Male privilege and its discontents

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38 comments posted
OH, sweet irony

The irony of this is that if you really want to look at biological differences, the women are going to win. Because of a more active Corpus Callosum we are better suited to research, philosophy, science and mathematics, all of which require not only logic, but a fair amount of intuition and non-linear thinking as well. Because of the way our speech centers develop, women are better suited to study languages and literature. It was long known in the Aerospace community that women would make better astronauts than men because of the way they perceived spatial elements - weightlessness is less disorienting for a woman. There are many fields where the biological advantages of the woman makes her preferable to a man, yet those fields are male-dominated.

I can go on for days. The bottom line is that over half of the math and science degrees go to women, yet there is still a huge disparity in employment in related fields. It isn't all about having babies. It's about men who are more comfortable hiring men, it's about networking done in male-only environs, it's about a woman having to be twice as good to get half the credit.

Summers ought to be fired if only because he's not socially adept enough to be let out in public alone.

Only a socially retarded misogynist would even think that there's a biological basis for women not getting ahead, and the basis is about 5,000 thousands years of an unnatural social order known as patriarchy.

Morgaine-ism© #8

"A Woman's Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy is Sacred and Absolute."

Morgaine Swann's picture
Posted by Morgaine Swann on 22 February 2005 - 6:36am
Not understanding

It is a waste to time to explain sexism to someone who does not believe it wrong to be sexist. The tone of Aaron is that it is "natural" and he looks to the markers that justify sexism. Biology is destiny. Institutionalized sexism or racism is not on his radar, except as something "natural." As natural as applehood and mother-pie.

Two hundred years ago, markers for blackness showed that Africans were better off as slaves than as free people. Many of the same sorts of arguments were made.

I see little hope in helping someone see when they are delighted in their blindness.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 22 February 2005 - 1:41pm
More misrepresentation

Nowhere am I trying to justify sexism. Yes, I do think it is natural that there are differences between the genders - look between your legs if you need verification. But I also explicitly said:

I support equal opportunity, both practically and philosophically. I also believe that both genders, as well as all races and creeds and sexual orientations, are de facto equally capable in almost all practical public societal roles (e.g. jobs and such). I very much believe that discrimination on such grounds is plainly wrong.

So, I did not say that institutionalized sexism was "natural." Neither did I say it wasn't wrong to be sexist (quite explicitly the opposite). Furthermore, nowhere have I expressed "delight" in this conversation, and I fail to see how I'm "blind." Imperfect, sure, but I'm trying and I'm learning. I'd appreciate if you could positively contribute to that effort, rather than insult and ridicule me.

Aaron's picture
Posted by Aaron (not verified) on 24 February 2005 - 2:34pm
Of men and straw

Please, lose the condescension and the misrepresentation: when I cited you on my blog, I had the courtesy of doing so respectfully and impersonally (as in, I spoke about your words, not your person). Much of your writing in this entry reads as more of a personal attack than an attempt to respond to my actual assertions. Your choice of title in particular seems unnecessary: how exactly am I a "discontent"? And yes, I am male, and yes, that may afford me some priviledges, but it wasn't my choice to be male any more than it was your choice to be female. I really am trying to work towards equality just as much as you are, and I would appreciate if you don't prejudge me based on my gender.

Yes, I did not understand "empowerment", but I would imagine that you of all people would agree that much more is needed than a dictionary definition to really grasp the scope of it. Fortunately, when I crossposted my writing on Daily Kos I received a few truly helpful comments, from people who were kind enough to take me seriously and understanding enough to adress me politely. They responded to my words and assertions as I actually intended them, and for that I am thankful.

Now as for my assertions, you misrepresent or outright fabricate them on a regular basis. For example, I did not state unequivocal and unexplained disagreement with your piece: if you observe what I actually wrote, I only cited it for one specific issue - that you feel Summers request to be disproven was insincere. I see no real grounds for that, and as such do disagree with it: I, however, neither express any specific disagreement with the rest of your post nor do I really say anything else about you, aside from you being representative of the "blogosphere" reaction to Summers (which if anything is a complement).

Furthermore, nowhere did I say that I "like what Summers said" - I said that I think his critics are unfounded and that this is not call for his ouster. Yes, they're controversial comments, but that's all the more reason to provoke some dialogue. I'm not saying Summers is good or agreeable, but I do feel that what he triggered could be a constructive discussion about sexism in general. For more clarification, read these comments in the Kos thread.

Now I agree that work is necessary for progress: I did not mean to say that we should just "let progress happen." However, I don't think that some sort of quota enforcement, or having a female president (or whatever important figure) simply for the sake of having a female (or whatever sort of group) president, is really a good thing. I am not defending Summers in saying that, and more power to you if you want to work for greater integration in academia or wherever else. I was responding to this sort of sentiment that Summers should be kicked out over this and Harvard should have a female president, just because, well, Harvard should have a female president. I'm not saying such a president would be a bad thing: quite the opposite, I think it would do Harvard and everybody else a world of good. But I don't think it's something that should be forced or done for its own sake: just like when somebody screws up in a relationship, they should learn why what they did was wrong on their own, and fix it as their own choice.

Thank you for agreeing, though, that Summers has the right to be a "horse's ass", as you said - I agree entirely. And thank you for your one slight release where you seemed to say that at least I'm not a totally chauvinistic jerk, or something. But still, I hope you really can see that I'm trying to solve exactly the same things you are. For example:

And yet the men shake their heads. Feminism is outdated. Feminism is unreasonable. Feminism means man-hating. Women got the right to vote ages ago, so what's the big deal? Appeal denied.

For one thing, that's not what I'm saying. But that said, I do agree that this is a very real problem, and one that needs to be addressed. And really, that's precisely what I'm trying to do: just like you can provide a female perspective, I can provide a male one. I was trying to explain, in a non-insulting and non-sexist fashion, how aspects of "empowerment" and some other modern feminist movements really didn't make sense to me. Thankfully, as I said above, several people took the time and courtesy to explain them to me. Hence, as far as I'm concerned, and despite being called a racist, a sexist, and having the whole thing spin off into a personal slam written on another blog site, the dialogue was a success. I learned something, and maybe, just maybe, a few other people did too.

I am not denying that misogyny exists: far from it. Read my responses to critics in the Daily Kos thread, and even what I originally wrote, and you'll see that I am not denying the problem. I am simply trying to understand and perhaps even provide suggestions to improve the methods used by those who are actively working to solve these problems.

