August 17, 2007
APPARENTLY I threatened to start blogging. Ha! What a mistake. What on earth could possibly be interesting enough or unique enough to blog about when there’s already an abundance of great sites to choose from? I’m almost embarrassed that you’re still reading. But perhaps you could help me figure some things out…
…ABOUT NIGEL, sorta
Apparently the phrase “it’s all about teh menz” is chanted at trolls in a feminist forum, in order to point out the shocking concept that “yes, we know the entire world revolves around what men think, but leave it at the door, m’kay? We’re going to talk about what women think, in this space”. Sounds reasonable. But it also sounds reasonable that women invariably have men in their lives whom they care about, and as can be expected, most likely want to talk about various issues which crop up regarding said males. Fair enough.
So where does Nigel fit in? Who is Nigel? Nigel is the personification of “everyman”; he is all those men who are not overtly misogynistic but are instead at least slightly egalitarian in their outlook towards women (I think). He’s also the guy who lets sexist comments and behaviours pass without comment because he thinks it has nothing to do with him. He’s the default dood, and everyman is assumed to be him until proven otherwise. If somehow I have mashed this definition, please let me know. I tried to find him on Wiki, but apparently he’s not important enough to have his own page.
Incidently, please notice the part where I said “everyman is assumed to be him until proven otherwise”, because that part, at least, I’m confident I got right. What does that phrase tell us? IF the first bit is correct, which I hope it is, THEN it tells me that feminists in general have a very good opinion of “everyman”. They are also willing to be patient while he figures out his role in the patriarchy – awfully generous of them. So much for that man-hating feminist myth.
The thing is, I don’t believe that the entire class of Nigels, as a whole, is important to a far larger discussion. That larger discussion is the thing which everyone within browser distance of my rantings has been unlucky enough to be subjected to. That larger discussion is whether or not, men as a class, are ever going to stop with the sexism.
Whoa, what? You heard me. Don’t play coy. There are a great many reasons why I wonder about that question. Actually, I believe I already answered it to my own satisfaction, but I like to keep an open mind, and perhaps I’m missing some vital piece of information which will cause a giant particle beam of sparkly rose petals to appear and illuminate my way out of the darkness.
Back to Nigel, because he’s not important.
I frequently get cuffed like a small fluffy kitten by it’s mama because I have the unmitigated gall, the monstrous offrontery to suggest that Nigel’s current role in feminist discourse should be re-examined. Supposedly the great majority of men are innocent bystanders in this international, non-denominational war on women we have going on. Somehow all the patriarchal terror in the entire world is caused by a small fraction of men. Somehow, I find this difficult to believe.
If the war on women was a result of only a few people, then patriarchy would be dead already. A few foot soldiers simply cannot perpetuate a war. This simple factoid should be obvious to the most brain dead among us.
The wiggly weasel way around that patently painful premise is to bring in culture as an oversized umbrella excuse, wherein we get to blame absolutely everything we can’t explain on some emphemeral pie-in-the-sky concept otherwise known as “culture”. Culture, as we shall see later, makes a really bad defense, but I can’t cut loose on culture just yet because I’m not finished with Nigel. Or someone could try, in order to protect the vast army of innocent Nigels from my evil wrath, to argue that patriarchy is dead.
It’s so difficult to prove a negative. Misogynists like to say women are equal now, but have you noticed? They can’t prove it. Logically, they are screwed, but they don’t even realize how badly, not yet.
ONE OF MY PROBLEMS with Nigel is that he is a living, breathing denial mechanism. If we can point to him every time someone says, “men have a pattern of repressing women’s autonomy” then we don’t have to deal with what that larger pattern means. We can stop thinking. We get to disengage our brain, and feel all those warm fuzzy feelings about the individual men in our life who aren’t tools of the patriarchy. Most importantly, we don’t have to blame men, as a class.
What would happen if we stopped blaming culture, and started blaming real live actual men, as a class, not as individuals? I’m genuinely asking. What response could we expect from men, in general? Please note — asking “if they deserve it” is a different question, and one which we will get to eventually.
This is why I’ll be a lousy blogger; I ramble off into the abyss way too much, so I will stop now. Come back in a few days and I’ll do it again. But I leave any interested parties more questions: Why does no one want to talk about the pattern of Nigel? Does everyone have him figured out but me? Lastly, who is reponsible for “culture” if not actual people?
If you have read thus far, thank you. Incidently, I introduced a strawman fallacy today, and he is going to burn the blog down if you don’t find him and put him out. His name is Stanley.