Reverse Feminism

March 29th, 2009 by Pelle Billing

Today I’d like to do a thought experiment and have some fun at the same time.

We’re all familiar with feminist rhetoric, it’s hard not to be, since it comes at us from feminists, the media and policy makers. The gender messages reaching us are so streamlined and consistent that it’s easy to simply accept the rhetoric as fact, or at least as mostly fact. Even men and women who are critical of feminism are likely influenced by these messages on a subconscious level.

What if we were to turn the tables on this feminist rhetoric, and use a similar language to describe the male gender role and the suffering of men? In other words, what would it sound like if we were to describe the experience of men and situation of men using a feminist style of language, to show how ludicrous and one-side most of the feminist ideology is?

I’m not saying that we should actually start implementing a reverse rhetoric, far from it! But I believe it could be a good thought experiment in order to demonstrate that the blame game and the claiming of victimhood can be done by men too, meaning that each gender has just as many disadvantages.

So what kind of statements would masculism make, if it was just as strong and just as pathological as mainstream feminism? Here’s a preliminary list:

  1. Women force men to work full-time by only marrying men who are providers, thereby limiting the choices of men.
  2. Women structurally oppress men by claiming the closest connection to the children.
  3. Women expect men to protect them physically, thereby subordinating the men (men’s lives are less worth).
  4. Women do not mind that their husbands have dangerous jobs while they are safe at home, caring for the children. This matriarchal power structure keeps men away from a loving environment, and keeps the ruling class (women) out of harms way.
  5. The power of the sisterhood represses any inquiry into why men live significantly shorter lives than women. The only acceptable explanation is biological differences, which in all other gender scenarios is a prohibited explanation according to the sisterhood.
  6. Breast cancer gets more funding than any other cancer, which removes resources from prostate cancer research.
  7. Men commit suicide far more often than women, which is yet another sign of men facing matriarchal structures that keep men trapped in impossible life conditions, and ultimately the only way out may be to take your own life.
  8. Women demand that men act tough and repress their emotions at all times, which is why men do not dare report domestic violence.
  9. 70 to 80 percent of the homeless are men, since our matriarchal society is reluctant to help a man who doesn’t perform, while women (as the ruling class) always have their intrinsic value intact.
  10. Men are always given the task of defending the country against aggressors, since the ruling class must be kept safe at all times.
  11. Women are not held responsible for the crimes the same way men are and receive shorter jail sentences. The matriarchy knows that men must be punished properly to stay subordinated, while women are always considered to be basically good and therefore less in need of punishment.
  12. Cutting off genital tissue from boys is condoned by society, in order to teach men from the start that they are expendable, and inferior to women. Developing countries who cut off genital tissue from girls are judged harshly.
  13. Boys do worse than girls in school since they feel tremendously unsafe and confused once they realize what the constricted and  dangerous male gender role demands of them in the future.

Could you add anything else to this list?

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35 Responses to “Reverse Feminism”

  1. Just a metalhead Says:

    All of these points are actually based on legitimate beef people have against the gender role that is put on men’s shoulders. If I understand well, the only difference is that you added gender-blaming language to all the points: “women do this” “the matriarchy does that”… If I understand well the parallel you wish to make, you are saying in short that feminism often have good points about the female gender role about how it restricts women and limits their choices, but the problem is basically that feminists often use blaming and shaming language and in effect often change the conversation from “how gender roles are making us unhappy and preventing us from becoming better” to “how men oppress women”.

    If I understand well, this, like most of your blog, is something I can agree with. Though the relatively confrontational language will not help in establishing a bridge with feminists, who on the internet commonly seem to be highly intolerant to dissidence.

  2. Pelle Billing Says:

    Yes, I think you understand my intention pretty well.

    I believe feminism has described many of the constrictions that the female gender role has, and that is the strength of feminism. At the same time feminism uses a blaming and shaming language (as you point out), while also forgetting the male perspective entirely.

