on “male feminism” and the apparent necessity of this blog

This is the reason the mansplaining of feminism on this blog apparently serves a necessary function.

Isaac Chotiner: What have you made of the generational tensions or differences between different waves of feminism that have arisen lately?

Katha Pollitt: I’m a little bewildered by it, for several reasons. One is that second-wave feminist is being used as a synonym for woman writer of a certain age. I mean, Katie Roiphe is not a second-waver. Daphne Merkin, Andrea Peyser—these women are not feminists at all, in my view. And they are not old enough to be second-wavers. I mean Katie Roiphe was minus 5 years old when The Feminine Mystique was published. So I think I would wish that the young women who are making this claim would read a little bit of history. I found it very offensive when Katie Way, who was the author of that piece on Babe.net about Aziz Ansari, insulted Ashleigh Banfield by calling her a “burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist has-been.” I mean, it’s at that point you want to say, “Hello, my pretties, soon you too will be wearing the burgundy lipstick.”

The second point is that the very concepts that these young women are relying on—consent, date rape, acquaintance rape, sexual harassment, believing women, intimate questions of power relations between the sexes—where do they think they got these ideas? They got them from the second wave, those old harridans who are now, in fact, 75 and 80 years old. So that does bother me—the lack of history and the ageism. I mean, the young people always have this idea: It’s like no one ever had sex before I had sex, and no one had these ideas before I had them.

I was blogging about Andrea Dworkin in 2015, before it was cool. It seems like Ashleigh Banfield, Important Contemporary Feminist, could really, really learn something from reading that post. It’s about people like her, “lol Andrea Dworkin sucks because she doesn’t shave her legs” feminists. Those feminists are the reason it’s possible for articles like this one in Vice to exist: “I asked my ‘woke’ exes if ghosting me was feminist.”

I met Paul* at a comedy show in LA in 2016. He was cute, bisexual (like me), and poly. I DMed him that same night. He had a lot of feminist-identifying female friends and spoke openly about progressive politics and racial justice—something I really liked about him. In his own words, he was “pretty woke.” We hooked up on and off for almost a year, until he stopped returning my texts. I was irked by the fact that a man who flaunted his wokeness didn’t have the courage to just break up with me.

I try to make it a point to date guys who embrace feminist ideas. But when I have met and dated men who are vocal and passionate about their beliefs, on social media at least, they’ve ghosted me almost every time. Now I’m beginning to wonder if there is more to it than bad luck.

I don’t assume that men with progressive politics automatically have a deeper respect for their sexual partners. Violence, abuse, and mistreatment affects women in every strata and facet of our society. But I was wondering whether the men who flaunt their wokeness, who use it as a virtue signal, are more prone to being assholes.

Well, poly is inherently dickish and this has been known since at least the 1890s (trendy people called it “varietism”). The second wave wrote all about what’s wrong with using people like objects, which is invariably what the defenses of polyamory amount to.

She doesn’t say anything about what race this Paul guy is, so I’m assuming he’s a white guy talking in ebonics. Would it be noteworthy for a black person in “progressive” circles to be like, “Hey, black lives matter”? No.

And woke is a process, not a destination.

SHE is the reason the scourge of the “male feminist” just trying to get laid exists. This article is like her dating profile, and she just made feminism a requirement. “Yeah, I’m that,” says any guy trying to have sex with her and somewhat paying attention. But SHE defined feminism in a way that doesn’t exclude Paul.

I don’t assume that men with progressive politics automatically have a deeper respect for their sexual partners. Violence, abuse, and mistreatment affects women in every strata and facet of our society. But I was wondering whether the men who flaunt their wokeness, who use it as a virtue signal, are more prone to being assholes.

I don’t know, because I don’t really know any IRL. Probably in her social circle, yes, because feminism means something dumb there.

VICE: So what happened to you?
Paul: I initially was under the impression you just wanted to hook up and fool around. But then when I started feeling like you might want more than that I kind of backed off. But of course, being an asshole, I didn’t back that far away because I still wanted to hook up. And the more it seemed like you wanted a more serious romantic relationship to prevail, I just kind of backed away because I felt like anything else would lead you on.

You didn’t feel like you could tell me that up front?
If I specifically stated I only wanted to have casual sex before every interaction, that would be kind of cruel and not a very healthy thing for either of us.

Do you feel like ghosting is OK to do, as a feminist man?
Feminist? No. Man? Barely.

