Note: This article is also available in Spanish.
‘Why Gay Men Don’t Need Feminism’ is a four-part series of articles adapted from a speech that was intended to be presented at the Second International Conference on Men’s Issues in 2015 by the author, Matthew Lye (a.k.a. Andy Bob). The four parts are:
Part 1: Challenging Assumptions
Part 2: The Takeover
Part 3: Gay Bashing
Part 4: Brotherhood
As these articles are written from the perspective of a Men’s Human Rights Activist (MHRA), they focus on the dysfunctional relationship between feminism and gay men. Feminism has had an entirely different relationship with lesbians which is irrelevant to this topic, and has been examined in detail elsewhere.
Why Gay Men Don’t Need Feminism – Part 1: Challenging Assumptions
In April, 2012, Gloria Steinem repeated one of modern feminism’s most durable and self-serving myths when she reaffirmed the unity between feminism and gay rights. She claimed that they were “completely the same thing”.1 Predictably, no prominent media pundit publicly contradicted her. This is due in part to the fact that St Gloria is a feminist, which means she gets a pass from the mainstream media to spew whatever offensive nonsense pops into her head without it ever being challenged, and partly because no-one is entirely sure if she’s still chummy with the CIA. However, the main reason is that feminists like her have succeeded wildly in hoodwinking people who ought to know better – including hordes of gullible gay men – that it’s true.
To be fair, Steinem called it ‘women’s rights’, but she meant ‘feminism’, in the same way that feminists refer to something called ‘the patriarchy’ when they’re really just talking about ‘men’. It’s always amusing how often feminists think they’re fooling anyone by conflating these terms whenever it suits them. Like many gay men, my response to Steinem’s baseless assumption that feminism and gay rights are completely the same thing is: “Not so fast, Gloria”.
While there is a large number of gay people, often involved in LGBT activism, who – through a combination of fear, political convenience or just plain old ignorance – are content to huddle obediently on the coattails of feminism as it stomps its destructive path through our social, political, legal, educational and media institutions, there is also a significant number gay men who are under no illusions about the true nature of feminism and are outraged that their own rights movement is so closely, consistently and publicly associated with it.
One of the many gay men who weren’t buying what Steinem was selling had this to say in the comments section of the website that conducted the original interview:
“Women have had equal rights for years. Modern day feminists are seeking female supremacy. It’s really quite disgusting that an allegedly gay-oriented site would compare a legitimate civil rights movement to the nonsensical, insane ideology that is feminism. They’re not the same thing, not in any sense. Feminists are some of the worst enemies gay men will ever encounter.”1
To be completely blunt, it never fails to astound me whenever I come across any man, regardless of their sexual orientation, who doesn’t know that feminists, to put it mildly, really don’t like them. This is an ideology that has spent many decades loudly and aggressively blaming men for every single problem the world has ever known. It has demonized all non-approved manifestations of natural masculinity as inherently toxic aberrations that need to be either corrected, eliminated or punished.
It has pathologised male sexuality to the extent that all sexual activity involving men is interpreted as some form of violent sexual abuse – leading some prominent feminists to conclude that sex between consenting male adults is a re-enactment of heterosexual rape.2 The absurdly perverse view that all intimate relations involving men is an expression of so-called rape culture is so tightly woven through feminist ideology, that feminists have succeeded in convincing governments to fund nation-wide campaigns and compulsory seminars and workshops in educational institutions, the military and the workplace in order to teach men and boys not to rape.
Whether or not governments really believe that men and boys won’t realize that rape is wrong unless some Gender Studies graduate tells them so, or are simply hoping to avoid being branded misogynists for not giving in to the increasingly outrageous demands of feminist lobbyists, academics and media pundits, is ultimately irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that governments have no place colluding with feminists to promote the assumption of the inherent criminality, violence and sexual deviancy of half of their constituents, and their sons. It is an open and direct assault on the dignity of men and boys that serves absolutely no purpose other than to validate feminist threat narratives and impose them on to the whole of society.
