Janice Fiamengo has uploaded a video explaining why she is an anti-feminist.
Let’s go through this down the line, shall we?
Anti-Feminism As “Adversarial”
It’s not just that it’s adversarial, Janice. It’s that it shows nothing about what you actually believe in, only what you don’t.
This is a microcosm of anti-feminist thought: anti-feminists will bring up male homelessness while supporting policies that increase homelessness and doing nothing for the homeless, or bring up the soldiers who die in war while proposing more wars.
If Feminism Ever Was About Equality?
This hyperbolic driveby shows that she is dishonest.
To assert that fighting for the franchise or fighting for the very earliest domestic abuse shelters or fighting to enter the workforce at all or fighting for the end of patriarchal laws that kept women in the home by force wasn’t about equality is reprehensible.
23 Ways Feminism Has Made the World a Better Place for Men indicates that even today feminists expand rights for men, including in many of the areas where anti-feminists deceitfully assert that they do not.
Special Privileges And Advantages for Women
How is giving a class targeted at women for self-defense sexist? Women often don’t like self-defense classes that assume a level of aggression and a level of physical acumen that many men might prefer. The average woman objectively needs different physical defense training than a man does, just like a short man and a tall man should have different training. She is dishonest.
How is giving women tampons a special preference for women? Do men menstruate? Would it be sexist to give out Viagra? She is dishonest.
Sheehy’s Argument About Women Killing Spouses
Janice now crosses the line to outright deception. If her argument is that all feminists endorse that women should legally be able to kill their husbands because one argued that, then by her logic all anti-feminists endorse killing women because Peter Nolan said so and all Republicans must be child molesters because of Dennis Hastert. Would she accept that she is in favor of murdering women, including herself? Or would she insist that you do not judge every person in a movement by one or even several individuals?
In fact, Sheehy’s argument, whether or not you agree with it, is not sexist. Her principle, that an abused woman is exercising self-defense and acting out of a mental illness, is perfectly applicable to men as well in parallel situations. Janice once again cherry-picks how she wants to engage with her opposition while of course presenting her own side far more favorably by implicit contrast. That is what we call a straw-man, and it is intellectually reprehensible and deliberately deceitful. She is lying to her viewers.
So why don’t you read Sheehy herself giving context to what she said? Elizabeth Sheehy: The law, and history, speak for themselves. You’re free to disagree with her, of course, but nothing there is remotely misandrist.
(We’re not even at one minute. This isn’t particularly good).
One Standard for Women, One Standard for Men
By her own admission, the police didn’t say why the person in the case in question was charged. Even if I trust that she’s not cherry-picking her journalistic outlets, which at this point I don’t given how she willfully misrepresented Sheehy, one data point is not a trend and it’s not even a data point in her favor because the cops didn’t say what she claims they did.
Similarly, notice how she doesn’t bother supporting the men’s varsity hockey team case with a parallel example of a female team that did something wrong that was not all benched. She needs two data points to make her argument and she won’t be arsed.Incidentally, when two members of a team commit a crime, it’s very likely that other members of the team knew what was going on. Oh, what a surprise, they did.
Feminism Proposes The Idea That Feelings Are More Important than Objective Reality?
Once again, Janice doesn’t even bother to prove that any of her opposition actually says this. Her first example is, again, a headline from an article without context. She isn’t citing her academic opposition, but student activists. That’s dishonest and reprehensible. But, of course, she leaves out the actual argument her opposition was making, being really dishonest. The position of those opposing it was that she was a cheerleader for rapists. You can agree or disagree with Sommers, of course. Frankly, I find the remarkable speed with which women like Sommers are willing to tell rape victims that they’re lying to be pretty damn suspicious, and something she probably wouldn’t do in any other context, but hey, who am I to tell? Oh, right, a person who has no duty to not protest her bull.
Worse, sometimes, feelings are reality, Janice. If a woman feels stressed, it doesn’t matter if she has some “good reason” to or not to: she will and that will have an effect. The stereotype threat literature doesn’t need to demonstrate that anti-female stereotypes exist, only that women perceive them.
What does that Zur Institute article about “the victim stance is a powerful one” even say? Janice won’t stop giving you a slideshow of cherry-picked arguments for long enough to explain. If I were to dismiss millions of people, I might spend more than a minute on each separate allegation I made. That’s because I’m honest and she is not. In fact, the actual paper in question is very specific as to what it says and doesn’t say, and does not support her arguments. Psychology of Victimhood, Don’t Blame the Victim, Article by Ofer Zur, Ph.D.
Holy crap, that’s like fifteen lies and it’s not even minute two. Let’s try to speed this up, shall we? Before I jump to her next poorly researched, dishonestly presented hyperbolic driveby, let me just say this: This is not how you argue, this is how you do propaganda. Janice isn’t trying to convince anyone: she’s trying to get people who already hate the other side to pat themselves on the back. The claim that feminists as a group think that feelings are more important than reality and that they are proposing a victim narrative requires evidence. You would need to prove an average trend, and of course show that they are doing so more than comparable people. Need I point out how anti-feminists like to assert that male homelessness proves sexism against men is real but dismiss that women are more likely to be poor, globally and in America?
