Inflaming Feminazis: BEING Powerful? Or just FEELING Powerful?

As Women’s History month winds down I’d like to ponder the difference between being powerful and merely feeling powerful. Too often people chase the feeling and give up the real thing.

I sensed the phenomenon in a highly publicized event last year.

Last October a Yale fraternity chanted “No means yes, yes means anal” in front of the campus Women’s Center. One man concluded it was all meant to stir up feminazis. “The sole purpose of that building,” he opined, “is to give hatemongering academic feminists a base to spread their propaganda and recruit new members… They most likely (chanted there) because feminazis always go out of their way to harm men. Just about every policy implemented by academic feminazis is meant to incite misandry and marginalize men.”

Interesting tactic. “Who looks worse?” I asked.

“The guys will come across as arseholes, but they don’t care. All they care about is stirring up the feminazis.”

The commenter has a blog which seems to have the same goal. I just don’t know whether any feminazis go to his site so that he can stir them up.

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt that his theory could be true. Do you think the Yale frat staged a blow to feminism? Or to sexism, instead?

While some seek to feel strong by chanting rape fantasies, real rapists and wife batterers are involved in the same loop. They want to feel powerful, so they beat down a woman or invade her body. Or both. They feel dominant in the moment. But their potency is actually pretty limited. And the acts are only destructive, not constructive.

Any time gang members beat or kill someone they probably feel formidable. But in the long run, how mighty are they sitting in jail, or dead?

A few early feminists made the error of feeling powerful over the real thing when they spewed man-hating rhetoric. In the moment they likely felt pretty tough. But the strategy did not create real muscle and feminists at large gave it up. For the effect was to repel potential female and male allies, alike.

Now we are left with the brand “feminazis.”

To all of the above I ask, why don’t you do something with your efforts and your lives that are both powerful and constructive, instead of beating others down in a basically weak attempt to feel better about yourselves?

And next time you seek power, consider whether you are being powerful only in your own head.

Georgia Platts

March is Women’s History Month

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on March 25, 2011, in feminism, gender, psychology, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Amazing article! I got a lot out of it, and for the most part I agree, that if anyone wants to change something that they don’t like, it better be done correctly. With that said, it should be planned out step by step, rather than going full out, because if it all fails, you’ll look like a fool, and then you’ll end up being the center of attention, because you had no back up plan and everyone would know that you went all out. In this case, you want to make a plan that would work at all times, rather than, for just one moment. Like the says’ goes,” when you play with fire, you’ll get burn.”

    • On being careful about your behavior backfiring I don’t mean the one necessarily needs to plan really carefully, but particularly when someone tries to benefit themselves by doing things that harm others, people should notice that there’s a definite chance that they may end up just hurting themselves and their cause.

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