Men who hate feminists amuse me.

There is nothing funnier than someone who is so offended by feminists and feminism that they resort to middle school style hyperbole to air their criticism of feminist ideology. Or I should say their perception of feminist ideology and activism. I think this guy fears castration. The mere presence of women, makes him feel like less of a man.
For shame on Townhall, really. I would like to think this opinion doesn’t count, but unfortunately, it probably votes.

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90 Comments

  1. exelizabeth
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Mild Ennui, it’s nice that man, in whatever language you’re referencing, “man” meant human. In modern English, “man” means male, and our word for “human” is… human. So humankind would be the non-exclusive term that we use in modern English language.
    If you are truly so into language, you know that connotations of language change, so it is completely reasonable that, in a patriarchal society, people assume “mankind” leaves out women. A lot of words use the word “man” because women historically did not do those things (Congressman, Chairman, even Mailman), so those words were exclusionary.

  2. Bradley
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    The fact that Mike Adams deliberately tries to make women uncomfortable (as evidenced by his high-profile misogynist writing) may be one of the reasons he was turned down for promotion to full professor in 2006– although he claims that he’s been discriminated against because he’s a Christian (a charge I find a little hard to believe, as a Christian academic myself).
    Does he deserve to be fired? Well… probably not. I’ve been reading this jackass for years, and I agree that he’s a hateful, insecure little man who doesn’t know the first thing about feminism, religion, or anything political. But he’s also published ten peer-reviewed articles in his field (no book as far as I know, which also explains why he didn’t get that promotion), and– again, as far as I know– no students have claimed that his bizarre political and cultural ideas influence his teaching or grading; in fact, he’s won some teaching awards. So the moronic tripe that he writes for Townhall.com– even the stuff about college life– seems to be kept separate from his “day job” of teacher and scholar.
    I realize that it’s hard to believe that someone whose popular writings are so lacking in intelligence and logic could get a single peer-reviewed article published, much less ten. But he has. In many ways, Mike Adams is pretty much the Ward Churchill of the right– a brash, arrogant jackass who has written a few things that were well-received in his field, but who has– for the most part– been more concerned with shocking and upsetting people than actually constructing a logical argument. Of course, as Ward Churchill found out, controversial liberals can be fired regardless of tenure when they piss people off…

  3. Posted March 13, 2008 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    It’s “mankind” because the word for male was “werman”, the word for female was “wifman”, and “man” was gender neutral. It was the word for “human”.
    I’m not a hundred percent sure that’s completely accurate, but even assuming you’re correct, doesn’t the fact that the language evolved to embrace “man” as both masculine AND neuter tell us something about our culture and how it views women? And it isn’t reasonable to critically engage our language AS IT EXISTS NOW? Surely you’re not going to start suggesting that there’s nothing offensive about “n****r” because, actually, it comes from the name of a country, and that’s not offensive!
    The fact that masculine, but never, EVER, feminine, words can be considered gender-neutral as well as masculine is extremely important. If “man” means both “male human” and “human” — then “woman” means something different. Which means… women aren’t *exactly* human, or at least not in the way men are. WHY has our language evolved this way? Prove to me the evolution of the words has not been sexist.

  4. kissmypineapple
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    He’s a criminology professor, which is kind of like being elected dogcatcher.
    I’d like to make a general feministing.com request. Shall we not denigrate people by their fields of study? Several months ago, someone decided that I apparently shouldn’t be allowed to express my opinion on “homemaking” being a major, because I did my undergraduate work in Theatre. It’s pretty shitty to discount the work that people do just because you don’t think that particular field is serious enough.

  5. mlebowski
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that was just weak. He doesn’t really think he’s clever, does he? I mean, I don’t know if he was just trying to be funny and cute, or if he really thinks that he’s actually got a valid point, but either way he fails.

  6. MadLIbrarian
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I’m here as a refugee tonight from DailyKos, where the insane, violent sexism directed at Hillary Clinton is driving me to distraction. I’m not even a big fan of HRC! But the fact that this garbage is becoming acceptable over there really makes me wonder about the polite, well-behaved men I interact with every day at work and in my community. Are they secretly seething with hatred for women that they can spew behind a username?
    I don’t care if people don’t like HRC. Half the time I don’t even like her, myself. But I take every attack on her aimed at her sex (not at her policies or her opinions) PERSONALLY!
    Oh, yeah. And this professor is an idiot.

  7. maeve314
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, this guy never learned about etymology, let alone how to use it.

