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Pre-2008 Posts

Ampgate, Wendy McElroy, Women and Male Power

 Boys only!

“Ifeminist” Wendy McElroy wrote a good post yesterday about Ampgate. She doesn’t care about pornography; she’s a libertarian and pro-porn, so it wasn’t the connection with pornography that bothered her. It was the selling out and not telling about it, especially given that Amp had regularly visited her boards, read her articles, and commented on them on Alas in a negative way as though he stood in solidarity with feminist women against the likes of McElroy and her I-feminists. It was interesting to see that McElroy linked to witchy-woo, Reappropriate, Dr. Violet Socks at Reclusive Leftist and to me here at WomensSpace. We’re not exactly women she’s done any linking to before, or would have, had she been blogging, other than in a adversarial way.

McElroy writes:

What a weasel that man is! Whether you like or hate my beliefs, I live them. I write under my own name and — as with the Independent Institute that appears prominently on ifeminists.net — I identify who affiliates with my domains.

Anyone who has paid attention to the business world, the Fortune 500 world, over the past decade has had to have noticed, as I have, that far more corporate whistleblowers — people who out CEOs, accountants, and entire companies for fraudulent and criminal activity, dishonesty, shady dealings — are and have been women than men. I don’t think this is because women are morally superior to men because of their biology or for any other reason. I think this is one evidence of the way women as a group are not corrupted by power, and do not, in fact, enjoy power as men do, even when they rise to the top in the business world. Men have one another’s backs in their fraudulent and shady dealings– always. They circle the wagons around each other, and they all benefit from that in various ways. Women have never been, and still are not, allowed into these inner circles in which men broker power wordlessly, over lunch, out fishing, in strip clubs, where they protect one another in their personal and corporate shadiness as a matter of what is usually an ongoing series of unspoken gentlemen’s agreements. It is shocking and jarring to women when we are witness to these dishonest and shady dealings and we call them out, we blow the whistle. Part of the reason we do call things like this out more easily than men do is, we never expected men to have our backs or to be part of those very male inner circles where justifying the unjustifiable, rationalizations, lies, and mutual back-scratching are de rigueur, par for the course. We don’t stand to lose the protections inherent in the good ol’ boys network because those networks have never included us.

It’s interesting that Alas is now dominated by men, including progressives and liberal men. It’s also interesting that some of the women who are continuing to participate (though not all) seem to be there more because they didn’t like the politics of the women who outed Amp than because they share Amp’s politics. There was a choice to make there: solidarity with women or being thrown a bone now and again by the men, who, as always, but more so now, remain front and center. It’s pretty clear that the men, with a very few, very admirable, exceptions, chose solidarity with the men. Hugo is still there. Jeffrey Newman is still there. The usual male libertarian/neocon/men’s rights suspects are still there. They have Amp’s back. They’re taking care of each other as men. The women who stayed did not stand in solidarity with women– in some instances, I believe, for reasons that are something along the lines of, “Don’t get the idea that just because I’m a woman, I have anything in common with the likes of you.” The rhetoric around that kind of decision can be sophisticated, can sound like a defense against essentialism; my experience is that nevertheless, 99 times out of 100, it’s old-fashioned misogyny talking. Women can be misogynists too, I think, and often are in the mistaken notion that they will be admitted into those inner circles of men eventually. Well, they won’t be. That’s not the way things work under male heterosupremacy. I don’t think that changes, just because men call themselves “feminists.”

It must have rankled McElroy to see that after  a huge exodus of men’s rights types from her boards some time ago — they had all decided she was too feminist, was actually a feminist, didn’t really care about men’s rights at all — these same men, many of them,  seemed tickled to have Amp show up and participate on their men’s rights boards.  Amp, the male feminist, was acceptable to anti-feminist men in a way McElroy, the anti-feminist, would never be.  Why? Because McElroy is a woman and Amp is a man.  That’s the way male power works.  That’s the way it works.

Heart

Discussion

13 thoughts on “Ampgate, Wendy McElroy, Women and Male Power

  1. I always thought it was particularly stupid of women who get male approval to think that they would eventually get into the inner circle of the old boys club. When are they going to notice that “eventually” never comes? Personally, that is one “inner circle” that I turn my nose up at. If I *was* invited into it (no chance), my answer would be “no thank you”.

    Posted by Branjor | October 25, 2006, 3:17 pm
  2. Man…when antifeminists call you out, you’re beyond help.

    To paraphrase what you said above, gender is a system of male power. Even McElroy can’t ignore that fact.

    Posted by Y. Carrington | October 25, 2006, 3:57 pm
  3. I think a lot of women who defend sexist behavior on the part of men do recognize that they’ll never enjoy full-membership-benefits of the good ole boys’ club, but they’re willing to settle for what the boys offer them because let’s face it, boys make the rules and it’s easier to go along than rebuke the game. For the women who defend Amp and continue to participate in whatever his site/blog/domain has become, it means they’re willing to settle for the approval of the men who rule the site rather than risk it on their own. I find it discouraging (but not all that surprising) that self-proclaimed feminist women have made this particular compromise, because their defense of Amp is a defense of his capitalization on pornographers’ exploitation and abuse of women in the material now marketed on his domain.

