Badgering through feminism's tone police | HBR Talk 35

Before we go on with our discussion of how we got started, I want to talk about Exposing Feminism’s article titled “The Catalogue of anti-male shaming tactics” which was helpful to me in understanding the tricks of feminist responses to men’s issues discussion, especially during the MGTOW dustup. The way this post laid bare certain ways in which women and feminists try to manipulate the discussion rather than deal with the information being shared in it helped me to realize the need to break down the language they were using to do that. This is an article I personally recommend everyone who engages in men’s issues discussion keep bookmarked for reference and use in detecting and responding to the use of castigation as a thought-terminating cliche.

Much of feminists’ stated opposition to men’s issues advocacy relies on these shaming tactics. Whether it stems from an entitled sense of superiority or a fear of confronting one’s own potential wrongdoing, women’s advocates find it easier to demonize than deconstruct… safer to attack the messenger than analyze the details surrounding the message. It may even often be done unconsciously, a result not of malice but of socialized or even instinctive attitudes toward and assumptions about men. Simply put, we live in a society where men in general are expected to concern themselves with women’s general welfare, to be protective and considerate of women’s sensibilities, and to take responsibility for accommodating women’s perceived needs. Girls and women learn to enforce these aspects of the male gender role using a system of praise and affection as reward for approved behavior, and antipathy and shaming as punishment for that which is disapproved. 

Exposing Feminism’s article describes shaming tactics as ad hominem attacks comprised of emotional devices meant to play on a man’s insecurities, elicit sympathy for women and to demonize men who ask hard questions, and shut down debate. The article lists 15 major categories which can be sorted into specific areas: Accusations of malice or aggression, emasculation attempts & gender role enforcement, accusations of ignominy.  We’re going to go over the three areas of attack one at a time, discussing each of the categories and expanding on Exposing Feminism’s descriptions and working responses.   

This information represents a valuable tool in the field of gender issues advocacy, as it provides a means to spot and counter attempts to undermine efforts to evaluate, understand, and seek solutions to the various issues facing men and boys in today’s society. In my case, it helped me to better understand the behavior I was seeing during the MGTOW dustup, and later to see through a hit piece against the movement as a whole and A Voice For Men specifically by none other than Cathy Young… but that is a discussion for another show. For now, we’ll focus on the language itself.  

Malice/Aggression charges

Charge of Irascibility (Code Red)

Charge of Endangerment (Code Orange) – The Elevated Threat Charge

Charge of Rationalization (Code Purple) – The Sour Grapes Charge

Charge of Fanaticism (Code Brown) – The Brown Shirts Charge

Charge of Overgeneralization (Code Gray)

Charge of Misogyny (Code Black)

Emasculation attempts & Gender role enforcement

Charge of Cowardice (Code Yellow)

Charge of Hypersensitivity (Code Blue) – The Crybaby Charge

Charge of Puerility (Code Green) – The Peter Pan Charge

Charge of Invirility (Code Lavender)

Charge of Defeatism (Code Maroon)

Accusations of ignominy

Charge of Instability (Code White) – The White Padded Room Charge

Charge of Selfishness (Code Silver)

Charge of Unattractiveness (Code Tan) – The Ugly Tan Charge

Threat of Withheld Affection (Code Pink) – The Pink Whip