IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATE: MAS reaches pandemic status worldwide

Readers, we are in the grips of a pandemic.

For years now, members of minorities and marginalised groups have been afflicted by a terrible condition. It may strike at any time, affecting them at work, during recreational activities or even when in the comfort and safety of their own homes. It affects people of colour, queer and trans* people, women, the disabled, the uneducated, sex workers, even the poor. As this condition sweeps through our population, taking casualty after casualty, many have searched in vain for a cure – some kind of vaccine to inoculate the victims against the effects of this affliction. Sadly, their efforts so far have been fruitless, and thousands – nay, millions – find themselves falling prey daily, usually when they least expect it.

I am speaking, of course, of Minority Ambassador Syndrome.

Minority Ambassador Syndrome (MAS) is a condition transmitted from unaffected carriers (usually able-bodied cishet white males with college degrees and steady jobs in respected fields) to marginalised people. Transmission can occur upon first contact, though it is not rare for MAS to incubate and lie latent in a carrier for some time before the condition is passed on. Although completely harmless to the vectors that spread it, MAS has serious and far-reaching consequences for any members of a marginalised group that may come into contact with it. I am writing this guide as a public health initiative. By learning to recognise the signs and symptoms of MAS, you and your loved ones can learn to take precautions and keep yourselves safe. While there is not yet any foolproof method of preventing MAS transmission, the following information may prove helpful to people in a high-risk environment (one with a lot of carriers, such as a video game forum, comic convention or gawker.com comments section) and help those already afflicted to obtain some symptomatic relief.

MAS – Recognising the Signs

MAS is transmitted aurally or via text from the carrier to the recipient. Transmission occurs in the form of a generalisation about the recipient’s race to which the recipient is then expected to give some kind of apology or rebuttal. Examples of transmission spores include:

  • “I don’t see any of you [insert religion here] apologising for [insert act of terrorism committed by people who claim x religion here]! You’re all the same!”
  • “I heard in the news last night that a [insert race here] committed [insert felony here]. Why don’t community leaders stand up and denounce those people? They’re making you all look bad.”
  • “I saw a [insert non-het sexuality here] couple engaging in the grossest PDA the other day. Why do all [insert non-het sexuality here] people have to be so blatant about it?”
  • “If [insert race here] women don’t want people to think of them as [insert racial pejorative here], maybe they should all stop [insert stereotype about women of x race here].”

However, transmission is not always in the form of a generalisation about the marginalised group in question; it may also occur in the form of a compliment that positions the recipient as somehow having transcended the group with whom they claim association. Examples of this include:

  • “It’s so great to see someone from [insert race/religion here] in college – you’re such a good example! If only more [insert race/religion here] people were like you.”
  • “Obviously, you’re not like those other [women/gay people/trans* people/sex workers] – you don’t go acting like they do.”
  • “I know you deserve disability benefits, but what about all those people with fake disabilities who are just rorting the system?”

In both cases, the recipient is now positioned as a representative of their entire group – be that people of a certain race or creed, women, trans* people, queer people, disabled people, sex workers, etc. Upon contact, the individual is expected to assume responsibility for all actions ever taken by any member of the group to which they belong, even if those actions were taken by someone they don’t know, someone whose behaviour they don’t condone or someone who is only tangentially related to them. If they do not do so, their failure is seen as an indictment of the entire group.

Symptoms of MAS

MAS is unique in that it does not affect carriers whatsoever. They are not expected to assume responsibility for groups to which they belong (e.g. white people, straight people, cisgender people, men, people with college degrees, people belonging to [x] field, etc.). The disease only activates upon transmission to a vulnerable minority recipient. Symptoms may include:

  • Being asked to justify the actions of complete strangers (e.g. “a black man robbed my friend’s friend’s house last night – why aren’t your people doing more to crack down on crime?”)
  • Being attacked if they do not issue fervent apologies for atrocities committed by people claiming to represent them (e.g. “those terrorists said they were fighting in the name of Islam, don’t you feel ashamed? Why aren’t you standing up to them?”)
  • Being expected to act with impeccable etiquette and deportment in all situations, even when subjected to scorn, criticism or mockery, on pain of damning the entire group by association if they do not (e.g. “I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you! Trans* people are all deceptive liars!”)
  • Being held up as an example to which other members of the group should aspire (e.g. “If you could work three jobs to pay your way through college, why can’t every poor kid from the poverty-stricken neighbourhood in which you grew up do the same?”)

Over time, these symptoms lead to irritation, frustration and a feeling of overwhelming pressure in sufferers.

Prognosis and Treatment

As of yet, there is no reliable treatment for MAS. Prognosis for sufferers is largely dependent on their will and ability to argue with carriers who insist that they be held accountable for the actions of complete strangers with whom they may have only the vaguest and most tenuous of affiliations. Whilst some sufferers of MAS are able to rebut such demands, others are not, and the stress of being expected to act as a perfect example for others to follow can do incredible damage over time. In such cases, the prognosis is fairly grim.

However, there are some strategies that sufferers may use to mitigate the effects of MAS. These include:

  • Asking carriers to account for the actions of people only vaguely connected to them (e.g. “your great-great grandparents probably owned slaves, should I make you apologise for that, too?”)
  • Insisting on being viewed as an individual regardless of group affiliation (e.g. “do you really think all brown people look the same? That’s pretty messed up, dude.”)
  • Telling carriers to fuck right back off on the high horse they rode in on

Employing these strategies will not cure MAS or completely remove it from the system of the sufferer, but they may provide some symptomatic relief, as well as a soothing sense of accomplishment and satisfaction at having told at least one ignorant bigot where to shove it.