Feminists believe that men and boys are naturally evil, and our governing institutions agree with them – so, apparently, does LGBT, because allying with feminism can only mean that they support this kind of hateful, anti-male propaganda. Perhaps they see it as anti-straight male propaganda, which somehow makes it OK. If that’s the case, then LGBT has forfeited whatever credibility it may have had to lecture anybody about the sins of bigotry, prejudice and discrimination.
The goals of feminism and the gay rights movement may look identical to Gloria Steinem, but to keen observers of what feminists actually say and do – as opposed to the thumbnail definition in whatever dictionary they insist on waving in the faces of unbelievers3 – their goals and interests could not possibly be more diametrically opposed. One would have thought that the fact that feminists loathe men to the point where they will stand back in silence whenever one of their own suggests, culling, exterminating or genetically modifying the male population in order to solve what they call ‘the man problem’ would have alerted gay men who identify as feminists to the fact that feminist ideology is not their friend.4
As LGBT’s continued public support of feminism proves, gay men can be as clueless about the true nature of feminism as anyone else, and feminists like Gloria Steinem are only happy to ensure that they stay that way in order to exploit the political benefits of their allegiance.5
Feminism has been relentless in promoting false and misleading assumptions about the MHRM. Many may wonder why they are not referred to here as accusations rather than assumptions. While they are usually asserted in the unmistakable tone of accusation, they are invariably based on assumptions which are sometimes genuine, but are usually fabricated. Apart from Steinem’s glib assumption that feminism and gay rights are the same thing, there are three other significant assumptions about the MHRM that are particularly relevant to the topic of Why Gay Men Don’t Need Feminism, and need to be addressed before moving on to examine how feminism bullied gay men into an alliance with man-hating bigots who openly despise them.
Assumption One: The MHRM ignores issues relevant to gay men
It must be understood that the author of this series of articles does not represent the Gay Division of the Men’s Human Rights Movement (MHRM) for the simple reason that there isn’t one. Nor is there a Ladies’ Auxiliary Committee full of Honey Badgers tenaciously organizing bake sales to raise money to help fund The Patriarchy’s evil plan to restore its privileges, silence women and promote rape culture.6
The MHRM doesn’t have a Gay Division, or a Non-white Division, an Other-abled Division or, mercifully, a Feminist Division. This is because the MHRM is not about division. It is about unity – unity among men, and the women who love them, to address issues that impact the rights and welfare of men and boys, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, ability, political affiliations or sexual orientation.7
This is not to say that the MHRM doesn’t recognize the fact that many men and women experience adversity, particularly in the form of political and social discrimination, as a result of their various identities, it is simply that there are already well-established, well-organized and well-funded advocacy groups dedicated to addressing issues specific to those identities.
The MHRM has a well-documented history of wishing these groups well in their pursuit of their goals, providing of course, that those goals are geared towards fighting genuine injustice, and that they do not engage in promoting dishonesty or bigotry, or endorse bullying, censorship or violence in order to achieve them. With such limited resources, organizations like A Voice for Men, cannot offer much in the way of meaningful assistance to these already well-funded groups. This is the principal reason why A Voice for Men limits its focus to those issues which can impact the lives of all men and boys.
In many ways, this is a relief, and something of a blessing. Leaving these various identities at the door, so to speak, enables MHRAs to completely side-step the utterly pointless and indulgent game of comparing what feminists call ‘points of intersectionality’. The number of points you manage to accrue establishes your victim-cred and determines where you sit in the Hierarchy of Oppression, and who gets to have the loudest voice.8 White, middle-class, able-bodied women feminists obviously cheat when playing this game as they invariably hog the top rung of this hierarchy every time they play. Then again, it’s their game, so they believe that they get to make the rules as much as they believe that they get to create and control the narratives regarding all issues.
The MHRM is not interested in playing feminist games involving identity politics which achieve nothing and create division and suspicion where there should be agreement and resolve. The MHRM encourages open and honest discussion which has inevitably resulted in the debunking of false feminist narratives and conclusively invalidated their most hitherto reliable myths, tropes and memes.
I participate in the MHRM, not as a gay man, but as a person, with a deep conviction that men and boys matter as much as everybody else. As such, I have always been accepted in this movement as a man who is concerned that men and boys are confronting urgent issues that deserve to be addressed honestly and openly, without being constantly derailed, marginalized, ridiculed, demonized and misrepresented by feminists and their enablers.
