Category Archives: life before feminism
Don’t Be That Rape Apologist: Arthur Koestler, Judgy Bitch, and why MRAs hate rape awareness campaigns
Today I’m going to talk about Janet Bloomfield — AKA JudgyBitch — and her bizarre attack on the original Don’t Be That Guy anti-rape posters in Edmonton. But I’m going to take a bit of a detour first, so bear with me.
I recently picked up a copy of Arthur Koestler’s The Case of the Midwife Toad, a nonfiction account of a scientific feud that provided me with some diverting travel reading and put me in the mood to read more of Koestler’s nonfiction.
But doing some rudimentary Googling I made a rather horrifying discovery about Koestler, whom I’d admired since reading his bracing account of breaking with Communism in the classic The God That Failed anthology: according to a recent biographer, Koestler was a serial rapist and abuser of women.
Listening to the Rolling Stones’ “Mother’s Little Helper” the other day, I was struck by how much the lyrics resembled a misogynistic MRA rant. Ostensibly a song pointing out the hypocrisy of suburban squares attacking the drug culture whilst themselves popping prescription pills, the song extends its “critique” to cover such subjects as the evil of women making cakes from mixes instead of from scratch. (See below for videos of all the songs mentioned in this post.)
A blast from the past. Elliot is (inadvertently) DHV-ing out the wazoo! That’s Demonstrating Higher Value, for those not hep to Pickup Artist lingo.
This isn’t, strictly speaking, “life before feminism.” It’s life just as the second wave of feminism was getting going. Indeed, the rather forward women in the ad are essentially Madison Avenue’s version of liberated women.
And this seems to be how most MRAs continue to see feminism today — as an elaborate plot designed to allow bossy, manipulative, “hypergamous” “empowered females” to better exploit hard-working beta men.
The ad is of course insulting to both men and women, but I imagine any MRA viewers who stop by will only see the misandry.
But, hey, it is a pretty cool car.
There’s an interesting piece over on Collectors Weekly about those anti-Suffragette postcards I sometimes use to illustrate my posts here. (Thanks to Jezebel for the link; I’m not exactly a regular reader of Collectors Weekly.) Lisa Hix puts the cards in context, offering a sort of mini-history of the suffragette movement in the process, and notes that the cards present some of the often contradictory “arguments” still used against feminism today.
I usually listen to my music collection on shuffle, and this old song was one of the first that popped up this morning as I caught up on comments here. Recorded by Jean Shepard in 1954, it’s a charmingly blunt criticism of sexist double standards. The notions she challenges are still, sadly, issues to this day, especially amongst the you-know-who’s-rights-activists and the rest of their pals in the you-know-who-o-sphere. Some of the lyrics:
How come a man can fight and cuss and smoke and drink and chew
Step out on their wives and do the things they shouldn’t do?
But it’s all right in the publics’ eye, they say he’s just a man
But if a woman does one little thing, she’s not worth a …
Two whoops and a holler,
she’s lower than a hound
If she drinks or smokes or tells a joke,
she’s a lowest thing in town
Of course, like a lot of old songs by women in country music that challenge male sexism, Two Whoops and Holler is a product of its time, and doesn’t transcend traditionalist thinking entirely. The song ends up endorsing some double standards of its own: Shepard sings that “the women ought to rule the world ’cause the men ain’t worth a … Two whoops and a holler, they’re lower than a hound.”
In other words, she ends up offering a mirror image of the original sexism — which is exactly the sort of dualistic thinking that double standards lead to in the first place. Don’t tell the MRAs! They’ll start going on about female supremacism or some other nonsense.
MRAs, by and large, aren’t big fans of chivalry, and complain bitterly about the terrible injustices forced upon them by this archaic concept, like having to hold doors open for ladies from time to time.
