It’s really strange how MRA’s balk at feminist philosophy and simultaneously write articles using that philosophy, while getting some concepts incorrect. This week, yet another article called ‘The Male Body and the Masculinity Police’ appeared on A Voice for Men. The author, Jason Gregory, discusses the social construction of masculinity through the male subculture of sports. His piece was a response to a feminist. In his article he uses a feminist analysis and either doesn’t realize it or engages in what I call ‘Orwellian Dissonance’.
Orwellian Dissonance is the MRA tendency to reverse word meanings in the feminist lexicon while using the feminist lexicon sometimes correctly without knowing it. I used the word dissonance because oftentimes they misapply feminist terms or add them haphazardly to argue that they don’t exist. For example, they use the term patriarchy without understanding its meaning and then argue against it using their own meaning.
Male violence through sport is named ‘violence against men’ by Gregory. Although I have some issue with the appropriation of the term based on its other more common meaning, I agree. It’s violence against men by other men. He states:
‘These men were all conditioned via culture to “be a man.”’
MRA’s will write about the social construction of masculinity but then reject it for biological determinism. He mistakenly thinks that feminist analysis regarding Patriarchy is applicable here and that this is what feminists mean by the term. This is an example of MRA’s appropriating feminist language but not really understanding what it means. He also mistakenly thinks that male sports violence somehow negates male privilege.
His article was written as a response to Beth Leyba’s article ‘I Hate the Broncos: Daring to Question Whether Football is Worth It’ posted on the Good Men Project’s website. In it she describes her ordeal of being severely injured in a swing set accident and empathizing with football players and their injuries. She thinks football’s high salaries might not be worth it for these guys who sometimes end up with no money, depressed, and a chronically injured body. Gregory mocks Leyba for having her major accident at home (which MRA’s think is a palace of luxury for women).
‘Note how it takes a remotely similar and personal experience of injury before she is willing to toss out her apathy regarding this sort of violence against men.’
Yes dude. Sometimes being in a tough situation allows you to empathize with others in the same situation. Maybe you should live life as a woman for a year. I somehow don’t think she was completely apathetic about violence before her accident but the fact she engaged with feminist philosophy helped her understand our culture’s conditioning of male violence. She writes:
‘I’ve never been a big football fan, but what started as apathy has morphed into moral opposition; the result of my growing feminist outlook on life’
Now isn’t that something? It was feminism that gave her this concern and empathy. Gregory responds:
‘It shouldn’t take a traumatic swing-set injury for a woman (especially a feminist who is supposed to be knowledgeable about gender issues) to acknowledge this fact and sweep aside her “apathy” about this violence. It shouldn’t take one’s own personal experience with a loosely related concussive injury to bring about the empathy needed to understand such blatant suffering of men.’
I find it hilarious that Gregory hates feminism and wants to give the culture of male violence attention and yet it was precisely feminism that informs us, arms us with the knowledge we need to fix it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: MRA’s have this Orwellian thought process whereby feminism is turned into man hatred and every feminist term is redefined with its’ opposite. MRA’s can’t comprehend anything related to feminism even though Gregory himself used a feminist analysis (social construction of gender) regarding violent conditioning of males. Here’s an example of his thinking:
‘Ms. Leyba, take off your feminist goggles for a moment and try to understand the lived-experiences of men.’
No dude. You take yours off. It was her feminist goggles that allowed her to understand the social construction of the male gender in sports culture in the first place!
Most people know the Manosphere dudes are completely and utterly ignorant about feminism’s branches, philosophies, and activisms. It just surprises me every time I encounter it. I sit here questioning how someone could be so against feminism and yet know absolutely nothing about what it is their against. I wonder how MRA’s manage to mangle it so badly. How is it that this statement: ‘Men can stop rape’ turns into ‘Not all men are rapists.’