There has been a lot of talk about the rise of Anti-Feminism online in recent years, with some, uh, interesting concerns expressed on both sides – Have Feminists become insane ‘man castrators’ who want to put feminising chemicals in our water? And on the flip side; are online communities radicalising men and encouraging a violent anti-woman culture? I’m not going to be talking about either of these things today.
Instead, I want to talk about the idea of power and resistance messages in social movements themselves.
For those who are concerned that the Anti-Feminist movement is going to rise to power in our mainstream media and political venues, don’t worry, I’m about to show you why, in its current form, that’s just not going to happen. (Unless they all read this and organise a strategy meeting – oops!).
Just as capitalism has not been slowing down, rather growing into more and more aggressive and pervasive strains, despite the numbers of social studies students well read in the theories of Karl Marx at a higher rate than ever, Anti-Feminism, despite a sudden surge in popularity, holds no real power for organising and destroying its growing movement of focus.
You see, ANTI-movements are a required force in all societies, wherever there is some rise of any popular idea, there’s those who will try to move against it – for good and bad reasons.
But they aren’t effective at establishing networks, and solidifying power. Sure, they can slow down the rise of ideas, and inspire useful criticisms and debates, inspiring good critical thinking skills and a balanced society, but this isn’t how power settles.
Whether you believe in The Law of Attraction, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming’s emphasis that ‘all motivation springs from a positive’, or the evolutionary theory that states humans gained our position at the top of the food chain, not through physical strength but through a sudden expansion in cognitive abilities that led to the creation of myths, that could enable the construction of powerful cooperative movements towards a shared goal.
Either way, the jury is not out on this issue.
Building strong motivation, and sustaining it, as is required of a major social movement, requires a very specific mythology – a shared ideal, and a goal to strive towards.
Being against something is simply not an effective long-term strategy.
Whether it is the Anti-Capitalist movement or the online Anti-Feminist movement that has seen a sudden burst in popularity in response to the rise of feminist celebrities and YouTuber vloggers.
If all power ultimately leads to resistance, then all resistance ultimately leads to…more resistance.
Life is a constantly cycling loop of pushing and pulling forces, those who have power lose some of it to those who rebel, then those who rebel establish their own power, and then have to become rebelled against themselves. What a fun system.
But those who finally do make the leap and bring about the desired change don’t do it through a resistance strategy, but through a NEW power strategy. They provide an alternative vision.
The feminist movement has had successes by focusing on specific goals, and organising around shared objectives and ideas. It even has its own brand; ‘Feminist’, (not ‘ANTI-Patriarchy’).
The goal then of any growing resistant movement is to take that energy and divert it, away from a resistance strategy, into a new power strategy.
The Anti-Feminists must release a unifying MANifesto detailing specifically what the shared mythology and future goals of the movement are. Sorry, I’m not available to help with that.
As for the Anti-Capitalist’s, there’s a reason why ideas like The Venus Project, and Universal Basic Income have had such a surge in interest recently – Partly because they resist a current problem in the system, but mostly because they provide a specific, structured vision – a solution and idea that people can get behind.
If you really want to overthrow a system, you have to have something to put in its place.
For the Anti-Feminists, that’s going to be tricky, since the system they’re advocating for so far, already exists.