To a Passerby Feminist

Victor Zen responds to the following comment from “real” feminist Amelie Mangelschots. Amelie has the unusual quality of being respectful and polite in her approach, but Zen still manages to identify her dogmatic influences in a response.

Amelie’s original comment follows (edited for spelling and format):


I would like to respectfully point out something I consider flawed logic in your video…  You say feminism is not what it claims to be, that feminism fails to keep its promises, … What I heard as evidence for this, were some examples of people who claim to be feminists who’ve done some pretty horrible shit in the name of it.  I get that that’s upsetting and intolerable.

Then again, you state the possibility of there being a branch in antifeminism that would like to see women back in the kitchen, possibly using not all that friendly methods themselves, and you would like to distance yourself from that. Presumably, a person can only speak for themselves, and by proxy perhaps those people of whom they know they are like-minded within the group they’re all a part of.

Applying the latter logic, I fail to see how it is then all of a sudden correct to assume that the abominable behaviour of certain groups of “feminists” should be a correct reflection of all feminism, and why it should be applied to the entire ideology. I’m going to do a dangerous thing here and go ahead to say I’m one of those “nice” feminists. In fact, I can speak on behalf of a 1300 people strong online discussion group when I say that the feminists who pull the kind of crap you righteously call fucked up bullshit on, would be kicked the hell out of there before they could say “men are scum”.  But true, I can’t speak for feminism as a whole, just like those insane idiots that sadly call themselves that too, can’t either.

I could apply the logic you use on feminism to antifeminism and men’s rights movements just the same, if I really wanted to. I coud apply that logic to men. Or to cats. Sure, I was raped by scumbags. Sure, I am regularly called a slut, a whale, a whore,… by random male strangers simply for walking outside. Sure, I get groped when I go out. Though you will NEVER hear me say that MEN are the problem or that MEN have let me down and that it means shit to me when they come and say “oooh, but I’m a NICE man”.  Just like I’ve had death and rape threats from MRAs, for example. Should I go ahead and say that men’s rights movements should be opposed because some MRAs are scum? I hope not.

I’ve been called a feminazi and a fat whore by people who had no clue I’m a feminist, simply because as a women I had the audacity to talk about street harassment by people who claim exactly the same things you do. This does not make me think I should oppose YOU or your causes necessarily, it makes me think that particular person is a giant asshole.

I’m speaking about objectification in mainstream media in an anti-sexist gathering next week, a speech in which I will also focus on the burden stereotypes and ideals put on men, and the unfair image it gives of them. You know. As a feminist.  I do that because my point as a feminist is that 1)there is the concept of patriarchy and the rigid gender stereotypes it provides for both men and women, 2) that the basis for these stereotypes is that masculine is better than feminine (hence feminism) and 3) that these ridiculous stereotypes and assumptions about gender hurt women AND men and that that is why it should end. I also think that while men are also disadvantaged, women are disadvantaged more (also hence feminism), though that absolutely does not mean men’s issues should not be addressed or that there is no place for them within feminism.

I could ramble on, and I wouldn’t mind if you disagree on what I assume to be the cause of these injustices, but I do assume, or at least hope that we can for example agree that

  • Men should have equal chances when it comes to custody
  • Men should not be demonized as rapist, sex-crazed monsters
  • There should be a more equal gender balance in ALL strongly gendered professions
  • There should be more recognition and respect for male sexual violence and domestic abuse victims

and so on and so forth. Of course I talk about women’s issues. Of course that doesn’t always include simultaneously talking about men. Just like some people talk about animal testing and don’t simultaneously mention the disappearance of rainforests. It doesn’t mean we don’t agree on things and it especially doesn’t mean we don’t care.

And after all that… I agree that certain groups of feminists and certain feminist individuals are way messed up, misinformed, spreading lies,… Then again, your side of the fence is not free of the same behaviour. In the end I can only hope that the both of us can be critical enough individuals to not blindly accept, and to realise that any ideology will always be an umbrella under which plenty of fucked up people reside, yours, mine, and anybody else’s. You might condemn the messed up interpretation and the messed up actions because of it, but not the whole of it. I don’t think you’d go and be anti people of colour because one of them raped your sister and some others robbed a house in your neighbourhood, for example…

Sorry for the long post.. 🙂

Here is the response video:

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