Well, I was right that you are just picking a fight. OK, I will give you one. Your readership is too low to normally warrant it but lucky for you, I have time because of the pandemic.
First of all, your tropes are not tropes. I’ve googled them and each one gets zero hits. Even variations of your tropes don’t get hits as long as it includes any language where men claim women are the victimizers. Men don’t blame women, generally. However, women frequently blame men. An unfortunate double standard that we live with.
Just because you heard someone say something, even multiple times, does not make it a trope. What you have presented are three actual tropes combined with something you added, namely the “men are victims of women” part. Then you proceed to disprove or dismantle, as you say, the part you added. You never address the actual tropes. You just dismantle only what you created and revel in your victory.
The part you added is not part of the actual trope because as a man I know we are not allowed to play the victim card. Men are expected to be dominant and being a victim is not dominance. What we are allowed to say is that something isn’t fair. We don’t blame women pervasively enough to have it be part of a trope. You’ve projected your feminine sensibilities into the trope and then dismantled something you created while accusing men of being some sort of idiots in the process.
If your defense, perhaps you didn’t pick your words carefully. One example might be that men sometimes claim a specific man is the victim of a woman, like Clarence Thomas or Brett Kavanaugh. However, none of your tropes is related to these cases.
You might also have said that “men are the victims of feminism because…”. In this case, you might have found some actual tropes, if you had done your homework. For men, this is an appeal to unfairness, however, not an accusation of women in general, as your versions of the tropes imply.
Your intent does not seem to be about men’s tropes against the feminist movement. It seems more like you are pitting women against men. To take the feminist position, you could have cited works like this from Daisy Flower or better yet, just shared it as she does a much better job of it than you could.
Even Flowers is pretty obscure, further indicating just how fringe this argument is, but she is fair. For one thing, she points out that women also make these statements, and she does not belittle them by calling them tropes. That’s probably because she knows that you can change more minds by respecting people, even your adversaries.
To be clear, I don’t necessarily agree with everything she says, but she manages to make her point without the snarky us vs men tone.
The real social issue we have is the backlash against fourth-wave feminism. This is covered extensively in the literature. You, dear writer, are flaming the backlash with your post.
I don’t make critical comments lightly, and since you didn’t understand my analysis from my generalization, I have included my full line by line annotations of your essay below, which you can now read if you are a glutton for punishment.
Since you paid me the courtesy of a response to my comment, I would like to return the favor by responding to your response. Here goes:
Thank you for mansplaining…
For some women, like you, mansplaining is whenever a man is saying something they don’t want to hear. (Saying that what a man says is just mansplaining is indeed a trope). I won’t bother reading your definition of mansplaining, because you don’t get to decide what it means. I know what it is and I’m not mansplaining. Except for me to say that this isn’t mansplaining is surely another example of mansplaining for you. It’s just a circle jerk.
…my own life and my own writing to me…
I didn’t say anything about your life other than some men you are interacting with don’t seem to be very thoughtful. So you are just being hyperbolic.
There’s nothing I like better than to be told what has happened to me, what has been said to me, what I think, etc., by some random guy who wasn’t there when it happened and doesn’t know the first thing about me.
When you publish on Medium, you should expect comments on your writing. That is a big part of the platform. Some you may not like.
It is not my intention to please you, so I am fine with you not liking it. Now I also know you are probably good looking because you assume men should want to please you.
I also didn’t say anything more about what happened to you other than what you said happened to you in the article you wrote. That is fair game for discussion. More hyperbole from you, just like in the article.
Of course, I am a random guy. Almost everyone commenting on Medium is just a random person. Surely, you are not expecting comments only from people you know.
I can tell a lot about you from what is in this article related to this topic and I can assess your mental state. I can also make assessments based on how you respond to other commenters.
Before you label that as also misandric, take a moment to understand that what you did is literally the dictionary definition of mansplaining.
I did not accuse you of misandry related to mansplaining, so making an argument that you are not misandric because of the definition of mansplaining makes no sense.
