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Yet another deceptive feminist marketing attempt?

I'm seeing the same pattern repeatedly presented in recent debate; two expansions on the NAFALT (Not All Feminists Are Like That) argument. One, I'm labeling NAFALT so FINTB (Feminism Is Not That Bad) and the other, an old one; I Am Not A Feminist but NAFALT often followed by some variation of "so MRAs should stop criticizing the feminist movement."

IANAF but NAFALT is normally easy to cut off by addressing the disparity in its logic: Regardless of whether all feminists are advocates for legislation and policy which mandates human rights violations against men, those feminists who have influence and power are. Active feminists whose advocacy is having real-world effects are like that.    
   
The causes of several men's issues are rooted in the activism of those feminists. Attempts to address those issues will necessarily include discussion of their causes and resistance to the feminist advocacy which led to those factors. This makes criticism of feminist anti-male rhetoric and response to feminist activism an inevitable part of the discussion of men's issues. This assertion, combined with evidence of said activism, usually ends the "quit criticizing" debate. However, recent IANAF but NAFALT debaters have taken the road of the NAFALT so FINTB debater.

NAFALT so FINTB is a slightly greasier group. The argument sounds nice, but is based on faulty logic. The existence of some decency within an oppressive group does not erase or excuse its oppressive nature, actions, or effects. Neither does the choice of some who claim decency to associate their claims with the group's name, no matter how badly they want to clean up its public image. Because the logic NAFALT so FINTB is faulty and so easily debunked, but the debaters asserting it are emotionally invested in wearing or defending the "feminist" label and associating that label with the Disney version they've made up for themselves, debate following it takes a wandering path through old and new territory, ending at a point of dissatisfaction for the FINTB debater, who then either abandons the conversation, or takes an unearned tone of snide and arrogant superiority.

The main method I've seen employed among this type of debater is topic hopping. The debater states an assertion. The assertion is countered with an argument. The debater supports the assertion with additional opinion, unsupported rhetoric, an appeal to emotion, or some other logical fallacy. Evidence is presented for the counterargument. The debater ignores this and states a new assertion. Pattern established.   

Another is shaming. FINTB debaters equate feminism with being female and call criticism of feminism sexist. When that is countered, they equate it with women's rights, and call countering feminist advocacy an attack on them. That argument depends on begging the difference - the acceptance that each item on the feminist agenda represents a right, the advocacy for which is supported by all women, rather than just a concession feminists want made for the segment among women who want it. Countering the argument depends upon countering that assumption. The response to that is usually label-tossing (misogynist, rape-apologist, anti-woman, anti-choice, creep) and other sexism shaming. This could be taken through to a discussion on whether the feminist movement has the right to claim proprietary ownership of the desires, goals, philosophy, and ethics of all women... but FINTB debaters don't seem to be sophisticated enough to get past "If You Disagree With Feminism You Hate Women."  

The initial presentation starts with NAFALT, so FINTB. When presented with discussion explaining why NAFALT is not a valid argument (backed up as needed,) the debater goes on to the Waves argument, which essentially boils down to "because it's currently popular to treat the history of feminism as having included 3 separate, date-specific waves... NAFALT so FINTB."

This is countered by evidence that each wave of feminism was, in fact, Like That in various ways, and that the most recent one has demonstrated its Like That nature... recently. The debater's response is often to change the debate stance at this point from NAFALT to I Am Not Like That, with "I only identify with/believe in/support 'nice' feminism, so FINTB." IANLT so FINTB may continue through various points and counter-points on whether claiming association with a group makes one part of that group, whether the nature of a group is defined by what it does or what it claims to do, and whether the nature of a group is defined by its interaction with society, its history, and its rhetoric, or by the assertions of those who wish to see it in a positive light.

In debates where I've been engaged by one of these FINTB debaters, this is generally accompanied by either denial that I stated parts of previous statements I made, denial that outspoken and movement-shaping feminist leaders are leaders of the moment, denial that the movement's real-world actions and advocacy are what the movement is about, (both of which fall into That Is Not My Feminism... so FINTB) and the application of vague but authoritative sounding labels like "controversial" and "disputed" to presented evidence, without the presentation of counter-evidence or any other reason why those labels apply.
I call this "the emphatic 'Nuh-uh!' counter.