But perhaps they are not considering the many fine benefits of chivalry. In the comments section of Alcuin’s pro-patriarchy blog, our traditionalist friend fschmidt recently set forth the case for chivalry in a way that even the dullest misogynist could appreciate:
In early western culture around the time of the Renaissance, chivalry meant that ladies should be honored and sluts should be raped. This is a totally sound concept and encourages good behavior on the part of women. You cannot expect women to behave if they are not rewarded for good behavior and punished for bad behavior.
Fschmidt’s opinion inspired a lively discussion. Caeser’s Ghost argued that fschmidt had gone a bit too far with the whole rape thing:
Women who dress and behave like whores shouldn’t be raped. They should be prostitutes and treated as such.
Caesar’s Ghost, I have the greatest respect for prostitutes. Prostitutes provide a valuable service. But sluts provide no value and undermine morality. This is why sluts, identified as provocatively dressed women outside of areas of prostitution, were regularly raped around the time of the Renaissance.
CG argued that prostitutes deserve only the most limited sort of respect:
I respect prostitutes in so far as they fulfill a lowly but necessary function in society. Outside of that function, I have no respect or value for them.
Promiscuous women who are not prostitutes should be treated badly, but I don’t believe that they should be raped. I regard the Renaissance as a great era, but I would have to disagree with their way of handling the problem of sluts.
The mission of Alcuin’s site is, as he states at the top of every page, is to “Promot[e] the Intellectual Renaissance of the Western Tradition.” Apparently you can’t have a real renaissance without sorting out whether or not sexually active women should be raped, or just treated like shit.
For those interested in exploring fschmidt’s opinions further, check out his not-terribly-popular CoAlpha Brotherhood discussion forums. Or this post, in which I examine his CoAlpha brother Drealm’s theory about how women oppress men by dressing like sluts and not covering up their evil sexy hair.
This post merits the famous blinking
An alert reader pointed me to this amazing “map” from the 1830s, posted on Ptak Science Books and originally found here. Described as “A Map of the Open Country of a Woman’s Heart,” it presents a less-than-flattering picture of the supposed shallowness, vanity and selfishness of the female of the species. Click on the pic above to see it full size.
It’s amazing how closely this resembles so many Manosphere “critiques” of evil modern women; the main difference is that it’s a bit more polite in its language. Also, no mention of stinky vaginas.
Manospherians love to talk about “taking the red pill,” as if their ideas are all new and cool and Matrixy. Actually, of course, their ideas are old as fuck. It’s more like they are taking a gulp of Dr. Flimflam’s Electro Magnetic Misogyny Fluid.
Below, another amazing picture also found on Ptak, which presents data on where women’s eyes linger when looking at men. (Again, click on it to see it full size.) I suspect this one would be a bit more confounding to the Manospherians of today, in that it doesn’t show women looking only at the dude’s wallet. The post on Ptak offers a more detailed explanation of what this picture is about.
So I linked the other day to Kate Beaton’s awesome comic about the obstreperous velocipedrix (inspired by the cartoon I used to illustrate this post). But since then I’ve had bicycle-riding-ladies on the brain and I thought it was worth another post. Besides, it gives me an excuse to use the cartoon above, which Beaton linked to in her Hark, A Vagrant post.
The notion that bicycle- (or velocipede-) riding women are inherently hilarious (or inherently evil) may seem a tad quaint now, but back in the late 19thcentury, when bicycling really took off, these cartoons were every-fucking-where.
And what was so unsettling – even scary – about the specter of women on bicycles? As historian Clare S. Simpson explains:
The independent mobility of cyclists raised genuine alarm for their physical, if not moral, safety; simply put, the bicycle could easily take women to unsavoury places where they might be endangered physically (for example, by being attacked), or morally (for example, by being seduced into imprudent conduct with intemperate company). . . . Drawing on previous knowledge of the kinds of women who deliberately made themselves conspicuous in public, that is, prostitutes, there would be a strong tendency to conclude that cycling women were far from respectable: not exactly prostitutes, perhaps, but possibly women of loose morals or with an undeveloped sense of propriety.
