My red pills

BY Jim Byset

Red Pill 1

I’ve always been skeptical of feminism. Always. I don’t think that there was ever a time in my life where I thought that feminism was an equality movement. My earliest thoughts on feminism reveal some vague recollections about women who were very shouty, very annoyed, very white, and overwhelmingly well-to-do. They weren’t poor. They weren’t ethnic minorities and they only seemed to shout on behalf of themselves. As such, I don’t think I’ve really considered myself a blue pill guy in the sense that I never believed that feminism was something good – or even that men, overall, had it better than women. If anything, where I grew up, it was patently obvious that this wasn’t the case. Where I grew up I saw young men overwhelmingly abusing drugs and alcohol; young men overwhelmingly as victims of assault; young men overwhelmingly dropping out of school; young men were overwhelmingly getting hassled by police. I managed to stay on at school despite the fact that I wasn’t very studious, and was bored to tears. I had every motivation in the world to do as many of my peers had done – to drop out and go on the dole. I didn’t do that though, and went on to college to study journalism – which was a massive relief. Going to college made me feel as though I’d dodged a massive bullet.

Red Pill 2

After a few years I decided to return to education. I attended Trinity College Dublin, where I studied feminism as part of my English literature degree. It was mandatory as part of critical theory. I read feminists like Luce Irigary and Helene Cixous. I read about queer theory and rape culture and patriarchy and all sorts. While doing this I was also reading (or attempting to read) Wittgenstein, Kant, Sartre, Russell, Nietzsche, Plato, Hume et al as my minor was in philosophy.

I loved philosophy; it was truly liberating to learn of so many world-changing ideas – to make the not-very-obvious-now – but-amazing-then discovery that you can think about the world in such amazingly different ways.  Studying philosophy was one of the smartest moves I ever made. I was always something of a thinker (which is probably why I was so bored / lazy at school) but philosophy made me realize that there was an entire universe out there to be discovered and that my previous ‘thoughts’ were at best daydreams. I wouldn’t say that philosophy put structure to my thoughts per se but it certainly enabled me, empowered me, if you will, to apply logic and reason to arguments in a far more efficient manner than before. It gave me the tools to see through bullshit.

So – back to feminism…

Studying philosophy alongside feminism is illuminating. When you’ve spent hours trying to criticize, say, Paley’s argument from design for the existence of god – it becomes a lot easier to see how nonsensical something like rape culture is; feminist thought is simply not rigorous at all. It can become difficult though –not because it’s well argued but because it’s either mired in some awful postmodern nonsense or because it’s willfully obtuse.

Either way – once you get into untangling the stylized language, neologisms, PoMo garbage and get to the nuts and bolts – the logic – you see, to coin a British phrase, that it’s all mouth and no trousers.

Red Pill 3

Yet, despite this, you can forget about trying to debate with most feminists. Usually, feminists come in two flavours – the one who self-identifies as a feminist – but knows absolutely nothing of feminist theory and the one who knows everything and will defend it to the hilt, usually because her livelihood depends on it. I had an argument a while ago with a feminist friend of mine. Now, this friend of mine is an educator and holds a PhD. So – not a dunce by any stretch. However, when I tried to talk to her about how feminism has historically ignored issues of importance to men and boys – and how things are getting worse – she dismissed the notion and immediately sought refuge in patriarchy theory.

I was gobsmacked.

I knew she was a feminist. I knew that. But I’d hoped that her feminist beliefs stemmed from an ideal of egalitarianism. In other words, I was hoping that she was one of the first types of feminists – the types that just thought feminism was great but didn’t quite know why. Seeing her attempting to hide behind such a flawed, ludicrous theory such as patriarchy theory settled it for me.

I’d had enough.

That was the final red pill for me. That was what ultimately drove me to the movement – the understanding that not only was feminism a bunch of bullshit, not only was it damaging to society (a society that didn’t resemble the simplistic black and white version peddled by feminists) but that those that hawked the idea will never be convinced of this simple fact – or at the very least, the vast majority won’t.

So those are some of the reasons, as least as far as feminism is partly concerned, why I came to the movement. There are other reasons but I just wanted to give a simple, chronological account of the three major periods in my life that led to this choice.

Being an equality advocate – particularly in the face of misrepresentation and blind hatred can be difficult – but it’s worth it. Winning little battles and getting the message out makes all the nonsense worthwhile.


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