Anyway, thank you for the link, despite the context you provided it in. I hope we can still have a good dialogue: I like your site, actually, and might put up a link to you in the near future (my blogroll is pretty short these days). To close, I would like to address your own closing words:

Maybe some of these self-appointed experts on what is and isn't good feminism can turn their insightful gaze upon themselves, and explain to us poor hapless females the origins and justifications and reasons for the persistence of male privilege and institutional patriarchy.

Firstly, I am not a self-appointed expert: I fully acknowledge my limitations on this topic, and on pretty much everything for that matter. Secondly, I am not trying to explain the origins and justifications and reasons for the persistence of male priviledge: I am trying to understand empowerment and feminism, and I am trying to truly fight for equality.

So, I hope we can reach decent terms. Please, in the future, respond to the assertions I make. Constructive dialogue is achieved by openly addressing words, not attempting to attack people ("ad hominem", as it were). You really do have a lot of insight and I want to hear your opinion on this topic and others - I hope I can do so without having to also tolerate being insulted for things I did not say and opinions I do not hold, or for the fact that I happened to be born with a Y chromosome.

Thank you for your time and your words.

Aaron's picture
Posted by Aaron (not verified) on 23 February 2005 - 7:52pm
Straw boss

So. Are you telling women how we should think? How typically male.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 23 February 2005 - 8:04pm
Not even close

Please please please, just take me at my words. That's all I ask.

I'm not telling women how to think, not even close. I'm not telling *anyone* how to think: I'm just trying to engage in an open dialogue here, and learn something myself, and maybe other people will learn too.

That, and step back for a second and ask yourself how you would feel if I made some sort of "how typically female" statement in dismissing you. I'm not crying "reverse discrimination" just yet, but I would appreciate if you don't dismiss me because of my Y chromosome.

I'm just trying to offer my opinion and questions, and learn, and maybe others can learn to. In and of itself, what I'm trying to do has nothing to do with gender (that is, I'm not trying to "tell women how to think" or anything). So please, don't dismiss me on those grounds.

Aaron's picture
Posted by Aaron (not verified) on 24 February 2005 - 2:26pm
Thank you

I do appreciate the thoughtful response and the time you took to clarify your positions, and to the extent you felt personally attacked, I apologize. You had the misfortune of sounding off on an issue that seems to crop up quite a lot -- usually with the kind of paternalistic condescension that Matsu notes in her reply to your comment here. Yours is just one of many voices who've expressed anywhere from shrugs to outrage to incoherent malicious rantings in response to women demanding respect.

Part of the problem is the blindness men have to their own privileges. Often they take offense when women point them out, and if they don't see them immediately, they make accusations of being attacked unfairly -- as if the man's perception is the ultimate arbiter of whether what women experience and perceive is valid or not.

We submit that when we say something, its truth and validity are independent of whether a man -- any man -- acknowledges it or not. Unfortunately, the common response by men to a woman's opinion is not unlike a teacher's response to a student, or a judge's response to a plaintiff. That in and of itself is an assertion of male privilege.

It does not wash.

I'm glad you found helpful responses on DKos. As you must know, DKos has not exactly been the shining example of how women can be involved. The issue of the participation of women (or lack therof) flared up last fall, and I believe caught most of the men completely unawares. It just never occurred to some of them to value female participation at the highest level except by saying the equivalent of "Some of my best friends are women," while others just never even thought about it at all.

OTOH, I consider DKos a kind of sanctuary politically and a terrific place to share progressive thought and information -- and that's not just because I have pretty good mojo there considering my sparse participation. Women have spoken up and found their diary entries more recommended of late, and found an overall receptive readership, and that's all good. It helps that DKos is not a big testosterone fest, like some other sites (on the right and left). In the face of dudes acting like assholes, the women just don't even bother. We don't get much out of pissing contests. DKos is not like that.

The thing is, though, the general sentiment on right and left is that feminism is, at best, no longer needed. Pundits and leaders from Jerry Falwell to Garry Wills have sounded off on this. And until, in response to expressions of our concerns, we start hearing a sincere "yes" instead of a cacophony of "yes, but--" you guys can expect us to continue to speak up and, sorry, get a little rude and a little confrontational. It may seem unfair, but as things are now it seems to be what it takes to get anyone's attention.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 23 February 2005 - 11:00pm
the need for feminism

If an outsider may comment, it seems to me there has been a greater need for feminism since the counterattack by the patriarchy & the neo-Fascist right exemplified in the slogan "the need for feminism no longer exists." And if a brother may advise Aaron, the notion that we "may" have "some" privileges based on being male is an indication of how powerful and pervasive an opponent patriarchy remains.

Peace & Justice, Y'all

P.S. One positive note of Kevin D's awkwardness was pointing out to me how few sites were sidelisted--I'm a little embarassed by my own blindness, but glad he provided links in his response to some lively, witty, & altogether splendid work.

Thanks & look forward to seeing more.

anonymous lurker's picture
Posted by anonymous lurker (not verified) on 24 February 2005 - 12:00pm
Thank you

Feminism means, "humans are equal, irrespective of gonads."

You men (and "anonymous lurker" I am speaking only in the editorial "you,"--thank you for commenting! and understanding) cannot KNOW what it means to be a woman.

You do not know what it is to be a second-class citizen by birth.

"The need for feminism no longer exists?" It is like saying, "The need for equality no longer exists." That is, the master does not need vassals who are anything but supplicants.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 24 February 2005 - 12:41pm
I am a master of the art of understatement

I agree entirely that there are plenty of real issues to confront re: patrioarchy/feminism/sexism. I'd just say that you're reading a bit too much into my comment there: due to my own peculiarities, I often "understate" things. It's kind of a useful defensive semantical feature, I must admit, plus it's also reflective of my own true quasi-poly-agnostic philosophy. I am loathe to provide truly strong declarations, because I feel that there are very few such assertions which are genuinely and universally true. But my toned-down rhetoric is not meant to play down the importance of the issues I discuss, and I very much agree that, as you said, patriarchy is still a powerful opponent (though I would add that plutocracy is also a powerful and related opponent, and one that affects many people of both genders - while it's true that the majority of people in power are men, they're only a very small percentage of men at that, those born to be rich elites).

Aaron's picture
Posted by Aaron (not verified) on 24 February 2005 - 2:43pm
patriarchy, plutocracy, & poly-agnostic phenomenology

Aaron,

Thanks for the ongoing effort to get it, and for pointing out the close relationship of class, gender, (and race). Let me try again to clarify my point; you say "plutocracy is...one that affects many people of both genders..." True on its face, but my point was and is that patriarchy & racism also affect us all, but as a white male I can afford to tune in or out: my choice--a choice that is not available to women and people of color.