    So what I’m trying to do is to describe the problems with the male gender role, while also exposing the nasty tactics of contemporary feminism. This is necessary as a complement to feminism being so prevalent in the media and in politics. My goal is to go beyond polarized perspectives, and I never minimize the issues that women face, even though women’s issues aren’t my main focus.

    I’m also looking to view gender dynamics from a historical perspective, and I want to acknowledge that gender roles are affected by society, culture, biology and personal choices – instead of trying to claim that one of these areas is solely responsible for the gender dynamics that exist.

    Why do you find my language confrontational? This post was purposefully confrontational, but do you find that my language is confrontational in other posts?

  3. Just a metalhead Says:

    My comments regarding the confrontational language concerned this post only, I have read many of the other posts here and you seem to be doing a great job at being a respectful critic and of using a language neutral enough not to irk most people with open minds. Re-reading myself, I can understand why I might have unintentionally implied that I was talking about the blog as a whole, that was not my intent.

    As to your blog, seriously, I often wonder if I have a multiple personality disorder and when I don’t know I’m writing under your name. Kidding of course, but the point is that I often read what you wrote and realize that if I had to write on these issues, I’d probably write something similar, hopefully I’d write something of a quality approaching your posts.

    I agree with you that gender roles probably emerged because at one time they made sense (pre-history). I personally don’t know of one single society where traditionally men are stay-at-home nurturers and women take care of outside business including hunting. So either the “patriarchy” is one very efficient global conspiracy (in that case, why am I not invited to the meetings?) or there is some reason behind the development of the gender roles, which vary somewhat between cultures but still keep the same base. Modern life has allowed humans to become more emancipated from natural conditions and we have the possibility like never before to question these gender roles and to change them to allow people to be who they are most happy to be, not only what is expected of them.

    Feminists have done much for women and now they have a lot of leeway with how they choose to live their lives, more than men in my opinion, but feminism can’t help men as it is too much stuck on women’s points of view and experiences, while nearly flat-out ignoring men’s PoV and experiences (this can be seen in the feminist response to men talking about their experiences on their blogs and forums: “what about teh menz”, as if talking about men and how they also suffer from gender roles is a sin). Feminists also often have trouble accepting that biological factors may be at play or any opinion that might lead to “justifying” in some way “patriarchy”, even if in the distant past. I remember reading a discussion where feminists were completely opposed to the idea that specialization has economic benefits as it led to the conclusion that gender roles in the past, being a form of specialization, would be better than having both genders participate equally in hunting and gathering.

    Oops, I’m going to have to watch myself or I’ll operate a takeover of your blog from the comments section.

  4. Pelle Billing Says:

    Don’t worry about taking over the blog; the comments are an integral part of this blog and I love intelligent contributions!

    I agree with everything you say, and it’s interesting how adopting a non-polarized perspective on gender issues automatically makes many feminists believe that you are a woman-hater or extremist.

    I believe that “ordinary people” are much more receptive to my writings than feminists though, and especially the extreme feminists that inhabit most of the feminist blogosphere. The only thing that is needed is for the media to open up to new perspectives in the gender debate, and once people can read about more inclusive ways of looking at male-female dynamics I’m sure that many will resonate with a more non-polarizing perspective.

  5. Bj0rnborg Says:

    Love long posts and replies. Keep em up. :)

  6. Kristian Says:

    I very much agree to all your posts. You may however have to count with being missquoted on this post in the future. :-)

    About #10:
    I am a sucker for war-movies and I have allways been. At first classical hero-movies, overcomming impossible mission, courage and laughing in the face of death, and then more psychologically realistic movies where men actually break down under the terror and hell of war. The former reinforcing the myth of the fearless warrior and the latter exposing it.

    Some feminists claim that if women were in charge there would be no wars. Well, thank’s a lot! After thousands of years sacrificing our lives on the battle field for the women, that seems just a little bit ungrateful. We’ve been decieved! Suckers! If that’s not structural oppression, I don’t know what.

    Now, if a feminist should agree that it’s a structural oppression, but it’s the male elite that’s oppressing the rest of the male population forcing them to die for their country (and women), then the entire male society as a whole is probably not oppressing the female as a whole, right!? That whould be quite a conspiration theory!

