wait, it just occurred to me––
why, in the MRA mindset, is it all right to reduce all feminists (or, um, women) to one big giant mean group, but it is THE WORST THING when women don’t see each individual man as the complicated sum of his life process?
for some reason this particular hypocrisy is really striking to me
ETA: NEVER VISIT THE MISANDRY TAG OH LORD
Because, as a whole, feminists and MRAs are too egotistic to see they are, apparently, fighting for the same thing.
I am very dubious about the fact that MRAs and feminists are fighting for the same thing. That does not seem like the case to me.
Ostensibly, this is true. If MRAs were truly interested in gender equality, feminists and MRAs would be natural allies. But… MRAs aren’t interested in gender equality.
Instead MRAs overwhelmingly tend to be misogynists, and blind to fact that all of the toxic tropes of masculinity that exist in our culture are founded in sexism against women. Men have trouble keeping custody of their kids? Women are expected to be mothers — and nothing more than mothers. Male rape and molestation is wildly underreported? Men are supposed to be gagging for sex all the time (men are the aggressors in our social structures of romance and dating, and women are the resistors) and admitting this isn’t the case, or that they weren’t “strong enough” to fight off their attacker, is feminizing and a source of shame. Men are expected to be emotionless and stoic, and aren’t allowed to have tender or loving or sensitive nonromantic relationships with each other or other women? Or their children? Women are supposed to be emotional and irrational; showing that you, as a man, are emotional and irrational is, again, feminizing and a source of shame.
MRAs refuse to acknowledge this dichotomy. Most of the ones I’ve had the misfortune of dealing with insist that women are just as responsible for rape (it’s assumed that 99% of rapists are male, regardless of the gender of their victims); that the pay gap is a myth despite overwhelming evidence that it isn’t; have no understanding of feminism and assume that all feminists hate men and want to establish a matriarchy, or that a matriarchy currently exists; and generally hide behind their overwhelming fear of women with completely fucking delusional beliefs about what equality entails.
It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again: men are afraid women will reject them. Women are afraid men will kill them. Misandry annoys. Misogyny kills.
I want to stress this again: In many, many parts of the country right now, if you want to go to see a movie in the theater and see a current movie about a woman — any story about any woman that isn’t a documentary or a cartoon — you can’t. You cannot. There are not any. You cannot take yourself to one, take your friend to one, take your daughter to one.
There are not any.
By far your best shot, numbers-wise, at finding one that’s at least even-handedly featuring a man and a woman is Before Midnight (on 891 screens) so I hope you like it. Because it’s pretty much that or a solid, impenetrable wall of movies about dudes.
Dudes in capes, dudes in cars, dudes in space, dudes drinking, dudes smoking, dudes doing magic tricks, dudes being funny, dudes being dramatic, dudes flying through the air, dudes blowing up, dudes getting killed, dudes saving and kissing women and children, and dudes glowering at each other.
Somebody asked me this morning what “the women” are going to do about this. I don’t know. I honestly am at the point where I have no idea what to do about it. Stop going to the movies? Boycott everything?
They put up Bridesmaids, we went. They put up Pitch Perfect, we went. They put up The Devil Wears Prada, which was in two-thousand-meryl-streeping-oh-six, and we went (and by “we,” I do not just mean women; I mean we, the humans), and all of it has led right here, right to this place. Right to the land of zippedy-doo-dah. You can apparently make an endless collection of high-priced action flops and everybody says “win some, lose some” and nobody decides that They Are Poison, but it feels like every “surprise success” about women is an anomaly and every failure is an abject lesson about how we really ought to just leave it all to The Rock.”
“You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.”
-Ryan Gosling on the controversy around the rating of his film ‘Blue Valentine’
The answer is totally sexism.
If you are like me and grew up listening to incredibly angsty twenty-something men whining harmonically about the women that have wronged them and the loves that have failed, then you know as well as I do that men write songs about specific women all the time. And they use their fuckin’ names (or names, anyway, that allude to specific women, just as the “Dear John” song alludes to John Mayer but uses a well-known conceit known as a ‘Dear John letter,’ Google that shit, to achieve thatˆ), too!
