fd signifier & oppositional sexism

This is in response to an F.D Signifier video, How to get RICH off weak men! (go follow him!). It is written as a response video and the script has not been changed to fit this format.

As much as it’s a response video, I think the content should also stand on its own.

Recently I watched an FD Signifier video that I’ll link in the description, currently titled “How to get rich off weak men”

Now, overall, fucking excellent, you’re great FD, you’re very much someone I look up to. So let’s ground things by stating I don’t say any of this to disagree or denigrate any of your points, but rather to build on them.

oppositional sexism

what we’re going to start and end with today is a concept called oppositional sexism. This comes from Julia Serano writing in Whipping Girl.

In addition to traditional sexism, where men are better than women and masculinity better than femininity, Serano argues that we also experience and propagate oppositional sexism, where men are seen as women’s opposites. from Whipping Girl:

the belief that female and male are rigid, mutually exclusive categories, each possessing a unique and nonoverlapping set of attributes, aptitudes, abilities, and desires

oppositional sexism positions men as opposed to women, rather than understanding both groups as heavily overlapping in characteristics, abilities, interests, physicality, etc.

where analysis based in traditional sexism takes the gender binary as fact and analyzes how we move within it, oppositional sexism takes aim at the gender binary itself and looks at the ways that it is constructed.

how we socialize boys

now what does this have to do with FD’s video? Well, I would characterize his analysis as grounded in, among many other things, an understanding of traditional sexism. He talks about the ways boys learn about maleness and masculinity and its dominence over femaleness and femininity, but never questions the existence of the category “boy” in opposition to “girl”.

And I think we have to! we can’t just examine misogyny and toxic masculinity while unconsciously accepting the creation of binary gender, because the creation of and pressure on binary gender helps create misogyny and toxic masculinity. When boys are continuously told they are wildly different from girls, when they are continuously split up and separated, when girls are portrayed as almost a different species, we invite unhealthy attitudes about women and girls.

this is of course hypothetical - we live in a society and can’t escape it - but if instead we stressed that all children are human, that they are part of a unified group, i can’t help but imagine that we would have much healthier attitudes towards sex and dating.

how this affects us all

now, obviously, the deconstruction of misogyny is enough reason to use this for analysis. we want to minimize misogyny and toxic masculinity, and this supports that goal. but let’s also talk about the way bioessentialism and binary gender roles foster other biases.

transphobia and particularly anti-nonbinary sentiments are probably the most obvious ones propped up by this, but there’s also:

  • homophobia or biphobia: when we view men and women as two discrete and opposing groups, there’s a large difference between a male-female relationship and a male-male or female-female one.

  • intersex erasure and discrimination: the coercive and corrective sexing of intersex infants, up to and including nonconsensual surgical modification, should be the obvious example, but let’s also consider the ways that intersex people are erased by the gender binary. Intersex people are not uncommon, with various estimates ranging from one in two thousand to one in about sixty. But the structure of the gender binary must insist that they are essentially one in a million. it makes no room for them - they must be outliers.

and, interestingly,

  • racism: the creation of distinct and biologically separate groups from a spectrum of human experience, and the clear statement that these groups must be unequal, can prime people to accept further distinctions between humans as biologically inherent. anecdotally, while I was forming up this video, friends reported seeing manosphere or MRA types fall down this exact pipeline.

Now, I want to be clear: I am not claiming that misogyny or the gender binary is the root of all other biases. I think the world is far more complex than that. But I do believe that the gender binary, and more broadly, a binarist mindset, is a fertile breeding ground for other biases.

end notes

going forward, I want you to have the concept of oppositional sexism in your analysis toolbox. I want you to think critically about the way that the gender binary is not a natural outgrowth of humanity, but rather created and enforced. And I want you to question and push back against the way that you - as a man or woman - see yourself in opposition to, rather than in alliance with, women or men (nonbinary people, you get a pass here, I figure you’re already thinking about this).

category: reference