Saturday, 19 October 2019

Anti-men rhetorical technique

The claim is sometimes made that men should not be allowed to speak about women's issues. Only a woman can truly know what it is like to be a woman, because of her lived experience. Knowledge and empathy/imagination are deemed worthless.

The same claim is made regarding race.

One wonders what is the point of women explaining to men what it is like to be a woman, if men will be incapable of understanding, and are not allowed to make any use of such knowledge.

An implication of this is that women should refrain from opining about masculinity and men's issues.

This style of thought is pernicious because anything can be deemed a "woman's issue" and men told to shut up about it, even if it concerns them. For example, whether a woman has an abortion or not concerns and affects the father, who may wish to keep the child, or who may not want to keep and pay for it.

This is really a rhetorical technique, and its aim is to tell white men to shut up. It is an attempt to define the terms of debate to make them completely one-sided. Publicly identifying it as purely a rhetorical technique and not a serious idea robs it of some of its power.

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