Also, Matsu, thanks for the welcome. However, may I pick a small point? I would never claim that I, or any male can truly know what it means to be female. Full stop. And I think you joined me in condemning those who claim feminism is obsolete. But I do know firsthand what it means to be born a second-class citizen--not on the basis of gender but of class. It just took me about ten-twelve years to realize it. I think it may be better if we noted that one is born into a visible, readily apparent second-class citizenship based on gender or race, whatever either of those constructs mean. Most of us, for whatever reason, have a place assigned to us by others on such a basis. My godson's mother, who is white, says "he can choose." His father, who isn't white, is less sanguine.

Justice for all: yeah, all y'all.

A. lurker (again)'s picture
Posted by A. lurker (again) (not verified) on 24 February 2005 - 6:39pm
Thank you as well
We submit that when we say something, its truth and validity are independent of whether a man -- any man -- acknowledges it or not.

Agreed, but I would submit that this is not just a gender issue. Yes, it is often instantiated as such, but matters of truth and validity are fully independent of gender and, well, everything besides the actual truth and validity. Women are often dismissed by men, true, but that is not the only situation where people are mistreated. In fact, I've even seen it happen in the reverse a few times. In the end, it's important to just try and focus on the actual statements of people, and not their personal qualities.

The thing is, though, the general sentiment on right and left is that feminism is, at best, no longer needed. Pundits and leaders from Jerry Falwell to Garry Wills have sounded off on this. And until, in response to expressions of our concerns, we start hearing a sincere "yes" instead of a cacophony of "yes, but--" you guys can expect us to continue to speak up and, sorry, get a little rude and a little confrontational. It may seem unfair, but as things are now it seems to be what it takes to get anyone's attention.

Fair enough - I just ask that, in doing so, you do your best to keep your lasers aimed at worthy targets. I would humbly submit that, despite my imperfections, I'm really not that bad of a person, at least regarding sexism, racism, and other issues of bigotry and bias.

I agree, feminism is being dismissed, and it is a problem. There are still inequalities and issues to be addressed. And yes, you have to be a little noisy to get attention sometimes. DKos is a pretty male-centric community, but I bet if you made enough of a buzz you could get a good strong female community going there. It's not for lack of people, and I'm sure Kos and other frontpage editors are receptive (considering it looks like, in the diary I wrote, both Armando and Meteor Blades went through and gaves 4s to most everybody who disagreed with or just plain insulted me).

Anyway, I'm glad we could end this on a cordial note. Good luck with your rallying-the-uppity-blog-women operation, and whatever else you end up confronting. As it develops I'll likely throw it a link or two: granted my piddly blog only averages about 100 visits a day, but it's something.

Thank you again for your time and your thoughts.

Aaron's picture
Posted by Aaron (not verified) on 24 February 2005 - 3:00pm
Misogony

Dear Mediagirl,

I am a man, and I would not hold that misogyny does not exist. It surely does. Why would anyone hold that it does not?

I am totally against misogyny, misandry, racism or any other kind of idea about holding certain sentiments towards individuals just because they happen to belong to some category that can be defined on sex or race.

But misogyny surely cannot simply be equated with skepticism.

There is skepticism that is caused, and then there is skepticism that is reasoned.

I will provide you an example of where reason and causes mix to engender skepticism towards feminism, and sometimes further leads to outright misogyny. Or, in your own words "why so many other men are such shmucks."

What many men react against is the idea that everything becomes better if we just all agree to become feminists.

Men react against this because they realize that feminism, although a good thing when combined with other perspectives, becomes totalitarian when it becomes so dominant as to exclude all other perspectives.

For many years feminists in my home country held that women were not capable of sexual abuse of children. This idea flew in the face of anyone who as a child had actually been abused by a woman. Feminism had such an authority on this issue that any kind of resistance to this idea was dismissed as misogyny or antifeminism.

So some skepticism is surely justified, and other skepticism is not. Some skepticism arises out of problems with large segments of contemporary feminism.

To just a priori reject all criticism of feminism neither helps feminism, women or humanity at large.

Mediagirl, in your postings you have a tendency to reduce all criticism of feminism to either a defense of patriarchy, or simply make and ad hominem attack on the critiziser.

Consider that your strategy does not lead to real progress, more to self-righteousness. Why should feminism become a new infallible dogmatic scripture that is beyond criticism?

There is a saying that goes something like this: Study your enemy carefully because in the end you will end up just like him.

Best regards,

Leo

Leo's picture
Posted by Leo (not verified) on 14 March 2005 - 11:25am
Straw woman

I ask you, Leo, in all sincerity, where have I done anything like say that women are angels? Where did I say that women are incapable of abusing children? You attack me for what other women said. Why?

What is self-righteous about demanding equal rights? What is self-righteous about criticizing the patriarchy? What about male judgments of women makes the men right and the women wrong?

What is "totalitarian" about feminism? Are women demanding to set up a military matriarchy? Are we demanding a police state?

I never said men should become feminists, as you claim. Yet I wonder what is so painful for you to swallow when it comes to feminist positions?

Feminism is the radical idea that women are people.

Do you believe women should become indentured baby-making servants to the state? Do you believe women should make less money for the same work? Do you believe women should endure the epidemic of violence agains them? Do you believe women should take all responsiblity for being raped? Do you believe criminal cases of violence against women should have to meet a higher standard for conviction than any other type of violent crime?

What is your criticizm, really, Leo? You talk about ad hominem attacks, and yet your comment offers nothing but.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 14 March 2005 - 11:44am
So many questions, so little time

Dear Mediagirl,

I never wrote that you had argued, that women are angels, or that they are incapable of child abuse. By no means. It is not I who erect straw persons.

As I wrote, the child abuse case was an example, trying to answer the question that you yourself had posed in an earlier post. Why are some men skeptical towards the feminist agenda?

My point with this example was simply to illustrate that even something that is mostly good, can be bad, or used for bad things, under certain circumstances.

So men can have good REASONS not to accept all that comes out of feminism. To often criticism is written off as being CAUSED - by fear of women for example.

Surely, some resistance comes from fear of change, but it is not just to reduce all kinds of resistance to psychological pathology. I remain convinced that feminism should be open to criticism, and not fall back to these knee-jerk reactions.

Personally I am no enemy of feminism as such. I was just trying to point out that nothing or no one, in my opinion, should be immune to criticism. I hope and think that such a great person as Mary Wollstonecraft would have agreed. She understood, more than many contemporary feminists, that rights and accountability go hand in hand.

Further on you ask:

"What is self-righteous about demanding equal rights? What is self-righteous about criticizing the patriarchy?"

