Missing the point
What’s amazing about Dana Goldstein’s response to Matt’s and Mike Meginnis’ posts on identity politics is how she manages to provide such a illustrative example of what they were talking about. Matt wrote:
I like writing about “social justice” and “identity” issues. Some of my favorite posts have been about marriage, abortion and the pay gap. The problem is that when I wrote about how feminists approach marriage, I would get comments from Marcotte and others that because I was a white male and obviously had so much to gain from marriage, of course I would support it. Well, that’s just a pointless debate to have, why talk about these things if your interlocutors are just going to throw up the “privilege” flag, essentially ending discussion? So, if there are social pressures against openly and vigorously disagreeing with the people who drive the “social justice crusades focuses around identity” discussions, then you might as well not even engage in them.
To which Dana responded by ignoring this point, using most of her post to pick out a few quotes (arguably out of context) and then using them to show how Matt is a sexist prick. And just to make this assertion very clear, Ann Friedman shows up in the comments and congratulates Dana, as if taking Matt Zeitlin down a peg were a major victory against the patriarchy.
Obviously, Matt and Mike’s concerns were completely unfounded.
What’s even more maddening is that apparently Dana doesn’t even realize that she’s being a hypocrite:
But I’m wary. If “male bloggers” like “arguing” so much, as Zeitlin writes (what? and female bloggers don’t?), they should welcome these back and forths, not shy away from them. The sense I got from both responses was that while Meginnis and Zeitlin relish a good “man-to-man” fight, they don’t really want to engage in debate with women or people of color who practice “identity politics.”
What was that, Kettle? You’re criticizing someone for not engaging others’ arguments? Good lord! Not only does she ridiculously misconstrue Matt and Mike’s arguments, she seems to lack the self-awareness to see she’s doing the exact same thing she’s criticizing them for.
Finally, there’s this gem:
Unfortunately, language like Matt’s makes me want to head into a feminist corner and never come out to converse with some of my fellow progressives.
Of course, this should in no way be construed as “fretting”, which I’m now told is a gender-specific verb and thus is always a sexist slur.
Like Matt and Mike, I too am a white male, and like them I am confused by some of the strains of thought that run through the corner of the feminist blogosphere that I read. I even (gasp!) sometime disagree with those thoughts. It would be much better if feminist bloggers like Dana actually engaged that confusion and disagreement and worked to alleviate it, rather than assuming that anyone who disagrees with them is a rabid misogynist.