You come off as misandric because your language and representation are written to promote a misandric agenda. It’s pretty obvious. If you were sincere, you would have made a fair representation of the tropes and then made a more reasoned, rather than emotional and antidotal, case to dismantle them. I don’t see you as a sincere actor trying to promote equal sexual rights.
I wrote this OP because I got tired of responding to these same stupid assertions on an individual basis, time and time again. Now when I hear them, I can just link this story. The very first sentence of this OP is this: I keep seeing the same old lame tropes coming up again over and over in discussions.
A bit further down I say it again: I get tired of repeatedly addressing these tropes which are meant to deflect that fact (that both men and women are harmed by patriarchy, albeit in different ways). Here are a few of the more egregious and often mentioned ones, dismantled. That way, I can simply link this post in the future and save myself some time:
I can appreciate your desire to be efficient. If all you’re intending to do here is show that women are not victimizing men, that was accomplished. Seriously, almost no one is making the claim. Men who think they are being victimized by women (if there actually are any whiners like that) won’t have the character or intellect to be convinced when they get your link. It’s counter-productive and you did not actually ever address the actual trope, as promised in your headline.
There were at least 5 comments from men in support of these stupid assertions, …
I read all the comments to date, and I am not sure what you mean by “support”. There are things you wrote that I support too. Like I support that both men and women are harmed by the patriarchy. And, that men and women should join forces to fight for sexual equality. I just don’t think you are acting in support of the goals you profess with these tactics.
…so once again Don Quixote, you were off tilting at windmills and revealing in your own identity as the opinion police rather than paying attention to what was actually taking place.
“Don Quixote”? Again, childish, condensing, trying to be cute and argumentative. I presume making snarky statements like this makes you feel good. They don’t contribute to dialog.
You are not a windmill. In my opinion, you are the one creating an imagined foe and trying to do battle. At least Quixote had a noble cause. You are trying to sow division.
Opinion police? Did you just throw that in there for effect? You’re entitled to your opinion and I’m entitled to mine. I never said otherwise.
You don’t how I identify. How dare you think that just because I have a male name that I am whatever it is you think I am.
This is a direct response to specific things that some men have said to me — repeatedly. One of the comments, from a trans-woman, affirmed that these are comments often made by certain men.
How is it that if a transwoman hears it is it more likely to be a trope. I’m sure I talk to men as much as she does and I don’t hear men say the “men of victims of women part”. I doubt she does either. It may be a misunderstanding on your part. Remember, you are claiming this is included in the trope and it must also be the most important part because it is the only part you address. See my annotations below if that is confusing you.
What the men you know think or say is irrelevant because you are not the center of the known universe. The things that are said to me or happen to me may very well be different because I’m not you — duh!
You spoke about your experience and I related mine. Just so you know, when someone relates their experience on a platform like Medium, it is quite common for people with a different experience to relate theirs, especially if it is a counter-narrative. This isn’t to say that the author’s experience isn’t valid, but I have my doubts about it in your case.
What the men I know think or say is just as relevant as what the ones you know say. You are also not at the center of the universe or even one millimeter closer to it than I am, so why do you think you can have your say and I can’t have mine?
A concise and logical refutation of the typical responses from butt-hurt men.
Not sure why you stuck this comment in here. But let me just say that your essay is typical from butt-hurt women. Whatever that means? There, we are even. So what? (See, I am just as capable of 7th-grade rhetoric as you are).
The subtitle and the conclusion both speak to how current society is harmful to both men and women and suggests that we work together to create a better one for everyone.
Yes, that is what I think too. The subtitle is why I clicked. Imagine my disappointment when I found something so divisive instead.
Here’s another quote to support that: In order to create better lives for all citizens, we need to have a society that values both traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine characteristics equally and allows people to be whatever blend of those they actually are, without censure or shame.
I agree with that too. I don’t think that is misandric. Not every word is. But, lots of what you say is. The piece is very conflicted. I won’t repeat what others have already commented on. You just attacked them too.
