White Knight Crusade

whiteknight

I’m not going to say that the creator of this meme is a misogynist, but he sure is disdainful of men who support women’s issues.  Make of that what you will.

The phrase white knight has several meanings; in this case it applies to a man who takes up the feminist cause.  The term is a pejorative; it implies that any man who espouses feminist ideals must be seeking a romantic reward.  This is insulting both to women and to men.  It’s insulting to women because it implies that their cause is not worth fighting for unless there is an eventual physical reward, and it’s insulting to men because it implies that all men are the same kind of selfish oafs as the maker of this meme.

The rest of this meme is a mess.  It includes liberal and feminist lingo that is either used incorrectly, or out of context.  Here’s the problem with memes like this one: if you’re a man and you even attempt to point out the glaring errors contained in this meme, the meme’s supporters will label you as exactly the kind of person this meme is talking about: i.e. a white knight with ulterior motives.  In other words, there’s no honest way to win.

Not that I’ve ever been deterred by impossible odds.  Let’s strip this white knight of his armor, and in doing so, expose the ignorance of the meme’s creator.

  • Friendzone Shoulder Padding

Despite the insistence of forlorn would-be lovers, there is no such thing as a friend zone.  That phrase was invented by people who view women as sex vending machines, primed to dispense the goods in exchange for the currency of chivalry, attentiveness, and emotional support.  When a man finds himself in the so-called friend zone, that is, that dreaded territory wherein a woman refuses to have sex with him, he tosses out the phrase almost as an insult, like the woman is defective for failing to honor her end of some unspoken contract.

Those of us who know better, know that women are thinking human beings (Imagine that!) with the autonomy to choose when and with whom they do the nasty, regardless of whether that person has been an emotional rock for the woman during her times of stress.  No one would suggest that a man is friend zoning his female friends if he does not repay their kindness with sexual favors (in fact, many of his friends are probably grateful that he does not offer to do so).  So why is it that women are somehow expected to repay kindness and decency with sex, then scoffed at if they do not?  Could it be because some people still view women as objects that exist for the satisfaction of men, and believe that they are broken if they refuse to act as such?  I think yes.

Anyway, if you insist that a woman has put you in the friend zone, you’re wrong.  You’re no friend to her if you think that she owes you for your friendship.

Ironically, the meme comes close to being correct in this instance; it clearly implies that women are not obligated to sleep with whatever gentle soul comes calling.  I would give the meme credit for recognizing the autonomy of women, especially when selecting sexual partners…but the rest of the meme utterly negates any good done here.  Let’s move on.

  • SJW Sword

There are few phrases that confuse me more than SJW, or social justice warrior.  Taken at face value, it seems like a noble goal; who wouldn’t want to be hailed for his tireless struggle for social justice?  Who wouldn’t want to be known as a champion – nay, a warrior – for those whom society has cast underfoot?

Yet in certain troll-heavy corners of the Internet, the SJW label is often applied as an insult.  For reasons I cannot fathom, some people consider it undesirable to be a person who lobbies for social improvement.  If you use the phrase social justice warrior as a pejorative, then what is the more appealing alternative in your opinion?  Somebody who fights for the status quo?  Somebody who thinks that social attitudes toward women and minorities are A-okay?  Because I can assure you, they really aren’t.  They really, really aren’t.

It’s confusing that the author of this meme decided that our white knight’s SJW sword should be used to “slice through” entitlement.  Most conservatives – and I think it’s pretty safe to say that the author of this meme is conservative – seem to think that social justice warriors draw their mana from entitlements.  This is just further evidence for my pet theory that nobody really knows what entitlement means, and that people simply use the word whenever they want to discredit their opponents’ ideology.

  • “Au Secour” Leggings

I’m certain the author meant to say au secours, which is French for to the rescue or, simply, help.  In either case, the author implies that one of the white knight’s ongoing missions is to rescue damsels-in-distress; specifically, feminists in danger of engaging in a logical debate.

The only way a logical debate might be dangerous – figuratively speaking – is if you have no logical backing for your arguments.  All feminist arguments are based on the underlying assumption that women are people who ought to have the same rights and treatment as other people, and the logic of their arguments blossoms from there.  To say that a feminist faces danger when she engages in a logical debate is either to say that this logic is wrong, or that feminists are overwhelmingly incapable of presenting their cases.  If you believe that the logic is wrong, we must once again ask what logic you offer to supplant it, Mr Meme Author?  Do you contend that women are not equal to other people?  Is it your assertion that the equality of women is not a logically defensible position?  Or do you simply believe that feminists are too inept to express their arguments in a cogent fashion?  I have to tell you, Mr Meme Author: neither position makes you look particularly appealing.

