A while ago, a debate took place between Sargon of Akkad and feminist Kristi Winters regarding feminism being (or not being) a force for good in this world. Whereas most of her arguments were typical, at one point she said something a bit disturbing – that anyone who studies gender issues is doing feminism by default, whether they want to be associated with it or not. Being forcefully associated with an ideology is as ridiculous as things can get.
“If you’re looking at the gender norms in society, you’re doing feminism”
When confronted about the absurdity of claiming this monopoly, she replied by saying “science works with theories” and by defining theories; she went on to say that data cannot be analysed without a “theoretical framework”. In other words, human beings with a functioning brain and the willingness to use it cannot possibly evaluate data without academia intermediating their thought processes by offering them a preset methodology. There can be no coherent thinking in order to reach valid conclusions, outside of this “theoretical framework”. The problem some academics seem to have is that they get so lost in the mire of this pretentious language they end up dismissing what is plain old common sense.
Another instance of patenting what is not to be patented lies in this article, entitled “How Men’s Rights Activists Hijacked The Circumcision Debate”. Apparently, to the people responsible for this in depth reflection, it does not make sense that men’s rights activists approach an issue which is directly related… well, to men’s rights.
On paper, intactivism is a legitimate human rights effort to end routine infant circumcision. But in fact, many branches of the movement have become sinister and downright ugly, because Men’s Rights Activists (MRA) have hijacked the cause as part of their mission. The MRA-fueled rhetoric is a bizarre amalgamation of sexist slurs paired with carefully calculated and co-opted feminist language surrounding body autonomy and consent.
In other words, any rhetoric defending body integrity as well as autonomy is by default appropriated from feminism, as – we deduce – men cannot have original thoughts related to their own bodies.
It seems these groups simply cannot be left alone and must be attacked even when they deal with a matter which is totally unrelated to feminism. What is entirely a men’s issue suddenly becomes these ladies’ problem. After listing the legitimate reasons why circumcision is not normally needed or moral (since it deprives men of consent in an irreversible decision), she goes on to say this:
But it’s harder for people like me to argue for rethinking routine circumcision when the movement is full of anti-feminist hate.
Call me nuts, but your decision to argue for it probably shouldn’t be based on your ego, since the children affected have nothing to do with your acceptance into the movement by men, MRAs specifically. Even if the exclusion of all feminists is unfair, it should have no bearing on how they feel about the issue. Of course, provided that feminists actually are needed in this movement and are not trying to infect it as the do with everything else they touch.This article is proof of the fact that wherever they seek to join up, they bring the imposition of pro-feminist attitudes with them.
Like anti-abortion extremists, who frame their argument around the idea that abortion is murder, intactivist extremists contextualize circumcision as a sex crime to motivate a vigilante-style roundup of criminals.
Or maybe they just want to stop the violent, barbaric practices, in both situations, and employ shock tactics to a positive end – although some people, such as your ilk, would not even react to that, being far too dazzled by abstract concepts such as “choice” and “liberation”. In truth, your ilk is so triggered by words and concepts but fails to be moved by brutally honest reality.
Oddly, while mirroring tactics of the extreme right, they simultaneously co-opt marginalized narratives for their own ends. Phrases like “gender equality begins at birth” and “his penis, his choice,” mimicking feminist slogans, can also be found sprinkled amongst intactivist protest signs.
“Marginalised narratives” – as if everything that has to do with women or feminism is doused in oppression, even after they’ve had their desired “equality” for decades. Again, reality ceases to matter; labels and concepts are all feminists can operate with. It is only fair for these slogans to be mirrored back to them.
Extremist demonstrators accost physicians at medical conferences and at hospitals and follow them around with cameras, screaming “PENIS BUTCHER!” They take video of this harassment and post it proudly on the Internet, Operation Rescue-Style. But doctors aren’t the only targets. You’ll also find intactivist extremists harassing mothers, both at public protests and online. And when they’re dealing with women, their vitriol gets even grosser. Mutilation Watch, an intactivist “watchdog” page, shares parents’ personal Facebook posts, often via the “share” button from the original post, and pictures of their infants to a public audience of thousands.
That is indeed disgusting and they sound like utter nutcases who should be stopped from targeting people for something they (most likely) don’t realise is cruel, since it is common practice and recommended by some doctors,.However, coming form a feminist, and a progressive in general, I can’t help but see the irony when discussing this type of vitriol.
When I posted an article, I had written detailing my experiences with the sexism in intactivism to my website’s Facebook page, the thread became filled with violent antifeminist rhetoric from the intactivist community: “Leave it to a feminazi to turn a men’s rights issue into a ‘feminist’ issue.”
Perhaps reframing generally abominable behaviour in feminist terms and, as progressives like to put it, “appropriating” this issue, was not the brightest idea, particularly since feminists commonly engage in practices such as doxxing. Personally disagreeing with the tactics these men employ is one thing – but to frame it as an attack on feminism was bound to get the results it ended up getting. Granted that the vitriol is a sad phenomenon of our times and men being needlessly abusive is just as sickening as women doing it to them. And granted that the very existence of these organisations militating for men’s rights is a sad thing – the need for it is a consequence of the lack of natural balance in the west. But the fact remains feminism as a whole cannot claim moral superiority, considering the tactics it employs towards shaming those who think differently.
A good number just said, “thank you,” or “I, too, had to stop associating with intactivism because of this.”
That just shows the nature of many militant groups and what they degenerate into, unfortunately. Which also applies to feminism, of course.
The article goes on to the eternal debate of who can score more oppression points – men or women; feminists or MRAs. As a bystander, appalled by what both groups end up doing at times (though of course they are not homogeneous), I can only say that many of them deserve each other’s company.
Feminism is not a force for good by far. It is responsible for absurdities such as this women’s proliferation on how she doesn’t trust male gynecologists not to have ulterior motives for their career choice. By association, what would it say about proctologists or podologists (the latter would be foot fetishists maybe) or about vets? But no; the world revolves around vaginas; they are golden. I’ll have this sort of person know that women can be far cruder and nastier when making comments about female bodies in a hospital. I’ve seen it happen; it is a truly humiliating experience for those who are exposed to the highest possible degree and are judged by some frustrated, passive-aggressive nurse who seeks to give them “helpful advice” on how to stop looking shit after they’ve just given birth. If men judge in this circumstance, you can be sure they keep it to themselves. You can bet that it is preferable.