When advocates accidentally spread harmful narratives.

June 19, 2021

Similar to what was discussed in a different thread, an example of the complex usage of non-conformity in allegedly more progressive spaces is the usage of fragile masculinity as an insult. It tries to use the restriction of men's human characteristics like vulnerability as well as the punishments for non-conformity like the death penalty (more on that later), bullying, violence and murder in order to ilicit the internalized fear of being "fragile". Ironically, it is used to selectively promote specifically chosen aspects of non-conformity that favor the wishes of the one who uses the term (even if some of them are absolutely reasonable wishes on their own, see veganism).

Thetinmen's post on catcalling has shown another constellation, with allegedly progressive people pointing out men's non-conformity (coward; attacking those who are alone) as an attack on non-conformity (harassing/attacking women - which is something that should absolutely not become as acceptable as it still is towards men, though it should be about the victims and not their gender), thus just openly demanding conformity by shaming non-conformity, which is a conservative concept. The target of that attack is not the behavior, it is the gender.

And if you believe men who attack women would not be non-conforming, here is a paper on a dating violence prevention program with the article being called "Coaching Boys into Men" - because apparently that is the discriminating factor between the two. And no, the fact that they were adolescent (boys to become men? - I dislike the differentiation because it has a history of being abused to shame adult non-conformers) athletes ("coaching") and the title thus intended to be a "funny pun" does not change that: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1054139X12000523

Anyway, the inappropriate behavior (catcalling in this case) is called "cowardly" by thetinmen and his community, even though catcalling has nothing todo with cowardice - it (being a coward) is something men are conditioned to avoid though, so it works.

In fact, I might have understated that. To this very day, being a coward is punishable by death according to US criminal codes:

10 U.S. Code § 899 - Art. 99. Misbehavior before the enemy
Any member of the armed forces who before or in the presence of the enemy—

(1) runs away;
(2) shamefully abandons, surrenders, or delivers up any command, unit, place, or military property which it is his duty to defend; [...]
(4) casts away his arms or ammunition;
(5) is guilty of cowardly conduct; [...]
(8) willfully fails to do his utmost to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy any enemy troops, combatants, vessels, aircraft, or any other thing, which it is his duty so to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy; [...]

shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.(https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/899)

Internationally, hundreds in war who refused to shoot, refused to obey orders to destroy others or were incapable of doing so were shot with their families being forced out of their homes, denied military pension and stigmatized for being relatives of an (alleged) coward. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/hundreds-of-soldiers-shot-for-cowardice-to-be-pardoned-412066.html

As seen in the article, even to this day people argue that not all of them might be called victims and even to this day explanations like "shell-shock" are needed to clear men's names of it.

And it is not the only time non-conformity might be punished by death:

Unfortunately, the comments echo that something about the messaging was off and attracted destructive narratives:

One of the top comments was then using quotation marks to refer to "men", as once again, it is not about the misguided and inappropriate comments of a person who needs to educate himself on how such comments are perceived and may influence the wellbeing of others rather than their conformity with what a "man" is in the eyes of others. And, of course, it would be dishonest not to acknowledge that it is perhaps not surprising that part of the people who experienced constant reinforcement of the belief that, as long as they are at the receiving end, sexual border crossings of any kind up to forcible rape are a laughing matter could eventually develop a dysfunctional relationship to such behavior. Wasn't it you who talked about "how people got there"? Being a coward surely ain't it, as we have just learned, and maybe you should abandon that term to describe men as it reinforces deadly misandristic concepts trying to rob men of their humanity.

The currently third most liked comment with over 70 likes talks about searching for the home of somone who catcalled his sister a few days prior and beating him "into a pulp". Of course, this was not called out as insane and deadly misandristic rather than semi-praised or at least tolerated (one comment said "please don't resort to violence again"). The most liked sub-comment is glorifying it and the second most liked says he (the victim of the aggrevated assault) would be ready for the second round with op answering that "he'd die" and the other one responding again that he hopes the victim reads that comment and "shits his pants". Is this the kind of audience you want your comment section to represent? - Completely mindless and irrational violence to extents that might cause lifelong suffering to a degree that most can't imagine and might, in certain ways, be impossible to prove as nobody knows what would have happend without the violence(1) (beyond the obvious physical damage) is suddenly not misandristic or at least destructive anymore - now it is apparently seen as courageous.

(1)Maybe one would have an easier time remembering things, etc., if it wasn't for the damage done by violence - of course people will just pretend that any non-obvious damage never occured or isn't connected to it and that healed, yet still existent scars in skin and bones are somehow able to fully revert damage instead of just conceal it.

Using non-conformity to shame people into conformity is not the way. Critisizing one's gender non-conformity and questioning the validity of their identity based on it is not the way. Mindless violence is definitely not the way. All of this is either misandristic in nature or usually has a serious misandristic component (violence and self-"justice"; see empathy gap, disposability, protection gap and so on) - all whilst being invalid approaches to ilicit change in others and demonstrating, in this case even to potentially non-violent people, that physical violence would be a valid way to solve issues.

I ask you to re-evaluate if these types of narratives on conformity are actually compatible with the message you want to support. All the best.

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