Feminist bust-up w/my bro

(49 Posts)
ShirakawaKaede Tue 15-Oct-13 20:32:52

I know, it might sound stupid, but Godfrey Bloom had a hand in screwing up an otherwise (mostly) ok relationship with my brother. He reckoned the infamous article http://politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2013/08/20/comment-let-s-face-it-men-and-women-are-fundamentally-differ was mostly reasonable.

Maybe I could've let that one slide, but then he got started on the Lose The Lads mags campaign and it only got worse from there. I've bunged the whole sorry transcript up on my (barely-even-up-and-running) blog http://likeimwasted.wordpress.com/type/aside/ - before I really get started on it, purely for lack of anywhere else to post (it's far, far too long to post here).

We're not speaking - I lost it with him and he was offended by my language - and I by his ridicule and derailing of the argument. In the meantime, I've been asked to apologise (largely to keep the peace as it's his birthday next week, and he'd like my husband & I to be there(!)) - which I'm willing to do, provided it's a mutual thing. But he won't understand that he was offensive.

Yes, I realise it seems petty, ludicrous, etc. but I feel like my beliefs are being trampled upon. And he has a daughter now, and another on the way. Hence his attitude concerns me. What would you do?

KaseyM Tue 15-Oct-13 22:36:26

It's a bit hard to read with the background but your bro seems like he's very blinkered and isn't willing to listen to a woman about what a woman feels.

If it's any consolation mine would probably say similar. They haven't had to think about these things and they cling on to the fact that some women are fine so therefore all women should be.

Stick to your guns. Don't apologise. But wait to see if he changes his mind a bit. No one changes their stance during the argument but they may think about it after.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Tue 15-Oct-13 23:01:01

I would never concede to my sibling, even if I new they were right and definitely not in the heat of an argument, so there's possibly a bit of that going on there, along with an enjoyment of winding his sister up, maybe? Depends on your relationship.

Not read the blog, but am certainly on your side.

I hate discussing feminism with many men because they can afford for it to just be a game to them (not saying they all feel this way). It's more an existential/philosophical debate to them, not their life. It's easy and safer for them to minimise it.

If I were you I might apologise for anger/insults but make it clear I haven't changed my mind and was not being 'hysterical'. You can give him a chinese burn if he accuses you of being hormonal wink

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Tue 15-Oct-13 23:28:01

No, I wouldn't concede to my brother on this point. Tbh, my bro can be a bit of a misogynist twat at times - but he does listen to me. I talked him round on the p3 debate very easily and he ended up signing the petition <proud> on really very little argument from me... so he does hear me.

Your brother sounds like he's a bit entrenched. Tell him you'll go to his birthday if he considers your point of view as a woman grin

OpheliaMonarch Wed 16-Oct-13 04:12:05

Binned my arse of a brother long ago, he's catholic, of the twatty variety.
"Our dad's dead, so I'm the man of the house and get to tell ALL the women what to do."
Yeah, what a gift he wasn't!

Anyway, read your blog, your brother seems like a garden variety ignorant sexist dick. Seriously, the original Bloom article he thought 'seemed fairly measured' was fucking awful.

Sorry, but your brother behaved like a wanker. He is wrong.

He also has a really bloody irritating habit of repeating received daily fail 'ideas' whilst trying to pass them off as original.

Also, patronising mansplaining of the most boring variety.

Anyway, assuming your brother can see through that heady mist of superiority he is oozing, this is a good article:

educoup.com/2013/04/20/the-disease-of-sexual-objectification-inside-a-society-that-turns-women-into-things/

Also, one of the links looked really good:

www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2011/08/12769.html

Please don't apologise to this arse, he's obviously used to being in charge and is continuing this with his demand for an apology. He is defining what you do.

"Nothing further to say if fuck off and twat is all you can say. Im disappointed in you that you would get so nasty over some silly deabte."(sic)

Can't believe he said he's disappointed in you! I suspect you are disappointed that he's a misogynist, but he's the one that gets to be upset?

"Maybe dont discuss such stuff if youre going to get highly strung and swear off. Anyway"(sic)

In other words you are hysterical hmm and you're not allowed to be upset by him dismissing your beliefs. However, he's a precious flower who's feelings are hurt if you swear!

That is some passive aggressive bullshit. People swear when they are upset, how dare he say he is disappointed in you, that there is your problem.

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201011/10-common-passive-aggressive-phrases-avoid

"Why Are You Getting So Upset?"

The passive aggressive person is a master at maintaining his calm and feigning shock when others, worn down by his indirect hostility, blow up in anger. In fact, he takes pleasure out of setting others up to lose their cool and then questioning their "overreactions."

This is also great:

www.derailingfordummies.com

And this quote sums it all up:

"There are the occasions that men—intellectual men, clever men, engaged men—insist on playing devil's advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women's Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun—and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that's so much fun for them is the stuff of my life."Melissa McEwan.

Hope it helps, just reminded me of my brother, he was a grade A tosser too.

