Disclaimer: I am writing not as a representative of the Filipino Freethinkers but as an individual with an opinion. My views are my own and should, in no way, be viewed as an indication of what beliefs or values members of our organization hold. Throughout this article, I might use hetero-centric language in that, more often than not, when I refer to “men,” I’m actually referring to heterosexual men. Though I am aware of its importance, I decided, for the sake of brevity to omit the heterosexual part in the assumption that through this disclaimer I have clarified the context of the erasure.
Reuters reports that a California woman was charged with torture on July 13, 2011 after authorities said she cut off her husband’s penis with a kitchen knife and ground it up in a garbage disposal. Catherine Kieu, 48, is accused of tying her sleeping husband to a bed with nylon ropes, pulling down his pants and slicing off his penis, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement.
A few days later, the event was featured on a show called “The Talk,” which aired on a major US television network. In the show, Sharon Osbourne made fun of the castrated man, while her co-hosts and majority of the female audience laughed with her.
It wasn’t a soft, cute laugh either. They openly mocked the man for several minutes. Sharon Osborne even called the event “delightful” as she proceeded to demonstrate, with a finger, what a mutilated penis might look like while it’s being torn to shreds, to the delight of the crowd. Footage of the event could be found in this video here. The “funny & delightful” part happens at 4 minutes 45 seconds.
In his article “Women, you have surely earned it,” Manuel Dexter writes:
In a July episode of a daytime woman’s television show called “The Talk,” the 5 female hosts discussed this premeditated mutilation, and treated the issue as the ultimate in slapstick comedy.
There were utterances of “you go girl,” the mutilation was described as “delightful,” and all 5 hosts laughed openly at a human who had been sexually mutilated. The individual earned this brutal and grisly retribution because he apparently wanted a divorce. “That’ll teach him,” one of the hosts suggested.
The show is filmed in front of a live studio audience –who happen to be all women, and the open celebration of a human’s grisly dismemberment was met with a horrified, shocked silence.
Actually, no. The audience, almost all women, laughed their heads off, because when a human is permanently and viciously mutilated, then it’s funny as hell, provided the victim is male.
The woman who performed this grisly mutilation is now a celebrity of sorts. She has inspired FaceBook campaigns and letter writing campaigns to free her, to afford her the protected status of a victim, to gift her with education funding, housing, therapy and an expenses-paid-cruise to the Cayman islands.
When asked whether a mutilated breast or vagina would be just as “delightful,” Sharon Osborne says, “It’s not the same.” The implication, of course, is that a mutilated penis is funny; a mutilated vagina is not funny.
Police Constable Michael Sanguinetti had been giving a talk on health and safety to a group of students at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto when he made the now infamous remarks.
“You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here,” he reportedly told them. “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”
When a male police officer implies that a woman’s clothing may increase the risk of her being raped, there is outrage among feminists and marches are mobilized to inspire further discourse on the issue. But when a woman explicitly mentions how a man was tortured and had his penis severed because he “deserved” it, and how this event was “delightful,” guess what happens?
I’m pointing out this disparity because the general idea behind most feminist movements is gender equality. But it just seems to me that feminist movements are not so gender equal with regard to the issues that they choose to embark upon. Although feminism is a great engine for the promotion and the protection of women’s rights, in my opinion, it’s not as great for men and men’s rights and is not entirely “gender equal.”
In his article, “How Funny is a Mutilated Vagina?” Paul Elam expresses concern with regard to how the women in “The Talk” responded to the crime. He writes:
This can only be the result of a Society that has so dehumanized men, so demonized male sexuality, that men can be literally tied up and tortured, have their lives permanently altered (by removing the ability to fulfill the most basic of drives)… and these women LAUGH.
Every last one of them represent the truly disgusting in human nature. No, none of it is ‘innocent’, and no, it is not ‘just a joke’. Anyone taking pleasure in this shocking crime should be ashamed of themselves, and take a serious look at how they perceive men, and how that looks from THIS side of the fence. And the women ‘hosting’ this show? Every last one of them should lose their jobs.
Will they? Of course not. Because they obviously know what appeals to their audience. Which is comprised of women. The audience certainly seemed pleased with the show, and enthusiastically joined in, as a matter of fact. Truthfully, the only time the audience gave pause, was when Sara, near the end of the segment, mentioned that ‘it’s kinda weird’ to be taking so much glee in something they would be horrified at the reverse of.
But then the show quickly moved on, much to the audience’s relief.
If this isn’t proof of widespread, generalized female hatred of men, I don’t know what is.
Because I could NEVER see a man taking so much pleasure in the removal of a woman’s ability to have sex. Not even one.”
