Blogger David Futrelle has written up a short but sweet article on the Western male fantasy of the "nubile, pliant, and above all grateful" Asian or Eastern European woman. This is a common trope, and it's one that I think a lot of us in the feminist community have chosen to simply ignore. But sadly enough, ignoring something doesn't make it go away.
The same can be said for the anti-misandry or "men's rights movement." After reading the linked article, I clicked around a little and found that Futrelle has developed a commendable vocation for directly tackling misogynist outlets like Spearhead.
I'll be honest with you: I don't engage with the men's rights movement because those guys scare me. The only violent, threatening comments I've ever received have been from that particular corner of the Crazyverse.
These are men who believe there's no such thing as rape, or that women are primarily responsible for it. Men who believe that you can either have abortion rights OR child support, but not both. (Because if a woman has the option to have a child on her own, then it's her choice and the father shouldn't have to pay for it. No, I don't know how they handle the divorce situation either. I never said this stuff made sense. In fact, I'm pretty sure I said exactly the opposite.)
And this behavior and overall attitude of threatening creepiness is not just confined to the internet. I once worked at a desk adjacent to a somewhat prominent "men's rights activist."
I didn't realize this until one day I mentioned something about being a feminist. The next day he brought in a huge cardboard box full of copies of the men's rights newsletter which he had been self-publishing for several years. Let me tell you something: that noise was scary.
I later learned that he had performed the same airlift drop of misogyny on several other women in the office. And yet, he never handed his stuff out to other men. Why?
It was impossible not to feel there was an implied threat in being handed a copy paper box full of self-published "men's rights" newsletters. Particularly coupled with his can't-quite-put-your-finger-on-it creepiness.
Let me put it this way: I still remember his name quite clearly, even though this was fifteen years ago, and I don't remember my best office friend's name. I remember his name because every few years I look him up online, convinced that this will be the time I learn he's been sent to jail for being a serial killer.
Furthermore, it's a futile effort. Nothing I could possibly say would ever change the mind of a rabid "anti-feminist," so why should I bother?
But to circle back to our original topic: at least those guys are pretty open about what they want. There's something refreshing about a man who says, "I want a partner who is completely submissive, subservient, and wholly dedicated to catering to my own needs without insisting on any of her own." So there's that, I guess.
Photo credit: Flickr/Liz Henry