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October 19, 2006



Great post...I too struggle with issues of anger and hate, which is difficult for me considering my somewhat mennoninite theology. I don't believe that non-violence stops at the physical act of violencve, but also continues to to the emotional and psychological forms.

I am at my worst with issues like racism and mysogyny. I love to encourage diverse viewpoints on issues, but I cannot tolerate, and often find myself hating, those that espouse such ingorant views. I would love to hera you expand on those specific issues. How do you deal with people hate someone (or at least could not vote for someone) solely because of the color of their skin or what is between their legs?


dave: Great post

I'll second that.

I think there's a lot of frustration on the part of both sides of the feminist/MRA divide because they perceive people as not being aware of issues that have a big impact on their lives. I must admit to a certain amount of outrage fatigue myself, which frequently manifests itself as cynicism.

One of the things I really, REALLY don't like about the Internet is the extent to which it's possible for people to surround themselves with the like-minded. I think this lack of exposure contributes a lot to the rancor that occurs when two warring factions interact. I like to think that I am good at understanding the positions of all sides to an argument, but some of the stuff out there (not feminism/MRA) is just too alien for me.


Jesus Christ, Hugo, are you on drugs? Let's see: MRAs want to restrict women's rights, deny that men ever abuse women, and belong to the gender that has all the power. Feminists belong to the gender that is statistically effectively disenfranchised, and whose rights are being chipped away by...men. Only you could treat them as equals.


Ginmar, I'm pro-feminist. I don't think the arguments MRAs make are equally convincing. I reject their premises. But I think that we must recognize that hyperbole and hostility exist on both sides of the divide. I'll say it again. Ideology matters. But so do to tactics, and a movement is judged both by the cause for which it fights and by the methods it uses. Ends and means must be congruent.

R. Giskard

Thanks Hugo, for addressing my question. It was this video that got me thinking about anger, and just how easy it is for it to get out of hand.


I can agree that, even though I only experience racism and sexism in ways that don't really effect my life dramatically, it would be difficult for us all not to return hatred with hatred. As much as I value the christian ethic of non-violence and the concept of turning the other cheek, I can see how difficult that could be. It is indeed a privilage that I don't have to. A privilage because I am both white, and physically large (and male) enough that most people avoid expressing that hatred towards me. That makes it much easier to practice those Christian values..

Of course, that doesn't stop anti-sexist or anti-racist bloggers..


Yeah, you're missing the point with a thoroughness that's mind numbing. MRAs are morally bankrupt bullies. Feminism began to protect women from their abuse, murder, slander and so forth. You really don't see the difference, do you?


Only you could treat them as equals.

It is pretty clear that he sees the difference.

What he is saying is that both can come across as hateful and angry. Which is true.

He is in no way equating the two groups in areas of belief, but instead only saying that there are some cases where they have similar tactics, especially in comment sections on blogs.


So ginmar--let me make sure I'm understanding you. You are arguing that no woman claiming to be a feminist has ever bullied anyone?


The Christian obligation is to recognize that anger at institutions and policies and ideas and behaviors is acceptable -- but anger at other human beings (even if they seem to manifest all that we loathe) isn't.

I don't see why this is a particularly Christian obligation. We all have an obligation to respect the autonomy of others, and this includes a level of respect for even radically different conceptions of the social good.

One absolutely critical part of fighting injustice is to get one's ideological opponents to recognize the fact of that injustice, and this requires presenting them with arguments that they will accept. This has both logical and psychological dimensions. Logically, if I'm using premisses my opponents reject, then they are under no obligation to accept my conclusions. Psychologically, if my engagement with them is characterized by rage and contempt, they will refuse to even consider my points. On the other hand if my opponent is intellectually honest, then an argument, presented vigorously but not disrespectfully and according to their own standards of good reason and justice, can be remarkably persuasive.

It seems far more effective to turn an opponent into an ally than to encourage them in their opposition to my work.

Mr. Bad

Ah ginny, you make our case far better than we could ever do for ourselves...

Medium Dave

I've said it before and I'll say it again: People who lack empathy cannot be reached. They will not see the light, and they cannot be converted. Try to engage with them or shun them, it makes no difference in the end.

Q Grrl

"Ends and means must be congruent."

But that means that you are looking at things from only one angle - or perhaps more closer to the truth, you haven't had to earnestly fight for either your civil liberties or your social acceptance. Martin Luther King would have been less effective if Malcom X hadn't been so blatently aggressive and radical. The fight against AIDs discrimination and gay acceptance would have bottomed out without the in-your-face tactics of ActUp! The Sierra Club would look like just a weekend hiking group if not for EarthFirst! Etc. Etc.

Activism without passion and activism without anger remains impotent. IOW activism that never bends the status quo is not activism per se. It's just feel-good politics.