Wow, that got really long. blush

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 16-Oct-13 08:41:31

That quote about intellectual men is so true. And "well, do you feel discriminated against?" like my experience is that of all women. How about the "they don't mind, they are used to it - it's only you with your middle-class sensibilities" - when discussing very limited rights some women have in some countries. God forbid that I should be used to being able to go out on my own and drive a car and think that other women should be able to too.

Sorry for rant. angry at everything these days.

ShirakawaKaede Wed 16-Oct-13 10:54:19

Thanks, everyone, I was starting to doubt myself a little - I feel better reading your posts!

Ophelia - the links you've put up are great, esp Derailing For Dummies & Educoup, and the quote is bang on - it is just a game for him - hence he only scanned the article before dismissing it...

I don't honestly think I will get anywhere in terms of seeing my point of view, as demonstrated by his reaction to the "Stop Ignoring Dead Women" campaign (after saying "but what about if a woman kills a man, what then?"):

"...Although if men were (are?) dying due to female violence I suspect we actually would not hear much about it because it is still little recognised that women are just as capable as men of domestic violence. It is far easier for it to be hidden due to shame on the part of the men to resist reporting it or talking about it and the ease with which a woman can turn round and say "he has been beating me and I just defended myself" or simply deny it completely AND throw projection out claiming that they are the sole victim. If domestic violence against women is not treated seriously, domestic violence against men simply isn't even on anyone's radar. It may be less common than Man > Women violence but it happens none the less, yet more invisibly. I know people it has happened to. Human on human violence is wrong full stop."

The waters are somewhat muddied by the fact that he is a survivor of domestic violence - I support and believe him, as do our immediate family. But he tends to be offended by anything re. male on female violence and take the "what about teh menz" line.

My husband, thankfully, is a feminist, and has the ability to remain calm when dealing with people who are irrational and infuriating - so he may be able to talk sense into him better than I can...

whatdoesittake48 Wed 16-Oct-13 12:23:51

I think you are on to a loser here. Some people simply will not be swayed by reasonable argument and especially not on a topic like this.

There comes a time when it is better just to accept they have an opinion and leave them to it.

Surviving this with dignity is the tricky bit. But I think it is fair to apologise if you offended him, if you got sweary or shouty and point out that your apology is by no means a recognition that he is right.

Are you more concerned by his attitude or the fact that he couldn't accept that you had your own opinion.

For me the latter annoys me much more than someone having a different opinion on things. I want validation of my point - not agreement. I try to offer that in return.I personally don't believe in the notion of "talking sense into someone". Your brother is entitled to his beliefs no matter how infuriating or irrational they may be.

However he doesn't have the right to disrespect your viewpoint.

perhaps you and your brother can agree to disagree and maybe try to be more respectful in the future. trying to change his viewpoint just isn't going to happen.

ShirakawaKaede Wed 16-Oct-13 12:48:29

The problem is, I'm happy to apologise for being sweary. But he will simply accept my apology and apparently doesn't seem to think he has anything to apologise for himself (like casually trashing things that I believe in).

In other words, I'd be essentially backing down, his opinions wouldn't change (not that that's likely, as whatdoesittake said) and worst of all, he still wouldn't realise that lack of respect with which he treated my beliefs is totally unacceptable.

"I want validation of my point - not agreement." - Exactly!

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 16-Oct-13 13:19:17

Noooo don't apologise! He'll be even more smug... I would tell him ina tight-lipped way "we'll just have to agree to differ."

OpheliaMonarch Wed 16-Oct-13 16:53:07

He doesn't frequent Reddit does he? I completely sympathise with you.

Really don't think there is anything you can do. sad . But I wouldn't apologise, he will see this as conquering the stupid unreasonable woman no matter how many caveats you add. SabrinaMullhollandjjones is spot on.

Seriously, you bought up a misogynistic article, he defended it for no apparent reason.

That was how the conversation started, you were talking about sexism against WOMEN.

If you were angry about an article that said all Asian people shouldn't be allowed to drive, as they are naturally better at walking. Would he have derailed the conversation by saying, well, 'white people find it hard to pay for driving lessons'?
That was not the conversation you were having.

This is an old, old techniques used by guys who don't want to listen:

This article discusses how common it is in internet threads:

finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/phmt-argument/

They link to this:

The "What About the Mens?" Fallacy
Forgive me if there is already a law like this in place. I searched and could not find.

In any case, this "phallusy"1 fallacy4 is as follows:

In any discussion focusing on women's2 issues, the probability that someone will come around and say "men are , too!"3 approaches 1 the longer the discussion gets.

Honestly, he's like a baby MRA, he'd be cute if it all weren't so predictable, and didn't lead to the inevitable hate sites.

Hope you can agree to differ, didn't work with me and mine, but then there was more to it in than the misogyny my case. Hugs if you need them .

ApocalypseThen Wed 16-Oct-13 17:10:16

He wants you to apologise so you can come to his birthday. Don't even consider it. If you have a mutual disagreement, you have the right to say your piece and so does he (he's wrong but he's allowed to be). It's symptomatic of the chronic lack if respect he has for you and for women though that you should have to apologise so that he can tolerate your presence.

tribpot Wed 16-Oct-13 17:16:43

How come he hasn't been asked to apologise to keep the peace?

