Saturday, 26 December 2015

Milo Yiannopoulos - Rise of the Anti-Feminist


There are two kinds of people who want to throw themselves in front of an seemingly irresistible force. The brave and the nihilistically narcissistic. When it comes to the feminist movement, more specifically the aggressive anti-men aspect, that is a fight a fool picks. Why? Because it is a battle that is being lost. Yet, in amongst all this, one man has risen to take them on. That man is Milo Yiannopoulos and I'm still not wholly sure whether he's the former or the latter. I'd have to say he's probably both.

Gaining prominence from the Gamergate controversy, Yiannopoulos has now effectively trolled his way into the spotlight, courtesy of his strong and sensationalistic views on how white women in Western society are asserting suppressive supremacy. It's a view he quite cleverly dresses up with that problematic thing for anyone blindly passionate about female subjugation in the West: facts, science and empirical studies.

I commend him for taking the fight to the extremist views that some sections of the feminist movement prescribe to. All too often, extremism within feminism is tolerated because women have been socially stifled for so long that it is deemed okay for them to give men a few kicks back. Yiannopoulos rightly acknowledges that this isn't right. If a reasoned quest for equality is to retain its credibility, it cannot be the platform to domination. That is social injustice.

Yiannopoulos's main concern is men who are under the age of 30. He states that they will find it harder to get a job because they are men, which can be supported by plenty of studies. Men under 30 will be subject to a presumed rape culture, which is a hideous thing to impose on men; that because they are men, they either have a craving to sexually assault women or they cannot understand the concept of consent. One rapist does not make the other 99 men rapists. He does not tolerate that women get on their high horse about being objectified but quite happily indulge in the practice with men. Rebecca Reid of The Telegraph found this out quite publicly in a debate with Yiannopoulos at the University of Bristol, when he cited an overt example of it in an article she had written. These points, as well as others he makes, are perfectly valid, should be spoken and heard.

There are other things that he gets plain wrong. He uses similar rhetoric, sarcasm and sneering to make his case, like fighting fire with fire is the best method. He only makes a hypocrite of himself when he does that. He's clearly intelligent enough to know that, which makes me think that it is a conscious choice on his part.

You see, Yiannopoulos probably spotted that the ugly ultra feminist wing got noticed by using those very tactics. In fact, it is more prevalent in the social media era. Standard and moderate views are drops in a vast ocean of thought. Yiannopoulos decided to be an erupting volcano. Yes, it might get ugly but I imagine his hope is that people who listen will hear the truths and shrug off the rest.

The grand irony is his hatred for ultra feminism and all it created made him too. He is rapidly becoming the most prominent anti-feminist out there, if not the kingpin of them all. And his rising prominence could be easily dismissed as a misguided misogynistic rant but I think it is more than that. The fact that the anti-feminism movement is gathering pace, with Yiannopoulos keen to spearhead it, does suggest that feminism needs to take stock of where it may have gone wrong.

So if feminists don't like the rise of Yiannopoulos, fighting him with glibness and anger is taking him on with the weapons he's already mastered. They need to strive for equality and not demonise men. It seems like a simple thing but when Jess Phillips, a female MP, is laughing the idea of having a men's issues debate on International Men's Day out of committee, when a similar debate exists for women's issues on International Women's Day, men rightly feel increasingly marginalised. It has to stop. The problem with Milo Yiannopoulos isn't that he is a sophisticated internet troll. It's that he has a point. A valid one.

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