Millennials seem to be struck with nostalgia for a decade they never experienced. When people say that they were born in the wrong era or we should go back to the 50s, well – we still have racism, sexism, abuse and milkshakes now, guys. Whether you’re a hardcore feminist or firmly on the meninist side of the line, Twitterjaya explodes on the reg with the drama the two camps bring up.
I won’t say that it’s easy to be a feminist (or any kind of politically correct) in Malaysia. Given that our society has a warped infrastructure that seems to be regressing in its mentality, we’re almost certainly doomed to repeat the mistakes of first-world countries around the world. Whether it’s a post-colonial mentality or merely the racist and sexist undertones that become increasingly prevalent in people today, we’re kinda f–ked. Between activists on Twitter; and big names like Marina Mahathir, Irene Fernandez and Zainah Anwar – it’s clear to see that it’s NGOs and individuals, but not the governing structures of the country champion feminism.
On the other side of the spectrum, you have @Kozilekk and his ilk raging against the feminist machine – they actively go after various feminists and outspoken supporters of the movement on Twitter, looking to ‘correct’ their flawed thinking and point out loopholes in their arguments. Kozilekk is infamous on Twitter for being kicked off the @twt_malaysia account during his curating period, and his acolytes seem to see him as the be all and end all when it comes to ‘saving Malaysia’ from feminist thinking. Most on Twitter dismiss him as a troll, and others just bring the popcorn and stay for the drama.
— MokKkie ? (@callme_mok) November 6, 2016
See, the problem here is the approach. They always say you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but the most outspoken of the lot tend to come at this issue with Harley Quinn-style baseball bats.
On one hand, you’ve got radical feminists who are reckless and rough with their approach to other people. Whether it’s Tumblr-style tone policing or using triggers as cop out answers to holes in their arguments, they make feminism into a joke – turning an actual movement into the kind of thing people make fun of in political cartoons. This is why people don’t take feminists seriously, and group them all together as ‘feminazis’. This sort of behavior has led people to renouncing feminism or refusing to be associated with the term, in fear of their personal reputation being tainted by the label.
In terms of methodology, feminists in Malaysia expect abrupt change. You can’t yell at a person and expect them to change overnight. Malaysian culture as a whole isn’t necessarily receptive and subjecting them to the shock of their entire belief and value systems being flawed is the equivalent of waterboarding them. The majority of outspoken Malaysian feminists come from a place of privilege and they are lucky to have experienced a different perspective on women. They tend to gloss over the fact that the underprivileged are silent due to their circumstances, and simply don’t know any better or are unable to speak up due to other concerns.
Now, this is a question: is the meninist movement a simple knee-jerk reaction to feminism becoming more apparent in Malaysian conversation, or is it the insecure lashing out of men threatened by women? Or, are they trolls doing it for the lulz? Given the ferocity of the attacks by meninists and how the movement tends to use personal information and photos of prominent supporters for mockery, the meninists aren’t taken seriously.
It’s easy to compare meninists to something like the Red Pill movement but the Internet has proven that meninists are supposed to be a satirical parody of feminists. How many people are taking it seriously and actually using the term to air their grievances against feminists?
The similarity between meninists and red pill-ers begins and ends at their claims for male equality, or superiority. The mindset is that women need to be controlled, or forcibly educated due to the view that women are trouncing men for their own amusement. However, those who legitimately believe that this is a real thing seem to be confused by the rhetoric and thus, lash out angrily at women – leading to acts of violence both online and offline.
I’m not here to tell you whether you’re right or wrong in your beliefs, I’m only here to tell you that you’re going about it all wrong. The Malaysian dialogue on feminism has transcended levels of actual discourse and moved into rampant misogyny and easily dismissed, flawed arguments. When are we going to progress as a country and actually move forward if all we seem to do is get into pointless Twitter drama?