Male Power, or just Power?

This is in response to my article below, Witch Hunt. You must read it first. I INSIST.

Have you read it (and the “think piece” it links to)?

OK, continue:

The following was sent to me by a reader:

I don’t think it’s an accurate description of what they think to say that “they are campaigning for male supremacy”.  These people who are denouncing you are intersectional feminists.   They’re not for male supremacy. What they’re doing is trying to assemble a coalition for their fight against republicans, and using virtue signaling and loyalty tests to cement that coalition together.

They are essentially doing the same thing certain republicans did when they argued that 2016 was a “flight 93 election” and silly things like truth and decency and norms had to be thrown under the bus, because it’s a binary choice between Trump and Clinton and winning is all that matters, because the Democrats want to destroy democracy and freedom.

Intersectional logic is similar, except instead of unquestioning loyalty to a candidate, they demand unquestioning loyalty to the coalition. The coalition consists of various “marginalized groups” and each one of those group’s most radical activists speak authoritatively on their issues. Thus men must not be allowed to have their own opinions on MeToo or abortion, white people must not be allowed to have an opinion on BLM or police violence, only Palestinians are allowed to speak on Israel  and BDS, and cis people must not speak on pronouns or trans identity.

Intersectionality demands absolute loyalty to the left on every one of these issues and more, and if you disagree on any of them you are a heretic and a traitor.

You can be a feminist, MeToo, woman’s marcher, Hillary voter, BDS supporter, and a criminal justice reformer but if you also think police violence isn’t primarily caused by racism, that makes you a heretic.   They will denounce you as a racist.

You can agree with them on everything in the world except trans pronouns, and they will call you an evil transphobic bigot.

So no, they aren’t male supremacist.   They’re not, as I’ve heard some gender-critical feminists claim: “men’s rights activists”. Put an intersectional leftist in a room with a MRA and you will see they react hypergolically. What they are is hyper-partisan political bigots.   They cannot tolerate a difference of opinion with anyone, and if they detect one, they denounce that person furiously. They believe that by only by behaving this way can they assemble a workable coalition against the republicans and right wingers, who they think are 100% nazis and white supremacists.

First, it is a travesty that Kimberle Crenshaw’s phraseology “intersectional” has come to mean this. Let us pay our respects: R.I.P. Second, it is both ironic and sad that the author uses “cis” this way, accepting and perpetuating another misuse of language that’s only going to kill more beloved words (like “female,” “male,” and “woman”).

But he absolutely has a point. Identity politics does seem to be the Democrats’ strategy – and it is destined to either backfire spectacularly (best case) or lead us even further into authoritarianism. They are fortifying fiefdoms of “minorities”, when a true Left would represent the “marginalized majority”. Workers and women are majorities, and they already include all races, religions, sexual orientations, and facial piercing/hair-dye preferences.

While I continue to see male supremacy, it’s not the only lens, and even those to whom “patriarchy” is a dirty word have ample reason to object to this movement. I’m still considering and processing, but in the meantime:

Why not both?



Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

3 thoughts on “Male Power, or just Power?”

  1. I would like to spread a rational meme to you, for you to spread further. The topic is the proper definition of sex and gender.

    Sex = male or female
    Gender = masculine or feminine.

    Sex is binary.
    Gender is a spectrum, from feminine, through neuter (we don’t have a good word in English for low in both masculine and feminine traits, androgyny is not a good fit, to masculine.

    You can have a masculine male and a feminine female.
    You can have a feminine male and a feminine female.
    A male is far more likely to be masculine than feminine, a female is far more likely to be feminine than masculine.

    A man can modify his behaviour to be more feminine, he can take hormones to become more feminine, he can have surgery to appear more feminine. He can dress is a more feminine way. But he can never become female. He can only make himself a more feminine male. The same applies to a woman attempting to become more masculine via the same means.

    Feminists such as yourself need to be pressuring the biologically-based scientists to stop being cowards and make this argument.

    This is the primary argument.

    A second model can then be built upon the above. It is more complex, and thus less important in the culture wars.
    Primary, secondary and tertiary sexual characteristics.
    Primary = sexual organs.
    Secondary = Secondary sex characteristics are features that appear during puberty in humans, and at sexual maturity in other animals. … In humans, visible secondary sex characteristics include pubic hair, enlarged breasts and widened hips of females, and facial hair and Adam’s apple on males.
    Tertiary = behaviour and appearance. Biological tendencies are shaped by culture. So not a blank slate, but not hardwired either. This is the level where sex and gender blend as concepts.

    Third model:
    Why do we have the concepts of masculine and feminine? Why does every single culture have them? Because they are roots in biological fact.

    Say there are one thousand behavioural and appearance characteristics that vary, each on either their own binary (penis- present or not) or their own spectrum from male- to female-typical. E.g., men are on average taller than women, so height is masculine; women on average have softer skin, so soft skin is feminine; men are hairier, thus hairiness is considered masculine. Physical violence is considered masculine, nurturing feminine.

    This is where people get confused. One any one characteristic you can find it in members of both sexes. Some women are very physically violent, some men very short, etc. But if you measured almost any male’s one thousand characteristics their aggregate would overwhelmingly be on the male side, and the same for females. Humans are very good pattern recognises. With a glace or a few seconds on the phone, we can tell someone’s sex buy picking up the pattern from some of these one thousand characteristics, and it also explains why saying she’s ‘butch’, he’s ‘femme’ makes sense.

    This whole culture war is being lost because our side has not been able to articulate this intuitive understanding, and because we have either accepted the enemies terms and their redefinitions of terms, or we have rejected the concept of gender because we have accepted the enemies concept of gender, if only to reject it.

  2. It is both, but not quite as you imply.

    Patriarchy, male privilege, toxic masculinity, and even the specific issues of trans activism undermining and erasing the biological significance of being female — all real issues.

    But the reader’s points are also spot-on. Especially their points that you’ve been mistaken in attacking the trans activists as representatives of patriarchy and male privilege.

    Perhaps some male sociopaths are exploiting trans activism. Certainly, some aspects of trans movements reinforce gender stereotypes (this varies though). But it’s complex.

    The best understanding of the BOTH perspective: The “intersectional” bad interp of Krenshaw itself exists within patriarchy. In other words, the “left” identity-politics activists often still act overall like you’d expect from people in our sexist culture…

    But I still think it’s actually THREE things, in that Twitter and Fecebook et al really deserve a huge amount of the blame for all the communication dysfunction and amplification of groupthink etc.

  3. In the UK, where I live, these issues have blown up bigtime because of a government proposal to reform the Gender Recognition Act so that individuals may self-declare their gender. That is, as things stand a trans person requires medical professionals to sign off on their transition before they can obtain documentation in their new gender. The reform plans would do away with this, and there is much concern about the future of women-only spaces and much legislation intended to rectify various forms of discrimination.

    Hue: the only problem with your suggestion is that there *are* people whose sex is *biologically* not a binary condition. A certain number of babies are born with ambiguous genitalia or hormonal conditions that inhibit the expression of their genes (for example, babies born with XY chromosomes but who have resistance to testosterone and grow up treated as female) or babies born with XXY or XYY chromosomes. These intersex conditions pose great difficulties for the people who have them if you insist that sex is binary.

    I also think that using your construct risks confusing “sex” and “sexuality”, a whole ‘nother can of worms.


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