Monday, December 03, 2007

The Pragmatic Evolution of Terminologies

I propose to all members of our movement, in whatsoever light they may view their participation, that we should gradually phase out nearly all official use of the term Men's Rights Movement - commonly acronymized as 'MRM'.

In place of the aforesaid 'MRM' usage, I propose that we substitute the phrase Non-feminist Movement. This may be acronymized as 'NFM', or more informally referred to as 'the Movement' - a practice which I have already undertaken on my own initiative and put to work in my preaching.

The purpose of this change is emphatically NOT to downplay the idea of men's rights, but rather to integrate the idea into a more holistic vision, in a manner that will make subversion, hijacking or co-opting of the idea more difficult. As we move into more complex times, the utility of such a policy will quickly become evident..

This phrase - Non-feminist Movement - is deceptively bland. In marked contrast to 'men's rights movement', it presents a smooth, slippery surface with no readily apparent handholds. This blandness, smoothness, slickness and want of grappling points, offers a number of advantages - both tactically and strategically.

It will be seen that that this phrase represents a paradigm shift of sorts. The concept of male grievance has been transferred backstage, as has the appearance of any combative stance toward feminism. All of this serves a purpose.

Yes, for beneath that insipid semantical surface blanket of ricotta cheese, the seething and tumultuous march of the broader movement will continue. The NFM is a big tent, and beneath this tent ALL manner of operations are and will be under way. The best and the worst. The exemplary and the deplorable. ALL manner of operations, provided only that they may honestly describe themselves as not feminist!

Non-feminist, on the face of it, does not appear to attack feminism. By contrast, counter-feminist arguably does, and anti-feminist most assuredly does. Yet given the manichean character of feminism itself, non-feminist is as much a dagger as the other two - nay, more! Feminism, you see, is formulated in terms of an antagonistic polarity: "Who is not for me is against me!" Feminism's purpose is to make the entire world into an extension of feminist discourse. So, by simply declaring a certain sector to be "other" in relation to feminism, you make it clear to anybody who is paying attention that feminism is not the world.

And that is a bitter pill, because feminism SO much wants to "be the world"! Which is ironic when you consider that feminism has so little succeeded, as of yet, in becoming its own world!

But look - we place them on an awkward spot! Non-feminism does not "attack" feminism any more than my neighbor attacks me merely by not being me! And somewhere deep in the back storage room of their vestigial conscience, the feminists know this! Or if they don't know it, they feel it. And it afflicts them.

AND: in the long run it puts us in a position of greater strength!

We must understand that whatever so much as relativizes feminism, threatens it every bit as much as something that attacks it outright. We must understand also that whatever is bad for feminism is good for men.

And vice-versa.

So in the end, the true test of any so-called men's rights movement - the a priori gold standard, you might say - is whether it weakens feminism, both as an ideology and as a movement. The MRM (so-called) must conform to the tenets of non-feminism as established by means of a counter-feminist analysis - whose standards are exacting.

But I have a word to say to all of you hotspurs and firebrands. Although I realize that non-feminist movement can't possibly compare to men's rights movement as a rallying banner, I hope you will understand that nobody, least of all the present writer, wants to take away your fire or your spurs! For I too have been known to wear those spurs and hurl those brands - and do you honestly believe that I would forgo the pleasure when the time was right? However, in addition to being a firebrand I am a man of the old school - which means that I understand classical restraint. Yes, and my preaching and writing is the better for it.

Trust me, classical restraint is good stuff! It can keep you out of trouble, it can gain you victory, it can bestow grace, it can even save your life. Nowadays, the world wants you to be "spontaneous", to "release your inhibitions", to "let it all hang out", to "be in touch with your feelings" or your "inner child" - but most of that flim-fangle is foisted on you by groups and forces that would much rather control you than let you control yourself. So don't let them get away with it, all right?

Think of it this way: when you distance yourself from visceral immediacy of response, you achieve a greater radius, and greater radius multiplies torque. Not only for you individually, but for the cause generally.

Depend upon it that the men's rights movement will carry on. And yes, the very phrase itself too, will at times dance upon our tongues! For we all understand what 'non-feminist' means, don't we? It simply means anything that is not feminist. That is a BIG umbrella, and we can ALL walk under that umbrella, can't we? Even if we disagree on many things! And the feminists will hate this, but they won't know what in blazes to do about it!

They may passionately desire to shoot us, but let them try and see how far they get! They would need to shoot the rest of the world beyond themselves, and that would be a big job!