If you find that misandric, I suggest you read the final, final conclusion again:
Before tossing out “tribal markers” that you’ve heard someone else say, consider whether or not they have any substance or truth beyond an initial impression of validity. Consider whether or not you are engaging in an actual conversation or just trying to defend your ideology. Are you trying to figure out how to make this world a better place for all, or not?
I agree again. But, a lot of your piece is a demonstration of the exact opposite, as is your rebuttals to some of the comments.
In this part of your response you are pointing to good parts of your essay I never criticized, but pointing to something that isn’t misandric doesn’t make parts that are go away. Misandry pervades the tone. See my annotations below, if you want all the specifics line by line.
PS — I sometimes write stories about the most inane or off-base comments that I’ve ever gotten. This one is right up there near the top, so heads up that it may appear in a future story.
I look forward to it. I’ll be happy to dismantle that too if I happen to see it. I have plenty of time and energy these days, so please do so soon.
Critique of Essay:
Claim made in the title is that we are going to see the author dismantle tropes men make that are presumably false with evidence for why they are false.
What is a trope? It is an expression that is repeated so significantly that it becomes commonplace,
What is dismantle? To take apart. To take something apart. It does not necessarily mean to disparage it. In an essay, it might mean to examine or analyze. In the case of this author, it seems implied that it also means to show that it is not valid. Maybe destroy or demolish is more what she means. Anyway, this is my assumed intent based on the text and the tone.
My position: inequality of treatment is generally a bad thing in society and one of its major ills. It is a cause I care a lot about and sexual/gender equality of treatment is a major part of that. I believe we have evolved a patriarchy which is not well suited to modern society and I think it should be dismantled in a progressive way. The strategy I support for doing this is to get men and women to work together. Not fight against one another, because both have much to gain and not at the expense of the other. I call out exclusionary and hostile rhetoric.
Summary: Author and I have a desire to see the same outcome, but we disagree on the tactics. I recognize the author does make statements in the piece that sound similar to my position, but at the same time uses a divisive rhetorical style that is counter to her claims. This internal inconsistency will be identified.
I keep seeing the same old lame tropes coming up again over and over in discussions.
OK, we already need to stop. Scanning the tropes below, I don’t see familiar tropes. I see an adulterated form of some tropes. Books, MRA websites and social media platforms have similar tropes. The part that is inconsistent with my experience of these tropes is that they usually don’t start with “Men are victimized by women…”. Even finding an example where someone said that doesn’t make it a trope. The trope may say, “men are disadvantaged…” but that is a world of difference because it is not women victimizing men and all but a few inarticulate men might present themselves as victims of women. And men are not victims of women as the author rightly points out. So, straight away I think we are about to discuss what some men say, not something universal like a trope.
Googled the tropes as presented by the author. (The trope in quotes for search). Zero hits. Conclusion: these are not actually tropes, but contain tropes plus authors addition.
Some men seem to be under the impression that they actually are the ones who have been most hurt by society these past 10 thousand years.
All these tropes are in the present tense. I’m not sure how what a man thinks about how things were done 10 thousand years ago is going to be relevant to these tropes, but OK I guess some men might think that centuries ago the men who died in battle had it worse than the women who stayed behind to be raped. Seems like we are on a history lesson tangent already. Let get to the tropes please.
It’s not actually those loudmouthed and ungrateful women — you know, the ones who couldn’t vote until a hundred years ago and couldn’t go to Ivy League colleges or have a credit card in their own name until the 1970s.
More history. Ok. But now she is really set the tone. This is going to be an angry woman responding to stupid angry men. How constructive? Anyway, this is historically correct. I don’t think many people today, men or women, in the US, think this way of treating women was right.
In truth, the patriarchy actually hurts everybody (with the possible exception of a few men at the very top), which is why it needs to be replaced with a more egalitarian system that benefits both genders. In the meanwhile, it’s not a contest between men and women (but, if it were, objectively, women still win hands down for most oppressed and abused)
Yup! Patriarchy bad. Replace with egalitarian system. It SHOULD not be a contest between men and women. We agree !! Then there is the “but” and the rest of the article is the contest. I personally don’t agree that women win hands down in the oppression Olympics today in the United States, but that is not the topic of the essay. We are just considering tropes and to include that statement without supporting it is just an instigation. This is going to be an adversarial tone. Not one of objective enlightenment.
I get tired of repeatedly addressing these tropes which are meant to deflect that fact.
Well it is not a fact and there is nothing stated to support that fact, so it is a presupposition for now. I will concede that to have that whole discussion as a preamble is too much for a short Medium essay, so I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, except it isn’t necessarily. Let’s not get distracted.
Here are a few of the more egregious and often mentioned ones, dismantled. That way, I can simply link this post in the future and save myself some time:
- Men are victimized by women because they have a much harder time getting good child custody rights.
Well, last time I checked, women do not award child custody in their own divorces. Judges do that, and female judges only make up about 30% of the bench.
Well, if you remove the “men are victimised by women” part, I think everyone would agree. This is evidence supporting the trope. I’m not clear how having more women judges would increase the likelihood of men getting custody though. This isn’t a trope about the number of women judges.
Patriarchal society still believes that the very highest calling for women is motherhood, so it’s not surprising really that even male judges often feel like children belong with their mothers, even in the modern age.
“EVEN mail judges”? There is an implication that females judges would award in favor of men more-so. Doubtful and no evidence of this given.
This trope is not based on the ratio of male to female judges.
If you don’t think motherhood is still canonized and expected in that way, just ask a married woman with no children about how she constantly has to keep justifying herself, even to acquaintances and strangers. Ask Republicans why they disfavor abortion, but also disfavor contraception. Ask why most states still have laws on the books making any sex act that does not lead to procreation illegal.
So the dismantling here has been about the role of women in victimizing. Managed to demonstrate that it is not women who are victimizing men with regard to custody. But the real trope is that men don’t get fair custody. Author concedes this is true.
Conclusion: Patriarchal society expects women to be mothers and supports that role. Consequently, judges often give preferential treatment to mothers in custody disputes.
Trope is not claiming otherwise. Irrelevant conclusion, though it is a correct statement. Author appears unaware of recent analysis of custody award rates, refuting the actual core trope. Superficial.
2. Men are victimized by women because they go off to fight wars, taking all the risks and hardship in order to keep women safe. Women presumably sit at home with their feet up.
That is a big presumption. It is just more of the snarky tone, with a touch of misandry mixed in. An honest representation of the trope is that men’s lives are more disposable.
Again, last time I checked, men start all the wars (women are not in enough positions of power in the government or military for it to be otherwise). The wars are quite often for the economic interests of a few men at the top of the patriarchal hierarchy, leaving lower value men and women to take the brunt of most of the hardship.
What source is the author checking? Historically, when women have ruled wars have not been lesser.
Foolish to think when women are in power there would be a reduction in war. No evidence and women have held war-making powers. The female politicians and populous were roughly equal to men in their support of invading Iraq, for example. But, this is another tangent. This trope is about the men in battle, not the ones making the decisions. Women got to choose to go or not. In the present day, there is no draft in the United States and both men and women can enlist. Men chose to go more. Again, we are talking about present-day conditions of the validity of the trope. Men are expected to die to protect women and children. No counter-point provided to this claim by the author.
And in the case of having to defend ourselves against aggressors, men haven’t done this alone in recent memory (although probably really not ever). Women have been always been spies and resistance fighters, as well as nurses, doctors and ambulance drivers near the front lines. “Over sixteen hundred female nurses received various decorations for courage under fire (in WWII).”
WACS and WAVES were integral parts of the WWII war effort, repairing planes, driving trucks and flying supply missions.
Women enlisted “for the duration plus six months”. They served not only in the Army (WAC), but also with the Navy (WAVES) and Coast Guard (SPARs). Although never officially members of the armed forces, Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) provided critical support for the war effort.
