Shame on Feminism, not on us
(c) 2012, Davd
It’s that time of year again: Some Feminists are refusing to set meetings and appointments for December 6th; and if last year and the previous 20 are any indication, we can expect a deplorable multiple murder to be re-framed as something much worse. It will be called “the Montreal Massacre”, which it was not. More people, including more women, survived that shooting than died. Most multiple murders in which fewer than ten times the number killed by Marc Lepine, die, are not called massacres.
Indeed, it is abnormal and tendentious, to treat such a killing as historic. The normal treatment of a despicable deed by a probable madman is to let its memory fade with time. The excessive attention given by Feminists and their allies in the CBC last year, to a multiple murder over two decades past—a multiple murder that has been “topped” by several more-horrendous acts of homicide since then, and hasn’t been copied—seems to be serving some political purposes. The simple inference is that those political purposes do not deserve support.1
Before we “develop that simple inference”, let’s “do the reverse the sexes exercise” and ask, “What about violence by women against men?” Is it treated differently than violence against women by men? Indeed it is—but not by letting its memory fade away naturally.
Violence by women against men does get tendentiously recalled and kept before the public: I can readily think of two names, women who attacked men and whose stories were publicized and discussed at length: Lorena Bobbitt and Valerie Solanas. Probably there are many more, but those two names happen to have been brought back to my attention repeatedly. Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband’s penis while he slept. “She then hopped in her car, penis in hand, and drove away. As she sped by a field, she tossed the severed appendage out the window.” (Archivist, 2010). Valerie Solanas wrote a short book entitled “The S.C.U.M. Manifesto” in which she advocated killing men; and proceeded to put her argument into action by shooting Andy Warhol and Mario Amaya with deadly intent (see also Dederer, 2004.) Much more recently, Swedish feminists have produced and publicized a video in which Solanas’s ideas are enacted and she is given credit.
Both Lorena Bobbitt and Valerie Solanas have been publicized, and lioness-ized, not by men but by Feminists. Claire Dederer wrote in 2004, “Why the SCUM Manifesto, now? Possibly because Solanas’s crazed rage doesn’t look so crazed anymore. These days, SCUM is no longer scummy. SCUM is transgressive, queer, other-identified. SCUM has its own learned journals, its own coffeehouses, its own university departments, its own bands and movies. The cultural critic B. Ruby Rich noted Solanas’s burgeoning relevance in her 1993 essay “Manifesto Destiny,” which ran in the Voice Literary Supplement. “The 90s is the decade of the Riot Grrrls, the Lesbian Avengers, Thelma and Louise, the Aileen Wuornos case, and Lorena Bobbitt,” she wrote. “There’s something intensely contemporary about Solanas, not just in her act but in her text as well.”
If a man had written an equally misogynist “manifesto”, would he be celebrated in like manner? (Do pigs fly?) Combine the Feminist treatment of Lepine with the Feminist treatment of Bobbitt and Solanas, and “claiming a female privilege to inflict violence” is putting matters quite mildly.
Dederer is not the only writer to link Solanas and her “manifesto” with Lorena Bobbitt. The False Rape Society’s “Archivist” cited several anonymous commentators and Ellen Goodman, approving of Ms. Lorena’s mutilation of her husband; and wrote, “when women shamefully applauded the vile mutilation of another human being — a man who was not privileged, or smart, or wealthy, or lucky — all that men could muster in the face of this fusillade of misandry was a muffled and chivalrous grumble.” That was in 2010. Let’s do better this year.
December 6th is a predictable date for confrontation; and we can start with something Feminists might want us to be ashamed about—but really, they’re the ones who should be ashamed: Men aren’t proud of Marc Lepine. Logically, that does men credit; Lepine did wrong. It makes far less sense that many Feminists seem to be proud of Lorena Bobbitt and Valerie Solanas. Put the three stories together, and the Feminist message seems to be “violence against women by men is unspeakably horrible; but violence by women against men is very often a good thing.” That message is indeed something to be ashamed-of.
I can readily think of one everyday example of young girls practicing that “message”, and one parallel message from race relations 60-100 years ago. Neither makes Feminism look good.
Many of you readers can probably recall a girl kicking a boy in the shins, hard—sometimes i bled from such kicks—and then dancing away singsonging “Can’t hit a gir-rul, can’t hit a gir-rul!” The tune was the one to which children often taunted “Nyaa, nyaa, nya-nyaaaah, nyah!” or “You’re a dirty stinker”—that sort of taunt. The tune and the words conveyed “I can hurt you, I don’t even need a good reason, and you can’t even fight back.” They conveyed privilege.
Such privilege was the norm in “American race relations” for the first half of the 20th Century; i believe history will mark its rapid decline from the Brown v. Board of Education decision (U. S. Supreme Court, 1954.) “Whites” in the Old South and occasionally elsewhere could attack “Negroes” without fear of reprisal, and being on the down side of privilege did lead many Afro-Americans to feel somewhat ashamed of their race (e.g. Clark and Clark, 1947). It was more rightfully, the shame of “White America”. In parallel, the Feminist double standard of gender violence might browbeat some men into a “false consciousness of shame” but rightfully is the shame of Feminism—not of men.
Men aren’t proud of Marc Lepine—but neither should we wear his shame. He was crazy, to use the vulgar everyday word for it (cf. Dutton, 2012); and his actions did not represent anyone else. That’s why the normal treatment of a despicable deed by a probable madman is to let its memory fade with time. Perhaps, in a very humane society, there might be an effort to rehabilitate the madman (or mad woman.)
