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Wim Soetaerts

In the first post of this series, I describe how W. and I met, were friends,  fought and broke up.  In the second post, I analyze some of the emails he sent me afterward.  In this final post, I analyze more emails and come to some conclusions about W.

Fights Over My Artwork

For some reason I went on to make him some posters of his favorite comic book characters.  I worked for like a week on Iron Man, only to be told, “Nicely done.”

Then I sent him a poster I made of Captain America and he said this:
“It’s very nice stuff. A lot of work on detail and nice color blending. I will probably have it printed on high quality stuff and framed at some point when I find a decent printing place and good framing.
You don’t need to draw comic characters for me. Only do it if it pushes your skills, if you learn something from it or if you want to.  Try to push to something new: maybe just do quick sketches (random hero poses, not based on existing drawings) then add whatever hero and color them in with broad strokes and not do a lot of detail work. Like for example take a hero pose from whatever that guy on Youtube was doing and draw a spider man based on that pose. It will make your art more original and people on imgur more inclined to love it. (example: http://imgur.com/gallery/poggv I’m sure he drew a cat for the last two and then painted cat druid stuff over it) Or move on to draw/paint other stuff. It’s all beautiful work and it makes the drawing tablet worth every cent.”

Maybe I’m a bit sensitive about my art, but it seemed to me that there was criticism of my originality hidden among those compliments.

I told a friend on Twitter that W. said my art wasn’t original.

I then got this charming mail.

“Obviously, my suggestion of doing something “new” would become “complaining” in your words on twitter. Maybe you should be more honest in your tweets. I understand you’re angry and wanting to strike out in some way, but again you just demonstrate how you twist someones intentions into something they are not. Both art pieces are very good and beautiful and amazing for someone who claims ‘oh it’s the first time I do this’. The next logical step to push it to the next level for getting praise on sites like imgur would be what I suggested. Excuse me for daring to suggest a new challenge.
I’ll break down my thought process in this to clarify. I want your artwork to be appreciated when it’s posted on imgur. I don’t want you to work hours upon hours on something just for some guy on Imgur to post “that’s just a remake of an existing picture” and depress you, because that’s what some guy will do at some point. I don’t care if it’s a remake, they’re all good to me. Imagine what these things would look like on real canvas.  But excuse me for again trying to help you.
I still appreciate your talent and your artwork. The guy who claims to be a ‘long time fan’ doesn’t even understand why I’m being ‘critical’, because he obviously doesn’t even seems to realize it’s ‘your version’ of an existing image.”

Same old shit:

  • More accusations of dishonesty.
  • Trying to mansplain to me about what my feelings are.
  • Treating the fact that I had never drawn comic book characters before as a dubious “claim”, again insinuating that I’m a liar
  • Snark and sarcasm.
  • Trying to hide his own criticism behind “Some guy on Imgur”
  • Trying to mask the criticism with flattery and/or disguise it as “help”.

But I made some superhero sketches anyway, and he said this:
“Sometimes I don’t get it. You scold me for being too critical and then you do it anyway.”
I didn’t scold him about anything.  I said to my other friend that W. is critical.

More tight angry circles

Then W. pulls the concern-troll approach:

“I can only hope that some day you’ll be able to see that the form of feminism you feel is necessary just screws with your life and your depression. There’s tons of other feminists that talk about other stuff than just “white male” conspiracy and everything you see everywhere is there to oppress women in general and you in particular. The day that you let you of that notion so you don’t get bombarded constantly every day by oppression, you’ll will have taken a first step in recovering somewhat from your depression.” – W.

threats
“You’re constantly researching and reading articles. Read more and have an open mind about what less rabiate feminists have to say. If you just stick to ‘this is a good article because it confirms my beliefs and that article is bad because it doesn’t and I won’t even consider the arguments that are made in it because the author is clearly not accepting my beliefs'” – W.

irony
“Question everything. I wish I wasn’t a white male, because then maybe, just maybe my words might hold some value and not just “oh that’s exactly what a white male would say to keep the oppression going” and truth is, you’re part of your oppression is you oppressing yourself by going along in “I’m the victim” story that is fed to you by certain people.
Someone asked me… “Are women really that weak, that some feminists perpetuate constantly that they are the victim or oppressed?”  How are they not diminishing themselves then?”  -W.