The sexual orientation of MHRAs, like their sex, race, religion and ethnicity is ultimately irrelevant to the credibility of their perspectives. Being gay does not give a MHRA any special insight into the devastating impact that feminism has wrought onto the gay rights movement. Anyone who can read and conduct research can reach similar conclusions to mine. Being gay simply makes this particular issue more personal – nothing more. The fact that feminists have gained such complete control over the political wing of the gay rights movement – and uses organizations like LGBT to attack its ideological opponents, like the MHRM – makes it an issue worth addressing.9
Assumption Two: MHRAs believes that feminism created men’s problems
This ridiculous, and frequently-touted, assumption is typical of how feminists try to cope with being called on their bigotry, hypocrisy and deceit: they attempt to cover up their obvious lies with more lies that are even more unfounded and absurd.10 No MHRA has ever blamed feminism for creating the issues addressed by the MHRM because that would be as foolish and impossible to support as believing in the existence of the so-called patriarchy.
Domestic violence, workplace deaths, suicide, homelessness, anti-father bias in family courts, genital integrity, chivalry justice, the assumption of male disposability, indifference to male pain and lack of reproductive rights were around long before feminism reared its ugly head to claim a monopoly on the public discourse on addressing these issues – and by addressing these issues, I really mean ignoring, marginalizing, minimizing and ridiculing them, as well as the men and boys whose lives they affect.
Feminists have certainly exacerbated these problems by lobbying for anti-male legislation and social policy, and by promoting a social and political climate so hostile to men and boys that the idea of addressing our issues honestly, compassionately and effectively is widely dismissed, thus ensuring that society now cares less about men and boys than it ever did. However, feminists did not actually create the issues themselves.11 Feminists will continue to make this claim because they know that the mainstream media will continue to report it without bothering to find out whether or not it’s actually true.12
I don’t know what they teach in journalism courses these days, but it obviously doesn’t include instructions on how to use Google, send emails or make the necessary phone calls to discover what MHRAs do, or do not, believe.
Assumption Three: MHRAs don’t understand feminism
This is one of feminism’s most condescending assumptions about MHRAs and it deserves to be vigorously challenged. Feminists never tire of claiming that feminism is not a monolith. We are constantly reassured that not all feminists are like that – NAFALT for short. Apparently, only radical separatist feminists hate men. The rest of them care about men and have, in fact, always been working tirelessly on our issues.
Some feminists even claim to have male family members and friends that they care about, despite them being cis-gendered patriarchs wallowing in male privilege they are too ignorant to check. Anyone who identifies as a feminist accepts both the existence of ‘the patriarchy’ and the idea that we live in a ‘rape culture’ – and are convinced that even their most beloved male relatives and friends collude in it, however unwittingly.
In other words, feminist believe that men are toxic beasts who have oppressed all women throughout all history and need to be taught not to rape. This caricature of reality is so foundational to feminist ideology that rejecting it would be akin to a self-identified Christian rejecting the divinity of Jesus Christ. Many feminists struggle to reconcile the anti-male bigotry inherent in their chosen ideology’s dogma with their own personal relationships with the men in their lives, but that’s their problem, not ours. Unless a feminist has actively engaged in publicly refuting the anti-male bigotry of feminist ideology, then they have no right to claim that they are not ‘like that’.
Only a few feminists have earned the right to make the claim that they are not ‘like that’, and they deserve to be mentioned. These feminists, all women, embody the egalitarian principles that NAFALTs like to pretend they possess. Their innate integrity has never allowed these women to step away from the truth, but to speak to it boldly and eloquently, often at great personal and professional cost. Their rarity proves the rule about the monolithic nature of feminism.