Here again you errect an unnecesary straw person. I never made those connections, you did! But for the sake of good order I will answer anyway: Nothing!

Your next question simply does not make any sense to me:

" What about male judgments of women makes the men right and the women wrong? " I would answer it, had it made any sense.

Next question: "What is "totalitarian" about feminism? Are women demanding to set up a military matriarchy? Are we demanding a police state?" No, and neither is this required when all institutions are controlled by feminist thought. Here, however I guess our perspectives diverge further, I am a Swede. In Sweden we have state feminism. I supose you are an american, and there, I have been told, the state is not as omnipresent and omnipotent as here.

"Feminism is the radical idea that women are people."

With this idea I am in complete agreement. I just do not think that it covers everything that feminism is about.

"Do you believe women should become indentured baby-making servants to the state? Do you believe women should make less money for the same work? Do you believe women should endure the epidemic of violence agains them? Do you believe women should take all responsiblity for being raped? Do you believe criminal cases of violence against women should have to meet a higher standard for conviction than any other type of violent crime?"

NO! Absolutely no! Off course not! And, further, you do not have to be a feminist to hold a clear “NO!� to all of those questions. Feminist morality is not the only morality that would hold that we as humans should care for and look after each other.

Do you seriously think that only feminists would hold and defend a “NO!� to those questions, if yes, then no wonder you are so defensive.

To be skeptical towards certain trends within feminism DOES NOT MEAN to condone violence against women! This is a straw person if there ever was one.

Finally my first post was not an ad hominem attack. I stick to the argument.

Best regards,

Leo

Leo's picture
Posted by Leo (not verified) on 14 March 2005 - 3:16pm
To clarify

It seems that you and I have a cultural gap that is only in part male/female. I do not know anything about Swedish politics, so I cannot comment on any of that. I'm working today so I'll respond quickly.

Your next question simply does not make any sense to me:

" What about male judgments of women makes the men right and the women wrong? " I would answer it, had it made any sense.

Okay, let's I say x. You say that what I say is wrong. What makes you right and me wrong? That is the question -- and it's something that many men choose to ignore or avoid. The fact is that many men dismiss whatever comes out of a woman's mouth or mind out of hand, and if they don't, they often place themselves as judge and jury over whatever validity the woman's point might have.

Yet if a woman tried to do that, she's attacked. She's called a bitch or worse. She's ridiculed. She's ignored.

"Feminism is the radical idea that women are people."

With this idea I am in complete agreement. I just do not think that it covers everything that feminism is about.

So what else is feminism about? Perhaps you would like to refer to the wikipedia links above, which get into dozens of different kinds of feminism. I would be interested to know which positions of each of these you believe somehow defines the more general idea of what feminism is about. Yes, there are some crazy people out there, and some call themselves "feminists." But that doesn't mean that everything they claim defines feminism.

"Do you believe women should become indentured baby-making servants to the state? Do you believe women should make less money for the same work? Do you believe women should endure the epidemic of violence agains them? Do you believe women should take all responsiblity for being raped? Do you believe criminal cases of violence against women should have to meet a higher standard for conviction than any other type of violent crime?"

NO! Absolutely no! Off course not! And, further, you do not have to be a feminist to hold a clear “NO!� to all of those questions. Feminist morality is not the only morality that would hold that we as humans should care for and look after each other.

Do you seriously think that only feminists would hold and defend a “NO!� to those questions, if yes, then no wonder you are so defensive.

I say "yes." You need only look at the trolling posts on various websites to see that just because you aren't attacking women, just because you aren't holding misogynist thoughts, just because you don't believe any answer but "no" is appropriate doesn't mean there aren't millions of men out there who do.

We in the United States have to deal with a lot of religious fundamentalism that in many ways is just as patriarchal and discriminatory as the stereotypical Islamic society. The Equal Rights Amendment did not pass here. It was considered too radical to say that there shall be no discrimination based on sex. The greatest resistance was in the states that voted for Bush, which says something about the current political climate here.

There also is a lot of violence towards women here. A third of all women here will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime. How many of the men doing this will even face charges when rape is the one crime on the books where victim's testimony is not enough for conviction, or when half of these perpetrators are boyfriends or husbands?

I always make sure to fill up my gas tank during the day because I don't dare risk it at night. I do not walk out to parking lots at night alone. In the city I do not make eye contact with men.

Meanwhile just look at what's happening in the state legislatures and municipal courthouses. A woman was prevented from divorcing her convicted abusive husband because she was pregnant. States have passed laws preventing young women from receiving birth control information. I don't know what kind of image you have of America, but there are reasons why feminists sound off with anger and frustration.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 14 March 2005 - 5:01pm
Epistemology

Dear Mediagirl,

I too am busy working. Let us keep it short. I will leave out the specifics on USA and Sweden. Like you said, feminists there have their REASONS to sound off with anger and frustration. I would not deny such a thing, my original point was that -- so does men, but their perspective is rarely examined.

To the questions:

[quote]Okay, let's I say x. You say that what I say is wrong. What makes you right and me wrong? That is the question -- and it's something that many men choose to ignore or avoid. The fact is that many men dismiss whatever comes out of a woman's mouth or mind out of hand, and if they don't, they often place themselves as judge and jury over whatever validity the woman's point might have.[/quote]

I think the keyword here is concordance with reality. If A proposes a theory about reality, and B proposes another theory about reality. A is right if his or her theory is more in concordance with reality than is the theory of B. It ought NOT to depend on the gender of either A or B.

Here I should note that it does not suffice to feel that a theory is in concordance with reality. If for example B has a stronger conviction or faith. That can never make B right in itself. The theories held about reality must be tested against the data and evidence we can collect about reality.

Paternalistic authority is not the way to valid knowledge, but neither is maternalistic authority. If we seek to learn about the world we must examine it with an open mind.

[quote]I say "yes." You need only look at the trolling posts on various websites to see that just because you aren't attacking women, just because you aren't holding misogynist thoughts, just because you don't believe any answer but "no" is appropriate doesn't mean there aren't millions of men out there who do.[/quote]

I am aware that I cannot generalize from the individual to everybody, or the reverse. I do not do that.

I think feminists sometimes have a tendency to do exactly that. For example when blaming men as a group for what are undeniably the wrongdoings of individual men. This kind of groupthink thinking in groups is really nothing but a sad legacy of Marx.

I stand by my original assertion that it is possible not to be a feminist and not condone violence against women at the same time. Feminists, in other words, cannot have exclusive rights on morality and on defining what we ought to do.