If you think that feminism is just another movement, then you have to concede that you think that human rights is just a movement too. Or that Christianity is just a movement, which must mind it's p's and q's in order to recruit more adherents.


Q Grrl, that's a good point about ends and means. While I think it's possible to be radical without being hateful, I support (in ways that I won't discuss) certain fringe groups in the animal rights movement. They have "Malcolm tactics" in the great struggle; I prefer the "Martin rhetoric."

And here's where Ginmar may be right: I'd sit down and break bread with an anti-feminist sooner than I would with someone in the pelting/fur industry. That may be my weakness.


" I'd sit down and break bread with an anti-feminist sooner than I would with someone in the pelting/fur industry."

Wow, really?

Um... can I just say that, to me, that comes across as you saying that you value women's lives less than animals' lives.

I'm sure that's not what you mean, but I'm failing to be able to parse that sentence in a different way.


Regarding my ideological opponent as an autonomous individual with dignity, entitled to hold and advocate for their own conception of the good, doesn't preclude me being an advocate for my own.

Dressed down out of Martha Nussbaum-speak (I've spent quite a lot of the past week reading her latest book): I can be a passionate activist, furious at the injustice I'm fighting against, and still treat the defender of that injustice with respect. What's more, I would claim that that respect is liable to make for more effective activism than alienating your rightful allies.

BTW, Q Grrl, have you read much of either Martin Luther King or Malcolm X? `Letter from a Birmingham jail' is particularly illuminating of the philosophical and theological depth of King's commitment to pacifism and liberalism. Both Malcolm X and King were perceived by the pre-Civil Rights status quo as dangerous radicals, and both were. The difference is that, while Malcolm X was a radical in a violent, relatively illiberal vein, King was radical in a pacifist, liberal vein. It's a shame and historical travesty that King has been appropriated as a figure of meekness and moderation in the face of injustice.


Well Mandolin, the MRAs may be many things, but they aren't murderers and they don't advocate murder. As someone who is strongly anti-fur, anti-pelting, vegetarian (trying to be vegan, oh, how I'm trying), I tend to see anti-feminists as ideological opponents who are not in the process of committing unspeakable cruelties -- whereas those in factory farming are. I would not invite a serial rapist to lunch, no, nor would I be able to chat warmly with a furrier.


If you look at historical movements and their struggle against tyranny and oppression, it is always the pacifist, non-violent methods that have the greatest effect. Jesus, Ghandi, MLK just to name a few.


And here's where Ginmar may be right: I'd sit down and break bread with an anti-feminist sooner than I would with someone in the pelting/fur industry. That may be my weakness.

Yeah, becuase Fuzzy Wuzzies are so much more important than women. If that's pro, give me anti, because they're easy to blow away.

Oh, to whichever moron asked: does that mean no feminist ever bullied anybody? No, moron, it means you can't compare. Christ. I know you guys like to deny, deny, deny, but try that tactic with somebody who gives a shit about coddling your widdle illusions. I don't.


Folks, read more of what Ginmar has to say here and here.


You're saying you value animals more important than women. Thanks a bunch.

Oh, and Hugo's trolls? Don't try anything at my site. I don't tolerate the crap he does.


Ginmar, I don't know how else to say it. I value people more than animals, but barely. The MRAs I know may be wrong-headed misogynists, filled with anger, but they aren't skinning women alive. Pelters are torturing and killing God's creatures. The value of a chinchilla may not be that of a person, but a man who opposes equality for women is not as wicked as one who breaks the neck of a tiny creature to rip its pelt from its flesh.

Mr. Bad

ginny, trust me, I wouldn't go to your site if I had a gun held to my head. I don't think I could stand myself if I did.

"Blow away" big, bad tough girl. In your dreams.


Anger creates a great divide between people. It has its place and in limited doses, can be used to fuel great movements -- or horrific ones. Ultimately, anger is not the way to create lasting change, whether it's in the direction the feminists or the MRA's (or whoever) want.

It's easy to be angry and hateful to people you don't see face to face every day. It's especially easy online. But try having a real, civil conversation with a family member, a friend, or a neighbor (someone you have to see and interact with every day), who doesn't agree with your views, and try to persuade him/her without anger, hateful speech, and vicious or snide put-downs. That's how you persuade people. That's how you build consensus -- the meaningful kind anyway.


"If you look at historical movements and their struggle against tyranny and oppression, it is always the pacifist, non-violent methods that have the greatest effect. Jesus, Ghandi, MLK just to name a few."

You forgot feminism. Feminism is a non-violent movement. Don't confuse anger with violence.


Hugo, I believe you when you say you value people more than animals, but while MRA's may not commit violent acts, they defend those who do. (They defended those convicted in the Haidl Rape case http://www.the-niceguy.com/forum//index.php?showtopic=8023&hl=Haidl )

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