It was so much fun the last time that I immediately got myself in gear for Round 2! So here are a few more arguments presented by our favorite ignorant misogynists, the mansplainers, and the logical deconstruction of their faulty positions. I’m talking to you, bro!
‣‣‣ “But I love women!”
This defense is based on the assumption that you can’t possibly hurt someone you love, a theory that would render family counselling utterly obsolete, and would cause musicians and poets a serious inspirational crisis.
WOMAN: You’re being a misogynist. [Thing that you did] was actively oppressive to me/women at large.
MANSPLAINER: I have a [wife/daughter/sister/mother]! I can’t be a misogynist, because I care about them.
Caring about specific women in specific ways does not mean that you “care about women.” And even caring about women as a whole–being a “male feminist”–does not mean that you are automatically innocent of demonstrating misogyny.
The problem here is that you can hope that awful things don’t happen to women while still actively contributing to the oppression that directly results in those bad things happening to them. Your wife/daughter/sister/mother was raped, and you’re furious about that? Well, the contributions you’ve made to rape culture helped mold the society that allowed that violation to happen. And the contributions you continue to make are helping ensure that she doesn’t get justice. That’s an ugly, harsh reality to confront, to acknowledge, but you know what’s worse? Being that wife/daughter/sister/mother who was raped, and having to live every day with that injustice.
This is one of those arguments that makes female experiences all about the men who witness them, rather than the women who actually experience them. There are few things more infuriating than having our experiences appropriated by men to justify further oppressing us. If, at any point in feminist discussion, you find yourself thinking about the violation/injustice suffered by a woman you love, remind yourself that it should serve to inspire you to argue in favor of justice for all women, not used to silence other women like her.
‣‣‣ “I knew this woman this one time…”
One of the biggest obstacles when trying to get misogynists to take us seriously is convincing them that feminists are not the evil beasts MRAs have made us out to be. Our ranks are not thick with false victims demanding prosecution for nonexistent rapes, we do not go about demanding the immediate extermination of men, and we do not hit the abortion clinic every month during our reproductive years because we’re just so fond of uterine scraping.
WOMAN: [Issue] is a serious feminist concern, and misogynists/MRAs at best exaggerate and at worst completely invent their ‘statistics’ about how it isn’t.
MANSPLAINER: Not true! I once knew a woman who did exactly what the misogynists/MRAs say women do, and her lie proves that feminists are creating misogyny where there is none.
Will someone please explain to me exactly when omniscience was granted to the conveyer of such a yarn that allows him to know that the story he heard is 100% accurate? The mansplainers making this argument rarely have sources (and if they do, almost never legitimate, impartial ones) to prove any of their claims. It’s a case of their cousin’s uncle’s friend’s wife’s veterinarian’s cosmetologist hearing about how this totally happened this one time, and hearsay is completely legitimate if it supports a patriarchal argument.
Look, even if this was something that you could objectively prove, that one-in-a-million happenstance does not disprove or delegitimize any of the realities of feminist argument. For example, why, in a world where a disturbingly large percentage of men are rapists, do men endlessly complain about how they are “unfairly villainized,” while a much smaller proportion of women claiming rape in an unprovable (yet not necessarily invented) case are enough to tear down the entire cause? Hypocrisy, thy name is “mansplainer.”
And delving deeper into the philosophical side of this argument, knowing one actual man-hater does not give you the right to condemn all women. Personally, I give about as much of a shit about your outrage regarding the SCUM Manifesto as I do that of Georgian England over Jonathan Swift’s suggestion of nomming on infants. Stop creating straw feminists and try actually engaging your mind with the words of the feminists right in front of you, presenting you with legitimate arguments.
‣‣‣ “But but but…LESBIANS!”
Worried that a woman is making a legitimate objection about the male gaze and how women are sexually objectified disproportionately to men because of misogyny? No problem! Simply remind us that lesbians find women sexually attractive, therefore the sexual objectification of women cannot be a male or patriarchal creation. Ooh, and I’m pretty sure you get some sort of MRA bonus points if you accuse us of being homophobic for “ignoring lesbians” in our objection to your misogyny.
WOMAN: It’s really gross how [subculture] is objectifying women. It’s offensive and pointedly ignores the women within [subculture].
MANSPLAINER: Nuh-UH. I totally know women who are attracted to the women who are objectified within [subculture]. Women objectify each other just as badly as men do, you’re ignoring queer women.
Now, let me tell you, this is one of my personal favorites, because as a queer woman, I find myself constantly forgetting that I exist. What on earth would I do without you (almost always straight) men to explain me to myself? You men do so much for us that we just never give you credit for!
Dripping sarcasm aside, this is really just ludicrous, and you should feel embarrassed for having suggested it. First, what queer-loving society have we suddenly been transported to where lesbians are the ones being catered to? The patriarchy caters to men, period, and the suggestion that it’s not only catering to women (an oppressed class) but to gay women (who are really winning the oppression lottery here) is so fucking ridiculous that I’m honestly left balking when this comes up. This argument is bad, and you should feel bad.
‣‣‣ “Yes, but really, what about teh menz?”
The true cornerstone of any mansplainer’s philosphy!
WOMAN: I dislike how few women are included in [activity], and I’m not comfortable supporting something so skewed in the favor of men.
MANSPLAINER: So what, you’d have men lose their place in [activity] just so women will have equal representation? We have to think foremost about all those men who are losing their place! What you’re promoting isn’t equality, it’s misandry, and you just have an agenda.
First of all, never, ever respond to a woman’s legitimate feminist objection with, “Yes, but….” Just don’t do it. You will always, without fail, look like a giant ass. No, strike that: You will always, without fail, be a giant ass. You need to stop making everything about you. Society already makes everything about men; that effort and its effect are the entire basis of patriarchal control. Please take a break from that self-indulgence to contemplate the other half of the population, represented in this instance by the woman directly engaging you in conversation and asking you to consider that maybe desiring equal representation is not such a wild idea.
Look, here’s a little fact that most men seem to want to ignore: Feminists know that men suffer from oppression. Funny thing is, the oppression that men suffer from is misogyny. The patriarchy does hurt men, and we know that…but for the love of Ceiling Cat, we need to be allowed debates where that doesn’t take over the floor, debates where it doesn’t even come up, because it’s not relevant. And the sort of crying about the poor men that you do in this blatant fear-mongering about how feminism is destroying men? Yeah, you can go ahead and tuck that away in your mental files of “Shit That’s Patently Wrong and I Need to Stop Bringing Up.”
And of course we have an agenda. Our agenda is to try and turn selfish mansplainers into decent human beings. Our agenda is to get everyone to treat women as equals to men. Our agenda is to make a female voice heard amidst the testicular din, to eventually make all female voices heard equal to those of men. The mansplainers have an agenda, too–maintaining the status quo, thus keeping women from achieving equality. Now really, which agenda should we be condemning? Which side of this debate do you really want to fall on?