After I wrote my two part article on why sexism was not a reason Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic nomination for president, it was picked up by Fox News. This sent my average daily blog numbers skyrocketing. In its wake, I was left with many negative comments, most of them coming in the e-mail form rather than being posted in the comment section at the end of the article. I guess people do not like to see their darker side displayed in a public forum. It seems it is so much easier to write, “J. Soltys, Fuck You!” in a private e-mail instead of displaying it in a public forum in order to protect one’s “good girl” image.
But I promise not to let myself get sidetracked to often on differences of opinion like this. What I mean is that I have a personal rule I follow when posting an article. And that is to let comments that are posted in response to my articles go without debate by me.
The main reason I do this is out of respect for fairness and true equality. I reason that if I have the opportunity to write my thoughts, feelings, and opinions in this forum, then I must honor those that either agree or disagree, and allow their thoughts and opinions to be expressed without interference. I have the power to block or remove any comment, but I choose not to do so unless it is filled with vulgarity, or links to what I feel are disturbing websites.
The exception to my interference would be if an individual placed misleading or inaccurate information about a topic that I felt needed a rebuttal. Then I would challenge something that is posted in the comments section.
E-mails sent to me I assume are meant to be private conversation between me and that person. However, anything that comes into my mailbox is essentially my property and I have a right to use it if I feel it is worth sharing. In most cases however, I will not.
Another reason I do not respond to countering opinions on my blog is because I’ve seen on other bloggers get easily trapped into a “pissing contest” with some people. It consumes most of the bloggers time, and in the end, the blog suffers because of it. I’ve never seen a good outcome for either the instigator or the blogger. Therefore I take a casual approach, and let others have their say, and leave it to the reader make up his or her opinion.
This is one of those times when I am going to break my own rule. Some of the criticism I received was way out of line, and I feel it needs serious rebuttal. In fact, I’m wondering if some actually read what I wrote because it appears their criticism contradicts what I wrote.
Most of the harshest criticism of me and my article came in the e-mail form. And most of it can be summed up this way:
sexist, misogynist, hypocrite, women hater, caveman, idiot, jerk, stupid, asshole, just like all the rest, no better, etc., etc., etc.
In response to those people, yes. At times I have been accused of all those things, but the charges never seem to stick.
Now that the easy part is out of the way, let’s get to those that actually put some serious thought into their responses and tried to argue that I was somehow missing the bigger picture.
This response was from Dee in the comments section:
I am no hillary, fan, but I am a black american and it really pains me to read the hate trash that people like you write. As a woman I would think that you do not owe hillary anything but as a woman you do owe the gender a little respect when someone is doing their best. No hillary is not perfect, but I have never read or heard her speak so negatatively and hateful against another woman as you and the media and other bloggers trying to make a name for him or herself regardless of whom is hurt.
Thanks for your opinion Dee, but I’m sure you realize I will have to disagree.
To sum up your response: I wrote something really offensive, not just about Hillary but about the female gender in general. And in doing so, I disrespected women. You also say Hillary is not perfect, just human, and that I’m just trying to make a name for myself.
First, let me talk about my ego and trying to make a name for myself. I started writing about gender issues from the male perspective about one year ago. At that time I had my own website, but chose this platform for convenience. After a year of doing this, I can tell you that it is not a path to fame and fortune. If I wanted fame and fortune, I would have tried out for the television show American Idol or Apprentice, or have stayed up late one night and had my choice of choosing what program I was going to use to “make a million dollars in one month with no money down” from the many late night infomercials. I can assure you those paths seem an easier road to fame and fortune rather than writing about gender issues on a blog.
I do this because I believe I have an opinion to offer. Not always the right opinion, but not always the wrong one either. I offer an opinion from the male perspective on gender issues because feminism has generated many unjustified and unqualified negative perceptions of men and masculinity. The negative image of men and fathers has been entrenched in society for some time now; some of it is understandable, but a good portion is also just irresponsible. If the genders were reversed, these irresponsible images and portrayals would cause outrage from coast to coast. But since the negative images are of men and fathers, nobody really cares. However, a small band of brothers like myself have taken to writing about these negative stereotypes, the contradictions, and the hypocrisies displayed by feminism and society, and offer a countering opinion to the general public.
I had no intention of writing about Hillary’s loss. As I mentioned in the article, I wrote about her last year, but what I didn’t mention was that I promised not to write about her anymore. The reason being; I didn’t want to seem like I was piling on her as she began stumbling more and more in the presidential race. I chose to let Hillary and her actions stand alone, for better or for worse, so she could have the decency to be judge the same as anybody else.
And I want to note that during my podcasts at the beginnings of the primary race, both my partner Jim (a staunch conservative) and me, pointed out how we felt Hillary was the strongest candidate and deserved the nomination. We also acknowledged the few times when we thought Hillary was facing criticism that WAS related to her gender.
