Sunday, December 19, 2010

When the Monsters Under the Bed are Real

Exaggeration is used a lot in politics. When you exaggerate in politics I find that it is often a extrapolation of an opponents position, which you frame and pull to the extreme.

Congressman Grayson stood on the floor of the House and said that the Republican health care plan was for 'you to die quickly.' He didn't mean it literally. He meant that he felt like their plan was callous to the point that if you got sick there wasn't recourse, so you better just die quickly.

It's an exaggeration. There were no Republicans during the health care debate who said the words 'I think sick people should die quickly.' So this is a kind of discourse of which I am accustomed.

So when I read feminist blogs talk about 'Men's Rights' groups, I thought they engaged in the same style. If I read 'they don't want women to have the vote' or 'they think women are spiteful bitches are out to get them personally' or some other extreme position attributed to some internet 'men's rights' blogger, I think in my head: 'Republicans want you to die quickly.' I assumed it was an extrapolation of hurtful, but far less insane, positions.

I was wrong. I was very wrong.

The other day I made the mistake of venturing to a couple sites: Men Going Their Own Way, and Feminist Apocalypse. Seriously, go there at your own risk, it is actually bad for the heart and soul.

I found out that crazy positions and opinions attributed to these authors are not exaggerations. These guys really do state that there are no women good enough to marry, or that women shouldn't vote, or that all women will cheat. The sites actually read like Colbert level satire, and in order to maintain my sanity, I'm forced to imagine that at least half the contributers and comments are elaborate satire.

In the middle of a slut shaming rant about how college women 'these days' will just sleep with anyone, anytime, anywhere, the author says 'I was born too soon.' Can't we all picture Stephen Colbert going on an identical rant, and stating the problem with women having promiscuous sex is that they aren't having it with him. That's satire! That can't be real!

So the next time you feel like a feminist seems to be going a little over board, maybe it sounds like s/he's over reacting to a situation, or exaggerating the level of misogyny in the world take a look at the people with whom they do regular battle. I spent half a day looking at the monsters under the 'men's rights' bed and I barely escaped with my sanity, but my decibel level on gender issues has probably been permanently turned up a notch or two.

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