Imagine that counter used in defense of an inappropriate action.
Debater: Hey, you just punched me in the face!
Me: That assertion is controversial.
Debater: No it's not! My nose is bleeding!
Me: The bleeding of your nose is a subject of widespread dispute.
Debater: I think it's broken...
Me: Scholars have noted that self-assessment can be a wholly subjective experience.
Debater: I can see the part of the septum sticking out of the left side.
Me: Eyewitness accounts are considered unreliable.
       You Can't Prove Anything, so Face Punching Is Not That Bad.


I'm sure you get the picture (which can't be confirmed, because photographic evidence can be easily faked using graphic arts software.) The nature of such a debate style is less human rights activist and more seedy slick salesman.

This may be offered alongside appeals to emotion using feminist rhetoric on the historical roles of women, often including exaggerations, along with a contradictory combination of statements of gratitude toward feminism for fixing those problems, and assertions that those problems are not fixed: Women Once Had It Rough, so FINTB, Feminism Did Something I Like, so FINTB, and I need feminism because the problems I'm claiming that its advocacy has solved still exist.

Calling the FINTB debater out on the irrational nature of such arguments results in accusations of stubbornness and misogyny, further unfounded denials, and begging the difference by offering feminist rhetoric as if it is established fact. In some cases, the debater has straw-manned inaccurate paraphrasing of my previous statements for the purpose of shaping the argument into something easier to counter. Other debaters have descended into angry private messages, personal attacks, and childish demands for concession. None so far seem to be able to offer any measurable evidence to back up their previous assertions, and this is the point at which these conversations generally end.  
    
Ordinarily I'd think I had simply run into a few fringe kooks, dismiss the behavior, and move on... but the number of discussions which have fallen into this pattern, combined with the sudden, widespread opposition within men's rights discussion forums and social media to any criticism of feminism, indicates that the method may be based on a set of talking points, or on the opinions expressed in recent feminist writing. It almost seems organized. The similarity of various debaters' approaches doesn't necessarily indicate this as the next step in the feminist response to men's rights activism, but the existence of this pattern definitely makes the technique something to watch for and be ready to address.

All things being "equal"

My previous post, Effeminitions, Equal Work, made the assertion that the "equal pay for equal work" argument put forth by feminists was based on a fallacy; the equality of work performed between the sexes. The equal work claim is wrong in that it assumes equality in multiple factors; capability, expectations, attendance, effort, performance, toughness, and risk. The one I'm focusing on today is the feminist position on the presumption of equal capability, where it relates to performance in jobs which place high physical demands upon the worker. This is partly in response to a comment I received in reply to a statement I made on the pay debate; it was asserted that the only thing holding women back from having higher paid, high-risk, high-endurance, labor-intensive jobs was our own mindset. I disagree, because I disagree with the assertion of equal work. While I can agree wholeheartedly that it's not discrimination against us, it's lack of capability which keeps women out of these jobs, not lack of will.  
 
I see contradictory arguments presented by feminist supporters regarding this point in the debate.   
   
First, the claim of equal work rests on the implication of equal ability. You cannot have the former without the latter - if ability is unequal, then those with greater capability will surpass the lesser in job performance. In order to assert equal work as a determining factor in the discussion, feminism must assume that women on average have the physical traits to be able to perform every job related requirement at the same level of capability as men on average do... an assertion which would require women to possess equal physical strength and endurance to that of men.   
   
That assertion/assumption combination is contradicted by the assertion that women need extra legislation to protect us because we may be victimized by bigger and stronger men. That assertion rests on the assumption that we are made vulnerable to victimization by a lack of equal physical strength and endurance. The two feminist positions are not compatible. If our strength and endurance are such that we can and do offer the same job performance even on labor-intensive and endurance-demanding jobs, then our strength and endurance are such that we should be equally capable of defending ourselves should we be assaulted or otherwise abused by a man... at least enough that the same laws enacted to protect everyone should be enough to protect us. We should not need additional legislation, such as VAWA and rape shield laws. And certainly, we should not have an issue of being unable to communicate consent or refusal due to emotional overload at receiving the attention of a man, so if we want to claim equal capability, we cannot also claim emotion-induced paralysis as justification for demanding "only yes means yes" as a standard for sexual consent. Feminists claim a need for special accommodation in the legal arena for women being of lower physical strength and endurance, and inferior emotional toughness and willpower, yet attempt to also claim equal physical capacity, equal toughness, and equal reliability on the job.