    And as you point out. Quite often war is started by another aggressor.

    Thanks for every post! Keep up the good and important work! :-)

  7. Bj0rnborg Says:

    Not to mention Margret thatcher, Indira Ghandi, Queen Elisabeth who all started wars. (just from the top of my mind, im sure if one where to look at all male resp. female leaders one would fine that the % that starts war would be pretty much the same. Why wouldnt it? Its not like men have a “wargene” or something. Wars start for reasons outside the individual.)

    This is usually explained with that these females where stuck in a masculine/patriarchal environment and where forced/others made the REAL decisions/where a socialized male or something such. It only goes to show, females are saints any evidence to the contrary can always be backtracked to the closest male and disregarded.

  8. Jim Says:

    “Some feminists claim that if women were in charge there would be no wars.”

    Women don’t just start wars because they are in some kind of patriarchal matrix; wars and colonialism INTENSIFY when women are in charge. Catherine the Great of Russia presided over the largest expansion of that empire; Elizabeth I started the British Empire and Victoria presided over it at its most warlike and expansionist.

    Having women in charge doesn’t stop war. Having women in COMBAT would stop war.

    How’s this for a poster: “If women went to combat, there’d be no war”

    Do you remember:
    “If men got pregant, abortion would be funded by the government” ?

    (Yeah right, just like industrial injuries are government’s top priority.)

  9. Bj0rnborg Says:

    “If men got pregant, abortion would be funded by the government”

    Statements like that is pure victim ideology, reality is the other way around. Mens wellbeeing have always been less important than womens. A secure workenvironment, for instance, didnt become interesting until women started to work en masse.

  10. Pelle Billing Says:

    Very interesting discussion guys! I’m reading and learning.

  11. Kristian Says:

    Well, we are to a great extent arguing against straw man here (straw woman ;-) . There is a risk of winning cheap points against positions that few women actually have. So I think it’s important to keep in mind that the arguments being made are against -isms and views and not confusing these views to actual persons.

  12. Jim Says:

    Which positions would those be, Kristian? The remark about men and pregnancy was a fairly popular t-shirt for a while. The attitude remains

  13. Pelle Billing Says:

    Yes, I’m aiming to criticize gender roles, and feminism’s misrepresentation of gender roles. But I’m certainly not trying to attack women or men. Feminism has often made the mistake of attacking men, and that leads nowhere in my opinion.

    I don’t think we’ve crossed the line in this discussion, but it’s always good to be reminded, so thanks for that Kristian.

    Even though I find it counter-productive to attack women and men, I still think it’s perfectly OK to ask more of people, and expect them to do better. So even though the gender dynamics on a systemic level interest me the most, the individual component is still there, and individual change is needed if we want systemic change.

  14. Kristian Says:

    Jim, just saying that the attitude remains sounds to me too vauge and generalizing. I think there is a danger that one might project all kinds of views to an opponent in a discussion. I see that in some discussions, and sometimes in myself. Feminism, as all postmodern movements, suffers from great diversity and fragmentation. There is a wide range of views, more or less radical, and not all feminists, and certainly not all women, embody all mentioned attitudes.

    I agree with you, Pelle, and I don’t think you’ve crossed it. I think you do an excellent job!

    And sorry if I happen to make obvious comments. They’re not that obvious to me.

  15. Bj0rnborg Says:

    Kristian, its not a strawman argument since nowhere its stated that this is the opinion of all feminists. Quite the contrary, I believe this blog and most posters are very nuanced about the target of their arguments.

    Jims comment on “If men got pregant, abortion would be funded by the government” is in fact a statement made by some feminists. Any resulting discussion concerns only those who holds that belief unles somebody explicitly claims this is the view of all feminists.

    As you say, feminism embraces alot of ideas, some are sexist, some are for equality, alot of them are contradictory, its impossible to adress feminism as a whole. Im sure noone here is unaware about this fact, and it is indeed obvious to mention it; unless you feel that we somehow do not take this into consideration. If so, please point us to it and we can discuss it.

