Feminist bust-up w/my bro

(49 Posts)
ShirakawaKaede Tue 15-Oct-13 20:32:52

I know, it might sound stupid, but Godfrey Bloom had a hand in screwing up an otherwise (mostly) ok relationship with my brother. He reckoned the infamous article http://politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2013/08/20/comment-let-s-face-it-men-and-women-are-fundamentally-differ was mostly reasonable.

Maybe I could've let that one slide, but then he got started on the Lose The Lads mags campaign and it only got worse from there. I've bunged the whole sorry transcript up on my (barely-even-up-and-running) blog http://likeimwasted.wordpress.com/type/aside/ - before I really get started on it, purely for lack of anywhere else to post (it's far, far too long to post here).

We're not speaking - I lost it with him and he was offended by my language - and I by his ridicule and derailing of the argument. In the meantime, I've been asked to apologise (largely to keep the peace as it's his birthday next week, and he'd like my husband & I to be there(!)) - which I'm willing to do, provided it's a mutual thing. But he won't understand that he was offensive.

Yes, I realise it seems petty, ludicrous, etc. but I feel like my beliefs are being trampled upon. And he has a daughter now, and another on the way. Hence his attitude concerns me. What would you do?

WoTmania Tue 19-Nov-13 16:27:56

My family have a habit of making offensive comments just to wind me up and then when I bite I get told I'm being shrill, or over sensitive etc. Sounds like your brother has done the same but that there's an undercurrent of actually meaning it in there.
Very disappointing that your DM and brother are refusing to back you up. Amazing how deep these things can be hidden...

Dervel Tue 19-Nov-13 02:34:17

Ok I am not sure I understand all of this, but just in case here goes:

You had an argument with your brother re: images of women in lads mags, and this was a brother accused of domestic violence towards his ex, when in fact in your estimation he was in fact a victim?

If I have that about right I think this response of his was telling:

"Read all of that from a mans point of view and think about how it sounds. I find it offensive in how weak and prone to brutish behaviour it seems to think men must be."

Now granted I have not read the article he is referring to, but that in my view triggered his abuse experience. Having been a victim himself, and to top it off being accused of it himself, it is entirely logical to me any article he reads that he detects paints men generally as women hating is going to trigger that sense of powerlessness (both in terms of the abuse, and more importantly the false accusation). In fact it likely will make him feel it reinforces circumstances that made him a victim in the first place.

Of course by the same token you've dealt with casual everyday sexism, so the debate itself is a topic that can push your buttons. In short, you were looking to your bro for solidarity against crap you've put up with your whole life simply for being a woman. Whereas he was looking for validation that no it's not fair to paint men as a gender in such a way that victimisation such as he experienced slip under the radar. Unfortunately sounds like you both missed each other's signals.

Now I am purposefully avoiding the rights and wrongs of the actual debate, as I think the subject itself was just the catalyst and not the underlying core of the problem. For the record, I do think the page 3/ lads mags release a steady stream of low level psychological pollution into our collective unconscious. I don't think banning them will solve the underlying, problems of some men's attitude to women. However A) I may well be wrong in that assumption and B) I don't think we'll lose much in the attempt, so perhaps we should give it try and see what happens.

Getting back to your bro, it clearly would help if he could see things from your (feminist) point of view, and if your husband is a feminist ally and your brother is friendly towards him, perhaps he could clue him in. Note I am not suggesting that because your hubby as a man can sort it out and you couldn't, simply that in the light of current hostility/circumstances he is a logical choice.

Anyway I hope it all works out for the best, and if I missed some fundamental element that render most of the above nonsense, please ignore me.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Mon 18-Nov-13 22:51:03

I'm beginning to think this goes beyond arguing with or baiting a sister - this is full-on mra behaviour. Is this a very recent thing op?

Sorry he's being a twat - even sorrier he's managing to talk your family around angry

You married the right man though smile

ShirakawaKaede Mon 18-Nov-13 22:35:39

What hurt me most is that my usually reasonable DM & other bro didn't see anything he said as being baiting/antagonising/offensive. DH actually asked him "Do you believe in equal rights?" ...No answer, he simply dodged the question. And this from someone who prides himself on being fair...