The late, Karen DeCrow, friend and colleague of renowned MHRA, Dr. Warren Farrell, was an avid supporter of shared parenting. This former president of The National Organization for Women declared, “I’ve become a persona non grata because I’ve always been in favor of joint custody.”13 Consider how much independence of thought, genuine belief in equality and raw courage it must have taken for the president of N.O.W. to make the following statement about male reproductive rights:
“Justice therefore dictates that if a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring pregnancy to term, and the biological father does not, and cannot, share in this decision, he should not be liable for 21 years of support. Or, put another way, autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice.”14
Dr Warren Farrell eulogized his friend with these words: “With Karen’s death passes a feminist who, were her leadership allowed to be the guiding light, would have allowed millions of children to have a dad to guide and love them.”15 Unfortunately for those children and their fathers, feminism could never be sustained under wise and benevolent leadership – it would be disbanded. Karen DeCrow was marginalized within the feminist movement because her egalitarian instincts were at odds with its misandric dogma. She stood by her instincts until the end of her life, ensuring that her memory will be always be honoured by those who share them.
Christina Hoff Sommers identifies as a feminist in the belief that feminism could be miraculously redeemed if feminists developed self-awareness and stopped hating men and boys. This demonstrates a kind of pie-eyed optimism that is oddly endearing. I say “oddly” because one would have thought that the author of The War on Men and Boys and Who Stole Feminism?, which are both intensively-researched studies of feminist corruption and its devastating impact, would have known better than anyone just how far feminism is from the possibility of redemption.
Christina Hoff Sommers has made the following observations: “We must have moral education in the schools, anti-bullying programs, but this does not mean programs to feminize boys.”16 She also stated: “I’m concerned that boys have become politically incorrect, that we are a society in the process of turning against its male children.”16
Sommers blames feminism for undermining the rights and welfare of boys, which explains the vitriolic response she receives whenever she accepts speaking engagements at universities to share her concerns about these destructive developments.17 Few people have defended the dignity of boys more passionately than Christina Hoff Sommers.
No summary of feminists who aren’t ‘like that’ would be complete without including the fearless Camille Paglia. This brilliant woman has never hesitated to employ her robust wit to give feminists and their kin the kind of verbal spanking they deserve. I wonder how many trigger-prone feminists had to be bundled into hug boxes18 when she made this comment: “Let’s get rid of Infirmary Feminism, with its bedlam of bellyachers, anorexics, bulimics, depressives, rape victims, and incest survivors. Feminism has become a catch-all vegetable drawer where bunches of clingy sob sisters can store their moldy neuroses.”19
Anyone familiar with the self-infatuated hypochondriacs who enjoy flaunting their endless array of physical and psychological ailments with total strangers on feminist websites like We Hunted the Mammoth will require no further explanation.20
Paglia challenges some of feminism’s most cherished myths, like the one about male sexuality being a weapon used to oppress women: “Men are run ragged by female sexuality all their lives. From the beginning of his life, to the end, no man ever fully commands any woman. It’s an illusion. Men are pussy whipped. And they know it.19 Paglia usually puts ‘patriarchal society’ in scare quotes, which indicates that we should probably put ‘feminist’ in scare quotes when describing this admirable woman.
Feminists like to assert that MHRAs discuss feminism as a monolith due to our ignorance about feminism, whereas the truth is that MHRAs usually know more about feminism than most people who identify as feminists. It is important to celebrate these very rare feminists who really aren’t ‘like that’ in order to emphasize the glaring differences between these genuine egalitarians and the rest of the individuals involved in the feminist movement – a movement which is failing more miserably than ever to disguise its vehemently anti-male premises and precepts behind predictably disingenuous sham rhetoric about equality.
How on earth did such a deeply misandric ideology like feminism manage to glob onto a human rights movement as heavily populated with men as the gay rights movement – and why have so many gay men not only tolerated this, but continue to avidly supported it? In order to examine these questions, it is necessary to pinpoint the moment when feminism took over the gay rights movement. Fortunately, this can be done without detailing the entire history of gay liberation. So, with all due respect to the Gay Liberation Front, the Gay Activists Alliance, the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, we can cruise right onto feminism’s Second Wave.
In Part 2: The Takeover, we will go back to when the parasite that is feminism bullied and manipulated the gay rights movement into playing host, and demanded, as it still does, that gay men be grateful for it. This enterprise has been so successful, that many gay men today can only nod in ignorant agreement when someone like Gloria Steinem asserts that feminism and gay rights are sibling movements with complimentary goals. As we shall see, nothing could be further from the truth.