‘Choice’ feminism, internalised misogyny and feminism’s perpetual victimhood.

Posted: March 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

Ah, it’s been a while since I wrote of feminist victimhood. It seems recently I’ve seen more about female entitlement than anything else, but you never do go long without seeing something that makes you roll your eyes when it comes to feminism.

As ever, the article I’m focusing on is fairly old, first published in July 2014, but when it comes to this kind of stuff, it never loses its relevance, so me talking about it 8 months later doesn’t make it any less applicable. It’s been 3 weeks since my last blog entry and, once again, I’ve bumped an article I was going to write in order to do this one. Why? Well, the one I was going to write requires a shit load of editing as it’ll contain numerous pictures. I just haven’t had time to sort that all out yet. It will be published eventually, just not yet. I feel this one is a more than acceptable placeholder.

So why victimhood again? Well, because it’s a side of victimhood I haven’t really looked at yet – internalised misogyny. It’s not something that I come across a lot but it is something that I’ve seen before and, boy, is it just a goddamn rainbow chest full of specialness.

I was actually directed to this article by a friend of a friend, and not on the John Salmon account either, this time it was someone on my real account. And by ‘friend of a friend’ I mean ‘friend of someone I went to secondary school with who added me on Facebook about 8 years ago and has never spoken to me since’. Why am I still friends with these people? Well, this time it’s actually worked out pretty well.

I did screenshot the status that my friend liked but, again, that will require me to piece it all together as one picture and then upload it. I don’t have time to do that at the moment. I know, pathetic isn’t it, but that’s reality, that’s what happens when you start a new job and work different hours. Real life’s a goddamn bitch.

So, rather than take the time to edit the picture and upload it, I will simply repost it here, paraphrasing of course, in order to highlight how feminism can take anything, even something simple like everyday cuntish behaviour, and somehow make women the victims:

“This is the dress I was wearing when two women behind me started making nasty comments (she uploaded a picture as well). At first they just made comments, but then one of them tried to take a picture, disguising it as a selfie. I went to remonstrate with them but ultimately nothing came of it and I went back to my seat.”

That seems fair enough. For the record she was wearing a rather colourful floral dress, nothing too out of the ordinary. However, this is where it gets really tasty:

“What these women subjected me to was a symptom of internalised misogyny. Our patriarchal society says it’s ok to humiliate a woman for what she’s wearing…”

She then finished by asking some questions about why you feel you should be allowed to criticise women’s dress before adding hashtags (on Facebook, I know!) about feminism and our patriarchal society.

Yawn. I honestly thought there was a genuine point coming at first, then I saw the magic words internalised misogyny and I cringed so hard I thought I would faint!

But that’s not the worst bit. The worst bit is that, through the use of buzzwords like ‘internalised misogyny’, feminism allows women to literally be the victim of everything and anything. What the woman in this status was not hold those two individual women to account, she did not say ‘these women are fucking cunts who should be ashamed’. No, she actually gave them an out, she gave them a way to be considered victims as well. Of the three women in this story, feminism and its focus on internalised misogyny actually made all three the victims, all three the victims of this lovely buzzword. First of all, the woman who wrote the status – she was the victim of bullying and humiliation (so she claims), while the two women who perpetrated the bullying were victims of internalised misogyny. How fucked up is that. Rather than holding them accountable for their scummy actions (though, if you’re getting upset because someone had a laugh at what you were wearing, something you actively say yourself is somewhat ‘out there’, then my sympathy meeting isn’t revving too high) she actually excuses their actions because they’ve effectively been brainwashed by big bad society to think that’s acceptable.

Basically, any time a woman does something bad, it’s not really their fault, it’s because they’ve been shaped and moulded by society to think that way. How’s that for a big ol’ slice of victimhood. Oh, and how’s that for a big slice of offensiveness to women as well. Behave like a cunt? Don’t worry your pretty little head, it’s not because you’re a nasty person, it’s just because you’re too stupid to realise society has brainwashed you. Poor little thing. Er, offensive much?

