Ally Fogg is a journalist who often writes articles in the Guardian and Independent. His profile highlights his interests in ‘social issues, environmentalism, politics, music, arts and culture’. He writes about poverty and men in floral shirts. He may be described as a ‘lefty’ politically.
So far so good…..?
He also has a preoccupation with appearing to want to demonize and discredit both feminists and feminism. Mr Fogg seems to spend an awful lot of his time trawling through feminist blogs and twitter timelines for quotes and articles he can brandish under the banner of ‘man hate’.
So here we are…… back to that old chestnut… pesky ‘man haters’.
So what’s wrong with that?
He’s being an ‘equalist’, simply pointing out the injustices men face in an unjust world – apparently overrun with a focus on women. How unfair. How unequal. How dare feminists willfully spend their time challenging the oppression of females to the apparent detriment of males? How absolutely awful, how lacking in ‘concern’ and ‘decency’.
Well, perhaps we can start by defining what feminism is.
Firstly, there’s a clue in the name. It’s a movement primarily concerned with the rights of women while challenging the cultural, social, historical, structural, systematic oppression of females as a class – globally.
So why should feminists make an apology for this?
Do gay activists primarily promoting the idea of gay rights need to apologise for highlighting violence again the gay community? Are they berated for ‘a lack of concern’ for heterosexuals, who may also be the victims of violence, even from gay people?
As a white person, I could spend some time trawling through the blogs and tweets of black rights activists….. and I’m sure I’d find some pretty anti-white sentiments posted. I could be an ‘equalist’. I could take this personally, be defensive, sad, angry….I could tweet this as ‘white hate’.
So why don’t I? Not because I claim to fully understand the effects of racism …..but because I do at least try to understand I’d be viewing the world as if privilege and power didn’t exist and basing my views totally through my experience as a white person and white perspective. I’d be dismissing and ignoring a whole context of racism and racist cultural, social, historical, structural, systematic oppression.
So why are feminists particularly, and not others activists, so often the target of this sort of demonizing by ‘lefty’ men like Alley Fogg?
So why not, for example, target the many trans activists/allies who regularly post extreme abuse on blogs and twitter, such as threatening to burn, rape, stab, torture, murder women they disagree with….? Could it be that violence towards women is more acceptable than an unwillingness for women to accept their subordination?
Could it be that female oppression isn’t really ‘a thing’ or certainly not a priority?
Could it be that most other activism involves males/those socialised as male, and therefore is more deserving of empathy and understanding – even if threatening and/or abusive?
Could it be that feminists are daring not to fulfill male expectations?
Could it be the assumption that women who don’t show absolute compassion for all are not actually fulfilling their ‘caring, self-disregarding’ gender roles?
Could it be that the focus is somehow not in the place it has ‘rightfully’ always been and always should be…..?
Or could it be that it’s always simply easier to attack feminists for problems largely caused by men………..??
So what of the issues men like Ally Fog raise? Fogg himself has, for example, used one blog post about one apparent male victim of female sexual violence, to highlight the utter condemnation of all radical feminists. (Whatever opinion has been posted, the phrase ‘Not all men’ certainly comes to mind here……)
As a feminist, do I personally mind the highlighting of male victims of sexual violence ?
But what I do mind is a common lack of context within the promotion of this issue.
That this isn’t usually viewed within the wider context of male violence, as the vast majority of male victims are the result of violence from other males (-as are female victims).The fact that when women do commit acts of extreme violence and sexual violence this is often given disproportionate coverage. The fact that this is usually highlighted by men who do little themselves to challenge such issues or indeed who get their own hands dirty in actual prevention, campaigns, support etc. The fact that most particular problems for men have their roots in patriarchy, an oppressive system men themselves as a class both endorse and encourage because of the privileges it affords them.
Should male victims be my priority or that of feminism?
-No. And without apology.
Feminism has to deal with these facts : The fact that male violence, such as homicide in domestic violence, hugely disproportionally results in a female victim at the hands of a male perpetrator………..the fact that nearly ALL women will have suffered from some form of male sexual harassment-sexual violence etc in their lifetime…………….. etc etc etc etc etc etc
Considering the oppression women face, the focus for feminists is already overwhelming.
Part of being ‘a decent human being’ means at least trying to understand that oppressed people have a right to anger and a particular focus of their own. Oppressed people who have themselves suffered greatly at the hands of their oppressors have a right to be angry at their oppressors . ….And people with power and privilege should at least try to understand that arrogantly assuming they know better is simply ……wrong.
In this light, the demonizing of feminists says much more about the oppressive arrogance and ignorance of those doing the demonizing.
Ally Fogg. Please stop dressing up your ant-feminist agenda in the guise of ‘concern’ and ‘human decency’….
…..we see you.
“Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating.”