  8. getoffmyskittle
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Study a little etymology, would you? SO tired of this being propogated. It’s ignorant, ridiculous, and flat out incorrect. Period.
    It’s “mankind” because the word for male was “werman”, the word for female was “wifman”, and “man” was gender neutral. It was the word for “human”.
    Wow, that was really unnecessarily rude. I actually had seen that before, although I’ll admit I didn’t remember the specific words. But my point was and still is that it’s not like humankind was too dumb to change from “mankind” to “humankind” when “man” became gender-specific – they didn’t because it wasn’t important to them as a society, as a patriarchical society in which women were, yes, seen as less than human. I think that’s what we’re all here to fight (unless I REALLY got this site all wrong) and I don’t think that snapping at each other over (insignificant) perceived mistakes is helping the cause any. I’m just sayin’.

  9. mandalanis
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    “Oh, yeah. And this professor is an idiot.”
    he’s not the only male faculty member who is a moronic sexist ass. I am a female faculty member at a science university, so of course fems are the minority. You wouldn’t believe what these asses say to our faces! “Women shouldn’t be scientists/faculty/money makers/etc”. Of course they don’t get fired or even disciplined for sexist comments. Could you IMAGINE how quick they’d fire a faculty member who said “East Indians/Asian/Blacks/etc shouldn’t be scientists”??? You KNOW they’d consider racism a terminal offense, but sexism…. TOTALLY acceptable where I work.

  10. ts
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    What I don’t really understand is why you don’t let this kind of thing slide. What’s the point of engaging here? It’s a clear cut echo chamber topic. Usually, when I only came here when I was referred by links, I found feministing to be a lot more interesting than an echo chamber, but since I’ve started reading more regularly, I’m surprised about the amount of posts about undeserving stuff like this. What’s the point?
    Oh, and btw – in my opinion, this quote taken from the comments above is a lot worse than a pointless article, because it can be used to vindicate the article’s message… -

    “I think this guy fears castration.
    If by “fears” you mean “deserves,” then yes.

  11. Wildberry
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    “I’m surprised about the amount of posts about undeserving stuff like this. What’s the point?”
    I suppose the point is for the amusement of some people. That’s what the title suggests, isn’t it? Just because something doesn’t have a large impact or implication doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place. If you gain no pleasure from the post then ignore it. There are lots of posts I skip over…and I didn’t even read the article in this post, though it probably would amuse me. Doesn’t mean I go into the comment sections and complain that they posted something that caught their eye, but is uninteresting to me.
    So yeah, basically it was posted for amusement (I assume).

  12. judgesnineteen
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    If you want to play the etymology game, Old English man, meaning person (which I swear I got the impression was still tilted towards the masculine, although I saw it used once referring to a menstruating woman, so in general, ok, gender neutral; ps there’s no werman, just wer and waepman) is believed to come from the Proto-Germanic word for man and that, from the Indo-European root meaning “man, male.” Granted, I think some people who believe in sound symbolism cite “man” as support because apparently it means person in a lot of languages. But I don’t believe in that degree of sound symbolism. And I don’t know when man and kind were originally put together in one word (OE did it, but I can’t say if that came from earlier).
    Not that it matters to me. After all, this just means that the word for person became the word for man, which isn’t too great either. It’s not just in language that man and person are related in a way that woman and person are not. So we still have a problem, and I think language shows it and maybe influences it. Not just the English language, either. Anyone know of a language in which the feminine gender is the default? I’m really asking.

  13. DaveNJ17
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I agree in regards to that comment, TS. If it’s trying to be tongue-in-cheek it’s not doing it that successfully at all, and if it’s a even a bit serious it’s flat-out terrible. If we can agree that saying someone deserves to be raped is awful we also have to agree that just because someone is dumb doesn’t mean they deserve to be castrated.
    If, in criticizing sexists, you end up resorting to sexism yourself, it’s no victory at all, for anyone.

  14. NeedleNana
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Assuming Mild Ennui is referring to Old English, the word for man or male is “wer”, the word for woman or female is “wif”, and yes, “man” technically means person – but it’s strange how
    a) In a patriarchal society, when texts refer to “persons” they generally mean a male population and
    b) in OE alliterative poetry, “man” means “man” when the author needed an m-word.

  15. joye
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I’ve been around long enough that I’m not surprised by men who hate feminists, but I still have lots of problems with WOMEN who hate them. I just don’t get it.