With that being said, the only reason I wrote about Hillary’s loss NOW, is because SHE and her supporters chose to blame sexism and a misogynist society for her loss. It is at this point that Hillary and her supporters brought the criticism upon themselves. As I mentioned before, I do not have to go out looking for a battle, but it sure seems to me, as a writer of gender issues from a male perspective, that I do not have to wait long before somebody wants to blame men or fathers for events that may well be caused their own irresponsibility. When this happens, and I find it irresponsible, I will challenge it. And this is one of those cases.
You say I owe the female gender a little respect. I never attacked women as a gender anywhere in the articles. But if you want to make a case that I did, then the argument is thrown back at you: Where is the respect for men as a gender when Hillary and her supporters choose to blame men for all her failures? In the name of equality, don’t women need to offer men the same respect in return? As a man, are you saying I owe women unconditional respect, but women do not have to offer men the same in return? Women can place blame, hate, and scorn upon men without any criticism, and men should just stay silent and not speak up? Are you asking me to do what numerous women were subjected to under historical patriarchy? Are you asking me to do what you and millions of other women would never do – stay silent? I thought the women’s movement made it clear this behavior is extremely sexists?
If these are the rules, then I’ll be breaking them quite often, because I refuse to remain silent.
Another point: I personally did treat Hillary as an individual. As I mentioned earlier, when she began stumbling in the race, I backed off my criticism and let her stand on her own. But here’s my thought: If treating people as individuals is important, then why can’t you and her supporters do the same for men? If there were individual men who treated her with disrespect, then why lump them together with all men and use blanket statements such as “misogynist” and “sexism” that generalize men and society as inherently evil? Will this behavior help break down negative stereotypes and breed the individualism you seek? Of course not. It only makes it worse.
And I’m still not sure where I wrote hateful trash. Asking a presidential candidate to take responsibility for his/her contradiction, lies, or other failures is hateful? What male presidential candidate – or seated president – hasn’t been challenged the same way? President Bush deals with it every day.
And why is my challenging Hillary’s perceptions, and those of her supporters, that sexism and misogyny are probably not the main reasons she lost – using accurate and credible information – hateful trash? Are you saying because I’m a man, and her being a woman, I do not get to challenge what I felt were female sexist comments? Have we just encountered an evolving “female privilege” in society?
And finally, how have I deployed hatred by writing that in spite of Hillary’s missteps, she still secured the popular vote, showing how this country is actually not as sexist as some people have vocalized (Note: This fact itself greatly diminishes the validity of their sexism argument.), but more importantly, Hillary’s bid left an unequivocal positive mark by showing how far women and our nation have come by concluding this country is ready for a female president. This was hateful? Why, because I felt Hillary will not be the one?
Thanks for writing Dee, but as I said previously, I will have to agree to disagree with you.
Then there was Bob. He agreed with me about Hillary’s screw ups, but he became angry at my linking her irresponsibility to feminism. He wrote:
You’re very clear on the things Clinton has done wrong. But what do you mean by feminism? How are you possibly linking Clinton’s actions with actions of any feminist? Are you referring to French feminism and it’s concentration on how language promotes sexism? Or maybe you’re referring to Post Colonial feminism? Or maybe you really don’t know anything about feminism and instead are creating a definition based on popular ideas you were too lazy to research? Maybe you should start with Wikipedia and find out what feminism is really about.
He then goes on to say I really don’t know what the hell I’m talking about (Re:Full of shit).
Well Bob got part of it right. I knew when I wrote the article I was writing it from a perspective that would have needed another page to explain why I feel her blaming others is typical of feminism. But since I write to a particular audience that is familiar with my work, I chose to ignore an in-depth analysis. So when Fox News highlighted my article, it became a problem, since all these new readers were not familiar with my opinions.
But, since you asked Bob, let me explain.
First, yes I have read Wikipedia’s definition for “feminism”. As a matter of fact, I’ve read many articles on feminism, women, men, and genders over the last 10 years.
I was actually at one time a supporter of women’s rights and feminism. I even had a long term relationship with a woman who was a member of NOW. But over the years I came to find the writings, research, and opinions of feminist to be contradictory, hateful, blaming, distorted, and heavily biased.
And sadly, these distorted perceptions became very influential. I wish I had a dollar for every woman who has said she is not a feminist but then rattled off an opinion that came straight from feminist ideology.
So you are right that I may not know in explicit detail what feminism is, but it is dangerous to say that I cannot express my personal experiences concerning how I feel feminism has affected myself and others. If you really believe that one cannot express their thoughts without explicit and unequivocal objectivity, then feminism itself would not exist, for women would have been banned from expressing how the patriarchy subjugated them without first having an intense academic study in the understanding of men and masculinity. That would be nearly impossible for the average woman to achieve. And the civil rights movement would not have progressed to where it has today because African-Americans would not have been able to speak out about white privileged unless they possessed a PhD in the study of “Caucasians”.
Neither group needed such an intense pedagogy, nor winded exegesis of the masses, to personally express and instigate a correction to what they felt was the devaluing of their humanity. My blog is nothing more than my expression of my experiences with men, women, and gender, and the ability to share theses thoughts with a larger community. I’m sorry you came to my blog expecting to find a documentary of intense and unequivocal verity. I usually read blogs for what they are meant to be – opinions.
