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Monday, April 4, 2011

Feminism - You're Doing it Wrong

"The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles."

Have you seen this?  I know, I know, old meme, but I'm bringing it up again because over the weekend, writer of the Dilbert comic series and author of those now-deleted-but-oh-so-provocative words, Scott Adams claimed he is a feminist.

If that's so, Scott Adams and I are the same kind of feminists - bad ones.

Before I go forward, let it be known that I am not a good feminist because I have stood on the sidelines, watching the battles fly by, cheering for victories, admonishing defeats, but never an active player in my own best interests, in the interests of those of my fellow woman.  I have not been in the trenches of the fights.  I am, at best, uninvolved.  So what I have to say comes not from one who has been personally affronted on an ideological level.  It comes from someone who would have remained quiet had this not been so completely ridiculous, insulting, and hateful.

Scott Adams, on the other hand, is a bad feminist because he's not a feminist at all.  He's also a bad writer because he clearly doesn't understand that words mean things, and he may or may not be a bad person. I'll let you judge.

He starts out okay, in my opinion, talking about circumcision, lower life expectancies for men, and higher suicide rates.  All right, Mr. Adams, you've got me there.  In those areas, men do have it tougher, statistically speaking (in the United States, I'm presuming.)

He quickly deteriorates into a diatribe of grudges and griefs including manners where he says "We take for granted that men should hold doors for women, and women should be served first in restaurants. Can you even imagine that situation in reverse?"

First of all, why would I imagine that scenario in reverse since even the way it's written is out of date and blatantly against feministic ideals?  The last time I checked, feminism was about equal rights for women and men, not antiquated etiquette and manners.  Feminism, for those keeping track, does not equal chivalry. To be fair, I'm probably just bitter because those kinds of special perks to make up for women not being allowed equality in the workforce, in the household or in public went out the window (as a system) long before I was born. (But not that bitter because in their place, women have made great strides to overcome barriers in each of those areas, and for that, I am eternally grateful.)  Yes, there are some men who still do it.  So what?

He then adds to his list of inequitities that women have overtaken men in university attendance.  Again, so what?  My advice to all the oppressed men out there is to sign up and take a class.  Does the state of things in the world today prevent them from filling out applications?

He's on a roll now, so he attacks the glass ceiling, stating that women are not willing to make the personal sacrifices to become top executives.  He says, "in my personal non-scientific polling, men are about ten times more likely than women to trade family time for the highest level of career success."

Well, now, here's something I know a little about.  First of all, I'll say, it's true, to a large extent.  But following that up, just because a woman does not have the ability, biological or otherwise, to walk away from her family, doesn't mean she should be penalized for it.  Women need maternity leaves because women have babies.  Equating the time we spend nurturing the future generation to a lack of interest or ambition in the business world is a huge leap by any stretch of the imagination. It implies we don't want to succeed. Thanks for telling me what I want, by the way.

Furthermore, in his very own opening paragraph he was whining about women being superior to men because they don't have as high a rate of suicide and they don't die as early.  He does not go into the reasons.  If we are to accept those facts as proof of his point that women have it easier than men in those areas, then we must, logically, accept that because men make up the vast majority of top executives, in the business world men have it easier than women...regardless of the reasons behind it.  He is essentially arguing with himself here.

"Now," he says, "I would like to speak directly to my male readers who feel unjustly treated by the widespread suppression of men’s rights:

Get over it, you bunch of pussies"

Oh, I see what you did there.  Very clever.  I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume, since you are a comedic writer, that you fully understand the implications of your phrasings.  And, you know what, on its own, it could be quite funny.  However, mixed into all of your complaints, it just further subverts your point by showing how commonly pussy is used as a derogatory term meaning weak.  I know you were using it to be funny.  The point, though, is that there are many who do not. The point is that there are many who simply use it.

Then we get to our gem: "The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone."

I think for this one, I'll go down to his level.  On behalf of women, on behalf of children, and speaking for mentally handicapped people, as well: Fuck you.

I'll leave you all with one last quote: "I don’t like the fact that the legal system treats men more harshly than women. But part of being male is the automatic feeling of team. If someone on the team screws up, we all take the hit. Don’t kid yourself that men haven’t earned some harsh treatment from the legal system. On the plus side, if I’m trapped in a burning car someday, a man will be the one pulling me out. That’s the team I want to be on."

Woo hoo!  Team man!  Wait, what?  How does that help equality of the sexes at all, for either gender?  If you don't like the way the courts are run, by all means, start taking those university classes and become a lawyer or a judge.  I haven't taken those courses either, but from where I sit, cases are determined on an individual basis.  I can only hope that they are fair.

As far as being trapped in a burning car?  I'm curious as to why you would say a man would be pulling you out since a woman could very well be the one to do so.  If she is, you better hope she hasn't read your blog, because if she has, the few seconds she spends trying to figure out if she's allowed to save you since she's not "on your team" could be the difference between life and death.

In conclusion, Mr. Adams, stick to being funny. Being edgy isn't really working out for you.

**For the full text of this now-deleted blog, visit Tinysprout's tumblr

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  1. I wish I had the time to respond very thoroughly to this, but for now:

    1. Those things don't necessarily make you a "bad feminist". They would you make you a bad feminist activist, were you proclaiming to be one, but I have never seen you proclaim such.

    2. Men are (unscientifically determined to be) 10 times more likely to sacrifice family time for career success? I would presume that they are also (unscientifically) 10 times LESS likely to support their wives in sacrificing family time for their careers, hmmmm?

    3. If he thinks the legal sytem "treats men more harshly" than women, he is just flat out wrong. Generally speaking, men commit more serious crimes than women. Women who do commit more serious or violent crimes are treated horrifically by the criminal justice system, as they are punished for being "bad girls" in addition to being criminals.

    What an absolute jerk.

  2. "Equating the time we spend nurturing the future generation to a lack of interest or ambition in the business world is a huge leap by any stretch of the imagination. "

    This sentence is (extra) amazing.

  3. Writing this commentary makes you a good feminist in my opinion. ;)

    I agree with you on all points.

  4. Scott Adams and the writer/blogger are two sides of the same coin. I don't believe that it's possible to truly enjoy life to the fullest harboring such anger and bitterness toward the opposite sex.



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