Tag Archive | feminism

Freedom of Association is alive and well in Brooklyn

There’s yet another superhero film coming out soon, but instead of the endless Spider-Man or Batman retreads, Wonder Woman is being brought to the big screen.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has managed to call attention to its showing of the film by hosting several women-only screenings that will raise money for Planned Parenthood. Of course this has produced a needless shitstorm of controversy as any explicit expression of identity politics is wont to in these contentious times.

Raising hackles against the screenings is a lot of pointless blather. This is at best a cheap publicity stunt (that has so far worked brilliantly). If it really bothers you, you should be extra sure not to give the organizers the attention they crave.

And it obscures a larger issue that this gives us cause to address: Freedom of association is a universal human right.

It’s a right of all free people to live as they choose among whom they choose. It’s a building block of any community. Because just as a community of free people defines who they are, they also define who they aren’t. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is not taxpayer-funded or given exclusive license of any kind by the government. It’s a private business. If it wants to ban men for a few screenings or a week or a year or forever, it can. There’s a distinct difference, not commonly understood, between the obligations of a publicly-funded entity and the rights of individuals.

Private businesses have a right to be as discriminatory as they like. You don’t have to let Mexicans into your house or fat people into your store. We agree that this kind of blanketed bigotry is morally wrong. There’s a quintessentially American value to want judge all people by their individual merits and not by some tribal calculus. But we all have the freedom to live however we want, and if that means being prejudiced, then that’s an individual’s right over their own private property and life.

Let’s use this as a “teachable moment” as they say, and point out that the same right women have to hold a women’s only event applies to both genders and any other personal classification you care to make. No one coming to the defense of the Alamo Drafthouse would have a leg to stand on should some of their critics hold a “men only” event. I don’t want to attend a sausage party movie screening just to make some kind of\ point, but if that’s your scene, have at it. In a free country, you have the right to be a bigot if you want to be, whether that’s based on gender, race or anything else.

Freedom of association is a universal right. That means if you believe in human rights, you have to defend the exercise of that right, even if you condemn the sentiment behind it. If you try to stop people from exercising their rights, no matter how virtuous your intentions seem, you are the villain.

I don’t think the powers that be at the Alamo Drafthouse hate men; in fact the owners are men. I think they are savvy businesspeople who managed to wring a ton of free publicity for their screenings of yet another superhero film. The public will likely forgive this strategically-timed chauvinistic bent; and they’ve won the hearts of a lot of women who may occasionally go out of their way to bring them business.

We will make some real progress if these screenings can make our more progressive friends “woke” to the fact that freedom of association is a great freedom to have and has to be protected.

Words on the Streets

A recent video posted by the organization Hollaback documents a women walking the streets of New York city and being harassed 100 times over 10 hours.

It’s a mark of shame on the city that someone could have no trouble filming that. Creepy men can be found in every corner of the city and they operate with impunity. It’s no crime to be a sleazy jerk.

Catcalls are the calling card of failures. They are the currency of street garbage. It is behavior lower than an animal’s and people who do that should be treated as such. There’s no excuse for that behavior, so let’s stop making it.

There’s nothing manly about it. It’s the mark of a coward to impose yourself on a woman traveling alone. Watch the same women walk around for 10 hours with a man at her side and watch people shut up.

The right thing to do is not acknowledge this at all. What annoys me is to see women smile at these people. That only encourages them. They want to get some kind of reaction.

It happens almost exclusively to women who are traveling alone. Rule of thumb: don’t say anything to a woman you wouldn’t say in front of her much larger and meaner boyfriend, husband or father. Talk to women on the street the way you would if your mother was there with you.

One criticism of the film is that it somehow holds up as negative the normal attraction men feel for women and that it is somehow a covertly radical feminist diatribe against men. This is nonsense.

There’s no gender warfare involved with this, this is an issue of behaving like a decent human being. I oppose catcalls not because I am a feminist (men by definition aren’t feminists), but because I believe in civilization.

There’s a difference between noticing a pretty woman and making it obvious that you’re staring at them. Everyone hates being stared at. If you are an adult man and you haven’t figured out how to discreetly and quietly check out a woman’s ass, you’re an imbecile. Real men learn how to do that by the time we’re 14 at the latest. Not employing this skill makes you unfit for the benefits of an adult male.

There was once a time when men who made those comments towards women were meant to pay for it by the judgment and actions of their peers; it is time for that again.