  16. Jim Says:

    Kristian, I take your point and obvious or not, it needs to be remembered. But the probelm is not just that feminism is diverse; it is a mish-mash of contradictory and incoherent propositions that have piled up over the years.

    Feminists contradict each other on basically every issue. Some insist on there being no biological difference between the sexes when it comes to cognition or capabilities, while others are so insistent on inherent sexual differences that they openly hate the very idea of trans-gendered people and insist that men are violent by nature and women are gentle by nature. Inherently. There are numerous other examples. The one thing they agree on is the existence of the Patriarchy.

    Except that that doctrine is incoherent. If men run everything, then every woman is born with a meal ticket between her legs. That’s power, uneraned privelege! Uh, no, that…..exploitation! Prostitution is not an unequal advantage, it’s horrible, horrible exploitation, completely unlike selling drugs for instance. If men run everything, then predictably there should be competition for that power – so some men will be losers. But no, according to feminist theory men are the Borg, we all benefit from Patriarchy.

    Unless we don’t. When you point out a clear downside for men, you get a patronizing Patriarchy Hurts Men Too (But Women More). It’s all like a religion trying to find mre and more patches to explain its worldview as more and more people poke holes in it.

  17. Jim Says:

    “There is a risk of winning cheap points against positions that few women actually have. ”

    Well, no shit. Very few women hold these opinions. But then, we were talking about feminsts, not women in general. Feminists presume to speak for and to represent women, without much basis in actual assent from women. Feminists are the vanguard party after all; other women are wallowing in false consciousness, you see.

    Very few women hold the opinions that most feminsts hold; feminists are in reality a fairly small perecentage of women. This comes up in poll after poll, both of opinions and self-identification as feminists (which is too bad; feminism is to credit for some truly positive social changes and specifically young women owe feminism a lot.)

  18. Pelle Billing Says:

    Yes, differentiating between women and feminism is important indeed, thanks for reminding us Jim.

    Lots of women aren’t feminists, and become very insulted if you presume them to be.

    OTOH, I think it’s just as important to acknowledge that feminism has had a huge impact on public consciousness – men and women alike – so even those people who do not self-identify as feminists will likely be influenced by its theories, and believe that the traditional gender roles were designed to benefit men and keep women down.

    The effects of feminism can be quite insidious and more pervasive than one might think.
    And what we need to counter are those effects, the incorrect arguments, and not the men and women who honestly believe that feminism has basically nailed the gender dynamics.

  19. ninszot Says:

    interesting post, i agree that the retoric has made little progress towards uniting people but rather creates division and polarization. We are now coming into an age where women not only hold the power to create life, but have the RIGHT to take it away. The “fight” for feminism has been a clear and utter loss – and little more than a war for people’s minds. Selective gender based aborting of boys would shift the balance of power within one generation. The discussion seems to get us no where. I used to think feminism was an important issue but now realise that you cannot change a natural occurance. when a lynx kills a sheep you don’t blame the lynx, you merely cull his population untill he can be managed.

  20. Paul Says:

    when a lynx kills a sheep you don’t blame the lynx, you merely cull his population untill he can be managed.

    Sounds to me like blaming the lynx is *exactly* what you are doing…

  21. AlexNY Says:

    You forgot alcoholism and substance abuse, mortality from violence, mortality from accidents, mortality from infectious diseases, cardiac disease, insanity, etc.

    It is easier simply to make a list of the 100 most horrible things that can happen to a person, and then find out how often each thing happens to men and to women.

    In every case there is only one tragedy that happens more often to women than to men, forcible rape.

  22. Julie Says:

    All that might have been valid, except.. women never oppressed men, not in this society at least. Women never denied men the vote, told them they couldn’t hold the same jobs, attend higher institutions of learning, etc. I mean.. men may be a little butt hurt by the feminist movement, because they didn’t like hearing bad things about their gender.. but you can’t really get away from the fact that Western society was structured, for many generations, in a way that thoroughly disempowered women- that put men in a position of control over women.

