Using Feminism for Power and Control

Through a few linkages and emails, I stumbled across the story of “feminist activist” Kyle Payne. (See also belledame, who details the “story” part of the story, Ren Ev and Galling Galla, though I won’t be linking to the guy himself, personally)

Like belle says, from the beginning, there’s something about this guy that gives off a really skeevy vibe. See, there’s a big difference between “empathy” and the kind of hypersensitive, over-investment, over-identification that this guy displays when he not only breaks down in sobs talking about the horrors of porn to a mainly female/feminist audience, but situates this experience as high among those that make him quintessentially him. I often think about people who have boundary issues not just as people who have trouble maintaining their own or who are inclined to violate those of others, but as people who seem to actually lack the understanding of where you start and they end. Meaning they take on emotion that’s yours in ways that are just inappropriate, and becomes kinda controlling, and can be really overwhelming…and given that, it’s not actually that surprising when the people with a saviour complex start getting offended when the designated-savee decides no thank you, that’s not the way she wants to go, develop delusions that they and only they can handle the necessary struggles, and become really fucking controlling, actually.

It’s very Gaius Baltar, if you ask me.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that sexual assault is akin to an inability to understand boundaries. I think on one level it does require that, in the sense that it requires a predator to function in a way that necessary denies the full humanity of the victim, that either negates/ignores what she wants or actively thrives on her suffering. And I’m also not saying that every male who talks the feminist talk is this kind of evil fuck. But I am saying that this is on a continuum of self-aggrandizement in ally-work, and that discussions of the horrific experiences of others (be they sex workers, or rape victims, or women of colour, or women as a whole, or people with disabilities) that re-centre the conversation on how you feel, what you’ve done, the deep emotional impact and the journey of self-discovery that you are on…they’re on the same continuum, and they’re not alliance.

They’re appropriation, and they violate boundaries, and they come from a mental place that doesn’t quite recognize the full humanity of whomever you’re talking about, as distinct from you’re own. They’re narcissistic. I guess one of the things I’m saying is that, sad as I may be about it, I’m not actually that surprised to find someone like this who goes so far as to actually assault people. Using feminism in your arsenal of weapons for power and control, in a word, sucks, but it’s just another attempt to gain trust, to build up self, to differentiate yourself, because whatever you were doing, you were doing it for the noblest of reasons, and not for the sordid hedonism of sexual pleasure or power.

15 thoughts on “Using Feminism for Power and Control

  1. This guy really is Skeevy, in so many ways. The self-torture-agrandizement, the assault, everything….just…eww.

  2. I would love to see him use a feminist argument for why he felt it necessary to photograph an unconscious woman topless (obviously without her consent). His site weirded me out from the beginning, but his recent guilty plea is the icing on the cake.

  3. belledame222 says:

    He’s a slippery one and no mistake. Note that he keeps right on blogging and vlogging through this,

    http://www.youtube [dot] com/watch?v=7ZSzw7yFPTE

    where he’s just all aw-shucks and wholesome looking; and that comment at your place, ET, about how he wants “open sentencing” just makes me think–yeah, he’s hoping to charm his way out of this one. Throw the book at him.

  4. belledame222 says:

    ack, sorry, didn’t mean to hyperlink, I thought I edited it not to but apparently it converted the [dot] into an actual .

  5. purtek says:

    Thanks for the heads up belle. Fixed now.

    Eleanor, I think you’re an incredibly brave woman for engaging this shit. It’s almost scarier to have that “skeeved out” feeling confirmed as really, really real…it’s not like there *are* any arguments, really, in there, just layers and layers of narcissism reflecting further narcissism, but the pseudo-feminist packaging makes it taste all the worse.

  6. [...] Fecke who writes about the case at Shakesville from the perspective of a (genuine) feminist ally, Purtek, Buried Alive, and Nine [...]

  7. [...] be Eleanor’s Trousers – she’s been on this since February Shakesville Cara at Feministe Purtek Buried Alive Nine Deuce And a full list can be found at Renegade Evolution. [...]

  8. BetaCandy says:

    From what I’ve read about him (which made me not want to go read his site firsthand), he sounds a LOT like my dad. Like, so much so I’m comfortable transposing the diagnosis onto him.

  9. purtek says:

    Betacandy – that thought keeps coming into my head, too. It’s why the rabidly anti-gay closeted preacher analogy doesn’t work for me. There’s something beyond hypocrisy, in this one.

  10. [...] Fecke who writes about the case at Shakesville from the perspective of a (genuine) feminist ally, Purtek, Buried Alive, and Nine [...]

  11. Ravenmn says:

    Fake trackback.

    I really love what you are saying here. I tried to explain how not like a real activist Dickhead Payne is. You’re done it so well that I added a quote from this post to my original post.

    Damn good analysis! We need more thinkers like you to dispel the myths these guys concoct around themselves.

  12. purtek says:

    Thanks Raven! I think the “how not like a real activist” he is is a really important point, here – the defense of activism/male feminism/radical feminism *in spite* of Kyle Payne is (or *should be*) just so unnecessary, imo…I hate to be all “listen to my proclamations”, but it seems obvious to me that the feminism in this case is just his choice of venue for the shit, not in any way connected to the root cause of the shit.

  13. Brown Shoes says:

    I completely agree with that last statement – with people like that, it’s all about power and control. If one venue fails to be available, they look for the next one, which kind of worries me a little about this guy if he determines that being The Great Feminist Activist stops working for him.

  14. [...] a little scary, actually, and kind of a lot like not recognizing what is you and what is not. Like I said a couple of months ago: I often think about people who have boundary issues not just as people who [...]

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