Not so long ago I did a post on Violence- and how I tend to think humans, most of them anyway- delight in violence. Of course one can easily object to this if one uses a very narrow and incorrect definition of violence which only includes physical violence. Many people do that- only consider physical aspects of violence when discussing the subject-especially as it pertains to their own actions - because it allows them to feel better. However, it also shows a penchant, at least on this topic, for narrow thinking. I also tend to believe that humans, most of them anyway- know at heart this is a cop-out and violence goes way beyond the physical. The basic meaning of violence is simple- that which causes another pain, discomfort, or injury. The word physical is not a qualifier.
That said, I have (briefly) been participating on a thread at ND’s where I asked her about MMA. Her response is as follows:
I think MMA is wack all around. I’m not into violence for violence’s sake, and I don’t celebrate every dumb thing women do to emulate men. Feminism isn’t about being just like men, especially when what men are doing is stupid.
It seems like a straight forward enough answer, on the level and simple enough, yes? However, while I am sure ND thinks that everything she does has a purpose and is done with a reason -thus not done for its own sake- I do in fact believe that she and many of her readers engage in violence- maybe not physical violence- but violence nonetheless. For instance- while she and others might be speaking out against and critiquing the conditions which lead to things like J.Woww and her sizable implants- in order to do so, they verbally attack J.Woww herself. She is, specifically, as an example, pointed out, mocked, and insulted because she is an embodiment of what it is these women dislike and find wrong with society. This sort of behavior is violent- any time a person attacks another person- via words, fists, monetary superiority, weapons or other things that can be wielded over another and cause harm- it is violence. Pure and simple. Is it necessary? Needed? Is is unnecessary? Done merely for the joy and release of doing it? I do not know. I tend to think it is done for the joy of doing it because it seems to me it would be possible, perhaps even easy, to attack or critique culture and society without holding up and attacking individual human examples of it. It could easily be done. Would it be as “fun”? As “funny”? As popular? Would it bring in other like-minded people to go off on a rant about how much they hate that? Probably not. Maybe that makes it necessary. I cannot really say.
And perhaps because there is the thought that this sort of violence is done for a reason- it is excused in the mind of ND and some who read her. Perhaps because it is acceptable targets upon which to inflict this non physical violence, it is okay. Perhaps there is acceptance, even glee, based on some utilitarian slant, that pegs this non-physical violence as acceptable. I do not know. What I do know is this: In the last 24 hours on ND’s blog, I’ve seen Trinity (a woman practitioner of BDSM and PWD advocate) told to “fuck off” because of her opinion, and I’ve seen a group of radical feminists take great glee and award the Internet to Miss Andrist for “taking me to task” (“privilege” and all) for being non-aggressively adamant about the fact that stripping is a good work out and asking ND’s opinion on MMA. Now, true enough, ND herself has told no one to fuck off nor joined in on the “you go girl” foolery, but it is condoned. It is apparent that there are people who frequent her blog who slather at the opportunity to “best” other women who do not share their views or dare to question their positions. Does it foster debate? Yes. Is it also violence- often times unnecessary? Yes. There is no need or meaning behind attempting to verbally slice a woman one does not know screaming about privilege for making a simple, one line point. There is no need or meaning behind verbally bashing a civil woman who holds different views on BDSM with the phrase ”fuck off”. Such things are said and done in an attempt to upset, harm, or distress those whom they are said to. It is violence- engaged in for the thrill and fun of it- and the whole “oh you go, you told them, yeah! You win the Net teeehehehehe” attitude that follows shows it for exactly what it is: gleefully engaged in, condoned, and appreciated violence. Necessary? I am skeptical.
In fact, all things considered, the blatantly sadistic nature of it actually amuses me. It is often, right down to the keening laughter, similar to what happens when a lone hyena wanders into the territory of an established hyena pack.
So yes, back to the MMA and ND’s statement on it. She does not believe in violence for its own sake, nor celebrate every dumb thing women do to be like men (esp jerks). Hummm. I would argue people (men and women alike) who are into MMA are not merely there for the violence for its own sake. They could be there for countless reasons; channeling excess aggression, working out demons, merely to learn how to fight, personal challenge, fitness, the love of competition, or yep, profit. And the violence is necessary for these things, the violence is in the sport. I would also argue most women in MMA are not there to “be like men”. There are very, very few activities that are exclusively the purview of men, or exclusively the purview of women. To me saying a woman in MMA is trying to be like man is like saying a woman who wants to be an astronaut is trying to be like a man. Both the MMA woman and the Astronaut woman probably want to be…a fighter or an astronaut. Man or wanting to be like one probably has very little to do with it, really.
Which brings me to the part where I always end up shaking my head. Why yes- culturally, socially, via just about every institution known to the world historically women are not encouraged in any way to be physically aggressive at all. Men are. Never mind that all humans- all of them- have aggressive feelings or desires or moments of rage and anger- women have never, ever, been encouraged to express that physically -even in a somewhat controlled environment like contact sports or even violent sports like MMA and the Sweet Science. So their aggression and anger and other such things comes out -has been conditioned to come out- in other ways…such as verbal violence. Such as social pack gang up/hazing mentality. Such as telling a civil dissenter to fuck off or delighting in a perceived verbal hit on an adversary. It is still violence. It is still throwing a worded punch and hoping it gains the desired result: pain. And often, why yes, there will be people standing around cheering the display on.
So yeah, I find it a little odd when people are so against one form of violence, physical, like there is in the MMA, but are fine with other forms. It seems like the cheap and easy way to go, really.
And yes, sure sure, I sense some of you rolling your eyes… after all, I engage in all kinds of violence, verbal, physical, fantasy, video game, fictional, all the damn time. True enough…but I’ve never said I was against it or wasn’t into it- in fact- quite the opposite. I’ve admitted quite plainly that I was more than a few times. No, that makes me better than no one- but in this sort of scenario, I think it might make me more honest and dare I say, even more critically thinking. Shrug. I like both telling people who annoy me off and MMA…but I see the violence in both, and in humans themselves, for what it is- necessary and not.