  • Cognitive Dissonance Helmet

Cognitive dissonance is mental stress that comes from holding conflicting opinions or beliefs at the same time.  Cognitive dissonance is not in itself a bad thing; we are all forced into situations of cognitive dissonance by the circumstances of our lives.  For example, we might be concerned about the environment, yet compelled to drive gas-burning cars to get back and forth.  In that case, cognitive dissonance might lead us to make decisions that lessen our environmental impact, such as walking or bicycling for short trips.  (On the other hand, it might lead us to decide that we don’t care as much about the environment as we pretend to – we all respond differently to cognitive dissonance.)

According to the meme’s creator, the CDH allows its wearer to accept radfem dogma.  I Googled radfem (a portmanteau of radical feminist) to discover exactly what constitutes radfem dogma, and came away with varying viewpoints.  For example, the usually-helpful Urban Dictionary tells us that a radfem is either:

  1. An ideologue who acts under the decades-outdated belief that gender, sexuality, and all parts of the human mind are learned and have no basis in biology, or
  2. A feminist who is more interested in revenge on the male gender than gender equality, or
  3. A radical feminist who often blogs and posts about sexism.

I encountered conflicting definitions from other websites as well.

So there appears to be disagreement about the meaning of radfem even among people who use the word.  Now far be it from me to insist that a word cannot have more than one meaning, but it seems that radfem, like entitlement, is simply another buzzword used by conservatives and anti-feminists when discussing people and ideas they do not like.  With no concrete definition for the word, it is impossible to evaluate exactly what the author means when he says that the CDH allows a person to accept radfem dogma.

If I had to take a guess, I would guess that the author of this meme does not know or care about the distinction between so-called radical feminists and the more moderate feminists that dominate the feminist movement.  I would go so far as to wager that the author believes that all feminists are radfems, but I can only speculate.

Male gaze is not something that can be corrected by a helmet; it’s a phenomenon that occurs in the visual arts, where the world is depicted primarily from the viewpoint of a heterosexual male viewer, using imagery that would appeal to him.  If you’ve seen some of the fast food commercials in recent years featuring scantily clad women writhing in ecstasy over a hamburger, then you have a pretty good idea of what male gaze is all about.  The author of this meme apparently does not.

  • Magic Breastplate

The Magic Breastplate allows the virtuous white knight to swallow his pride and check his privilege; both things that the author of this meme should try doing.  When you swallow your pride, you accept that you have to do things you might find embarrassing or which you might not want to do, but which you do because you know you’ll be making a positive difference.  For example, the author of this meme might swallow his pride and apologize for making such a wretched meme.

Checking your privilege is something you should always do if you occupy any position on the American Star of Privilege.  (Yes, I’m tooting my own horn.)  If you are a white, straight, Christian, cis-gendered, relatively wealthy male living in the United States, then you receive certain social benefits that simply are not offered to people who do not meet all of those criteria.  Ironically, the more points of the Star that apply to you, the more likely you are to deny that privilege exists at all.  Don’t.  Being privileged doesn’t mean you didn’t earn any of the things you have; it simply means that society totally had your back along the way.

When somebody says “check your privilege”, they’re saying that you should recognize your privilege; to acknowledge that your race, sexuality, or socioeconomic status affect the way others respond to you.  Check your privilege is not an admonishment not to be yourself, or to live to some extreme standard of political correctness; it’s only an invitation to be aware of your place on the social ladder.  Everybody could benefit from that.

  • Magic Gauntlet and Mace

The gauntlet and mace help the white knight dismantle the patriarchy, which doesn’t sound like a bad idea.  Despite the fact that women make up about 50% of the population, they are sadly underrepresented in positions of power (seats of Congress, for examples, or CEOs of large corporations).  Given the sarcastic tone of this meme, I assume that the author believes that dismantling the patriarchy is unwise, perhaps impossible.

  • Protective Knee Pad

And here we get to the crux of what the author thinks about feminist allies: he believes that we live our lives apologizing for everything our less-refined brothers (the creator of this meme, e.g.) have ever done or said that was demeaning toward women.  Perhaps some people spend their time that way, but I don’t think most feminist allies do.  Apologies are not without merit, but they do not change history.  That is simply impossible.  What we can do is acknowledge our history – to admit that the patriarchy has caused grievous harm to women (and continues to do so).  Even if we don’t beg forgiveness for the sins of our fathers, we can live a life that sets an example for our sons.  We, the people of the present, can live in such a way that the people of the future will be proud to be our descendants.  Part of that will involve treating women – nay, treating everyone with the same basic dignity.