  16. ProFeministMale
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Presley – regarding etemology, I love you for your vast knowledge.
    Anyhow, we were having this same discussion the other night – and a friend of mine, who considers herself a feminist but not a feminist theorist, asked if I was going to try to change every country’s language to represent the female gender …I didn’t know how to answer …

  17. j
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    From the description of his book on Amazon (“Feminists Say the Darndest Things” – hurr hurr):
    “Claiming that feminist scholar is an oxymoron, Adams asserts that feminists have no sense of humor, are the biggest censors on college campuses, lack the courage to act as individuals, engage in widespread academic and personal dishonesty and attempt to solve problems by changing society rather than their own behavior. Ridiculing feminist-sponsored masturbation workshops, he notes, Men are fully capable of masturbating without taking a seminar…. For campus feminists, it’s another excuse to seek funding from the university administration. Adams’s caustic survey of the feminist worldview is certain to stir up controversy when his conservative radio promotional campaign gets underway.”
    And stir up controversy he does – there are always going to be men (and women – Hi, Charlotte!) who think and write this way; I think the comment above re: echo chamber/pointless to engage unfortunately has some merit. This guy is never going to grow up and women are better off not engaging, especially with responses like the first comment saying he deserves castration. It’s not surprising that a place like Townhall.com (with links to NRA radio news) gave Adams a platform for his ignorant “humor.”
    Also, I completely agree that it’s fruitless to go around devaluing certain fields/being rude to each other. If we expect respect and maturity of others, shouldn’t we practice it ourselves?

  18. judgesnineteen
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I don’t have an answer to that either. I think we need a lot of research, some of which may have already been done and I just need to find it. But I want to know things like, is gender reflected in every language in one way or another? If so, is the masculine gender always given some sort of more general or higher status? How much of this is lexical and how much is grammatical? I think we can change the lexical things – it’s not that hard to say humankind, but I don’t see it working to tell Spanish speakers they need to stop choosing the masculine version of an adjective when referring to a quality in general. But other languages have movements like this, too. Like in France, professional women got people to start calling them Madame la [profession] instead of Madame le [profession], making a feminine form of their title. I think speakers of each language should do it for themselves, because I wouldn’t have seen that issue the same way as the French feminists did. Personally, I’d like to see a dictionary with all the feminine forms listed as headwords and the masculine as variants, even though linguistically it doesn’t quite make sense, but it would still work, and it might make people think.

  19. judgesnineteen
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    My comment was in response to ProFeministMale, just to be clear :) .

  20. visionaria
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Why would we want languages to have female terms as the default? Isn’t that just as bad as using the word that originally meant human only for males?
    Also, in earlier OE, “wif” was used for woman, but in later OE, the term became “wifman” (and later “wimman” if I remember correctly). So both Mild Ennui & Needle Nana are correct.

  21. judgesnineteen
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I don’t want there to be a language with the feminine as the default, I just want to know whether or not such a language exists. Either answer, yes or no, would offer insight.
    Sorry if this shows up multiple times, I’m having some sort of problem posting.

  22. Shadow32
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    “feminists … attempt to solve problems by changing society rather than their own behavior.”
    My god, you people are trying to change society to solve problems? Where would we be if the civil-rights movement had tried shit like that …. oh, wait.
    This article seems to have been dragged through a timewarp from the seventies, but it does serve to perpetuate the conservative image of college feminists as ivory tower intellectuals who are too busy with courses like “Gender discrimination in the marginalia of Marcel Proust” to be taken seriously (that’s not actually a real course, as far as I know).

  23. TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Oh, and btw – in my opinion, this quote taken from the comments above is a lot worse than a pointless article, because it can be used to vindicate the article’s message… -
    “I think this guy fears castration.
    If by “fears” you mean “deserves,” then yes.

    I agree in regards to that comment, TS. If it’s trying to be tongue-in-cheek it’s not doing it that successfully at all, and if it’s a even a bit serious it’s flat-out terrible. If we can agree that saying someone deserves to be raped is awful we also have to agree that just because someone is dumb doesn’t mean they deserve to be castrated.
    If, in criticizing sexists, you end up resorting to sexism yourself, it’s no victory at all, for anyone.
    I’m sowwwwwy! Was my joke mean to the widdle helpless rich white man who is the public hero of hundreds of lovely misogynist commenters because he advocates for the continuous oppression of women, while encouraging men to self-righteously believe that they’re the REAL oppressed minority and therefore inflicting their blatant lady-hate on all womankind is completely justifiable?
    Yeah, I’m a real asshole.