Second, whenever I make that first point, the reply I get from feminists is the claim that feminists don't deny the biological differences between men and women. This is a denial made by members of the same group which asserts the claim of equal work - a claim which requires the listener to accept that men and women have equal performance ability in areas of strength and endurance... which in turn requires one to deny the biological differences between men and women. This leaves one of two possibilities. Either feminists are so unthinking or stupid that they spout their ideology without ever thinking about the basic meaning behind their terms, or they are liars who use verbal dodging and weaving in order to avoid admitting that their positions contradict each other.    
   
MRAs need to stop tolerating this. Feminist debaters need to see the demand for a consistent answer on the question of biology - are women so small, weak, and helpless that we cannot ever be counted upon to stand up for ourselves, and defend ourselves in tough situations, or are we strong enough and tough enough to work side by side with men on dangerous, labor-intensive, endurance-demanding jobs? We need to start pushing for answers which nail down a concrete position regarding which of these contradictory claims they feel justified in asking us to accept - and we need to not waver on the point that it cannot be both.  
   



Really?

Men have Movember. So, come on women, what have we got?
Well, apparently we've got whining and self-pity.
No, it's not the only thing I've read criticizing, dismissing, or otherwise belittling the Movember fundraiser. It's just one of the stupidest.
   
It is pitiful and sad to see the level of petty attention-mongering and resentment to which some women will sink. How can one look at a successful campaign, compare it to another successful campaign that gets much less exposure and community support, and seriously come up with jealousy as a response? Are women so insecure in our accomplishments that we cannot tolerate the existence of any others? Must we really turn an envious eye toward all things not our own? Do we have to make everything all about us? How shallow and whiny!      
    
Oh, teh poor wimminz! Our huge, well advertized and world famous save the boobies campaign isn't the center of attention during prostate cancer awareness month! What are we doing wrong? How can we get back into the spotlight?    
   
I know... let's belittle our own massive ad campaigns, the level of participation from multiple organizations, the creative attempts at reminder and increasing awareness, the general public interest, and the associated fundraising... because we just can't stand to know that right now, this month, the focus happens to be on a different group. That's far more mature than say, celebrating their cause side by side with ours, as they have done for years. We may look altruistic, but no way should we have to have the human decency to get excited about more than one good cause.

Of course, whining about the purely imagined discrepancy doesn't at all detract from the credibility and respectability of female activism, either. I mean, no one would ever connect that puerile, self-serving attention grab with an attachment to perpetual victim status and a craving for the power of sympathy, right? It's not that there are some women who go all out for any facet of female activism because it's an opportunity to tag along on the great wimmin'z train of victimhood. Nope, every single one is truly dedicated to the causes they embrace. That's why they get so upset about having to share the spotlight with other legitimate causes... because it's not about the attention. It's about the humanity.

Come on, ladies. Show us what you're made of here... how low can you go? Tell me why any given female writer can't just be supportive of the clever, fun, and highly effective fundraising idea that the Movember campaign is. 

Predditors, PayPal, and Privacy

On the 20th of October, I sent the following message through PayPal's Contact Us form

I am writing in regard to the use of your charity "donate" button on a page of questionable legality and definitely not charitable nature.  

http://predditors.tumblr.com/
  
Predditors is a page dedicated to slandering people the page's proprietor does not like, under the guise of protecting the public. Identifying photos and information of individuals are posted on that page in association with unproved allegations which could negatively impact reputations, including to the detriment of employment prospects and other private-life factors.

I am appalled to see PayPal's name associated with this, and I hope that association only exists because you don't yet know what you are supporting.

I request that you consider the potential negative impact of the association of your company name with this abusive behavior. If PayPal considers internet slap fighting and personal attacks using private information to be forms of charity, then perhaps it is unwise to trust PayPal with one's financial transactions, which by nature include information most folks do not want publicized. Further, the idea that PayPal might support the public leveling of unproved allegations as a form of vigilante justice would indicate a lack of judgement and reasonability which could translate into a lack of trust in your ability to reasonably handle customer disputes.

Given the possibilities, I expect that you would want to address this situation as quickly and completely as possible, which is why I chose to write to you about the problem, rather than simply ignore the blog.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter.
I admit, while the issues addressed in the email were important, they were not the only reason why I wrote. First, the blog targeted only men, despite the existence of female-oriented forums for the same behavior she was targeting. However, given the overall lack of concern the general public has for sexism when it is female on male, I felt that it would be more productive to point out the slanderous nature of the blog, and the fact that the allegations were unproved. In fact, some of those profiles listed don't exist, and those that do don't all have images posted to them like the ones shown in the blog, so if the folks from PayPal's team check to see if the listed information is accurate, they'll find that at least currently, it is not. Tumblr.com had apparently at some point decided that the blog did not violate their policy. The blog had been taken down, but when the site determined that the information was gathered from other publicly available online profiles (i.e., stalking) they reinstated it.

