re wired to be visual, sexual predators who inevitably reduce women to objects. It’s in their nature. Do you really want them to go around raping virtuous women instead? Since the only form of female sexuality that’s visible or acceptable is one that validates masculinity and femininity, use this to your advantage. You can preach female sexual empowerment without infringing on boner rights. Win-win!

Emphasis mine. I have yet to encounter any feminist, liberal or radical, who condones misogyny. I have yet to encounter any feminist who doesn’t criticise entitlement culture. I have encountered a few who think men are mindless, aggressive creatures – maybe that’s where the objection in this article lies – because liberal feminists don’t reduce men to simplistic creatures or ‘sexual predators’ (welcome to the biological determinism argument, which is harmful to men and women), they are instead condoning and validating the very behaviour they claim to oppose. This argument is folly, but it serves as an excuse for the sarcastic paragraph above.

It also serves as a wedge, driven between liberal feminists who don’t regard men as predestined to be rapists, and men themselves. This kind of radical feminist thinking (and I must stress that it doesn’t apply to all radical feminists) is fuel for the fire of MRAs and MGTOWs, who will gladly exploit any excuse to condemn feminism and the idea of equality for the sexes. The paragraph above is the sort of thing they go looking for, before espousing it as the only form of feminism to exist. The damage this does is such that whenever anyone announces they’re a feminist, or says they support feminism, on Twitter or Facebook, they are subjected to a torrent of abuse. It’s all too easy for an MRA to claim feminism is about hating men, and reducing men to a biological impulse helps them with their excuses. 

On another post of hers, I attempted to engage her in conversation. My comment is below:

Is the question of whether men can be feminists based in some way shape or form on how feminism is defined? After all, there are distinctions between different ‘flavours’ of feminism, are there not?

I know feminists who argue it is about equality. For my own sake, it is about teaching my daughter she can do anything a boy can do, and about creating a society where no door is closed for her.

 

Her reply:

How many times do women have to say no before you megalomaniacs accept that we’re human beings and our boundaries are not a challenge? Read the goddamn article. If you’ve already read it, read it again. Read it as many times as it takes for you to understand that when a movement is named after a group of people (feminism = for females), that means everybody else is excluded. If you’re still fuzzy on what that means, “everybody else” in this case means males. FEMINISM IS NOT ABOUT MEN. FEMINISM IS NOT FOR MEN. It it were, it would be called something else. But it’s not. Accept it and move on.

You don’t know what it’s like to be female, to grow up as a girl, to become a woman, and live every day of your life as a woman in a world dominated by men. You will never understand, you will probably never truly care, and the only reason you’re even thinking about it now is because you have a daughter and among the genuine feelings of concern I’m sure you have for her, you most likely feel an implicit sense of ownership over her. You have no idea the kind of bias you’ve internalized as a man and the sort of damage you can do with the influence and power you have over the lives of women and girls, so stop trying to intellectualize something feminists have not only studied thoroughly but lived. The visceral trumps the abstract, so don’t presume to come here and debate with women. Whatever opinion you have about feminism is irrelevant. The solution is simple: mind your own business and just try your best to be a decent human being.

I can’t say I was very pleased at the accusation (emphasis mine) that I feel I own my daughter. I no more own her than I own any other human being. I don’t appreciate being told I don’t really care. She appears to be basing her argument on what’s between my legs as much as anything else, and didn’t actually address the point I was raising anyway. 

She is trying to determine what feminism is, not only for men but for other women as well. I know for a fact there are feminists out there who consider feminism that can benefit everyone. In fact, in the event that Lavender reads this, she may want to take a look here and here

There is yet more. I discovered Lavender had tweeted my comment. Fair enough. I can’t stop her doing that, and I’m not altogether sure I’d want to. 

I’m obviously not amused (or even quite certain how the label applies) at the accusation that I’m a megalomaniac. I asked a question, I question I feel was fair, and got back this. 

I replied to Lavender’s response to me, but she decided not to publish my reply. She did post this on Twitter:

For the record, her original response to my comment was probably around four to fives the length of my comment, whilst my subsequent reply to her response was probably about the same in length. I also stand by my assertion that she missed the point I was making. 

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2 thoughts on “How to be a liberal feminist — Lavender Blume

  1. Reblogged this on Writing Radiation and commented:

    Misconceptions about feminism are too common, but, just because one person claims her/his “feminism” is the only one, doesn’t make it true. Many feminists (myself included) welcome male allies.

    (Note: I didn’t read the original article, simply because the quotes Ben provided infuriated me. If anyone thinks I’m wrong, & I should read the original article, I welcome your thoughts! 🙂 )

    Like

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