Millions of women like Rosie the Rivetor worked in shipyards and factories, very often providing munitions and war supplies. And what about all of the unpaid work, planting Victory gardens and running previously 2-parent families single-handedly while trying to work outside the home? And that was all 80 years ago.
Women have been progressively more involved in dangerous areas and combat-related missions with every succeeding conflict. To say nothing of the fact that as of 2015 nearly all combat jobs in the military are now open to women and that selective services laws, which only apply to males, have been enacted by overwhelmingly male governing bodies.
Yes, true, but all this is a dismantling of the “sit at home” part of the trope, which the author added. Maybe someone idiot said this. Not a trope, however.
Conclusion: Women don’t just sit comfortably and safely at home being “protected” during wartime.
The core of the trope is not about what women are doing while men are at war. What person thinks women don’t contribute? Virtually no one. The trope is that men are expected to sacrifice themselves more with bodily harm at war and at work and the author did not touch on that aspect. Missed opportunity to talk about women in combat now, etc.
3. Men are victimized by women because we don’t talk about or take seriously male rape or domestic abuse.
Violent crime and rape (of men and women) are both overwhelmingly perpetrated by men. The one place where statistically women even come close is in the case of domestic violence. The National Domestic Violence Hotline says, “1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. This is a staggering statistic on both counts and should be addressed and taken seriously all around.
This is fine, except for the “victimized by women” part. I’m also presuming the trope was meant to be about the rape of men and domestic abuse of men. “Male rape” could mean rape by a male or of a male.
(I delete the reference to external work to make this shorter. I have no comment on that).
In other words, the type of domestic violence that is all about control and intimidation is perpetrated almost entirely by men. This does not excuse violence of either type by either gender, but it does further point to the realities of patriarchal dynamics in this issue. The other problem is that in a patriarchal society, men are supposed to be big, strong and in charge.
The way we construct masculinity excludes weakness and assumes men will be physically dominant over one another and over women. It’s what sociologist Paul Kivel calls the “act-like-a-man box,” in which men are expected to be violent and in control, particularly in control of women, while suppressing their emotions and sucking it up whenever life doesn’t go their way. When a man steps outside of this box, he is often ridiculed as weak or as not being a “real” man. Needless to say, this actively contributes to men being reluctant to come forward or to ask for assistance when violence is perpetrated against them by a female. And when they do, sometimes men are shamed or not taken seriously. But once again, this is a problem that stems from patriarchal culture. If being considered manly didn’t necessarily require all of the above characteristics, this would not be the case.
Conclusion: A culture that glorifies violence as the manly (and thereby desirable) way to handle your problems isn’t doing anyone any favors. And a patriarchal culture that shames or dismisses men who have been abused by women as being weak or lacking in masculinity means that this very real and serious issue stays largely in the shadows.
Yes, this is all a very good explanation of why there is this trope. The conclusion supports the trope except for the “victimized by women” part. The author seems to support the notion that “we don’t talk about or take seriously male rape or domestic abuse”. In reality, virtually no one is blaming women for that. In fact, women are probably more sympathetic in this regard than other men are, as many studies have shown.
Final Conclusion: The Patriarchy hurts men and women alike. In order to create better lives for all citizens, we need to have a society that values both traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine characteristics equally and allows people to be whatever blend of those they actually are, without censure or shame.
Three cheers for that!
Final, Final Conclusion: Before tossing out “tribal markers” that you’ve heard someone else say, consider whether or not they have any substance or truth beyond an initial impression of validity. Consider whether or not you are engaging in an actual conversation or just trying to defend your ideology. Are you trying to figure out how to make this world a better place for all, or not?
Conclusion: the author does not practice what she preaches. She could have literally taken any of the MRA talking points and stuck “men are victimized by women because” on the front of it and then dismantle that part, leaving fully intact the original trope. That’s all that’s done here. Not dismantled the real trope, but rather created an invalid version of it to instigate a fight. Why?
Just being scrappy. Professing the right talking points, while angrily being divisive and venting frustrations by presenting this as a he vs. she discussion. This is going to make getting to the place we both want more difficult.