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The feminist derailing fallacy


Feminists abuse the term "derailing" as a tool to avoid information that contradicts an opinion, belief, or attitude they want to promote. While the term ordinarily refers to taking a discussion off on an unrelated tangent, feminists instead use it to describe any speech that contradicts one of their assertions. They rely on mislabeling relevant information as irrelevant and a distraction in order to protect disinformation from scrutiny and potential contradiction. It is like a line from The Wizard of Oz; "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

This exploitation of the term is rooted in a combined sense of ownership and entitlement to dictate public opinion. These ideologues believe, in all seriousness, that they own women and by extension, all gender issues. Therefore they feel morally exempt from being questioned or contradicted in assertions they make on our behalf, even when engaging the public in a dialogue led by an unsupported and potentially damaging claim.

One of the more ridiculous examples of this is their response to women who refuse to be fodder for the movement's ideological declarations. Feminists begin issue discussions with pronouncements like twitter's #yesallwomen, intended as blanket statements which generalize the experiences and beliefs of some women to all women. None of us are permitted under their worldview to disagree with their narrative about our lives, our experiences, our needs, wants, and beliefs. When we do we are silenced by a special brand of projection, accused of doing that which we're protesting. Feminists attempt to silence dissenting women by shouting us down with accusations that women who, in describing our experiences, question or contradict their dogma are "talking over other women to deny their experiences."

In other words, feminists are claiming that their experience of having ideological beliefs about women's lives is a more valid description of us than our own experience of living them. They use that claim to treat any resistance to their appropriation of our voices as an attack, rather than a defense against a presumptuous violation of personal boundaries.

Another example which is equally ridiculous is their response when their advocacy for a gendered government approach to a genderless issue is contradicted. The method is very similar to that used with women who refuse to be feminism's props. The accusation of derailing is used to shout down the voices of men and boys by treating their experience of conditions or circumstances, no matter how common, as an intrusion on what feminists want to portray as uniquely female experiences. The purpose in this case to sneak bigoted marginalization of men and boys past public scrutiny so that lobbying efforts for discriminatory law and policy will not be recognized for what they are.

This pretense has been a very effective tool for feminists desiring to enforce an ideological monopoly on gender issues discussion, especially, but not exclusively, in the areas of intimate partner and sexual violence. It has been used not only to shut dissenting voices out of feminist discussions, but also discussions involving the general public, discussions in academic and professional settings, and in the legislative process.

This is how American feminists manipulated the public and legislators into accepting a change from the genderless Family Violence Prevention and Services Act of 1984 to the female-specific, feminist research and training funding Violence Against Women Act of 1994. When men's advocates call for equal funding for assistance for men, feminists treat it as an attempt to siphon funds away from female victims they've convinced legislators and the public are more numerous and more in need. And to maintain that illusion, they accuse anyone offering evidence of female perpetration and male victims of "derailing" discussion about female experiences and female needs.

This tactic relies on two things: The fear of being seen as disruptive and rude, and the promise that diplomacy will result in some form of cooperative good will between these ideologues and the groups against whom they have used it. Feminists have demonstrated over and over that the former is going to happen regardless of when and where we speak, and the latter is simply a false hope. Believing they own these discussions, feminists invade and attempt to impose their ideological beliefs on any discussion about issues related to gender, and even many which are not. The only way for nonfeminists to have open discussion that is not dominated by feminist rhetoric and feminist sensibilities is to simply have it; to refuse to allow such accusations to shut us down. Speak up. Don't let feminists have a monopoly all discussion on gender issues.

4 comments:

Coweatsman said...

I made a comment about male circumcision in a thread FGM about and I was told roughly yes that is an important issue but it should be a separate discussion from FGM because it side tracks the suffering of women who need to have their stories told without male intrusion. I replied that she was side tracking male suffering.

Hannah Wallen said...

@Coweatsman
You're up against female solipsism in addition to feminist monopolization there. Not only do they refuse to discuss the two in tandem, feminists - especially female feminists - who call discussing the male experience an invasion feel entitled to respond to men discussing male genital mutilation with "but women have it worse." In Germany, women's groups responded to laws restricting male circumcision with opposition, claiming it would detract from support for female circumcision victims.

And even Cathy Young, normally a supporter of men's rights and an opponent of female victim culture, once argued to me that it's worse to remove the inch or two of sexual nerves that make up the glans of the clitoris than it to halfway deglove the penis, removing far more cells and the skin's protective functions, because semantics - she seriously argued that the label "organ" makes a woman's tiny little glans with only 1 purpose the equivalent of the male glans, which houses part of the urinary & reproductive systems. Presented with multiple links to evidence, she told me it was too much to read/listen to, and continued arguing that the function of the removed parts was irrelevant & girls are "more damaged" by clitorectomy than boys are by the removal of even the entire foreskin.

The sad thing is the only basis for calling clitorectomy damaging is that it deprives women of sexual pleasure - the same damage that feminists try to falsely reduce foreskin removal to when arguing that it's "not that big of a deal."

That and other conversations on circumcision led me to write a two part article for the honey badger blog:

http://honeybadgerbrigade.com/2015/01/27/no-justification-for-routine-neonatal-circumcision-part-1-fallacious-medical-support/

http://honeybadgerbrigade.com/2015/02/02/no-justification-for-routine-neonatal-circumcision-part-2-unmerited-social-support/

I also have a page full of links to use in debate on the topic. It's in the sidebar of this blog, titled "Intactivist links," and I'm always looking for more information to include there.

stripey7 said...

In the field of cultic studies, the practice of treating ideology as more valid than lived experience is called Doctrine Over Person. It's part of Robert Lifton's eight-point description of ideological totalism.

Rob McMillin said...

Is this the same thing as sealioning?








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