Anyway, the point of that little anecdote was that, once she mentioned the magic of internalised misogyny, she linked to this article, on that bastion of common sense and truth, Everyday Feminism:

http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/07/choice-feminism-internalized-misogyny/

You see, the notion of internalised misogyny isn’t necessarily a bad one. I mean, we all assimilate things throughout our life that might not actually be that beneficial to us. For example, being ginger means I’ve had a lot of people give me shit, treat me differently, etc simply because I’ve got a rather unusual hair colour. The whole ‘ginger people have no souls’ thing is pretty much a common saying when talking to ginger people. Point is, people are constantly bombarded with stuff as they grow up and live their lives, that doesn’t mean it’s some form of insidious oppression.

Erin McKelle, the author of the article, opens up with a doozy of a line, an opener that pretty much excuses every last goddamn thing a woman might do to another woman:

‘Have you ever criticized a woman for the way she looks? wished you could look like the models that you see in fashion magazines? gone on a diet? shaved off any of your body hair?’

Actually, I’ve done everything on that list. I have criticised a woman for her looks, I have wished I could look like a model in a fasion magazine, I have gone on a diet (currently on one now) and I have shaved off some of my body hair (my armpit hair if you must know.

But of course, these aren’t just things women choose to do on their own. She goes on to clarify her point a couple of paragraphs later:

‘But have you ever done any of these things after finding feminism? even when you knew that you were practicing sexism or giving in to the pressures of our patriarchal society?

My guess is that your answer is still yes.’

So, what McKelle is saying is that, pretty much, anything a woman does is not because she wants to do it or enjoys doing it, rather she does it because she’s been told to do it by society. A woman going on a diet is because of internalised misogyny? I mean, come on! Sure, some women might have felt pressured to go on a diet to get that ‘bikini body’, but to imply in the first sentence of your article that it’s every woman and that it’s down to some form of silent oppression is absolutely ludicrous.

This is where the victimhood comes in. See, rather than just accepting women are muppets just as often as men, excuses have to be made, it somehow cannot be the fault of a woman, it must be the fault of some outside factor. In this case, it falls back to old, reliable patriarchy. See, women aren’t simply cunts to each other because they may be cunts themselves, they are cunts to each other because they are told to be cunts to each other, they are victims, every last goddamn one.

This is why feminism is so hard for me to take seriously. And I’m going to be quite obvious here and say that, of course, I know not all women are feminists. This isn’t about those regular, sane women who realise just how batshit feminism is, this is aimed squarely at those feminists who believe this shit.

According to the article:

Internalized misogyny is the “involuntary internalization by women of the sexist messages that are present in their societies and culture.”’

Awesome, now unbelievably I do think there is a grain of truth behind this. I do think that society plays a part in what we do, I do think we are conditioned to some degree. But, here’s the main thing, it’s not just women that this applies to and it’s not a form of oppression. To think it is is victimhood. To make the rather bold claim that women attack other women because society tells them too not only absolves women of any negative behavior it also treats them like fucking children! I don’t see why this is so hard to spot. If I was to do something stupid and get caught out, I’d expect to be dragged over the fucking coals for it because I’m a responsible adult. When we treat grown human beings like goddamn children, when we excuse what they’re doing because ‘it’s not your fault, it’s society’ we effectively treat them like little fucking children who are too stupid to understand why people are pissed at them.

This is the victimhood I hate, it’s the type of shit that demeans women more than it empowers them. ‘Involuntarily’? Not only does it suggest women are brainwashed, it also suggests women aren’t mentally strong or capable enough to see past this ‘brainwashing’. It essentially tells us that every single woman on the planet is ‘affected’ by this ‘disease’ and feminism is the ‘antidote’ or some such bullshit.

‘It’s not like you pop out of the womb already thinking that women are inferior beings. It’s through observing, learning, and understanding society that you come to hold common attitudes and beliefs, including misogynistic ones.’

See, this is where feminism loses me. I agree that we learn a lot of societal ideals through osmosis, I agree that some of those views are less than stellar. But, if that process of osmosis allows misogynistic views to seep through then you could also say that it allows all sorts of views to seep through: racist views, homophobic views, classist views, any number of superiority complexes and, of course, misandric views. However, is this article about the dangers of societally accepted norms? Of course not, it’s about how poor little women are always the poor little victims!

