Friday, March 16, 2012

Noah Brand - Misandry Mirrors Misogyny, or There Is No Gender War

For those who have not been following the situation, there have been considerable changes at The Good Men Project in recent months. The latest of which is the appointment of Noah Brand, he who blog(s/ged) at No Seriously, What About The Menz?, as the new editor-in-chief of the Good Men Project.

He's been doing a fair bit of writing on the site, since that is what bloggers do, most of which I have found interesting, but this one post - There Is No Gender War - I thought merited additional thought/discussion.

In this piece, Brand argues against the notion of a gender war between the feminists and the men's rights activists (MRAs):
Feminists and MRAs are not pure and not equivalent, victory for one does not equal defeat for the other, and it certainly doesn’t map accurately to people’s real-life experiences of gender. I reject the entire silly model as a useless framing of gender roles in our society. It’s a lousy model with no predictive value and I’ll have no truck with it. A better model lies not in the middle, but outside the Manichean conflict entirely.
I think it's important to qualify his observation as partially true, but only for those not engaged in the "war." Those people who identify as Feminists (note the capital F) and those who identify as Men's Rights Activists (again, note the capitalization), are so thoroughly embedded in their perspective, very limited though it be, that they cannot fathom another perspective possibly holding any merit. They are fundamentalists, or extremists, or radicals - and they are a small but vocal element in either camp.

But his real point is more important - and more post-gender. He argues that we cannot keep buying into the zero-sum game of the gender war but, rather, we must come to accept that we will be liberated from denigrating and restrictive stereotypes and gender roles together or not all.
There’s a principle we discovered over at No Seriously, What About The Menz?, that we named Ozy’s Law. It is simply this: you cannot form a stereotype about either of the two major genders without simultaneously forming a concurrent stereotype about the other. Or, more simply: misandry mirrors misogyny.

Pick out whatever sexist stereotypes offend you, and you’ll find that every one of them has a corollary stereotype. Men always want sex; women never want sex. Men are slobs; women should do housework. Men are shallow and looks-obsessed; women are only valuable for their looks. Men are only valuable for their success and money; women are shallow gold-diggers. There is no end to these, no offensively wrong stereotype that doesn’t carry its offensively wrong twin.

Therefore, the entire asinine notion of gender liberation as a zero-sum game in which one gender must lose for the other to gain… simply doesn’t make sense. It cannot make sense. Men and women can only be liberated together, or not at all.

We cannot liberate men from the trap of the success myth without liberating women from the beauty myth. We cannot liberate women from being nothing but housewives without liberating men from being nothing but breadwinners. We cannot liberate everyone from repressive and outdated sexual roles if we’re only going to pick at the edges of the problem, trying to free this person’s penis or that person’s vagina. At this point in the game, we are either freeing everyone from repressive gender roles or we’re just fucking around.
Exactly - and it's way past time to stop fucking around.

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