Tuesday, 8 November 2011

"The COUNTER-Feminism Unit" and Their Clever Ideas

An article has landed on the YouFem desk, written by a teenage boy, entitled “The COUNTER-Feminism Unit” (perhaps someone left Caps on). Further identification is unnecessary; suffice to say that putting this article in print, with the humorously approving Heading (i.e. a picture of Rosie the Riveter and the word, “Really?”) suggest that the offensive ignorance of the piece is shared, at least, by those that run the publication. Please god, let it not be indicative of the majority of teen males; besides anything else, it would bode ill for the future of journalistic writing.
                “Right, that’s enough, clear out, pack up; you’ve had your fun – no more! I have that to say to feminists”, runs the opening passage. This is almost comically ludicrous, even ignoring the fact that it’s very bad writing. He proceeds by recounting the “current trend” of women (or ‘ladies’ as he puts it, with bizarrely placed inverted commas) comparing their husbands to “monkeys” and “sloths” in passing conversation. He calls this “man-patronising”, and tells us as, apparently having recently discovered the thrilling ironical subtleties of the exclamation mark, that “it’s regarded as empowering or amusing. Yeah, you said it sister! Drag society back 40 years! You rock!” Yeah, sisters, I hope you’re appropriately chastised.

"Really?" ...this crap is still going on?

 “If a man responded to a story about forgetful goldfish being distracted by a gold ring, with: ‘that sounds like my wife’, he’d immediately be castrated and forced onto national television to apologise – at gunpoint? – to the Queen for his grave misdeeds.” No doubt the perpetrator of this assault on the English language chuckled to himself in satisfaction as he penned the offending lines. Sadly, he has no reason to chuckle. A man having to apologise for not-so-subtly slighting a woman? Perhaps we’re living in different worlds. Assuming, however, that the writer inhabits at least a compatible dimension, I’d refer him to the Daily Mail website, just to head the mile-long list of publications that endlessly objectify women without having to, er, apologise “at gunpoint…to the Queen.” Or perhaps he’s seen Two and a Half Men? Or ever watched TV, or encountered adverts? We’ll have to assume not: perhaps his life is tragically insular, his only experiences of reality involving “charming middle-aged ‘ladies’” with regional speech dialects: “‘Sounds like my husband, that does’”, his ladylike peers remark.
                The best section of the piece seems to be the sadly misguided closing paragraph, in which the poor young man makes an attempt to cast himself as the real “feminist” in a sea of, like, false feminists. “If we want gender equality, it shouldn’t matter what gender somebody is.” Totes. Which is why we want gender equality in the first place: so that it doesn’t matter “what gender somebody is”. This goal is also precisely why those pesky feminists concentrate on the fact that women worldwide are treated as inferior to men…or maybe we’re all wrong. Maybe we should be ignoring the plight of women, simply offering the argument that “it shouldn’t matter what gender somebody is”. Ah yes: all those debilitating “women’s issues”. You know, like rape, abortion, contraception, the gender pay-gap, maternity leave, honour killings…all these should be reclassified as gender-neutral issues, presumably.
                This kind of rubbish, masquerading as liberal equalism, makes bile rise in the throat, if it’s not forced down by the overwhelming desire to laugh. Which is precisely what we need to be doing: laughing. No doubt the writer of this article will grow up to repent for his sloppy writing and sloppier logic. If not, he should get in touch: we can send a nice long list of statistics underlining women’s disadvantaged position in the world. Not to perpetuate the “trend of man-patronising” or anything.


  1. Hello, I wrote this article. Pleasure to meet you. I would like to begin with the revelation that many of the grammatical errors were in fact inserted by the editor. I do admit to to occasionally over-lengthening sentences and being sloppy occasionally. I did not make clear that that I am generally referring to the movement of feminism in the UK and other developed countries. I both support the empowerment and equality of woman and find the way women are treated in other places in the world appauling. My use of dialect was purely as an example, I am confident that very few people of any gender speak like that. Rape is a crime. It is sexual assault. Assault and battery is a crime. They should be punished in the same way, and of course both are terrible things. As I said, the treatment of women in many places, even in parts of England is terrible. Perhaps some of my comments were less informed than they could have been. But hey, teenage boy here. You know, as I write this, I see the shortcomings in my article, but I still stand by my point. In fact, my reference to middle class ladies epitomises my point. Average working people in developed countries have a form of gender equality, but there is a tendency to be perhaps more favourable to women.
    Finally, I despise overusing capital letters, and I must again blame the editor. Point taken on board, and considered. My next light-hearted, comedy based article will skirt away from issues like this. I'd rather not upset any more equal rights organisations, if it's all the same.