Wim Soetaerts

  • Yes, that is exactly what a white male would say to keep the oppression going.  Good call!
  • Apparently feminist priority should be “talking about other stuff”, not fighting patriarchy (which is just a global conspiracy and nonexistent anyway).
  • “Read more and have an open mind”:  Take your own advice, dude.  Start with non-MRA sites.
  • “Question everything.”  Except for what YOU say, of course.
  • He never gets tired of telling me what a stupid little sheep I am.  (And therefore how smart and right he is by comparison).  And he never stops trying to tell me what to do.
  • “… ‘this is a good article because it confirms my beliefs and that article is bad because it doesn’t and I won’t even consider the arguments that are made in it because the author is clearly not accepting my beliefs” — With a stunning lack of insight, he’s describing his own mental process, not mine.
  • “The people who suggest that feminism makes women unhappy (without any evidence, and contrary to all evidence) are actually saying that women should lower their expectations so they can be content with their lot in life.”  — Commenter Kali, from this post
  • “Feminism makes MEN sad.” — Commenter irieagogo, ibid.

Feminists aren’t weak for telling the truth about female oppression.  It takes incredible strength to speak out when everyone is trying to belittle and threaten and silence you.  (Including you, W.)

I’m not okay with men trying to tell me how to do feminism, or that my kind of feminism is wrong, or that I should stop thinking and talking about the oppression of women and be more “positive” so they don’t ever have to endure any discomfort or think about what it means to be a member of a dominant class that is actively hurting and killing women every day.

As blogger Glosswitch says:

Being a feminist can be a total pain in the arse.

Being a lady misogynist, on the other hand, is fun, fun, fun. Well, okay, not that, but it does do much towards mitigating the direct effects of sexism on you. By this I don’t just mean externally (as in “everyone loves a cool girl”) but internally, too. You’ll feel less shit once you’ve persuaded yourself that: a) there’s no link between your sexed body and the discrimination you experience; b) most people who say they believe in equality have a clue what the actual impact of this would be, and c) when men don’t treat you like a human being, it’s probably your fault. This gives you the illusion of control, if nothing else.

This is what W. wants me to do: become a head-in-the-sand misogynist like himself.  He keeps stumbling around in angry little rhetorical circles because I won’t do it.

He would just rather believe that women aren’t really oppressed, because then he doesn’t have to care.  That lack of empathy at his core very likely came from being bullied as a child and was amplified by growing up in a world poisoned by toxic masculinity.  Instead of learning compassion for victims, he aligned himself with those he saw as more powerful – the bullies – and his sense of empathy withered away until he became a bully himself.

Wim Soetaerts

I linked him to John Scalzi’s post about Straight White Male being the lowest difficulty setting there is.
“Yes, I’ve read it and thanks for proving my point about linking to articles that just confirm your beliefs. Generalisation galore. ” – W.

irony

W.’s entire philosophy is “I don’t care and you can’t make me care.”  All of his arguments defend that shitty, selfish, pig’s eye view of the world, and he is not interested in genuine dialogue or in learning anything.

Stalking my Twitter timeline

“…Can you stop telling lies on Twitter please? Telling people that I have nothing but contempt for your work is a blatant lie and you know it. ”  – W.

“You never deigned to reply when I sent you the Hulk and my various attempts at drawing characters from scratch.  I can only conclude that you considered them beneath your notice.  You gave no indication otherwise.  Therefore I feel that I made a fair assessment.” – me

“I’d reply to your tweet with a screenshot of my mails and messages where I praise your art, but I can’t be bothered. ” – W

“But you *can* be bothered to try to control what I say on Twitter.  Even if I didn’t use your name or direct it at you.” – me

“lol, say whatever you want on Twitter. I’m obviously oppressing you and trying to control what you say on Twitter only by asking you not to tweet lies (aka fair assessments) about me (even if I’m concealed behind “a friend”). You’re lying to people who read your twitter feed because you’re looking for sympathy for feeling bad.
And obviously the logical thing for a person with nothing but contempt for the work of an artist is to buy said artist a drawing tablet. Because that makes total sense.” – W.

