On putting Meghan Murphy to bed

Rabble.ca writer and feminist Meghan Murphy just discovered something worse than objectification — subjectification by other feminists.

Murphy, a ginger, has become the subject of a clam-paign in full swing by feminists to put Murphy to bed in her hugbox without any supper or Smurfs to caress — in other words, get her ass fired. On Twitter the hashtag #DropMM encourages people to urge the pink poodle publication Rabble.ca to dump Murphy for being a bit too harsh on black trans woman Laverne Cox for a nude photo spread (NSF TERFs) in the women’s magazine Allure that made women into cartoons, according to Murphy:

…spending thousands and thousands of dollars sculpting their bodies in order to look like some cartoonish version of ‘woman,’ as defined by the porn industry and pop culture.

In addition to feminists’ tweeting and contacting Rabble.ca directly, a petition to oust Murphy can be found here with a modest 906 signatures as of this writing.  On the opposing side, hate groups of anti-trans radical feminists, known as TERF’s (Trans Exclusive Radical feminists), have their own petition to keep Murphy’s frothing contempt alive. The counter-petition has 1484 signatures as of this writing.

Murphy is, of course, having a meltdown over the situation, bizarrely blaming men and corporations for co-opting her beloved feminism and turning turnt feminists against her:

This is what corporate feminism looks like. Literal billion-dollar corporations who screw over the working class and marginalized, time and time again, profiting from the misogynist standards they set for women, promoted and defended as “feminist.” These wealthy white men have feminists across the web rallying together in support of their billion-dollar media empire and nefarious interests. While Hefner watches from his mansion, surrounded by his harem of young women, liberal American feminists who purport to be on the “progressive” side of history are doing his dirty work — not only by promoting the pornification of women and lining his pockets, but by actively working against any feminist who dares challenge him. [Emphais added]

Murphy is a foe of any hint that women have any “agency” — the self-determination, self-reliance and denial of victimhood often associated primarily with men — at all. Murphy sees patriarchy in everything and cannot abide the idea that some woman, somewhere, might be a capable, responsible adult.

I suspect Murphy’s visceral disgust for Cox is that Cox’s agency in becoming an attractive women (surgery, money, diet, exercise, makeup, hair, etc.) is too mannish — in the sense of too active — for Murphy to tolerate: for example, Murphy routinely denies that women sex workers might have the agency to choose and even enjoy working in sex. Or, Murphy’s core problem may have been that Cox ate macaroni and cheese the night before the photo shoot, and as a Canadian, Murphy was enraged that a trans woman was sullying an iconic Canadian foodstuff.

Who knows? Like feminism itself, my analyzing feminist craziness is good for amusement and little else.

Now, Murphy’s hatred of men is so great that she’s squarely in the radical feminist “men can’t be feminists” camp: she wrote in xoJane that “It’s not that I don’t think men can be feminist. I know many men who clearly align themselves with the feminist movement. The problem seems to be with men who self-identify as ‘feminist’ as a means of gaining credibility or avoiding accountability. The problem is that many men who claim to be ‘good men’ or to respect women, don’t actually… well… respect women.”

Of course, the paradox for men is that if we respect women, should we kowtow to their whims (humor them), challenge their whims (treat them as equals capable of accepting criticism), reverence their whims (worship them out of love)  or fearfully obey them? Feminists won’t say except to note than whatever men do with regard to women is wrong somehow.

Murphy’s opponents are also feminists of a different but also horrible sort — “hugbox” types who seek to suppress any dissent, a practice Murphy has rightly criticized:

Pathologizing disagreement is an intellectually dishonest way to cope with challenging arguments. It certainly doesn’t support critical thinking.

It also creates a culture wherein people are afraid to express dissenting opinions or question the party line. This is ironic, because many of those under threat of being silenced are people who are speaking out against abuse, harassment and violence.

Holy cervix! Murphy almost sounds like Christina Hoff Sommers or the Honey Badgers there.

As men, our instinct when we see a squabble like this is to do something but there doesn’t seem to be a worthy cause to get behind here: we’ve encouraged feminists to police their own extremists but is Murphy such an extremist, and does policing them mean censoring them? Murphy’s views on men and trans folk are wretched but on other issues like censorship she is moderate and reasonable in ways rarely seen in other feminists.

Feminists don’t accept allies in the way that other people do: feminists see allies as slaves and have no concept of loyalty to alliances. Men’s rights advocates have nothing to gain here — as a practical political matter we have no sow in this sty.

We could make the cynical calculations that:

  1. Whomever we support in a feminist internecine conflict will be undermined by the fact of our support — feminists would view our intervention as proof of the wrongheaded nature of the other side, and
  2. Our best bet in our conflict with feminists is to keep feminists fighting each other, in that it takes the pressure from other areas where feminism damages men’s issues – and women’s as well.

One can legitimately support “Keep Murphy” due to her stance against censorship, and one can also legitimately support “Dump Murphy” for her disturbing positions on men, trans folk, patriarchy and women’s agency.

Or, you can ease back with the popcorn and hope the fight goes on forever. For now, I need to put this article to bed, too.



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