There’s a big, disgusting bias on my dick and I think I should have it removed. Wait, you too? Really? You have a big, disgusting bias on your dick too? There’s a big, disgusting bias on everyone’s dick in that if it was kicked, or bitten, or mutilated by a woman, for whatever reason, it’s supposed to be kind-of funny.
To put this disparity into proper context, let’s compare torture and castration to another example of “victimization.”
A few months ago, there was a woman who was “victimized” in an elevator. A guy approached her and propositioned her politely (her own words) to go to his room and have coffee with him. The woman was made uncomfortable because, despite the fact that the elevator had a camera installed, and that it was a highly populated hotel where an event just ended, the guy could have been a potential rapist because, if you haven’t heard yet, every man in the universe has a propensity for rape. If you have a dick, you’re probably a rapist too.
Feminists rallied to her side and created a discourse about the injustice of a patriarchal culture that finds nothing wrong with ElevatorGate. The atheist community talked about this for weeks and it was so big that even Richard Dawkins, Richard fucking Dawkins, was compelled to comment (and was also summarily dismissed as a misogynist, for thinking that ElevatorGate is trivial as compared to other incidents that affect gender issues like, I don’t know, women publicly laughing about castration on television).
Let’s think about this for a moment:
When a woman is “victimized” by a man who politely propositions her in an elevator, the whole world hears about it and talks about it for weeks, and the man, the “victimizer” is repeatedly humiliated. Now, when a man is victimized by a woman who cuts off his penis and turns it into ground beef, the woman, the “victimizer,” gets a Free Catherine Kieu Becker FaceBook Campaign, while the man is ridiculed and mocked on television.
How’s that for a double standard?
There is, however, a specific type of feminism that I really, really disagree with: gender feminism a.k.a., in Sommmer’s terms, “Victim Feminism.” In an interview, Christina Hoff Summers expresses her opinion of gender feminists:
“These are women who believe in what they call the sex-gender system, that women are trapped in a sex-gender system, that gender roles are arbitrarily defined, and the purpose is to convince women that they are victims, that they are put upon by men in every aspect, that language has to be liberated, and textbooks and great works of art are all compromised by sexism. You have feminists — Susan McClary, for example — who teach students to identify rape themes in Beethoven symphonies. You know, when I see things like that I think it’s gotten so ridiculous that you can’t tell the difference between a parody and the real thing. There are feminists out there who are trying to get scientists to change the name of the Big Bang Theory because, they say, that is sexist and frightening to young women.”
In my opinion, “victim feminism” has empowered the woman’s position in society, so much so, that it allows her to cry “victim” and inspire a backlash over a man’s polite proposition on account of her being “made uncomfortable,” and at the same time, allows her the privilege to openly mock a man’s castration with barely any repercussions.
My point in writing this is not to inspire hatred or resentment towards women, or to disparage feminists and feminist movements, but to promote discourse on a matter that I believe requires attention.
There is a need to call attention to how much tolerance society has on violence inflicted on men by women. In my humble opinion, there is a need for men to persist against the ever growing trend of common and casual misandry.
I’m putting emphasis on the word, men, not because I’m being sexist or making hetero-normative assumptions, but because I would like to emphasize the fact that straight men need to do such things for themselves. Why? Because there is a general assumption that they hold a privileged position, therefore men’s issues are not a high priority for feminist or other gender equality movements.
In other words, gender equality movements and feminist movements don’t care as much about straight men as they do about women or gay men. They’re not going to prioritize the promotion and protection of men’s rights, and, in my opinion, they shouldn’t have to.
Maybe it’s time for men, like the women who were smart enough to do it before they did, to seek proper representation and organization to allow them, as a class, to negotiate with the powerful feminist monolith and its many, fragmented forms.
Maybe it’s time for men to examine for themselves the different facets of feminism and whether or not its proliferation really does promote gender equality. As Pelle Billing writes in his article, “Where Did Feminism Go Wrong?”:
“There was a lack of clarity from the start of the feminist movement. Was it a movement for gender equality, or was it a movement that promoted women’s rights? This is a huge distinction, and the assumption that these two struggles are always compatible is far from true.
“This lack of clarity is also apparent in the name chosen for the movement. If it had been called equalism, then the end goal would have been clear. However, the name feminism implies that the end goal is female supremacy or something along those lines.”
Maybe it’s time for men to expand the thin red line, the false dilemma, that the current discourse has placed between feminism and misogyny, to redefine the borders so that men who are neither feminists nor misogynists have a space to inhabit that is exclusive from or indifferent to both.
All pictures taken from: