Oh believe me, we aren't stupid. We aren't naive. We are not little kids who are unaware of the consequences of our collective actions. Most men are functioning, quite frankly, successful adults that know how to operate in the world. Most men understand how society works today, and have fully become a part of it. Most men are not clueless, because cluelessness implies ignorance, and ignorance implies no knowledge of a situation. The men who believe in MRA or PUA or any other sort of misogynistic ideology understand the consequences of said ideology. They don't care. They like society the way it is, they like men on top, and they will do anything, ANYTHING to ensure that men stay in their dominant position of power.
Ignorance and cluelessness are two things that we human beings turn to when we don't want to believe that a person or group of persons are actually responsible for their actions. We say that that group is ignorant of the consequences of their actions, that they know not what they do, that they are, in fact, naive and innocent. Cluelessness implies that the men that hold misogynitic ideologies are unaware of the consequences of their actions.
Being a male, and participating in male culture myself, I can say that this is 100% not true. Not true at all. Most misogynistic men understand the consequences of their behavior. Most misogynistic men understand the shit that they are spewing, and feel as if they are securing their place in the world by believing the things they do.
You might not believe me. "Surely, there is a good man amongst these misogynistic assholes who really doesn't understand what he is saying is bad, hurtful, and reproduces patriarchy" What if I were to tell you that is absolutely and patently false. ALL men who spew this crazy anti-woman hatred understand the consequences of their words. Even the stupid ones.
I noticed this phenomenon the other day when I was taking a smoke break at the smoke pit at my university. I was standing around, and a few guys joined me. The conversation quickly turned to women.
The jist of the conversation between the two gentlemen was this: men are devalued in society, feminism is "feminizing" men, if women would have just stayed in the kitchen societal degradation would have never occurred. I don't remember the exact words, but it was something to this effect. Men are victims, they are hurt by women seeking to be equal, and if only women were no longer equal, men could retain their place in the world and society would be fixed.
I piped up and said that women, too, are people. That they deserve love and respect. That they are not slaves, sex objects, or any other sort of thing for men's enjoyment. They are simply people, and like all people, demand to be free from the shackles of servitude and prostration to men. They, of course, said I was a part of the problem and that if I simply "man up", and, I think, believe like them, that ALL of the ills of society would be fixed.
Now, I am a sociologist. I know this to be bullshit. There are a lot of jacked up things wrong with this world, but not women standing up and demanding equal rights.
I know these men were well aware of the societal impacts of their statements. They spoke in hushed tones. They looked behind their shoulders to ensure "no women" were coming. They kept their beliefs a secret, just like homophobes, racists and bigots of all stripes do. This tells me, that ultimately, THEY KNOW WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS WRONG! And they know they will get called out on it.
This happens all the time at this so-called "liberal" university. The bigotry may not be out in the open, but its undercurrents run all throughout this campus. And if this is the "liberal" side of this issue, I can't imagine the pure, raw misogyny coming out of the right wing.
Fact of the matter is, men aren't clueless. They know what they are saying is wrong, bad, and harmful. Especially the "liberal men". And yet, they still hold these beliefs, just in secret. Its disgusting.
Despite this, there are men fighting back against this crap everyday. The same day in the smoke pit, a little later in the conversation, the same two guys and I were in a very heated argument, and two other guys and a lady came by, picked up on the conversation, and offered some assistance. The two guys who came by with the woman were the most vocal about how wrong these two misogynistic assholes really were.
And that, at least, gives me a little hope.
(Oh and also, see this Vulcan-Mind-Meld diary that Empty Vessel wrote about the same time I did here)
edit: err, not sure why this diary was unpublished. I might have accidentally done it. Sorry about the error.