This is the same movement that claims to be ‘for everyone’, that claims that ‘feminism helps men too’. Of course it doesn’t and shit like this doesn’t help prove otherwise. I get that feminism is about liberating and empowering women, but the way to do that is not by demeaning those same women you claim to be helping. Nor is it by claiming to help men when actively ignoring them in pretty much every discussion.

One helpful example of ‘socialisation’ offered to us by McKelle:

‘For example, think about the ways in which men and women sit differently in Western society. Just take a look around you and observe on a train, in a doctor’s office, or even a restaurant, if you can’t think of any differences.

You’ll probably notice that men tend to sit widely, with their legs open, and women tend to sit with their legs crossed or together.’

See, ‘manspreading’ has been a feminist issue for ages, it’s only recently that it’s picked up steam and become more mainstream.

Yeah, men and women sit differently, McKelle also uses the example ‘sit like a lady’ as a way of socialising women to sit with their legs closed. Well, there are lots of gendered uses of language to demonstrate socialisation. Am I saying socialisation isn’t a thing? No, of course not, I’m simply saying that to take something that affects everybody and apply it to women and then come up with a nice little buzzword to effectively complete the sense of victimhood is ludicrous and insulting.

Apparently, the result of these messages may not become clear at first:

‘And although one of these moments might not seem like it can make much of an impact, thousands of them will — and do.’

Again, I agree, but it’s not just women; that’s the problem. A far-reaching issue that feminism co-opts and turns into a form of patriarchal oppression towards women? What a surprise!

McKelle also goes on to talk about ‘choice feminism’ and how, supposedly, even when women ‘choose’ to shave their legs because ‘they enjoy it’ it’s actually not a choice at all because they’re still under the influence of that big ol’ patriarchal society. So again, another convenient little way to make women into victims; even when they choose to conform to accepted societal behaviours it’s still not really their own free choice. Man, I’m surprised women even get to leave their own houses, it’s a wonder they aren’t just smothered with the cloud of patriarchal oppression that must hang in the air!

I don’t want to focus on ‘choice feminism’ because that could lead me to ramble on for fucking ages, but I will focus on internalized misogyny.

McKelle ends her section on internalised misogyny with this quote:

Until we liberate our society from the sickness of sexism, internalized misogyny isn’t going anywhere.

Now, like I’ve said, I’m not one to simply dismiss this notion out of hand, I’m sure there are some women who have internalised misogyny, who have been put off from certain careers by socially accepted norms and ideals. But, if feminism is about empowering women and, indeed, McKelle wants to ‘liberate’ society from the ‘sickness’ of sexism then she’s doing a fucking woeful job of it. Treating women like children, excusing conformation of societally accepted behaviours as ‘influenced’ in some way by a mythical form of oppression, is pretty much the opposite of liberating. Not only do you victimize those women who do challenge the views by telling them they’ll never be accepted, you’re victimizing the women who do conform by telling them they’re too stupid to realise they’ve been brainwashed.

Not only that, but you’re placing the role of victim entirely on women. When you constantly tell women they’re victims, for all manner of reasons no matter how small, not only do you create victims when there aren’t any, you actively dismiss real victims who don’t match your agenda.

For example, one of the first things I remember my nana telling me was this little jitty:

“Slugs and snails and puppy dog’s tails, that’s what boys are made of. Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what girls are made of.”

My nana was 60 odd when she died 20 years ago so this isn’t a relatively new thing, it’s been around for generations. At what point do you think I’m allowed to claim internalised misandry? If society dripfeeds misogyny into women’s brains then it’s only right to assume it also does the same with men. Does that even factor into this article? Nope, not at all, because men aren’t part of the feminist discussion, because men are ‘privileged’ and never have any problems. Well, the reason the feminist movement thinks men don’t have any problems is because you fucking ignore them when they’re right in front of your goddamn, toxic, entitled, victimhood-claiming little faces!

Aside from the little jitty above, here are a few other examples of ‘internalised misandry’ I’ve personally experienced:

When I got slapped by my girlfriend – “well, I must have deserved it.”