  • He’s obsessed with getting me to believe I’m some kind of liar.    Holy gaslighting, Batman.
  • Again: “Honest” to W. means “sharing W.’s perspective and opinions.”  “Dishonest” to W. means “not sharing W.’s perspective and opinions.”
  • He sure doesn’t care what I say on Twitter, yep, uh-huh.

nopersonisyourfriendalicewalker

“Now you’re the one who’s not being honest.  You bought the tablet before we broke up.  Back then you did have nice things to say.  But now you only hate me and my work, all because you hate my worldview and the fact that I won’t change it to one that would better please you, no matter how much you try to bully and lecture me.  I’m not saying this because I want another discussion about feminism – I’m sick of discussing that subject with you.  I’m only saying it because the hate you feel for it spills over onto me, and taints your view of everything I do.  Including my artwork.
I made you some drawings out of goodwill and as thanks for the tablet, regardless of our broken friendship status.  You just threw it back in my face.  Never even said “thank you.”  And when I vent to my real friends on Twitter about it, you accuse me of lying.  I’m not lying when I describe you as having nothing but contempt – it is obvious from the way you talk to me.” – me

“You know nothing. Absolutely nothing.
5th of Feb I sent you a mail with positive comments on the Capt America drawing.  That I liked it and was going to get it printed and framed. I don’t comment on your artwork anymore because it’ s going to give you false hope that everything will still be alright and can be fixed. That mail was after we “broke up”. But apparently I didn’t say thank you. No appreciation at all.” – W.

  • In fact, though he had said some nice things, he did not ever say thank you.

“I can’t even imagine that I was actually considering to try and put money aside to buy you one of these drawing monitors just this week. Because in spite of your assessment of me being all hateful towards you and your work now all of a sudden because I do not agree with feminism that condemns someone simply because they are white and male and brainwashes people into believing that everything around them oppresses them, I must hate you so much that I still apparently want you to have some happiness.” – W.

This is just a lie. Who would buy an expensive gift for someone they didn’t even want as a friend?  Nobody.  But it’s a nice attempt at a guilt trip: “I was going to give you this nice gift but now I won’t because you’re such a meanie poo-poo head!”  It reminds me of the men who say, “I was going to be a feminist ally but the feminists were mean to me, so I’m going to be an MRA instead!”  Oh, wait.

“You mistake contempt for being annoyed at all the stuff you say about me even if you’re not naming names, I still know who you’re talking about.” – W.

  • Wait a minute, I’m mistaken?  I thought I was just a liar.  Which is it?

I wrote a long mail where I tried to kindly and patiently explain why he was mistaken, why feminism is necessary and important to me.  I won’t post it all here, because this blog post is long enough already.

“I hope you remember that I value honesty a lot. You keep saying things that are not true on twitter. I’m not upset because you mention me, I’m upset because you keep saying things that are not true. Big difference.” – W.

  • What I said on Twitter was that he was upset that I mentioned him on Twitter.  Way to prove me wrong, dude.

“I can start arguing with every point again, but it’s a waste of time and effort. The fact that you’ve been so dishonest on twitter about what I have said – even hidden behind my so called anonymity and facilitated by the fact that I want to limit my exposure on social media as much as possible – is another reason on top of the pile why I do not want to talk to you anymore. You write me a long mail to set things straight (and set me straight) while you post yet another untrue thing on twitter at the same time. It’s dishonest and manipulative. How is that for a deeper reason?” – W.

DEFINITELY Wim Soetaerts

  • He values honesty so much that he constantly and willfully misrepresents radical feminism and accuses me of being a liar all the time.   He’s so honest that he can’t stop going on about how honest he is.
  • What I said, for the last fucking time, was that he was upset that I talked about him on Twitter, although I never mentioned his name.   He keeps complaining about that while denying being upset about it at the same time.

“‘Dead men don’t rape’  was on a picture over the desk of Andrea Dworkin, but you will probably say it is misquoting her. ”  – W.

Dead men don’t actually rape.  But instead of interpreting this as, “Women should have the right to kill their rapists”, he most likely interpreted it as, “Radical feminists want to kill all men!”