As for why I feel feminism is contradictory, and blaming of others? It is a belief I’ve developed after reading numerous feminists writings and research. If you spent some time reading this literature, it becomes apparent that when given similar circumstances, men have nobody to blame but themselves, while women have the freedom to blame anyone else, most often men and the patriarchy. Hillary’s allegation was a prime example.
Here are some quick examples of what I’m talking about:
- Feminist abhor male violence, particularly men’s obsession with war. They vehemently detest the killing of so many innocent lives, and label it as probably one of the most irresponsible acts of masculinity. However, under the guidance of femininity, abortion and the killing of over 3000 innocent children a day is protected and held in adulation as one of the defining moments and an important fundamental of a woman’s right. However, in feminist writings, I have found numerous references that women would not need abortion if “men could keep it in their pants”. In other words, it’s not really a woman’s fault she became pregnant and needed and abortion; it’s really the man’s fault. Or another argument is that if men didn’t run from their responsibilities and leave women to raise children alone, then abortion would not be needed. And it is this argument that carries more weight than others, and addresses a serious problem of some men who abandon their parental responsibilities. But there is an ugly flaw in this argument. It implies that when men refuse to accept the responsibility of fatherhood, it usually involves abandoning their children, but leaves evidence to the fact that at least the child is given a chance at life. Consequently, research shows that the majority of women who choose abortion, do so to escape the responsibility of parenthood, deciding that killing the child to avoid this responsibility is the best option.
My point is not to debate whether abortion should remain legal or not, but instead, I bring it up to show the different perceptions concerning the responsibility towards male and female killing of innocent lives, and the responsibility towards pregnancy and parental responsibility through the eyes of feminist. When men and women are found in similar situations, men are easily blamed without discourse, while immediate discourse emerges to explain why women should not be blamed. As one writer put it, “Women are diagnosed, men are demonized.”
- Feminist have contended that when ever a woman is charged with domestic violence, it is only because she was defending herself from her abuser.
More and more research is now showing women instigate violence in a relationship as much as men, so it disturbs me to find feminist still rushing in to blame the man when a woman is charged with domestic violence, in spite of this evidence. And more importantly, feminists have assiduously demanded that blaming the victim is an abhorrent practice and should be stopped. So why are they so comfortable engaging in this practice themselves? Are they saying to blame the victim is wrong when the victim is a woman, but acceptable when the victim is a man? Again we see blame and responsibility disseminated by feminist in a discriminating manner.
- Back in the 1990’s, feminist reported that females were struggling in our schools due to sexist and discriminatory practices. It was reported that girls suffered terribly from self-esteem problems due to these practices, and this effected how they performed in school. In other words, old man patriarchy (men) was to blame.
Later it was discovered their research was extremely flawed, and it was actually males performing worse than the girls except in the areas of math and science. And it was discovered self-esteem does not have a powerful effect on scholastic performance as believed. Black males report the highest ratings of self-esteem, yet are some of the nation’s weakest scholastic performers.
So how have some feminist reacted to these findings? First, they have offered no apologies for their lack of honesty, and second, quite a few have shrugged off poor male performance as not a serious issue needing to be addressed, citing inherent male laziness as the problem.
So the situation started with feminist blaming males, and then upon further inspection, it was found they lied, and they responded to their indiscretions not by apologizing, but by blaming males again!
I could go on, there is plenty more, but I hope you get the point Bob. If not, stick around. I’ll be doing this for a while, in spite of the fact you think I’m full of shit.
As I said before, I may not always be right, but I’m not always wrong either. As humans we are naturally flawed. This means that what ever we construct, it will be embedded with these flaws. Men are flawed, just as much as women are. The patriarchy has been proven to be flawed by feminist and others, so I’m not sure why feminist have demanded the belief that their movement is free from mistakes and injustices. To believe otherwise is not just illogical, but it also implies superiority over men. That in itself is sexist, along with the idea that men cannot challenge the thoughts and opinions of feminism and find its flaws.
Since I’ve been accused of not having a true understanding of feminism, let me offer an opinion by somebody who does.
Rebecca Walker is the founder of the Third Wave Foundation, a feminist group that works nationally to support young women and transgender activists. She had this to say in her article at CNN:
Obama has gracefully accepted the victory banner, and a lot of Hillary supporters, especially women, are walking off the field as if they’ve lost a war. I understand their frustration, but the truth is they didn’t lose, not by a long shot. Their candidate is stronger than ever, with 17 million votes under her belt, and the public discussion about the role of gender is more nuanced and compelling than it has been in decades.
It is time to turn the page on myopic gender-based Feminism and concede that while patriarchy is real, so is female greed, dishonesty and corruptibility. It’s time to empower the feminisms embodied by millions of women and men who care about everyone, including, but not limited to, women.
Not much difference between my thoughts and hers. And as I have done often, I highlight feminist thoughts and opinions I think are fair and balanced.
I stand by what I wrote. I’m done with this debate.