The Branding Problem…

So, I’ve been thinking again…

 

Lately, the great Feminist comeback to criticism of Feminism has been going through a renaissance, courtesy of #Womenagainstfeminism.  It runs like this:  “X complaint isn’t really about Feminism,read a dictionary.”.  I really had to restrain myself to keep this as neutral sounding as I’ve seen it (all of twice), so as not to be accused of straw-manning it.  However, it’d be remiss of me not to mention having seen it delivered along with a steaming plate of bile…

 

So, what’s the problem here?  Is everyone completely misunderstanding Feminism, except Feminists?  Are they simply lacking PR savvy?  Or are the evil forces of Misogyny, corralled and harnessed by the evil Patriarchy just too good at negatively influencing the masses against the pure, hallowed ladies of the Feminist movement?

 

Or could it be something completely different?  I humbly submit an analogy that may shed some light on this conundrum.  Say you’re a globally recognised and heavily consumed beverage company.  You spend a lot of money and time advertising your product (Let’s call it “Drink”, for reasons that should be clear to all), and on marketing and so forth.  Surely that’s the only reason people like it, right?  “Drink” is so heavily advertised, as “The drink that promotes equality, and fights thirst.”.  So that’s all, right?  A simple message, no evil global conspiracy working against you, everything is sorted, right?

 

But one day, an accident happens at a factory.  A batch of “Drink” is tainted with borax.  Luckily, no-one dies, but people are injured.  What are we (the board of “Drink” inc.) to do?  Well, what any sensible organisation does.  Apologise, work out who went wrong and were, roll a few heads.  Whether this is done well and sincerely or just pantomime for the masses doesn’t matter (sadly) in the short term.  All that matters is that we go out there and make it plain that we will fix this.  Those hurt get medical care, or money thrown at them.  Someone at the plant where it happened loses their job, and are forever disassociated from “Drink” in all ways.  Seriously, companies that don’t do this don’t tend to last that long.

 

Why?  Because apologies matter.  Because showing you realise harm occurred and don’t support it matters.  Because perceptions of intent matter.  The difference between someone who accidentally stepped on your toes and some prick who tried to crush your foot?  An apology, and a timely one at that.  Your face, your brand, your responsibility.

 

Now, I accept that Feminism is a “broad church” and all that, but so do Feminists who say that.  By saying that, they admit to being part of the brand.  By allowing some under their banner to harm others and make public statements that offend, hurt, damage and annoy, well, they’re not doing their jobs.  By putting the blame on (and all of their effort into blaming) those who have been hurt, you are the company that leaps to screaming at people “You should know it’s not “Drink”, drink says “Does not dissolve esophagus” on the can!”, rather than looking at why they’re now publicly condemning your brand.  The whole “I didn’t say it and don’t agree with it, ergo it’s not Feminism” argument isn’t only false, it’s insulting.  THIS IS YOUR BRAND, THESE THINGS WERE SAID ON YOUR WATCH.  People with your banner hurt people every day.  People under your banner sling gendered insults, abuse rape victims, abuse victims of child genital mutilation, downplay the suffering of DV victims.  You know, all those things the dictionary definition claims you fight against.  While you’re fighting the one true evil of “The Patriarchy”, you also stop do deny the pain of those who are treated daily in the same exact ways you stated no-one deserves to be treated.  Every time you take aim at detractors of Feminism, you real Feminists stand between victims and their abusers and defend the abusers.

 

Seriously, it’s coming to the point where Catholic priests are going to be making Feminist jokes, just to feel better about their chosen allegiance.  Sure, not all Feminists abuse innocent men, or deny wrongdoings, or belittle women who’ve used the choices they have to choose anything other than the only acceptable option (as far as Feminism is concerned).  Sadly, not many (if any) Feminists actively decry these behaviors while they happen under the same name, and same banner.  I didn’t bring up the Catholic Church by accident before.  We’ve all seen how a large organisation that claims to be working for the good of all somehow manages to protect it’s own at the expense of those it’s meant to help.  So, why should we believe them when they say they have our best interests at heart, but put bad people on their own side above innocents from the outside?  In other words, what makes you think everything that has come out of Feminism was something that was always for the good of everyone?  This is the only movement that never makes mistakes, is always perfect, and never deals with repeat offenders.  Feminism is currently no better than the Catholic Church if the church was still denying anything bad had ever happened!

 

So, Feminism, if you’re wondering how to fix this, look at what you think would work for the Catholic church right now, and put down the stones and get out the windex, cuz that glass house you all live in could do with a spritzing…

Written by Jacob Shaftoe:

 

Jacob Shaftoe is an odd little duck. Sometimes he writes poetry, sometimes he packs trucks, and he definitely prefers the company of free thinkers to that of ideologues. He will however, engage with either because we’re still all humans just trying to make sense of a ridiculous world. Through dealing with his own mental health problems in the past he has learned a lot about himself and about people in general. He’s a sensitive man and lives in Sydney, which is proof that he’s not yet entirely sane. He assists in updating the Facebook page

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5 thoughts on “The Branding Problem…

  1. To invalidate somebodies argument, one needs to do two things: Understand the argument, then point out significant flaws in either their evidence or their chain of logic.