He doesn’t understand because he doesn’t want to.  He just wants to hate.

Summary

Wim Soetarts is scared of women

W. once said to me that he thinks men are afraid of women.  “Afraid of what, exactly?”  I asked, and he said, “Afraid of losing their masculinity.”  He wasn’t talking about men in general, he was talking about himself.  HE’S afraid of women.  He hates and fears them.  That’s why he’s never had a relationship.  Who else reaches the age of 42 without ever being in a relationship?

W. is not just an overbearing mansplainer. He has a frightening temper and is very abusive when crossed.  To be his friend, you have to share his bigoted beliefs, and if you don’t, he’ll try to grind you down.  The bullying and the rage he brandishes are concerning, because verbal abuse often escalates to physical abuse.  I was lucky enough to be far away, but any woman who is actually in the same space with him when he is angry may be in danger.  He’s never had a serious relationship and, because of his insistence that he can only love someone who is like him in every way, he is likely to spend the rest of his life alone.  But if I’m wrong about that and he somehow finds his female doppelganger, she should know what he is really like so she can make an educated choice about whether she wants to be with him or not.

 

misogynyisntreal

In the first installment of this series, I introduced my ex-friend W. and explained how we met, became friends, fought and broke up.  This installment describes what happened after that.

Tight Angry Circles

I emailed him offering to return the graphic tablet he had given me.  In the email chain that followed, he blamed me for his fit of rage:

“The reason why this exploded is that you said the following things:

“There can be no sexism against men.” and I can not believe that someone who fights against discrimination (and I count feminism fighting against discrimination of women on the same page as any other movement fighting against discrimination and one of the most important things in our society) would fight this fight by being discriminating against the other side.”

sexistasmen

oppression

“I understand that women have it bad, but telling the other side they have nothing to do but shut up, is not going to help solving the problem. You don’t get people on your side by automatically pigeonholing them based on the fact they were born a different gender and therefore are part of the global patriarchy conspiracy oppressing women JUST because they were born a man.”

notallmen

 

  • No one ever told him to shut up.  He’s strawmanning.
  • Women don’t need to mince their words lest they scare the men away.  That kind of tone policing is routinely deployed to silence women.
  • He claims feminism is important but that patriarchy is just a “global conspiracy“.

He thinks feminism should be some kind of “feminism” that placates men – and that he himself is not part of an oppressor class keeping women down, but a special snowflake who should be exempt from any criticism or responsibility because he considers himself a good guy.

“I never told you to shut up. I did tell you that you passively benefit from sexism even if you personally don’t do anything to harm a woman.  ” – me

cantwin

( The next two emails from him are just links to propaganda written by female MRAs, including some antifeminist handmaiden named Erin Pizzey who makes a lucrative living lecturing about how domestic violence statistics are false and that women are equally to blame for domestic violence and that radical feminism is some money-making racket.  I will not include those links here, as those sites don’t deserve more traffic).

 

 

“Yeah, I get it. You hate feminism.  Anything else new?”  – me

 

“Have you ACTUALLY listened to what that woman had to say?
You want me to educate myself, but you need to look at more than what you are being fed by one part of feminists. There’s a much bigger picture than ‘women are victims of men, period.'” – W.

If you say ‘not all men’ when a woman discloses her horror at the violence committed against her and other women because they are women, you need to ask yourself why you are so defensive. And then you need to listen to what women are saying.
‘Not all men’ is a derailing tactic. It forces women to stop talking about the violence committed against us, and instead start reassuring men. And then the conversation comes to a halt. The conversation stops being about male violence against women, and instead becomes a cookie hunt.
“I don’t hate feminism, I just don’t like extremism and total refusal to look further into matters. Your feminism is just as much responsible for keeping you in a victim position for its own benefits as all the men that are abusing and hating women. You’ll refuse to believe it, but maybe look around on the internet on some other forms of feminism than what you’re stuck with now. ” – W.
  • Yeah, I tend to refuse to believe bullshit.  It’s a personal quirk of mine.
  • Insinuating that victims are really just victimizing themselves is gaslighting and a hallmark of a verbal abuser.  But as far as victimhood goes, let’s have a look at that:

