…Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Box
Diana Davison’s recent article, Victim Nation, at AVFM posed an interesting hypothesis that warrants further analysis. She stated:
Where there is good there must be evil. To feminists, women are good and men are the only convenient target to label as the evil enemy. The characterization of men as inherently violent and beastly is essential to maintaining the victim class of all women. While they insist that it’s not men they are fighting it’s the “patriarchy,” their plight is reduced unless the perpetrator is tangible. Patriarchy can’t be put in jail.
Yes, they are fighting an intangible construct, “patriarchy.” But as is the nature of constructs, they aren’t real and as you say “can’t be put in jail.” But this is the power of fighting a construct as opposed to a tangible enemy. It can be redefined at will. “Patriarchy” is like God. Like religious fanatics who see God in everything, feminists see Patriarchy in everything. It is proof of its own existence.
I recently read an essay by T. J. M. Holden published in Food and Culture: A Reader (Counihan & Van Esterik, 2013). The subject was hegemonic masculinity in Japanese food programming on television. Holden asserted that there are many forms of masculinity in Japan, but only a hegemonic form is presented on food shows. He points to the shows holding “food battles” as the prime example. Most of these shows feature two or more chefs (almost always male) battling for kitchen supremacy. By emphasizing competition, victory, dominance, and defeat these shows promote hegemonic masculinity. This holds true, according to Holden, even if the two opponents are female. Yes, hegemonic masculinity can be exhibited by women. And of course it is hegemonic masculinity that forms the very foundation of Patriarchy. Taken to its logical conclusion, Holden is arguing that Patriarchy might exist even if men did not, because women can exhibit hegemonic masculinity.
A war on a construct can go on forever. However, a war must be winnable and to win a war, there must be a tangible enemy. The war on drugs has its dealers. The war on terror has its Muslim extremists. The war on communism had Vietnam. The war on Patriarchy has men and as in any war, that enemy must be portrayed as evil. The result is “rape culture,” men being portrayed as violent wife beaters, child abusers, and molesters, fathers become “deadbeat dads,” or stumbling, bumbling oafs who can do nothing right, and so on. War can then be fought against such men. It can be won by either eliminating men, or by eliminating masculinity.
Constructivist philosophy suggests that reality is nothing more than a construct. Multiple realities, and therefore more than one Truth can exist. When truth becomes relative or a matter of perspective, it can be adopted or disregarded as a matter of convenience.
Schrödinger’s cat is a prime example. The cat in the box is either alive or dead. But in the thought experiment it must be both because the psi-function requires both conditions co-exist. As Einstein put it, there is an assumption of reality that is independent of observation and it is “a risky game [to think of] reality as something independent of what is experimentally established.” In other words, multiple realities exist until an observation can be made. Only when reality is observed will these multiple realities collapse into a single reality. The cat is both alive and dead until the box is opened and the reality can be observed.
If one views feminism as the box, men and women as the cat, and feminists as the physicists standing outside looking at the box, but refusing to open it to look inside, then one gets an idea of feminist discourse. It is a system of ethics based on utilitarianism and a pragmatist approach to science. Ethics and truth are subjectively based on happiness and utility. Utilitarian morality is based upon outcome of actions, not the actions themselves; creating a subjective ethical system where the end justifies the means. The subjective nature of utilitarian ethics permits the feminist to characterize men as either good or evil as it suits the purpose. For instance, if there is no difference between men and women, men must be good by nature (because women are). Therefore the evil of masculinity can be eliminated by re-socializing men to make them act more like women.
The utility in this feminist belief is that it can be used to sell feminism to men and create male feminists. At the same time, feminists can argue that men are inherently evil (all men are rapists) and call for their elimination. The utility here is that the elimination of men would create the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of women. The end (happiness) justifies the means (gendercide). It is why an entire audience of otherwise “good” women can laugh and scream in joy when Sharon Osborne said it was fabulous that a man had his penis severed by his wife for wanting a divorce. It eliminates cognitive dissonance.
It can also be seen in feminist science. Mary Koss gets away with her 1 in 4 rape statistic by dismissing the views of those women who answered “yes” to her rape questionnaire but indicated that they had not been sexually assaulted in personal interviews because the result of the interview was not useful. Qualitative research methods have become increasingly popular in social science research because of the subjective nature of the data analysis used in those methods. Pragmatist philosophy considers the purpose of science to be one of determining action and problem solving rather than one of describing reality or seeking truth.
The position is that science should be evaluated in terms of its usefulness, not its accuracy. It allows the use of an interpretive lens to analyze data, thereby biasing the results according to the bias inherent in the lens. Confirmation bias enters into the research through the interpretive lens. In feminist research, the lens confirms that any discovered disadvantage of women relative to men must be the result of discrimination that can be attributed to Patriarchy or hegemonic masculinity. Research can then be conducted in order to “give voice to” underrepresented groups or to drive a political agenda, using subjective realities in place of objective fact.
This is precisely what we see in feminist research when it is used to influence public policy. Objective Truth is unimportant. Subject truth is all that matters. The American Association of University Women can continue to deny the objective Truth that the educational system disadvantages boys and men relative to girls and women and claim the opposite by emphasizing the few areas that remain where girls and women are still at a disadvantage. The relative importance of these areas of disadvantage is unimportant. What matters is that areas of disadvantage remain of girls and women and those areas are what should be addressed.
Patriarchy can’t be put in jail. But it doesn’t need to be. Since Patriarchy is a feminist construct, it can be killed by opening the box; for when the box is opened, the true nature of men and women (as human beings) can be seen and will be shown to be in conflict with the subjective reality of feminism. If a goal of the MHRM is to dispel the victim nation, all it need do is open the feminist box and encourage people to look inside.
 However, it would likely be called by a different name. If men did not exist, there would be no masculinity. The entire range of human behavior would be feminine, so women exhibiting that behavior would likely be dubbed hegemonic feminists.
 It is the opposite of positivism which is derived from empiricism and the scientific method which would suggest that knowledge can be acquired through sensory experience (observation). Positivism would demand that the box be opened so that the objective reality can be known.
 The scientific method’s requirement that the researcher account for alternate explanations for causality can be disregarded. Thus Koss can assert that the women’s denial of being sexually assaulted was because they didn’t understand the meaning of sexual assault without examining alternate hypotheses such as the possibility that her questionnaire was not a valid measure of sexual assault and many of the responses were false positives.