Upon clicking "send," the page switches to the following confirmation:
"Thanks for the note, and we'll do our best to get back to you within 24 hours. It might take a bit longer (depending on the question), but we try hard not to keep you waiting longer than 72 hours"


On the 25th, I got this:

Dear Gloria Sass,

Thank you for contacting PayPal’s Compliance Department. We have received your email and will update you when your account has been reviewed.

You can check the status of your PayPal account at any time by logging into your account and visiting the Resolution Center.

We may try to call you about your account, so please make sure that the primary phone number on your PayPal account is correct. Here's how to update your phone number:
1. Log in to your PayPal account.
2. Click "Profile" near the top of the page.
3. Click "Update" beside Phone.
4. Select the phone number you want to change.
5. Click "Edit" and make your changes.
6. Click "Save."
Sincerely,
PayPal Compliance Department
PayPal, an eBay Company
Please do not reply to this email address as it is not monitored and we will not receive your response. You can get in touch with us by clicking "Contact Us" at the bottom of any PayPal page.
This was obviously a form letter that gets sent out to everyone who messages PayPal. It appeared that the company had yet to address the contents of the message I sent, or if they did, this reply is not in relation to that, considering I didn't message them from a paypal account, or mention having one of my own. I thought, maybe they're bogged down with other messages and issues, or maybe because I didn't connect the complaint to my account, they're ignoring it. Regardless, it seemed hypocritical that the same site which at one time took the donate button away from Regretsy when it was used for genuinely charitable reasons (don't fret - they made up for it) was allowing its use on a slander blog. I waited, hoping this was not the last communication I would receive.

On the 30th, I got my answer in another email with a partial form answer:

Dear Gloria Sass,

Thank you for contacting PayPal and reporting a possible violation of our Acceptable Use Policy.

We will thoroughly review the mentioned website and possible linked PayPal accounts and take further action as appropriate in this case.

Due to data protection we cannot provide details regarding the result of this review or its possible consequences and hope for your understanding in this regard. As a matter of course your information will be kept in confidence.
We thank you for your active support of PayPal and appreciate the information that you provided.

The complete Acceptable Use Policy can be found at the following URL:
https://cms.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=ua/AcceptableUse_full&locale.x=en_US   
 
So... I visited the link to see if anything in that policy specifically applied to the activities of the Predditors blog. I've bolded the relevant text for emphasis.

Prohibited Activities
You may not use the PayPal service for activities that:
  1. violate any law, statute, ordinance or regulation.
  2. relate to transactions involving (a) narcotics, steroids, certain controlled substances or other products that present a risk to consumer safety, (b) drug paraphernalia, (c) items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity, (d) stolen goods including digital and virtual goods (e) items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime, (f) items that are considered obscene, (g) items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction, (h) certain sexually oriented materials or services, (i) ammunition, firearms, or certain firearm parts or accessories, or (j) ,certain weapons or knives regulated under applicable law.
  3. relate to transactions that (a) show the personal information of third parties in violation of applicable law, (b) support pyramid or ponzi schemes, matrix programs, other "get rich quick" schemes or certain multi-level marketing programs, (c) are associated with purchases of annuities or lottery contracts, lay-away systems, off-shore banking or transactions to finance or refinance debts funded by a credit card, (d) are for the sale of certain items before the seller has control or possession of the item, (e) are by payment processors to collect payments on behalf of merchants, (f), are associated with the sale of traveler's checks or money orders, (h) involve currency exchanges or check cashing businesses, or (i) involve certain credit repair, debt settlement services, credit transactions or insurance activities.
There is every possibility that despite their policy's wording, PayPal will do the same, deciding that it's acceptable for the owner of Predditors to continue to profit from her slanderous material. There is also the possibility that they will decide they do not want their name associated with such behavior. Whichever it is, we'll probably never know, as the mysterious tumblr predator who profits from pulling profiles has decided to take extra measures to protect her privacy:

Since I received that last message, the blog has gone private and requires a password to be seen.

Go figure.







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