When we look at homicide, there is no sex equivalence, women are overwhelmingly killed by men; men too, are overwhelmingly killed by men.  When men kill their women partners and ex-partners, it is usually after subjecting them to years of abuse, the comparatively few women who kill male partners or exes, usually do so after they themselves have been subject to years of abuse. There is no equivalence, not in rate, not in precursor to killing.    — Karen Ingala Smith

  • “Feminists are oppressing women!  They’re just as bad as men!” is yet another classic MRA derail.
  • “…total refusal to look into matters.” Because he’s so open-minded!
  • “…other forms of feminism” = “some kind of ‘feminism’ that doesn’t hold men responsible for what they do to women”

“I don’t want you to educate yourself.   Not if it means going to MRA sites and buying into conspiracy theories about domestic violence statistics.  Reading those sites is only going to make you even more full of rage than you already are.” – me

mansplain

“Yes, you’re a victim and your feminism wants you to stay a victim. You should maybe have a long think about that concept. You are totally not open to the fact that the whole men/women dynamic is so much more complex than “women are victims“.  -W

victims
“And that’s not disrespecting your views, it’s questioning them and trying to show you things that actually also make a lot of sense and could be a positive thing instead of ‘being a victim and being oppressed every day.'” – W.

  • He denies disrespecting my views while trying to foist MRA sites on me.  And then accuses me of being closed-minded.  Ha!  It’s not clear to me how he thinks MRAs could be a positive thing.  I can’t sink to that level of stupid.

Speaking of being oppressed:

oppression1

oppression2oppression3oppression4
“You’ve constantly been linking articles to me that only enforce your view on the matter and confirm your beliefs. But any other voice is just anti-women propaganda even if it comes from other women. (Who are then in league with the patriarchy for their own benefit probably).” – W.

Here’s another video from Steve Shrives, who doesn’t even like radical feminism, but who does know that women are actually oppressed.  Because I’m so narrow-minded and only link to radical feminist stuff.


“A movement that fights discrimination of one group of people based on their gender does not fight it by lobbing everyone of the other gender automatically in one group to be fought because it would mean they do the exact same thing they are fighting.” – W.

 

  • Women can’t do “the same thing they are fighting”, because they don’t have the institutional power or privilege to oppress men.  This is Feminism 101. Sorry, dude.
  • “Not all men….” the classic MRA derail.

The fact that someone says that radical feminism is about money is probably very shocking to you. Watch a few more videos about or with Erin Pizzey. I found her very honest and having good arguments and she wasn’t hating on women unless you think someone who was like the first person to provide women shelters a woman hater.” – W.

whyimright

  • “Honest” to W. means “sharing W.’s perspective and opinions.”  “Dishonest” to W. means “not sharing W.’s perspective and opinions.”
  • Erin Pizzey gets paid a lot of money for saying radical feminism is all about money.  Ironic, no?
  •  He loves Erin Pizzey and thinks she’s so “honest” because she plays to his prejudices.  She sucks up to men, so of course men are going to love her.   And, yes.  She is in league with the patriarchy.  Quite a few women are; they value the short-term benefits of aligning themselves with men more than the long-term progress of women’s rights.

notonboard

Patriarchy is not men. It is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.

— Ashley Judd

The positions of power are arranged in a patriarchal society in such a way and are defined in such a way that almost always it seduces women into selling out other women.

— Mary Daly

So I’m not surprised, much less shocked, that the Erin Pizzeys of the world are willing to throw other women under the bus for a few extra bucks.

 

antifeminist women“Women hating women is nothing new. Women who hate women get rewarded by men who hate women.  Radical feminism is not about money.  Few of us have any.  By the way, the first people to provide women shelters were radical feminists.

