09 June 2008

An Open Letter to David Warren

In case you're wondering, "Who is David Warren?" he is the intellectual gopher behind this piece of tripe. It has been a while since I wrote something about feminism; well, Mr. Warren has certainly given me ample to discuss today.
This "opinion piece" is derived from the same ill-founded, ignorant, and ridiculous caricature that most misogynist men have of feminism and feminists. Relying upon the false premise that all feminists believe that all men are inherently evil, and building from there using all the cliched catchphrases that misogynist men use to villify feminism (it is a "social and political campaign, nay melodrama," the third wave is comprised of "blather," and the target of feminism's scorn is, of course, "the heterosexual white male"), you've spoken much and said little. I am astonished that such vague and useless descriptions of feminism was allowed to get past your editorial board--that is, I would be if it weren't for the basic fact that bashing feminism in a long-running pasttime in this country.
Let us begin with the ridiculous notion that all feminists believe that all men are inherently evil. I'm sure that there are some feminists out there who believe this is true. I'm equally sure that they have experienced enough violence, harrassment, and hatred from men in their lives to justify it. Yet even if we assume that there are some feminists who believe this, how does that so easily become all feminists? There are some conservatives out there who believe that the West should bring back the Crusades and re-Christianize the Middle East; nobody of sane mind would transpose that idea into the belief that all conservatives want to do same, would they? And yet look at how easily you have transformed all feminists into blathering fools who look for ways to villify the patriarchal paradigm. However, consider this, the viewpoint of the second wave of feminism's strongest guiding force, Andrea Dworkin: "Have you ever wondered why we are not just in armed combat against you? It's not because there's a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence." ("I Want a Twenty-Four Hour Truce During Which There is No Rape," http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/WarZoneChaptIIIE.html) If even the strongest force in 20th century feminism believes that man's nature is not one of inherent evil, and capable of being redeemed, why is it so hard for you to believe anything beyond the caricature which has been constructed? If men were inherently evil, why would feminists even bother? As Dworkin said, it's because of a belief that we are capable of being more than violent brutes that degrade women through the multitude of venues that we currently do.
Which leads me to the most horrifying part of your piece: its conclusion. You blithely accept that there is a need for 500 shelters for women in this country. That's accepted by you, and then it is mocked and you find yourself wondering at the audacity that there aren't any for abused men. This is where your lack of compassion for humanity shines strongest. Instead of being outraged at the reality that there is a need in this country to have 500 places where men cannot hurt women, that there has to be that many shelters where women can go so that they can feel safe, that these shelters are needed in every town, city, and village in this country because in every town, city, and village in this country men are abusing women, you want to know where a man can go when his wife has had enough and fights back. Here's a very basic fact: 92% of domestic violence in this country is committed by men against women. That's 23 out of 25 cases. Ninety-two percent. We're at a point in this country where nearly half of Canadian women will experience some sort of violence from men in their lives. That runs the gamut from murder, sexual assault, sexual harrassment, domestic abuse, uttering threats, and much more. 1 in 2 women, Mr. Warren, and you have the unmitigated gall to ask where men are supposed to go to feel safe. Shame on you.


C.K. said...

This is an excellent rebuttal, Richard. I'm sure David Warren wouldn't be able to look beyond his own poodle/castrati illogic to comprehend it, which is a shame. It's obvious that his ideas of gender are totally binary and simplistic. He complains that feminists see all men as inherently violent when what many feminists really hold responsible is a system that straitjackets both genders into acting like stereotypes of manhood and womanhood rather than allowing them to be full people.

"the target became women who persisted in behaving like women."

"the castrati" -- nominally heterosexual males who seek the protection of a dominant female"

To a large extent, what causes male violence is a view of manhood that David Warren is obviously in favour of (real men don't eat quiche, respect women or worry about the rain forest).

Kate the Great said...

Great job!

So since you're not the James Dean, Clint Eastwood, or Hugh Hefner version of manhood, Would that make you and Josh poodles?