  24. kirsch
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    judgesnineteen:
    Actually, French does kinda work with the feminine as the default, at least phonetically (if not orthographically). Think of the adjectives petit (m.)/petite (f.). In French class, you’re always told that petit is the default, and to form the feminine, you add an ‘e’. Phonetically, this means that for the default the ‘t’ sound at the end is not pronounced (le petit prince), but becomes pronounced in the feminine (une petite amie). However, think of the case when the word ‘petit’ precedes a noun beginning with a vowel (le petit ami). The liaison causes the ‘t’ to be pronounced.
    Logically, then, one could (and should) argue that the feminine ‘t’ pronounced is default, and to form the masculine, simply devoice the ‘t.’ The proof: Without the default ‘t’ pronounced, where would one know what letter to tack on in the case of a liaison? It could just as easily be ‘le petip ami’ or ‘le petif ami.’
    I hope that makes some kind of sense — I took a few French linguistics classes a few years ago, and we discussed this quite a bit.

  25. acranom
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Re: the sexism of other languages
    In Spanish, when referring to a group of people, like a class of schools kids, the default is always male, so long as there is one male present in the group. My high school Spanish teacher explained that if you were referring to a collective group of women if one of them were holding a male infant, it would still be “hombres” as opposed to “mujeres.” Sort of stupid, right?
    When I was studying abroad in Spain, however, I learned that the rule is changing. In Spanish classes in school, kids are being taught to go with a simple majority. So a group of women and with one male baby would be “mujeres”, as would, say, referring collectively to a group that might consist of a father and his two daughters.
    There will probably be a lag before the majority of Spainards get used to the switch, but for sure by the time my kids are learning Spanish it will be the norm.
    So… other languages change to address sexism, as well.

  26. violetfishy
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    It’s “mankind” because the word for male was “werman”, the word for female was “wifman”, and “man” was gender neutral. It was the word for “human”.
    I did not know this – interesting stuff! Does anyone know when it changed from this to just “man” and “woman” as the derivative?
    But, it doesn’t really make any difference to what the word “man” means today…and thus, the point about the word “mankind” still stands.

  27. Paul G. Brown
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    A little compassion, everyone.
    Whenever I encounter men with this attitude I’m inclined to conclude that they’re repressed homosexuals.
    All their lives, they’ve been told that to be ‘men’ they must find women attractive. Turns out they don’t. Which implies — follow the logic here — they aren’t ‘men’.
    Then cognitive dissonance sets in. Clearly, the fact that they don’t find women attractive is the fault of the women! So they write rants like this one to demonstrate their ‘manliness’ to themselves.
    Sexist straight men come in a variety flavors but in my (limited) experience they’re rarely as explicit as this. Their sexism manifests itself in more subtle ways.

  28. wandergrrl
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    On the gendered words topic, I’ve been taking a Tagalog (Filipino) class and was surprised to learn that the pronouns are gender-neutral, as well as some other common nouns that refer to people. The gender is only understood through the context. So you’d use “siya” to mean he OR she. Or you’d use “kapatid” to refer to a sibling but there is no specific word for brother or sister. Interesting, yes?

  29. DaveNJ17
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Soymilk, just because someone is rich, or privileged, doesn’t mean that a joke about something as serious as what you mentioned is okay. Call him dumb, I’ll agree. Call him sexist, I’ll agree. Call him an asshole, I’ll agree.
    But when you make jokes like that, I’m going to have to say that yeah, you should be “sowwy”. It’s not about being “mean”, but rather what your “joke” advocated: a cruel and unusual punishment for sexism. Nobody’s ever going to see the other side when people joke about castrating them, and you do yourself no justice, nor your side.
    So yeah, maybe can the snarky comments about sexism deserving castration. If nothing else it will give less fodder to the other side.

  30. Kelly
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    meeneecat,
    One of my old women studies’ texts described radical feminism as a derivative of feminism that seeks to first demolish then recreate all aspects of society in more women-positive, non-sexist forms. Kind of like redoing the health care system, the criminal justice system, the education system, and so on to be more beneficial for everyone.
    The parallel to this was a form of feminism that was content with making little changes to pre-existing structures over time.
    Has anyone heard anything similar? Or am I grossly misinterpreting the text? It as been awhile since I read that section. :p

  31. judgesnineteen
    Posted March 16, 2008 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Wow, glad I asked. I think that’s awesome about Tagalog, and I’m pleasantly surprised that they’re actually changing the rule in Spanish. Sometimes I think I see rule-changing in French, too; I think the feminine serving as the underlying version is a historical accident (but I haven’t researched that, I’m just assuming), but that plus the tendency to say things like “le lecteur/la lecteuse” instead of just “le lecteur” (all meaning “the reader” as used in essays on literature) is looking positive. Another historical happenstance that worked out well is “on.” They don’t have a generic he problem (except that a lot of people say the word for man or men to mean people, which I hate) because they have the word on which is like “one” except less funny sounding. It’s derived from the word for man, but I don’t think it appears sexist anymore.