And that is why I hate this meme so much.  The author portrays feminist allies as leches in knight’s armor.  He insults us by imagining us to be like him.  I truly grieve for the author, who is able to see no further than the tip of his own penis.  If I were ever going to apologize for any man’s behavior, it would be his.

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6 thoughts on “White Knight Crusade

  1. > e sure is disdainful of men who support women’s issues.

    Feminism is not women. 80% of women reject feminism. Many women actively oppose feminism and are anti-feminists. Many women will agree with the meme of the white knight and urge men to stop doing it.

    Most men want to protect and provide for women. Studies show men have a bias in favour of women, just as women also have a bias in favour of women too 🙂

    Feminists understand this which is why they so often define feminism as representing ‘women’, rather than as an ideology rejected by 80% of women. Feminists tell men that to reject feminism is to disrespect or hurt women. This is how feminists turn men into white knight.

    • 80% of women reject feminism? Do you have a source for that number?

      Modern feminism is about equality. Are there fringe elements of the feminist movement who have other ideas? Of course; these people exist in every movement. But at its core, feminism is about equality. People who support feminists generally recognize this, which is what makes the meme so disrespectful. The meme makes it sound as if any man who supports feminism or feminists is just trying to swoop in and be a hero, and I reject that notion 100%.

      Anyway, thank you for reading and for commenting.

      • > 80% of women reject feminism? Do you have a source for that number?

        Its a widely accepted figure, even among feminists. Just google ‘feminist percentage’ and you’ll find numerous studies which cite some figure around that ballpark.

        > Modern feminism is about equality.

        Men have no rights that women do not also have (can you name any?)
        But women have many rights that men still don’t have (in areas such as divorce, criminal law, reproductive rights, genital integrity, pay, healthcare etc).

        So gender equality means giving men the rights they currently lack, relative to women (or stripping women of those extra rights, which seems a little harsh). Yet feminists do not campaign for men’s rights. In fact, just about the only thing which will get you kicked out of the feminist movement is to support men’s rights.

        Feminism is about ‘he for she’ and NOT gender equality.

        > Are there fringe elements of the feminist movement who have other ideas? Of course; these people exist in every movement.

        No they don’t. Name one vegetarian who eats pork. Name one pacifist who has joined the army voluntarily.

        > But at its core, feminism is about equality.

        Nope. At its core feminism promotes a narrative about men systematically oppressing women throughout the ages. At its core feminism is about a ‘threat narrative’ depicting men as a threat to women and to civilised society as a whole, not gender equality.

        > People who support feminists generally recognize this, which is what makes the meme so disrespectful. The meme makes it sound as if any man who supports feminism or feminists is just trying to swoop in and be a hero, and I reject that notion 100%.

        A feminist man is – by definition – a man who accepts and supports the feminism claim that he is (as a man) privileged…. despite the fact that he has less rights than women. He is also a man supports the feminism claim that he is (as a man) an oppressor of women …despite the fact that he is showing greater allegiance to women than his own gender.

        Why would a man act contrary to reason and evidence in this way? Here are some possibilities.

        A) because he has been brainwashed by feminists into feeling guilty and ashamed to be a man, and he is trying to pay penance and appease feminists in order to regain social acceptance and approval and not be ostracised as a misogynist, chauvinist, sexist, manbaby, male tears, neckbeard etc (which he will be if he sticks up for men’s rights and/ or challenged the feminist narrative about male oppression and female victimhood)

        B) because he has been brainwashed by feminists into believing he (as a man) privileged, powerful and invulnerable and generally better than women….. and can therefore AFFORD to sacrifice himself on the alter of feminism and serve feminist’s needs and wants (he for she) as a kind of hobby, even though feminists never make serving men’s needs and wants their hobby.

        C) because he simply cares more for women than for himself and other men – as studies show he is hard wired to do. In studies of ‘own group preference’ men consistently show no bias towards other males and a slight bias towards females, whereas women consistently show a bias towards other females.

        > Anyway, thank you for reading and for commenting.

        Thanks for replying.

  2. Okay, I did as you suggested and Googled “feminist percentage” and I found the poll to which I think you’re referring. According to this site:

    http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/04/09/82-percent-of-americans-dont-consider-themselves-feminists-poll-shows/

    52% did not identify as feminist, 26% were unsure, and 4% declined to answer the question. That is *not* the same as 80% “rejecting” feminism.

    Furthermore, 85% of those polled claimed they believe in equality for women, which, despite your claims to the contrary, is *exactly* what feminism is all about. So how can 85% of the people claim to be in favor of equality, yet not identify as feminist? I think it has a lot to do with the fact that anti-feminists have run a very successful campaign to equate “feminism” with “man-hating”, which is absolutely not the majority opinion in the feminist movement.

