Amanda Marcotte writes at the Raw Story:
In the comments of this post and on Twitter two days ago, I laid down a gauntlet: Since so many anti-feminist “skeptics” (I refuse to acknowledge the skepticism of someone who won’t apply it to gender roles and patriarchy, when these are major societal issues) were having multi-year meltdowns of tone policing feminists, I just wanted to know why. Over and over, I kept seeing the phrase: “You shouldn’t be able to call me privileged/misogynist/asshole/bigot just because I disagree with you!” This phrase is meant to force the conversation into more tone policing and rules-lawyering about how one is allowed to express disagreement, a debate that is set up so that progressives just give up and go home since any expression of displeasure at reactionary sentiments is considered “intolerant”, no matter how mild, as I noted yesterday.
So, I had one question. Okay, you “disagree”. About what, exactly?
After all, the answer to that question determines the validity of the whine. They know this, which is why they reference their disagreements ellipitcally. If you come right and say what your real problems with feminism are, you out yourself not as a reasonable person who has reasonable disagreements with those hysterical bitches, but someone who openly holds anti-woman positions that just so happen to conflict with what a rigorous examination of scientific fact and skepticism about appeals to tradition would lead one to believe. My belief was that the feminist detractors would not be, despite calling themselves “brave heroes”, brave enough to articulate the actual meat of their objections, but would fall back on the not-talking-about-the-thing-we’re-talking-about strategy of tone policing. I was correct. Almost no one produced a substantive complaint about the actual ideas feminism brings to the table.
I tried! I gave them a list of things that feminists support, so they could argue against them. Things like the right to choose, the right to live free of violence, equal pay, or hell, even the expansion of the social safety net. I pointed out that there were many feminists who spoke and brought actual arguments and evidence to the table at Women in Secularism, and they could argue with any of them! I got crickets. Just kidding! I got more tone policing, but no substantive arguments. It’s definitely not because of previous rounds of bans of people for harassing me and commenters drained the numbers, either, because this time around another dozen people got banned for inability to follow this most basic rule.
But one middle-aged gentleman on Twitter, a man who at his age should really know better, finally came up with something that he believes feminists are wrong about: sexual harassment. Of course, in the grand tradition of creepy dudes everywhere, he was still arguing in bad faith, and pretended that sexually harassing women is sincere, if clueless flirting. He stood up for the male….wait for it….privilege to say whatever you want to any woman and have it interpreted, no matter how obviously it was creepy, as generously as possible. The right to corner women in elevators to creep them out, which is apparently the most sacred right ever concocted by a non-existent god to show how much he loved men more than women, is and always will be about what this multi-year meltdown of misogynists in the skeptic movement will be about. That, and really nothing else.
Which puts into perspective how bananas all this is, because even those people who have more substantive disagreements with feminists on issues like violence, reproductive rights, equality in the workplace, etc. tend to think that it’s bad form to be rude to other conference-goers at conferences. I’ve been in conservative spaces and don’t generally feel they’re more or less safe than skeptic/geek spaces. Just on the grounds of politeness, this battle should have been decided in favor of the feminists a long time ago. Regardless of gender ideology, it’s considered bad form to use physical space and exploitative interpretations of social rules to make other people feel creeped out, to get the momentary thrill of power over them. Duh.
Of course, all this really exposes one fundamental thing that makes this entire shitstorm over the P-word (privilege) even more terrible. Like Ron Lindsay, I’m none too happy with the explosion of the word “privilege” all over progressive freethought blogs. However, my reasons are, I would argue, exactly the opposite of his. I don’t like the P-word because I think it’s far too generous to the opposition.
Read more here.