  32. spike the cat
    Posted March 16, 2008 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Changing the language is only half the battle. In a truely equal system we should be able to use group gendered terms randomly.
    Example:
    Hey guys: to address a mixed group (very common, no?)
    Hey gals: used to address a mixed group, even if unitentional, would be considered an insult to any males among the group. Yes, I know gals is old fashioned, but humor me.
    Despite our superficial progress with language, women have merely been granted a sort of pseudo-equal status, shaky at best.

  33. Femilala
    Posted March 16, 2008 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Kelly,
    That is also the definition of “radical feminism” that I was taught in my Feminist Philosophy class. Basically, a complete reconstruction of societal norms.

  34. myono2
    Posted March 16, 2008 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    To:TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    You are indeed a real asshole.
    Just letting you know.

  35. alicialynn
    Posted March 17, 2008 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Oh Mike Adams. I’m surprised he hasn’t come up on here before. I actually go to UNCW although I’m working on my master’s and haven’t lived in Wilmington for about nine months. No one in my department likes him, and they mostly try to ignore him. The thing that I find interesting is that he doesn’t make his opinions widely known on campus. He just writes on Townhall.com and has his horrible books published, but he rarely stirs up trouble on campus.

  36. Posted March 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    “I’m sowwwwwy! Was my joke mean to the widdle helpless rich white man who is the public hero of hundreds of lovely misogynist commenters because he advocates for the continuous oppression of women, while encouraging men to self-righteously believe that they’re the REAL oppressed minority and therefore inflicting their blatant lady-hate on all womankind is completely justifiable?”
    Wow, way to be a part of the problem. Your comment is entirely more damaging to the cause than the tongue in cheek article that you reference. Well done.

  37. prairielily
    Posted March 17, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Why is it that when feminists get annoyed by things like tshirts, pencil sharpeners, urinals, mousepads, tables, etc. etc. that make jokes about rape and violence against women in a world where rape and violence against women are epidemic that we are called “humorless feminists” but when someone makes a castration joke, in a world where castration is extremely rare and a non-threat to the vast majority of males, those same men who laughed at the rape jokes freak out and can’t handle it?
    Some of the people who’ve protested that comment on this board might very well be fighting against gendered violence in all its forms, but this is something I’ve noticed in everyday life.
    Actually, that whole piece, and others like it, could be considered part of the same paradigm. Apparently men can oppress and degrade for centuries to the point where it’s ingrained in our language, but the second a few women suggest that THEY ARE NOT SPECIAL, they write nonsensical articles about how they are under attack by the left-wing liberal feminazi conspiracy.
    It’s really quite incredible.

  38. Posted March 17, 2008 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Wait, so explain why it’s okay to make castration jokes but not rape jokes? If castration jokes are funny, are rape jokes? No? Why?

  39. prairielily
    Posted March 17, 2008 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    My point was that men take castration jokes very personally even though it’s highly unlikely, and expect to be taken seriously, but then turn around and call women “humorless feminists” when they take a rape joke personally, because rape is common and rapes jokes help normalize it in our culture. If you laugh at rape jokes, you have no right to complain about castration jokes.
    And let’s be honest. Castration will NEVER be normalized by a few castration jokes.
    I don’t think she should have made the joke. Violating a person’s bodily autonomy isn’t funny.
    But jumping on it when it’s a throwaway line in a long thread, and then acting like they have the same detrimental societal effect is disingenuous at best.

  40. Posted March 20, 2008 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Mmmm. Quiche.
    Anyway, I think that castration jokes actually can be funny, (even though I’d prefer to remain intact). It’s the same way that stories about a little old lady being afraid of a well dressed black man in a grocery store is funny: there’s absolutely no danger, so the person’s fear is humorous (though a sad statement).
    Rape jokes, on the other hand, are not about irrational fear. In fact, they’re not even jokes, but barely veiled threats.

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