    Yours sincerely, Barnaby Merrill.
    P.S: I do hope my English wasn't too offensive. I did apologise to it for the mangling.

  2. Continuing from an earlier point, you've rather taken this out of context. It was a piece of sardonic humour, based on something that got on my nerves slightly, written for a newsletter designed to be read by fellow teenagers such as myself. Some of them even liked it.

  3. Reading back through my original manuscript, some of the quotes you offer have so much additional punctuation added it's unbelieveable.

  4. Final point: Surely it bodes well for teen males that people such as myself are writing articles and trying to express our views. At least I'm not sitting at home playing COD and salivating.

  5. Hey, I'm in the writers year :D and this was just a piece of harmless jesting in a school newsletter we were forced to do so some of the articles weren't really serious.

    Also I don't believe he wrote anything about rape, abortion and honour killings and since I know barnaby (the author of said article) pretty well I'm fairly sure he wouldn't have mentioned anything so serious for fear of giving people a legit reason to actually have a go at him

    Also the editor was awful and that isn't the author's fault

  6. Also I dont think you've shown the article in its entirety, your just taking things out of context so you can get all righteously indignant when really barnaby is actually for gender equality

  7. Speaking as someone who attends the writer's school, and who has actually read the original version of the article, I believe I can safely declare that this has been blown out of context.

    The original article made carefully reasoned and fully justified points about gender equality, punctuated with the occasional humourous line.

    It might be appropriate to point out that the editor of the newsletter in question does have a tendency to exaggerate points somewhat, and so he may edit the articles to stress certain points. I have full confidence that the original writer would not have put in so many inverted commas/exclamation marks - as, simply put, it is just "not his style". (oops... inverted commas)

    "Attempts to cast himself as a real feminist"? The point intended, and written in the article, was that "with the concept of chivalry, the women are not seen as equal, as they are treated differently - e.g. let women through doors first, don't hit a girl - why? Are you saying that girls are weaker? Is that equality?

    I am sure that if I was able to travel through time and question a Suffragette on the matter, they would laugh at the notion of ''being let through doors first''. I believe that they strove for equality.

    Finally, I would like to remind everyone that this was a school newsletter. There were no malicious intentions behind it. The article was expected to stay within the school, where creativity and imagination are encouraged. The writer did not intend to circulate, to stir up a 'Counter-Femininst Campaign'. In my view, it is an excellent piece of writing.

    Clearly you cannot find any real issues to moan about so you have decided to target a school newsletter. Much as I enjoy taking remarks out of context, I cannot sanction the total invention of remarks such as the seemingly random insertion of rape, abortions and honour killings into the article on this comedic piece.
    Furthermore, the snide remarks about 'teenage boys' (see, I know how to create inverted commas as well) supports the original humorous point about 'reverse sexism.
    I also particularly enjoyed the parts of the article where you didn't comment on the other, extremely valid points that the writer of the article made, and instead resorted to the deliciously fallacious ad hominem attacks on a 'teenage boy' that dominate the rest of this 'well thought out' and 'eminently sensible' article.
    Sorry, did I say article, I did of course mean reactionary knee-jerk abortion and honour killing references. Remember, everytime someone makes a joke, 2000 women are stoned to death in Iran (I also have long lists of statistics, which are probably less fabricated than the one you just hurriedly created on microsoft excel).
    OH NO!! I made a few spelling and grammatical errors!! This clearly invalidates all of my opinions, thanks for pointing that out oh glorious feminist overladies.
    Lots of Love,
    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    (sorry, forgot that kisses cause abortions and honour killings)
    (oh well)

  9. Final point, taken from reading all the other comments.
    I did find the attacks on my person rather insulting, but you probably weren't to know that the article wasn't meant entirely seriously.
    I shall stop talking about this (a bit), though if you want to write a long article about how wonderful I am and how any comments about me were wrong, that would be awesome. (That section especially is not meant to be taken quickly).

  10. If you have nothing better to do than criticise a teenagers writing when hes just trying to develop his writing skills, be creative and get his thoughts heard than you need to sort out your priorities xxx And i read it barnaby xx