Laurie Penny: In defence of white knights

She’s started using our terms. Heehee.

Trigger warning: Laurie Penny picture, ‘writing’

Back in the real world, something fascinating is happening. As men and boys everywhere begin to realise that a society less riddled with rape, sexual violence and lazy gender stereotypes might be better for everyone, less evolved men and boys have started to round on them as traitors.

Wait, isn’t the official feminist line that evolution doesn’t go above the neck ever and stopped dead at least 10,000 years ago?

One common charge is that men who support feminism are trying to be “white knights”, sweeping in to protect women, not knowing that we capricious females prefer the attentions of the bull-necked misogynists who holler at us in the street.

Depends. Which type do women sleep with more?

“White knight” and “beta male” are the most common slurs flung at such men – usually by retro sexists who still think that feminism is all about poor confused chaps getting shouted at whenever they hold open a door for an enormous straw woman. In reality, most women and girls would simply rather that men stopped slamming doors in our faces.

I’ve seen a feminist shout at a man for pulling a chair out and the poor bastard went on to make it up to her …by getting her chair.

What we want – what would delight me, for one – is for us to get to a stage where we hold doors open for other people just because doors can be heavy and we all have our burdens to carry.

The whole thing is like this.
She is too dumb to realize her attempt at satire only communicates her stupidity.

So I’d like to put in a word for the white knights. Making fun of them is how self-satisfied sexists explain away this change in social attitudes. As casual sexism and recreational misogyny become less and less acceptable in mainstream culture [DS: journalism isn’t real life], some people might find it reassuring to think that all of those non-misogynist men out there are merely weak-willed, sex-starved betas, desperate for a bit of sweet feminist loving. [and maybe after she can period-knit him a wool jumper from her vagina] Far more challenging is the idea that men might be supporting feminism because it is the right thing to do – and because they like the idea of not having to pretend to be rigid, emotionally castrated thugs all the damn time.

If you mean real men, they aren’t self-satisfied. Quite the opposite.
How about this: instead of saying what non-beta men are like, make it clear beta feminist males will never get laid for it, because hey, if they’re really there to respect women, it wouldn’t be their goal would it? They’d respect women too much. Set a timer how fast they disappear.

There are certainly times when that is true – often the best thing you can do as an ally is to understand when it’s your turn to shut up and let someone else speak, especially when you don’t have direct experience of the subject being discussed.

The bitch levels are off the charts. Seriously these guys must be desperate.

Real courage is about doing things that are challenging and uncomfortable because you know that’s the way to make a better world. Things such as accepting a higher proportion of women in roles of power and expertise. Or listening to women talking about our experiences of violence and discrimination without interrupting or trying to make it all about you.

I’m a bird (woman) and I think you’re full of it. Does deference come down to who is more of a woman, cos I’d win. I can cook, clean and sew.

The most heroic thing you can do as a man today is to risk your own social status to do what you know is right. In recent weeks and months, I have been watching more and more men and boys take that risk, without expecting any sort of reward, sexual or otherwise, and I think that every one of them is a big, swashbuckling hero, like the feminist women I know. In a just world, we would all have our own theme tunes.

She doesn’t live on this planet, does she? Uranus, Laurie? Do you live up Uranus?

So, to the white knights out there – you can add my sword to your struggle. If anybody does shout at you for treating women as human beings, if anybody gives you grief for defending women online or in person, then I for one have got your back. I will defend you with all the discursive weapons at my disposal and, afterwards, you can get up on my horse and together we’ll ride off to a slightly better tomorrow.

She’s like that kid we all knew at school who tried everything to be cool and it made them the lamest, lowest of the low.

3 responses to “Laurie Penny: In defence of white knights

1. Be civil. 2. Be logical or fair. 3. Do not bore me.

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