WoTmania Mon 18-Nov-13 22:29:14

That's really rubbish shirakawa sad
Unfortunately IME a lot of men when actually challenged about idiotic views get like this: defensive and arseholey. And when you, as a mere female, won't be the one to back down and apologise they can turn really nasty.
They message he sent your DH was disgusting.

ShirakawaKaede Mon 18-Nov-13 21:07:05

Well, fireworks night was just beautiful. He barely spoke to me the entire evening - I made an effort to be friendly (and not mention anything re. our disagreement). He pointedly said goodbye to everyone by name... except for me. He also seemed to think he could be best mates with DH and talked of going camping with him (he'd bought a bug-out bag). This angered DH no end as he a) has the same views on feminism as I do b) Would see it as utterly disloyal to be pally with someone who had upset me so much. And all this awkwardness in front of our friends as well. Great. Then he complains afterwards that HE feels uncomfortable. My DM doesn't see why bro should apologise since the stuff he said wasn't about me personally. Just my beliefs, so nevermind, eh? She likened my feminist ideals to him believing in ridiculous conspiracy theories. I walked out on her. I emailed my other bro in the US (generally much more reasonable). He agreed with DM and said the women in lads' mags were paid & there by choice, etc. (don't get me started) and that I had overstepped the mark. He suggested writing a letter apologising for swearing but leaving out all reference to the subject over which we argued.

Apologies for the self-pitying tone.

Thank fuck my husband supports me. I have no faith in my family considering (I don't expect people to necessarily agree) anything i say.

In case you didn't already think he was a prick: He texted DH "Feminism gives women an excuse to act like c***s & arseholes".

I despair.

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 19:43:27

Well, you are handling it better than I would. I have disagreements with family members but people generally speak from the heart because we are family; it's not like a discussion on here. My brother doesn't interview me like he's Jeremy Paxman or declare he is disappointed in me as if he's a headmaster. In fact, my dad wouldn't say that and he was a headmaster.

I would not be apologising, or go to the birthday. If I said something so homophobic, or discussed gay rights as if it was some kind of sixth form debate rather than my sister's actual life, I would not be at all surprised if she told me to fuck off, and I would be the one apologising. The same applies to him saying these things to you as a woman.

ThePitOfStupid Tue 05-Nov-13 19:28:19

I wish the diet coke ads could be banned, so they could stop being claimed as false equivalents.

NiceTabard Tue 05-Nov-13 19:20:00

his birthday, rather!

NiceTabard Tue 05-Nov-13 19:19:29

sagacious why not start another thread if you want to discuss the reasons that it is important to have sexually appealing images of semi-dressed women in public spaces so that men can "express their sexuality".

This thread is for the OP to work out how to handle the conflict that has arisen with her brother, in the run up to her birthday. It's rather impolite to totally ignore what she and everyone else are talking about just to start banging on about how vital it is that men can look at pictures of tits on the bus.

ShirakawaKaede Tue 05-Nov-13 18:32:16

Good idea, Sabrina! Have done exactly that.

SabrinaMulFUCKERJjones Tue 05-Nov-13 18:12:12

I'm afraid, your brother sounds like he's being a bit of a twat.

I would actually ignore him now - if he's getting into the men's rights stuff, he's either trying to wind you up for a laugh, or is really quite a nasty piece of work. I'd hide him on FB at least.

ShirakawaKaede Tue 05-Nov-13 18:05:27

Oh god it's started again. I organised a fireworks party at my mum's in the hopes that my bro & I might be civil to each other, leave our differences at the door and simply enjoy the night. Then he starts liking shit from the "Men's Rights Initiative" - check their facebook page rather than their website - they show their true colours. Fuck's sake

BasilBabyEater Wed 23-Oct-13 20:34:44

Damn thlbiscuit

grin

BasilBabyEater Wed 23-Oct-13 20:34:00

[hbiscuit]

SagaciousOne Wed 23-Oct-13 20:29:46

I don't expect you to respond to this post but by all means feel free to do so. (I'm not going to debate with someone who does not want to debate).

I would just like to highlight again your inherent levels of misandry.

"You can't expect women to always be prepared to expend energy on male centred crap."