Best regards,

Lennart

Leo's picture
Posted by Leo (not verified) on 15 March 2005 - 9:43am
Reality

I submit that most men have a perception of reality that is vastly different than the perception most women have.

I submit that when men start accusing feminists of being man haters, "blaming men as a group for what are undeiably the wrongdoings of individual men," they are not really paying attention to what feminists are really saying.

I submit that when a woman states a strong opinion, and defends her right to say it, and a man accuses her of trying to claim "exclusive rights on morality and on defining what we ought to do," that the problem may be not with the woman, but the man who has a problem with her.

I am aware that I cannot generalize from the individual to everybody, or the reverse. I do not do that.

Excuse me, dear Lennart, but you've been doing that in every post you've made here by taking little anecdotes from your blindered perception of the world and extrapolating it into an entire theory of feminism.

You obviously have a problem with whatever it is you think feminism is. We say you're wrong. You say we're wrong, and then use your skewed view to justify it. I think you're shouting out in the dark. You might want to read some more. You actually might find some reassurance. I can recommend the feminist bloggers listed down the right-hand column of the home page of this site.

Feminists, in other words, cannot have exclusive rights on morality and on defining what we ought to do.

Neither can men, Lennart, but men constantly and repeatedly claim this privilege. That's one of the reasons feminism exists.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 15 March 2005 - 10:19am
Approaching Each Person as an Individual

Aside from the obvious discrimination that still exists, in order to promote tolerance in the real world, I see nothing that makes more common sense than for each of us, men and women, to learn the lesson of approaching each individual, regardless of sex or standing, as a unique individual, without preconceived notions of that person's attitudes and politics. We all bring a history and a wealth of real world testing and bruised reevaluation of our old beliefs to the table. I believe it's important to allow these factors to have a chance to breathe as we interact with one another. One on one, without bias, without walls, is the only approach that seems viable to me. Generally defining either men or women as this or that prevents an honest appraisal of each individual we may encounter. My experience has shown me that I've learned the most life lessons from both my maternal grandmother and my most important life teacher, Dr. Henry G Vanek. Choosing between the two based on sex or personal flaws is impossible for me. My absorption of lessons learned from these two, along with my own personal testing and experiences lead me to the individual approach when finding myself in contact with either men or women. Just a thought...

HMonk

Heathen Monk's picture
Posted by Heathen Monk on 13 May 2005 - 12:11am
Her master's voice

You are correct in saying that the oppressed group must be careful not to become like those against whom they struggle.

I have been involved in the Women's Movement since the early 1970's and I agree that there are many issues that women rally around--you bring up child abuse. Perhaps it is a Feminist issue. Perhaps it goes beyond Feminism.

Feminism gets back to the Equal Rights Amendment that flows from the Suffragist Movement. The Women were not calling for a totalitarian Female state. Staying on the ERA as the basis of modern Feminist thought, the ERA does not say women will be superior any more than the 19th Amendment took away men's right to vote. Feminism is about equality.

I can't speak for media girl, but I can speak for myself when I get exasperated with some men who believe that if women are equal that the men will be pushed down.

Some of the Feminist writing of the 1960's focused in on this being an issue. If men are on "top," that means even the "lowest" man is better than the "best" woman. I am using language a bit sloppy, here in the words "best" and "lowest," but I think the reader will get the drift.

The Feminist of the 1960's wondered if men feared equality since as women rose, the men at the bottom of the men would now fall deeper yet as women surpassed the "low" man as he falls even further.

Equality in and of itself might lead to men feeling that they are oppressed by letting the minority rise to express its natural talents.

Thus, even by making women equal, for some men, it makes women superior to where the men have traditionally been and so it would seem women are pushing men down when the two groups, in actuality, are merely being melded.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 14 March 2005 - 12:36pm
I mostly agree

Dear Matsu,

I more or less agree with most of what you write here.

But...

" Feminism is about equality. "

Sure it is. And that is a great thing! But feminists largely see it from women’s perspective. Let me explain further.

The issues that feminists bring up are often about inequalities. But have you noticed that they only bring up the issues where it is women or girls who are disadvantaged?

But actually I still find feminism great, because in many parts of the world this rather exclusive focus on half of the population’s problems is more or less warranted by structures and magnitude of problems.

What happens, however, is that in societies where the genders are already, more or less, equal. This exclusive focus on women’s issues becomes troublesome, in the end for everybody.

Because problems are connected, and if you have a group which are denied their right to be considered victims - even when they are - because another group monopolizes the victim status, then stigmatization will occur, and backlashes will be seen.

In the end everybody is better of with a more inclusive perspective than the feminist one.

In all of Scandinavia the vast majority of suicides are committed by young men and boys. Normally when a distribution is very skewed over gender the feminist will be there yelling for change and so on, but not in this case. Not when women and girls are okay.

I really see no problem in fighting for a group of people. That is great, and I have great respect for what you have done. Feminism is a good thing, as long as it does not become too dominant. Remember what Lord Acton said.

I sincerely believe that it is time to start to look at the issues of boys and men also, for everybody’s sake.

What will it be, an inclusive form of humanism. Or will feminism rather have to be accompanied by some movement that looks after boys and men?

Best regards,

Lennart

Leo's picture
Posted by Leo (not verified) on 14 March 2005 - 3:45pm
I fail to see the point here

I have a hard time understanding the belief that given an egalitarian society -- which my sense is more mythical than you might assume -- feminism is in the wrong because it doesn't advocate for men. Isn't that a separate issue?

Here in America we have trends in suicide similar to what you describe. More young women attempt suicide, more young men succeed. It's the #1 cause of death for many ages. I'm not sure how this is a feminism issue, though -- and I don't see how feminism can be faulted for not advocating for men and boys on suicide or any other issue.

Isn't that a seperate issue? Or are you saying that feminists are the cause of men's suicides? I don't think so, but I'm trying to see the connection.

Feminism doesn't address a lot of things. It doesn't directly address racism against Arabs, which exists in America and Europe. It doesn't directly address class issues, which are becoming bigger and bigger here, where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and more numerous. It doesn't address the appalling policies and treatment of Native Americans. It doesn't directly address the corporatocracy which dominates business and government policies that affect us all. It doesn't address pollution or deficit spending or war or famine or disease or tsunamis or earthquakes....

Does this make feminism wrong?

If tomorrow you were to start up an organization to address the disproprortionate number of suicides among young men, would feminists have cause to argue that your organization is unfair because it doesn't also address feminist issues?

I hear this over and over, that feminists are being "unfair" for advocating just for women, yet these kinds of criticism are not leveled at other advocacy organizations or movements. What is so threatening about empowered women?