The irony, of course, is that she is offering wishy-washy arguments and assessments based on her feelings while feminists routinely offer data, the kind of data like rape rates that she claims is miandrist even though it’s true. See how this game works? In reality, it’s anti-feminists who are making poorly researched appeals to feelings by repeatedly asserting that their strawmen are real even when they talk to actual feminists correcting them.
Men Are “Uniquely Guilty”
Janice won’t bother mentioning the simple fact that men are more likely to rape than women are. Period. Both female and male victims are much more likely to have been assaulted by a man.
Does that say anything about men writ large? No, and a Dworkin quote doesn’t prove that feminists think that.
Rape culture isn’t about every man being a hidden rapist ready to come out. It’s about the way that a society coddles sexist tendencies toward rape, downplays rape, and blames the victim inordinately. Rape culture isn’t in isolation: we also have a brutal culture that’s tough on crime. The way those two play out is that we despise rapists when we are sure they are rapists but we have a ludicrously high standard of doubt for rape that we do not for any other crime.
I’ve argued this in my editorial on Brock Turner, Brock Turner: A Case of Injustice, and the Marshall Center makes clear what they mean too at Rape Culture | Women’s Center. Notice how none of the things the Marshall Center says men can do indicates that men are all hidden rapists. Rather, they are calls for male allydom.
Think about a case conservatives might not find that controversial (since I have to make this about other issues to avoid the blatant dishonesty): Gang violence. Would it be reasonable to say that gang violence has antecedents in neighborhoods and that the community can do something about it by standing up to it? Yes. That is not saying that the community wants gang members or is applauding them, but that they could do more to stop them.
Janice can’t make a single honest argument about her opposition to save her life. The few times she does quote feminists, she quotes people on the radical fringe like Dworkin, and then misrepresents them. Dworkin pointed out that she spent decades writing books. If she had just wanted to slam men, she could have done it in twenty seconds. She didn’t because that’s not what she’s saying.
“Lectured About His Propensity” To Rape
I wasn’t. By the standards Janice is putting forward (that is, no evidence at all), I’ve won!
I attended multiculturalism classes that brought up campus rape and rape culture. At no point was I, or any other male, told that we were all predisposed to be rapists. Not once.
UC Davis is pretty liberal. Natalia Deeb-Sossa, my instructor, is a pretty strongly-leaning feminist.
What I’m hearing is that a lot of men are reacting with entitlement to being told that maybe they should do something when their frat bros talk about women like furniture,and then dishonest crowd surfers like Janice are enabling them.
Janice: Would you come to a cancer survivor’s meeting if you didn’t have cancer?
Then don’t do that for safe spaces either.
MRAs have male-only safe spaces. Will Janice mention that? Of course not.
The First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to meet with who they wish and to not meet with who they wish.
When feminists insist on female-only neighborhoods and female-only water fountains, I’ll be the first one to loudly protest. Until then, stop lying about what safe spaces are, anti-feminists and alt-righters.
What She Doesn’t Say
So Janice is just repeating the standard right-wing propaganda.
Does she mention
- Pink-collar jobs and segregation
- The glass ceiling
- The “old boy’s network”
- Feminist concern for female oppression in the developing world, including more extreme areas of the Muslim world like Saudi Arabia or Iran
- Barriers to women in STEM fields
- Paired audit studies showing that women applying to the same job get offered less
- Stereotype threat that lowers womens’ performance on tests
- Global female poverty
- Global female illiteracy
- Feminist criticisms of psychiatry
- TRAP laws that prevent rape victims from getting abortion?
No, of course not. Why ever mention what the Feminist Majority Foundation or Ms. Magazine or Everyday Feminism or Jezebel actually say and argue for?
This is a video about a strawman. It’s far from the most dishonest presentation I’ve seen about feminism, and that’s saying something.
If you want to engage with your opposition, read what they say, in their own words.
As a bonus for this blog, let’s consider how Janice could have been honest, shall we?
If you want to assert something about a group, a good place to start might be a poll. If she showed a poll that academic feminists as a majority, or even a substantial plurality, believe that all men are predisposed to be rapists, or that women deserve to be dominant over men, or something of the sort, that would have been an appropriate argument.
2. “Not All My Opposition Is Like This”
Unless your polls or evidence show that literally 100% of your opponents have the position that you claim, a minimally honest person would say, “I recognize that my opponents are not all like this. Many who have the idea that I disagree with might not have thought through the implications of what they are saying either”.
So, if I were in her position, I might argue, “I recognize that feminists are a diverse bunch, including some on the campus and some off, some in politics and some in academia, and with a diverse set of beliefs about the world. But there is still a trend in this group, a mainstream one, that is misandrist and destructive”.
She can’t do that because her video is a propaganda piece.
3. Consistent Evidence from Multiple Sources
Pick an array of people on the other side from various wings of the movement to show that the movement in general has the problem.
If I want to say that the anti-feminist movement has a serious problem with misogyny and repeating immoral nonsense, I don’t just point to Peter Nolan. I point to Warren Farrell equating being rejected on a date to being raped (yes, however tongue-in-cheek he was being), Roosh V’s entire nonsense and his spectacular dishonesty and backtracking on his idea to make rape legal, repeated statements from redpillers that treat women like literal infants, and the repeated times that A Voice for Men slut-shamed or outright lied.