    That’s why the feminist movement evolved- to counteract that. It wasn’t a bunch of girls standing up and saying ‘you don’t buy us enough flowers- waah!’ It was women saying ‘we want independence, jobs, education and respect.’ And I will honestly tell you, as a woman, I know viscerally that there are still holdovers from the 50′s in terms of patriarchy. As a girl, I was raised to be insecure about my body, to see myself as a sex object, and to feel inadequate unless I had the validation of a man in my life. I had to fully recognize this to get over it.

    If you feel that men are similarly victimized by society- and I would say, in some ways (different ways) they are- then open up and talk about it. But don’t slam feminism for being brave enough to open up the discussion about gender inequality. Because that’s a discussion that still needs to be taking place.

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  24. Gooseberry Bush Says:

    If this post and your comments is evidence of your beliefs, I am so HAPPY to have finally found proof of intelligent life in the “manosphere.” Thank you SO MUCH for restoring my faith in men. I love men, and I don’t want to subject them to man bashing or shaming language or to make them be subservient to us or to assert that women are morally or intellectually superior simply because we’re women. I linked to this post. I, also, disagree with your assertion that feminism is responsible for misandry. Real feminism is about gender equality; let the intelligent, peaceful discourse begin!


  25. Giorgio Says:

    Julie: if the westen world was anti woman, feminism could even be born.
    In history men and women have been victims of oppression, but we only hear the voice of women.

    Feminism have also some responsability in this mess, because they only care for women problem, and diminish male suffering and problems.

    But you are right on one thing, the debate of gender inquality that’s a discussion that still needs to be taking place.

  26. Danny Says:

    If you feel that men are similarly victimized by society- and I would say, in some ways (different ways) they are- then open up and talk about it. But don’t slam feminism for being brave enough to open up the discussion about gender inequality.
    Oh my goodness why is it that when someone criticizes feminism people try to prop it up like its the one perfect movement in human history? Did feminism start the hatred against men? No. But for a movement that brands itself as the champions of gender equality they really dropped the ball when it comes to helping men. You can’t say that you’re the ones helping men while at the same time willfully ignoring men’s experiences (assuming you aren’t outright down playing them).

    I’m all for speaking up for myself. But I’ll be cursed if after all this time I’ve gotten brave enough to do so I’m gonna put up with feminists who want to swoop in and expect me to thank them when when they were slinging some of the very mud I was up against.

    …but you can’t really get away from the fact that Western society was structured, for many generations, in a way that thoroughly disempowered women- that put men in a position of control over women.
    Was it men that disimpowered women or was it a few elite men at the top that disempowered women? And while you’re thinking about that bear in mind that the vast majority of men were right down at the bottom of the barrel with women.

  27. good talk Says:

    julie,i believe everyone has issues and pain in this world,and its easy to blame anyone,but what i have always heard and read and watched on tv as well as books,all issues that i hear is what feminists have to say is all about themselves and what they need to do to become the power in the world,feminism doesnt seem to care about the issues of men at all, it is very easy and plain to see is that feminism just wants all power.anytme men want to speak up for themselves or take up for the male race which would in no way degrade women.feminists take offense anytime men feel like they are right about something.i was at a christian mens conference which is all bout being a better husband and father and to be better people for all.and there was a huge feminist army outside protesting something they knew absolutely nothing about.they didnt even care about educating themselves. i am not saying all are that way,but does seem to be the majority.

  28. Ola Normann Says:

    I liked this article, and I think it can be an “eye-opener” to many to see feminist-rhetoric used this way.

    In my opinion, most problems during history have been caused by a small, elite group of people. These people too often become greedy and power-hungry and therefore easily misuse their power. We saw it with the communism. I think it is valid also for the feminist movement.

    Somebody said in this thread “Real feminism is about gender equality”. Unfortunately, this is not what many of the elite feminists in power show when it comes down to what they really support and do.