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 14 March 2005 - 5:17pm
It all depends

on your definition of feminism. If you define it strictly as equality for women, then issues that affect men are not relevant. If you have a broader focus, such as the matriarchal system that I advocate, then it is all inclusive. Issues of race, sexual preference, any kind of gender inequity would be addressed.

Leo, you seem to have a very specific definition of feminism embodied by some particular group or established authority. You can't generalize that group to represent all feminists everywhere.

Morgaine-ism© #8

"A Woman's Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy is Sacred and Absolute."

Morgaine Swann's picture
Posted by Morgaine Swann on 14 March 2005 - 5:41pm
Differences within feminism

Dear Morgaine Swann,

I agree, much depends on definition. And I am sure there are many kinds of feminisms, and within each - many individuals with their own idiosyncrasies.

I checked out you webpage on Matriarchy, and I wish you luck with your project. On the individual level.

Personally I do not wish to see the demise of the paternalistic state just to get a maternalistic one instead. I am an adult and do not need a State-father or a State-mother, neither do I need a Goddess.

Your ideas about nature are interesting (a kind of pantheism, no?), but I really think nature is rather more "red in tooth and claw", but I suppose some romanticism can be okay if you are willing to compromise truth for happiness.

You write:

"Leo, you seem to have a very specific definition of feminism embodied by some particular group or established authority. You can't generalize that group to represent all feminists everywhere."

You are absolutely right. But that does not make feminism immune to criticism. If it had, then any group, consisting of individuals (as groups tend to do)would be immune to criticism.

Imagine an anti-Semite saying: "You cannot criticize anti-Semitism as a whole because there are different kinds of anti-Semitism!"

Best Regards,

Lennart

Leo's picture
Posted by Leo (not verified) on 15 March 2005 - 10:35am
Advocacy

Hi Mediagirl,

Really short this time.

[quote]

I have a hard time understanding the belief that given an egalitarian society -- which my sense is more mythical than you might assume -- feminism is in the wrong because it doesn't advocate for men. Isn't that a separate issue?

[/quote]

No, I did not say that feminism was wrong for not advocating for men. I just observed that it did not. Then I wondered if what we need is some kind of inclusive humanism or another special interest group eg. ID politics for boys. I myself am skeptical towards the ID politics solution, because it pits every group against each other in a non productive competition of who is most victim, so that that group can ask for further funds and protection from the state.

So in short I do not say that feminism is wrong for not advocating boys or men’s issues. But if feminism monopolizes the victim-state for women, then what about the individual boys who have been victimized? We must look at the individual level to learn. Not at the group level. The group level is really just a mathematical and statistical abstraction.

Consider this example. There is a class with 10 pupils. They are each given a grade, in literature for example, ranging from 0-10. As it happens one person gets a 0, three persons a 1, one person a 2, one person an 8, three persons a 9, and finally one person a 10. So what is the average grade of the class?

You can easily calculate that to be the grade 5. So what does this average tell us about the individuals in the class? Absolutely nothing - remember not a single pupil actually got the grade 5!

Best regards,

Lennart

PS: How do the quote tags work, or more broadly, how do you quote from other postings?

Leo's picture
Posted by Leo (not verified) on 15 March 2005 - 10:13am
Equality is not the same as equalizing

I think we are getting somewhere. Your example is about people who are different from one another and no one is the average, and if I understand you, you are saying that to make everyone the same is not only wrong, but also probably impossible.

I would say that, even if that is not what you are saying. I say "to make everyone the same is not only wrong, but also probably impossible." But that is not what is meant by the word, "equality." Equality is not equating everyone to an average.

Equality means that someone is not pushed below his/her ability nor is he/she denied equal access to the public weal. Nor, is someone of lower ability moved up artificially because, for example, that individual is the son of the king, or something.

Equality, at least in the American sense of the word, is equality of opportunity. It does not mean pushing everyone into some homogenized bottle.

_______

Quotes? Look at http://www.mediagirl.org/filter/tips

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 15 March 2005 - 10:26am
Well put Matsu, I agree compl

Well put Matsu, I agree completely!

And thanks for the tip!

Have a nice day,

Lennart

Leo's picture
Posted by Leo (not verified) on 15 March 2005 - 10:43am
How does identity become an identity?

I'm not sure exactly what your beef is, Lennart. You say all these things feminism shouldn't be, and from my perspective feminism isn't any of those things.

I think I should clarify something, though. When we talk about "male privilege" and the patriarchy, we are not making generalizations about men, we are making observations about general tendencies that can be seen in men in general, and about our society and culture that give rise to, encourage and excuse these tendencies.

Let's face it. Women are abused, beaten, raped, killed, caged, enslaved, mutilated routinely in virtually every culture. There seems to be a problem here, especially when it's men doing the abusing, beating, raping, killing, caging, enslaving and mutilating. Now we can say, "Oh, that's just a few bad apples, and the rest, well, boys will be boys." Or we can recognize that there is a very big problem here.

And that's just the violence-related end of the issue. Then there are all the ways that women are marginalized, dismissed, hindered, shoved aside, pre-empted, silenced, berated and ridiculed -- all the more so when we stand up for ourselves.

Then we get accused of all sorts of things, from being "witches" to hating men to trying to "monopolize victimhood."

You may be suspicious of identity politics, but the thing is that when women collective and individually are mistreated, the collective identity is thrust upon us.

In your school example, my question is this: Why is there a cluster of students down at the bottom? What is different about them and how they are treated? If there are systemic or bias problems that are denying these kids of the proper attention in their learning, wouldn't it behoove us to look into that? And if the school authorities do not look into this, wouldn't they and their parents be completely in their rights to speak up and demand changes? And if they all look around at each other, and see that, for example, they're all students of Algerian ancestry, wouldn't they be justified in claiming that there seems to be bias or, at best, neglect at work here?

When people speak up for equal rights for themselves, they aren't claiming special rights, just the same kinds of rights that others have.

Yes, I agree, the most egregious cases of abuse of women are perpetrated by only a subset of men, not all men. However, on the other side of that equation, all women are subject to those abuses. And when the rest of society seems to protect and defend these actions, not to mention all the cultural attitudes that encourage and celebrate these actions, then everybody is culpable, men and women, and it's up to all of us to change it.

The plight of women is ignored, for the most part. So we speak up, make noise, sometimes get in people's faces and even outrage them -- yet they seem to have no qualms about outraging us. Victimhood may not be attractive or appealing to men, but it exists, and we women can either wimper and skulk away like we have for nearly all of recorded history, or we can speak up for ourselves. I don't see any choice.