Now why does this sound oh-so-familiar? Because it is so scarily similar to many of the arguments I run across amongst Men’s Rightsers and Manospherians today. Change a few words here and there, and we could be talking about the Slutwalks, and the ludicrously overblown “criticism” of them we’ve seen from MRAs and misogynists generally, who insist again and again that women must be “held responsible” for their actions.
What actions? Going outside dressed in something more revealing than a nun’s habit. Going outside at night. Not reacting with gratitude when dudes patronizingly lecture them on the perils of being a woman in public. It’s the same old shit: the “independent mobility” of women is pissing off a lot of men even today.
That’s why so many MRAs got so angry about the case of Lara Logan, the CBS news correspondent who was sexually assaulted while covering the protests in Egypt last year — many in the MRA camp weren’t so much angry at those who assaulted Logan as they were at Logan herself, for daring to cover political unrest in another country … while being a woman.
That’s why it always strikes me as a little odd that MRAs routinely describe their movement, such as it is, as a new one. It’s not. Theirs is a reactive movement, and a reactionary one – and not just because some of them literally think women should be denied the right to vote. It’s because so much of what they obsess about is the same old shit that pops up whenever women have stepped up and challenged their traditional roles.
Of course, these guys aren’t simply angry at women doing traditionally masculine things – from going where they like, on bikes or foot, to covering world politics. They’re worried that newly “masculinized” women will turn men into a bunch of emasculated pussies.
While poking around to find more cartoons to illustrate this post with, I happened across several that show just how persistent this worry is. Take a look. The first couple are from the turn-of-the-twentieth century; the third is from the 1970s. Notice a theme here?
This same old theme is handled a bit more subtly today, as this bit of clip art shows. Note the pink apron, in case you didn’t get the point: a man washing dishes is an emasculated wussy.
Of course, in the Manosphere, things are not quite so subtle. It’s telling that amongst MRAs and other modern misogynists the insult of choice for feminist men is “mangina.”
Here’s how one little manifesto defines the term. (I’ve edited out a lot; it’s pretty fucking repetitive, though students of misogynist psychology may wish to read the whole thing here.)
Manginas are pseudo-men who fixate their lives on getting a sniff of the female genitalia (figure of speech) at the expensive of others and by betraying real men.
Manginas see women as an ultimate being, places them on a huge pedestal, mind focuses only on sex or the satisfaction of women all the while not giving two bits a damn about his fellow man. …
A mangina is not a man, and we wouldn’t dare honor them by gracing them with the title. …
A Mangina seeks continuous approval from females thereby becoming their servant.
Manginas support women’s issues which are against his fellow men. Someone who espouses feminism but is really being suckered into a form of chivalry in which women’s interests take precedence over men’s. Unaware that they are merely “useful idiots”, doing what women want in the vain/hope of getting laid. When his usefulness is over she tosses him out with the rest of the rubbish. …
A Mangina is a self-depreciating man who subconsciously hates himself and blindly believes women are superior to him. He has been raised to think masculinity is inherently wrong – perhaps even a genetic/evolutionary/social flaw – and must be corrected by embracing his “feminine side” to the point of losing the very qualities that make him male.
Women acting like men; men acting like women. These were the bugbears of the velocipedrix-hating, women’s-suffrage-opposing assholes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; they were the bugbears of the protoypical woman’s-lib-hating chauvinist pigs of the seventies; and they remain the bugbears of an astonishingly large number of those in the Men’s Rights movement today.
And that’s why it, too, will end as a joke, remembered as a quaint holdover from earlier times rather than the progressive civil rights movement it sometimes pretends to be.
In the meantime: Kate Beaton, fucking hilarious, right?
NOTE: I found a whole bunch of awesomely retrograde cartoons from bygone days while looking for the illustrations for this post. I’ll be posting some of my favorites soon.