in the real world, meaning in the world occupied by men, where womens issues are a nonissue really, and we are only talking about trite, privileged bullshit that doesnt matter anyway…credibility matters. journalists have to disclose any possible conflicts of interest when they are reporting on a story, so that any possible bias on their part is vetted. and if the politician they are covering turns out to be their third cousin or something, the story might be given to someone else entirely. you know, to avoid the appearance of impropriety. to avoid the stench of fish. or to, most importantly, maintain the value of some rich white mans stock in publicly traded media outlets.
in court, judges arent allowed to rule on cases in which it could even appear as if there were something fishy going on. if the judge is scheduled to hear the testimony of a doctor that once treated him, he must recuse himself, lest the outcome of the case be tainted by judgement that was impaired. in this context, the rule against the appearance of impropriety:
must cover not just the clear and obvious improprieties but indirect, disguised, or careless conduct that looks like an impropriety to an observer who is neither overly suspicious nor unusually gullible…[in other words] conduct that “would create in reasonable minds a perception that the judge’s ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is impaired.”
not that these rules are not sometimes broken; all rules are sometimes broken, which is why we have the need for punishment, and sequestering offenders from the public, lest the damage be repeated. but my point is that there are rules, governing the issue of credibility, and bias, in some situations. but apparently, there are no such rules within third-wave feminist circles.
behold the self-identified feminist man. when mens access to womens and feminist spaces is challenged, self-identified feminist men respond with rage. absolute rage, and unabashed mansplanations that should make any reasonably feminist or feminist-identified human blush (or change the channel). but they never do. and importantly, the credibility of the speaker isnt seen as an issue, at all. its not? says who?
the fact of the matter is, and its the entire fucking point of radical feminist theory in fact, that men have everything to gain from maintaining the status quo when it comes to the systematic oppression of women by men. they have PIV to gain. they have free domestic labor to gain. they have less competition, more freedom, and nothing but eye candy and women trying to sex themselves up for the male gaze, as far as the eye can see. and its all so sexxxay! it really is. you know, if you are a man.
so regarding mens credibility to comment on feminist issues, to criticize feminist work, and to access womens and feminist spaces, men (including transwomen) have none. nil. nada. the question we must therefore ask ourselves, since they are never just going to shut the fuck up, is “is any of what this assclown doodbro is saying actually TRUE?” and sometimes it may be:
the video above addressing prostitution and the logical fallacies men tell themselves and each other about prostitution and prostituted women might have some truth to it. patrick stewart might have something valuable to say about domestic violence against women. but they have NO CREDIBILITY ON THESE ISSUES, AT ALL.
so for our part as thinking humans and feminists, we have to analyze every word of every goddamned thing that self-identified feminist men, and indeed all men say, on all topics, in every situation. and particularly in dealing with issues of feminist concern implicating male privilege, even taking the time to consider mens words is very much like picking through dog shit for the keys to your vespa…when you really really suspect you actually left them in your other jacket, and they probably arent even in this pile of stinking feces you are picking through, at all.
the other option of course would be to JUST NOT. and if we chose that route, there would be nothing anyone could say about it to legitimately criticize our response to JUST. NOT. BOTHER.
a version of this post was previously published at femonade.