If I was to change the word 'women' to 'men' and 'male' to 'female' I have no doubt that you would find that to be a deeply offensive turn of phrase and misogynistic in the extreme.

I don't think I need elaborate further.

BasilBabyEater Wed 23-Oct-13 20:21:40

I just can't be arsed because I don't think your arguments are worth engaging with.

You can't expect women to always be prepared to expend energy on male centred crap.

Someone else might feel like it. Good luck with that.

SagaciousOne Wed 23-Oct-13 20:15:54

You're only proving my point.

I'm kind of quite pleased at your response in that sense.

But I am disappointed you wouldn't at least attempt to support your assertions.

Oh well...

BasilBabyEater Wed 23-Oct-13 20:09:13

Blah blah blah.

That's an awful lot of words to say something really not worth saying.

SagaciousOne Wed 23-Oct-13 20:03:55

"Dur.

As if men's sexuality isn't formed by the culture (which is woman-hating) in which they live."

That's a mature response Basil.

The fact your answer contains a hostile and frankly juvenile turn of phrase like Dur merely displays ignorance.

Similarly the assertion that men's sexuality is formed by the culture they live in fails to take account of men's personal experience of sexuality and assumes that men's (who incidently are not one homogenous group) are not valid. They may not be female but that does not mean they are not equally valid. If you believe in equality that point is self evident.

I have nothing against women expressing a female centric view of sexuality in fact I would encourage it, celebrate it even, but I believe the same should be true of male centric views, their is no inherent superiority in either.

I would suggest the next part of your riposte the proposition that society is intrinsically women hating is just evidence that you do not believe in equality but that you actually are an advocate of misandry.

You have made no attempt to address my points and as such your response cannot be taken seriously.

BasilBabyEater Tue 22-Oct-13 21:41:07

"Why should an expression of men's sexuality be repressed?"

Dur.

As if men's sexuality isn't formed by the culture (which is woman-hating) in which they live.

SpookyWerewolf Tue 22-Oct-13 16:18:49

I think you can apologise for the swearing, but say that you still disagree about the campaign and feel that his passive aggressive needling about something you care deeply about was insensitive and hurtful.

If he'd like to know more about why you feel the way you do then point him in the direction of good feminism resources, I wouldn't get into another debate that turns hurtful.

The burden of proof placed on women to PROVE how sexist media doing damage, is disproportionate to 'proof' required in other debates. Partially I expect because women's opinions are disregarded generally. It ought to be enough for your brother that "It hurts me to see my gender reduced to sexual objects. The message it gives me and other women and girls is that we exist soley for male gratification, that message is repeated day in day out through mags like these."

P.s. the background of your blog makes it hard to read, I had to highlight each section of text to read it. Maybe consider a different background or text colour?

SagaciousOne Tue 22-Oct-13 14:21:55

Lose the lads mags.

This is an interesting one. Why should an expression of men's sexuality be repressed?

Do we feel women's sexuality should be repressed shall we campaign for the removal of Mills and Boon or Black Lace publications?

Are we suggesting that we get rid of Heat's 'Torso of the Week' or ban the diet coke ads?

I'm in favour of neither - sex has always sold products and people have always enjoyed sexuality.

The women in these magazines are in them by choice they are paid to do something which frankly is not rocket science. If I could be paid to take my top off to be admired by loads of fans I definitely would (alas I suspect people would most likely lose their lunch!).

As for exploitation can anyone say Katie Price et al are exploited or are they laughing all the way to the bank their riches and fame giving them agency and control in their lives which few people could dream of?!

Furthermore if we take the unrealistic body image argument what about Vogue or Cosmo they are not full of stick thin airbrushed models are they?!

Or what about negative body image 'stars without their make up' springs to mind.

Censorship to score political points is never a good thing.

I think some people need to think on this a bit more and get over themselves.

ShirakawaKaede Wed 16-Oct-13 21:20:32

Dione, I think you have it spot on. He would indeed support his daughters if they were abused (unlike aforementioned uncle, would you believe!). Of that I have no doubt. I hope in time he will come to realise the sexism that women face everyday and that lads' mags and page three only reinforce this.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 16-Oct-13 21:09:36

Men like him only get uppity when you mention his dd(s) - men that genuinely care become more feminist through love for their dd's. Various studies have shown it.

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