To make block quotes in html, bookend the quote this way:

This is the quoted text.
media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 15 March 2005 - 12:26pm
I am not saying what feminism should be

Dear Mediagirl,

I think you are reading things into my posts that are not really there. My original motive for posting was simply a response, an attempt to give an answer to a question posed by you in an earlier post in this thread. Your question had not been addressed, thus I thought I would give my perspective.

Now I realize that maybe the question was never intended to be answered.

I really have not been so concerned with what I thought feminism ought to be, after all who am I to define this?

What I have done, and what I can do, is to provide you with another perspective on feminism. A perspective that you are not that used too. The perspective is NOT about what feminism ought to be, simply about how it can be perceived. Maybe, just maybe this could be useful somehow. I surely hope it can. Otherwise I see no reason for either of us to continue this debate.

If you find my perspective utterly useless, please tell me, I shall then retreat from your turf and apologize for any inconvenience caused be me not accepting the dogma.

Yes, all those things you say happen to women around the world, happen. Regrettably so. And personally I am truly VERY sorry that they do. And I NEVER said that feminism is not justified in trying to address these issues.

What I am skeptical towards is the conviction that if just Patriarchy is removed then all violence and discrimination will disappear. This is in part because of the poverty of feministic explanatory power. I think contemporary feminism has bought too much into two philosophies that are basically flawed: Marxism and postmodern relativism.

If we want to make some progress we have to look at the individuals actually perpretating the violence, what caused them to do so? To just reduce this complicated question to a systemic one at the sociological level is not just scientifically wrong, it is dangerous.

I can see why feminists have an interest in making it look like Patriarchy in it self causes all this violence, because it provides further arguments for its immediate dismantling.

The strategy might backfire though, since it evades many of the real issues and causes. For example a vast majority of men committing violence against women have themselves been victims of violence, often from women in their childhood.

Now, please note! I am not trying to excuse these men; they are adults now and must be held accountable for their actions. What I am saying is that the violence committed towards boys should also be addressed. For two reasons 1) Boys are also humans 2) What goes around comes around.

I am not saying not to look at the systemic level at all; I am calling for a more open-minded strategy for solving these problems.

Please note again, I am not calling for a transformation of feminism. If it so wishes it can continue its current path. If it so chooses to do others will have to look out for the children.

Do you really think I would spend so much time on these issues if I did not care about the human condition?

Apart from trying to provide a broader and more realistic framework for solving the problems of unnecessary violence (which currently include all forms of violence against women and children), I myself, in my own personal life have been able to refrain from using violence ever against women and children. I have never even called a woman a bad name!

And I believe this is really what makes a difference; would all people go down this path, then we would seriously see a better world. I realize though, that this is not the path of the weak. There are unfortunately too many weak people who take their problems out on other people.

In short, there is no easy way to be a good person. You cannot just join some group and accept their label upon you and thereby expect to be good. You can only be good, surprise, by actually being good!

Nothing would be easier for me than to call myself a feminist and then go about my daily life and feel good about myself. I am sure many men and women do that. I would rather call myself by my own name, and then just continue treating people well, regardless of their gender, standing, race or whatever - that is just the way I am, it just seems natural. Maybe it is a natural privilege to be good-natured? Because it is certainly not because I have always been treated fairly myself.

So Mediagirl, I might not take your sacred label upon me just yet, but this does not make me a bad person so please spare me your projections.

Best regards and good luck with your fight for justice,

Lennart

Leo's picture
Posted by Leo (not verified) on 15 March 2005 - 8:26pm
Lennart

Your perspective is not new. We hear it all the time. We bend over backwards to explain things that were stated clearly in the first place, as Media Girl has here. Once or twice a month some man stumbles on any given feminist site and hopes to impart his wisdom on the poor deluded feminists there. Because we don't want to seem reactionary, we give his posts far more consideration than they deserve. Eventually, either he crosses the line by calling names or being too belligerent, or the women realize that he has no real interest in discussion, merely in being the center of attention or displaying what he believes to be his natural superiority of intelligence or moral standing.

It's all very tedious.

Morgaine-ism© #8

"A Woman's Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy is Sacred and Absolute."

Morgaine Swann's picture
Posted by Morgaine Swann on 16 March 2005 - 1:49am
If there is smoke...

Dear Morgaine Swann,

So you hear this perspective all the time? I wonder how many Scandinavian men have posted here.

But, anyway, if you hear this perspective a lot - maybe, just maybe, there is some validity to it.

Apart from that, I do not recognize myself in your description. It is not I who claim any natural superiority.

The irony of this is that if you really want to look at biological differences, the women are going to win. Because of a more active Corpus Callosum we are better suited to research, philosophy, science and mathematics, all of which require not only logic, but a fair amount of intuition and non-linear thinking as well. Because of the way our speech centers develop, women are better suited to study languages and literature.

It seems you are projecting your own ideas about human nature into me.

You really know nothing of my motivations to post here. Yet you are fast to judge me and categorize me along with other inconveniences - telling me to stand in the corner along with others who have dared to raise their voice against your dogma. And so is Mediagirl when she conflates my critique of monopolization of victim-status with calling feminists for witches. I never called feminists witches. Constructive criticism is not the same as name calling. You both need to work a bit with distinctions - but then again, maybe men are simply all the same to you?

I am not really sure I belong in the same corner as those who call you names.

Also, me criticizing certain aspects of contemporary feminism does not by itself make me an enemy of feminism and its goals in a larger perspective. Karl Popper said that you subject your best friends to the harshest criticism, or something along those lines.

We bend over backwards to explain things that were stated clearly in the first place, as Media Girl has here.

Now, it is not enough to just state things. I have never heard of any social movement, who did not state that they were doing the right thing. And sure, they believed it too. But in a larger perspective movements should be judged by what they actually do in the real world, not by what they say they do. There is often quite a large discrepancy.

Having said this, Mediagirl did not state anything clearly as to the question that motivated my first reply. Maybe she stated things in other posts, but is one really expected to read all posts before trying to answer a question put forward in one post?

But, like I said in my earlier post, maybe the question was really rhetorical. Maybe the answer inside your own community was already given; “Yes, men are just shmucks who have no reason what-so-ever to be critical towards any aspects of feminism!� This answer surely exists throughout your postings like a red thread, mostly implicit, but at times even explicitly so.

I have had the opportunity to see the effect of this particular movement at a more advanced state than it is currently at in the USA and not all the things promised are realized, in fact in many cases quite the contrary.

What is it that makes you say, we know who you are, we know what you want, and we have heard it all before? Do you really know me that well? Obviously not.

