Monday, December 02, 2013

Now moustaches are labelled discriminatory

I'm proud to say that Movember began here in Melbourne in 2004. If you're not already familiar with it, Movember is a charity movement in which men grow a moustache in November in order to raise money for men's illnesses, such as prostate cancer.

Movember has now spread internationally, but has found a critic in left-wing academic, Arianne Shahvisi. She complains about men growing moustaches for Movember because of the,
pernicious gendered and racial connotations carried by the practice

What are these pernicious practices? Well, you have to follow some convoluted logic here. According to Arianne Shahvisi if a white man grows a moustache for charitable purposes it thereby "others" men from other ethnicities who have a permanent moustache:
With large numbers of minority-ethnic men—for instance Kurds, Indians, Mexicans—sporting moustaches as a cultural or religious signifier, Movember reinforces the “othering” of “foreigners” by the generally clean-shaven, white majority.

It's a bit unusual to think that beards and moustaches are not Western. I sported a beard and moustache for a time in my 20s and if you go back to the 1800s, it was common for Western men to have facial hair. But that too is read as "racist" by Arianne Shahvisi. She thinks Western moustaches are a reminder of the Western colonialism of that century:
We are not simply considering an arbitrary configuration of facial hair, but one that had particular, imperial connotation to British men of our grandfathers' generation and currently has a separate cultural valence for men from certain ethnic groups. Moustaches, whether or not “mo-bros” mean theirs to be, are loaded with symbolism.

Arianne Shahvisi's complaints don't stop there. She believes that moustaches are not inclusive enough. After all, not every man can grow a moustache and nor can every woman:
Further, the inclusivity of Movember deserves examination. For one, only men (and even then, only some men) can grow a moustache. The decision to focus on the moustache to raise awareness of men's health issues might seem like an apposite one ... but it reinforces the regressive idea that masculinity is about body chemistry rather than gender identity, and marginalises groups of men who may struggle to grow facial hair, such as trans-men.

In solidarity with Movember, some women have also relaxed normative shaving-etiquette during “No Shave November.” Instead of being met with the same teasing words of encouragement, many have been subject to ferocious abuse across social media, reflective of the intolerability of women's body hair...

Nor does she like the Movember parties. According to her they are about,
white young men ridiculing minorities...Across nine cities in the UK, participants dress up in costumes that mock and trivialise racial minorities ... and the LGBT community ... celebrate war and imperialism (gun-toting cowboys, colonial generals in pith helmets, and cavalrymen in slouch hats), and emulate racist fictional characters and sexist stereotypes (such as 'Dictator' Aladeen with a harem of female bodyguards, Hulk Hogan lookalikes, hard-hatted builders).

Meanwhile, female attendees take on the uniforms that now seem fit for any occasion, yet really for none at all: Playboy bunnies, air-hostesses, nurses, cheerleaders. Unsurprisingly again, the woman deemed best-looking or best-dressed picks up the title of “Miss Movember”. Set against this damaging carnival of normativity, an official Movember t-shirt slogan "Moustaches against Establishment" seems particularly empty and hypocritical. This culture is summarised in the language of the website, which is itself a lesson in how to reinforce traditional conceptions of masculinity (witness: 'fighting the good fight', 'moustache army', 'flying the flag'), once again precluding the ostensible aim of breaking down the norms that force men to adopt pre-packaged roles...

Movember parties - carnivals of normativity?

 Those two paragraphs are densely packed. To summarise:
  • she has an image of white men as being subhuman oppressors of everyone else. You have to wonder just what goes through her mind when she sees a white man walking down the street.
  • she worries that Movember parties are "carnivals of normativity"
  • she doesn't like normal masculinity, not even when it is expressed in uplifting phrases like "fighting the good fight." She seems to believe that the proper aim of society is to break down masculine norms

Conclusions? The really obvious thing about Arianne Shahvisi's column is that although it is supposed to be against racism and sexism it is, in fact, an unpleasant diatribe against white men and, as such, is itself racist and sexist. It could hardly be clearer that Arianne Shahvisi looks on white men as being exceptional - in a negative sense.

We're likely to get more of this kind of thing. The academic left seems to want to pursue the idea of "microaggressions" - in which small, seemingly harmless things are revealed to be acts of aggression against minorities.  I don't think this will play out well for the academic left - it comes across badly, like an act of bad faith, as in Arianne Shahvisi criticising Movember.


  1. I don't know what's worse, her petty opinions or the fact she gets such a platform for them.

  2. The only thing to hate more than Shahvisi's article is Movember itself. No surprise that it started in Melbourne, the poseur capital of Australia.

  3. White guys can't win in this game. If we do not sport a mustache, this is unfair because this allows us to make a big deal about growing one and this sets us apart from all the shaggy-faced fellows in cultures where mustaches are the norm. Yet if we do sport a mustache, this is unfair because women and transsexuals cannot. Since every possible arrangement of hair on a white men's faces shocks and horrifies Arianne Shahvisi, we must conclude that Arianne Shahvisi is shocked and horrified by white men. Notice her blithe lack of sympathy for the white guys who are cruelly excluded from the Movember festivities simply because they sport facial hair year round. No doubt they are all mustache-twirling fiends who deserve everything they get.

  4. The fact that Arianne Shahvisi has opinions and is expressing them freely is offensive to cultural minorities whose women have to keep their mouths shut and go cook me a curry.

  5. Any time white folks, men especially, are feeling good about something, you know the diversity police are not far away. It's anti-white racism masked in academic terms. White men doing good while looking masculine: if they could outlaw it they would. It's brown supremacism. They hate us and want to bring us down, any way they can. Naked racism dressed in academia is what it is.

  6. Well, as we all know,

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.

  7. The depressing part is despite the reaction this crazy lady almost certainly has a cohort of other crazy ladies around her to reassure her that the fact that society sees her as crazy is a product of the evil white male patriarchy.

  8. You have to wonder just what goes through her mind when she sees a white man walking down the street.

    Oh, probably just something like, "Die, monster, DIE DIE DIE!"

    The academic left seems to want to pursue the idea of "microaggressions"

    All the crazy Leftist crap you can't get away from these days is a microaggression - or even a macroaggression - against me.

  9. That's funny. I would have thought that if being clean-shaven is such a distinctively white thing, then growing moustaches would make foreigners less "othered". Like other commenters are saying, you just can't win. Why, even the author arguably makes a patriarchal mental slip when she claims that men are better able to grow facial hair than women or than women pretending to be men, which if taken seriously would imply that masculinity has more to do with body chemistry than gender construction, etc.

  10. Thank-you Oz for Movember. I recall hearing about it in Canada about 2009 - well after you fellows had invented and I thought "What a great idea! A personal statement (almost) anyone can embark upon quietly, un-obtrusively and after minor protest of a spouse or girl-friend - it can be gone. And all for a good cause like Men's Health/Cancer. How can anyone object?"

    I think that is why is has been enthusiastically adopted by Men around the world - including Canada.

    Now the Mangina's have to weigh in.

    Incredible. Feminist Supremacy will stop at NOTHING.