    >No they don’t. Name one vegetarian who eats pork. Name one pacifist who has joined the army voluntarily.

    I don’t have to, because I never said they did. I said that there were probably fringe elements in the feminist movement – perhaps very vocal elements – who are pushing the “men are a threat to women” narrative. You’re asking me to prove something I did not say.

    >Men have no rights that women do not also have (can you name any?)

    Socially, sure. Men don’t have to fight for the right to choose what happens to their body. Men have the right to drink without being judged (possible exception for alcoholics). Men in politics or other high-power positions have the right to be judged based on their ideas rather than their appearance. Men have the right to report sexual assault without their integrity being called into question. Men have the right to choose just about any career they want. And, despite claims made by MRAs and anti-feminists to the contrary, the gender pay gap *does* exist and is not being addressed very quickly, which means that men have the right to earn more money for the same job. I could go on and on and on, but hopefully you get the point.

    “But those ‘rights’ aren’t codified into law” you might say, if you even acknowledge that they exist at all. And I say, they don’t have to be. Feminism is not just about legal equality; it’s about social equality as well.

    >But women have many rights that men still don’t have (in areas such as divorce, criminal law, reproductive rights, genital integrity, pay, healthcare etc).

    “Pay”? No. As I said before, the gender pay gap is real. Instead of telling you to Google it, I’ll provide a source:

    http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

    Or three:

    http://www.newsweek.com/hard-facts-about-pay-gap-between-men-and-women-322623
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/jul/15/politifact-sheet-gender-pay-gap/

    Depending on how you measure the pay gap (for example, depending on whether you consider raw wages or hourly pay, or whether you take into account the fact that women tend to work fewer hours and more often in part-time jobs), the gap shrinks or widens, but it never disappears, and it never favors women, at least not in the United States.

    “Healthcare”? Hardly. As long as businesses continue to cover vasectomies and ED drugs but refuse to cover women’s contraception, you cannot argue that women have healthcare equality in all areas. Also, up until the roll-out of the ACA, women paid more for health insurance than men did.

    I will grant you that women enjoy some advantage in divorce and custody arrangements. That’s definitely a discussion to be had. But to suggest that women receive equal or superior benefits in the other areas you listed? Nah.

    >A feminist man is – by definition – a man who accepts and supports the feminism claim that he is (as a man) privileged…. despite the fact that he has less rights than women. He is also a man supports the feminism claim that he is (as a man) an oppressor of women …despite the fact that he is showing greater allegiance to women than his own gender.

    First, men are privileged. It doesn’t matter who says that; it’s true. Men have traditionally held positions of power, and that legacy’s influence is felt today.

    http://amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist/

    Accepting that I am privileged because I’m a man does not make me a feminist pawn. It simply makes me aware of how the world works. Sorry; you can rail against the concept of male privilege (or white privilege, or straight privilege, or Christian privilege, or whatever privilege) all you want, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

    I’m a feminist ally because I accept the *truth* that historically, women’s rights have been suppressed (and they’ve been taught to prefer it) under male-dominated regimes. And no, I don’t feel ashamed for being male, nor am I apologizing for things I didn’t do. But neither am I pretending that things are any different than they are. I’m not trying to reconstruct the feminist movement as a juggernaut that seeks to crush poor violated males beneath their tank treads.

    And please don’t imagine that I support women to the detriment of men. Contrary to your implications, and to those of other MRAs, equality is not a zero-sum game. I offer allegiance to all genders. I long for a world in which equality is taken so much for granted that equality-based movements like feminism don’t *need* to exist. But I’m not naive. As long as there are MRAs in the world pushing the false narrative that men are somehow suffering under the yoke of feminist oppression, the need for feminism will not disappear.

    At this point I would say that we have both expressed our opinions, and I do not feel that there is any traction to be gained in either direction. I thank you for your (mostly) polite discourse (except for your insistence that I am brainwashed…that kind of irked me), and invite you to leave another comment if you wish. However, I will most likely not respond. That’s not meant to be disrespectful to you, but I have other obligations to fulfill and cannot afford to be consumed by a lengthy online debate. Again, I thank you for reading and for commenting. Take care.

    • Thanks. Let me guess; you think I’m being biased when I write stuff about feminism, right? Well, I have news for you…pretty much everything I write carries a bias – a liberal, social-justice-loving bias. I’ve never made any secret of that. I do not intend to dial back my support for feminism, racial equality, LGBTQ rights, or whatever other “bias” bothers you. If you can handle agreeing with me 90% of the time, then great. If not, well…nobody’s forcing you to read my stuff. I’m sure you can find a YouTube channel that espouses your social opinions.

      But thanks for the compliment. If I’ve completely misread your meaning, please accept my apologies.

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