How do you feel about other men who identify as feminists?
I do believe in the ideology of feminism, but I’d rather strive for equality in my actions and support, rather than take up space in a movement where I’m not supposed to be a primary voice. We’re supposed to be listening. I feel like a lot of men who self-identify as feminists are kinda suspicious. I think it can be self congratulatory and typically a self-designated label.

Do you think that some guys who identify as feminists might do so because they think it makes them more sexually attractive?
I believe that 100 percent. I’m sure in some cases I thought it was a good “in.” I wouldn’t put it past myself or any man.

The whole conversation suffers from the bizarre idea that having sex with someone isn’t already a serious relationship.

That he’d “rather not take up space” is just more virtue-signaling bullshit. It just means he hasn’t really thought about it, so he has nothing to say.

This next guy has heard of Audre Lorde:

VICE: I’ve been ghosted by feminist-identifying guys in the past. Do you think that’s extra shitty coming from a male feminist?
Jack: I guess I think people can be feminists in a global sense—be public allies, affect policy in a positive way—and still be shitty in a local sense, i.e. ghosting a lady. I don’t know if any feminist is going to be perfect in anyone’s eyes.

That’s true.
I communicate in bed. I always wait for “yes” and listen to “no.” I also hire women at my bar because women need a better leg up in my industry. Like, I’m good in a local sense, but less good in a global sense. Am I not a feminist? I don’t know. If you label yourself a feminist out loud, no one is happy about it. The right wing calls you a pussy; they yell at you for white knighting and virtue signaling. And the left wing tells you you’re not doing enough. I have always called myself a feminist. Feminism is, at its root, about equality. And more than that, actual fairness. I believe in fairness. While I think you could probably still be a feminist and a shitty date, you wouldn’t be a very good feminist. My dad goes to church every Sunday, and I’ve seen his internet search history. He’s a Catholic, but a pretty shitty Catholic.

So with you and me, are you not feeling the vibe?
The vibe is fun! I’m sorry. I’m just not great at hookup culture. If you’re looking for a date that leads to a more emotionally involved thing, I’m sorry, but I can’t really offer that either.

If feminism hadn’t changed its mind about “the personal is the political,” his answer would be incoherent.

Then he’s proud of himself for clearing the not-a-rapist bar. It’s actually the third wave/kink people that keep things to shallow, legalistic discussions about consent contracts instead of admitting deeper points about what it means to respect someone else.

It’s the third wave people saying it’s “all about equality” and celebrating “choices” and blah blah blah. “I’m not in love, but I’m gonna fuck you ’til somebody better comes along” is compatible with that.

It’s not really compatible with “destroy the patriarchy,” which he doesn’t want to do. He wants to be the boss of female subordinates.

VICE: Do you identify as a feminist?
Alex: It’s just a constant learning process. [I am] learning how [in the past] I treated women and used them to validate myself and who I was. Looking back, it came out of feeling unattractive in [my] younger years and having my sexuality bullied.

That’s tough.
What I do remember about why we stopped talking was that an ex, who had cheated on me, was expressing interest in me again.

I see.
Before and after we had met, I had this toxic relationship with someone who didn’t exactly treat me the best. And I just remember at the time, when she started telling me she liked me again, I jumped back onto that boat because I was crazy about her—not considering your feelings or how you felt. It’s still not really an excuse. I’m still regretful about how my pursuit of validation ended up harming others, all because I felt rejected for so long. It had little to do with you and more with me acting out my own issues.

I understand.
So… as it goes for feminist men ghosting you… could be because they have attachment issues. Could be they are afraid you will see through something, but in essence, I’m always doubtful of men who emphasize their feminist beliefs. Should be played out through actions, not words backed up with nothing.

LMAO “he had his sexuality bullied.” Obviously not hard enough that women can see something’s broken, so they withhold their sexual validation from him. She’s like “Awwww so hard for you” because it goes without saying that you might need to use people for sexual validation.

Soooo much of this bullshit would be avoided if people just got to know each other before having sex with each other. If you can’t be naked before them, why are you taking off your clothes in front of them? It’s actually common sense that’s 100% consistent with feminist principles, but the way the third wavers tell it you’d think I just called to reinforce the patriarchy itself with a shout of “Kinder, Kuche, Kirche.” Monogamy is teh oppressor!

The “male feminism” problem is entirely a problem of fake feminist women and fake feminist men. They’ve glorified an emotional wasteland of people using each other really loudly and openly, so everybody can see how cool they are for having more sex than the rest of us.

It’s just another of the 10,000 things that poison people’s first impressions of me for reasons beyond my control.

It would be so much easier if everyone else was also too socially retarded and psychologically damaged to participate in hook-up culture.