When I tried to talk about my feelings – “man up, you crybaby”

When a colleague felt me up at the staff Christmas party – “you probably enjoyed the attention.”

When I said I’m happy being single – “there must be something wrong with you”

When I tell people I’m teetotal – “you’re probably no fun at all, we won’t invite you anywhere.”

Those first three are pretty specific to men, the last one could be for anyone who’s teetotal.

My point is not to try and say women don’t have problems, it never has been and never will be, my point is simply that you can ‘internalise’ pretty much anything and use it as a way to try and preach victimhood. The fact feminism does it should come as no surprise.

Rather than empowering women, it reinforces the idea that things are not their fault – didn’t get that job? Patriarchy. Someone made fun of you? Patriarchy. Felt the need to shave your legs before going on a date? Patriarchy. Not only does it tell women they are constantly being victimised, it doesn’t offer a solution. “Look at you, look how oppressed you are, look at how you’ve internalised your misogyny. Well, see ya!” It’s not constructive.

This article doesn’t actually offer any solutions. Well, actually that’s a lie. It does offer a solution, it says we need to ‘cure’ society of all the sexism. Awesome, that’s not simplifying things at all is it.

So why don’t men suffer constantly from internalised misandry? Simple- we aren’t constantly being told we’re victims. When we encounter problems we either chalk it up to experience or think of a way to improve. Didn’t get that job? Bad luck, maybe check your CV or re-write your personal statement. Someone made fun of you? Man, you should have fucked him up!

That’s not a bad way to see things for the most part, and I think that’s where men benefit in society. Because we aren’t told we’re victims, we don’t allow ourselves to become victims. The good thing is, there are fucking millions of women who embody those traits. It seems to be feminism that’s fixated on this idea of women being victims, a lot of women I know personally are self-aware enough to realise that sometimes, just sometimes, things don’t go your way because you’re not good enough, or people are cunts towards you because they themselves are simply cunts.

The downside is when it comes to things like rape and domestic violence. Serious, real issues that affect men in huge numbers are not discussed because feminism is too goddamned busy talking about the victimhood cloud that engulfs every woman at every turn. ‘Internalised misogyny’ focusing on things like appearance and leg shaving and diets it creates false victims and ignores real ones.

“What’s that, a man was brutally beaten by his wife for no reason? Well, he probably deserved it. Meanwhile, have you seen this, THIS POOR WOMAN SHAVED HER FUCKING LEGS FOR A DATE! WE HAVE TO HELP HER!”

Over-exaggeration? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure and that’s the scariest goddamn thing about it!

Sure, let’s focus on ‘internalised sexism’ (not just misogyny) but, for God’s sake, let’s not try and claim that every little thing that women do is because of some outside influence that they are not even aware of. Let’s not ignore and diminish real problems that other facets of society face because a woman felt like shaving her legs. Let’s not pretend that men, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, gays, lesbians and any other group of people don’t suffer the same sort of internalised hate.

I understand feminism is about women and nothing else, despite its claims otherwise, but they are dominating conversations such as this, guiding them, telling us what we can and can’t see as acceptable.

Internalised misogyny is not unique, it happens to women in the same way other forms of sexism, racism and homophobia happen to other groups. To claim things like leg shaving and criticising other women comes from a place of quiet oppression is not going to liberate or empower women, it’s going to tell them they are nothing but victims, victims who can’t do anything without feeling the hot breath of patriarchal oppression breathing down their neck.

It’s pathetic, infantilizing, demeaning and the exact opposite of liberating. Not only that, it’s dismissive to other suffering by other groups. It pushes that aside, it pushes aside real problems and, instead, invents problems and creates victims.

But then, when has feminism been about anything other than claiming victimhood. When I think of feminism, I think this quote fits perfectly:

http://youtu.be/JL7TRu7dTFQ

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Comments
  1. Natalie H says:

    Great post. I can’t stand how feminists try to make us feel like victims in society. I feel pretty damn privileged to be a woman if I’m honest.

  2. tilltaz says:

    Great post…thanks for sharing this!

  3. […] ‘Choice’ feminism, internalised misogyny and feminism’s perpetual victimhood. March 1, 2015 […]

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