Blogger publius said...

That would actually be very wise. I don't know if there will be much support, though. I like how this idea seems to isolate feminism as a group. There's feminism and the rest of the world.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Fidelbogen said...

Strangely enough, I think there WOULD be a fair amount of support.

It wouldn't need to be anywhere near unanimous in order to be effective; if the phrase non-feminist simply circulates and gains X amount of currency, that should be enough to do the trick.

It hard for me to conceive why anybody who is OPPOSED to feminism would find it difficult to claim the label of non-feminist.

(Along with any other name they might give themselves, e.g. pertaining to various special issues.)

But at the end of the day, it all comes down to one thing: isolating feminism from the rest of the world by planting the concept as a simple mental seed that virtually anyone can host in their brain. And then, refining the many techniques and approaches toward making that seed-concept a political reality.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your thinking Fidelbogen. Being a 'non-Feminist' has the immediate legitimacy of sounding both moderate and of a majority. I think a lot of men would have no difficulty describing themselves as such, where they might be reluctant to declare themselves 'anti' anything. I'll use it and see how it develops.

Rob Case

6:35 PM  
Blogger Fidelbogen said...

@Rob: And yet, the assertively 'anti' types can still operate under the NFM tent just as easily as anybody else. Come one, come all, to the big show in the big top!

NF is like "the ocean that salts all rivers running into it."

Moreover, being so bland and slippery and open-ended, NF is effectively beyond the reach of 'character assassination' and 'guilt-by-association'.

(You may have noticed that the feminist propaganda machine is gearing up for a large-scale axe-job on the term 'MRA'. Goddamm, fetch me mine! Heh, heh ... inside joke!)

Which makes me wonder if it's about time to retire (or "kick upstairs") that venerable term. Oh well... 'nother subject for another day I reckon!.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may have noticed that the feminist propaganda machine is gearing up for a large-scale axe-job on the term 'MRA'

If you're referring to the Robin Steele affair, yes I have noticed what appears to be an attempt to close down the fringes in order to narrow the legitimacy of the centre (and try and enlist our energies to accomplish this! nice try girls, but no cigar).

I'm with you though in terms of adaptation. Let them exhaust themselves chasing shadows, then we abandon the whole terminology in favour of something better - I have no emotional investment in the term MRA.

Rob Case

10:37 PM  
Blogger Fidelbogen said...

@Rob: nicely you phrase things.

Still, Robin ain't happening in a vacuum. She's a node of course, but I'm catching a larger particle wind wafting through the aether right about now. . .

But yes, let them chase shadows. Which they have been doing for quite some time now: I think it is safe to say that we understand them better than they understand us!

Although I'm bound to admit that plenty of those so-called MRAs out yonder are dumber than a mud fence. . .

Curse me, but some of those guys couldn't MRA their way out of a sopping wet coffee filter!

11:45 PM  
Blogger Hawaiian Libertarian said...

Classical restraint...excellent point Fidelbogen!

There is definitely a place for good ole, feminist hatred ranting of the likes of Duncan and Fred X...but I strive on my own blog to follow the "classical restraint" model. Though I too harbor rage against the feminist machine and at times want to rant a profusion of vulgarities at the family destroying triumvirate of evil - the feminists-socialist-liberals - others usually do it much better than I.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Fidelbogen said...

Let's keep our weapons sharp and shiny, and our powder dry.

Fire in the belly, ice between the ears.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Exposing Feminism said...

There's no harm in being restrained in your approach if you are absolutely uncompromising in your aims!

12:22 PM  
Blogger Feminist Gal said...

Sir, you very much intrigue me...

12:24 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

That's the mantra of "3rd Wave" feminism. It begins with "I'm not a feminist...but I believe in equal rights for women." Third Wave feminist advocacy goes on from there to demand total feminist domination.

It's become so common that "I'm not a feminist...." is now the mark of identification of 3rd wave feminists.


3:42 PM  
Anonymous AlekNovy said...

A very wise idea Fidelbogen... Especially since it doesn't require the MRAs to quit calling themselves MRAs.

This is the wider tent that encompasses all others. In fact, the best part of this idea is that most women today would actually readily adopt this label too.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Fidelbogen said...


This post is really just a warm-up for 'Notes: Toward an Efficient Political Worldview' -- which lays out the argument more rigorously. Since you are reading through everything on the blog, you'll run into that one eventually.

5:13 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home