Tuesday, 24 May 2016

I am not ashamed

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I spend time listening to the rantings of video-bloggers on the 'manosphere'. Following the dictum of Robert Anton Wilson, I engage with the thoughts of those with whom I disagree, although their use of gender-based insults, tone of disdain and entitlement, dogmatic reason' and 'self-evident' logic pure nips my head, I get the odd insight. 

I found one the other day who rather impressed me, mind. Not fully in agreement, but they had something more than shouty science authoritarianism in their swagger.

And so, onto this little joke...

Okay, I don't find it funny: I can't offer a complete theory of humour (sadly, a monk ate Aristotle's definition in a temper tantrum after being investigated by Sherlock Holmes' ancestor), but things like 'surprise' and 'exaggeration for effect' come into it. Listing the stuff a female comedian has to do is pretty obvious, and I can't see how saying stuff that seems true is hilarious (I have a similar problem with Mark Thomas's TV shows). 

There was a backlash. Then there was a backlash to the backlash. The manosphere eats this shit up. They love a row, especially when they can pretend that feminism means bashing men, or that they are under-privileged wee souls.

(For the record, I have  got  24/100 on a Buzzfeed Test. This makes me well under-privileged, but I got my low score through prejudice against my religious beliefs, sexuality and periods of poverty, not my race or gender (although that time I was wearing make-up and had long hair helped).)

Oh yeah - male liberals love these debates, too. Because we get to be ashamed. We can regret our identification with our gender. 

I'm not proud to be a man, anymore than I am proud to have green eyes. It's just a given (nature or society decided for me). I want to be proud of things that I have created - like my comics about Big Ideas. Being a man gives me certain advantages, and so does my education (I nearly said 'my intelligence...'). There are a few downsides to it, but take the little rough with the big smooth, son.

Equally, when a bunch of manosphere men (or red pill rogues, or MRA monkey-wrenchers, or PUA... pricks) kick off, I am not ashamed of sharing their gender. I lack either the conviction or the arrogance to assume that 'maleness' gives me any responsibility for them that requires shame. I'll just state my disagreement, and get on with my day.

Funny thing, shame. I once heard a Jesuit, Father Porter, do a sermon about shame. He said shame is another version of pride. He reckoned it functioned it in the same way, flowing from egotism. And shame has some terrible side-effects. I'm a bit ashamed of my sexual desires, so I hide them away. Shame is not just modesty. It's corrosive.

In the case of the shouting video-bloggers, being ashamed because of their ignorance and lack of manners... well, I didn't say it. In fact, they make me look good, simply because I don't start bellowing 'cunt' at women. But I don't recognise the idea that they are behaving like this because they are men. Yeah, women can be ill-mannered, too. But that's not the point. The point is, the manosphere gets populated by people who feel marginalised and they are using verbal violence as a form of cultural terrorism.

Muslims don't have to apologise for ISIL. Christians don't have to apologise for fundamentalists. They can abjure them, and point out the theological mistakes that they are making. 

To be honest, I'm suspicious of men feeling the need to express their shame at sharing a gender with the mouth-breathers. It's a bit.. virtue-signalling, yah? No need to do your Hail Mary in public. 

On a side note, although I do engage with social media, I recognise the generic oppression of women by men more immediately when I walk down the street with my female friends than from reading about it on Tumblr. Social media barely tells half of the story. I know that video of a woman walking about and getting hassle was specially edited, and has been accused of racial bias, but seriously... take a stroll down Sauciehall Street on a Saturday night. 

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