Let me guess: because it's the woman's job to be the appeaser. Well fuck that shit.

As a marginalised member of a disadvantaged group (male victims of domestic violence) I sympathise with him, and if you'd been talking about domestic violence things might be different. But I don't think being a reverse victim of one aspect of gender politics entitles him to unchallengeable opinions across the board.

LaFataMalvagia Wed 16-Oct-13 17:26:11

I always think arguments between siblings add an extra layer of confusingness. I think it probably depends on what your relationship with him is like in general.

My brother and I are fairly close and get on well but if I were to say that the sea is blue (for example) he'd be adamant that it is red. - But in his case I know he doesn't mean anything by it, we're both merely reverting to 10 year olds arguing over what film to watch/who gets the last donut etc.

Do you think if you apologized for swearing he would also apologize for belittling your argument? Also, do you think he really believes the stuff he says or he is just arguing for arguings sake?

LaFataMalvagia Wed 16-Oct-13 17:28:52

I missed the domestic violence bit. That makes the whole thing even more baffling. - on one hand I can understand a bit of the 'what about me?' and on the other surely if he knows how horrible domestic violence is he should be more sympathetic.

PumpkinGuts Wed 16-Oct-13 17:32:53

I would love to go to your party because I'm your sister and I live you. I won't apologise because I'm not sorry and I think you were wrong. Also also, I respect your intelligence too much to lie to you and deep down I know you'd hate for me to give you a false apology

Be as saccharin sweet as you can when you deliver lastbit grin

PumpkinGuts Wed 16-Oct-13 17:35:14

I really can't understand why he'd want you to apologise when he knows you don't mean it?

Other than for control

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 16-Oct-13 17:46:55

You say that you had a mostly ok relationship with your brother OP. I assume that means that it was a sometimes annoying but loving sibling relationship (sorry if I'm wrong on that point).

I understand you want validation of your point, but are you really saying that you would sacrifice your relationship with your brother for it?shock

ShirakawaKaede Wed 16-Oct-13 19:32:04

Pumpkinguts - nice idea - I may have to try that! Dione - you assume correctly - and there's no way I want to lose my relationship with my bro - believe it or not he can be wonderful, and we both want to be on good terms. But I don't think it's fair for him not to acknowledge his wrongs if I'm happy to admit mine.

ShirakawaKaede Wed 16-Oct-13 19:48:38

LaFataMalvagia -

Do you think if you apologized for swearing he would also apologize for belittling your argument? No, that's part of the problem! If we were to both apologise to each other, I'd be happy with that.

Also, do you think he really believes the stuff he says or he is just arguing for arguings sake? Sadly, I do think he believes the stuff he says.

He really is rather oblivious to sexism, and has a real bee in his bonnet re. male on female DV, and any campaigns which draw attention to it due, in part to the abuse he suffered, and the fact that she claimed that it was the other way round - leading to our dad's bro (note we no longer refer to him as "uncle") taking her side (not without ulterior motives) and changing the locks on their flat while he was out, convincing her to leave the country with their child, etc. Basically, it's all horribly complicated. He was wronged, and I and our immediate family believed and supported him. But it's left him with a deep suspicion of feminism....

That's what my husband and I think anyway. But the fact that he has suffered doesn't excuse his attitude, and I would hate for that to rub of on my niece(s).

Really appreciate you all giving your opinions & support. XX

ColderThanAWitchsTitty Wed 16-Oct-13 20:21:46

I understand you want validation of your point, but are you really saying that you would sacrifice your relationship with your brother for it?

if the brother throws down an ultimatum he is risking the relationship not the OP, why should he be allowed to have everything on his terms.

edam Wed 16-Oct-13 20:27:07

Sadly, he sounds like an obnoxious dick. Worrying for his dds. I'm sure he has redeeming qualities - at least, I hope so. But don't let him bully you if you aren't in the mood to be bullied.

BasilBabyEater Wed 16-Oct-13 21:07:29

Am I the only one who has normal reasonable nice brothers?

One of them is a feminist ally who totally gets it, the other isn't but he's not a nob and he wouldn't dream of demanding apologies or other control-freaky things as a condition of not continuing a tantrum.

Don't apologise, tell him you'd love to come to his birthday celebration, but if he wants to set conditions, you're not interested because you like your relationships to be functional and not mad.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 16-Oct-13 21:07:40

OP, I absolutely believe you.smile. I think what has happened here is a sibling squabble which has touched a raw nerve on both sides.

Your feminism is an important part of who you are. His experience of DV has put him through hell. DV has a deep and lasting impact.sad The fact that he was then victimized by the law and seen as the abuser just compounded his feelings of fear and powerlessness. I suspect that when he pulls his "what about the menz" line, he is really saying "what about me". Do you really think that he wouldn't support his DDs were they to be abused?

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 16-Oct-13 21:09:36

Men like him only get uppity when you mention his dd(s) - men that genuinely care become more feminist through love for their dd's. Various studies have shown it.

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