When they turn 12, I plan to buy my daughters pepper spray and stun guns. But more vital than that, is to make sure they are raised with enough sense of self that they don’t respond to catcalls or give any quarter to people who would behave that way in public. My girls are far above and beyond the kind of people who would harangue women on the street.

The most ridiculous accusation against the film is one of racial bias. There are no “racial politics” involved in the film. The Hollaback group wrongly issued an apology for the “unintended racial bias” depicted in the movie. But there’s nothing to suggest it is not an accurate portrayal of street harassment. It’s as real as real gets.

The accusations of racial bias in the film are groundless. There are indeed white street harassers depicted in the video, and I know this just by watching the short video that is about two minutes long. I have not watched all 10 hours of the video but I’m willing to wager that the racial composition of street harassers depicted over 10 hours will be largely unchanged from the two minute summary video.

The population of street hoodlums does not perfectly mirror the racial makeup of the city, and so no accurate video of New York street life will either. What activists call “racial bias” in the video most New Yorkers know as reality. If you think the video is a vehicle of racial politics you are lacking common sense and completely missing the point.

And the point is that this kind of behavior should stop. There is no excuse for it from any race of people.

Let’s resolve to stand up against inappropriate behavior. New York is rude enough without making it inhospitable to women. If you are a real man, you want all women to feel comfortable in your city. Make it so.

The Myth of Male Feminism

It’s time for the few men who call themselves feminists to stop.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t support the rights of women. It means the feminist label isn’t meant for us. Asking a man to call himself a feminist is like asking a woman to wear an athletic cup. It’s just not meant to be.

Furthermore, the men who are claiming to be feminists are either acting out of fear of being labeled sexist or are trying to get laid. Either way they are full of shit.

I think you’d find it hard to paint me as a woman-hating ogre. I have a wife and two daughters and my last three bosses at work have been women. I have no problem working with women and I would fight to the death to make sure my baby girls are treated fairly.

But feminism as practiced today demands an illogical accounting of the genders in the world and assumes what is dictated by nature is actually the result of some patriarchal conspiracy. And it assumes men and women are equal in all things, which is false. If men and women were equal in all things, I’d be able to breastfeed my two girls, and I can’t.

The adoption of the tem “feminist” by men is by design awkward and one-sided. It’s a label not meant for men to ever use and asking men to identify as such belies the supposed egalitarian intent of the feminist movement as it exists today. We are told feminism means treating men and women equally. Women who believe in treating men and women equally don’t call themselves “masculists.” That would be ridiculous. And so are men who call themselves feminists.

We have to acknowledge that there are differences between the genders that will dictate how each is treated in society. That’s not sexism, that’s reality.

If I were to walk into a women’s restroom, the women in there would not welcome me as an equal being. They would tell me in no uncertain terms that I was in the wrong place. (Although now the idea of “gender neutral bathrooms” are supposed to be catching on. It may be a trend on some college campuses, but females will put a stop to that quickly if it ever picks up steam in the real world).

Treating men and women equally under the law might make sense to a certain degree, but then again, the law will run face-first into scientific reality. Should I be entitled to the same amount of parental leave as my wife? No. Women can feed babies with their own bodies. Men can only do that if they have vampire children. There are legitimate functions in society where gender differences have to be acknowledged in some way and this has often run afoul of the contemporary feminist movement.

Feminism as practiced today has shed its heritage of fighting for suffrage and has instead joined the tired fray of identity politics.  What this needless war between the sexes has given us is a certain segment of the female population who mistake rudeness for assertiveness and then pull the gender card when they get called on it. It’s also produced a large number of men who are afraid to be called sexist or else have a confused notion of what women want. In reality, women want strong men.

The men who identify as feminists are a parade of either self-emasculating depressives or fast-talking pickup artists.

Believe me, the men who are playing the feminist card are trying to get laid. For the most part it won’t work, and the men who tout themselves as male feminists do so because they are in some way shy or awkward around women and they think that perhaps appearing in this activist posture will get them some positive attention from women. That is mostly doomed to failure because men and women don’t choose their mates by their political stances. Even the most outwardly feminist straight woman still wants a man with a level of self-confidence that would often preclude him adopting the feminist label.

But the men who call themselves feminists and are successful with women treat those women like dog shit. I have had acquaintances who were adamant about declaring their feminist politics publicly but then spoke in the most vulgar terms about their conquests of women when there were no women present.

One way or another, all male feminists are frauds. I will gladly fight for the rights of women. But I can’t be a feminist, because I am a man.

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