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  31. Jamila Says:

    reverse feminism doesn’t equal masculism and by the points you posted they are still feminist..

  32. Low Testosterone Symptoms Says:

    I don’t see what you reiterated in your last post wasn’t the point I was making. Which was the statements made prior to mine implied that sonics were saving money on the deal.

  33. Justin Thomson, otherwise known as "AlenaRyu" Says:

    “Women are allowed freedom to express themselves in their choice of clothing, while men’s options are limited to varying degrees of pants, shirts, jackets, and limited shoe and accessory choices.”

    I apologize if thats not worded very well, but my point should be fairly clear. While women have access to everything from skirts to dresses to earrings to corsets, such attire is always given some scrutiny when applied to men. It HAS been lessening in terms of jewelry, but my Mom attempted to keep me from wearing a sparkly silver key around my neck, on the grounds that it would make people make assumptions about me.

    Anyways, this was a very informative article, and I wish I’d had it to refer to whenever I tried in vain to express my views on gender-equality. My own experiences with such typically comes from my immediate family. They wish for me to simply conform, so that my life will be easier, even at the expense of going against what I know is right and just.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a rebel. But I strongly abhor arbitrary limitations that stem from tradition and ignorance. Mine was a mind born to ask ‘Why?’

  34. Chad Says:

    This is a response to JULIE

    You quoted “yeah men might be a little butt hurt about the feminist movement”. Excuse me, but do you really think you are getting through to men on here by throwing out insulting immature remarks like ‘butt hurt” in your argument? This is typical approach I see with radical feminism. They use some facts and then twist them with immature emotion for shock value. Women communicate and use emotion more than men, so maybe this is approach helps gather more attention and support from females. However even most women know that deep down that remarks like that are cheap shots. If you want to get through to us, stay away from the outbursts and profanity. We might look at you as a rational adult.

    Also when you said “women never oppressed men” you are historically accurate….yes in history which has come and gone…which gives it its name HISTORY there was an arguable imbalance in gender roles. But that is then and this is NOW. All the rhetoric I hear from most leftist groups focuses/dwells on the wrongs of the past to justify reverse wrongs of today. It is this constant agenda that “that one favor deserves another” despite the fact the original perpetrators and victims are long dead & gone. Many of these groups like to identify as “progressive” but if they were so beneficial to society this blog post (and many like it) would have never existed in the first place. Radical feminism may have provided benefits for a minority of angry women, however it has successfully confused a larger majority of men AND women.

    I grew up in the politically correct 90s and early 2000s. Now that I’m a little older I’m looking back on my high school and college education and realizing how horribly slanted it was to the left. The liberal, practically feminist agenda was plain as day in college. Feminists groups had their “take back the night” marches on campus while some of them chanted “hey hey mister…get the fuck off my sister”. I remember my freshman year I was forced to take a sociology class where the professor in all seriousness gave a lecture about “how all men are rapists…but most choose morally not do so”.

    I realize that most women don’t feel that way about men. However this radical feminism does have long term damaging effects on men’s self esteem. It ironically hurts women too. Most women want a STRONG MAN (whether they admit it or not). They don’t want some passive, pleasing politically correct pushover. But the men of my generation have been negatively influenced by slanted views in early education (not just college), the media and Hollywood. They are confused on what women want (we even argue that women don’t know what they want).

    However hating women and even hating feminism isn’t going to get men anywhere. However we need a different approach to things. I believe that men have long written off feminism as an annoyance until very recently when it’s negative effects have come to fruition. I’m not going to say I’m “anti feminist” but more likely “pro masculinist”. I’m not ashamed to have a penis and to have a biological desire to procreate. I’m not ashamed that my grandfather took a bullet in Korea so he could protect the freedoms and rights (including the freedom of feminist hate speech). I’m not ashamed to be a business owners and to be financially successful. I’m not ashamed to sometimes call out women who use double standards to their advantage.

    I’m proud to be a man and the men on here should be too.

  35. Pelle Billing Says:

    “I’m proud to be a man and the men on here should be too.”

    Hear hear