Lessening the Impact of MAS

MAS is currently endemic amongst marginalised populations, with an estimated up to 100% of members of these groups having been exposed to the condition at least once in their lives. Therefore, treatment and intervention programs should initially focus on limiting exposure to carriers by removing the large-scale public platforms from which these carriers are often able to infect multiple people at once.

In order to stop the spread of MAS, a concerted effort must be made to stop the condition at the source. By eliminating carriers through education, socially-enforced anti-discrimination messages and straight up pointing and laughing at their ignorance, the number of carrier-to-recipient transmissions would be greatly lessened. In cases of patients already suffering from MAS, eliminating further contact with carriers can eventually lead to the condition becoming latent again. Future intervention programs should also focus on eliminating sources from which carriers initially pick up the condition, such as FOX News, Drudge Report, Cathy Brennan and any Twitter account operated by someone who endorses the views of Richard Dawkins.

Although it may seem like an impossible task, it is conceivable that in the next ten to twenty years, MAS transmission could be greatly reduced by implementing these measures, and existing sufferers could see their conditions become – and remain – latent. It may take an army of dedicated specialists slowly hacking away at the fanbases of influential carriers such as Dan Savage, the aforementioned Richard Dawkins, anyone who identifies as a “TERF” or “SWERF”, or Sean Hannity, but with time, effort and large-scale international cooperation, it may eventually be possible to end this pandemic.

Male Feminists – a spotter’s guide

Ah, the Male Feminist. Once an elusive creature, this peculiar subspecies of H. sapiens sapiens has begun to proliferate at an alarming rate with the advent of the new atheist movement. Most often seen flashing their plumage (in the form of buzzwords such as “consent is sexy” and “I want to empower women!”) with the aim of attracting the attention of real feminists, the Male Feminist, or H. sapiens mansplainam feeds on a steady diet of female approval, ally cookies and pity fucks. 

As H. sapiens mansplainam is the natural predator of women, particularly trans* women, women of colour and sex workers, it is important to be able to quickly recognise the signs that differentiate him from the true feminists amongst whom he hides, almost cuckoo-like, consuming their resources and shunting aside anyone who threatens his position in the spotlight. H. sapiens mansplainam has evolved several forms of camouflage designed to help him blend in against a backdrop of actual feminists, but the cunning and discerning scholar of natural history may, with careful study, identify him among the morass.

One may identify a wild H sapiens mansplainam as follows (please note that these are only a few of the telltale signs of the beast):

  • He may identify as a “freethinker” or “progressive” who demands that every woman he meets engage with him in debates about trifling issues that often derail larger conversations
  • The distinctive squawk, “MISANDRY! MISANDRY!”, which the Male Feminist uses in order to intimidate women into submission during his bizarre mating ritual
  • The belief that he is owed sexual favours, gratitude or praise for basic acts such as choosing not to rape a drunk woman at a party one time, or saying that a woman could totally be President
  • A peacock-like display of t-shirts bearing the logo of the HRC or other trans*-exclusionary “equal rights” groups, designed to attract prospective partners in a show of ostentatious philanthropy
  • The insistence that feminism should be renamed “humanism” or “equalism” to more accurately reflect the struggles faced by fellow Male Feminists
  • Frequent use of the tone argument when a woman is not charmed by his claims of “ally cred” or the fact that he once read a book by Virginia Woolf and responds with disdain or hostility
  • Use of coercion or insistence that “grey areas” exist which allow the Male Feminist to have sex with any woman he pleases, something he believes is owed to him due to the fact that he claims to be a feminist

These are merely some of the many signs by which one may identify the Male Feminist; however, as they are the most common, they should help the beginning scholar to avoid the most egregious Male Feminist infestations in their communities.

Unlike true feminists, H. sapiens mansplainam is impervious to reason, will ignore any statistics that do not support his worldview and is unable to be swayed from his predatory ways through engaging in rational debate. The Male Feminist will barge into and quickly claim entry of any feminist spaces he finds, and will respond to resistance or hostility with his other mating-call, “radfem! radfem!” It is not yet known whether this word has any meaning to the Male Feminist or whether it is just a random regurgitation of previously heard syllables, similar to the facsimile of speech that can be achieved by some species of parrot. It is inadvisable to engage the Male Feminist, as it is rare that one will be persuaded to discard his predatory, territorial ways and assimilate peacefully and successfully into civilised society.

If one encounters H. sapiens mansplainam in the wild, the following tactics – some defensive, some diversionary – may prove useful:

  • Barring the beast from entry into one’s community, thereby preventing him from terrorizing the residents
  • Providing the Male Feminist with male-authored treatises countering his spurious claims that misandry is a real issue threatening to undermine the feminist movement
  • Pointing and laughing from a safe distance
  • Openly and blatantly rejecting any and all sexual advances in public, which may cause the Male Feminist to reply with Male Tears and cries of, “frigid bitch!” or, “ugly whore!” – a small price to pay for escaping his predatory clutches

It is important to be on one’s guard against H. sapiens mansplainam at all times, as they will often attempt to convince their victims that they are true feminists using a technique known as “mansplaining”, whereby they assume that everything they have to say on any matter is correct because they are men. Beginning scholars are particularly advised to be wary of such an approach, as the Male Feminist can be a very vocal and persistent mansplainer, particularly when accidentally engaged in any kind of debate.

It is this writer’s hope that this introductory guide to the Male Feminist will be useful to spotters beginning their forays into the world of feminism, particularly intersectional feminism. Forewarned is forearmed, and with H. sapiens mansplainam populations increasing drastically in many communities, it is best for anyone seeking to take part in feminist discourse to be prepared against the possibility of a Male Feminist attack.