Feminism “has a moral duty to answer for” any other treatment of Lepine’s crazy shooting. To the best of my knowledge, they have not done that duty. They have not justified the demonstrations, lobbying, nagging, scolding and whining we can expect come December 6th. It is “high time and long past due” that men say so, publicly, clearly, repeatedly—not only for the misuse of the Lepine multiple killing, but for the endorsement of Bobbitt’s violence and Solanas’s advocacy-of as well as actual violence, and for tendentious misandry in general.
If someone asks you some form of “Aren’t you ashamed of what Lepine did?”, i suggest you have [at least] two types of reply to choose from :
“Are[n't] you ashamed of Lorena Bobbitt and Valerie Solanas?” [there are two ways to frame this 'comeback'] or
“I didn’t help him, I didn’t advise him, and I didn’t have responsibility for him in any social-work or psychatric sense. He’s apparently crazy and I don’t know him. How on Earth would I be in line for a murdering madman’s shame?”
If you are in a public confrontation, it might be a good tactic to give the mild, second reply first, and if a Feminist tries to respond with an “all men are guilty” line, then “give her sauce for the goose” by using one or the other form of the first reply.
If someone tries to get you to sign a “White ribbon pledge”, the kind that reads (approximately) “”, i suggest you reply “When that statement reads so that men are as well protected as women, then I’ll give it serious consideration. Until then, it looks like a manifesto for female privilege. Why, other than in Hell, would a man support female privilege?”
If you’re in a men’s-interest group with some interest in advocacy, and you get word another “Montreal massacre demonstration/vigil/…” is forthcoming, you might make up some signs for a counter-demonstration. For a few possibilities, which i expect other men can improve and add-to, you might try:
We have not praised Lepine’s crime. Women have praised Lorena Bobbitt’s. Clean up your act—we’ve got the better record.
Violence against men is wrong—equal treatment is right.
My name is not Marc Lepine
Marc Lepine was a criminal. So was [Lorena Bobbitt, Valerie Solanas, etc.] I won’t blame you for her—don’t you blame me for him.
Feminism should be ashamed of [Lorena Bobbitt, Valerie Solanas, etc.]
… and suppose that your Mother, herself, is a Feminist and throws some old “cow-poop” in your face? Suppose she even says “How dare you talk back to your Mother? The simple answer is “Beats lying!” One more complicated answer is “How dare you try to pressure me to lie?”
This isn’t “Give ‘em Hell.” This is “Give ‘em the truth as best we can state it, with vigor.” If they won’t join us fairly, in the effort to find and speak the truth—then their ticket to Hell is of their own making, or perhaps it’s something they found while shopping. We don’t wish women-as-women ill—we wish evildoers a comeuppance, whatever their sex, we seek to correct their mis-statements; and we seek out, we seek to identify and honour, those women who prefer truth and philios to evil.
Those who do not, we might prudently avoid most of the time, and when confronted by them, refute.
p.s. After the confrontation, if indeed there be a Feminist ‘action’ near you to confront, there is something more important about December 6th, that you might like to celebrate—preferably with a sauna: December 6th is Finnish Independence Day. Since declaring independence from Russia, Finland has managed to keep free for over 90 years, with one of the world’s highest literacy rates and “scholarly output rates” relative to its small population; and in its wisdom did not import great numbers of culturally incompatible immigrants. Finnish men have less than equal power under divorce law, but on one generation-old and one recent report, more than Canadian or US men.
Two four-letter words which symbolize distinctive Finnish social and cultural virtues are Sisu and Teho. Teho translates pretty well as “efficiency”; and our social inefficiency has contributed to the denigration and abuse of men at law. Sisu is not so easy to translate, but combining courage, persistence, and a certain manly disdain for soft living, might come close. The customary way to honour the democratic self-government of that formerly colonized people, is by putting two lighted candles in your window toward the road, from dark until bedtime. That’s what i plan to celebrate December 6th, and how.
“Archivist”, 2010, “This date in history: Lorena Bobbitt sliced off her husband’s penis and exposed the politics of hate.” False Rape Society website, June 23, which url might work if cotwa.org be substituted.
Clark, Kenneth B., and Mamie P. Clark, 1947 “Racial identification and preference in Negro children.” In T. M. Newcomb and E. L. Hartley, eds., Readings in Social Psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston. [A classic for showing that black children preferred white dolls and downgraded their own race--in conformity to prevailing cultural biases. Probably would not be replicated today if repeated, due to social change.]
Dederer, Claire, 2004. Cutting Remarks”. The Nation June 14.
Dutton DG. 2012. “A Policy Based On Evidence? Let’s Start With Domestic Violence” Letter to the Editor, Vancouver Sun.>
Griffin, John Howard, 1960. Black Like Me. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Signet paperback, 1961.
1. .. to over-ride the simple inference, powerful contrary evidence should be presented. So far, i have seen no evidence that the political purposes, such as imposing a “GUPI” [Guilty Until Proven Innocent] burden of proof on men who want to own hunting arms and buy ammunition for them, and treating Marc Lepine as more typical of men than he was, have merit. Restricting the possession of firearms and the purchasing of ammunition by both sexes in urban areas, might have merit; but that’s not what i see advocated.
A hopeful sign, perhaps—i have lately heard in CBC Radio reports from fighting in Syria and Gaza, how many children, how many civilians, have been killed, but seldom how many women as distinct from men. Perhaps the implications of equality (and of Israel and other States fielding women combatants?) are having some effect.