If you’re going to critique radical feminism, try actually critiquing what actual radical feminists have to say, rather than relying on the criticism of others.
Speaking of questioning views, I notice that you get very angry when YOUR beliefs are questioned.  And you seem to think mockery and bullying are going to convince me that your viewpoint is best.” – me

 

“I don’t want to argue about it. I’m trying to make you think and look beyond what radical feminism feeds you.
I have nothing to gain from it. Nothing I can say makes any difference anyway. Even telling you in all honesty that you’re not ugly is questioned because I am a man and therefore automatically dishonest. If you think that is normal I don’t know what to tell you, nor do I want to continue the argument. I am a man, my arguments are invalid because I was born with a certain set of chromosomes.
No worries I will not blame women nor will I sign up for the men’s rights movement. I simply don’t care anymore at this point.” – W

menknoweverything

  • He doesn’t want to continue the argument, because his reasoning is poor and he knows it.  So he shits out the same shit as ever, and then runs away.
  • He has “nothing to gain” but the pleasure of dominating another person, of Being Right, of browbeating them into changing their worldviews to suit his own.
  • Why is he trying to “make me think and look beyond what radical feminism feeds me“?  Like I’m a stupid little sheep?  Radical feminism is not some kind of cult that brainwashes women.  He, on the other hand, is showing way too much interest in making me think a certain way – HIS way.  That’s either rank hypocrisy or a stunning lack of self-awareness on his part.
  • He assumes that I’ve never thought or looked at or tried any other worldview than a radical feminist one.
  • I never said he was automatically dishonest because he’s a man.  I’ve told him this over and over.  He keeps repeating it.  He’s deliberately misrepresenting my position so that he can tear it down. This from a person who supposedly values honesty above all things.
  • He denies blaming women or being an MRA, but his language and arguments are straight out of the MRA playbook. He might as well sign up for the men’s rights movement and make it official.  In a way he’s worse than the obvious MRA losers, because he keeps up this facade of being reasonable until you get closer to him.

The story doesn’t end there, though it probably should have.  Despite all that had happened I was still emotionally attached, and probably it was wishful thinking that made me believe if I only found the right way to explain my views to him that he would finally understand.

Click here to go on to part 3: Conclusion

“No one is born a bigot.  Hate is learned.”

This is a old childhood picture of someone who used to be my friend.  This cute little boy, smiling so brightly, surely deserved to be happy and loved.

But W. was viciously bullied.  He wasn’t athletic and the other kids constantly made fun of him.  Home wasn’t much of a comfort either, because his mother would punish him for trivial things by sending him to his room.  He spent much of his childhood immersed in comic books.

He grew up believing that people in general were just cruel to one another.  This cruelty affected him to his core: inwardly he aligned himself with the bullies and learned to take pleasure in other people’s suffering, and call it humor.  But you wouldn’t see it if you know him only casually, because on the surface he can be very kind, generous with gifts and time.  You might think he has a dark, twisted sense of humor, but you’d probably overlook it because he seems so good in other ways and is devoted to his friends.

He seems like a nice guy – as long as you don’t get too close.

Continue Reading »

mras

Men’s rights activists are hot garbage and I think it’s great that men in solidarity with feminists critique and condemn them, but I also can’t help but feel like we’re in danger of falling into the same trap anti-racist white folks have with neo-Nazis and klansmen. MRAs are in the same group of cartoonishly evil reactionaries that can be easily dismissed or mocked without upsetting most of those who share their privilege – while pornographers, sex buyers, anarchists, kinksters, leftist dudes, and other male supremacists are actually significantly more likely to enact widespread oppression and receive, in proportion, significantly less attention. So yeah like fuck MRAs, make fun of them and expose their nonsense, but also remember that confronting real, entrenched, socially acceptable, politically powerful woman-hating is way more important and usually not as much fun.

Jonah Mix

Women as a class

Woodland Study 2 by Verina Warren. (site)

 

Women have a problem with seeing ourselves as a coherent group of people, seeing ourselves as a class. It is too easy to “other” the women who are killed and we are encouraged to divide ourselves rather than stand together. We see this every day, even in feminist groups. We need to come together and truly believe that Every Woman is one of us, even if we disagree on things.

Kate Leigh

Red red sun

Red red sun by M.K. Hajdin

Red red sun by M.K. Hajdin

New painting finished.  It’s 18×24 in, acrylic, for sale at $300.

 

Ash

This is next in my series based on the words that have been deleted from the Oxford Junior English dictionary.   I’ve done “acorn“, “adder” and now “ash”.

 

ash1

Ash by M.K. Hajdin

 

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