Sure it would be easier for you to sit in a circle and agree on all the things you so strongly believe in, but once in a while check out how it measures up to reality.

Best regards,

Lennart

Leo's picture
Posted by Leo (not verified) on 16 March 2005 - 12:37pm
I'm done with this

Lennart, you complain about your questions not being answered, but you don't answer questions put to you (such as how you support your now-repeated claim that feminists "monopolize victim status"). You make other wild claims, like feminists are Marxists and postmodernists, without offering any supporting evidence or even defining your terms. You decry identity politics and then you turn around saying we could not have heard arguments like yours without having encountered Swedish men.

I'm willing to engage in discussion and dialectic, but I'm not interested in engaging with pseudo-academic rhetorical posing. If you can't be bothered to even do a little reading research on feminism, and refuse to demonstrate any willingness to consider that what we have to say on it might have any worth, then I don't see how any of us can hope to engage you in thoughtful conversation. You obviously have your mind made up about feminism, and seem to regard anything said by a feminist as automatically suspect. How convenient. The thing is, one of the basic tenets of feminism is that we do not need a man's approval to have opinions, and your judgments of us reveal more about you than about any of us.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you're having fun.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 16 March 2005 - 2:54pm
Good luck

Dear Mediagirl,

Looking back, re-reading this thread, I find it to be characterized by innuendo, false attribution, misunderstandings and more. I take responsibility for part of that.

If you want to place all the blame squarely on my shoulders, as you do in your last post. Then, so be it.

I think doing so is out of proportions. But then again, I also think that saying that the situation faced by American women is very similar to the one faced by women in Islamic countries, is out ouf proportions.

Still, I wish you luck. By the end of the day we both want equality; we just seem to disagree on how to get there.

Goodbye,

Lennart

Leo's picture
Posted by Leo (not verified) on 17 March 2005 - 5:17pm
Miscommunication

I share with you a dissatisfaction with how this thread has gone. Sometimes I can be quite snarky when someone starts pushing my buttons, whether they intended to or not. I suppose I could have been more kindly and considerate -- not because that's what's expected of a woman (though it is), but because it's just good manners. I apologize for any rudeness on my part.

I do believe, however, that you are failing to understand what is really being said here, or the kinds of cultural regression we're experiencing in America that basically is tossing the Enlightenment into the ashcan. No, we don't face the kinds of issues women face in Islamic countries. But there's definately a Christian analogue at work here, gaining power in our governments, that uses the very same kind of rhetoric and proposes similar kinds of laws. The main advantage we have here, I believe, is that we have the right to vote, and that's a genie that will not go back into the bottle without some sort of suspension of the Constitution (which is something that, given the practices and rhetoric of the Bush administration, no longer seems like such an impossibility).

We are raped and are blamed for it. We are beaten and are blamed for it. We get pregnant and are blamed for it. We have abortions and are blamed for it. We have babies and we are blamed for it. We work three jobs to make ends meet and leave the kids in daycare and we're blamed for it. We stay at home to be there for our kids while living on public assistance and we're blamed for it. We take leave from work and we're blamed for it. Infant mortality rises if we don't take maternity leave and we're blamed for it. We're fired for wearing pants. We're fired for not wearing make-up. We're fired for having children. We're not even hired because we might one day have children. We're pushed around, shushed, backstabbed, ridiculed, villified -- and if, heaven forbid, we succeed, we're attacked all the more for it.

In fact, practically the only thing women can do in America with full cultural and legal endorsement is get married, stay at home and be a mommy. That is a wonderful, almost ideal life that I often wish I could have lived. But a fully autonomous individual in a liberty-loving society should be able to entertain the myriad other options others enjoy without being blamed for it.

Thus feminism in America. -And that's not even getting into the much more serious issues women face around the world.

How feminism is wrong in seeking to end these oppressions I don't know.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 17 March 2005 - 6:22pm
Media Girl

Don't beat yourself up over a troll. Just because he isn't American doesn't make him any less an idiot. He's not here to advance "equality"- he's here to tell you that feminists are dogmatic and wrong. He has no interest in reaching an accord. He's exhibited the same traits as any troll -taking things out of context, or to a ridiculous extreme to make it appear that you said things you didn't say. It's the same old bullshit.

I hate to say it, but you have to be suspicious of men who post on feminist sites. There are a few that are cool, and you can tell who they are, but for the most part the men who post here will be either trying to "set you straight" on something and/or flaunting what they believe to be their intellectual or logical superiority. Giving them too much credit only wastes your time and energy. It's a classic chauvanist strategy to make you feel like you have to apologize or explain yourself. Don't fall for it - there are too many other things you can do that are more productive. When you see that somebody is messing with you, tell him to kiss your ass and move on. For Goddess' sake don't feel guilty. That's what he wants.

Morgaine-ism© #8

"A Woman's Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy is Sacred and Absolute."

Morgaine Swann's picture
Posted by Morgaine Swann on 17 March 2005 - 11:08pm
troll posts

I agree, Morgaine; I see MG's disappointment and anger as entirely appropriate: there's no need for guilt. You also went on to make a more fundamental point, which gets to the heart of this thread; it's wise to be suspicious of men who post to feminist blogs. Trolls, I see, come in various guises: 1)forthrightly vicious, which shouldn't even be read, IMHO, 2)those who nearly immediately start telling women how they're wrong and, 3)those who think they have a point, but who cannot hear whether it's welcome or cannot hear that their point is irrelevant in this context. (This isn't intended to be a definitive list)

Outside this, can men post to feminist blogs? Well, I hope so. :) It does seem to me that we should keep in mind that we are rightly under suspicion, that hard-won knowledge over decades, no, millenia, of unique experience is being shared which, in being shaped by the current participants, shapes them and the ongoing knowledge. Is that clear? Anyway, good manners and good sense demand that men listen and do their best to learn what they can; jumping in with "help" simply demonstrates that you don't get it.

blue rebel's picture
Posted by blue rebel on 18 March 2005 - 12:12pm
Thanks!

I've been spoiled lately by Hugo and Ampersand and our own Heritik. I hate to rule out men altogether, especially those who seem to be reaching out to connect and discuss and share. I also hate to back away in the face of male privilege personified, especially when it parades through the pages of mediagirl.org.

"You are entitled to my opinion," they say, "and I well defend to the death your right to agree with it."

:/

Thank you for the support.

-mg

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 18 March 2005 - 1:20pm
What is it that drives men

What is it that drives men to deny that misogyny exists?

What is it that drives WOMEN to deny that MISANDRY exists?

anonymous lurker's picture
Posted by anonymous lurker (not verified) on 3 September 2005 - 1:48pm