    Very discouraging (but also not surprising) is how easily “women” becomes abstract so that the actual living, breathing, feeling woman or girl in the van – the person whom the Bang Bros are calling a bitch and a slut, whom the Bang Bros and others of their ilk are humiliating and using for the amusement of those who hate women most, off of whom the Bang Bros are making millions – SHE becomes an acceptable casualty so long as you get to enjoy the good graces of a ‘popular’ feminist blog and its liberal proprietor, Amp, who also profited from her abuse! Sure, sure, of course you codemn violence against women, capitalist exploitation of women, hatred of women, objectification of women… just not when it means giving up something tough.

    If your point in blogging is to get people to read what you write, and you’re a woman, so your chances of being read are significantly greater if you post your stuff to a ‘popular’ blog and, oh, by the way, that ever-so-popular blog just happens to pay some guy’s mortgage for a year because his domain was worth something to someone who sells women’s bodies for an easy buck… WELL, I suppose that’s exactly the kind of compromise feminists have been fighting to end since the first woman called bullshit and declared “I’m not playing your fucked-up game” when faced with such a compromise. AND THE POINT IS, nothing will ever get better for women if we keep making these compromises and start calling THAT feminism!

    I caught one (presumably male) commenter on Alas last week tell Pony (and not-so-insignificantly every other woman reading the thread) quite pointedly and quite horrificly that if she made some comment about photos Amp had posted he would hunt her down and kill her. That sort of thing is why women MUST compromise, because whether this threat had any teeth or not, too many men are serious when they say this sort of thing. The fact that Amp allows this to happen on his ‘feminist’ blog is all the proof one needs to know that he is no friend of feminists, no friend of women.

    Posted by Sassafras | October 25, 2006, 6:54 pm
  4. I’ve not yet recovered from the fact that Wendy McElroy linked at least semi-approvingly and supportively to actual feminist blogs.

    Still, I’m also mind-boggled that McElroy would rather call Amp a hypocrite than a pimp, insinuating, I think, that the former is worse than the latter, because yeah, hypocricy results in the destruction of women’s lives on a daily basis, waaaayyyy more than pornography and prostitution, right?

    But this here, right here what you said, Heart:

    “Amp, the male feminist, was acceptable to anti-feminist men in a way McElroy, the anti-feminist, would never be. Why? Because McElroy is a woman and Amp is a man. That’s the way male power works. That’s the way it works.”

    Glaringly accurate.

    Posted by Sophia | October 25, 2006, 10:38 pm
  5. I’m posting from a free public computer because I have given up car, telephone and computer in order to make ends meet. I announced that I would do (most of ) this on Genderberg over a month ago.

    I wanted to put it on record that I have not posted to AMPs site since he made it clear he had sold his site, nor have I read there. I assume the threat made to me is referring to my concern about baby and child pictures being posted on the same website that peddles porn. What could I be thinking?

    Posted by Pony | October 25, 2006, 11:34 pm
  6. Dang, Pony. I’d hoped you wouldn’t hear about that threat and had trouble believing it didn’t get moderated. I mean, geez. A bunch of us are moderated through banned but it’s fine for someone to say she’s going to kill you?

    Well, it was soopermouse, a woman, not a man. She posted that when the Monday baby blogging showed up as usual after Ampgate. Sigh.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 25, 2006, 11:37 pm
  7. I liked her post because it’s a new angle on the thing. Funny – it took me a while to figure out Alas was supposed to be a feminist site – it just seemed sort of generally liberal.

    Posted by profacero | October 26, 2006, 5:06 am
  8. I agree with you 100%. I was in the military for 11 years. The good ol boy club was not breaking. I filed a grievance about several sexual/racial violations and I was in it ALONE!!!!!!!!! And they stuck together, lying, fabricating, even threatening murder to avoid the loss of power.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | October 26, 2006, 6:09 am
  9. Well, it was soopermouse, a woman, not a man.

    Jayzus. Who the hell needs enemies???

    So sorry about mentioning that threat here, Pony. I didn’t even think about your not having seen it. I’ll do my best to be more thoughtful with my posts from now on!

    Posted by Sassafras | October 26, 2006, 12:52 pm
  10. Hey, Sass, not to speak for pony, but you couldn’t have known! I didn’t mean to make you feel bad.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 26, 2006, 1:34 pm
  11. umm if this is woman only space feel free to delete..

    Amp, as in Ampersand from the old ms boards?
    Old dog, new tricks.
    Heart as usual, your posts rock… I Am trying to get together a men’s group, that will follow established Feminist tenets for 6 years now.

    I have one word.. “Failiurrrrrh…………..”

    Posted by elfeminista. | January 18, 2007, 4:48 am
  12. Hey, el feminista– excellent to hear from you! How are you and your partner? It’s been a long time.

    yes, Amp, as from the old Ms boards. Read it and weep. He created a really nice blog, lots of fine feminist wimmin posted to it, including rad fems, then he sold it to pornographers who created pages on his site with links to misogynist, racist, porn. He got a pretty penny for it, too. Now 18 percent, last time I checked, of those who visit Amptoons go for the porn posted there.

    Thanks for your good words and good on you for your work with men. I know it’s frustrating and discouraging, but keep the faith! It is important work!

    And hey, come June, Mary Daly, Sonia Johnson, Paula Gunn Allen, Cherrie Moraga, Afia Walking Tree, and other a-mazing wimmin are going to be speaking down in New Mexico! I’m going to be there. I think just the fact of this conference and the interest in it is reason for hope.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 18, 2007, 6:05 am
  13. Oh, and the comments on my blog are open to all unless I specify otherwise.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 18, 2007, 6:06 am

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