    Telling me exactly the point I was making and claiming this proves I’m wrong is certainly… Novel…

    So, maybe in shorter form you’ll get it: What you said + people constantly offended by, hurt by and legislated against by those you refuse to in any way publicly distance yourself from = the current “perception problem” that Feminism seems to be having, re: WAF etc.

    Telling me, after I describe how things are, and thus things are also really bad, that that’s how things are is… Interesting to hear from someone associated with a movement for change. The idea that this clear and obvious branding flaw is a non issue because you’re already aware of it, and decided it’s not something you’re going to do anything about is certainly telling. An invisible privilege I could excuse.

    Also, an interesting thought occurred: If you never tell the proponents of tenets of what gets publicly accepted as Feminism that you disagree with them, even vehemently on occasion, that’s your prerogative. How one justifies fighting against “misconceptions” about Feminism (such as WAF, us, etc) instead of fighting those who actively encourage, nay, at times demand such concepts be formed.

    “I didn’t start the fire, my flatmate did. So now I’m gonna yell at the firefighters.” Classy.

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  2. Except that “feminism” is not a company, formally set up, having a board of its own who picks out the trouble makers and kicks them out refraining them from being a part of the company ever (because, its the legal part which keeps the pricks of drink from coming back and associating themselves with drink again). You do see the flaw in your argument right?!

    Its a movement which includes people all over the world. And no person can go around nit-picking the trouble makers, or the ones supporting the abusers. So what do we do? We dissociate ourselves from the offending views. “I don’t say that” because to me “feminism doesn’t mean that”. Its very simple. 🙂

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    • To invalidate somebodies argument, one needs to do two things: Understand the argument, then point out significant flaws in either their evidence or their chain of logic.

      Telling me exactly the point I was making and claiming this proves I’m wrong is certainly… Novel…

      So, maybe in shorter form you’ll get it: What you said + people constantly offended by, hurt by and legislated against by those you refuse to in any way publicly distance yourself from = the current “perception problem” that Feminism seems to be having, re: WAF etc.

      Telling me, after I describe how things are, and thus things are also really bad, that that’s how things are is… Interesting to hear from someone associated with a movement for change. The idea that this clear and obvious branding flaw is a non issue because you’re already aware of it, and decided it’s not something you’re going to do anything about is certainly telling. An invisible privilege I could excuse.

      Also, an interesting thought occurred: If you never tell the proponents of tenets of what gets publicly accepted as Feminism that you disagree with them, even vehemently on occasion, that’s your prerogative. How one justifies fighting against “misconceptions” about Feminism (such as WAF, us, etc) instead of fighting those who actively encourage, nay, at times demand such concepts be formed.

      “I didn’t start the fire, my flatmate did. So now I’m gonna yell at the firefighters.” Classy.

      Heh, sorry for the double post, just thought it best I make sure it’s clear who I was replying to. #7amproblems

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    • “And no person can go around nit-picking the trouble makers, or the ones supporting the abusers”

      Yes you can, the MHRM does it all the time. All you have to do is speak out, loudly, publicly, & often, any time a feminist organisation or individual feminist says or does something that is contrary to the “true” feminism that you claim is the majority, denounce them & refuse to support or associate with them in any way from that point on.

      For example, NOW opposes presumptive equal custody rights for men in the US. Where are all the “good” feminists speaking up and opposing that? Again in the US, Title IX & the “Dear Colleague” letter has eroded the fundamental human rights of male, and only male, university students. Where are the “Good” feminists opposing that? In India & in Israel, they recently passed legislation making it legally impossible for a woman to rape a man. Where are all the “good” feminists speaking out against & opposing that?

      There are dozens of examples like this and all we hear from the so-called “good” feminists is “not our problem”. And you wonder why feminism’s reputation is in the toilet?

      The MHRM on the other hand takes action against people who claim to be MHRAs but espouse hateful and/or discriminatory beliefs. You can see examples of Men’s Rights Sydney doing just that here:

      https://mensrightssydney.com/2014/04/25/the-nolan-effect/

      and here:

      https://mensrightssydney.com/2014/05/22/fools-rush-in-and-we-are-the-fools/

      And AVFM regularly boot and perma-ban people from their forums for violent or hateful rhetoric.

      The MHRM even posted a $4500 cash reward ($500 of which came from Men’s Rights Sydney) for any information leading to the arrest & conviction of Danielle d’Entremont’s attacker (See story here: https://mensrightssydney.com/2014/05/15/lets-find-danielle-dentremonts-attacker/).

      Personally, I think she made the entire story up in an attempt to discredit the MHRM but nevertheless, if there was even an outside chance that someone identifying as an MHRA was going around doing violence to feminists, we want to know about it so that we can name & shame them, boot them out of the movement, & report them to the authorities.

      It’s simple. You say or do something that goes against the principles of equality, non-violence & free speech, we don’t want anything to do with you & we ensure that you are no longer welcome to associate with us. The MHRM is no less disparate than feminism yet we seem to be able to manage it.

      It’s not exactly rocket science.

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