For those of you who haven't ever heard the phrase "shaming tactics" before, let me introduce you to one of the worst and most insidious "weapons" in the debate over men's issues.
In the context of the men's rights debate, a shaming tactic is an emotional device used by people (both men and women) who refuse to argue their points with logic, but rather try to force a debate to shut down. They are meant to elicit sympathy for those who use them, and paint the target of the shaming tactic as unacceptable, outcast, and anathema. They are cheap tricks used not to comment on the point that someone is making, but rather on the person making the point and how they are making it.
Basically, its just another form of Ad hominem attack. The people who use shaming tactics cannot respond intelligently to the points of an argument, so they're going to convince everyone the person they are arguing against is a bad person so no one will listen to them.
Its cheap, to be honest.
Take this shaming tactic, for instance: "You're just a misogynist!"
Yep. You got me.
I'm not trying to raise awareness of men's issues because I want to try and help men who have been victimized. I don't really want to stop discrimination against men. I don't really want to stop unfair practices that put men at a disadvantage merely because they possess a Y chromosome.
What, are you kidding? Why would I do that?
Nope. It has to be that I hate women.
There's no other reason for it at all.
All that stuff I've written about how male rape victims are ignored, or how male domestic violence victims are treated as jokes was just written just because I'm blind to the rampant misogyny that makes up the very fabric of everything to do with modern society, because I'm a man, and therefore am a beneficiary and promoter of that misogyny.
Oh, and all those female friends I have who happen to agree with me about the problems involved in modern gender issues?
Yeah, they've internalized the misogyny so badly that they've been brainwashed into thinking that its okay to hate women.
Since the 1980s, and perhaps longer, the accusation of misogyny has been the most reliable shaming tactic available to those people who want to make sure that absolutely no attention at all is paid to men's issues. It's the most common way to bully both male and female activists who support men's issues into silence.
Say something a they doesn't like, get called a misogynist.
Criticize one of their theories or actions? Misogynist.
Disagree with their analysis of a problem, or object to their proposed solution? You're a filthy rape-promoting misogynist. You're only saying that because you hate women. You're only being critical because you hate women. You're only pointing out the holes in the their argument because you hate women.
It has nothing to do with you're having a better argument, or being more logical, or being more rational. Its all about the hating women. And this applies even if you are a woman. Being female doesn't get you off the hook, because you obviously suffer from internalized misogyny! You're so oppressed by misogyny that you've been brainwashed into thinking like a misogynist!
Believe it or not, up until really recently, this worked every time it was used. This is changing, mostly because accusations of misogyny are being made for the most petty, ridiculous reasons.
To give you an example, the other day (I write this on December 27, 2014), I saw a man being accused of misogyny for the "crime" of saying that he thinks Miley Cyrus is a "bad influence" on young girls, and thus has forbidden his nine-year-old daughter from watching Cyrus's videos. That's apparently what floats as misogyny to modern feminism.
And its happening so often, and in response to such silly nonsense, that regular folk not engaged in the gender-issue debate are developing a resistance to it. And of course, there are more and more of us who, when someone tries to shame us into silence by accusing of of misogyny, are refusing to shut up.
Here's something to think about: if, as we hear every day, we are living in a culture in which misogyny is so pervasive as to be normalized, why the hell would an accusation of misogyny hold any power? Remember, our society hates women. Right down to the very bones, our society is set up to oppress women, and the men in our society are raised from birth to hate women. But if so, why would it ever be considered a threat to label someone a misogynist?
If misogyny really was that ever-present in our society as, say, brown-eyed people, then why would the accusation of misogyny be any more effective than being called brown-eyed?
And no, before you start, I am not saying that there are no misogynists out there. I'm not saying that there really aren't people out there who despise and hate women just for being women. No one with a working brain would ever say that.
However, the problem is a relatively small handful of complete and total assholes who, for reasons that I cannot and doubt I ever will be able to comprehend, despise and denigrate women, not the entire gender, no matter what these people say.
An accusation of misogyny could only have the power to shame someone into silence in a society that is not inherently misogynystic. As Albert Camus said, "The power of an insult is the power to bring the weight of society's disapproval upon an individual." In order for such an accusation to have any effect, it requires the culture in general to disapprove of the behavior, attitude, or attribute in question. The fact that an accusation of misogyny works as a shaming tactic to silence and bully people, or to damage their lives and social status, reflects a society that is not actually misogynystic. The fact that this shaming tactic is inordinately effective when used against men also demonstrates that people who say that our society is misogynystic are, to put it bluntly, full of shit.
To put it bluntly, if hating women were normal for our culture, if all men really are raised from birth to hate women, then calling a man a misogynist would be as useless as calling a person brown-eyed.
Let's look at the reverse for a moment: "You're just a misandrist!"
Call someone in today's society a misandrist, and the most common reaction you're going to receive back is a puzzled look because the person will likely not have the first damned clue as to what that word means. And the most common reaction from the small handful of people who do know what it means will be a shrug and a dismissive "whatever." Others will be puzzled because they can't figure out how their sexist, anti-male opinions and attitudes, supported as they are by "common wisdom" and popular culture, could be considered anti-male sexism.
And then you get my favorite reaction: those people who laugh and then make jokes about men being butthurt and "manfeelz" and "drinking male tears."
You know, the shitheads who will blithely explain that misandry just don't exist, and that the only people who bring up misandry are the misogynistic asshole rape-promoters, so shut the fuck up already you fucking woman-hater!
Some of the more polite misandry-deniers will tell you, with a straight face, that "misandry" is nothing more than secondary misogyny.
No, really. "Misandry", the hatred of men, is just a different type of misogyny.
These people will point out that its a proven fact that misogyny is the root cause of ALL sexism, regardless of the target, and because of this fact, misandry is just an unfortunate side effect that would not exist without misogyny. The only reason, these idiots argue, that women denigrate men is because of a long history of suffering under the bootheels of those same men.
This implies that misandry will, as if by magic, disappear once we’ve exposed and rooted out all the misogyny in society and properly cleansed our filthy sexist souls of it.
And yet, you see hashtags and memes and entire facebook groups proudly proclaiming things like Men Are Pigs (the name of a real facebook group) and #killallmen. There's a forum website out there called ihatemen.org that has a quarter million subscribed users, some of whom are national-level politicians, scientists, and teachers at major universities. There is a series of children's books out there, along with associated merchandise, called "Boys Are Stupid, Throw Rocks At Them".
It's no wonder people aren't shamed into silence or into altering their behavior by an accusation of misandry. Accusing someone of hating men doesn't have the power to shame them or make them stop what they are doing. This is because society’s values are such that even if hating men is not exactly considered a good thing, its not considered a bad thing either, especially if the person who is doing the hating is a woman.
Here's another question I want you to think about: if misogyny is supposed to be the ultimate cause of all sexism, and if misandry is just an unfortunate side effect of it, then why is misandry so much more socially acceptable than misogyny?
Just think about it for a second.