Like, I love Andrew McMahon as much as the next awkward teenage girl who hit puberty somewhere between 2001 and 2003, but homeboy writes a LOT of songs about specific women where their NAMES ARE THE TITLE: “Amy, I,” “Amelia Jean,” and “Letters to Noelle,” to name three of ROUGHLY TWO DOZEN. Fall Out Boy, Motion City Soundtrack, Brand New, fun., fun.’s previous and more depressed incarnation The Format, Taking Back Sunday, and countless others that I noticed, as I was nonchalantly scrolling through the time warp sections of my iTunes, talk about relationships with specific women and use names that probably only thinly veil the references to those women. Like, there’s no way you broke up with Justin Pierre for being a self-absorbed alcoholic or whatever and didn’t listen to Motion City Soundtrack’s next album and think, “Well shit, ‘Last Night’ is totally about our breakup, that blows. Why did that douche basically imply I broke up with him because I couldn’t keep up with his brilliance? What?”
The main difference is that Taylor Swift’s beaus are usually also famous, but here’s the thing: men in all genres of music are constantly — constantly— working out their relationship angst through music. Justin Timberlake has now written two consecutive albums, albeit with a seven-year gap, about his relationship experiences. Literally all Justin Bieber seems to sing about is some lady he wants to dance up on or how sad he is because some lady didn’t let him dance up on her. Bruno Mars writes about love and breakups all the time. Nate Ruess (of fun.) is all, “I Wanna Be The One” on one album and then on the next album is like, “Why Am I The One” and sometimes I just want to be all, “Jesus, why the fuck ARE you the one if you keep writing about your breakups on your albums?”*
This is because it is an artist’s right to work out his (OR HER) feelings through his (OR HER) art. This is as true for Taylor Swift as it is for Nate Ruess, okay? It’s as true for Taylor Swift as it is for Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake or some other Justin who hasn’t surfaced yet (and probably won’t because it’s probably like Highlander and there can only be one). Female artists have as much right to write about their breakups as male artists do. And Taylor Swift’s not the only one to do it — she’s just been the most open in interviews and in the press about her relationships, which has led to this weird entitlement circle where people feel like they SHOULD know about Taylor Swift’s relationships, and then mock her mercilessly for writing about them.
Through some stunning combination of what appears to be her own willingness to connect with people through shared experiences by talking about her personal life, the fact that she dates people of equal visibility, the enthusiasm of whoever handles her image in flaunting that openness and visibility and encouraging the media to pry deeper, and the media’s willingness to throw women under the bus as “catty” or whatever have created an environment where Taylor Swift is
- expected to share personal information about her love life and
- punished for sharing that personal information OR
- punished for not sharing that personal information AND
- disallowed from writing about it in her music because ‘everyone knows already’ or something
I’m not saying she hasn’t had some part in creating this environment, but it’s sure as hell not JUST her. And I just don’t fuckin’ get why everyone is so obsessed with who she is or isn’t writing about or is or isn’t naming when dudes pull this shit ALL THE TIME. The difference is that she’s criticizing equally visible men. That’s pretty much it.
Like, homegirl needs to stop hating on other women so much and there have been a lot of great conversations about how she contributes to slut-shaming and victim-blaming and sex-negativity, but I’m JUST NOT CLEAR why the media at large is more concerned with whether or not she’s calling John Mayer a douchebag (basically) in a song than they are with, say, John Mayer being a total pretentious shit all the time.
Or, more generally: why the fuck are we being so much nastier to a girl writing about her breakups and love interests than we are to powerful men who do the same thing ALL THE TIME to women they met at Starbucks and who don’t have multi-million-dollar record deals?
* I am well aware these songs are about very different things. Also, I volunteer as tribute to be the next muse for a tortured love song, I am js. Call me.