Spot the Misogyny: My Ex-Friend Wim Soetaerts (3)

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.

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